Bill Clinton’s 100 Percent Correct on Obamacare

October 6, 2016

By Karen

Bill Clinton’s catching hell for calling a certain aspect of the Affordable Care Act — NOT the whole program, mind you — “the craziest thing in the world.” And this is what he said (quotes taken from CNN)…

“But there is a group of people — mostly small business owners and employees — who make just a little too much money to qualify for Medicaid expansion or for the tax incentives who can’t get affordable health insurance premiums in a lot of places. And the reason is they’re not in big pools,” Clinton said. “So they have no bargaining power.”

“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world,” Clinton said.

I’m EXACTLY who he’s talking about. I’m a sole proprietor with individual health insurance, and I earn a little too much to qualify for any subsidy from the ACA.

In the past two years, my premium has gone up 52%. I’m still three years short of qualifying for Medicare, so I just dug into savings and paid off my mortgage because I fully expect my health insurance premium to become so crushing, I won’t be able to continue paying both.

Trump, of course, is cherry-picking Clinton’s statements as agreement with Republicans. That’s because Trump doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. All Trump’s said is he’d replace Obamacare with “something terrific.”

But Bill Clinton is spot-on about the ACA’s biggest weakness. I thank him for bringing it into the conversation.

Hillary favors adding a “public option,” but as long as greedy private insurers continue to gorge themselves at this trough, raising premiums AND collecting government subsidies, Americans will continue being screwed while having unaffordable access to healthcare.

The ONLY solution is a single-payer system — Medicare for all — with EVERYONE (including employers if they keep offering coverage to employees) paying into one central, not-for-profit pot. Done right, it would eliminate copays and deductibles. These are the additional costs that become deal-breakers when piled onto already-high premiums.

We’d ALL come out ahead in the long run.

Healthcare: Let the Quibbling Begin

March 31, 2010

By Yul

The health insurance industry went very quiet when Obama signed the new reform bill — because they were busy looking for loopholes. Not surprisingly, they immediately found one.

To end the heinous practice of denying children coverage for “pre-existing” conditions such as being chubby babies, Congress thought their bill required insurers to accept, beginning on September 23, all children for coverage under their parents’ plan.

The insurers took that to mean they could deny whole families coverage if they have a child with medical conditions. Or, if they do cover the family, they could THEN deny claims for anything related to the child’s conditions.

See where this is going, folks? And this is just the beginning. That bill is 2,400 pages long.

Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to that lobbyist snake, Karen Ignani, head of America’s Health Insurance Plans, basically telling insurers to cut the crap. I think it’s the beginning of a long correspondence as insurers leave no page of the bill unturned, seeking ways to bilk consumers and make Congress look even more inept.

Ironically, the Richmond Times-Dispatch placed right beside this news item an advertisement by Anthem (WellPoint), inviting people with a history of health problems who can’t get insurance anywhere else to apply for theirs through an “open enrollment program.”

The next sentence says, “Waiting periods for past or present health conditions may apply.”

Yeah, right. They’ll wait until you die before they pay a penny for whatever care you need health insurance to cover.

And Obama and Congress are giving the insurers until 2014 to keep this up.

On another front, the city of Houston has a budget shortfall, so the mayor decided to raise health insurance premiums on city retirees who are under age 65 by about 50% on May 1. It puts a new spin on Obama’s assurance that “you can keep the insurance you have,” doesn’t it?

Without a public option, he’s left these people no choice. They’re screwed.

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…


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.

Oslo to Obama: No Pressure!

October 11, 2009

By Yul

Nobody saw it coming — Norwegians putting Obama’s feet to the fire with a tongue-in-cheek Nobel Peace Prize. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to see my fellow black cat win a prize, but that one? For what?

It’s still business as usual in Iraq, and if Obama heeds his generals, things are about to take an ugly turn in Afghanistan.

For a change, everyone seems to agree on one thing: Obama was recognized mainly for not being George W. Bush. On the other hand, the day the Nobel was announced, we hauled off and bombed the moon.

Looking for ice. Yeah, whatever.

Obama is increasingly much talk, little action. Just ask gays. Or people waiting for deliverance from the scourge of private health insurers. On that score, Obama hasn’t just taken a backseat to Congress, he’s locked himself in the trunk. It’s become blatantly obvious that health insurance “reform” is all about protecting insurers’ precious profits. Any change that would actually reduce cost and waste — the private option, expanding Medicare, single payer — is DOA.

But will Obama be able to end Bush and Cheney’s wars? Will he de-nuke Ahmadinejad and get the Middle East to accept Israel? Will he ever get Americans to stop screaming and making themselves look foolish to the rest of the world?

I’m guessing not, and Obama will someday be hiding the Prize in a closet, but you have to applaud Norway’s off-beat way of reminding our president that talk is cheap and results would be nice.

Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Healthcare Speech

September 10, 2009

By Karen

“I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. … Not this time. Not now.”

Obama said many things right, but tip-toed around the sacred cow in health reform: insurance company profits. He vowed to cut “waste” elsewhere, but the hundreds of billions we squander each year on insurance industry profit is the biggest waste of all.

By ignoring the only viable, affordable solution — single payer — and even waffling on the public option to appease Republicans, Obama would throw us to the lions, using tax penalties as a threat to make us all customers of private insurers.

It was great when Obama smacked down as “a lie, pure and simple,” Sarah Palin’s preposterous assertion that he’s proposing death panels. But I doubt we’ll ever see the day when all insurers cover preventive care, don’t exclude pre-existing conditions, don’t cap lifetime benefits, don’t cancel people on a loophole when they get sick, and don’t limit out-of-pocket expenses.

All these things would erode insurance profits. And now that Obama’s given away the rest of the farm on reform, these are the next items undoubtedly headed to the chopping block as Congress continues trying to keep insurers happy.

For Obama to claim that establishing “exchanges” will suddenly make us be treated fairly by the very companies that ritually fleece us, he’s just playing us for fools. As fast as Congress dreams up laws to curb insurer abuses, insurers will find workarounds, just like credit card issuers are doing.

Americans are being set up to get screwed like never before.

We need to forget about health insurance reform and refocus on healthcare. Health insurance is an obsolete concept, the main obstacle to care. As long as our president refuses to face this fact, which is known by every other country that provides healthcare to every citizen without a vast insurance bureaucracy, we’ll never solve this problem in the U.S. and people will continue to go bankrupt and die.

Scowling Republicans, sitting on their hands like a bunch of brats during Obama’s speech, demonstrated that they value human life as little as the terrorists they love to vilify. Such closed minds should forfeit any role in a fix, and I hope Obama follows through on this promise:

“I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it. If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution.”

But I’m wondering just how little change Obama will eventually settle for and call it a solution.

To: Health Insurance Reform Opponents

August 12, 2009

By Yul

Obama has stumbled into a vortex of insanity while battling the forces of greed in healthcare. To anyone who has, or plans to, act up at town hall meetings, let’s talk about you for a minute…

Since you don’t think anybody needs affordable health insurance, I’m guessing you already have it yourself. And you got it at work. And your employer negotiated with a few insurance companies, without any help from you, to get the best deal. Then it was handed to you.

You had no say in picking your insurer. Oh, sure, you may have been given a couple of choices, but your employer made the choices.

Lots of companies choose HMOs because they’re cheaper, but only if you see doctors in the network. So you don’t really get to choose any doctor without paying through the nose out-of-network.

Since your employer probably subsidizes your premium to keep you from going into sticker shock, you mooch off someone else to avoid paying full price.

If you’re young and healthy, you may not realize this yet, but your insurance doesn’t cover everything. Just wait until you get real sick and your doctor recommends some promising, yet still experimental, treatment that could probably save your life. Your insurer will probably deny the claim — ration your care.

So what’s your beef with Obama trying to help others get decent healthcare through the government without all the games? Unlike you, they’d pay for it entirely themselves, and insurance companies wouldn’t have power over life or death.

You must be a special kind of stupid if you think anybody in Washington is cooking up “Death Panels” or planning to euthanize old people. Those ideas might have floated in the PREVIOUS administration, when life was cheap. Remember? It’s no coincidence that the people spreading these incredible lies worshipped the last administration.

Unless you have dealt directly with an insurance company to buy your own policy, and you pay for it entirely on your own, you have no clue what this debate is all about. You’re a sheep taking marching orders from liars and revealing yourself to be ignorant, selfish, and cruel.

In the end, you won’t win. Evil never does. This fix needs to happen.

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.

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