Archive for Medicare


I’d buy that for a dollar

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Department of Health and Human Services headquarters by the National Mall. Photo by Matthew G. Bisanz via Wikimedia Commons.

Moving left again:

[A]s she tries to clinch the nomination, Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care and this week took a significant step in her opponent’s direction, suggesting she would like to give people the option to buy into Medicare.

“I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia.

Mr. Sanders calls his single-payer health care plan “Medicare for all.” What Mrs. Clinton proposed was a sort of Medicare for more.

Clinton was replying to a woman who as a small-business owner is contending with the cost of health insurance. The Wall Street Journal:

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With the North Carolina state legislature in recess, Moral Mondays – the Forward Together Movement – began a march across the state, starting in Asheville on August 5 with the largest protest yet. The crowd “well exceeded” the 5,000 the Asheville police department had prepared for, with early police estimates to 10,000.

“You can’t do wrong in Raleigh and then hide back home,” said NC NAACP president the Rev. William Barber. Firing up the crowd as he has in Raleigh, Barber condemned the actions of the state legislature as “constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible and economically insane.” Barber and other speakers called out local and state legislators by name, some of whom were in the crowd.

“From the mountains to the coast, we’re sick of this mess,” Barber declared. “This is no momentary hyperventilation or liberal screaming match; this is a movement. We have a governor that has decided to be on the wrong side of history. We have a legislature that is bragging and boasting about its power and is legislating on the basis of lies and discrimination. Though they have temporary power, the future does not belong to them.”

Barber and other speakers addressed education, labor, LGBT rights and a bill seizing the local water system. Asheville local, Heather Rayburn, spoke surrounded with a group of other civil disobedience protestors arrested in Raleigh. Keeping with the moral theme, Rayburn reminded the crowd, “This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too.”

(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)


LIVE at noon: 2 Million Americans Say No to Cuts to Social Security, Medicare

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Organizations Representing Tens of Millions of Americans to Deliver Over 2 Million Petition Signatures Directly to the White House Rejecting Cuts to Social Security Benefits

Will Be Joined By U.S. Senator Who Vows to Block Benefit Cuts


Coalition Includes AFL-CIO,, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO, National Organization for Women, Social Security Works, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Democracy For America, Campaign for America’s Future, The Other 98%, Progressives United, Blue America, Rebuild the Dream, Center for Community Change, Health Care for America Now and Others


(Washington, DC)  Senator Bernie Sanders and Reps. Mark Takano and Rick Nolan will join organizations representing tens of millions of Americans to deliver more than two million petition signatures opposing cuts to Social Security benefits to the White House on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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Barricades, anyone?

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It’s time to go to the phones. Again.

Obama budget would cut entitlements in exchange for tax increases

Dave Johnson laid it out in an email:

The Obama budget is going to offer “Grand Bargain” cuts in Social Security and Medicare, hoping to get Republicans to offer tax increases. We are heading into a retirement crisis. The 401K experiment didn’t work. Companies have pulled back on pensions. And the squeeze that has been on regular people for decades means that people also do not have the savings they need to get them through old age. And all the money went to the top. The last thing the country needs is cuts in essential services for the elderly.

Susie Madrak has the skinny:

It’s official, folks. The Grand Bargain is here.

Time to take action. If we don’t unleash holy hell, this will go through.

Even though we’ve been warning you for a long time, it’s still hard to believe that a Democratic president is offering up the crown jewels of Democratic policy — and for a mere pittance. We need to fight back. You can call or write your congressperson or the White House if you want, but it’s most useful to start with your senators. Tell them you’re not willing to starve Granny to make the Republicans happy.

We’re going to concentrate on the Senate, because they’ll probably send a bipartisan bill to the House in order to bypass Boehner’s Hastert rule. Even if you called last week, call today. Be prepared to call every day for the next week. (Here’s the link.) Please leave a note in comments telling us how your call went

Joan Walsh writing at Salon, New poll: Seniors of both parties revile chained CPI:

AARP reveals that 70 percent of voters age 50-plus oppose the use of the chained CPI to cut benefits, and two-thirds of them – including 60 percent of Republicans — say they would be “considerably less likely” to support a congressional candidate if he or she backed a new way of calculating consumer prices. And 84 percent of voters over 50 say Social Security has no place in budget-deficit discussions, since it is self-financed.

Make those phones ring. Focus. Be. The. Phone.

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He’s ba-ack

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“Look, the other side is constantly trying to pound Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid into oblivion. If you speak to them … many of the Republicans in the House will tell you that they regard these programs as unconstitutional. They think the government should be doing nothing but defending the country, and anything beyond that is just — in their view — unconstitutional and deeply wrong.” — Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL).


I’ve met Grayson a couple of times. The thing that strikes you most (besides an ego as big as he is) is that he absolutely doesn’t care what his others think of him, especially his enemies. This makes him both bold and bulletproof.

Take Action News with David Shuster:

Remember the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) panel charged with holding down Medicare costs, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)? House Republicans, the ones with their hair on fire about deficits and runaway Medicare costs — “Not only are they unwilling to propose actual, concrete cost-cutting measures for Medicare,” says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, but they are determined to keep the IPAB from holding down those runaway costs. Via The Hill:

House Republicans signaled Thursday they will not follow rules in President Obama’s healthcare law that were designed to speed Medicare cuts through Congress.

The House is set to vote Thursday afternoon on rules for the 113th Congress. The rules package says the House won’t comply with fast-track procedures for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a controversial cost-cutting board Republicans have long resisted.

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Who Do We Fight For?

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Mike Lux has a very personal post at dKos in response to rumors about some kind of deal between the Obama White House and Speaker of the House John Boehner. He recalls meeting an elderly Iowa woman who worried how she would get through the winter on her Social Security. No matter how frugal she was, her cost of living increase wasn’t keeping up with her expenses. She later died of hypothermia when the power company cut off her heat. Lux faces a crossroads.

I have been having some interesting conversations with Democrats over the last 24 hours about what being a loyal Democrat means with the President seeming likely to go forward with this deal. The point has been made that the Republicans are far worse than Obama on these issues, as all they want to do is to gut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs for the poor, and that is definitely true. The fact that the President is, according to the Washington Post, proposing to exclude SSI disability payments and provide a bump-up in benefits for those 85 and older is a good thing and much appreciated. People have said to me that the President’s heart is in the right place, and that he is working hard to get the best deal he thinks he can get, which may well be true- I gave up judging politicians’ motives long ago. And I have been told I should be a loyal Democrat, that the President is our party’s leader, and we should be unified in supporting him.

But here’s the deal: I didn’t get into politics to help the Democratic party. I came to the Democratic party because they more often wanted to help the people I cared about helping- the poor, the disabled, the middle class folks fighting for a decent life for them and their families. When forced to choose, as it looks like I will in this case, I will choose the people I got into this work to fight for.

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Earned Benefits Not the Problem?

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Whaddya mean? Pete Peterson would spend all that money to snooker us? Well, yes. Once again, Bruce Bartlett:

On Dec. 3, the Government Accountability Office released new estimates of the federal government’s long-term budget outlook. They show that our real long-term problem is quite different from the one constantly portrayed by congressional Republicans.

That is to say, government spending is not out of control. Nine out of ten Americans don’t want their Social Security or Medicare cut at all. There is no crisis except for the one fabricated by people interested in concentrating more wealth in their own hands. Republicans and Democrats alike.

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Paul Ryan vs. the AARP

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Yeah, that went well.


Before the Amendment One vote, someone said she felt the amendment would easily go down to defeat. Why? Because everywhere she looked around Asheville she saw VOTE AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE signs. I thought, she needs to get out more.

I wish more of our Asheville liberals would spend time at the Mountain State Fair. Outside this blue bubble it is easier to see what the rest of North Carolina is like.

Buncombe County Democrats have a booth at the fair every year. Usually, within sight distance of the Republican booth. When we were away from the booth this year, little gifts appeared. Miss-cut yellow scraps of paper with a list of “Conservative Judges for North Carolina.” A hand-written note that read, “I pulled the Obama sticker off your bumper because you wouldn’t want to look stupid.”

Most fair-goers who drop by are just looking for bumper stickers or buttons. Others want to blow off steam. But like greeting people at the polls, people who stop to share personal stories make the time spent there worthwhile.

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