Tag Archives: Medicaid

Lies Liberal Tell, Part 6

Lies Liberals Tell, Part 6

Copyright Joseph Urban 2017,2018,2019

Lie # 6. Inevitability of Progress.

One of the lies liberals tell themselves is that we always move forward toward a better, more tolerant society. Two steps forward, one step backward. But always moving forward in the end.

Yet, the facts speak otherwise. For example, average worker incomes, adjusted for inflation, have  barely budged since the 1960s. And for lower wage workers the increases have sometimes not kept pace with inflation. In the 1970s tuition costs were approximately 7% of the median male income. By 2015 the tuition costs were 25% of the median male income.

What does this mean? A higher education is the path for the working poor to a better life. Always has been. That is how we train teachers, scientists, engineers, etc. As tuition rises, relative to income, it does two things. First, it prevents many children of the working poor to achieve a higher  education and therefore better paying careers. Second, for those who do borrow (the only way to finance the education) they start their adult life burdened with massive debt. The opposite of progress.

Take the healthcare system. Since the time of FDR we have known we need some permanent health care solution for everyone. FDR could not get it done, though he tried. Along came Medicare and Medicaid. Slow progress that guaranteed the poorest of the poor and the elderly would have access to basic care. But not the younger working poor. They were left out. Until the ACA. Which is now under attack and being cut slowly but surely. The opposite of progress.

We can look at the end of the EPA, the Department of Education, the National Parks, the Consumer Protection Agency. All being gutted . All under the control of people who want to turn back the clock on basic human progress.  Major steps backward.

We see the same thing with the unrelenting attacks on women’s basic health services. The Supreme Court rules that a company (Hobby Lobby) can deny basic coverage to their employees if that coverage somehow does not fit the beliefs of the owners of the company. The mentality that the business owner owns not only your labor, but your health care. The Supreme Court majority, which calls itself “strict constructionists” finds in the Constitution the right of a corporation to have “religious beliefs”. And to impose those beliefs on its workers. Of course, there is not a single mention of the term “corporation” in the Constitution.  The Bill of Rights, envisioned to protect individual citizens from the government, is turned on its head and used to deprive citizens of rights.

We see that new voter suppression techniques are being used to deny some people the franchise. In 2019 the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives proposed their first bill, HR 1. That bill would guarantee people the right to vote and provide resources for  that purpose. The conservative in charge of the Senate refused to bring it to a vote . He called it a “power grab” by the Democrats. The American people voting, according to the far right, is a liberal “power grab”. Progress is a power grab. Democracy is a “power grab”.

Liberals need to learn that progress is not automatic or inevitable. The reactionary forces are strong and currently hold power. And they are stripping the safeguards that took so long to develop. In the end, they want to privatize and deregulate everything.

Progress is not inevitable. 

 

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Filed under Constitution, Democrat, GOP, government, Politics, Religion, Society, Supreme Court, United States

Extreme Ithaca Liberals

My congressman, Tom Reed of NY-23, has once again started his biennial smear campaign against any candidate who dares run against him. Those of you who follow Mr Reed may remember his previous campaigns in which he simply outright lied about the political positions of his opponents. Or maybe you are familiar his lockstep support of Mr Trump. With most of his financing coming from out of the district organizations and PACs , and corporate organizations like ALEC, he is very successful in flooding the mailboxes with lies and half-truths. (97% of Reed’s money comes from PACs and large donors, 2.5% from small donors). It works.

This year one of his managers  has started a website devoted to the “Extreme Ithaca Liberals”, which is supposed to be an insult to his mostly  moderate, mainstream and slightly liberal opponent, Tracy Mitrano. Some of his supporters even show up at rallies with “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” banners.

I guess when you can’t run on your accomplishments all you can do is try to smear the other guy. To his credit, Tom Reed does have a couple accomplishments. He has voted to end the ACA a number of times, taking away health care from his constituents. He voted for the billionaire tax giveaway, to the tune of $1.5 trillion which I suppose does benefit a couple of his constituents here in the economically depressed western NY. And he wants to pay for that tax giveaway by cutting Social Security and Medicare. Fair enough.

But enough about Tom. Let’s investigate the “Extreme Ithaca Liberals“. Those of you not familiar with this part of the country may wonder why he uses the word “Ithaca“. After all, his opponent, Tracy Mitrano lives in Penn Yan, not Ithaca.

Well, “Ithaca” is a dog whistle for “highly educated”. Home of Cornell University. On that account Mitrano stands guilty as charged. She does have a BA, MA and Ph.D. from different institutions. As well as a JD from Cornell, (hence the “Ithaca” connection.)  While many would consider being educated a plus, I suppose to Reed and his supporters that may be a disqualifying if not terrifying quality in a lawmaker. Who knows?

But, I digress. Back to the “Extreme Liberal” part of the equation. Let’s look back over the years and see what “extreme liberals” have done for America. Or, as Tom would say, how have they destroyed America?

I offer a partial list of “extreme liberal” programs, all of which were opposed at the time by conservatives as being either “socialist” or “communist” or an infringement on “states’ rights”. I would like to see Tom respond to these extreme liberal programs and tell his constituents which ones he wants to do away with. Which ones made America a worse place to live? Here they are:

Social Security. Before the Social Security program was out in place over 50% of elderly Americans lived below the poverty level. And many more were just on the cusp.  FDR and the extreme liberals passed the program. At the time the opponents called it “communist” and predicted it would quickly lead to the downfall of America. Today, that number of elderly below the poverty level is 8%. Is that a bad thing?

Medicare. Before Medicare many elderly could not afford to purchase health insurance of any kind. The emergency room was their only option. Now all older Americans get preventative and necessary health care through Medicare. The extreme liberals made it happen.  Is that a bad thing?

Medicaid. Before Medicaid millions of poor Americans could not afford health care. Including millions of children. Now, the poorest of the poor can at least get basic preventative care and treatments. The extreme liberals passed this law. Is that a bad thing?

The ACA, (Obamacare). Before the ACA was enacted over 40,000,000 still had no heath insurance. They would get their health care at emergency rooms.. People with pre-existing conditions could not get insurance. Basic preventative care was denied to millions. Now, Mr Reed WAS able to get health care. Because of his obesity problem he and his doctor agreed to an operation.  He and his doctor thought that was the best treatment for him. Extreme liberals support that. Extreme liberals are happy that Mr Reed and his doctor were able to make that decision. Extreme liberals believe that all Americans should have access to the same quality of care. Is that a bad thing?

Social Security Disability. Before this program the disabled and children who lost a parent simply had to fend for themselves. When Tom was a little boy his father died. Luckily the extreme liberals had provided that his mother could get extra money for baby Tommy to help with the bills through the Social Security survivors program. Is that bad? Oh…by the way.. In 2015 Tom Reed  proposed a rule to stop funding the Social Security Disability program when it gets low. This has always been done by reallocating funds from Social Security. A fix that had been done under both GOP and Democratic administrations.  This rule would mandate the disability program  to cut benefits instead.

The Voting Rights Act. Many states, especially in the south, had laws designed specifically to keep African-Americans from voting. Poll taxes. Literacy tests. Grandfather clauses. Simply refusing to register blacks. The voting Rights Act changed that, trying to make sure all citizens can vote. The extreme liberals made that happen. Was that bad?  (Evidently so, since many states have re-instituted voter suppression laws now that the Supreme Court has overturned parts of the Act.)

Equal Accommodation Laws. After World War 2 men who fought and were injured fighting totalitarian governments came home. Some of them were told they could not eat in restaurants. Could not use the bathroom. Could not drink from the water fountain. Could not sit at the lunch counter. Had to ride in the back of the bus. Could not buy a house in this neighborhood. Could not send their children to the good school. Could not enter the university. The extreme liberals thought that was wrong and changed the law to prevent discrimination based on skin color. Was that bad?

I could go on and on and on, Food Stamps, Environmental Protection laws, minimum wage laws, worker safety laws, etc.  The bottom line is that most of the progress we take for granted in our daily lives was due to the “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” types.

So when Mr Reed’s supporters show up with signs and post websites about those “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” we might take a moment to ponder what our society would look like today without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Minimum Wage Laws, the EPA, The ACA, Voting rights and a host of other programs we take for granted as normal.

Tom Reed would take those programs away if you give him the chance to do so. He is not an “Extreme Ithaca Liberal“.

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Filed under Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, healthcare, liberals, Politics, Republicans, Social Security, Society, Tom Reed, Trump, United States, US

Condolences to Ray and Elfreda

The election for GOP candidate for the next senator representing the good people of Alabama is this Tuesday. Mr Trump was in Bama campaigning, kind of, for Luther Strange. His opponent is Judge Roy Moore. Whomever wins this primary election is pretty much assured of beating anyone the Dems put up in the special election to fill Jess Sessions seat. I mean the last time Alabama elected a Democrat as senator (Richard Shelby) he immediately switched parties and became a Republican.

So this election is, in effect, the election for the Senate seat.

A little research shows us that Luther Strange is, well, strange. He supports Donald Trump all the way.  He wants to kill trade deals, cut off funding for family planning at Planned Parenthood and of course, “Drain the Swamp” (but that is a different essay).

Luther, as Alabama attorney general, fought to allow Hobby Lobby to keep women from accessing basic medical care, like family planning services. He also supported Exxon’s refusal to reveal the climate change research it had done. As the replacement Senator for Jeff Sessions he has voted to take away health care for 40,000,000 Americans and to gut Medicaid  (which is the primary health insurance for over 1,000,000 Alabamians, mostly children). And Luther is the SANE candidate!

Judge Roy Moore, former Australian cowboy and kickboxing champion, has his own set of abominations. He was the judge who insisted, contrary to the US Constitution, that the 10 Commandments be placed outside his courtroom. (On a side note, the good judge has a personal set of 10 Commandments he carved himself… maybe he thinks he carved the originals as well). When he lost the court case and was told to remove the 2 ton granite boulders , he refused. He put himself above the law and was removed from the bench. Then Alabamians immediately elected him to the state Supreme Court.

He wants to give public money to Christian schools. ( I guess the Alabama public school systems are glutted with cash). He has condemned homosexuals from the bench. He condemns the idea of universal health care. He condemns trade. He condemns immigration, especially from our “northern border”.  (We don’t need no Canucks!) He condemns…well… just fill in the blank with any concept designed to give folks equal rights or make their lives better. You get the picture.

So, what does this have to do with Ray and Elfreda? I went to college with Ray and Elfreda (not their real names) back in the early 1970s.  (OK, Ray and Elfreda ARE their real names. I mean, who could make up a name like Elfreda?). They both live in Alabama.

Now, you could take any rusted pickup truck with a tail light out, stars and bars decals and gun rack (in other words, ANY vehicle in Alabama) and run over 2,000,000 Alabamians. And you would not hit anyone nicer than Ray or Elfreda. I mean, these folks left the relative sanity of the north and gave their professional lives to educating the kids of the Yellowhammer State. They migrated south of the Mason-Dixon Line to help kids in a state whose leaders couldn’t choose between 2 official fish,  so named them both: the tarpon and large mouth bass.

So I send Ray and Elfreda my condolences. Luther Strange or Judge Roy Moore is going to be “representing ” them for the next 6 years. A choice between an idiot and a bigger idiot. Heads I lose, tails I lose.  Perhaps there will be a tie and BOTH candidates can go to Washington.

“Introducing the distinguished senators fro the great state of Alabama: Moore Strange.”

Ray and Elfreda, I feel your pain.

(Actually I DO feel your pain. My “representative in Congress is an avid Trump supporter and all around con artist named Tom Reed, NY -29.)

 

http://www.lutherstrange.com/on_the_issues

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Strange

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Moore

https://www.roymoore.org/Positions/

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Filed under ACA, candidate, Congress, Constitution, gay rights, GOP, Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Senate, Trump, United States

I’m Entitled…A Deal’s A Deal

Some states, New Jersey and Michigan come to mind, have decided that pensions for teachers and other public employees are too costly. So, they have cut back. Changed the rules. Old people have become too expensive. People retired, thinking they had a deal. Then the rules were changed. After the game was over.

First, a true story. A guy who delivers my firewood also takes down trees. I’ll call him Luke. I asked Luke to look at a massive cherry tree in my yard and he said he could take it down for 50 bucks. That was a good deal. A 30 minute job. Luke came back in his coveralls with his chain saw and well, it wasn’t as easy as we thought. The tree got caught up. He had to take down another maple next to it. Then he cut up the trunk into usable pieces for me. Took about 2 hours.

Now, it comes time to pay Luke. I give him the $50 and try to give him more. No. He won’t take it. I said, look, you took down two trees, cut them up, the job was much bigger than we thought. Take some more money. No. Luke would have none of it. His exact words. “A deal’s a deal”. End of discussion.

I taught in NY schools for over 30 years. Put money into the retirement system. Every check. My wages were so low that, as a professional teacher there were years when my family was eligible for welfare. WIC. A college degree, graduate school, a teaching certificate all lead to welfare subsidy. Which is okay. I knew what I wanted. Worked every summer to make ends meet. But I paid into the retirement system. Every check. Social security. Every check. Medicare. Every check. Just like public employees in Michigan and New Jersey and Wisconsin and Kansas and every other state in the union.

Am I ENTITLED to my retirement check? You bethcha. I paid in and took lower wages for a reason. A deal’s a deal.

I started working at 16. Paid Social Security. Paid Medicare. Paid federal taxes. Paid state taxes.
Now I am retired and I get free money from Uncle Sam. Social security every month. Now I am on Medicare. Am I one of Mitt Romney’s 47% ? ENTITLED? You betcha. I deserve it. A deal’s a deal.

I get more than a little irritated at the “young gun” GOP governors who are trying to balance their budgets by stripping pensions and retirement plans. Cutting taxes on the better off citizens and taking dollars out of the pockets of retirees. They have no clue. They have no understanding of what people in the past gave up to get those guaranteed pensions. They have no shame. They have no integrity.

They are deaf to the basic contract. They do not believe that “A deal’s a deal”.

Maybe I should order them some firewood. And have Luke deliver it. Maybe, just maybe, a little bit of Luke would rub off . But I doubt it.

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Filed under Christie, Debt, economics, Economy, Education, GOP, government, neoconservatives, Republicans, Taxes, tea party

Time To Repeal Obamacare

Really. It’s time.
The GOP won the House and the Senate. Let them have their way.
Take away health insurance from millions of Americans.
No coverage for preventative services.
If you are over 21 and under 26. Sorry. Find your own policy . Can’t stay on Mom’s or Dad’s. Get a job, loser. Walmart is always hiring.
End Medicaid payments to states. Get those poor people off the dole. Why do you think they are called “Emergency rooms”? Use them.
Allow health insurance companies to throw anyone off the policy at any time. Free enterprise, baby.
And stop prescription drug coverage with MY TAX DOLLARS!. (Except for essentials like Viagra and Cialis).
If rates go up…live with it. Or don’t.

Time for the Dems in Congress to call their bluff. Capitulate. Time for Obama to give in. End Obamacare.

Let’s go back and start over. The ACA was a series of compromises with the health insurance industry and the old GOP/Heritage Foundation plan for the 1990s.
Obama did the wrong thing. He should have demanded a national single payer system instead of trying to save the health insurance industry. An industry, by the way, that adds NO VALUE to your health care. He compromised with the GOP . Look where it got him.

The fastest way to a national system is to end the ACA. Let the GOP come up with an alternative. Call their bluff. Of course, their only plan is to just say no. Sometimes a system has to collapse completely before it can be replaced. In this case, replaced with a Medicare for all system.

Just one more thing. Like my Tea Party friends say. Get rid of Obamacare. But keep the government out of my Medicare and Social Security !

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Congressman Reed’s Misinformantion

I  receive “communications” from my representative in Congress, Mr. Reed (R-NY) , fairly regularly. Which is good. I  like to see what he is up to.  One of his jobs as a Congressman is to keep folks “informed”. I guess. Which is why I always look for information in his literature.  And looking for information in his mailings is like a Where’s Waldo problem.
Two Examples:
Example 1: A postcard he sent telling me he opposes Obamcare’s cuts to senior citizens, specifically cuts to Medicare. This sounds pretty awful, especially since I am soon to be joining the Medicare system. I certainly don’t want the government cutting MY BENEFIT!. I mean, we have to cut somewhere, but not ME!
The postcard had a pretty specific figure of $300 billion dollars. A very big cut to my benefits. Obama wants to cut MY BENEFITS  by $300,000,000,000. Not anything to sneeze at.
So I called Mr Reed’s office and talked to a very nice lady. I asked her what programs were being cut by Obamacare. $300 billion is a lot of programs that old folks are going to lose. She was pleasant enough and tried to answer, but couldn’t.  She explained that they had no SPECIFIC information on that topic. Took my name and phone number so the Congressman could get back to me with an answer. . Two weeks ago. Never heard from them since.
Example 2: An email arrived telling me how Mr. Reed was opposing Obamacare because of the new “full-time” work provision. According to the email, people who work 30 hours a week are now considered full time. And this is a travesty. An outrage.
It will hurt working families. They will make less money. So, Mr. Reed is sponsoring a bill to make the 40 hour work week the law of the land.
I called Mr Reed’s office. I talked to a very nice young man. Again, he was pleasant but could not answer some of my questions. Does Obamacare mean that people can work ONLY 30 hours ? Can’t they work more if they and their employer want them to? Wasn’t this “30 hour” provision put in so companies could not make someone work, say, 39 hours and then claim they were part-time, hence not covered by the law? What is the real problem here?
Once again, these basic, common sense questions could not be answered. I almost felt sorry for these staff members who are forced to try to explain these silly bits of misinformation put out by the Congressman.
Conclusion: It is one thing to be against the ACA for legitimate reasons.  And back  it up with evidence. It is quite another to spread misinformation and partial, selective  information to try to undermine the law. People deserve ACCURATE information. If Mr Reed opposes the ACA, as he does, then why stoop to a low level of shenanigans? He should be ashamed of these types of mailings. I am sure there are real weaknesses in the law, but when Congressmen spread misinformation about it, it leads one to question ANYTHING they say in their literature.

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, healthcare, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, Republicans

Thank You , Georgia,I’m Sorry

Having returned from a short trip to the south, including a visit to Savannah,  Georgia, I have to thank these southerners for their hospitality. We had a nice time in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. So, thanks. But today I saw a news article that causes me to thank Georgia politicians even more and tell the people of Georgia that I am sorry.

It seems as though Georgia’s legislature has decided to pass two laws regarding access to health care in the state. While I thank them for one of these laws, I am not sure about the second one.

First, a law which refuses to accept billions of federal  dollars to fund Medicaid for Georgia’s poor, especially the working poor. While the feds are giving states 100% of the costs of Medicaid this year and 90 % in the future, the politicians of Georgia have generously decided not to accept that windfall. And I thank them. Why ?

Well,  since the people of Georgia are paying taxes into the Medicare/Medicaid system they are helping support people in other states, like New York,  and getting nothing in return. This means that over the long haul more money will be available for participating states, at the expense of Georgia’s citizens. Thank you, once again. Very generous of you.

A second law is a bit more curious. Georgia, after all, prides itself on embracing  those freedoms we all hold so dear. Free  press. Freedom of religion. Free speech. Freedom of association. Which makes the next law a bit curious. This law prevents Georgia citizens from helping other Georgia citizens. It prevents them from helping others enroll in the ACA.

In other words, if a Georgia citizen FREELY desires to enroll in the ACA it is illegal for others to assist him or her.It is illegal for others to try to make that enrollment process easier. To give them needed assistance. It is the ultimate “anti-Samaritan” law. Seems kind of odd in a state where the word “freedom” is thrown around like a frisbee on a college campus. And belief in god is spouted even more often. But, so be it.

What are the ramifications of these laws ? Well, for one, the people of Georgia will miss out on billions of federal dollars in aid. The estimated 70,000 plus jobs based on the increase in health care availability (most in the private sector ) will not be created. Those Georgians without health insurance will continue to either get sick and not go to school or work, hurting the economy, or seek treatment at Emergency Rooms in hospitals. The most expensive treatment. Costing Georgia’s citizens even more money with increased health insurance premiums.

And , quite likely, the better health care professionals will seek employment in states with a more supportive attitude towards the medical needs of people.

All of this because a handful of elected officials hate Mr Obama. There is an old saying which applies: Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

So,  thank you Georgia for your hospitality and for helping pay for my state’s Medicaid coverage. And, I am sorry Georgians.  Sorry that you have to live in a state run by people with such hatred towards Mr Obama that they will allow you and your children to suffer. It is quite a dichotomy. Such nice folks. Such nasty politicians.

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