Once Again, Eric Cantor Disgraces Virginia

July 13, 2012

By Karen

Rep. Eric Cantor proudly led this week’s Republican charge — for the freaking 33rd time — to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act. I’m ashamed to say my Virginia taxes pay this rat-bastard’s salary while he and his cronies waste time on the clock making “symbolic” gestures.

I’ve got a “symbolic gesture” for Cantor.

Cantor’s bill passed in the House 244-185 so it can go to the Senate and get stomped to death — again.

Cantor keeps babbling about “patient-centered care,” yet never explains HOW he’d get there because he knows there’s only one way left — and he can’t say it.

But I’d like to see one politician from either party stand up and admit, “The ACA isn’t really about healthcare. It’s mostly about insurance.”

Anybody who’s ever wrestled their insurer over coverage knows —having insurance in no way ensures getting healthcare. And it virtually guarantees you will NOT get “affordable” healthcare.

Republicans, with their pathological refusal to face facts, keep calling the ACA a “government takeover.” Yet people won’t be fighting the government over medical bills. They’ll be fighting WellPoint, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, Unitedhealth…

With the ACA, Obama either screwed us royally, or he sees it long term as the best hope to ultimately achieve single-payer — Medicare for all.

Insurers will be giddy with power once they have 30 million new customers to screw and kill, and they’ll be cooking the books like mad to skirt the “85% must go toward healthcare” provision to keep profits growing.

Unfortunately, it’s us little guys who will be driven into bankruptcy and/or die while insurers squeeze every last nickel from the system in ways that would make the Mafia blush.

Finally, insurers will ruin enough lives so Americans of all parties will scream with one voice to end the corruption, forcing Congress to DO something for a change.

And the solution will be Medicare for all because it’s the only option left. And it WORKS in every industrialized society where people aren’t as stupid as we are, resulting in longer life spans and reduced infant mortality for less cost.

Republicans go about healthcare reform like a bunch of pathetic Civil War re-enactors, thinking if they keep refighting the same old battle, they’ll change the winner. They insist the U.S. has “the best healthcare system in the world” like the myopic souls who believed “one Southern gentleman can lick 10 Yankees.”

Representatives of both parties must first wean themselves from insurers whose billions in profits don’t go to healthcare — but help to buy off politicians. (Check out Cantor’s record on that.)

As long as Washington is on the take (while enjoying dandy healthcare benefits at our expense), we’ll never see meaningful reform.


Limbaugh Saves Face by Betraying Listeners

March 4, 2012

By Adele

Attention, dittoheads: Rush says he only wants to entertain you! His attack talk? It’s comedy. The guy’s just trying to be funny!

After 5 sponsors began pulling ads from his radio show, the great El Rushbo went all Limpaw and started back-tracking after calling women “feminazis” and Sandra Fluke in particular a “slut,” a “prostitute,” “round-heeled,” and “promiscuous.”

Fluke’s unpardonable sin was to testify in favor of affordable contraception before Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress. Rush tried to inflame his listeners by falsely claiming that Fluke wants the government to pay her to have sex, and demanded she post videos of her sex life online to give taxpayers something for their money.

With prodding, Republican House Speaker John Boehner finally mumbled that Rush had been “inappropriate.” The White House called Rush’s words “reprehensible.”

Rush’s response was to pile it on thicker.

After Obama phoned Fluke in support, saying her parents should be proud she’d spoken out, Rush said Fluke’s parents should be “embarrassed” that their daughter is having so much sex, and should “disconnect their phone” and “go into hiding.”

But as always, when conservative men with rock-solid moral superiority see the money slipping away (sponsors Sleep Number, The Sleep Train, Quicken Loans, Legal Zoom, and Citrix started pulling ads, and others are considering it) Rush issued a hubris-laden apology to Fluke — and utterly dismissed the malicious, incendiary intent of his broadcasts that his listeners LOVE (bold mine)…

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week.”

“My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

“Illustrating the absurd with absurdity” is what Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Cats Working do. It’s called “satire.” When Rush’s worshippers are hanging on his every word and quoting him, I don’t believe they realize he’s doing schtick.

According to Rush, he isn’t their spokesman. He admits he’ll say anything for the money. Yank the money, he crumbles.

I just hope Rush has really done it this time — sealed the deal for Republicans to lose the female vote. The best way to punish Rush’s mouth is to keep Obama in the White House.


A Solution for Obama’s Contraception Dilemma

February 7, 2012

By Adele

Conservatives and religious zealots who believe some women should spend their lives pregnant are shocked, SHOCKED that Obama would mandate free access to birth control as part of healthcare reform, even in Catholic hospitals and with other groups that claim it “violates their conscience” to let women protect themselves from accidental pregnancies.

You’d think Obama was ordering all women to USE birth control, which he isn’t.

Mitt Romney, with his rich Mormon heritage of polygamy, with sister-wives producing literally HERDS of children, is all over this issue, calling it an “attack on religious liberty.”

Newt Gingrich, the newbie Catholic and likely practicing birth-control hypocrite, ditto.

As always, they ignore the REAL issue, which is…

WHAT BECOMES OF THE UNWANTED CHILDREN?

This bunch wants these babies born so they can grow up neglected, abused, and even murdered. Protect the fetus so the child it becomes can suffer unimaginably at the hands of adults. That’s the CHRISTIAN way!

Here’s my idea…

Like they do for unwanted puppies and kittens, establish kill shelters for human newborns. After delivery, they spend a week or two in the shelter (depending on space), and if nobody adopts them, they get the needle or gassed. Simple.

Babies born with obvious defects or any other problem that makes adoption a long shot get put to sleep on the spot to make room for those who have a chance.

Mitt, Newt, and the rest who refuse to face the reality that some babies are better off unborn can start stepping up to the plate. If they REALLY care about these infants — more than keeping women prisoners of their reproductive organs — they can adopt the stray babies before their time runs out.


The High Cost of NOT Having Cancer

September 8, 2011

By Karen

I’ve been waiting for the bills (11) to trickle in after my breast cancer brush in June so I could wrap my head around how totally out of control our healthcare system is, and how Obama, in fixating on insurance, completely missed the target.

If you’re just tuning in, as the result of a fishy mammogram, I ended up having a benign lump the size of a pencil eraser removed from my right breast.

I was just able to sum up the whole situation in one sentence, but thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, it actually took a month and 5 visits.

Total cost if I had no health insurance…

$23,629

(Not including the original routine mammogram, which was $345.)

But I do have insurance. After I paid my $2,250 deductible (+ $284 in monthly premium), Anthem paid exactly $2,945.

I owed an additional $513 because Anthem has me on an 80/20 split.

Here’s the kicker: Anthem “disallowed” $17,921 — 76% — of the $23,629, so the total owed was only $5,708.

But if I were uninsured, I’d be on the hook to pay the whole $23,629.

Question 1: If the medical system can continue to function collecting only 24% of their charges, WHY are they trying to rob the uninsured?

Question 2: Why must insured and uninsured alike undergo and pay for physician CYA, providing THEM defense against a malpractice suit? Did I really NEED 2 additional rounds of mammograms and 2 ultrasounds, not to mention that stereotactic outrage where they drilled in and ripped out a half-ass piece of the lump for “testing?”

As soon as they saw that white spot on my mammogram, they hustled me off to a surgeon while everybody said it was nothing. They knew where this was going — or they SHOULD have, since this is their “profession.” Why not just knock me out, do the fucking lumpectomy, and be done with it? It would have knocked $4,532 in preliminary bullshit off the bill.

Instead of playing cute with insurance companies and whistling when hospitals are trying to stick every patient with the full cost of running the place for every moment the patient is in the building, our brilliant lawmakers should be legislating that everybody involved with healthcare GET REAL about costs and stop the gouging.

In the meantime, we schmucks who need the services will continue getting screwed, if not by the insurance companies, then by the medical providers themselves.

PS: And does Bon Secours really need to send a letter before every invoice, telling patients a bill is coming? Is this not silly and wasteful on every level? To top it off, in addition to collecting only 24% of their original billing, they offered me a 10% discount for paying my portion within 30 days (which, of course, I accepted).

And yet they manage to stay in business.

Could you live on less than 24% of what you earn unless your paycheck was obscenely inflated in the first place?


Who Do Democrats Think They’re Kidding?

March 24, 2010

By Yul

Obama managed to get his health insurance reform bill passed, and here’s what I think it means…

For everyone but children, it’s going to get a LOT worse before (if ever) it gets better.

Insurers have until 2014 to keep their underwriters and claims staff in overdrive finding ways to deny or cancel coverage and raise premiums for adults. Before anything substantive kicks in (if Republicans don’t manage to repeal it because they believe everyone who’s not rich deserves to die rather than see a doctor), I wouldn’t be surprised if 100+ million Americans have no insurance — that is, the ones who survive.

Once again, Obama has grossly underestimated man’s capacity for inhumanity to man. The law says insurers can’t charge sick people more. Does Obama really think they’re going to lower premiums across the board, or use the next 4 years to make everybody pay what they’d extort out of someone with a chronic, life-threatening condition they were forced to insure?

I’m just a cat, but gimme a break. It takes a total moron not to see that coming.

So far, 13 states, led by Virginia, are suing the feds over the constitutionality of making everyone buy insurance. For once, I’m proud to be a Virginian.

How DARE Obama decree that every American citizen finance private insurers’ profits and perpetuate their ridiculous bureaucracy that now costs over $350 BILLION a year.

In essence, he’s painted everyone into a corner, forcing them to buy private insurance with no other choice, since he rolled over and played dead on the public option and refused to even consider single-payer.

And where does it end? Now that he’s snugly in bed with WellPoint, Aetna, et al, somewhere in those 2,400-2,700 pages (I hear differing counts), does it say everyone has to buy and eat Wheaties for breakfast? Nobody seems to know.

I did just hear they tucked in a mandate for calorie counts on restaurant menus.

Republicans are dead wrong when they call this a government takeover of healthcare.

No, the government has handed solid-gold keys to the hen house to the foxes.

The fallout from this bill has the potential to make Bush’s decision to invade Iraq look like a little boo-boo.

Bonus: Michael Moore wrote a great letter that should make Republicans feel a lot better about getting steam-rolled on this one.

Bonus #2: Just found this column and it’s too funny to keep to myself.


The Sure Fix for Obama’s Healthcare Stalemate

February 26, 2010

By Yul

If Obama’s bipartisan healthcare summit yesterday accomplished nothing else, it should have erased any doubts that Republicans are out to sink him and they don’t care how many Americans go down with him. I heard a lot of grousing, but precious few better ideas out of them.

So Obama still needs support, and here’s the simplest way to get it:

Ban all employers from providing health insurance.

Obama could even legislate that employers rebate a portion of the savings back to their formerly insured employees to help them buy new individual coverage, which would cost the government nothing.

How could Republicans disagree? They always want to help big business boost the bottom line. They also claim Obama’s plan would raise costs so much that many employers would drop health insurance anyway. OK, so let’s do it right now and level the playing field going forward.

Businesses should love having this monkey off their backs. Health insurance is an enormous expense and hassle for them.

Private health insurers will be over the moon because it will put millions of new, unsuspecting suckers within their grasp.

Granted, the workers who have been opposing reform will be the only ones screaming bloody murder. That’s because they have no clue what healthcare really costs. After they get a taste of the reality of trying to buy individual coverage and discovering they can’t get it because of pre-existing conditions, they can’t afford it because it’s outrageously priced, or the policy they buy is crap and covers next to nothing, they’ll be screaming to Washington…

WE WANT REFORM! RIGHT NOW!

That’s when Obama will have free rein to stop insurers from discriminating against everybody, getting away with 39% rate hikes, and yanking coverage away from people when they get sick.

It’s a no-brainer and a win-win, so why hasn’t anyone suggested it?


Insurers Now Out to Sink Healthcare Reform

October 13, 2009

By Karen

“Hatchet job” was Senator Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) assessment of the report just released by lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Makes you wonder why he’s killing himself trying to protect their profits at our expense.

AHIP claims Max’s plan would raise rates — by $1,700 for families and $600 for individuals — by 2013.

So what’s their point? Without reform, rates routinely increase more than $600 every year.

Obama should feel the knife sticking out of his back while AHIP’s head cheerleader, Karen Ignagni, smugly hints that TV attack ads may be coming. The sheer gall of this complete 180 would be mind-blowing if we weren’t talking about the most useless, greedy, wasteful industry ever conceived.

But perhaps insurers just did us a favor. Cornered, maybe Congress will finally consider the only means guaranteed to reduce costs — HR3200 or HR676 — single-payer plans that make insurance obsolete.

Who could possibly care about the future of an industry that just denied a policy to a 4-month-old baby for the “pre-existing condition” of being fat?

Nobody wins with insurers. When rising premiums forced me to become underinsured this year, I got my prescriptions filled by Target instead of Anthem’s mail-order pharmacy — and guess what? Anthem had been overcharging me, selling a 90-day supply of my meds for $36 that Target sells for $20.

Target initially submitted its charge to Anthem, which Anthem immediately denied, but they said I could only have a 30-day supply.

I basically told Target, “F**k Anthem. Give me 90 days and don’t tell them.”

That means my prescriptions don’t go toward my $2,250 annual deductible and Anthem wins in the end. But I’ll be damned if they’ll dictate terms while not paying a penny.

Insurers planned to sink reform all along. With a clear conscience, Obama and Congress should respond to this duplicity by establishing universal, single-payer healthcare.


Obama Signals He Gets It on Healthcare Reform

July 24, 2009

By Karen

I’ve been worried that President Obama intends to throw us all under the bus of private health insurers by mandating we buy their shoddy policies, but he sent the clearest signal yet during his press conference the other night that he really does get it.

And no one in the clueless media picked up on it, though it knocked me off the couch. They’re too preoccupied with the next hot scoop on the late Michael Jackson, I guess.

The signal came in the first words out of Obama’s mouth:

“Good evening. Please be seated. Before I take your questions, I want to talk for a few minutes about the progress we’re making on health insurance reform and where it fits into our broader economic strategy.”

In his opening remarks, he called it health insurance reform three more times. And not one hotshot reporter in the room picked up on the subtle shift in emphasis. In fact, they all kept calling it “healthcare reform.”

Here’s the difference: Reforming health care implies making medical practices, doctors, and hospitals do things differently. Yes, we need some of that, too, but they’re not really the problem. They’re victims, just like the rest of us, only trying to protect themselves.

What everyone in Washington hasn’t dared to say until now is that we need to reform health insurance. To end the extortionist, discriminatory practices that have enabled health insurers to thrive while their customers go bankrupt over medical expenses the lousy insurance they’re buying won’t cover.

Obama has talked about how his mother fought with her insurance company while she was dying of cancer. I was afraid he’d put that behind him, but now I know it’s only because he can’t speak the truth without committing political suicide.

The truth is that the insurance industry has health care in a death grip. Unless that grip is broken, doctors and hospitals will continue to squander fortunes on bureaucracy and patients will continue to face financial ruin and die while paying insurers through the nose for a product that refuses to deliver.

Let’s just hope Obama can persuade enough members of Congress to hop off the lobbyist gravy train fueled by our insurance premiums and do the right thing for once.


Washington Set on Botching Healthcare Reform

June 12, 2009

By Karen

Our legislators reject single-payer healthcare as “too drastic” a change for the country (Translation: Too simple and ethical for them to make a buck from), so growing numbers of single-payer advocates are yelling “Foul!”

One word explains why any plan continuing to be based on private health insurance won’t work:

Profit

Every penny wasted on insurance company overhead and bureaucratic requirements doesn’t go to medical care.

To preserve the status quo, insurers recently offered to forgo $2 TRILLION in future profits. That’s chump change to them. They’re admitting they’re already rolling in dough by cherry-picking, charging extortionist rates, and denying claims.

Two single-payer bills, HR 676 and S 703, languish in Congress while our representatives sit mesmerized by insurance industry snakes promising “fixes.”

The other blunder Washington’s intent on making  is to keep employers involved. That’s what they mean by, “You can keep the plan you like,” because virtually no one in the individual market has coverage that’s both adequate and affordable.

Instead, employers should contribute to a national program where workers can access affordable, portable healthcare. Corporate America instantly escapes the administrative hell of dealing with insurance companies, and employees no longer have to stay in jobs they hate just for the health benefits.

Characterizing single-payer as “free” or “socialist” is deliberately ignorant.

NOBODY says it will be free. Hundreds of billions now wasted on bureaucracy and profit will be rechanneled to actual medical care.

Republicans oppose Obama’s public option to give individuals and small businesses a break because they’re afraid private insurers will languish.

Exactly. Any industry whose success depends on providing NOTHING needs to die. The only ones entitled to profit from medical care are care providers. They earn it.

Sen. Tom Coburn, MD (R-OK) outlines the Republican proposal, which sounds fine if you think 50 new state bureaucracies in bed with private insurers are better than one federal agency that isn’t.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer lays out all the players and their plans. You need to watch this issue closely because whatever Congress does when it’s finished dithering will affect you and your family — guaranteed.


Insurance Lobbyist Karen Ignagni Stops Advocating Screwing Women

May 7, 2009

By Karen

Pro-private-insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans(AHIP) has dangled a new carrot before Congress, using self-employed women like me as pawns to kill any chance we’ll ever see affordable government-sponsored or single-payer healthcare.

Last November, AHIP president and CEO Karen Ignagni began trying to derail healthcare reform by offering to stop cherry-picking customers so only the healthiest and least likely to need it could qualify for individual insurance.

In March, she offered to stop charging ill people more, but quietly replaced illness with age as a reason to jack up premiums, disingenuously slipping insurers a means to hit everyone with hefty annual rate increases, ill or not.

Now, in the individual market where insurers can get away with anything, she’s admitting they typically charge women 25-50% more than men as punishment for having uteruses.

Ignagni now agrees with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) that screwing women is wrong and is offering “not to recommend continuing it.”

Senator Kerry, with all good intentions, has naïvely introduced a bill to prohibit insurance companies from using gender to set premium rates. But he’s just playing into insurers’ hands because they’ll simply increase men’s premiums to match women’s.

Can you say “Ka-Ching!”?

Congress, instead of rewarding the AHIP’s duplicity with lame “reform” that throws all Americans into the insurance pool to be devoured by these sharks, you need to recognize these tactics for what they really are:

Bold-faced admissions of an industry’s longstanding unethical practices and unconscionable discrimination for profit at any cost.

The only civilized response to “deals” like these is to shove universal healthcare bills HR.676 and S.703 down Karen Ignagni’s throat and eliminate all such double-talking, self-serving, useless leeches from the equation.

P.S. If anyone out there thinks you can scare me with “rationing,” go get yourself some individual insurance, visit a doctor, file a claim, and see how much of it, if any, gets paid. THAT’S rationing. We have it right now, thanks to the insurers Ignagni represents.


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