Tag Archives: insurance-exchange

Bryant orders 10 HMA hospitals back into Blue Cross network | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

I cannot sit back and allow Mississippians’ access to care to be threatened in violation of state law

What business does any public official have in trying to make certain that citizens have access to medical care? How can a business be compelled to provide a “product in a marketplace at the insistence” of government?
And don’t you remember how, in an effort to support the efficacy of markets in meeting the needs of Americans, RepubliCons said that:

“[t]here is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room?”

So what’s all the fuss about insurance companies deciding not to do business with some hospitals because they “charge too much?” Isn’t this just the marketplace at work? Shouldn’t insurance companies be allowed to seek profit like all good capitalists? What’s with the dictatorial intervention? Weren’t the Teabaggers carrying signs of President Obama with Hitler mustaches drawn on his face because of his market interventions? What’s with the government intrusion embodied in the Mississippi Patient Protection Act of 1995?” What’s with the government telling businesses what they must provide? This situation makes a point emphatically. Specifically, the issue is that capitalism is a system devised by man and subject to modifications and variations necessary to serve the people. This democratic Republic, America, is served by capitalism. The Republic is not the servant of capitalism. This is a fact that the conservatives, indoctrinated within the last thirty years, must learn. The more sophisticated conservatives know this which is why they spend so much time lobbying to make laws (modifications and variations) which concentrate capital in relatively few hands while pretending that capitalism just happens to naturally support the trade deficits enhanced by this “service economy” that they have convinced the public is most desirable for America. This salesmanship of substandard economic conditions explains why many Americans’ desired to keep the insurance plans that they had before enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a situation that could be compared to domestic abuse. The form of capitalism practiced in this country is designed and modified by men; it is not some natural, organic formation sent to us by God. If our form of capitalism is so superior then why do we find ourselves begging other countries with much more socialism (government mandated health care) in their economies for jobs?

It is ironic how conservative governors from southern states who complain about government thwarting private markets and competition spend time and state resources pursuing Japanese investment in their states when according to author T.R. Reid in “The Healing of America, “[d]espite universal coverage and prodigious consumption, Japan spends a lot less for health care that most of the developed nations; with costs running at about 8 percent of GDP, it spends about half as much as the United States.” And get this Teabaggers, the Japanese require everyone to sign up. They call it a personal mandate. The irony is that so called conservatives are attacking personal responsibility and seeking investment from people (foreign capitalists?) who make certain that all of their citizens have health care while complaining about a “’woodwork effect,’ an allusion to people [American citizens] who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered and will ‘come out of the woodwork’ to qualify because of new changes affecting people without insurance.” Just think about that for a moment. Here you have Americans alluded to as bugs, as insects who will come out of the “woodwork” to get what, crumbs? Actually CONservatives, [see Mitt Romney and Steel Dynamics] are very skilled at getting government to assist them while pretending that the resources that they get, they got all by themselves when they have really benefited for jobs programs, activities subsidized in one fashion or another by a government of the people. Their brilliance is in their ability to convince their constituents that they don’t need the government while channeling government to assist their constituents. You even have a private entity Blue Cross/Blue Shield complaining about constituent services: complaining that “the hospital management company [with whom the big insurer has a dispute] and its lobbyists have donated thousands of dollars in “political contributions” to the governor.”

The health care conversation is Mississippi doesn’t just smell of classism, it reeks of elitism. The political establishment is fighting to maintain health care access for one group of Mississippians while being willing to in the words of a local reporter who’s been covering the Mississippi health care struggle for the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Ms., Sam R. Hall , to ignore “the loss of DSH payments” which “would equal nearly $1.4 billion” [these are federal funds paid to the state to help cover indigent care in hospitals which are scheduled to go away] and not expand Medicaid. In the words of Mr. Hall

“[t]hat’s $400 million more than if every single eligible Mississippian allowed joined after expanding the Medicaid program, and we know that’s 100 percent will never join.”

Pew!!!! We can’t just be imagining that smell. The state of Mississippi while begging for jobs from a country with universal health care continues to refuse to assist Mississippians making more than $5,500 per year, the Medical cutoff, get health care while compelling a private insurer to provide health care access for Mississippians making considerable more than $5,500, Mississippians making enough to afford a BCBS policy.

Remarkable still is the protestations about big government involvement in Mississippi and assertions of state’s rights (in the antebellum southern spirit) even to the point where Senator Thad Cochran will now face a Teabagger opponent even as a “proportion of federal spending in Mississippi is directed toward large federal installations such as Camp Shelby, John C. Stennis Space Center, Meridian Naval Air Station, Columbus Air Force Base, and Keesler Air Force Base.” And there are also the private sector extensions of the military industrial complex like Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
To ignore Tip O’Neill’s maxim, “all politics is local,” is to abandon the field to the Teabaggers who are the servants, wittingly or unwittingly, of the neo-feudalists who are ordering society in a fashion that produces less social mobility. And access to health care, if you look at the rest of the industrialized world, is critical to that dream as it provides the foundation for productivity so that “you can build that,” that being whatever your dream is.

Bryant orders 10 HMA hospitals back into Blue Cross network | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Jameson Taylor: Demonizing now a common tactic | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

This from the birth-certificate-secret-Moslem-against-Obama crowd.  Demonization has been the bread and butter of the Tea-Party, cousins of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy(Jameson Taylor’s) people.  In fact his organization is only a front for the oligarchs.  Consider them the Mississippi branch of the Heritage Foundation, it the creation of the Koch brothers and Paul-shrink-the-electorate Weyrich.  Only in the twisted minds of the conservatives is inequality not tantanmount to bigotry. 

And of course those who oppose the insurance exchanges are protecting the oligarch-centric status quo.  Of course the corporate front groups like the Mississippi Public Policy Center would see Medicaid as a failure and long for a return to the days when doctors accepted chickens for check-ups. 

Chickens for check-ups

And you could never expect these so-called champions of the free-market to lobby for removal of the anti-trust exemption that the insurance industry has because they are fakes and aren’t interested in bettering the condition of the average American.  They are only here to confuse you and muddy the waters to protect the status quo.  You come to expect them to say things like “Never mind that the Bible also teaches we should pay our debts and that expanding government entitlement programs unjustly burdens future generations. “  But they can’t show you where in the bible Jesus dunned a paraplegic for his healing or turned the healed blind man’s bill over to collections subsequently driving him into bankruptcy.  So they have to forgive us, if they can find that concept in their bible, for thinking of them as merciless, even if they feel “demonized.” 

And when this crowd that feels demonized says “Medicaid patients have much higher mortality rates and much poorer health outcomes than people on private insurance.”  Did they ever stop to think that to the extent that that is true, if it is true at all, then the difference might have something to do with income-related environmental factors, i.e. the availability and costs of healthy food, and environmental pollution factors which give health conditions before treatment or diagnosis different starting points.

And then the disingenuous corporate flacks say “As hard as it is to believe, Medicaid patients even fare worse than the uninsured — many of whom are getting health care in some way, but paying out-of-pocket for it.”  If the uninsured are paying “out-of-pocket” we are dealing with quite a different group, from an income level, than those who qualify for Medicaid. So the question is who are you counting as uninsured?  And using the emergency room for primary care is not a serious comparison to having Medicaid. 

 

    The commentators arguing that Medicaid causes poor outcomes anticipate some objections by noting that the cited studies include some variables to address socioeconomic and cultural factors that
    can negatively influence the health of poorer Medicaid patients. Their interpretation of the results, then, must be that Medicaid patients have worse clinical outcomes than uninsured patients with the same socioeconomic and cultural characteristics, including, presumably, health-related behavior before and after a given procedure.

    If so, the problem must lie with the physicians and hospitals (many of them academic medical centers) providing care for Medicaid patients. Are these commentators assuming that poor, uninsured patients, who in principle may qualify for Medicaid, actually have the resources to pay doctors and hospitals more than Medicaid would and that providers therefore give these patients better care and attention, leading to better outcomes? Or is the assumption that only less technically proficient doctors and health care facilities accept Medicaid patients, and the associated lack of skill and resources results in poor clinical outcomes?

It is simply odd, to put it in non-demonizing terms, that these conservative think-tank guys have so much concern for the poor and uninsured now after a Democratic House, Senate, and President started supplying legislation to address pre-existing conditions and life-time caps and money to close the donut hole and money for additional primary care doctors.  And “The ACA authorizes money to increase the primary care workforce by training more doctors, nurses, nurse-practitioners and physician assistants. It includes more graduate medical education training positions, with priorities for primary care and general surgery, and more money for scholarships and loans for all health professionals. The law expands the number of patients seen at community health centers in areas with too few doctors and increases the number of staffers who work in the centers. It also expands nurse-managed clinics at nursing schools where nurses in training see patients who live in the area.”

But the truth is that Medicaid is working and so is Medicare despite efforts by the corporatists to degrade and destroy them at every term and install in their place a greater neo-feudal system.

 

Jameson Taylor: Demonizing now a common tactic | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Et tu, Federal Government?

Thus comes the cry from Mississippi’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Claiming somehow that he expected approval for a plan he submitted to the Department of HHS without the Governor’s signature he ridiculously cries betrayal(A State’s Declaration Letter must be signed by the State’s Governor). Futhermore Mr. Chaney chose to ignore the fact that the Affordable Care Act “says that the exchanges have to be one-stop shops for both private insurance and Medicaid.”
How can Chaney get away with such blatant misinformation? He is basically running interference for big insurance companies while pretending to be for the average working Mississippian. He and other Mississippi RepubliCons talk of free-market approaches as a remedy for rising health care costs when they know full well that the health insurance industry has the McCarran–Ferguson Act and lack of regulation, which saddles Americans with billions of dollars a year in excess costs, in place to maintain the existing order and to harden the stratification and widen the wealth gap.

This is understandable in Mississippi, where some are not entitled to freedom from want of health care. Mississippians, owing to a basic fear of change and obeisance to crypto-fascist “leadership,” are destined to remain last in so many categories. When you consider farm subsidies and military installations and the boon to ship building provided by the federal government and, historically, earmarks, the Federal government to Mississippi is not betrayer, Mr. Chaney, but the love which dare not speak its name.