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Posts Tagged ‘government’

Hi little girl, it’s me – don’t you know who I am?health
I met you last summer when I came up to stay with my Gram
I’m the guy-uy-uy who left you with tears in his eyes
You didn’t answer my letters, so I figured it was just a li-i-i-i-ie

“Girl Don’t Tell Me” – The Beach Boys


The health care debate has so many moving parts that it’s hard for anybody to keep them straight. So we decided to put together an overview of where we’re at—both good and bad—and what we’re all going to need to keep fighting for.

Neither of these bills is close to perfect. But we’re entering the home stretch where we risk losing a lot of what’s good in these bills and where we have a huge opportunity to strengthen the parts that need work.

Here’s where we are:

The House of Representatives passed their bill last month. The Senate is aiming to pass its version before Christmas.

Overall, both pieces of legislation would do four major things:

* Create a “Health Insurance Exchange.” The bills create a one-stop marketplace where people can choose from various insurance plans, including the public option. The details aren’t set yet, but initially the Exchange would likely be open to the self-employed, people without insurance at work, and small businesses.1 The key with the Exchange is that it brings “the bargaining power and scale that’s generally accessible only to large employers” to individuals—and with that, lower costs and better options.2

* Provide insurance to over 30 million more people. The House bill would expand coverage to 36 million people by 2019. The Senate bill extends coverage to 31 million.3

* Outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and gender. Insurance companies will have to stop denying coverage to people with “pre-existing conditions.” And they won’t be allowed to charge women more than men for the same coverage.4

* Eliminate coverage limits and price-gouging. The bills differ on some details, but in general would place limits on how much people have to pay for health care beyond their premiums. They both cap out-of-pocket costs and ban insurance companies from setting limits on how much health care they’ll cover for a person each year.5

batgirl

Of course, the devil is in the details, and much in these bills still needs work.

Here’s what still needs to be fixed:

* Both bills leave millions uninsured. The House bill leaves 18 million without insurance in 2019; the Senate bill, 24 million. Neither comes close to the vision for universal coverage so many of us fought for for years. We’ll all need to fight to continue to expand coverage in the bills this year, and in the years to come.6

* The Senate public option is weak, and conservatives are pushing to make it weaker. The public option is a core piece of reform that will create real accountability and competition for private insurance—and that’s why it’s at the center of such a huge fight. While the House bill creates a national public option, the Senate lets states opt out, denying their residents access to it. Plus, conservatives are working to weaken it even more. We’re all going to have to fight hard for the strongest version possible.7

* Many reforms don’t start quickly enough. While some pieces of reform go into effect right away, the larger structural changes are not scheduled to go into effect until 2013 (House bill) or 2014 (Senate bill). This includes the Exchange, the public option, and subsidies—the major ways coverage will be expanded.8

* Required insurance could still be too expensive for many. Both bills require virtually all Americans to have insurance. But the caps on how much we’re expected to pay are way too high, and the subsidies are way too low. Many progressives are working to fix this, but it’s going to be a significant fight.9

* Reproductive rights are severely restricted in the House bill. An egregious anti-choice amendment in the bill virtually prohibits anyone purchasing insurance in the Exchange from buying a plan that covers abortion—even if paid for with their own money. We need to make sure the final bill doesn’t include this rollback of reproductive rights.10

* The Senate bill could discriminate against lower income workers. The current Senate legislation retains a version of what’s called the “free rider” provision, which essentially penalizes employers for hiring lower income workers. This provision needs to be fixed before the bill is finalized.11

There’s a lot going on in these bills, and we’re all going to need to be vigilant to ensure the good pieces end up in the final bill, and the bad ones are fixed. It’s going to be a rocky ride. But if we fight together, we’ll come out stronger in the end.

Sources:

1. “A Health Insurance Exchange: The Fine Print,” The New York Times, August 20, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85241&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=3

“Health Reform at a Glance: The Health Insurance Exchange,” House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor, July 14, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85665&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=4

2. “Health Insurance Exchanges: The Most Important, Undernoticed Part of Health Reform,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85664&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=5

3. “H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act,” Congressional Budget Office, November 20, 2009

http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10741

“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Congressional Budget Office, November 18, 2009

http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10731

4. “Top 10 Ways Health Insurance Reform Works for You,” The Speaker of the House, October 29, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85669&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=6

“How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Your Family,” Senate Democratic Policy Committee

http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc-responsiblereform.cfm

“Meeting Women’s Health Care Needs,” The Speaker of the House

http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/legislation?id=0327

“Reports on Health Insurance Reform—Women,” Senate Democratic Policy Committee

http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc-responsiblereform.cfm

5. “Top 10 Ways Health Insurance Reform Works for You,” The Speaker of the House, October 29, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85669&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=7

“How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Your Family,” Senate Democratic Policy Committee

http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc-responsiblereform.cfm

6. “H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act,” Congressional Budget Office, November 20, 2009

http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10741

“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Congressional Budget Office, November 18, 2009

http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10731

“REPORT: How the Senate Bill Compares to Other Reform Legislation,” Think Progress, November 19, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85670&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=8

7. “Sen. Reid Announces ‘Opt Out’ Public Plan,” The New York Times, October 26, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85673&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=9

“Carper: Conservative Democrats Not Likely To Support Senate Public Option,” Talking Points Memo, November 17, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85675&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=10

8. “Top 14 Provisions That Take Effect Immediately,” The Speaker of the House

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85676&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=11

“What happens before 2014?” The Washington Post, November 19, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85677&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=12

“Senate, House Democratic health bills compared,” The Associated Press, November 18, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85667&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=13

9. “The Details of The New Merged Senate Bill,” Think Progress, November 18, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85668&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=14

“REPORT: How the Senate Bill Compares to Other Reform Legislation,” Think Progress, November 19, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85670&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=15

“Analysis: How the Senate health care bill stacks up with the House health care bill,” Think Progress, November 19, 2009

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/11/19/senate-house-comparison/

10. “The Ban on Abortion Coverage,” The New York Times, November 9, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/opinion/10tue1.html

11. “The noxious ‘free rider’ provision,” The Washington Post, November 25, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85671&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=16

“Senate Health Bill Improves Employer Responsibility Provision,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 19, 2009

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3003

“The Baucus Bill: The Worst Policy in the Bill, and Possibly in the World,” The Washington Post, September 16, 2009

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85672&id=18172-11381997-6Gfo9tx&t=17

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CNN has a “quick vote” poll on its homepage, dealing with the recent bailout fiasco. The quick vote stays on the page for twenty four hours then switches to another topic. Here’s the link and thanks for voting!

http://www.cnn.com

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CNN has a “quick vote” poll on its homepage, dealing with the recent bailout fiasco. The quick vote stays on the page for twenty four hours then switches to another topic. Here’s the link and thanks for voting!

http://www.cnn.com

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Some of you asked me to place another link for another poll. The last was about Sarah Palin . This is the CNN poll on whether the Friday debate should go on. It’s not scientific but worth noting!

Here’s the link http://www.cnn.com/

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From Deepak Chopra September 5th, 2008. This article has given me a lot to ponder when it comes to the “energy” of this election. I know there will many eyebrows raised on this one.

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

–Small town values — a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.

–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.

–”Reform”an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

–Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.

 

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama’s call for higher ideals in politics can’t be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow — we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

 

 

“This election is not about me…

It’s about you.” -Barack Obama

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From Deepak Chopra September 5th, 2008. This article has given me a lot to ponder when it comes to the “energy” of this election. I know there will many eyebrows raised on this one.

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

–Small town values — a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.

–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.

–”Reform”an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

–Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.

 

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama’s call for higher ideals in politics can’t be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow — we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

 

 

“This election is not about me…

It’s about you.” -Barack Obama

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It seems that some of the Palinmania has died down. There are many who earnestly back her and many who don’t. So… I invite you to participate in the PBS/NOW poll. It should prove to be interesting…

http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html

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