Liberal, Irreverent

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Will the private market approach to health coverage crisis work?

Republicans and conservatives have touted the greatness of market approaches to solve all the nation's problems, health insurance included. In the discussion and the analysis apparently it was lost that the failing health insurance system we were trying fix, the was precisely a system based on free market and private insurance companies. So by that standard alone it should have been proof enough that the market approach was a failure. But let's table that for the moment.

Back to free markets and along those lines, Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, promoted years ago a free market approach to the health coverage crisis that included an individual mandate to carry health insurance, an expansion of Medicaid so the poor could comply with the mandate, a marketplace or exchange fueled by private insurers for those who do not qualify for Medicaid and financial subsidies to purchase plans in the exchange. Sounds familiar? Republican Mitt Romney used that approach in his famous healthcare reform when governor Massachusetts aka, Romneycare. No surprises here as we have a Republican governor establishing a program based on the proposal from a conservative think tank.

Until now this is pretty public knowledge, at least to those who pay enough attention. Enter now Obama and the Democrats. After elected president, Obama using his characteristic effort to be pragmatic and reaching across, decided to implement a national health insurance reform plan based on the Heritage Foundation idea and Romneycare. And all hell breaks lose. The new plan dubbed Obamacare is now socialism, a government takeover, an infringement on individual's rights, a liberal conspiracy, etc, etc. I think we all remember the spectacle.

Now Obamacare is law, ratified by the Supreme Court and being implemented across the nation. Yes, republicans continue their obstruction and sabotage, Koch brothers have spent millions in pizza and beer parties to convince young people not to enroll in the plan (however Koch bros. have not said if they will pay for the medical bills of those young people if it happens they get ill or in an accident), many republican states refuse to cooperate, conservative keep groups filing lawsuits, and the right wing loonies in the streets are predicting the end of the world, etc, etc.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

When the floor falls

The safety net (food stamps, social security and the social health care network comprised of Medicaid, Medicare and now Obamacare) makes a difference in the daily lives millions of people. It is the difference between living in misery or living with some dignity. The difference between eating that night or going to bed hungry. The difference between getting treatment when sick or injured or dying. No one in their sane mind could argue against the need of having food, medical attention and some income for daily living, unless of course, if you are a republican.

The safety net means peace of mind and freedom. You know that if your luck turns south and you end up in the ranks of poverty, you will have help for food and medical treatment, until you can get back on your feet. You pay to Medicare and Social Security during all your working years and you know that you will have a pension and healthcare when you retire. No one can argue against this, unless of course, if you are a republican.

Imagine America back in the old days, when the current safety net was not available. Back when your own personal savings were your only hope of income and healthcare during retirement. You surely would be more afraid of leaving that dead end job, and even more afraid of being laid off. You may think twice before taking that business venture. Saving for a pension and healthcare would become two new bills to pay every month, consuming a good chunk of your budget. Those who could not manage to save, or did not save enough, or did not invest wisely would end up in misery shortly after retirement. Abuses toward workers would grow, especially toward older workers. Workers bargaining position (regardless of union status) would weaken, driving salaries and benefits down.

Without the safety net the labor makeup of America would be very similar to a third world country.  The gap between the rich and poor would grow even wider and the middle class would disappear completely. Working America would resemble one big pool of modern day slave labor. Destroying the safety net benefits the top 1% and that is why republicans are pushing for it. After all, republicans are just the political agents of the wealthy and their corporations.

While Washington discusses how to balance budgets at the expense of the poor and middle class, very little has been said about corporate welfare, tax loopholes and the bloated defense budget. Funny (and contradictory) is that republicans believe that jobs and economic prosperity come from the top down, but balanced budgets come from the bottom up.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Repubs, Dems, Businesses and the American People Need Obamacare to Work

Americans are ready for health insurance. Americans want health insurance. Americans know the necessity for health insurance. By instinct alone we understand the connections. We all need medical treatment or die; but getting medical treatment is not free; health insurance pays for medical treatment; Obamacare is the law that provides the health insurance that pays for that medical treatment that you need to live longer and healthier. So, at a minimum, just as a matter of pure survival, each American understands the need for Obamacare to work. That is why the popularity of the law is actually increasing the more the right wing crazies try to mess with it.

Businesses need Obamacare to work. Obamacare gives businesses the freedom and flexibility to be more competitive. Many jobs are being created due to Obamacare and many more will be created. The health insurance industry has invested millions of dollars in product development, so they want that investment back. Obamacare means 30 million new customers for the health insurance industry and no business person in their sane mind, would say no, and sabotage that opportunity, especially when many of those customers are coming with a subsidy check in hand. Republicans always say that the private sector is the solution to any problem. But if the private sector can't make work a marketplace completely comprised of private insurers (remember there is no Public Option available), then they will have finally proved that the private sector is not the solution for our current health insurance crisis. The only option would be a socialized health insurance system. Something maybe like Medicare-For-All. So again, either Obamacare works or it spells the end of the private health insurance industry as we know it. Chew on that.

Democrats need Obamacare to work for obvious reasons. It is the last leg of the safety net tripod: (food for the poor (Food  Stamps), minimum retirement income (Social Security), health coverage for all (Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare). Let's remember that Liberals and Democrats are the only ones who really care about the welfare of the totality of the population (from poor to middle class to rich). Conservatives and Republicans don't believe it is worth it to provide protection, help and support to the poor and middle class, only the rich. So yes, it is a victory for Democrats and Liberals, but very part of our mission and philosophy of social justice.

Finally, believe it or not Republicans need Obamacare to work. Obviously Republicans don't want to provide a victory to Democrats, but that's beyond the point. Democrats already won the Obamacare war. What remains are those last skirmishes of any war. Those pockets of resistance that always take longer to accept their fate and surrender. Republicans don't care about the welfare of the poor and middle class, so just saying they should support Obamacare for the good of the country, is a plain waste of time. So, let's put it in terms they can understand. Either Republicans help Obamacare work or lose further. Why? People want health insurance. So, either they get health insurance or lose. Businesses (true GOP bosses) need Obamacare to work. So, either help the Obamacare marketplace work or else. A piece of advice to Republicans. We are keeping scores and documenting every act of sabotage against Obamacare and we are taking that into the upcoming elections. By 2014 and 2016 the infamous website will be working smoothly. Do you really want to keep up this treasonous sabotage and keep giving ammunition that will be thrown back in your faces in 2014 and 2016 elections? Do you really want to see commercials of people with cancer and other illnesses, or small children getting medical attention thanks to Obamacare, while we remind people that Republicans for political purposes, tried to sabotage that healthcare they are receiving ...? uhm...If you do, then be my guests. We will be happy to run on a platform of Obamacare, while you run on an anti-Obamacare platform.

See, we ALL need Obamacare to work each for different reasons. If trying to destroy Medicare and Social Security has proved to be a loser strategy, trying to destroy Obamacare is now also a loser strategy. Don't believe it? Just look then at the current state of the GOP and Tea Party.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Make No Mistake, Obamacare Will Prevail

After the GOP Shutdown the news of the day is that the famous website www.healthcare.gov is not working well. Republicans are trying to make it look as if Obamacare is not working. Don't get confused. Obamacare is the law that eliminates pre-existent conditions, makes preventive coverage free, forces large employers to offer quality, affordable health coverage, gives subsidies to poor, and provides a health insurance safety net for all the population, in the form of a market place powered by private insurance companies. That is Obamacare. The user interface is the the website www.healthcare.gov that has failed miserably, when millions of people tried to access it simultaneously. The failing was  due to poor planning and implementation. That portion will be fixed. It may take weeks or months, but it will be fixed. The health insurance coverage crisis in this nation has lasted for decades. Waiting a few more weeks or months to fixed glitches seems reasonable. What we have however are Republicans sabotaging Obamacare at every step. From Republican lawsuits, to campaigns promoting young people not to enroll, to governors refusing to establish state exchanges (overloading the federal government). However despite all this, Obamacare will prevail. GOP  may be having their day lambasting Obama, Democrats and the government for trying hard to provide quality, affordable health coverage to the nation, but just think what will they do when eventually the website is fixed and the system start running smoothly. The history will remember Democrats and Obama like the heroes in social justice they are while Republicans will go down in history (along with their puppet master Koch brothers) as the ones telling young people not to obtain quality affordable health coverage, just for political reasons, with complete disregard of the welfare of those same young people. Sad and disgusting, but the reality of how low Republicans have sunk.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It is Obamacare's time!

It is Obamacare's time! Availability of affordable, quality Health insurance coverage has been a crisis in this country for decades. But not anymore. Democrats and President Obama pushed the law and passed it against the sabotage of Republicans. The latest sabotage is the take no prisoners, no mercy, scorch the earth approach of the Tea Party lunatics. Republicans failed when Obamacare was in its creation and failed when using the nation's economy as hostage to destroy health coverage access for all. Mark my words, GOP WILL FAIL in destroying Obamacare. Health Care Reform is here to stay. Obamacare is already helping people and helping businesses. Even Republicans out there without health insurance know they need Obamacare. There is no turning back. Not only because millions of liberals are fighting to defend it, but because the lives of millions of people depend on Obamacare. Defending Obamacare and making sure its success is the right thing to do. And what about those glitches n the user interface, the website healthcare.gov? They will be fixed and  I guess Republicans will have no choice but to find something else to complain about. (maybe the background, the colors or how big the click button is)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Not business as usual

Many in the media saying, OK, shutdown is over, now back to business as usual. Well, not back to business as usual. Republicans are in the middle of a civil war looking for a scapegoat for the shutdown disaster. Early indications point to Mitch McConnell as they are too afraid of the Tea Party to target the real culprit, Ted Cruz. On the Democratic side, we all hope Obama finally realized that there is no common sense negotiation with Republicans as long as they are the puppets of the Tea Party. Democrats are also in the process of capitalizing on this victory to increase their size of the Senate and take back the House. It is not business as usual, but a new beginning.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Will the history repeat?

It is said that history repeats itself, that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, etc. The GOP and its Tea Party (Teapublicans) shut down the government to force changes in Obamacare and failed. Failed miserably. They failed because people realized the foolishness of trying to kill a law that will benefit people when fully implemented. People are not dumb. We all have the tendency to complain when things are not working smoothly, but we all understand the difference between something bad in its roots and something good that is having problems getting established. People know Obamacare is good and it is having problems in its implementation. People also know that GOP is trying to sabotage the implementation Obamacare at every step for political reasons. Now do the math and you will understand why 3/4 of the nation turned against the GOP and Teapublicans.

Talking about lessons, GOP was not the only one to ignore history and get slammed. Obama made the same mistake once. It all goes back to the famous shutdown by Newt Gingrich under the Clinton presidency. GOP tried the shutdown fiasco, Clinton stood his ground and the GOP lost. The GOP tried the fiasco again in 2011 and won because Obama did not learn from Clinton's example and rolled over. The GOP tried the fiasco again in 2013 expecting to extort concessions like in 2011, but Obama decided to fight, and won big. Lesson is GOP government shutdown is just a fiasco, a ruse they use to extort when they cannot win elections.

Shutting down the whole federal government and risking the whole economy just to undermine Obamacare was extreme, unnecessary and irresponsible. Now, the Reid deal will open the government until 1/15/2014. The question is if GOP will try the same fiasco again or if they learned the lesson. A related questions is if GOP goes through another shutdown, if Obama has learned the lesson. Only time will tell.