Its about people and issues I care about.
- Name: Juliana Maine Writer
- Location: Topsham, Maine, United States
Non-profit Health Care Administrator and Registered Nurse. B.S. with a major in Nursing and Masters in Health Services Administration. I grew up in Baltimore (Dundalk), Maryland. http://davidrcrews2.blogspot.com/ Therefore, I continue to root for the Baltimore Orioles despite protests from my Boston Red Sox neighbors. My husband of 40 years is retired Navy, and I was a Navy Wife for thirteen years (my husband Richard retired after 23 years). We love living in Maine in the summertime, but we're always preparing for another winter. If you would like to comment on any of my blogs please send me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I publish all comments, uncensored, relevant to the content of the blog. I look forward to hearing from you. If you are interested in my list server Friends-L please contact me at email@example.com and put list server in the subject line. I hope to hear from you.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Ryan's Pinocchio Nose - New York Times Digests His Speech and We All Throw Up
It's loaded with lies, but the rapture infected partisan audience bought every word.
Labels: Paul Ryan lies
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Mrs. Ann Romney - Nice Speech, Pretty Dress
Although Mrs. Ann Romney is a lovely appearing lady, who picked a perfectly coiffed red dress for her anticipated speech at the Republican National Convention last evening, August 28, in Tampa, she looked better than she delivered.
If substance were measured in looks, she'd get a 10, but not if I were listening to her on the radio.
Like the song in "Chorus Line", Mrs. Romney got "Looks 10" but, substance, "3"
Sasha Issenber writes in "Slate":
"...Ann.. seemed to miss the mark... because (her speech) was free of revealing anecdote"...
Quote from Mrs. Romney's speech:
"I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a 'storybook marriage,' Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once."
Labels: Ann Romney
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Republicans: "F" in Science and Proud
|"I regret that my poor choice of words caused some people to understand what I was saying"|
Moreover, they're evidently proud of it, because no accredited college or university would claim Creationism as being anything other than Biblical legend.
Ann McFeatters writes how the Republicans are now an anti-science party. http://www.salemnews.com/opinion/x321548065/McFeatters-Why-are-Republicans-anti-science
"For a nation that values the traditional science and technology edge over most of the world, it's astonishing that so many Republican politicians treat science as unproven theory or disregard it completely," writes McFeatters.
Anti-science thinking was once corralled into the concrete belief in Creationism over Evolution, about how God created man. Now, newly concocted theories about conception have entered this anti science curricula.
Former Republican Presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee proudly raised his hand when a debate moderator asked who, on the panel, disagreed with evolution?
Reporting in a Oct. 23, 2007, "Salon", http://www.salon.com/2007/10/23/huckabee_3/:
Johnathan Alter said Huckabee “raised his hand in a debate when the candidates were asked en masse if they believed in intelligent design.”
Wait, there's more!
Now, Missouri Congressman & Senatorial candidate Todd Akin is, thankfully, cut off by his own party faithful after expressing a nutty belief about women having weird magical power over their reproductive system, during the assault of a rape. Akin even used the neologism "legitimate" rape while re-inventing women's physiology.
A New York Times report by John Eligon and Michael Schwirtz:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/us/politics/todd-akin-provokes-ire-with-legitimate-rape-comment.html
"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — ....Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called 'legitimate rape,' women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy."
Missouri legislative Democratic minority leader Mike Talboy, said that he had spoken to members of both parties about Mr. Akin’s comments and had found uniform outrage. “Nobody has defended him,” Mr. Talboy said. “That, I think, is pretty telling.”
Fact: There's simply no way the earth was created in 7 days, or years or months. Fact: Women have zero ability to physiologically prevent a rape forced pregnancy.
Another horrible specter of past unscientific thinking, bringing shudders to my skin, is right wing zealots who might even re-invent eugenics. Given the scientific ignorance evident in Creationism and reproductive physiology, anything else is possible.
Republicans who refuse to consider cuts to defense spending are eager to jump on "stimulus money" or "entitlements". This ideation comes from the same magical thinking as those among them who believe in Creationism or reproductive magic.
Fact: defense spending comes from the same revenues as entitlements! Defense spending is stimulus for the friends of Republicans who own big corporations while entitlements help the middle class.
It's time Republican magical thinkers join the 21st century.
We've sent men to the moon, there's a tech-speaking rover named "Curiosity" roaming around on Mars, but Republicans, like Huckabee, insist that evolution didn't happen and Akin says women can physiologically prevent pregnancy during a rape.
Americans should demand to see the college degrees from both Huckabee and Akin, before allowing either one of them to take any future oaths for political office.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Building America Forward
"...money in politics is not so much (the problem)...as it is who pays (and) what they get in return, and how that affects public policy and spending priorities. Common Cause is working diligently to expose the role of special interests and promote reforms that put democracy back in the hands of 'we the people'."
Americans need to wake up to the reality of money, rather than voters, being in charge. Why do rich moguls want to own American politicians? There must be a payback. I submit, the payback is an insatiable need to increase the wealth of the rich on the backs of the middle class.
Voters will eventually realize how our politics is becoming less democratic. Instead, wealthy moguls like the conservative rich Koch brothers and others, are buying our candidates. Wealthy GOP contributors with a vested interest in the outcome of the Presidential election will buy their position of tax cuts, for the rich, while they know, full well, the middle class will pay the bills of running government.
American middle class voters have a lot to loose if Romney is elected President. Voters who buy into the myth that the American dream is built entirely on individual ingenuity will ignore the progress of past initiatives that built the standard of living enjoyed in America today. Investments in infrastructure, education, national security, innovative technologies and, yes, safety net programs are part of the American dream. Our collective American social consciousness has developed because government programs have been there for those of us who have grown to appreciate the value of our tax investments.
Governor Mitt Romney has not captured enthusiasm with middle class voters, but his campaign would be absolutely nothing and going nowhere without the venom of right wing extremists, who want to dismantle progressive government. Many of these extremists happen to be rich men with greed as an agenda.
We cannot change America for the better by dismantling or recreating past progress. Building America forward requires improvements on progressive policies of the past, rather than concocting ways to dismantle past political accomplishments.
If rich moguls like the Koch brothers and other right wing wealthy conservative are paying for political candidates, it's time they stand before our nation and explain their motives. Why do they invest in candidates, like they're expensive thoroughbred race horses? The kick back is most likely greed motivated.
Electing a Romney administration will put rich moguls in charge of America. These un-elected men are not interested in building our nation forward, but, rather, appear focused on dismantling our progressive past.
It's essential we re-elect President Obama for the sake of putting voters in charge of elections and validating the progress of past efforts to support the middle class.
Labels: middle class
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Is Cardinal Dolan an Apologist for Republican Social Policies?
Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, agreed to lead a prayer at the close of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. I believe the Democrats should respectfully ask Roman Catholic women religious to pray, at their convention in Charlotte, SC next month. I prefer praying with nuns, who work side by side with the poor, the disabled, women in crises and children who live in homeless shelters, than a Roman Catholic Cardinal who appears to endorse cuts to health care and social programs, proposed by Republican austerity policies.
Is Cardinal Dolan an apologist for Republican social policies? I pray not, but, frankly, I don't know.
What I know is this. Millions of Roman Catholic women stopped listening to church Bishop and Cardinals when they started interfering with reproductive rights and strictly endorsed the methodology for natural family planning.
Moreover, mothers have been reticent, if not mistrustful, of Bishops and Cardinals ever since the scandal became evident, whereby Church leaders ignored decades of sexual abuse by many priests who preyed on children. Many women will not be impressed by Cardinal Dolan praying at the GOP convention, because the Republican positions to de-fund family planning and social service safety net programs will impact on the everyday lives of working mothers who are often caregivers for aging parents.
On the other hand, women respect the work of modern Roman Catholic religious nuns. In the footsteps of Mother Theresa of Calcutta or St. Mother Cabrini, these devout women go about their charitable mission supporting the needs of the disabled, the frail, prisoners, the homeless, women and children, regardless of how church leaders view their work as being too feminist.
Perhaps Cardinal Dolan, naively, believes praying with the Republicans will somehow help the Roman Catholic Church. But he must know how politics often creates religious martyrs - remember St..Thomas a Beckett and St. Thomas Moore.
In Italy, Roman Catholicism is more tradition than religion. Ireland has seen the faithful leave the church by the thousands, as a result of the sexual abuse scandal. Many of Canada's Roman Catholic churches are tourist attractions, used for weddings and funerals. In America, millions of Irish Catholics (Cardinal Dolan's own heritage) are leaving the Church. .http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2558753/posts
In other words, rather than see its leaders praying at a political convention, the Roman Catholic Church needs to feed its dwindling flock.
No doubt, Republicans need prayers, but they can go to church to receive penance and redemption, just like ordinary people.
Cardinal Dolan might even consider celebrating a Mass for the Republicans, rather than appear to be a political apologist. Many Roman Catholic Republicans would justifiably relish this spiritual opportunity.
Of course, Cardinal Dolan could use his convention prayer to raise Republican social consciences, woefully lacking when they demand more tax cuts for the rich. But, in all due respect, Cardinal Dolan should use the opportunity for prayer to call on Republicans to support the social justice teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Of course, Cardinal Dolan is proud to be asked to pray for the Republicans. After all, times have changed since the Republicans worried about Democrat John F. Kennedy bringing his Roman Catholic faith to the White House, when a myth prevailed that the Pope would unduly influence our national interests. Thankfully, Republicans have come full circle about Catholicism.
Cardinal Dolan is a Prince of the Church who could be an admired religious leader, if he used his time in Tampa praying and caring for the inevitable victims of hurricane Isaac, scheduled to make landfall as a potentially devastating storm. Instead, Cardinal Dolan appears to be more of a Republican apologist, than a religious leader.
Certainly, Cardinal Dolan knows how his own home at St. Patrick's Cathedral in on 5th Avenue in New York City, was built because of the dedication of Pierre Toussaint, a Black Haitian hairdresser, who faithfully gave his money to construct the first church. Toussaint is the first layman buried in the crypt below St. Patrick's main altar. Toussaint is said to have been a humble man.
Labels: Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Birthers and Racism - Appealing to Right White Voters
Governor Mitt Romney is not a stand up comic. Still, the former Massachusetts governor used a "birther joke" when addressing a political rally in Michigan, the state where he and his wife were born. Justifiably, President Obama's re-election team is outraged by Romney's failed joke.
By bringing up the degrading birther topic, Romney raised, once again, the subject of President Obama's legitimate birth in Hawaii. Paranoid thinkers, who are overwhelmingly right wing Caucasian zealots, love to harp on this issue, because it feeds their racist bias against our President.
In other words, "birtherism" reminds voters that President Obama's father was African.
"Birtherism" is racism, without using overt racist language.
But, Romney lowered himself to joking about the wasteful subject of "birtherism". But, the comment wasn't funny. Instead, it was intentional to appeal to right wing Caucasians in the audiences who thrive on racist bias against President Obama.
President Obama's mother was an American citizen. President Obama's birth is recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii, a US state on August 4, 1961, when Hawaii was a US state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama
Yet, "birthers" claim President Obama's birth documentation is somehow fraudulent. No amount of convincing changes their concrete minds. They don't have one shred of evidence to contradict the testimony of Hawaiian officials, many of them Republicans, who swear to the legitimacy of President Obama's birth record. Hundreds of journalists and politicians have examined this issue, wasting their time trying to disprove the obvious legality of the President's birth document. Paranoid zealots think all of these expert and objective opinions are wrong.
We know Romney and his wife were born in Michigan. Therefore, there was absolutely no need for Romney to remind the audience about where his birth certificate is found. His comment inappropriately raised the "birther" issue while speaking to a Michigan audience. His comment was deliberate, just to appeal to right wing zealots who continue to harbor paranoid ideation about President Obama's legitimacy, based upon his place of birth.
Let's recall how Governor Romney continues to deal with his own legitimacy as Massachusetts governor, when he claimed to be a state resident, but his residency was never clearly proven. Let's also remember how Romney's father, also a Presidential candidate, was born in Mexico.
Romney calls on President Obama's campaign to raise the level of discourse while he lowers himself to fuel "birther" paranoia.
Meanwhile, Governor Romney has not explained to Americans why he wants to be President or what he will do if he wins the election.
Birtherism is an act of desperation by Romney to lock up right wing voters who cannot abide an African-American President.
For Governor Romney to be an inspiring leader, he must raise Americans up rather than play to the lowest common denominator of concrete thinking. He should apologize for his ugly birther joke.
Of course, Governor Romney could easily change the conversation by revealing his income tax information. At the same time, he could also explain how it was he signed Securities and Exchange Commission documents as the Chief Executive Officer of the investment firm Bain Capital, after he left the firm.
Romney's continual avoidance of his public accountability and fiscal transparency is troubling. We already know Romney was born in Michigan, but we don't know why his extraordinary wealth is invested outside of America, other than, for obvious tax sheltering purposes.
Birtherism turns off reasonable voters, because the subject is camouflaged racism. Romney thought he could sneak the birther subject into a largely white Michigan political rally, cloaked as a bad joke. Instead, it showed Romney to be a pandering politician, desperately trying to woo right wing voters. It's another example of Romney's poor judgement and uninspired leadership.
President Obama's campaign is correct to hold Romney accountable for inappropriate rhetoric.
Let's vote for inspired leadership and re-elect President Obama.
Friday, August 24, 2012
President Obama Rises Above Racial Profiling
It's sad to say, but many people have overtly told me they cannot vote for a Black president. Yet, not one of these same people can point to even one reason why they have this racist belief. Not one reason.
Thankfully, President Obama leads America with steady competence. He carries an awareness of his extraordinary place in history. He intends for his legacy to be a positive exclamation mark.
Moreover, President Obama believes in his abilities to meet the challenges he faces, while continuing to project an optimistic outlook on life and our nation, in spite of extraordinary negativity heaped upon him 24/7 by right wing media and political attack ads.
Regardless of the many mega-millions spent by the super-Political-Action-Committee attack ads, hurling negativity at President Obama, his "likeability" ratings don't falter. Americans are skeptical about the economy, they express confusion about the future of Medicare, they are worried about the nation's deficit, but they view President Obama positively.
So, millionaires with wealth to spare to denigrate President Obama in amateur attack ads, like New Majority Agenda, and others, would do far-far better if they gave their money to charity. At least, by giving to charity, they'd be productive, instead of destructive, people.
Of course, just being likable doesn't get anybody elected to the important office of President of the United States, but it doesn't hurt, either.
Right now, Governor Mitt Romney is increasingly unlikable. He has made too many mis-steps by not standing strong in support for women's health, by aligning himself, like a tether, to right wing extremists, by waxing ambiguous about the future of Medicare, and for his lack of transparency about his taxes as well as where his wealth is stashed.
Surely, if the election were about who is most likable, the outcome would be a slam dunk for Obama.
I can't see the likability dynamic changing before the November 2012 election. But, I pray for those who continue to harbor racist feelings toward President Obama. Perhaps the Hurricane Issac, currently heading for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla, will clear the air and blow away racist vision. Americans with a racist bias must see President Obama for the positive, competent leader he is, rather than as a Black man running for President.
Labels: President Obama
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Counterfactual History- Republicans are Experts
If Republicans have a magic plan to fix our nation's economy, they're surely wasting a ton of money on messages that don't tell us how they'll do it. Journalists like Paul Krugman and others say Republican pundits are creating a "fantasy world of incorrect and tendentious facts"
A "couterfactual history" concept is catching on, whereby information is spewed, just for the sake of making headlines. Republican candidates, super-political action committees funded by rich moguls and wealthy individuals with a self interest in owning candidates, spend unlimited advertising monies to create tension withing the electorate, without providing factual information.
Republican campaign strategy seems to engage in fanciful thinking. Just changing presidential administrations won't accomplish anything except to change the course of our nation from a wealth sharing capitalist economy to a system whereby America's middle class will loose benefits, while the burden of balancing the budget is put on their income taxes. I can't understand how the American electorate avoids knowing these facts about our role in deficit reduction? It's our taxes the Republicans want to use to balance the budget. Democrats want the rich to pay more tazes, but Republicans don't buy into this at all.
It's frightening to realize how the electorate relies on negative attack ads to reinforce fears for the future. It means public relations specialists are earning their big salaries in creating counterfactual information, while the media is left grappling for crumbs in a 24/7 news cycle. Journalists have little time, or money, to create fact from counterfactual information.
Mega-millions are spent on researched attack ads claiming the nation would be better off with a new Republican president. Do not believe them! Just look at the candidate. Governor Mitt Romney is running for President as one of America's wealthiest people, but he won't tell Americans why his wealth is invested outside of our country. How did Romney become so rich? He took middle class jobs from floundering corporations and outsourced them to fatten the profit margins of these companies, while providing a return on investment for his friends and colleagues at Bain Capital.
Americans need to pay attention to Romney's business practices because, regardless of how he tries to air brush his magical thinking about creating jobs, the fact is, he'll be sure to see his rich friends get richer in the process.
Instead of information about what will change our lives for the better, we're led downward in a regressive discussion about social issues that have virtually nothing to do with politics. Like, where in the US Constitution are the issues of abortion, Medicare, Medicaid, women's health, rape, incest and pregnancy discussed? Rather, what's presented in the US Constitution are equality under the law protections for "We the People".
Where's the objective media in this quagmire of counterfactual information?
Unfortunately, many media personalities are maximizing the headlines for ratings, while investigative journalism is a relic. Journalists like Richard Engel or Bill Moyers are sidebar story tellers. Media personalities, like the morning and nightly news anchors, put stories like "making a difference" into their precious news time. Viewers usually learn absolutely nothing of substance after watching main stream news programs. (Thank you Morning Joe for adding "what have we learned today?" in their morning wrap up - but even this segment gets too close to entertainment news.) http://video.msnbc.msn.com/morning-joe/48415865#48415865
Democrats have been terrible at creating counterfactual history, preferring to stand tall on principle. Take the "swiftboating" of Senator John Kerry as an example. Who would believe Senator Kerry could create a story about receiving war decorations for his service in Vietnam? But counterfactual experts, like Carl Rove, made myth out of fact whereby many Americans, embarrassingly, believed the lies.
Democrats will probably never be as good as Republicans in creating deliberately devious messaging. Yet, we can demand to see facts to support magical thinking. We're also very capable of doing repeat reality checks on counterfactual history.
Regardless of the outcome of this 2012 presidential election, we must become experts on learning the facts about our leaders. Otherwise, we're doomed to allowing expensive counterfactual experts rule our elections.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Akin Won't Budge in Missouri Senate Race: Who's In Charge?
In spite of a groundswell of influential Republicans calling on Congressman Akin of Missouri to resign from the US Senate Race against the incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, he's standing on his right wing support to remain in the election. This is politics at its worst; it's a power struggle.
This obstinate decision is driven by ideological right wing supporters who want to control the American Republican Party. They don't care what Akin stands for regarding the health and safety of women, so long as they own him. If Akin doesn't step down as a US Senate candidate, it will be a victory for the right wing of the Republican party against the establishment. It's a clear act of defiance and bodes danger for all Americans, as the radical supporters of Akin want to control our nation, which, bizarrely, includes the reproductive rights of women.
Americans must come to understand this looming danger rising on the political horizon. Right wing extremists will control the Republican party by winning primary elections, when turnout is low, thus increasing the likelihood of a right wing candidate winning. Systematically, they are targeting one election victory at a time until their control over government will become powerful enough to dismantle all the progressive programs Americans have supported for the past 70 years.
In Missouri, the voters are involved in a political power struggle for control of the Republican party.
Americans must wake up and recognize this dangerous right wing entrenchment as an infringement of our rights as these radical supporters want to control our Democracy by imposing their ideological beliefs on all of us.
Why can't Governor Mitt Romney control this right wing extremism? Because, the copious amounts of money in this year's election is coming from these extremists and even the party leaders seem incapable of holding back these zealots.
It's time for Republicans like Governor Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain to bring the Republicans back to being the Grand Old Party of American bipartisan politics.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Rape and Incest as a Presidential Campaign Issues: What Century is This?
When my husband and I travel around the world, we're impressed by the attention American politics receives, evidenced in conversations with practically any foreign nationals we encounter.
Which is why the rape, incest and resulting horrible ideation voiced by Congressman Akin of Missouri is such a miserably degrading example of American politics. These subjects make all Americans look stupid.
Congressman Akin of Missouri demonstrated ignorance, like a pre-stone age humanoid, when he told a conservative Fox-and-Friends news anchor that a woman's body somehow, magically, blocks pregnancy when rape occurs. Moreover, contrary to Akin's dementia induced comment about "legitimate rape", a rape is rape- it's never legitimate.
Rape is an act of violence against women. Too often, it's perpetrated on family members who are defenseless young girls. Rape is rape. Incest is the rape of a family member. Both acts of violence should be condemned and never rationalized, mitigated or qualified in any way.
But, believe it or not, this is just the beginning of the politics of women's health Americans are now embroiled in. Wait! There's more:
"Draft language for the 2012 Republican Party platform includes support for a constitutional ban on abortion without specifying exclusions in the cases of rape or incest (according to CNN). The news comes amid ongoing controversy surrounding Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) suggestion that victims of 'legitimate rape' rarely get pregnant. The GOP Senate candidate running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) faces calls to abandon his campaign from both parties despite attempting to walk back his remarks."
Labels: rape and incest
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Blog Reader Asks How a Medicare Voucher System Will Cost Beneficiaries $6000 a Year
"Can anyone explain, in plain English, exactly what is a Medicare Voucher system? Precisely how is it going to cost me an additional $6000 per year? I have yet to see a rationale explanation that would allow me to take sides one way or the other."
Although I have not read the Medicare Voucher plan as proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan in his budget cutting proposal, the concept is predicated on shared risk between the insurance company and Medicare. At the end of the day, the insurance company will do whatever it takes to generate a profit from the vouchers while, at the same time, negotiating with the beneficiaries for the amount of services provided. Today, the amount of services provided under Medicare are paid under a shared risk reimbursement formula with the provider, not the beneficiary.
Medicare guarantees certain basic benefits while negotiating payment to the providers based upon several formulas known as prospective payment (PPS), or diagnostic related groups (DRGs), or Fee for Service or Pay for Performance, and other models. Medical care is covered, presuming the procedures are necessary and the costs are reasonable.
On the provider's side, like physicians, hospitals, clinics, etc, the services provided are monitored and evaluated for quality and necessity. Beneficiaries seldom see the detail of the Medicare reviews the providers must respond to if certain procedures are questioned. If a procedure is deemed unnecessary, the provider eats the cost and the beneficiary is never charged. A Voucher System will put the guarantee for payment on the beneficiary. If Medicare denies the procedure, the beneficiary will pay for it under a Voucher system.
Therefore, when Peter Barbella asks how the beneficiary will see a $6000 increase in out of pocket expenses under a Voucher Plan, the answer is based upon the retrospective data Medicare collects about payment to providers, like physicians, hospitals and home health agencies. In simplistic language, if the average cost of a procedure (let's say, just for example, gall bladder surgery) is $3,500, but the beneficiary doesn't include gall bladder surgery in the plan selected from the Voucher menu provided by the insurance companies, then the provider risks, either, not getting paid under a Voucher Plan or the beneficiary will have to pay for the procedure.
Medicare data knows the average cost of gall bladder surgery. In fact, Medicare knows the cost of gall bladder surgery by zip code, by physician and by hospital. Medicare also knows how prevalent gall bladder surgery is among the 65 years and older population. Therefore, a Medicare actuarial analysis can project the risk of gall bladder surgery and the cost of this procedure across the entire Medicare population.
Although I have not read the Ryan Voucher Plan proposal, I suspect the $6000 out of pocket, projected to be cost shifted to beneficiaries, is likely based upon the amount of money the providers are denied during routine Medicare reviews of utilization. Of course, it's unlikely a gall bladder surgery procedure will be denied under a review, but, certain medical tests associated pre or post operative care might be denied. On the other hand, if a beneficiary's Voucher Plan does not provide for the gall bladder procedure, it won't be covered at all. Under any Medicare plan offered today, a cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) would be covered, but under a Voucher system, the cost of this procedure would be capped. Moreover, it's quite likely the beneficiary would be charged for any cost over the cap.
What's worrisome is that the $6000 figure is based upon retrospective data and does not allow for inflation.
As beneficiaries age, the cost of care will likely exceed the amount of money they each may select for their Voucher Plan, thereby risking even more out of pocket expenses than the projected $6000, especially when adjusted for increasing cost of care and inflation.
A question not currently being asked is how much such an extraordinary change in the Medicare benefit, from the current system of reimbursement to Voucher, would cost the federal government.
Mr Barbella is checking with other data sources to verify how the Medicare program will be impacted by a Voucher System and I'm looking forward to responding to his future questions.
Labels: $6000 out of pocket Medicare
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Medicare Voucher - Blog Reader Compares Medicare D Confusing Enrollment as Harbinger
"If the Medicare Voucher program proposed is anything like the Medicare Plan D for drugs, it will be a disaster."
The reason Jacques says this is because the Plan D started at $6/month for every company and the plans were identical. Now, the plans cost from $30-60/month and have many options, like no deductible, no co-pays, no doughnut hole, ... To get the cheapest plan, he needs to go to the Medicare website every November and see which is the cheapest for him and his wife, given their drug mix.
Every year, a new company comes up with a plan cheaper that all the others, sometimes by a factor of two to three. Each year there's another "lowest" plan; he never knows which will be the best plan from one year to the next. He changed plans three times in four years. And sometimes, the best one for Jacques is not the best one for his wife. The drug companies hope beneficiaries won't do their homework and will stick with the same plan for another year, without realizing that the price changed. It's a mess, but, he says, still manageable and he only needs to contact one pharmacy with his new plan information.
"If I had to go through this exercise every year for my Medicare and supplemental plan, I would go crazy, picking the cheapest one every year, and come January, I have to contact all our doctors, clinics, hospitals, with our new plan information, not to mention the problems resulting with illnesses that overlap multiple plans. This would be a nightmare."
In fact, Jacques, who has a PhD in astrophysics, is absolutely correct.
Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare" fixed the "donut hole" so seniors will see less out of pocket expenses for their prescriptions. Nevertheless, as more drugs are made available "over the counter", the Medicare D won't pay for them anyway, while premiums for the "D" benefit continue to roll in.
Congressman Paul Ryan made a name for himself proposing cuts to Medicare via the proposed implementation of a proposed Voucher program. Yet, the fact is, he and his family can afford health care coverage even if here were no Medicare benefit. Moreover, Congressman Ryan has the best government health insurance available, paid for by US taxpayers.
Labels: Medicare D
Friday, August 17, 2012
Senator John McCain Passed Over Romney When He Selected Sarah Palin
Although Vice-Preisential candidates rarely make a difference in a presidential election, they are factually one heart beat away from being president, a sad reality of modern politics.
It's hard to believe Congressman Paul Ryan is any more qualified to be one heart beat away from the Presidency of the United States than Sarah Palin was, four years ago when John McCain selected her for the position. Even more concerning, McCain passed over Governor Mitt Romney in favor of then Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin during his candidate search. As it turned out, Sarah Palin was rejected as being qualified to be one heart beat away from the Presidency. Now, Romney is a potential president while his selection of Congressman Paul Ryan to be his vice-presidential running mate is no more qualified for the heart beat position than Palin. What does this say about the caliber of people the Republicans are willing to nominate to lead our nation? Surely, Republicans can find highly qualified candidates to run for the nation's highest office without having to accept second hand politicians.
2008: "Sen. John McCain, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, said Tuesday that he didn't pick Sarah Palin over Mitt Romney for his vice presidential candidate because of Romney's tax return issues; he just thought Palin was the better candidate, Politico reports."
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Biden - He's an Unchained Melody
Vice-President Joe Biden gave new meaning to the word "unchained" when he delivered a speech intended to fire up a largely African American audience. His seemingly serendipitous comment, claiming Romney's intention to "unchain" big banks and Wall Street with deregulation, putting our nation back into the situation that caused the Great Recession, quickly became a rant, whereby the specter of Black Negroes in chains was raised.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Medicare as a Metaphor
Ryan's VP pick has unequivocally opened this long simmering national debate. His self named "plan" to reduce the nation's deficit by cutting spending (without raising revenue) was just another dusty Congressional document until Ryan's pick by Romney launched the "Ryan Plan" into the national spotlight.
Does the Ryan Plan really propose to cut these and other important programs? Obviously, I'm not sure because I certainly haven't read the document. But, changing Medicare is a central component of the Ryan Plan. What he proposes is for Medicare to morph into a voucher system. It's terrible public policy. But, a Voucher system is a cash cow for private insurance companies that will sell confusing products.
It's unclear if the Vouchers will include the Medicare Part D drug benefit. It's unclear how the Voucher products will cover physician specialty care. It's just unclear about how much money a Voucher program will cut or cost.
A Medicare Voucher system is a metaphor for all the social safety net programs, passed by Congress with rigorous public vetting over the past 80 years, since the FDR singing of the Social Security law.http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2004/site_packages/ss_privatization/3150fdrs_soc_sec.html
Because the Ryan Voucher proposal is flawed, all other proposals in his plan are tainted. It's just like your mother said, "Watch the company you keep'. If Medicare is cut, so, it probably goes, for all the other social safety net programs.
What's most alarming about the Medicare Metaphor is the complete lack of data to support regressive social policies. Instead of cutting social programs, our nation should be focused on improving our nation's quality of life. For example, our nation's infant mortality rate is 34th in the world, where Singapore and Iceland are among the best. (Infant mortality is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.)
Labels: Medicare Voucher
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Newt Gingrich Endorsement is Second Strike in Ryan Roll Out- Iowa State Fair is Third
But there was another clue.
On May 3rd 2012, The Weekly Standard reported on Congressman Paul Ryan's Kenosha, Wis. town hall meeting where about 20 constituents expresses snickers and jeers during his budget cutting presentation. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/man-plan_648570.html
Obviously, Mitt Romney's vetting staff didn't read this particular article. If someone had read it, the campaign would have thought twice about sending Ryan, solo, to the Iowa State Fair, where he was also heckled. Iowa's popular state fair was a poor entrance place for Ryan to begin his national tour. His stand up solo was scheduled immediately after the "foiled by mis-steps" roll out of his pick as Romney's vice-presidential running mate, the announcement made on a Saturday, at a staged for TV venue, in government rich Norfolk, Virginia.http://oneturkeyrun.blogspot.com/2012/08/foiled-ryan-roll-out-whats-this-about.html
So, Ryan's first week on the job as a vice-presidential candidate hasn't gone well and the harbinger for this rough take off began with the Newt Gingrich endorsement. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79606.html
“[Ryan] has grown into one of the great intellectual leaders in this country, his work on the budget is extraordinary. It is a real decision by Gov. Romney..." (Gingrich)
Certainly, we can't disagree about the second sentence. Indeed, the Ryan choice for his running mate is a "real" decision by Romney, but it's a bad choice.
Ryan is an anti-intellectual. He's a concrete thinker who made a name for himself by putting his by-line on a report called the Ryan Budget. His plan is to destroy progressives who have supported sensible public policies whereby our Capitalist economic system shares the wealth through taxation with the middle class. His regressive policies have turned on the middle class, those of us who pay his Congressional salary.
Ryan's endorsement by Newt Gingrich is hypocritical cronyism. The two men are a mutual admiration society.
But where's the Ryan endorsement by real GOP leaders like Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin or even Dick Cheney?
Mitt Romney calls Paul Ryan a "great leader", but only if we believe in leadership that disenfranchises the middle class.
Strategically, Newt Gingrich is not the first person who should have endorsed Ryan's candidacy. Frankly, the first media endorsement, should have come from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Ryan needs to "charm" hard to become a campaign "darling", as some past VP candidates have managed to endear the public, like Al Gore or Ed Musky in campaign's past.
Although Democrats, like me, smile about the foiled Ryan roll-out, ground down by the Gingrich endorsement, the danger of a right-wing Romney-Ryan administration is, nevertheless, frighteningly real. Americans must understand the risks of giving the Romney-Ryan political team control over our government.
Romney-Ryan's election team wanted to hit a home run with the VP roll out announcement. Instead, it's three strikes for the batter- a foiled roll out event, the Gingrich endorsement and the Iowa State Fair heckling. But, before we think the team is on their way out, we know it's only the first inning.
Labels: Newt Gingrich