Category Archives: Health Care

A Happy ObamaCares Story

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TPM posted a a great ACA story from one of its readers.

I’ve an Obamacare story – a happy one! – I thought I’d share with you, because I suspect I’m representative of a demographic that’s not getting a lot of ink.

I’ve bought health insurance on the individual market for a decade. Since 2007, when my youngest was born, I’ve had the same BC&BS policy to cover the whole family (me, wife, two kids, no major health issues). It’s roughly equivalent to a silver plan, albeit a fairly tarnished silver—no maternity, for instance—and it’s more than doubled in the past six years, from $684 a month in ’07 to $1,457 now. Our plan is grandfathered, so we could keep it, a fact BC&BS reminded us of in a cheery mailer. If we did nothing, we’d be rolled over on January 1 with a new premium of $1,549 a month for our same silvery plan.

Or we could go through the exchange (which, in fairness, BC&BS did mention in that same mailer). Because I live in the North Carolina—currently run by dicks—that meant using healthcare.gov. Yes, it was frustrating for a couple of months; and, yes, the system is still glitchy (I had to reapply a bunch of times because it kept telling me my 8-year-old wasn’t eligible). But I got through the entire process yesterday, and enrolled us in a BC&BS platinum plan that includes dental for the kids and caps my out-of-pocket at $3,000 a year. Without a subsidy, that plan goes for $1,280 a month—almost $300 cheaper than my current, crappier insurance with the same goddamned company. With the subsidy, it drops to $770.Once I factor in the lower co-pays, the dental, and the far cheaper premiums, I’m going to save at least $12,000 this year. No, that’s not quite right: I’m probably going to spend most of it, maybe replace our 12-year-old bed or my 13-year-old car or our 20-year-old washing machine—all things we’ve put off for years while we shoveled money to those skimming middlemen. I can’t believe my situation is unique, so multiply me by a few million individual-market serfs and that’s an enormous amount of money that’s going to start circulating through the productive economy.

Of course, I could have saved more with a silver plan, but I’d rather over-insure if I can afford it. And I still want single-payer. But this is a colossal relief for the time being.

And yet a political party that professes to love its country is doing all it can to make sure that this guy and tens of millions like him go back to paying higher premiums for crappy policies or, worse, go uninsured. This is why you never want a government “run by dicks.”

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How Many People is 48 Million?

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Via regular contributor E.A. Blair…

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On this past Sunday’s Meet The Press, Representative Michael J. Rogers (R-MI-8) made the following statement:

“Here’s the problem, you have 15 percent of the population that didn’t have health insurance when this started, roughly — and we think that number was high, we think it was closer to 10. So what they’ve done is disrupted it for the 85 percent that had health care. And their costs are going up significantly. So we’ve broken the system to help a few, Nobody would fix a problem that way.”

A recent report from the US Census Bureau puts the number of uninsured Americans at 48 million – that’s 48,000,000, or, in scientific notation, 4.8×107.

This is what Michael J. Rogers (R-Dumbfuckistan) calls “a few”. It’s obvious that Mr. Rogers sees numbers and not people.

Let’s put that into perspective:

  • 48,000,000 people would make a standing human pyramid just over nine miles high – one and a half times taller than Mount Everest – tall enough that the people in the top 572 layers would die without an oxygen supply.
  • Stretched out on the ground head to foot, 48,000,000 people would circle the earth twice.
  • Given the same population density, New York City would have to be six times larger to accommodate the nation’s uninsured.
  • The population of the entire United States did not exceed 48,000,000 until 1880.
  • With the exception of the elections of 1984, 1988 and 2000, no presidential candidate in the 18th, 19th or 20th centuries received more than 48,000,000 votes.
  • There are 242 countries and dependent territories in the world1. Given the figure of 48 million uninsured Americans that means that these uninsured outnumber the populations of 236 of those 242 countries and dependencies. In other terms, the number of US uninsured exceeds the populations of 167 member states of the UN, or all but four European nations (not counting Russia), all but four countries in Africa, or every single country in South America except Brazil.

Yes, Rep. Rogers considers enough people to populate the 27th largest country in the world (by population) a “few”, while the American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “A number greater than one but indefinitely small”. It looks like we need a new definition of “few” and a few less people like Michael J. Rogers.

– E.A. Blair

 

¹Dependent territories are politically tied to a nation but have varying degrees of self governance, like American Samoa, Greenland or the Faroe Islands.

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Harry, This Is Getting Ridiculous

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My favorite political writer guy, Charles P. Pierce, on the nuclear option.

It’s time, Harry. Really, it is. I was on the other side of this issue for a very long time because I didn’t want to confront the possibility of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with the unlimited power to do anything that President Scott Walker wanted. That kind of thing still gives me pause. But this business with the judges has long passed over the International Fk You Line. One of the reasons we elect presidents is because we approve en masse of that president’s philosophy toward the law. This means we elect him so that he can appoint federal judges who will be sympathetic to that philosophy to the federal bench. For going on 40 years, we have seen a long march of conservatism in the federal judiciary, especially at the appellate level, where nobody’s really paying attention until, say, Janice Rogers Brown or someone hands down a decision making thumbscrews legal if the police are acting in good faith. It is not a great stretch to argue that this president was elected (twice) at least partly to reverse the results of that long march. That he is not being allowed to fulfill that part of his mandate does not merely obviate the power of the popularly elected majority in the Senate, it obviates the stated wishes of the entire nation by obviating the power of the popularly elected president of the United States. This is mucking around with two of the three branches of the federal government in order to work your will in the third. Moreover, it hamstrings future presidents who might share that judicial philosophy by blocking the career paths of like-minded judges. And does anybody seriously believe that the Republicans will not do exactly the same thing if a seat on The Big Court comes open? Please.

It is a blatant defiance of popular sovereignty, and the Republicans have grown so comfortable with it that they’re not even trying very hard these days to concoct decent lies about why they’re doing it.

[…]

Do it, Harry. Drop the big one. This is getting ridiculous.

If you’re not reading Charles P. Pierce every day, you should be.
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Just Get the Damn Website Working

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Keep the faith. Despite the calls that the sky is falling, it’s all going to get better.

L.A. Times:

Despite the disastrous rollout of the federal government’s healthcare website, enrollment is surging in many states as tens of thousands of consumers sign up for insurance plans made available by President Obama’s health law.

A number of states that use their own systems, including California, are on track to hit enrollment targets for 2014 because of a sharp increase in November, according to state officials.

“What we are seeing is incredible momentum,” said Peter Lee, director of Covered California, the nation’s largest state insurance marketplace, which accounted for a third of all enrollments nationally in October. California — which enrolled about 31,000 people in health plans last month — nearly doubled that in the first two weeks of this month.

Several other states, including Connecticut and Kentucky, are outpacing their enrollment estimates, even as states that depend on the federal website lag far behind. In Minnesota, enrollment in the second half of October ran at triple the rate of the first half, officials said. Washington state is also on track to easily exceed its October enrollment figure, officials said.

And as Kevin Drum points out, the problems, for the most part, have all to do with healthcare.gov. Get it working as it should and the Republican Party’s worst nightmare will have been realized: people will like and appreciate the benefits of the ACA. Republicans understand this all too well and their only chance to rid themselves of a law that will positively impact the lives of just about every American is to continue to sow the seeds of discontent. No surprise there. We’ve come to expect sociopathic behavior of that type from Republicans. It’s what they do…really, really well.

What is more annoying are the number of Dems in Congress hinting that they might join Republicans in calling for repeal of the law if the website isn’t running perfectly within the next 20 minutes. The stinking cowards are afraid that their chances of reelection next November will be hampered by voter disapproval of the ACA brought on by the rocky rollout. Not only do liberals have to battle obstructionist Republicans on a daily basis, they’re also forced to contend with the yellow-bellied wing of their own party.

That said, all it takes to put an end to the nonsense is to “get the damn website working.” Come on, get it done already!

13 - 1Chris Weyant

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Obama’s Katrina?

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I thought mistermix’s response to a NYTimes story that drew comparisons between the ACA’s rocky rollout and the Bush administration’s response to Katrina had the perfect degree of snark and well worth Quote of the Day status.

obamaskatrina

This was the top story on my NYTimes mobile this morning, and like Michael Shear, I’ve been noting the similarities between these two events. Just outside my window, the bodies of people who haven’t been able to access a website are stacking up in the streets. The lucky who have survived are huddled together in their own filth in hot, overcrowded stinking shelters, waiting to log in.

And well I remember how Democrats worked for years to gut FEMA. Every Democratic governor pushed all disaster preparedness up to the federal government to make FEMA’s job as hard as it could possibly be, and the forty separate votes by the Democratic Congress to defund FEMA are still etched in my mind.

Agreed. People forced to deal with a buggy website is equal in suffering and pain to that of people dying from dehydration and exhaustion as they waited for help in the aftermath of Katrina. Any fool can see that.

Hey, to all Republicans who’ve brought up the ObamaCare/Katrina response comparison – good one, guys.

And while you’re congratulating yourselves for revealing the uncanny similarities between the two events, please feel free to ignore the little fact that while Democrats were intent on cooperating with Republicans in finding answers to the problems plaguing aid to Katrina survivors…Republicans are now doing all in their power to obstruct implementation and legislative fixes to the Affordable Care Act.

Let’s just leave that part out, assholes.

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