Helping the Working Poor — A Practical Defense of PPACA

The Health Care Bill, more often than not, raises the ire of both conservatives and progressives. They’ve teamed up to spread as much misinformation about the bill as possible. Why? I am not sure, because this bill goes a long way to get more people access to health care.

I think it all began with a guy named Howard Dean and some comments he made In December of 2009.  Dean was very angry that the public option was eliminated from the Senate bill. The target of Dean’s rant was Joe Lieberman, ( I)CT, he was pretty pissed at Lieberman and he seemed to feel no bill would be better than this bill now. He was angry at the process. And his anger is not unfounded. This Senate has become a branch of our government that is immovable, ideologically entrenched, almost completely unable to pass any worthwhile legislation. Dr. Dean was pretty pissed about that, as we all should be. However, instead of directing his anger at the improbable 60 vote requirement to pass any legislation of substance, he decided it would be time to just let Republicans win by killing the bill. That didn’t happen of course, but that was an extreme reaction, one Republicans were relying upon, this is where they were able to begin to sow the seeds of discontent among voters, they have filled the air with misinformation, with the help of people who are otherwise quite progressive. All that discontent, and the Executive Branches unbelievable inability to fight back against the propaganda has left people with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to their thoughts about PPACA.

A number of people jumped on Dr. Dean’s bandwagon, Keith Olbermann went on the air to loudly proclaim why the Senate Bill should not be passed. Two days after Dean’s rant against the bill, a number of left leaning organizations and people banded together to help kill the bill:

Dave Linderhoff of The Public Record
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake
Markos Moulitsas; Daily Kos Founder
Darcy Bruner; a past candidate for Congress

Lying about ACA has become something of a cottage industry. But don’t believe the hype, the reforms already implemented have brought down insurance costs, added more people to insurance rolls, new benefits for senior citizens, implemented necessary regulations regarding pre-existing conditions and an 80% requirement that premiums be spend on the consumers health care costs, with 20 mandated for administrative costs.

People who will benefit most from the bill:

  1. Those without any insurance.
  2. Those who have paid for expensive individual policies on their own.
  3. Employees of small businesses that have trouble affording the cost of joining a group plan.
  4. Low income Medicare participants who are left paying for whatever is not covered by Medicare for their medical bills and prescriptions.

Who is without access to health insurance? Some of those people are the working poor. It has been a long struggle to get federal legislation dealing with this problem, the estimates are there are some 45 million people without access to basic heath care.  In the past, some states attempted to solve this problem on their own by setting up their own state run “group” for people who didn’t qualify for Medicaid. When the boom of the 1990’s ran its course, those programs began to be cut severely because of the expense of running the programs and because states don’t have as much revenue since the economic downturn and they are having to make tough choices.  Many states of course never attempted such things. Washington State has such a program, but its funding has been cut in the past few years so although people may qualify by their income, there are no slots open to take them as customers, in fact the plan has had to disenroll people because of a lack of funding, in total 17,000 members were disenrolled.

However the results of PPACA have been positive.

  • More young adults have coverage
  • Requires beginning this year, insurers must spend 80% – 85% of premiums in actually delivering care
  • Premiums decreasing even for state employees.
  • Our health insurance plans now have to justify their premium rate increases to the State and pass an approval process before they can raise prices.
  • Because of the ACA, young adults can now stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
  • New York has something called “community rating,” which means that health insurers can’t charge you higher rates simply because of your age, gender, or health history.
  • Because of the ACA, we no longer have to pay co-pays for many preventative care services.
  • Because of the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions now have choices for coverage, one example the NY Bridge Plan.
  • Because of the ACA, seniors who hit the Medicare “donut hole” are now getting help with their prescription drug costs.
  • States like New York have a law in place called “guaranteed issue,” which means that insurers have to offer health insurance to everyone, even if they have a pre-existing condition (even though they have waiting periods for coverage related to that condition.  But thanks to the ACA – those waiting periods will soon be a thing of the past!). 
  • More changes to Pre-existing condition plans by states, here is a preview, premiums have decreased.
  • Premium and Cost sharing subsidies to individuals: the mechanism provides refundable and advanceable premium credits to eligible individuals and families who fall between 133% and 400% of FPL (Federal Poverty Level) to purchase insurance through state created health exchanges.
  • Provide Costsharing subsidies to eligible individuals and families. Cost-sharing credits reduce the cost sharing amounts and annual cost-sharing limits and have the effect of increasing the actuarial value of basic benefit plan to the following percentages of the full value of the plan:
    • 100 – 150% FPL  94%
    • 150 – 200% FPL  87%
    • 200 – 250% FPL  73%
    • 250 – 400% FPL  70%

Health Exchanges: a few examples

  • Vermont : passed legislation to build a single payer plan for the state of Vermont and in October  of this year, (2011) that plan got one step closer to implementation.

These new federal policies are working. I think this is good. There seems to be a small, but loud coalition of people on both sides of the ideological aisle who would have you believe PPACA is a complete failure, but the evidence says otherwise. Let’s stop letting them get away with their propaganda war against delivering health care to those who would not otherwise have access. Let’s fight back with the facts at hand, because the facts indicate the legislation is working.

Crossposted at TheAngriestLiberal

You’re next, Rachel Maddow!

Rachel Maddow

It’s clear enough that COMCAST pulled the trigger on Keith.

If you want to believe otherwise, Start with the fact that MSNBC is on record saying they informed Comcast that Keith would be leaving.

So Comcast gets this message and says,
“Gee, Olberrmann’s your top earner!  Whaddya know!  And we’re buying your company in a few days!  But anyway, we have this high principle that we don’t weigh in on these things. It’s not in our contract with you that we can’t weigh in, so we’re not barred or anything.  And if we stand idly buy while you do this, we are going to lose a lot of money, with the top earner gone.  And this termination is why? A fit of pique, did you say?  How much money do we make off of the touchy guy who can’t manage Olbermann’s ego?

No matter.  We just feel very strongly that you need independence during the last days before we take over.  Independence  to make personality-based decisions that will hurt us for many years.  So we’ll stand mute, while we just take that big, big hit.  Thanks!”

Seem believable?  That’s what you’d need to swallow.
TMZ had the story within hours — COMCAST did it.  No surprise.  And now we’ve got an actual  confession, thanks to Politico’s good memory:
“When Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts was asked last May what he would do if Olbermann began attacking any Republican member of Congress after the takeover, he replied, according to the New York Post, ‘Let’s have that conversation in 12 months, when we’re playing with live ammo.’”

It sounds more like a Charles Bronson revenge massacre movie than the L’il Bo Beep double-talk they were selling on Friday.  Except this is real.  They’re all Republicans over at Comcast, as you can tell from the breathtaking quote.
Rachael, they made their move on Keith just 3 days after they bullied their merger past the feckless regulators.  As Roberts made clear above, it’s about politics, and “live ammo” awaits you if you “attack” a Republican.
You are a marked woman.    The others as well.  So sorry to say it.  Thank you so much for everything!!! — O.T.

Right and Wrong (Post-election edition)

When Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly were helping to define what news reported on television would mean determined that

the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly

requiring that the entire half hour of their See It Now broadcast of March 9, 1954 be devoted to an examination of what that Senator, Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, was doing, CBS declined to advertise it. As Friendly told it later he and Murrow ponied up the money, $1500 (or about $12,000 in today’s money) for a small box to appear in the New York Times, near the television listings advertising the program.

Even when accolades for the broadcast began pouring in, CBS did not identify itself with the work of its correspondents and producer lest those who sided with Senator McCarthy (Fulton Lewis and others of the FOX News of its day, jumped right in to call Murrow a communist and the like. Today they like to point to Murrow and See It Now as examples of their commitment to good journalism.

That’s progress, in a way.

Continue reading “Right and Wrong (Post-election edition)”

More Crazy, Olberman Suspended

So now we’ve come to the point where we need the permission of our corporate employer to make a political donation.

Read about it HERE!

Now maybe there is something gone wrong with my thinking apparatus but this doesn’t stack up so well with what I thought our constitution says. I don’t see where such a requirement is permissible as a condition of employment. An employer may have certain rights which can be stated as conditions of employment but those conditions can never supercede or take precedence over our constitutionally protected rights. Were that the case we’d have corporations being in a position of having more power than government. In all fairness we may have that in practical terms, but not in any strict legal sense. Our employers have no right to sanction in any way our political choices. I guess this isn’t any big surprise though. Knowing that GE is the parent company and knowing how deceptively GE has portrayed itself over the years, this fits like a glove.

This kind of thing has a lot to do with why I don’t have a nice fat pension. All my life when I encountered this crap I left. Financially it isn’t so smart and limited me to how many years I was able to remain with one company. The longest was twelve years before the company did something I couldn’t close my eyes to. We always have a choice.

You have to wonder in what way this is connected to the election and the political rightward drift. I don’t see this as just a coincidence. I suspect this has everything to do with money and powerful financial interests pulling strings behind the scenes. It mirrors everything else that has been playing out over the last several weeks and very scarily indicates the frightening grip upon ideas that is being shoved down the throats of the mostly unaware populace. I’ve noticed also that Internet neutrality legislation is sure to suffer a similar demise which also is sure to close off the avenue of ideas. I’m curious to see how this’ll end up. I sort of hope Keith will stand up for us all. Even if it means he’s gone. Obama tried to find the middle ground with the other side and got nowhere for his trouble. This is very bad.