Republican(s Don’t)Care | CA-21

I don’t believe the American Health Care Act (AHCA =House verision of the Affordable Care Act repeal) or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA =Senate version) has much to do with Donald Trump at all. He now understands health care for all is complicated in our economy but it is something government has (at the very least) an obligation to try to meet.

No, whatever passes the three branches of government under Republican control will be a Republican act. And if you listen to them, the reasoning for this is it will give our citizens more choice and reduce premium costs.

But here is the thing, that is demonstrably not true. It’s wishful hoping. Here is an infographic from familiesusa.org that illustrates those states that expanded and their increase in roles of the insured due to Medicaid and those states that didn’t and the numbers of potentially eligible that are likely to remain uninsured.

medicaid

And although it is not incredibly clear in that infographic as to whom is most affected by the lack of expansion, there is this (From The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation) that might help drive the message home.

Lookit, if you are one of seven people who read this blog, I think you know my feelings about how important race is to the themes and policies of our national politics. This graph may be one of the most illustrative of (what I feel is) that reality.

So, no, it isn’t about choice, it is about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. I understand no Republican can say that at this point in time as you try to pass the BHCA or AHCA, so let me say it for you.

Because as all of us paying attention know that real choice would have been to vote in the public option with the ACA. And we know what the results of that choice would have been, which is why Republicans (and a couple of Democrats) couldn’t let it pass.


In other news, there is this…

From a tweet by Mike Levin, an environmental lawyer who has stepped up to run against Darrell Issa of CA-49, here is the current margin in those Congressional Districts where the Republican member is vulnerable.

image

 

Top among these is CA-21 where David Valadao last won election in 2016. Remember the conservative PAC asked us to let us know what we think about his vote to decimate the ACA? I agree with them, Californians should.

Yes, Representative Valadao won by 13 points in 2016, but Hillary Clinton carried the District (centered on Kings County in the Central Valley) by 15 points and Democrats in the district out-register Republicans 46% to 29%.

I honestly wish that Humboldt or Californian Republicans would be on board with this. The evidence is clear, we can insure more people with the ACA AND it set up to work with moving people into gainful employment. But Republicans are not stepping up and standing up for what could be argued is a conservative approach to universal health care, therefore, I think we as a people have to stand up against them. It can start with CA-21 and finding a candidate who can thank David Valadao for his work against the ACA with an extended vacation.


More on the CA House delegation’s vote on the AHCA here.  It’s pretty simple really – all Dems were forit all Reps aginit.

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Trump(Don’t)Care…

…and Republicans don’t either. At least not about this – government’s responsibility for our commons.

If we follow their prescriptions to run government like a business, we need to internalize profits and externalize costs. That is the key goal to TrumpCare. It isn’t lowering premiums or increasing choice or making sure you can keep your doctor, the goal is to reduce government costs by decimating one of President Lyndon Johnson’s signature entitlement programs meant to stave of crushing poverty in history’s wealthiest country.

At times like this, as we are likely to see a Republican Wall Street version of Medicaid get signed into law, it’s beneficial to review the basics.


a) What is Medicaid? (image, including their advertisers, from the NYT)

What is Medicaid 1

What is Medicaid 2


b) Where are we likely to end up in the next few weeks or months? (From Kevin Drum)

Where headed


c) A Senator, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, reviews in a series of tweets images of the language in the bill and what they mean in English.

Casey 1

Casey 2

Casey 3

Republicans are about privatizing government and our commons. The drive is a natural side-effect of an economic system that rewards focus on individual profits with no means of accounting for shared concerns.

How the vulnerable among us retains access to basic human needs such as health care should be one of a government’s primary concerns, especially when the society has the means to provide this access. But that isn’t the priority of the Republican Party, the priority is to minimize the public percentage of national spending. If you do this, there will be less that their most influential constituents have to pay in taxes.

The Republicans are pro wealth distribution, they just want to continue the destructive focus of our nations wealth (and the benefits that come with health, such as access to preventative health care) into the hands of the few.

outofbalance


This is something I wrote from October 1, 2013, the day the ACA market places opened…

“In order to win his party’s nomination, Mitt Romney had to run as far away from his plan as possible.  Ultimately the conflict over the ACA is not about the ACA itself, it’s about how far right the Republicans have shifted.  The ideology that the free market will solve all problems is as much a crazy utopian dream as the far left’s defunct dreams of a purely socialist state.  Unfortunately the right wing/libertarian free-market fantasy is an ideology that wins hearts, minds and votes because it has an unbelievable amount of money behind it.  With that money the ideology can buy a narrative that turns truth on it’s head.”

Here is just one example of how our collective perception of reality is influenced with money by those who have it and wish to make sure it isn’t spent on others:

More on David Valadao from congressional district CA-21 and other CA Representatives and their vote for the AHCA here.

 

Is “Trumpcare = Choice” a Lie?

Of course it is. The true is that Obamacare with Medicaid expansion (called Medi-Cal in California) now covers over 50,000 Humboldters. That at least doubled and close to tripled Medi-Cal coverage before the ACA.

To be eligible to Medi-Cal under the expansion, your current income had to be 138% of Federal Poverty Limit (FPL) for an adult and under 266% FPL for a child. 138% FPL is $1,387 per month.

With these new, simpler, fair and humane rules under Obamacare we as a Humboldt community were able to share first rate health care with 25,000 to 30,000 more of our neighbors.

If you have family in Humboldt, it’s likely some members of your extended family are aided under this program. Remember, with Medi-Cal roles in the 50,000 range we are talking about 38% of all 130,000 Humbodlters aided under this program.

And it’s a good program. We are a wealthy society and all other wealthy societies around the globe have figured out access to preventative and sustaining health care is a right. Medicaid under Obamacare doesn’t reach universal health care levels, but it does give access to the most needy in a conservative, market-friendly manner that does allow choice.

If you are over that 138% as an adult, or 266% as a child, you then get access to private health care plans on the Covered CA marketplace. Up to 400% FPL these are subsidized and thus affordable.

Again, Obamacare was a conservative approach to universal health care coverage, one based on markets and helping individuals to chose the health care they can afford.

But the chosen Republican party line to sell what the rest of us understand is a money and power grab where the rest of us are entirely vulnerable is to contend that Trump Care is about choice in health care.

And for some it is. For those making over 400% FPL, I imagine there may be expanded choices as the insurance industry again returns to you as their main profit center. But for those who were able to gain access to health care under Obamacare, there will no longer be a choice.

Trump Care = choice is a lie because Obamacare proved that we were able to expand the roles of those obtaining health care. This meant that money was a factor and reducing funding to Medicaid will again return us to the bad old days where health care is a privilege to those who are gainfully employed or have made many good decisions or have been fortunate enough to be born to a family with enough money or love to set us on the right path.

This just isn’t acceptable in our country and it would be nice if local Republicans who get this would speak to their friends and business associates and help their leaders in Washington get this.

Trumpcare will reduce the number of people who have access to health care, it does this by removing the cornerstone of a critical federally-funded program called Medicaid satisfying another conservative goal in working to reverse the FDR-Johnson vision of America with a strong middle class and access to basic necessities of modern life to those who live at or below poverty limits. Mainstream Republicans and conservatives, please do not let the Economic Royalists or loony libertarians do this to us. Our lives are in your hands and we depend on you to call a lie a lie. 25,000 to 30,000 of your neighbors and customers now depend on your integrity.


tweets:

article:

G.O.P. Health Plan Is Really a Rollback of Medicaid (Margot Sanger-Katz |NYT | 6/20/17)

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High

(This is the forgiveness factor.  I’m asking for a high amount of forgiveness for editing/content b/c of the short amount of time I was able to dedicate to this post) 🙂 (ty)

Q: Should We Strive to Elect 53 Democratic Representatives to Congress?

A: Apparently so.

Lookit, this is not on the Democrats.  This is on the Republicans, their agenda, and how they sell that agenda to Californians.

The Republican AHCA (American Health Care Act) really speaks for itself.  It’s not something any Republican Congressman can spend much time defending except to say the word “choice” a couple of times hoping that we wont catch on, but then to focus on the fact they just did what they could to replace Obamacare (which I should be calling the Affordable Care Act – ACA).

As I was reviewing the 10 California Republicans that voted for the AHCA, their districts, the number of  registered Democrats v Republicans in, margin of victory, etc, I came across this nugget from Representative Paul Cook (R – Yucca Valley).

A plan that should correct Obamacare’s shortcomings: Paul Cook

Here are the quotes that stand out:


•After nearly two years of discussion within the White House, they forced through Congress a 2,000-page behemoth called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, by a purely party-line vote.

Unlike other major changes in federal health care policy, such as the Medicare expansion under President George W. Bush, the ACA had no bipartisan input or support.

•The Obama administration’s refusal to build a bipartisan consensus, coupled with the inherent and increasingly expensive flaws of the ACA, meant that the ACA would be unlikely to endure political change in Washington, D.C.


Lookit, this is all baloney, pure and simple.  If you have were unfortunate enough to have paid any attention to the right wing talkers since 2009, this was all about the above.  A bill that had too many pages that no one read, a Party and President that refused to work with the other side, and politicians that didn’t even read the bill.

That was the rhetoric, there was no policy to back up their gripes because they didn’t want what they might call a “big government” policy.  Their goal was and is to allow the market to do it’s thing (not the whole story, but that is the main gist).  If that means some people don’t get insured it’s kinda their fault b/c, well, because they should be working, and not find themselves between jobs for too long.  Not only that, but after paying for food and shelter they should have enough left over to pay for insurance.

The fact there wasn’t a policy behind the conservative 24-7 grievance-information complex which focused on government’s intrusion into health care and the African American President who lead the charge was made clear in the process that gave us, on May 4th, the AHCA.

What is so frustrating about this entire process, and how I can understand exactly where Republicans are coming from, is the ACA itself was an olive branch to the conservative principles of the other side.  It was based in large part on RomneyCare in Massachusetts which was based largely on a right wing think tank’s response to HillaryCare in the early 1990’s.

This is why, I don’t feel an iota of remorse calling for 53 of 53 Californian Representatives hailing from one Party.  Californian Republicans do not have the power to distinguish themselves meaningfully from the worst anti-government rhetoric and policies of the national party and the cost of having an agenda that results in policies that work against the majority of their constituents should be electoral extinction.

Below are the results of the (party-line) vote for the CA delegation to the 115th Congress from govtrack.us.  If you are interested in the raw data or can’t view the image below, I compiled the CA delegation’s votes on this Google Doc. (You’ll have to go to the second tab).

AHCA Vote

My suggestion going forward?  Listen carefully to what the Republicans have to say about why they voted for the AHCA given their constituent’s needs and find out if it makes sense to you.  Remembering that in the House each one of these Representatives comes up for re-election every 2 years.

That’s 2018 people!  Let’s get to work.   (or keep on doin’ what we’re doing).

When Republican Rhetoric Meets Reality: Obamacare Edition

Contrary to popular opinion, there is a great deal of bureaucratic and political wisdom wrapped up in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  It was a compromise bill that took as it’s guide Republican plans for health care which were written as opposition proposals to more liberal plans from Democrats.

But Republicans chose to encourage their rabid base in their hatred of either the President or an attempt at a government initiated solution to health care.  We know the reasons why, there are those interested in continuing to maximize profits or earnings from the private sector related to health care and there are conservative pundits and politicians that no good reason not to add fuel the Obamacare frenzy and every reason to enable the frenzy.

Now that there is no Democratic opposition, Republicans have to take another, more sober look at their plan and a David Leonhardt opinion piece today in the NYT does a good job at summarizing the results of many tea-leaf indicators of the decisions Republican leadership has before them. Although not mentioned in the article there have been several indicators that suddenly, now that they have a Republican President, Republicans are not as eager as they were during any of the 52 times they authored bills to repeal Obamacare under President Obama.  From President Trump’s meeting with Governor Kasich to indications that even Republican Governor Brownback of Kansas may have begun to understand that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion may actually be trying to help his constituents.
We’ll see where this leads, every day brings new news as Republicans continue their planned dismantling of the administrative state.  Something I call “ungoverning”.
Let’s stay active because we need all of us to review, digest, review, and oppose this multi-faceted decimation of our common interests.  From education to endangered species, from health care to foreign policy, the Republicans have control of at least 2 of the 3 branches of government and have made sure they will soon control all three.  We need all of us, keep up your interest and spirits.

The Fight for Obamacare Has Turned  (David Leonhardt. The New Your Times. 28 February 2017.)
“In drafting his health care plan, Barack Obama chose a moderate, market-based approach. It was to the right of Bill Clinton’s and Richard Nixon’s plans and way to the right of Harry Truman’s — and yet Republicans still wouldn’t support it.
Many liberals regret that decision. Obama, for his part, believes that a more left-wing version would not have passed. Either way, the version that did pass doesn’t leave Republicans much room to maneuver.”

Breaking: Obamacare remains not on fire with continuing lack of sharks circling.

A cartoon by Nate Beeler of Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch leads the Times Standard Opinion page today.  Republicans would love this fantasy to be true.

If you are concerned about how Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is doing, a fair and honest voice on this is Kevin Drum of Mother Jones.  He is short and too the point and he has maintained interest and coverage of the ACA.  He covers both the good and the bad news.

Here he is discussing the problem of large insurers abandoning some exchanges.

Obamacare’s Latest Problem is Real, But Not Fatal (August 31st, 2016)

And here is a couple of non-sky falling non-news stories that you might have missed.

Another Obamacare Success: It’s Cut Premiums By 30-50%  (July 21st, 2016)

And this…

Yawn. Yet More Good Obamacare News (April 7th, 2016)

Which has this graph on uninsurance rates.

blog_gallup_uninsured_gallup_1q_2016

No, this editorial cartoon is not true nor fair.  Yes the ACA has challenges but it seems to me these are really symptoms of a greater problem, our inability as a country to understand that the free market alone cannot be counted on to meet our citizens health needs.

Republicans and conservatives need “Obamacare” to fail even if this means their constituents would be worse off for it.  My hope would be that the Times Standard would filter out those cartoons that are more fantasy than reality, especially if they are not doing the reporting needed to back up these right-wing fantasies.

It should be noted that this cartoon came out of the battle state of Ohio. Opposition to Obamacare, whether rooted in reality or not, will be critical to  Ohio Republicans to get out the vote for a deeply unlikable Presidential candidate.  If this cartoon isn’t fantasy, if the ACA aggravates problems with local health care rather than alleviating these problems, then the Times Standard needs to do a better job reporting on this.  Otherwise, they are simply publishing right-wing propaganda without proper attribution or context.

 

Well, That Went Well.

March 7th
From the NYT.

Actually it was an historic upset.  Here is Harry Enten from 538 who was convinced that Hillary would win Michigan last night.

“He won the Michigan primary over Hillary Clinton, 50 percent to 48 percent, when not a single poll taken over the last month had Clinton leading by less than 5 percentage points. In fact, many had her lead at 20 percentage points or higher. Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.”

Again, the people have spoken and they are saying “hold on, why isn’t anyone listening to this guy?”

And nobody is listening, at least not those who normally would or probably should.  Not the NYT, not the Boston Globe, not Paul Krugman, not Sharrod Brown, Allan Grayson (was for her before he was against her), not David Brock, the founder of Media Matters, not Kevin Drum, not Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos and not all but 5 of national Democratic elected officials.

So how the heck is Bernie getting all these votes from largely rural Democrats outside of the South?  It is his message and these Democrats and independents and even possibly cross over Republicans are voting for Bernie’s admittedly single message of bringing back the middle class.

And this is not about identity politics no matter what the exit polls and geography points to.  I don’t want it to be, so maybe this is spin, but I can’t believe that there is a racial difference in the platform Bernie is fighting for.  Yes he comes from a nearly all white state, yes, I’m blogging from a nearly all white county in Northern California, yes, Bernie’s strengths is with Democratic voters of similar demographics (rural and white) but I contend that Bernie’s voter’s understand that Black Lives Matter, not all lives and why.

They understand inequality in justice and wealth when the only variable is race because many of them understand this themselves as they have been on the short side of influence even though they make up the 99%.

Hillary of course won a commanding victory in the Republican strong-hold of Mississippi and won more delegates yesterday because of it.  But Bernie’s upset victory in the populous and diverse Midwestern state of Michigan means that Bernie’s candidacy has every chance to last until the California Primary.

Here is what Bernie is doing and why his candidacy is important:

a) He is changing the Democratic debate on trade and making the point this is not about nationalism, it is about fairness and our government does have the responsibility to fight for a living wage for it’s people.  We’ve voted in some of the world’s toughest labor and environmental protection laws, now we have to make sure that Americans remain working too.  Not only is it good for American jobs, it’s good for the American and global environment as we produce locally and sustainably.

I also will not believe that our gain will mean a loss for citizens of other countries either.  Actually the opposite, I believe we can be a leader worldwide in becoming a high standard of living manufacturing country.

also changing the Democratic dialog on…b) Campaign finance,  c) Universal health care, d) Expanded public education and e) A federal living wage

Additionally, I believe voters are also voting for Bernie despite the polls and the odds because of the integrity of this political ideas.  This is not to say that  Hillary has any less personal integrity, but what Bernie is fighting for is the political idea that the economy and politics serve the people and not the other way around and this idea is not subject to compromise when the other side uses imagination, fiction and denial to make their cause for governing.

So when the Vice President of Donor Relations for the United Way asked during the Fox News Democratic town hall Monday night:  “How do you anticipate getting anything done in Washington when compromise is a bad word”.

Hillary’s answer was her record in finding common ground like working for important programs like CHIP despite the odds.

But after 35 years have proven that Reagan’s ideas and ideals fail consistently, the voters are proving that liberal ideas are in the ascendancy and as one example, we now we finally have the ACA instead of CHIP to cover not only children, but entire families and adults without children.  Don’t forget that not a one Republican compromised to vote for the ACA and they have been throwing tantrums about this effective government program to this day.

In 2008 Hillary lost to the eventual Democratic nominee who, like Bernie, was an elected official who did not fall for the on-it’s-face-wrong idea of attacking Iraq because a group in Afghanistan employing Saudi Arabians attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and murdered thousands of people along the way.  Compromising is definitively not a “bad word” but how do you compromise with destructive and wrong ideas as going back into Iraq in 2003?  The only answer is you shouldn’t have.

I’m sorry Hillary, I would be proud to vote for you if you are the nominee in November, but the past 2 decades of governing actions and policies remain with us today and they need to be a subject we debate.  We should be also noting that we will be re-working the policies of the past 3 and a half decades which continue their decimation of our middle class.

Thanks to states like Michigan and Minnesota Bernie now has another month or two (if not more) to make his case to the American people.


Times Standard Medi-Cal Editorial Cartoon

Fun (sarcasm) editorial cartoon in the Times Standard this morning.  The Pacific Northwest’s Monte Wolverton hits all the fun right wing memes – sexism, government incompetence, welfare entitlement.

So lets take a look at what is actually happening.  From another Wolverton cartoon.

30% of Californian’s insured under Medi-Cal.

From the Kaiser Foundation in March 2015, there were 12,248,555 Californian’s on Medi-Cal or a 34% rise since the Affordable Care Act when Medi-Cal insured 9,157,000.

Medi-Cal is our state’s version of Medicaid.  This is a program that people have to apply for and if found eligible can often have what is known as a “zero share of cost” or 100% of covered medical procedures are paid for.

This is an incredibly important safety-net program for those of us that might be on either temporary or more permanent hard times.  As Franklin Roosevelt might have framed this, freedom from want.

Medi-Cal is now a part of an imperfect but improving attempt national, state and county governments are making to insure all of us are insured.  All other OECD countries outside of Mexico have figured out that universal health care is the way to go.  Because of bad timing, Truman could not convince our national conservatives of this when we had the chance and since then they’ve owned the political discourse.  Result – we are spending way too much to cover way to few with disastrous expectations.  The silver lining is, those with money have the best care money can buy.

There should not be a stigma against Medi-Cal.  It’s an incredible program allowing all of us to enjoy what a society should be able to provide.  Medical coverage for all.  We shouldn’t have to lose our livelihood, our homes, our families if we are unlucky enough to suffer a debilitating sickness or accident.

We obviously have a long way to go to solve these problems and they solutions will necessarily involve politics, government, the medical profession, not-for-profits, consumer activists, etc.  In other words, all of us.  Having the privilege of earning a living being on the front lines of this myself* I can tell you we are making progress.  One of the big ones is for many people Medi-Cal is no longer a property-based program.  This alone is such a big deal that is not being discussed.  The property-based program was (and, ironically, still is for the most vulnerable) a poison pill that only serves to increase those aspects of the program the editorial is criticising.

The irony is, the editorial is fueling the exact attitude that lead to the lawmakers that would make Medi-Cal eligibility a property-based program in the first place.

It’s complicated and that cartoon isn’t helping.  For a large percentage of the people who have been on the other side of that phone call, I’m going to guess they have had the opposite experience, at least here in Humboldt County.  In other words, not only is it not helping, it’s not true.  I’d challenge the T-S to fact check it, but I know they don’t have the budget to do that.

* CAVEAT:  My name is Jon Yalcinkaya.  I am an eligibility worker at Humboldt County’s Department of Health and Human Services.  The opinions expressed here are my own and are only generally associated with day-to-day, client-to-client experiences at the DHHS.


Continue reading “Times Standard Medi-Cal Editorial Cartoon”

Public v Private: The Affordable Care Act

Two landmarks in politics happen today – one from each governing philosophy.  I’m actually not sure if it’s a coincidence or not that they both happen on the same day.  On the one hand the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace opens today.  On the other hand the government is shut down, again.

In the end, after all the hot air and legalese, this is about one thing.  Should government be empowered to act in society?  The Right might frame the question like this, does government have the constitutional right to act in society?

What’s happening today, on both fronts the ACA and the impasse between the House and Executive is ultimately about this question, should government be empowered to act on universal health care?

Democrats say yes, Republicans say no.  The current debate on a national health care plan goes back to the early 1990’s*.  At the time the Right deemed the Left’s attempts to solve our national disgrace Hillarycare today it’s Obamacare.  Back in the 1990’s in response to Hillarycare the Right got behind The Heritage Foundation’s plan which actually is the heart of Obama Care today.  So in a real sense the Right has won this argument, at least so far.

Of course you will never, ever hear them say that.  To jibe with their narrative where the Democrats have rammed the ACA through the process in a strictly partisan manner, they have to completely forgotten that a) the framework for this plan started as their approach to a public response to our national health care crises and b) that the first largely successful and popular experiment with this approach in Massachusetts was passed with a Republican Governor, one who was the Republican’s standard bearer during the last election, btw.

In order to win his party’s nomination, Mitt Romney had to run as far away from his plan as possible.  Ultimately the conflict over the ACA is not about the ACA itself, it’s about how far right the Republicans have shifted.  The ideology that the free market will solve all problems is as much a crazy Utopian dream as the far left’s defunct dreams of a purely socialist state.  Unfortunately the right wing/libertarian free-market fantasy is an ideology that wins hearts, minds and votes because it has an unbelievable amount of money behind it.  With that money the ideology can buy a narrative that turns truth on it’s head.

It’s a narrative you are going to hear a great deal about until this impasse is over.  You can hear it anytime you like before or after the government reopens and the ACA is up and running on Rush, Glenn or Fox.  Please don’t buy it.  In the end it’s a lie – a golden lie that is making a lot of people a lot of money all the while destroying the fabric of our country.

And, btw, it was fun to take the Right’s challenge to call the ACA Obamacare.  Well, we won the last election largely on Obamacare despite the Right’s attempt to tarnish the ACA by attaching the President’s name to it.  We  owned it for the election, now it’s time to call it by it’s proper name.  It’s not the Democrat’s law or Obama’s law.  Despite the Right’s tantrum, it’s the law of the land and we will be better for it.

Blog note:  the articles above are a selection I made from several offered by WordPress for each post based on the text of what I have written.  I don’t get a thorough preview, but often I’ll choose articles that look good and come from different perspectives.  It’s fun and easy and interesting to see how effective text-based searches can be.