Tag Archives: Medicaid expansion

Plunkett: DSH payments will never be cut. Dems should vote to reauthorize Medicaid now. | Mississippi PEP

 

Plunkett: DSH payments will never be cut. Dems should vote to reauthorize Medicaid now. | Mississippi PEP

Republicans keep projecting their wishes on the future, forecasting that the things for which they long are “inevitable.” They say things like “With one single decision President Barack Obama pulled the rug out from under any moves by Mississippi Democrats to expand Medicaid in Mississippi.” And that undoing his “signature achievement as President” was “inevitable.” Now this bit of prognostication was a conservative Mississippian’s response to the Obama administration’s decision several months ago to delay “cuts to DSH payments” (“Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments are given to hospitals by the federal government to states through Medicaid for caring for the uninsured”).

Conservatives say this because they see a delay in implementing a shift in payment for indigent care (which they have been successful in labeling a penalty for the states) as a fatal flaw, even getting liberals to adopt the “Luntz” framing. And, although many of the people they, the Crpto-Fascists, count as supporters would die without expansion, they, in clear Atwater fashion, seem perfectly content with repealing:

Coverage which

And the pseudo-anti-judicial activists rejoiced in hearing an activist court legislate with under cover of a flimsy explanation like:

“What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding”

effectively revitalizing the old states-rights ideology almost a century and a half after the Civil War settled the issue and challenging Congress’ authority to determine how indigent care will be compensated. In one of the most striking examples of the effect of poor history education in America, the American public voted for people who are actually states-rights proponents as if they, “the people,” have no idea that this was the position of staunch white supremacists who sought to rend the Union asunder. How is Medicaid a new program? How does the Court tell Congress how to aid the indigent?

It is, indeed, amazing that somehow shifting the funding to compensate providers for indigent care from disproportionate care payments to Medicaid payments can be viewed as a penalty when:

“Congress had amended Medicaid more than 50 times since its enactment, with a trend of enlarging the population and services covered by the program”

And none of these expansions were considered penalties? As I said, the Supreme Court conservatives, who acted as neo-confederates, used a flimsy excuse to indulge in some conservative-orchestrated judicial activism.

Conservatives say that the

Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states had the legal authority to reject expansion and the federal government could do nothing to penalize states for it.” Of course this was the courts response to “all or nothing.”

But there is nothing to stop congress from reducing the payments over time regardless of whether a state expands Medicaid or not Mr. State’s Rights, as in “ignoring states’ decisions to expand Medicaid when calculating the DSH reductions, meaning states won’t face a financial penalty for refusing the Medicaid expansion as the reductions could be made without any regard to whether a state expands Medicaid or not. Wishing that the law will go away and funneling your attacks to a hypocrite-judicial-activist, states-rights Chief Justice (whose states-rights ideology lines up with even Mississippi neo-confederates) doesn’t mean that the American people will get rid of a law which addresses

Costs

And

Care

But back to that wishful thinking about the delay being the unraveling of the Affordable Care Act. The conservative’s argument goes:

“DSH payments were never going to be cut. One only need to look at the SGR and the annual “Doc Fix” under Medicare to see a perfect example of why,”

comparing Medicare advocacy to Medicaid advocacy. This is delusional, as the Medicare constituents are not the same as a substantial number of the Medicaid constituents. In their delusions about ObamaCare and their fixation with repealing it, conservative pundits have conflated the two. Medicaid constituents, by and large, are not appearing at Tea Party rallies, trying, asininely, to wreck the people’s government. Wish as the neo-confederates will, the people targeted in “their home districts for voting against providing health care to the most needy” won’t be the people who are vigorously advocating Medicaid expansion. It won’t be the people who know the 7 things Republicans don’t want their working class constituents to know who will be confused about who’s responsible for service reductions to the needy. The non-Republican Medicaid recipients already know who is trying to cut SNAP and WIC benefits, in short assistance to the most vulnerable. They know that wishing that Republicans would actually favor social programs won’t make it happen; they know that wishing won’t make it so.

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▶ The Nine Most Terrifying Words – YouTube

 

Funny, how you only hear this when the group that they’re against is getting assistance. 

Nine most terrifying words?  Well, not so much in Mississippi these days.  Just look at the insurer-provider dispute in Mississippi. 

In the dispute between a big insurer and a hospital group in Mississippi how can you possibly be concerned with “the patients that Blue Cross insures and these hospitals serve” and refuse Medicaid expansion? How can you not see the connection? Absence of Medicaid expansion in Mississippi will drive up medical costs to Mississippians relative to other states. The cost of not getting preventative treatment and health maintenance drives the cost up for everyone by channeling impoverished people into the emergency rooms for more expensive care. That cost doesn’t just disappear but is passed on to other consumers through higher costs which they pay via higher premiums and higher co-pays and deductibles. Of course the insurance industry operating in Mississippi would move to cut out the more expensive hospitals; they have stock prices and shareholders to worry about. Conspicuous by their absence once again is the Mississippi Heritage Foundation doppelganger, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Where were the faux-limited government proponents advocating unfettered markets? It’s funny how you didn’t hear them complain about the governor issuing an order which “would have required Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi [a private entity] to resume paying in-network rates at Mississippi hospitals.” Not really when you realize that, despite what the Tea Party-types profess, they are in favor of limited government only if it doesn’t affect their comrades or people who lobby for laws that increase the corporate profits out of which their financial support comes. If Mississippi politicians can spend so much time and effort trying to make sure that the federal government keeps maintaining military installations and spending that produce a net inflow of federal dollars to Mississippi then it doesn’t make any sense to try and stop the federal government from helping Mississippi defray the state’s overall healthcare costs on the grounds that you don’t believe in government involvement in the free market. Channeling government spending into arguably unnecessary military spending or at best spending that is not efficient because of the economic impact to a given state, say Mississippi, is an admission that the government does create jobs and that it is desirable for the government to do so. Even Ronald Reagan acknowledged the military as an employment source and favored including the military in employment figures. And from a fiscal standpoint, pretending that expansion of Medicaid is detrimental to Mississippi’s budget is to bury one’s head in the sand.

The cost of medical care in Mississippi will not decrease because Medicaid is not expanded, the costs will actually rise faster because of the absence of the benefits of expansion. The truth is Mississippians’ insurance premiums will be higher than they would have been under expansion and the medical infrastructure will be more overwhelmed because Mississippi is refusing federal aid, in a move that befits a continuation of the secessionist impulse, an impulse which operates to the creation and maintenance of huge wealth gaps. And the crack, about Mississippians not looking for work because the government is providing healthcare, is a reflection of the neo-feudalist nature of some Mississippi politicians. They would rather have citizens tied to employers because of healthcare than to have them be truly free to start their own businesses, then to see a “thousand flowers bloom.” There is one report which “finds that up to nearly 1 million workers may voluntarily leave their jobs because of the new health care law.”

They, the Crypto-Fascists, would rather the average citizen be constrained in such a way that they, average Mississippians, have to look up to and be beholding to corporate interest in a way that lets corporations place greater and greater controls on citizens. You see this manifested in things like Mississippi politicians’ (Crypto-Fascists’) participation in and defense of organizations like ALEC which brought Mississippi, through Joey Filingane, the photo ID law, which constricts democratic participation. The less-government, less-regulation crowd is actually an anti-democratic cabal which orchestrates the development and maintenance of monopolies. Anti-democratic forces don’t really believe that “[t]he antitrust laws reflect our society’s belief that competition enhances consumer welfare and promotes our economic and political freedoms.” They actually believe in tying people to employers in a slave or share-cropper fashion. With people so tied to an employer, how likely are they to vote in a way with which their employers disagree? This is a very real way in which something as simple as the denial of healthcare access UNDERMINES DEMOCRACY!!! Mississippi where sine qui non for political success is a simple as opposing anything related to Obama, it’s relatively easy, also given Mississippi’s neo-feudal, plantation-heritage (see flag vote)-loving past, to propose things which support plutocracy or oligarchy.

Additionally, on the subject of the rejection of democracy, widely-dispersed opportunity and equality, no one ever seems to even consider how the linkage of healthcare to existing businesses (getting insurance through your employer) may stifle competition by reducing the number of entrepreneurs thereby driving up consumer costs because of lack of competitors or of alternative products related to the inhibition of innovation. It is an intuitive design, this strategy of opposing the Affordable Care Act; forcing labor into existing businesses to obtain healthcare dovetails so nicely with right-to-work-for-less laws. Employers can reduce pay by offering insurance and reduce the number of competitors simultaneously. This is something which may be good for the existing employers but can’t be good for consumers or labor in the long run. The first order of business for CONservatives is to make certain that challenges to the existing economic kingpins are few or non-existent. Anything from unions to healthcare which threatens that imperative must be utterly crushed. When people like Dwayne Blaylock, president and CEO of River Oaks says “communities need protection and patients need access to the health care professionals of their choice,“ you have to wonder if they ever think about what repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act would mean for patient choice and for costs and consider that “[tlo the extent that insurance companies engage in anticompetitive collusion . . . then they appropriately [should] be subject to antitrust liability.]” But something tells me that being the CEO of a hospital means that his imperative, like the big insurers, is also something other than patient protection and universal access to any health care professionals much less the “professionals of their choice.” In this system patient choice is a sales tool which like patient protection is a means to an end. And in Mississippi because of resistance to things like Medicaid expansion, a physician, in many cases, doesn’t have to be concerned with first, doing no harm; sick people without access means that first, they do nothing at all.

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

Tea partiers protest Obamacare | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

So there are no Mississippians who are benefiting from having access to insurance even though they or a family member has a pre-existing condition like Clint Murphy, Former GOP Staffer:

‘When you say you’re against [Obamacare],” Murphy posted on his Facebook page, “you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance?’

So there are no Mississippians who are benefiting from keeping their children, who may be in college, unemployed, in grad school, or working as in intern, on their insurance policy until they’re 26?  Maybe you, like Brent Bozel, chairman of ForAmerica, make enough from pretending to be for average Mississippians while actually representing insurance industry interests to cover any similar medical bills. (A recent survey says that there are an extra million or two people getting coverage thru mommy’s or daddy’s coverage – 63% of young Republicans (19-25) said that they were on their parents insurance and only 45% of Democrats said that.)

So there are no Mississippians who do not want Insurance companies which do not spend more that 80% of their revenues on healthcare to not have to send rebates to the people who have been paying premiums? This summer about 500 million dollars in premiums went out to 8 million people. And I guess the Mississippians who received rebate checks will do Bozel the clown’s bidding and returned them and want that naughty insurance industry to stop returning their money to them? 

Of course there are Mississippians who are Republicans who benefit from one or more of these provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).  But they must stand with Bozel-the-clown because none of these things are consistent with “principles of American exceptionalism: personal freedom, personal responsibility, a commitment to Judeo-Christian values, and a strong national defense.” And you won’t see “Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator, Tea Party Patriots L. Brent Bozell III, Chairman, ForAmerica Roy Nicholson, Mississippi State Tea Party Laura Van Overshelde, Central Mississippi Tea Party Jennifer West, Hattiesburg Tea Party Barry Neyrey, Gulf Coast Tea Party”  seeking to repeal the anti-trust exemption of the insurance industry just as you didn’t see them protesting the expenditure of government funds in the Yokohoma (winner-picking) luring.  You won’t see Mississippians who vote Republican and benefit from ObamaCare opposing these neo-feudalists because they, the rank-and-file Republicans, are, substantially, members, though they don’t realize it, of America’s Hezbollah, on a holy mission to convert the infidels or kill them in the process(don’t fund the government); it’s a real suicide-bomber approach.  The neo-feudalists flash the religious moniker, Judeo-Christian, and from that moment forward the spell is at work, and, to the spell-bound, the neo-feudalists speak no evil.  And they, the neo-feudalist leadership (corporate shills) do this (encourage suicide assaults in the name of all that is holy and supportive of American exceptionalism) all the way to the bank. The rank-and-file will pay the price, while Bozel-the-Clown and his corporate sponsors, the Kochs of the the world, watch safely from their hillside, gated communities. After all the Crypto-Fascists can hire BlackWater to protect them while you wonder how you’re going to pay the police with your jobs outsourced and corporate profits safely offshored, out of reach of the Americans who will be called upon, in a time of crisis to defend the corporate-controlled country and government that made it all possible, with their lives 

 

Tea partiers protest Obamacare | 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”

‘Anti-Bloomberg Bill’ in Mississippi Bars Local Restrictions on Food and Drink – NYTimes.com

‘Anti-Bloomberg Bill’ in Mississippi Bars Local Restrictions on Food and Drink – NYTimes.com.

“This is about personal responsibility,” a Mississippi state Senators lectures from the death-to-the-nanny-state side of the aisle in defense of a recently passed law removing the ability of Mississippi towns to mandate calorie counts on menus or address other public health issues. “When I go out to eat with my three daughters they get waters. I don’t need the government to tell me to do that,” he self-righteously proclaims. But anti-Nanny-state Colonel Reb (the majority of the Mississippi legislature), acting on behalf of business interests like Stonewall’s Barbecue owned by Mississippi state Senator Tony Smith who introduced the bill after being approached by the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association and big entities (i.e. sellers of soft drinks), is patriarchally perfectly content in telling cities they can’t enact laws to benefit public health. Colonel Reb says you don’t need to know how many calories are in the food on the menu. We’re fat in Mississippi and we don’t want any government forcing us to look at calorie counts or allowing local representatives to enact laws that force obese people to make any extra efforts to get our half gallon of coke in one serving. This is Mississippi, by God, and we don’t need no Medicaid expansion either, we don’t want to hear about no economic multipliers to be derived for increased federal dollars. The only multiplying we’re interested in is the number of people showing up in emergency rooms because they couldn’t afford any preventative or diagnostic medicine. Like slavery, this is about a way of life so keep all those northern ideas to yourself, because down here old times are not forgotten.

We could have bought what?

The next time RepubliCons say we can’t afford “entitlements” our answer should be oh, yes we can!

If we can spend four trillion on military miss-adventures (see Iraq war) and essentially be the world’s police force, then certainly we can take care of our unemployed, poor, and elderly and educate our own people, I’m talking GI-bilL type higher-education and vo-tech funding for the general public here. And the next time RepubliCons tell you “we” can’t afford to do these things tell them “we’re” not broke because “we” have too much untaxed offshore money for which corporations are unjustifiably seeking tax amnesty. And we need to change or industrial policies so that they favor home-based production and work. It makes no sense to give any advantage to off-shoring and outsourcing as it is depleting “our” accessible resource base and degrading “our” ability to contribute to the programs we love at home while giving big corporations the ability to evade contributions to those same programs including education and retirement funding. The RepubliCons are religiously committed to their god (the supposedly “free-market” with its invisible hand) and the granting of amnesty to unproductive capital, the production and accumulation of which was made possible by American protections and laws, while denying it to undocumented workers who have made life better and cheaper for Americans here in America. How’s that for patriotism from the RepubliCons, who don’t believe in evolution but love social-Darwinism.

Scrambled Religion for Breakfast?

Just watched Dr. Carson’s speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. Never knew he was a spokesman for FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation with all that talk about Health Savings Accounts(at 21:10 in the video). In his deified “free-enterprise” system (a system that has never existed when you considered how big players routinely combined to bar entry and restrict competition see McCarran–Ferguson Act) how many “85 year-olds” with “six diseases” are going to have anything in a HSA to pay medical bills? When you consider the crack about not having to worry about a “Dealth Panel” because you have an HSA that may be the idea behind the practice basically to make sure that survival of the economic fitness is given a chance to fully flower. Who needs any stinking end of life counseling? Just let the money run, end of conversation. Isn’t that so much more humane?
(Listen to Dr. Carson’s example about the diabetic “choosing” to go the clinic instead of the emergency room because of the amount of money he has in his HSA at about 21:40 in the video)

In this “free-enterprise” system who is the “we” who will put money into the HSA’s (would they be like a Goldman-Sachs account) of the indigent instead of some implied “Medicare-like bureaucracy” as you propose? What is amazing is how American-styled capitalism (it’s not the only type of capitalism that exists) how American-style capitalism has left us a nation where doctors who have Jesus as a role model (see video about 17:58), I don’t recall Jesus charging the paralytic for healing or the lepers filing bankruptcy because they couldn’t pay for their cure, are supporting a health system which is put to shame by the Buddhist in Japan :).

Lee Atwater’s dog whistle may kill Mississippi’s Insects

The silence of a significant portion of Mississippian Republicans illustrates how responsive they are to the smaller-government and free-market dog whistles. They should be howling at the obstruction of Medicaid expansion. Smaller government should be anathema to Mississippians when you consider the state’s median income ($$36,919 vs. $50,054 U.S.), and per capita income ($28,845 vs. $38,611 for the country), when you consider the number of people who supplement their income by joining the national guard, when you consider the state’s farm subsidies, when you consider the boon to ship building the government has been for Mississippi (Ingalls Shipbuilding is the state’s largest private employer). And then there is the irreconcilable differences between the call for free markets and all of the afore-mentioned government intervention. We won’t get into the godsend that the government programs Medicare and Social Security have been to Mississippi and how the “free market” god couldn’t have cared less no matter what it’s disciples claim. You began to understand how the dog whistle works when despite the reference to voters and some of their constituents as bugs (coming out of the woodwork to receive government subsidized healthcare) RepubliCons still get so much support from the poor in Mississippi many of whom count themselves as Republicans. You see Lee Atwater summed it up best: Make sure you’re “talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In light of the fact that not everyone who would get access to healthcare under Medicaid expansion is black, that Atwater dog whistle may prove deadly to some of the people responding to it.

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