No One Is Safe

Elizabeth Warren is awesome and very nearly touches on a tin foil beanie idea that I’ve been considering for quite some time.

The idea: The reason there’s so much income inequity in these Untied States of America, the reason there was (and is) such a successful, forceful opposition to health care reform and the reason the propaganda forces got so firmly behind that effort, is because medical science is on the edge of making it so that human beings can live to be 700 years old, and they know it. But the privilege will come at a cost because it is not cheap to keep a spare respiratory system growing in a petrie dish. So the one percent is busy piling up as much dough as they possibly can because when it becomes possible for their grandchildren to live to be 700 years old, their grandchildren will need to pay the doctors and they’ll need as well to pay their caviar bills for a very, very long time.

Just a theory. Either way, Elizabeth Warren is awesome.

Never Say Never

Until today, I have had not much use for the phenomena known as Justin Bieber.

Until today.

“You guys are evil. Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”

This is a quote from Bieber in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.

But remember: People come from all over to benefit from the best health care system in the world.

Out In the Truck. Where Do You Want Them?

Shingles sounds like a bitch of a disease.

Also known as herpes zoster, it is a “blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox.

You are likely to get it (and one in three are at risk) if you had chickenpox at a young age. The virus has remained dormant in your body all these years, and now, at age 50 or 60, it goes bonkers in your body. It puts debilitating, beet-red rashes all over your body and has all kinds of other fun symptoms.

There’s a vaccine. And the Centers for Disease Control says that at a certain age, you oughtta get said vaccine so you can avoid all of that mess (clinical trials showed Zostavax effective to 55 percent).

But good luck getting it.

Merck says it won’t be able to fill many orders until April, says USA Today today. Merck says it has to “prioritize” who gets the vaccine and that it must make chickenpox vaccine (both are made of the same gunk) available to children first.

Now. Repeat after me:

“The United States has the best health care system in the world. Canadians always have to wait, but that never happens in the United States. A free market system is a much more effective way to manage care than any other model, many of which would just lead to rationing and, at worst, ‘death panels.’ The free market is the only truly moral system and the only acceptable way to distribute care in any free society.”


Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

At the very same time that the House Republigoats are trying to pass legislation titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act and Barack Obama Is A Stinkypants So There,” this is what Forbes (the magazine) is writing about health care reform:

More Small Businesses Offering Health Care To Employees Thanks To Obamacare

The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.

The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.


Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.

“We certainly did not expect to see this in this economy,” said Gary Claxton, who oversees an annual survey of employer health plans for the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s surprising.”

Surprising. Yeah? Which part is so surprising, Forbes, oh ye outspoken advocate of the uber-regressive “fair” tax? Surprising that a tax incentive for small businesses to insure employees like, actually is incentivizing and stuff? Or surprising that the black guy might actually know what he’s doin’?

I’m not surprised the policy is working. Of course it’s working. That’s why I can confidently write that Obama’s crowning achievement for what it’s worth will never be “repealed,” and frankly I think this H.R. 2 is a spilled banana peel for the Republigoats, so hurrah for us as we watch them slip and fall on their pointy stupid asses. I of course think that other things would have worked better. For example, I happen to think that if small businesses didn’t have to screw around with fussing about health insurance for employees—for example, if some sort of “public option” existed—they’d be more apt and able to create more jobs, and also that more people would be more able to create more small businesses to boot. Call me crazy.

I think this Forbes column is one hell of a capitulation by one of the leading editorial advocates of piss-on-my-shoes-and-tell-me-it’s-raining economics. Whot, you mean the government CAN do something to improve the state of health care in these United States of America? Huh.

Here’s what’s going to happen. “Obamacare” will hold steady. The House may pass this piece of shit legislation of its, but it won’t pass the Senate. People will continue to enjoy its added benefits as they accrue. I don’t think people will necessarily remember this misguided effort to repeal it. But one day, mark my word, you will see protest signs reading “Get Your Government Mitts Off Of My Obamacare.”

I can’t wait.

By the way, kudos to the Obama administration for a domain name purchase it made this week. The White House ponied up the ten bucks and now owns and operates a little blog over at Purchasing this domain of an intendedly pejorative term may be one of the smartest things these folks have done lately. This Web nerd approves.

Good Idea, Republigoats. Run Against THAT.


September 17, 2010 — Healthcare reform, officially called the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law by President Obama last March. But this September 23, it picks up steam. Six major provisions will be enacted to set reform on its way.

Here’s a quick look at the provisions:

  1. Extending Coverage for Young Adults: Young adults can stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26. This doesn’t apply to young adults who already have health insurance through a job.
  2. Providing Free Preventive Care: New plans must offer free preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. This means they cannot charge you a deductible, co-pay, or coinsurance. (Note: This only includes new plans, not those already in effect when the healthcare reform law passed.)
  3. Banning Insurance Companies from Rescinding Coverage: When someone with health insurance got sick, insurance companies would sometimes search for an error or other mistake on that person’s application to deny coverage. That practice will no longer be legal. (Note: For most people, this will take effect in January 2011, at the beginning of a health plan’s new year.)
  4. Appealing Insurance Company Decisions: Consumers will have two ways to appeal coverage decisions or claims: through their insurer or through an independent decision-maker. (Note: This only includes new plans, not those already in effect when the healthcare reform law passed.)
  5. Eliminating Lifetime Limits on Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies can’t set lifetime limits on key benefits, such as hospital stays. (Note: This only includes new plans, not those already in effect when the healthcare reform law passed.)
  6. Regulating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage: The law will restrict insurance companies’ ability to set annual dollar limits on coverage for individual and group plans.

Will these healthcare reform changes affect you and your practice? Vote on our opinion poll.

So, next week, Americans are going to begin concretely seeing the changes made possible by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In fact, many already have (my Grammy received a nice rebate check from Medicare). And Republigoats are running on REPEAL?

Good luck with that.

No. HE'S the Assman.

“He’s using his opinions to try to deny care to other people. Think about it. He says that he’s concerned that the Obama plan is going to end up denying care to his patients, so he’s gonna deny care to his patients.”

Rep. Alan Grayson, regarding the palsied logic of Dr. Jackass Cassell of Florida, who last month installed a sign on the door of his practice that read “If you voted for Obama…seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now. Not in four years.

Attention Tea Partiers: The Sequel

Symbolically, many of you are complaining that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid themselves are exempt from health care reform.

I have news for you regarding this symbolism.

Today is Nancy Pelosi’s birthday.

She is 70.

(I know, right?)

Harry Reid’s birthday is Dec. 2. He will be 71.

Both of them have been eligible for Medicare for approximately five years each.

Nyah nyah.

Attention Tea-Partiers:



Congress has exempted itself from FOIA, from OSHA, from anti-discriminatory statutes, from minimum wage laws, honoraria, and probably a buncha more.

Exempting itself and the executive from health care legislation is NOT an aberration.

I didn’t say it’s RIGHT. I said it’s COMMON.

Let’s deal in facts, people, and not talking points.

Toles Nails It, The Post Eddy Board Fumbles

Toles just nailed it. Meanwhile, the Post editorial board kind of stumbles, though I think they accidentally said something correct:

But we also believe that neither party has a monopoly on good ideas. When it came to health care, the Democrats were right to emphasize the morality and efficiency of universal coverage. But the bill could have been improved with the inclusion of more Republican ideas—by giving consumers more “skin in the game,” for example, to promote cost control, or by reforming the nation’s crapshoot of a malpractice system.

Actually, the Republigoat Party has proven itself in the past decade or three to be fairly bereft of good ideas. Tweety Matthews is quite fond of asking Republigoats point blank, what has your party done for America, and the Republigoats can hardly ever answer the question. Republigoat ideas center on revering the corporate state above and at the expense of all else, and this idea has proven to be downright destructive.

As for HCR, the fact is that the bill is ass-full of Republigoat ideas. The very idea of the individual mandate—an idea President Obama campaigned against but came to champion—came from the annals of the Heritage Foundation. The “conservative’s” chronic complaint that the main problem is somehow that we don’t allow these assholes to conduct business across state lines is answered definitively with the Exchange. This bill is an incredibly restrained effort at reform. It is a conservative bill. It is the very stab at reform the Republigoats wanted to make back when the Clintons were trying to accomplish this in the ’90s.

The Post editorial board did say something correct, though I think they did it by accident: The law that stands won’t do enough to control costs. Two or three essential clauses are missing; there is not attempt toward antitrust reform, there is no public option, and there is no provision to allow Medicare to negotiate prices on pharmaceuticals. The hope is that we can someday revisit and tweak. Perhaps. But that sort of thing can only happen when the pee-stream media takes off the goggles that makes it think that the Republigoats are of any value to this country whatsoever.