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medicaid expansion

Senators Mathis, Ragan, Jochum Go To Washington To Stop Branstad

Sen.  Mathis

Sen. Mathis

Sen. Ragan

Sen. Ragan

Hats off to Iowa state Senators Liz Mathis of Cedar Rapids, Amanda Ragan of Mason City and Senate president Pam Jochum of Dubuque for taking the fight against Governor Branstad’s raid on the Medicaid program in Iowa to Washington where the asked for the agency to slow or stop the march to profitizing.

There is a finite pie of money that the Branstad administration is trying to reslice and give a large chunk to his buddies in the managed care plan business. Since the pie is finite, the only place the money going to the for-profit administrators could come from is part of the pie that is now going for health care. Somehow Branstad claims that this will be a win for those receiving Medicaid. The Branstad administration has done no analysis to show how the pie will be redistributed, they are simply in a huge hurry to turn the $4.2 billion in the program over to his buddies to run before anyone realizes they have been robbed.

Branstad was re-elected by Iowans last year despite numerous scandals. Since his reelection he has gone into hyper drive in his mission to give taxpayer money to friends of the Republican party in business. Unlike Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Rick Snyder in Michigan where the legislatures make laws to funnel the tax payer’s money to their donors, Branstad has to deal with Democrats controlling one house of the legislature who are unwilling to do his bidding. Thus Branstad is left to creating bogus executive actions to redirect money to their donors. So we have interpretation of tax laws that make no sense and a redistribution of Medicaid funds to give 3rd party administrators a big slice.

So a big thank you to Iowa’s Democrats for pulling out all the stops to see to it that Medicaid funds go to those who the funds were meant for – those who need help to get health care. Also a big thank you to the Iowa Hospitals Association which has filed a lawsuit to stop the headlong dive into making Medicaid much less workable.

Tuning in to a Medicaid listening session being held by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Thursday it became obvious very quickly that there has been very little planning by the Branstad Administration beyond cutting checks to the managed care plan companies. Calls were received from a broad cross section of people and organizations that deal with Iowa’s Medicaid program. From every corner the message was quite clear that the Branstad Administration’s only planning has been in the area of giving our money to the managed care people. One participant noted that the MCOs (managed care organizations) have been guaranteed 15% off the top. What a waste!

(side note – sounds like Branstad plans as well as George W did going in to Iraq. Just do it and everything will be alright. Now we have ISIL.)

Branstad’s recent power grabs on school funding, closing mental health facilities, Medicaid, tax treatment for businesses and other areas must be challenged vigorously. What he and his administration are doing – setting up methods to funnel tax payer money to donors and cronies – is way beyond the pale. It is way past time that Iowans stop one of the Governor’s unethical and possibly illegal moves.

Our hats off also to those citizens who are standing up and saying a loud “NO!” to Branstad. This is what democracy is about. Standing up to the bullies who try to turn government into an income redistribution system from the poor to the rich. If we work together we can stop the railroading by the likes of Branstad, Walker, Snyder, or Rick Scott in Florida.

Even if Branstad is stopped on this front, what will be his next move to move our money to his cronies? This surely will not his last attempt. This is where a vigilant democracy comes into play.

Sen. Jochum

Sen. Jochum

Medicaid Listening Sessions

medicaidThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a series of Listening Sessions regarding Iowa’s High Quality Health Care Initiative. The initiative proposes to move Iowa’s delivery of most Medicaid services to a managed care delivery system effective January 1, 2016.

CMS must approve of the State’s proposal to move to a comprehensive Managed Care Delivery system.

There will be one more listening session targeted to Consumers and Advocates.

Consumers and Advocates  [Open to the general public]

November 19th 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST

Participant Toll-Free Dial-In Number: 1-800-837-19351-800-837-1935 FREE

Conference ID: 82231506

If you are aware of any individuals or organizations that may benefit from attending an upcoming session, please feel free to forward this invitation to them. To add an email address to the CMS Iowa Outreach contact list, please visit the following link to subscribe:

Although these listening sessions are meant for consumers and providers, they are open to the general public.

Rob Hogg: Medicaid Mess And More

Rob Hogg

Rob Hogg

Robb Hogg newsletter Nov.13


Governor Branstad’s current push to privatize Iowa Medicaid has upset many Iowans. Critics say it tries to do too much too fast, and is too disorganized, and does not accomplish any public benefit. Last month, I asked Governor Branstad to show the documentation on how this change would save money without cutting benefits or access to health care. He said he had no documentation.

I hope we can slow down or stop Governor Branstad’s proposal. If you agree, please take a moment today to sign a petition urging a six month delay until July 1, 2016. The petition can be found at

Let’s take time to get this right.


I am attending the Cedar River Watershed Coalition meeting today in Waterloo, where the focus is on urban measures to reduce the risk of future flood damage. Although it has been more than seven years since the Flood of 2008, recent flood damage in South Carolina and Texas underscores the ongoing need for flood preparedness. If you would like to be involved in the Cedar River Watershed Coalition, please contact Mary Beth Stevenson at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at


As part of a “climate solutions” tour, I visited facilities this week in Cedar Rapids (solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations), Pella (green buildings), Coon Rapids (land management), Carroll (solar-powered green building), Ames (biorenewable research), Decorah (solar power), and Charles City (ethanol plant and wind farm) to highlight the fact that climate solutions work for the environment and for our economy.

We need to act to address climate change, and the good news is we have solutions that work. Please speak up with federal and state elected officials to urge their support for public policy that promotes clean, home-grown renewable energy and other solutions to climate change.


On Wednesday afternoon, November 18, I will be visiting the Independence Mental Health Institute as part of my service as chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee. It is critical that we have facilities and programs that are working to meet the needs of our most vulnerable Iowans. I look forward to learning more about what the Independence MHI is doing and how it is serving the people of Iowa.

If Republicans Hate Government, Why Do They Run?

fugelsang republicans love government

Where ever two Republicans get together one topic of conversation is bound to be how bad the government is. The complaint is always too much government meddling in the wrong things. They almost sound anarchist in their desire to dismantle government. Yet they have built quite an election machine with the express purpose of running government from the schoolhouse to the White House and every stop in between.

The targets for their wrath over the years have been welfare programs, dismantling any social programs such as Social Security and Medicare and any regulatory programs.

Education has been one of the very biggest targets. What they have done to education is quite illustrative of why they really do not want to destroy government as their rhetoric would indicate. Rather than divorcing government from education, Republicans have come up with ingenious ways to milk federal dollars from the system and steer them to the wealthy.

Similarly Republicans see all levels of government as steering utilities that direct tax dollars from the poor and middle class to the elite – those captains and generals of industry who need an infusion of government dollars to be successful.

Iowans have one of the greatest examples of this going on right in front of their eyes with the actions of Terry Branstad in recent months. Vetoing money for schools one day and in the space of a couple months turning around to give businesses a tax break of almost equal cost, without even any input from the legislature. At nearly the same time, the governor created a method for private companies to siphon off dollars meant for the health care of Iowa’s poorest citizens and redirected it to private companies. And so money targeted for public good ends up in the pockets of private companies.

Thus Branstad illustrates how Republicans view government – it is an institution to be used to take from the poor and give to the rich using methods that can be created on the fly when needed.

IDP Statement on GOP Legislators Supporting Branstad Administration’s Disastrous Medicaid Privatization Plan

Iowa Democratic Party

DES MOINES – Today (Tuesday, Nov. 3), Republicans on the joint Health Care Policy Oversight Committee all voted against a motion to delay the Branstad administration’s disastrous Medicaid privatization plan by six months in response to concerns and unanswered questions about the change. Every Democrat on the Committee voted in support of the motion to delay the privatization plan.

In response, IDP Chair Dr. Andy McGuire issued the following statement:

“All across Iowa, health care professionals, caretakers and those who depend on Medicaid have expressed serious concerns with the Branstad-Reynolds administration’s privatization plan, including possible cuts to important services. Now with less than two months remaining until the privatization plan is set to take effect, the administration has failed to provide Iowans with crucial details into how the change will work, leaving Iowans with far more unanswered questions than answers. With the health and well being of more than 500,000 Iowans at stake, it is terribly disappointing that Republican lawmakers on the Oversight Committee would stand behind the Branstad-Reynolds administration’s disastrous privatization plan, and block a reasonable delay in implementing the change.

“I commend Democrats on the committee for standing up for vital health services that Iowans depend on.

“It’s time for the Branstad-Reynolds administration and Republicans in the legislature to listen to the people of Iowa and delay implementation of the Medicaid privatization until all concerns are addressed.”


Courtney Report

Many Iowans are expressing concern about Governor Branstad’s unilateral decision to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid program. If fully implemented, the Governor’s decision would have negative impacts on Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens and Iowa’s healthcare providers.

I’m concerned that people in our communities will be denied critical medical services and that local providers will not be adequately reimbursed for the medical care of patients. The long-term care of severely disabled adults and children makes up the bulk of Medicaid services in Iowa. Medicaid also covers prenatal care to pregnant women, health insurance for low-income children, and health care for low-income seniors and others.

The Governor’s plan is to turn over the care of more than a half-million Iowans—one in five Iowans—to four managed care companies by January 1, 2016. With this change, we will see administrative costs jump from 3 to 15 percent, reaching $600 million. At the same time, the overall cost to the state is supposed to fall by $100 million a year.

The math doesn’t add up. The only way these companies can collect the multimillion dollar profits guaranteed them is by denying critical services to Iowans and by failing to fully pay local health care organizations for services they provide.

The managed care companies have yet to sign contracts with the state, so providers are being asked to sign contracts that don’t include reimbursement rates. Medicaid recipients and their families have good reason to be worried about the future.

Iowans who depend on Medicaid and the people and organizations that care for them need more time. That’s why I’m calling on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reject the Governor’s plan to put Iowa’s Medicaid Program in private hands or make major changes to it.

The federal government invests a significant amount in Iowa Medicaid services. We have a responsibility to federal taxpayers and to Iowans who need these services. We need to make sure, for example, that patient outcomes continue to improve and that access to health care is not decreased.

We all need to work together to make sure quality health care services remain available to local seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities, and mothers and children.

Share your concerns

If you are concerned about the Governor’s reckless privatization of Iowa Medicaid, make your voice heard.

– I’ll be hosting a listening post. Please join me if the changes to Medicaid will impact you or your loved ones. The meeting will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 27, at the Burlington Public Library—Meeting Room A, 210 Court Street, Burlington.

– I also encourage you to share your views with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by writing to Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at or 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244.

Where you can learn more

To learn more about privatizing Medicaid in Iowa, go to

In addition, the Iowa Department of Human Services is hosting meetings to help local Iowans understand what the transition means for them. These include:

* For Medicaid recipients and their families:
– Wednesday, October 14, 5 to 7 p.m., Davenport Public Library, Meeting Room B (321 N. Main Street, Davenport).
– Monday, October 19, 4 to 6 p.m., Burlington Public Library, Meeting Rm A (210 Court Street, Burlington).

* For community partners, advocates and other stakeholders (to attend stakeholder meetings, you must register at
– Monday, October 12, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Scott Community College – Student Life Ctr. (500 Belmont Road, Riverdale).
– Tuesday, October 13, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Pzazz Event Center (3001 Winegard Drive, Burlington).

Get answers to your questions

Medicaid recipients with questions or concerns can call Members Services at 1-800-338-8366.

Questions from providers should be directed to the Provider Services Call Center at 1-800-338-7909.

Affordable College, Medicaid, Economic Development, The Courtney Report

Courtney Report
Note: this is an editted version of Senator Courtney’s newsletter. For the whol newsletter, please go here.


We’re working to keep college affordable so that all Iowans get the educational opportunities that lead to great jobs. Almost half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in Iowa come from our private colleges and universities. Iowa Tuition Grants help them pay their way.

Iowa Tuition Grants are awarded to Iowa residents enrolled at Iowa’s private colleges and universities. Priority goes to applicants with the greatest financial need. The exact amount each student receives depends on the funding available and number of students awarded grants. Students may receive grants for up to four years of full-time, undergraduate study.

With the funding we are proposing for Iowa Tuition Grants in this year’s Senate Education Budget, the maximum annual award would be an estimated $5,000 per student next year—up from $4,550 per student this year. For the 2013-14 school year, almost 15,000 students received the grant, which is matched by their school.

Iowa is one of 11 states that have scholarship programs specifically for students attending private colleges and universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A survey from the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs shows that Iowa dedicates almost 80 percent of its need-based grants to resident students attending private colleges and universities — well above the national average of 28 percent.

A boost in the Iowa Tuition Grant will ensure more students can afford the education that’s right for them, which is an important part of our efforts to expand Iowa’s middle class. For more on grants, scholarships and other help to pay for college, go to

Senate Study Bill 1281 contains an Economic Development Budget that will expand Iowa’s middle class and move our economy forward.

The state’s Economic Development Budget funds Small Business Development Centers, research and economic development at our state universities, arts, cultural and historical projects, worker safety programs, and employer and worker assistance through Workforce Field Offices.

This year, Senate Democrats have proposed a budget that:

• Increases trade assistance for Iowa small businesses to expand their sales to national and international markets.

• Provides funding for an initiative to match returning veterans with jobs at Iowa companies.

• Invests in public transit systems that provide Iowans with transportation to and from work.

• Increases funding for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors.

• Increases funding for more wage theft investigators at Iowa Workforce Development.

In addition, the budget provides for financial assistance for businesses to locate and expand in Iowa, and for our state universities to work with businesses on research, development, marketing and entrepreneurship.

In January, Governor Branstad surprised Iowans by proposing to privatize almost all of Iowa’s Medicaid system.

Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to just over a half million Iowans who are some of the most vulnerable people in our state. This includes families and children, pregnant women, seniors and people living with disabilities. More than 71 percent of Medicaid dollars go toward services for the disabled and seniors.

In the Legislature, there is bipartisan support for a responsible, cautious approach to making changes with input from stakeholders. That’s the sort of approach that has worked best in other states and has been Iowa’s traditional approach.

Under Governor Branstad’s plan, however, Iowa will make bigger changes faster than any other state regarding health care services for Iowans who need them the most. After a similar transition in Kansas, the Disability Rights Center of Kansas reported that citizens with disabilities were denied services, struggled to navigate the new system and lacked resources to advocate for themselves.

Senate Democrats are committed to providing robust oversight to ensure that Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens don’t fall through the cracks. Earlier this year, the Iowa Senate unanimously approved SF 452. The bill would have created a process to closely monitor the Medicaid transition, ensured that tax dollars are spent wisely and maintained close-to-home access to critical healthcare services. Unfortunately, the Iowa House did not take up the bill.

There’s still time to act this year. Senate Democrats will continue to advocate for proper oversight of Iowa’s Medicaid transition and focus our attention on making sure resources are used wisely for crucial health, disability and senior services.

The Senate’s Government Oversight Committee heard testimony this week from a patient and employees of the state-run Mental Health Institutes (MHIs) that have been targeted for closure by Governor Branstad.

Under current Iowa law, the state must maintain and operate MHIs in Cherokee, Clarinda, Independence and Mount Pleasant. The Governor’s unilateral decision to close the Clarinda and Mount Pleasant facilities has drawn criticism from community leaders, legislators and mental health advocates because his plan hurts Iowans who need the critical services they provide. Layoffs have already begun in Mount Pleasant.

A former patient and staff describe Clarinda and Mount Pleasant as modern, efficient operations that provide services often not available in other locations, including inpatient dual substance use disorder and mental health treatment. The facilities have trained, dedicated, professional staff that provide compassionate care to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Anna Short, a former drug abuse counselor at Mount Pleasant, told legislators that Iowa has a mental health crisis. “A lot of our patients are mandated treatment by the courts. If we didn’t serve them, the prisons would house them, and that would cost much more to the state,” she said.

Cindy Fedler, a former nurse at Mount Pleasant, believes the transition is hard on patients, saying, “Just because someone has a mental illness, doesn’t mean they don’t know what’s going on.”

Ann Davison, a nurse from Clarinda, told the committee that since January 15, Clarinda has received 180 calls from 60 counties asking for help.

Christina, is a former patient at Clarinda, said she needed the inpatient experience and that she would not be here today without treatment at Clarinda.

The Senate has passed two bipartisan bills to address the MHI closures. SF 333 would require the Department of Human Services to admit eligible Iowans to the MHIs through the current fiscal year that ends June 30. The funds to support these services were appropriated by the Legislature and approved by the Governor last year. His administration should now follow through on its commitment to use those funds as approved.

SF 402 would set up a process for the Department of Human Services to develop and implement crucial community-based mental health services. The services must be approved by the Legislature and in place prior to considering MHI closings. The plan would include input from stakeholders and experts, require transitional services without reducing access or quality, ensure ongoing local access to highly trained community and institutional care providers, and identify stable funding for new services.

These bills have been eligible for debate in the Iowa House for weeks but have not been taken up.

Governor Endangers Vulnerable Iowans, School Funding, Workforce Development, Legislative News

Courtney Report

ed. note: This is an edited version of the Courtney newsletter. For the whole newsletter, please go here.

In January, Governor Branstad surprised Iowans by proposing to privatize almost all of Iowa’s Medicaid system.

Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to just over a half million Iowans. They are some of the most vulnerable people in our state, including families and children, pregnant women, seniors and people living with disabilities. More than 71 percent of Medicaid dollars are spent on services for the disabled and seniors.

Iowa’s Governor once again decided—on his own—to make big changes at break-neck speed to the health care of other people. And once again, those affected don’t have much political power. The Branstad Administration is ignoring painful lessons learned by other states that have adopted the managed care approach.

The responsible way to address the issue would be to bring together stakeholders and take a systematic approach. Iowa Medicaid is, after all, Iowa’s second largest insurance company.

Right now, only two things are certain:

1. There will be major changes to the health care of at-risk Iowans and to essential services for seniors and the disabled. This includes the social safety net that families depend on in times of need. All of us are just one terrible accident away from needing care for the rest of our lives.

2. With a cost of $4.2 billion, this will be the largest single purchase in state history. The winners most likely will be for-profit, out-of-state companies that will take home as much as $630 million a year.

Under existing state law, the Governor has a great deal of freedom to make this transition with little or no legislative direction. That’s why the Iowa Senate unanimously approved SF 452. The bill:

• Creates a process to closely monitor the transition, ensure that tax dollars are used wisely, and give vulnerable Iowans access to critical healthcare services.

• Outlines consumer protections to ensure continued access to high-quality care, emphasizing consumer choice, self-direction, nearby access and more.

• Ensures fair reimbursement for healthcare providers, the Iowa-based organizations that will actually do the work, while taking part in coordinated care to improve health outcomes.

• Establishes a legislative oversight commission to monitor implementation and recommend corrections should problems arise.

State funding for our local schools remains undecided, even after a fourth meeting this week of the special legislative committee charged with finding a compromise between the House and the Senate.

At the most recent meeting, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha insisted on setting state aid for the 2015-16 school year at 1.25 percent, but his motion failed on a tie vote. All the Republican members of the committee supported the Speaker’s meager proposal; all Democrats voted against it.

We’ve got to get past the gridlock. Students, parents, teachers, administrators and other concerned Iowans are counting on us. They say that local school boards are making critical budget decisions now. Schools will have to cut staff and teachers, stuff more students into classrooms, and reduce educational and extracurricular offerings if they don’t get more than a 1.25 percent increase in state funding.

Woodbury Central Community School officials said their local schools need more.

Superintendent Doug Glackin told a Sioux City TV station: “When we started cutting, we were cutting the fat, and then we got a 0% allowable growth in fiscal year 2011-2012 and then we started cutting the bacon. If we get to 1.25%, we’ll be cutting into the rib meat and into the loin pretty soon, and that’s never good.”

Clear Lake Superintendent Anita Micich has told the local newspaper: “You cannot starve the schools in Iowa and expect to have world-class (education) continue.”

It’s not just smaller, rural school districts. Ankeny is among the largest school districts in the state. Their school board president said that “1.25 percent is irresponsible. We’re at the point where we are cutting programming and looking at class sizes.”

If your local schools are making these same tough budget decisions, please contact me so that I can share your concerns with conference committee members as they hammer out a final decision.

I’m working to stop the slide in Iowa’s support for local students compared to other states. A 4 percent increase in funding for our K-12 schools would help when it comes to per-student investment. That’s one of the many topics I discussed with Joe Crozier of the Grant Wood AEA when he visited the Statehouse with other Iowa Areas Education Agencies.

Last year, Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) expressing concerns about Iowa Workforce Development and its director, Teresa Wahlert.

The letter was based on testimony Senator Dotzler had received from Unemployment Administrative Law Judges indicating there was undue pressure on them, concern about the fairness of the appeals system, and problems with a political appointee directly supervising the appeal judges.

This month, DOL informed the new Iowa Workforce Development director, Beth Townsend, that her predecessor had created perceived pressure on Iowa’s Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to be biased in favor of employers or face retaliation. The DOL also recommended that the new IWD director:

• Immediately fill the Chief ALJ position on a merit staffing basis.

• Ensure that the Unemployment Compensation appeals process is insulated from outside pressures that might compromise the process’s fairness and impartiality, or appearance of fairness and impartiality.

• Ensure that ALJs are free from actual or perceived intimidation.

• Review any negative personnel actions received by ALJs during the period they were supervised by Teresa Wahlert to determine if the action was appropriately taken, and take any necessary remedial action to reverse the action if not appropriately taken.

• Not take any personnel action against individual ALJs related to their possible participation in the review of this matter moving forward.

To learn more about U.S. Department of Labor findings and recommendations for Iowa Workforce Development, go to

Iowa is doing the right thing to strengthen our middle class after the devastation of the national recession.

One of the reasons Iowa has weathered the economic downturn better than other states is that we’ve kept our fiscal house in order. Each year, we balance the state budget and set aside money for a rainy day. According to 24/7 Wall St., Iowa is one of the best-run states in the nation, with low debt, a strong credit rating and a well-managed budget.

That’s important because it allows us to invest in initiatives to strengthen our middle class, create jobs and grow our economy. And the latest financial projections by Iowa’s non-partisan Revenue Estimating Conference confirm that Iowa can afford new investments.

We must do all we can to continue strengthening our middle class. The percentage of middle-class households shrunk between 2000 and 2013 in all 50 states, Iowa included. In 2013, 51 percent of Iowa households were middle class, down from 54.1 percent in 2000, and the median income for Iowa households has dropped, according to new research from Pew.

What can we do to continue our bipartisan efforts to expand Iowa’s middle class in all 99 counties?

A good start would be renewing Iowa’s traditional, bipartisan support for public schools, freezing tuition at our public universities for a third year in a row, and investing more in community college opportunities for Iowans preparing for 21st Century jobs.

About That Replacement Health Care Plan, Ms. Ernst


Sometimes I make the mistake of believing what people say. You would think that after a while I would learn. But I heard our sparkling new senator tell me though a set of teeth that looked perfect and white that Republicans were going to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.” I figured that maybe this time there was a real plan. So I called her office:

Me: Hey I heard the Senator’s speech last night. She said Republicans were going to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.” So I would really like to see what they propose for replacement. This means a lot to my family.

Staffer: There is no replacement.

Me: No replacement? But I distinctly heard the Senator say last night they were ready. Maybe there is a draft? Do you have a link to a draft?

Staffer: There is no draft.

Me: Well is it in committee? Is there a committee or another senator I could send an inquiry to? I have some ideas.

Staffer: As far as I know no one is working on anything.

Me: No one is working on anything? But Republicans have been talking about this for a couple of elections. I would think by now they would have some concrete proposals. I am sure Americans would love to see them. I figured if they had this statement in their nationally broadcast reply to the State of the Union they would have something.

Staffer: Nope, no plans.

Me: Are there any plans to get to work on this soon?

Staffer: {hem…haw..hem} Er – I am sure they will be working on one.

Me: Yet this spring? Maybe during the Summer? This is really important if they are planning to repeal they better have something to take its place. This is important.

Staffer: I am sure it will be soon – we’ll let you know.

Me: Just put a notice online – we’ll be watching – it is real important – we need healthcare.

Robert Reich On Republican Priorities

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Truer words were never spoken – Robert Reich on facebook 01/10/2015 (yesterday):

Look at the priorities of the new Republican congressional – the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement, tax cuts for big corporations and the wealthy, rollbacks of Dodd-Frank regulations on Wall Street, cutbacks on Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, and decimating the Affordable Care Act – and connect the dots. Republicans want the public to think the central issue of our time is the size of government. Wrong. The central issue of our time is who government is for. Every one of their initiatives advances big corporations and Wall Street, and worsens or weakens everyone else.

Elizabeth Warren is correct: The game is rigged. And the only way to unrig it is through a new progressive movement that includes not only the Democratic base but also any and all Independents and Republicans equally determined to take the economy and democracy back from the axis of Wall Street, K Street, and big corporations. Can we rely on the Democratic Party to lead the way, or will a new third party be necessary?

Those of you who voted for Republicans or just as bad, decided not to vote, had better start understanding what Republicans are all about. If you believe you are somehow immune from their greed, that will only be true as long as you are of use to them. Once they can no longer exploit you, you or your friends or family will be targets just as teachers, workers, the elderly, women, Latinos, African-Americans, college students, and any and all others who do not fit their narrow range of acceptable humans.

You will learn this lesson one way or another. Many Republicans already have, such as Bob Ney and Jack Abramoff. Best that you learn it now while there is still a chance to reverse the damage. Until you do many Americans will suffer greatly under their morally misplaced priorities.