Archive for Health Care

Oct
18

Six Degrees of Ebola

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Kevin Bacon
(photo credit David Shankbone, Wikimedia Commons)

Is America playing Six Degrees of Ebola yet? Connect yourself to someone on Amber Vinson’s Frontier Airlines flight in six steps or fewer, then run around freaking out? (Something to play on a cruise, maybe?)

Best wishes for a swift recovery, of course, to the two caregivers infected in Texas. Yet Ebola fever (the psychological kind) has so gripped the country that articles are popping up with titles like, Ebola hysteria is going viral. Don’t fall for these 5 myths. Fox News’ Shepard Smith went off script the other day and urged viewers, “Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and television or read the fear provoking words online.” Michael Hiltzik felt it necessary to write 6 ways to avoid being stupid about Ebola in this week’s L.A. Times. His number five is pithy:

5. Listening to Rush Limbaugh may be hazardous to your health. As a one-stop shop of Ebola misinformation, you can’t beat the guy. Limbaugh’s only purpose is to stir up fear, alarm and mistrust of government among his listeners. Inform them, not so much.

But informing listeners was never the point. Fear, mistrust, alarm, and misinformation is right-wing talk’s business model. It’s what listeners tune in for. It’s just not church in some circles — you haven’t been touched by the spirit — unless the preacher works up the congregation with a mind-numbing, shouted cant into a hair-standing-on-end, ecstatic state followed by emotional catharsis.

Perhaps right-wing talk works the same way. A kind of addictive drug, maybe it has begun to lose its zing (along with Limbaugh’s ratings). Perhaps over the years, the ginned-up, faux outrage peddled every day by Rush and his kin has lost its punch. Perhaps the fear-addicted (and fear peddlers) hungering for stronger stuff to give them that old rush again just found it in an ISIS and Ebola cocktail?

That and, as Digby pointed out yesterday, it’s crazy season.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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Oct
16

Cut This

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The Throw Granny Off the Cliff People are back:

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Jul
14

Obamacare Refuses To Fail

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Paul Krugman observes the ever-changing predictions of the Affordable Care Act’s imminent demise.

First nobody but the sick would sign up, so we’d have a death spiral. Then it was “OK, a lot of people have signed up, but they won’t pay — and anyway, even more people have lost coverage.”

As uninsured rates take a nosedive, naysayers are going to have to line up some more reasons the act is failing, Krugman suggests.

And no, it’s not just an improving economy. An improving economy doesn’t explain the differences in state that implemented the exchanges and those that didn’t.

What he doesn’t mention is that signups are only one, slim metric of success. Gallup reports that few report that the law has helped them so far and the the law remains fairly unpopular (both polls late May) even as Americans are generally satisfied with the health system in the country.

Go figure.

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Mar
24

Moral Mondays Spread

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Common Dreams: Thirty-nine protesters were arrested at the capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday during a raucous protest against the GOP-led effort to prohibit Medicaid expansion in the state. In South Carolina, 17 demonstrators were also arrested at the Columbia state house in the third weekly demonstration against lawmakers’ refusal to accept federal health care funding.

“The movements are rare stirrings of impassioned, liberal political action,” writes Herbert Buchsbaum at the New York Times, “in a region where conservative control of government is as solid as cold grits and Democrats are struggling for survival more than influence.”

The actions are spreading to Florida, Alabama, Wisconsin and New York.

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Mar
01

“You Guys Can’t Afford Zero Dollars?”

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The Daily Show takes on states that rejected Medicaid expansion.

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook

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Dec
04

Your Republican Governor

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Richard (RJ) Eskow was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto recently. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is positioning himself to run for president as a moderate Republican and since Fox Republicans can’t have that, Cavuto invited Eskow on to bash Christie for him.

Christie criticized the president’s health care bill, Cavuto began, yet he is accepting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in his state. Cavuto asked the former insurance company executive, Doesn’t that make him look hypocritical? How Eskow responded was priceless.

Well, I guess the answer would be, I may think that my car insurance premiums are too high, but if I have an accident, I’m going to file a claim and take their money.

This caught Cavuto gaping. He interrupted Eskow and said, “You know, that’s a very good point. That’s putting me down brilliantly.” But Eskow raises a broader point.

You may be among the millions of paycheck workers who have paid into Medicaid your entire life without ever claiming benefits because you never qualified. Until Obamacare. Unlike New Jersey, because Republican governors don’t like the guy occupying the White House, most of their states have rejected the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, making the insurance on their exchanges more expensive for you, and leaving millions of people the law was designed to insure without access to health care. Because your Republican governor is just fine with you paying into Medicaid, so long as you never file a claim and get any of your own money back to pay your doctor bills. Your Republican governor believes this is for your own good.

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Nov
28

It’s Thanksgiving But Don’t Feed The Trolls

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It’s been Web 2.0 for a while now but it didn’t take social media to invent the Internet’s oldest frenemy: the troll. What makes a troll a troll? I’ll attempt to provide a commonly used definition of internet troll. But behavior of this type varies so much from context to context that it is important to remember what a wise soul once said about what makes pornography.

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

Here is a troll “definition” or description I like. There are others.

Named for the wicked troll creatures of children’s tales, trolling is purposely sowing hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, or just simple bickering between others. Trolls themselves are emotionally-immature users who thrive in any environment where they are allowed to make public comments, like blog sites, news sites, discussion forums, and game chat.

That last part is key: any environment where they are allowed to make public comments. Like maybe a nationally broadcast radio show? Obviously Rush Limbaugh comes to mind when thinking about radio trolls. We can’t forget the infamous attacks on Sandra Fluke. Fortunately, Rush has had a huge drop in advertising revenue since then. But with his complete record it’s a wonder anyone would associate their brand with this troll.

But just think. The Supreme Court of the United States is going to hear a case about contraception coverage in Obamacare. This was at the heart of Sandra Fluke’s testimony for which she was treated so poorly by Rush. Hope the Supremes don’t go a-trollin’. If they do, we’ll know it when we see it.

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Wisconsin and Minnesota provide a nice side-by-side comparison of Republican and Democratic economic policies in action. They’re next door to each other and share similar demographics.

Three years into [GOP Gov. Scott] Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom half.

Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business. Republicans deserve some of the credit, particularly for their commitment to education reform. They also argue that Minnesota’s new growth stems from the low taxes and reduced spending under Mr. Dayton’s Republican predecessor, [GOP Gov. Tim] Pawlenty. But Minnesota’s job growth was subpar during Mr. Pawlenty’s eight-year tenure and recovered only under [Democratic Gov. Mark] Dayton.

It is a little early to assess NC Gov. Pat McCrory. In spite of McCrory’s and the NCGOP’s refrain that the state is “broken” owing to one hundred years of Democratic dominance, North Caroilna consistently ranks as one of the top ten best states to do business. But it has lost ground since last year on one survery, falling from first place to second behind Georgia. This, of course, leaves McCrory with not much of anywhere to go except down.

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Congressional opponents of Obamacare are taking their medicine show on the road this week — tomorrow. Titled “Obamacare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums for Health Care Coverage,” hearings are scheduled to begin in the congressional district that covers most of Asheville.

Charlotte Observer — U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a critic of the Obama administration, will bring the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to the Gaston County Courthouse, 325 North Marietta St., for the hearing starting at 10 a.m.

Likely: We’ll hear from small businessmen with a handful of employees how the Affordable Care Act is killing their businesses (even as it exempts businesses with fewer than 50 employees).

Less likely: Darrel Issa asks Americans how many want to go back to the good old days of lifetime caps, preexisting condition denials, non-portable coverage, being dumped by your insurer when you get sick, and rampant medical bankruptcy.

Hot ticket. People from Asheville will be going to support not replacing health care coverage for families who lack it with nothing.

Nov
16

ACA Hearing in Gastonia

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Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is headed to Gastonia, NC to create some ObamaCare sturm and drang for the 24-hour news people to report on. From the Charlotte Observer:

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a field hearing on the Affordable Healthcare Act next Friday in Gastonia.

The hearing, “ObamaCare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums for Healthcare Coverage” will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 22 at Gaston County Courthouse, 325 N. Marietta St., Gastonia, according to the committee’s website.

NC-11 Congressman Mark Meadows is also on Issa’s House Oversight Committee.

WCNC-Charlotte:

“Nobody in the country believes that Republicans want to fix the Web site. For the past three years, the number one priority of the Congressional Repbulicans has been to bring down the law,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D- Maryland) said.

Road trip, anyone?

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