Tag Archives: Medicaid

Bryant trusts no part of health care overhaul | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

some low-level employees or volunteers with the exchange could unilaterally force the state to expand Medicaid, the longstanding federal-state health insurance program for the needy,

reads this article from the Clarion Ledger is Jackson, Mississippi.

This is being given as a reason for not supporting the Affordable Care Act in Mississippi:  “the navigators could unilaterally decide to sign people up for Medicaid, even if they earn too much money to qualify.” 

In the minds of some Mississippians the navigators, people who “are available to help people understand various levels of coverage available through an exchange” could sign people up for Medicaid, giving health care to someone who makes more than $5,500 per year, the income cutoff in Mississippi. You got that right.  In Mississippi some people believe that the navigators could expand Medicaid.  There seems to be a concerted effort by the neo-feudalists to constrict access to health care, in a state in which 1 in four adults lack health insurance including “one in three among adults 44 or younger.” In Mississippi “less than half the employers even offer insurance.”  The pretense that all is well and Mississippi should just not address the problem is indicative of the delusional southern mind that contributes to the state’s position nationally.  Talk about burying you head in the sand when it comes to health care. 

You see Mississippi is one of those places where officials rail against an agenda “controlled by Washington” when it comes to health care while lobbying to get more military institutions which are controlled by Washington.  Conservatives aren’t really against government.  They don’t really want smaller government.  They just want to be able to target the government expenditures toward the areas that they or their friends can derive the greatest benefit.  They have a preference for oligarchs and neo-feudalism where they channel the collective resources to themselves and their Heritage Fund protected masters and everyone can just go to them for “charity.”  

Bryant trusts no part of health care overhaul | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Mississippi leaders to fight closing of any military bases | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Excuse me! Excuse me! Ex-cusssse Meeeeee! Aren’t you conservatives always saying government can’t create jobs?

“[B]ut our philosophy is that government doesn’t create jobs. Government’s job is to create an environment in which business can thrive. Businesses create jobs.” – Ms. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

They don’t really believe that so they crank-up the smoke machine. Sen. Roger Wicker, R. M, in response to proposed funding of the military base closings and realignments commission appropriation bill, indignantly responds,

“I’m opposed to this proposal,” Wicker said. “We have seen with the embassy threat, this isn’t the time to be talking about closing military bases.”

The imaginary correlation of keeping Mississippi bases open to protecting embassies aside, aren’t the conservatives and their Teabagger Republican Guard such penny-pinchers that they think we can’t afford to fund embassy security?

“For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.”

So if Republicans really think, like Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who “absolutely” voted to cut the funding for embassy security because “we have to make priorities and choices in this country,” then keeping bases open in Mississippi, to the extent that they had any embassy security mission, would not be the “conservative” thing to do since government spending, contrary to Keynesian principles, is bad.

Furthermore if you are prioritizing, the Tea-Bagger-Chaffetz way, you may decide to reorganize for efficiency sake, because cutting government jobs is the way to “grow” the economy and the deficit, wink, wink, is stifling economic growth. So, for efficiency sake, maybe some of the things accomplished by Mississippi’s military bases could be accomplished more efficiently in Louisiana or Alabama or Arkansas or some of the other conservative strongholds that receive so much in federal benefits or some other state (pull the transfer payments, tax revenue and borrowing transferred to the have-nots, whether they be veterans benefits, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, etc. from many states in the union and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between those states and some third world country). But let’s go back to our examination of how this efficiency operation plays out. “Fort Knox was known as the home of the Army’s tank and armored vehicle training for more than seven decades, before the Pentagon completed the move of the school to Fort Benning, Ga., in 2011”

So consolidations and operation transfers under this model should be a dream come true for the hyper-deficit sensitive Teabaggers. However, the Mississippi Teabaggers didn’t show up to protest the pigs at the troth at the press conference in Mississippi the other day where elected officials stressed the need to “protect the $2.6 billion economic impact the military has in Mississippi. There are 37,000 Mississippians employed in military jobs with a payroll of $1.7 billion.” They didn’t show up because it would have been an attack on their class. You see they aren’t against all government programs because they are in fact the beneficiaries of some of them. The official Mississippi response to the base closing commission is superficially about things like embassy security but actually it is an admission that government transfer payments are beneficial to the state. The actions taken by elected officials were primarily to protect a powerful political block in the state, a powerful group of government workers in uniform. Why else would officials fight to get the federal government to transfer funds to the state of Mississippi to maintain installations that may very well represent inefficient resource allocations? The Pentagon is eliminating Fort Knox’s “3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division as part of a major restructuring that will reduce the Army’s active duty combat brigades to 33 from 45. The cuts will reduce the size of the Army from about 570,000 in the midst of the Iraq war down to 490,000, which includes personnel in units that support the brigades.” So the threat to Mississippi’s federal government workers is real. But you don’t find the conservatives, mitigating the possible damage done by any base closings by acknowledging the multiplier effect of having the federal government pay for healthcare in the state through the Affordable Care Act. Those benefits don’t affect or enhance the lifestyle of people who are benefiting from military transfer payments, directly, at least to their reckoning. It’s covert class warfare.

If the conservative power structure was really concerned about the average worker and not the big insurers’ profits and the taxes on higher incomes (some derived from the government) and the returns on their investments(like insurance company shares), if the conservative power structure wasn’t sustained by the voting pattern of other government workers who are insulated by the benefits from they received from the government (like good healthcare) they would be working to repeal the insurance industries anti-trust exemptions and expand Medicaid. If the conservative power structure was concerned about the working poor all who were burdened by constantly rising premiums long before Obamacare, it would ignore the pleas from Heritage and Cato to block the efforts to open insurance exchanges. But the hypocrisy exposed in the pursuit of government benefits while denouncing government benefits reveals the neo-feudal terrain which is Mississippi.

Mississippi leaders to fight closing of any military bases | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Lawmakers push ‘dramatic reforms’ for education | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

$20 million here $180 million there, and to paraphrase a line from a Republican who believed in social mobility, Everett Dirksen, “pretty soon you talking real money.” But don’t ask the neo-feudalists Republicans in Mississippi who are secretly attempting to subvert and demolish public education while handing-out advantages to their campaign supporters to count adequately funding public education as something we can afford. These opponents, like some Republicans on the national scene (see Mitt Romney and Steel Dynamics) are seemingly opposed to anything with Federal in its title or being, except when they or their cronies stand to gain handsomely

. In Mississippi they attack things like Common Core Standards in Education, a valiant attempt to improve public education. Could it be that improved public schools could reduce the viability of their crony-infested charter schools (fiefdoms) and their dream of one day privatizing them (expanding disparities in the process)? Observe the neo-feudalists closely and see them cry about spending $37 million a year on remediation for Mississippi high school graduates who aren’t ready for college while not adequately funding districts and then, having applied $37 million to the back end of the process, attempt to inflect the coup de grâce , charge the school districts for the cost of remediation, all the while siphoning-off what public funds were available for charter schools. The hard core neo-feudalist call efforts which resulted in the Common Core Standards and which were begun by Council of Chief State School Officers in 2007, and “developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association and strongly supported by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour” but “embraced by the “Federal” government, in the words of Sen. Angela Burks-Hill, R-Picayune, MS, a “sell-out.” The neo-feudalists claim to be concerned with budgets and what we can afford, so much so that they refuse to even expand Medicaid (refusing to acknowledge or account for the reduction in lost man-hours attributable to preventative care and diversions away from emergency rooms and the expansion in economic development stimulated by accessible medical services the first three years of federal assistance.) Did I mention that Obamacare had provisions for more primary care doctors

The Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the so-called stimulus package) will together support the training of more than 16,000 new primary care providers over the next five years. )

But watch closely as they dam-up the river to make their own personal reservoirs, and charge the other stakeholders for the privilege of viewing the water.

“We [the conservative-controlled Mississippi legislature] pass something to reimburse everyone dollar-for-dollar, every penny they’ve paid in inventory taxes – something with the potential to cost the state $180 million a year – and nobody questions where that money is coming from,” explains Sen. Hob Bryan – D, Amory, Ms.

But that’s just the camel’s head in the tent, Sen. Bryan. I wonder if that inventory tax give-back benefited the big equipment company that recently moved from Jackson to Flowood, Ms., in the Republican stronghold of Rankin County MS, the Governor’s home county? Wonder if the people who sponsored and advocated the tax-give back got any campaign contributions from the recipients of the tax rebate? This reminds me of the lobbyist employment plan, I mean Charter School Law (“Each member of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board must have demonstrated commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education”). And just what constitutes commitment to charter schooling? Contrast this to a simple commitment to accessible good public education for all children. This one line mandates dedication to the concept of charter schools regardless of outcome. Americans should be concerned with good, accessible public education not whether someone has been committed merely, to some, possibly failing, charter-school project somewhere in the known universe, someone who more than likely contributed to the right conservative candidate. Baked into the cronyism-lovers dream law are lots of goodies (you can hire your buddies over other qualified applicants and there are no provisions for fair purchasing practices as the law is also

an Act “TO EXEMPT CHARTER SCHOOLS FROM REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO PUBLIC PURCHASES”).

As for that class warfare in which the lords and their vassals are always accusing others of engaging, this is also a law which drives Mississippians further down the road to serfdom as it reduces the return on labor and abuses labor by prohibiting participation in the public employee retirement system by teachers and makes certain that they are not “covered under the Education Employment Procedures Law.” Section 53 (2) (b) of the law says

“The Education Employment Procedures Law shall not apply to any category of teacher, administrator or other employee * * * employed to work in any charter school * * *.”

And as a further reminder of how right that sage, Tip O’Neill was about all politics being local (also check out the attempt to move government functions from the capital city) there is the $20 million gift to the private sector, (who’s a member of Mitt Romney’s-looking-for-government-to-give-them-something 47%ers?) in Pearl, MS (Rankin County, MS a Republican stronghold). Didn’t Romney and Paul Ryan complain about the government picking winners and losers? Didn’t they take issue with Obama saying that the government provided the background and foundation for many private successes, as in “you didn’t build that?”

“We’re [the Republican controlled Mississippi legislature] giving $20 million to people building a shopping center in Pearl – one they were already going to build – and nobody asks from where that money will come, says Sen. Bryan.”

Wonder if the sponsors and advocates of that provision were or will be the beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the recipients or will get some type of no-show mafia type jobs after leaving office? This way of doing things is possible only because the serfs, just like the people who fought on behalf of a slave-holding society even though most of them didn’t own slaves, can’t imagine life any other way and are comfortable depending on the trickle, from their labor that, falls down. In Mississippi, ignorance is bliss but in the case of the vassals who maintain loyalty to the lords, knowledge is power. What we need are really great Dirksen -Republicans so that we can focus on increasing economic security. Adequately funding public education and expanding Medicaid are equality of opportunity issues. They are ideas for our time. In the words of Senator Everett Dirksen:

“Victor Hugo wrote in his diary substantially this sentiment, ‘Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.’ The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied.”

In a Democratic Republic, capitalism is a tool used for the distribution goods and services, to meet the needs of the people and not the inverse. Democratic-Republics are not the servants of capitalism. It is not as conservatives, like the Kochs, would have you believe sacrosanct, and they are not our lords whose pronouncements on the proper taxation levels and the distribution of goods and service we are to receive as holy writ simply because of their wealth and position.

Lawmakers push ‘dramatic reforms’ for education | 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

Yokohama Y’all!!!, Big government Japanese expose hypocracy of small government Mississippians

Thank God for the Buddhist or whatever those Japanese are who are bringing (with government aid) the Yokohama Tire plant to Clay County, Mississippi with its 18% unemployment rate?  Sorry, Morris (Morris Thigpen, the head of the local Heritage Foundation clone, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy) that you guys didn’t get a chance to plan a Cato-attack a la the recent Mississippi Insurance Exchange assault or animate supposed “big-government” opposition similar to the anti-economic-growth-medical-infrastructure-strangling Medicaid-expansion opposition.  There are never any estimates of the number of jobs we’ll create by not expanding Medicaid or by not wooing the Japanese to build here with that (you-didn’t-build-that-alone) government assistance. Surely not expanding Medicaid will be as economically beneficial as not implementing Medicaid or Medicare would have been.  And just think how many more jobs we would have had in the south if the government hadn’t created the TVA, and there would not have been a “TVA official”* to “quickly summon” to answer “Japanese execs” questions about power for Yokohama.  Now if we can just allow some Buddhists, exercising Mississippi’s new religious freedom law, to pray at school assemblies and football games we can get really get things going economically.

*

*Clarion Ledger “Landing Clay County tire plant was no easy task” Apr. 27, 2013

 

If the Japanese execs had a question about power, for example, a TVA official was quickly summoned”