I now have a card and have actually been to a health care provider a couple of times. Like many I have some blood pressure problems. Nothing too dire, but needs attention. Since I will soon be eligible for Medicare, so other tests and treatments can be delayed for a bit.
While the ACA has been a tremendous positive for America, based on my recent experience it is still a bit early to trust insurance companies to fully comply with the ACA. I have an option that others don’t have which is to wait for Medicare.
The ACA is definitely a step in the right direction. I remember full well the nights I would lay in bed trying to decide if that pain or this sensation was worth a trip to the doctor. Since my “insurance” at the time had a high deductible plus the old “pre-existing condition” clause, I
could pretty much figure that every visit would be on my nickel. Since doctors post no fee schedules, I may as well as just given them my checkbook. It is not as if I could make a guess as to what the fees and other services might cost.
For five years or more I had to endure what may be warning signs of a heart attack, sprained ankles, a shoulder that was so painful that I would cry and many various ailments just hoping and hoping it was nothing really serious. I am out of that hell now. Now thanks to President Obama, I do not have to lie in bed wondering if I am dying – wondering if I take a chance at bankruptcy to get treatment. I know I am far from alone with what I went through.
Of course I blame the Republican congress and Charles Grassley for the hell I went through unnecessarily. I saw the hearings and I read the stories.
Republicans and in particular Grassley were resolute in stopping bringing our health care system into the modern age. Not just during Obama’s presidency but since the presidency of FDR. For that reason alone I would never vote for any republican.
What is really sad is that the power behind the Republican party is still fighting hard to return us to those dark days. And they are fighting hard to end Medicare and Medicaid. Why would I ever want someone who hates America’s citizens so much that they would bring back this form of personalized terror to our country.
I truly thank President Obama and Congressmen Loebsack and Braley and Senator Harkin for standing up for us. You can not imagine how much relief I feel every day knowing that if I have a medical problem I do not have to sit in fear and try to decide between dying or going bankrupt. It wasn’t funny folks, it was reality in my life and many, many others for a long time.
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Congressman Loebsack. Thank You, Congressman Braley. Thank you, Senator Harkin. Believe me, it almost makes me cry to be covered for medical finally.
BUT – now we need to improve the ACA. Really, we need single payer. And we need the citizens to call for it. Loudly
Once more the CBO came out with what should have been good news for Americans. Once more the right wing of America threw up all over it, then proceeded to lie their asses off. Once again just like your little brother when you were younger, you just can’t take them anywhere or they will embarrass you no end. And yet some of your friends think he is really cute and do not care that he lies and cheats.
The CBO last week came out with a report stating that the ACA gives people more control over their own lives. Thus American businesses may no longer have that magical control over their workers lives that they so loved. Up until January 1st, 2014 for most people in the United States the only way they could get health care was through some form of group insurance through their jobs. Since having health insurance is literally one of the basics of life, this forced many folks into jobs. It also often forced folks to stay in jobs they hated because not having health insurance was a worse fate than staying in a job you hated.
This is of course a situation that employers really liked and could easily manipulate. The control of an employees health options and often those of their families gave employers a great situation to exploit. They could do such things as change working hours, cut hours, cut pay, cut benefits and many other things while holding workers hostage with health care benefits.
This is the essence of why the Republicans are so adamantly opposed to any health care reform that would give the individual some control of their own health. Health care is more than a bargaining chip for employers, it is a hostage holder. In most cases it is the Republican more specifically the Tea Party that represents employers. The Tea Party will do whatever to take down the ACA, including obstruction, lying and misrepresenting. This of course includes elected officials and the employers themselves.
So we get a piece of information from the CBO that is stated in a bit of a confusing manner. Trying to say that there will be less hours worked in a few years due to the ACA our corporate owned news media immediately misinterpreted the CBO statement. What the CBO meant and explained many times was that employees, now in control of their own health care, could choose voluntarily to cut back or leave employment. This does not fit the narrative that corporations and the Tea Party wants to project so they immediately put out their misinterpretation that jobs would be lost.
To admit the truth would be at the same time to admit that individuals could now control their own health care. Maybe employees could hop to another employer without worrying about losing health care, or just quit, or maybe just maybe start their own business. This last scenario would in the long run actually increase employment.
Holding employees hostage with health care has been a top tactic since the so-called Reagan revolution. Reagan did not lead a revolution. Instead he lead a retrenchment that put the rich more firmly in control than ever. Part of the strategy was to strangle information to the public via America’s corporate media. That has worked well, but the internet has provided another source for information. Still the right depends on their ability to control the framing of any issue using their hold on the corporate media.
Thus on the issue of health care, the right has put up their greatest fight ever. They have been able to stall and alter what I still believe will be the eventual answer: single-payer universal health care. They have delayed it so far and are once more throwing the bankroll at stopping it. But I believe their efforts will not only be futile but also fatal. Americans have gotten a whiff of what freedom to control their own health can be like. When they find out, they realize someone lied to them. One thing Americans don’t like is being lied to. So Americans will be anxious to know who lied to them, why they were lied to and what can they as controllers of the government really do.
That will be the revolution that is coming. Tea Partiers are on the wrong side of the dam trying to plug the leaks that are popping out all over. You and me? We are on the other side ready to drench them with truth. And when they get drenched they will realize they were never anything but stooges for those people up on the hill.
So after feeling all warm and fuzzy having completed my application on the phone with an employee of Coventry, we sat back and had probably the best Christmas we ever had. All I had to do was stay alive and on Jan. 1 I would achieve the American Dream – being able to see a doctor without having to sell our house!
Over the years I have, I think, been a model of the good citizen. I am involved in civic affairs, give blood, lots and lots of blood, and tutor kids. Shoot, I am a good guy. Well, as you know no good deed goes unpunished.
My nightmare started on Jan. 3rd. I received a cryptic email asking for information that I was sure was on the application. So I called the person back who had helped me with the application. He called up the app and assured me that data was there. So I called their call center. This is where things start falling apart.
I have never worked in a call center, but after a couple weeks, I get the impression of a hive of little cubicles where folks are basically supposed to “handle” customers. So after sitting through a 4 minute menu presentation followed by endless waiting for a live person 10 or 12 times, and maybe thanks to one rather nasty loss of temper on my part, I was able to at least get by this wall for a few moments.
I am not sure what my status is now. I have been told 3 or 4 times that I have insurance. However I really do not want to test it. So right now I must stay healthy no matter how sick I get.
During this trip I did find out that Coventry was bought out by Aetna and their computer systems are not talking. As a veteran of 3 or 4 of these type situations I know what that means – bad data and much clean-up.
Any lessons from my experience so far. Well you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Translated, that means Thank You, Mr. President for making the insurance companies do what they are supposed to – cover people so they don’t lose their life saving because of an accident or illness. However, as a reasonable humans we all thought that the insurance companies would act as reasonable actors. But no one said they had to.
Through conversations I have found out I am hardly the only one and all of us over 60. Gee, 60 would be an age where the outgo for an insurance company might exceed the income, at least based on tables.
So I have postulated a theory based on only a small amount of data. This is the model that has made Fox News what it is today. Since this is an accepted method of making up news based on Fox I can only conclude that SOME SAY that the insurance companies may be, but not in all cases are, making it hard for those over 60 get signed up for health care. (sarcasm for the humor impaired, I hope)
And hey – someone have Fox call me. They want ACA stories. I bet they would love to hear one about incompetent insurance companies.
All the people waiting for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to collapse under its own weight had better find something else to do. Almost four years in, there’s no way to hop in the DeLorean, go back in time and undo the good the law has already done.
Don’t get me wrong. I expect to hear more laments and entreaties about how wrong it was for President Obama to do it, and that government is taking over health care, yada, yada, yada. Please people. Get a grip. We went through all of these arguments during the Clinton administration. When the Republican idea of filibustering health care reform to death the way Bob Dole did died, so did the idea of repealing Obamacare. If Republicans gained control of the presidency and both chambers of the legislature, how would the repeal even work three years from now? Could they go back in time and undo the mammograms already provided, the colon screenings performed, or take away the happiness people who didn’t have health insurance experienced when they got it? I suppose one Back to the Future reference is sufficient: they won’t be able to go back in time, and some form of the law is here to stay.
The ship has sailed for Obamacare, and by that I mean we are in a period of waiting to know how it will work out. The website is working. The reforms set in place are working. The number of enrollments is increasing. What seems most important about new enrollments is answering the question, what kind of medical treatment will people require? Even though part of the new fee structure includes a premium for excess insurance to cover a bad claims experience, if everyone who comes into a plan needs expensive treatment, it will skew the costs. How will that work out? We won’t know until insurance companies review the data and actuarial experience and set 2015 rates. So we wait. For the close of open enrollment on March 31, and to see the claims experience during 2014.
Josh Mitchell of Talking Points Memo has written that as enrollments increase above ten million people (not a typo, read the article), so does conservative rage. Chill dudes. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post has suggested there are three stages of Obamacare acceptance. Get with the program.
What seems clear to me is that once people get health insurance two things will happen. First, life will return to a semblance of normal, and people will discover that having health insurance is far from a perfect situation. Conservatives will be quick to point this out, although we all know this experience is logical and predictable. Secondly, Obamacare will become the paradigm, generating new struggles to reduce government costs for Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition and other programs, while at the same time attempting to do right by the American people. We’re moving forward in the incredible storm and stress that is living in this country.
If you don’t like it, either move into a yurt, or contribute something positive to the discussion, one our country has been having since Harry Truman was president. A discussion that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
That’s why we’re having our next call this Thursday, December 19th, at 7:00 p.m. Central Time — RSVP right now to join in.
Here’s one of the topics we’ll be covering: In November, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Hobby Lobby case, setting up an important decision on whether women and their families — not their bosses or CEOs — can make their own health care choices about contraception and preventive care.
To dive deep into all of this, and how Obamacare has expanded benefits for women, we’ll be joined tonight by Sarah Lipton-Lubet, policy counsel in the ACLU’s Washington legislative office.
This is a great time to jump in and hear about the great work coming out of the Stand with Women campaign — and what’s coming up next.
RSVP now for the call:
Thanks — and talk to you soon,
Women’s Issues Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action
From what I understand there will be an action at the Iowa City Walmart on Hwy. 1 west at noon on Nov. 29. If you can take an hour or two to support these brave folk in their struggle for fair pay and decent benefits. What Walmart does to its own employees is a crying shame. You must realize that when they screw their employees they are passing the cost of their employees ability to live on to you and I. It is you and I who must subsidize their food and healthcare because Walmart refuses to pay living wages.
The big trend with retailers is to stay open on Thanksgiving this year. This will give people like the 4 Walton children, who already have as much money as the bottom 125,000,000 Americans, a little wealthier while they force workers to work on a national holiday at poverty wages. As their workers get poorer, the Waltons get richer because the money they don’t pay their employees which we subsidize ends up in the Walton children’s pockets.
Is her real name Lizard? Holy cow, this woman is a disaster. It appears she has even lost Mom and Dad’s vote by saying her gay sister is wrong, wrong, wrong. But don’t forget she is probably one of the most politically correct tea baggers out there. I would like to be a fly on the wall at the Cheney family Christmas. However, maybe it won’t be as much fun as I would hope. Daughter Mary and wife have decided to do Christmas elsewhere. And Dad may ask her to go out hunting with him.
Look Like Something From Today?
This looks like some of the crap the right is floating about Obama today.
Posted around Dallas before his fateful trip.
Do Not Forget SNAP
As you gather family and friends together this year, remember that the poor in this country have had a huge cut in their food budget courtesy of congress. America has more than enough for all, yet millions have nothing while a few have more than any kings or emperors of yore.
Finally For Today
Despite the fact that insurance companies had years to prepare for the ACA, they did nothing to remove the junk policies they knew would be a problem. They also gave assurances in the beginning that they would work to implement the ACA since it would bring them millions of new and paying customers.
Most people today refer to Congress as dysfunctional and give it low ratings on trust. The disruption in government operations last month showed just how far a minority of elected representatives would go to get their way.
Nothing has aroused more Republican vitriol than the Affordable Care Act (ACA) even after it was passed by Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. The recent crisis came when the Republican Party’s tea party wing led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz demanded repeal of the ACA as the price for funding the government and raising the national debt limit. President Obama refused to buckle to the extortion.
But Cruz’s strident take-no-prisoners campaign to eliminate the ACA split the ranks of the GOP, leading to something akin to a full-blown civil war among party conservatives. Cruz and his followers trashed all those who challenged him, labeling them as traitors to the cause of conservatism.
House Republicans used another tactic to achieve their goal. House rules allow any member, regardless of party, to call up a Senate-passed bill for a vote. But on September 30, the eve of the government shutdown, Republicans, who outnumber Democrats two to one on the House Rules Committee, changed the rule so only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor could call up a Senate-passed clean funding bill. The move was another part of a failed strategy to extract concessions from Democrats in exchange for reopening the government.
Congress finally agreed to a temporary fix: reopen the government through January 15 and raise the nation’s borrowing limit effective February 7. The need for this bipartisan breakthrough came because of the economic costs in the wake of the 16-day government shutdown and near-default on government obligations. Such stoppages have occurred before, but not with a looming debt ceiling that threatened to drive the American economy back into recession, roil global financial markets, and damage America’s fiscal reputation.
Domestically, the shutdown resulted in at least 800,000 employees furloughed. And it cost an estimated $24 billion. The economic damage hurt consumer confidence, slowed small business and agriculture loans, and cut tourism revenue.
Sinking Republican poll numbers also played a role in ending the standoff. One poll showed the public blamed the GOP rather than Obama for the shutdown by a stunning 22-point margin.
This crisis raised profound constitutional questions. It appears that Republicans shirked their sworn duty to pay bills and borrow money by both shutting down the government and threatening to default on its bills. The Constitution, moreover, does not allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by defunding it without the approval of the Senate and the President.
The U.S. Congress’ enactment of legislation related to Social Security, health care, and civil rights has been accompanied by intense ideological and partisan conflicts. There is a huge difference, however, between spirited arguments over the role of government in general and shutting down services that millions of everyday Americans depend on.
A number of politicians have offered suggestions to avert another credit ceiling debacle. One procedural measure would extend the debt limit through all of 2014. Another involves reducing congressional pay for each day the government is shut down. A third would implement a budget default policy which provides automatic continuing appropriations until an agreement is reached.
We need a sharp course correction to address the most pressing problems our nation faces. These include employment, education, infrastructure, research, and energy. While unprecedented polarization offers little hope for congressional action on these matters, we may at least see some movement on immigration and farm issues.
Ralph Scharnau teaches U. S. history at Northeast Iowa Community College, Peosta. He holds a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. His publications include articles on labor history in Iowa and Dubuque. Scharnau, a peace and justice activist, writes monthly op-ed columns for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.
Van Jones: Let’s Stop Trying To Please Republicans
The GOP were smart when they made the decision to swiftboat Van Jones out of the Obama administration in 2009, because Van Jones is a tremendously powerful force for good.
Individuals like Van Jones and Howard Dean are trouble for the GOP because they care more about the country than they do about political expediency or personal interest, which makes them unpredictable and therefore hard to control and manipulate. So they have to be killed – in the political sense – through the creation of some type of media smear that not only stops the threatening person in their current tracks, but makes it so they will never have any political viability ever again.
I remember when the Van Jones smear happened in 2009. It felt exactly the same as when they swift-boated John Kerry in 2004 and exactly the same as when paid GOP operatives pounded on the doors stopping the Florida recount in 2000. It felt as though you were under assault. You felt like a deer in headlights. They were so hell-bent it seemed as if nothing could stop them, that resistance was futile. And in those instances, they were not stopped. Democratic activists wanted John Kerry and Al Gore to have put up a better fight. It seems that Van Jones has since realized that he probably should have too.
If you’re not familiar with Van Jones, here’s a bit of background from Wiki:
Environmental advocate, civil rights activist, and attorney. He is a co-founder of four non-profit organizations including Rebuild the Dream, Center for Human Rights, a California non-governmental organization (NGO) working for alternatives to violence, Color of Change, an advocacy group for African Americans, Green for All, a national NGO dedicated to “building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, and Rebuild the Dream, a national advocacy organization working towards a fairer economy. He is author of The Green Collar Economy which won the Nautilus Book Award and reached number 12 on the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2008, Time magazine named Jones one of its “Heroes of the Environment.
In March 2009 Jones was appointed by President Barack Obama to the newly created position of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he worked with various “agencies and departments to advance the administration’s climate and energy initiatives, with a special focus on improving vulnerable communities.”
In 2009 the Republicans duped the gullible media by way of Glenn Beck into reporting a trumped up controversy that Van Jones was actually a peasant sympathizer (in GOP eyes this is a bad thing), and therefore a Marxist. Predictably, the GOP were able to make enough noise and clamor in the moral-less media to cause the selfless Van Jones to resign from his position. Does this sound familiar? Yes, we’ve seen this low budget summer horror movie before. Purely for political gain with no redeeming social value, the blockbuster nontroversy is a common GOP tactic that works so effortlessly and perfectly every time that you wonder why they don’t use it more often. It makes sense that they are bringing it out now in an attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act once and for all. Are we the people going to let it work this time?
Please watch and share this powerful and deeply astute three-and-a-half minute video because Jones’ analysis of the pathology of the GOP, authentically arrived at through personal experience of their vile tactics, is both brilliant and 100% correct. In it he says that the GOP must be dealt with – not by appeasement because they are unappeasable, but by standing up strong for progressive values and not backing down. The sooner we all figure this out and help our Democratic leaders figure it out, the better our chances for political and actual survival will be.