Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Health Care Triggers and What is Health Insurance?

The "trigger" alternative to providing a good public option health care alternative right out of the gate like Rahm Emanuel and Olympia Snowe are pushing is just cheap political cover. The ball-less and spineless politicians just want plausible deny-ability. The "trigger" offer them the opportunity to allow for a public option only under certain conditions and they can write lame options into the legislation so that those conditions would never get met in the real world, thus doing the insurance companies' bidding.

I say if we have to swallow this sour pill and put up with them making us wait, we need a good strong definition as to what adequate insurance means. Too many companies offer what they call "insurance" but is really just a discount club or coverage in only selected and mostly unavailable providers. Wal-Mart, always the leader, has figured this scam out. Here's how the Miami Herald described their coverage:
So here's how it works: Wal-Mart offers insurance, but aggressively shifts the cost onto its employees. The low-wage workers then pass up the unaffordable coverage and turn to the states. If this isn't exactly company policy, it is at least company philosophy. CEO Lee Scott, at the company's recent ''summit'' for the media, even described it. He said some state health programs are 'so lucrative that, in fact, it's hard to be competitive with them and certainly extraordinarily expensive to be competitive with them.'

Wal-Mart provides health care options to their employees and families that have a deductible of $1,000 for individuals and $3,000 for families. Standard services – including office visit co-pays, emergency room visits and ambulance services, per-event deductibles, and pharmacy co-pays – are not applied toward the standard deductible.

I got a quote from Assurant Health of WA. Here's the highlights:
Plan Type: PPO
Office Visit for Primary Doctor: $35 Copay for the first 4 visits; deductible and coinsurance thereafter; this benefit includes Primary Doctor, Specialist, Periodic Health Exam, and Periodic OB-GYN Exam Office Visit for Specialist.
Coinsurance: 50% after deductible
Annual Deductible Individual: $10,000
Only 1 provider in my county is part of this plan.

Yes the price sounds good -- $190 per month -- but what would I get? 4 exams at $35 then a 50% discount after I spend $10 thousand. One lengthy illness or complication and I'm bankrupt.

This kind of 'insurance' shouldn't be even called insurance. Yet under Olympia Snowe's proposal it would be consdiered affordable insurance and would prevent the trigger from being pulled.

We need strong minimum standards for what qualifies as real insurance that protects people, prevents them from having to go bankrupt or worry about how they will pay for a simple procedure. Something that controls costs and really provides prevenative assistance.

Don't let them stick us with this lame "trigger" without a strong definition and standard.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Animal Shelter Closes

Due to budget constraints, King County is closing its animal shelter. I volunteered often at that animal shelter and it was the best one I've ever been connected with -- clean, caring staff, vet on staff, well run. They had to handle cat and dog over population, substandard care of farm animals, breaking up cock fighting rings, and removing dangerous animals. I fostered many sweet kittens there and adopted my sweet Shepard "Socks" from them.

How do we call ourselves a civilized society without a decent animal shelter?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Who Do You Believe? Republicans or your Lying Eyes?

Why is it so uneven?
I agree with the sentiments of Code Pink but not their tactics. I’ve never seen Congressmen line up to speak to them. I’ve never seen MSM cry and beg them to show up for an event. I’ve never seen estimates that they’re 2 million strong or news coverage of their events go on for a week.

But the Republicans court and flatter the racists in the tea baggers. Glenn Beck controls them like a puppet master. And the MSM covers, discusses, and legitimizes them. The best of the Republicans just deny they exist.

It is a shame that it’s left to Democrats like Pelosi and Carter have to call them out. This morning Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan went on and on denying there are racists and criticizing Pelosi and Carter. How can they deny this? Why can’t they separate them out of the Republican party? I can only assume that they want them as constituents.

Here’s another one. Look how quick the Democrats threw Acorn under the bus after they were set up. Why are we taxpayers still paying Blackwater after sworn testimony that they are guilty of murder and they’ve been caught overcharging us?

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Move-On Did A Great Job on Public Option

As usual, Move-On calls it right against all those that think we can have a trigger, wait until the economy gets better, or delay the issue until we're not so busy.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Van Jones

I'm a little uncomfortable with Obama's throwing Van Jones under the bus. Since when does asking for an investigation as to who-knew-what-when on 9-11 make you ineligible to serve the Country? Especially when we're talking about the previous outing-spy-traitor-torturer-"so?" administration! Also, doesn't freedom of speech include the freedom to boycott?

Justin Rubin, Executive Director of Move-On had a good statement on this:
The right-wing smear campaign that wrongly forced Van Jones' resignation represents Washington at its worst.

Van Jones has worked tirelessly to bring jobs and environmental progress to some of the poorest communities in our nation. His dedication and leadership are exactly what we need more of in Washington. And his resignation is a loss to this Administration.

This should serve as a wake-up call to all reasonable people that the right wing politics of race-baiting, distortion, and hate—as practiced by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Republican Congressional leaders like Mike Pence--are a growing threat to the change America desperately needs.

Andy Stern from SEIU aslo spoke of this on Twitter:
Van Jones deserved a more spirited defense. I underestimated the traction of the attacks - and like the White House should have done more

John Potesta said:
Van Jones is an exceptional and inspired leader who has fought to bring economic and environmental justice to communities across our country. . .

Van was working to build a common ground agenda for all Americans, and I am confident he will continue that work. Unfortunately, his critics on the right could find no common ground with him.

Clearly, Van was the subject of a right-wing smear campaign shrouded in hypocrisy. Van’s chief tormentor Glenn Beck, who spent weeks engaged in vicious name-calling, retains his perch at Fox News after calling the president a racist who has “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” Van has set a standard that Beck would never impose upon himself. . .

Jane Hamsher's reaction is one of my favorites:
Now he's been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35% of all Democrats believed as of 2007 -- that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11. Well, that and calling Republicans "assholes." I'm pretty sure that if you search through the histories of every single liberal leader at the CAF dinner that night, they have publicly said that and worse.

So where are all the statements defending Van Jones by those who were willing to exploit him when it served their purpose? Why aren't they standing up and defending one of their own, who has done nothing that probably the majority of people in the Democratic party haven't done at one time or another? Is he no longer "one of their own?"

And Digby, of course, adds just the right amount of snark:
Don't Fuck With Fox

by digby

So Van Jones resigned and a great sigh of relief is felt all over the village. The dangerous radicalism we've recently been seeing in our political discourse has been eradicated with his departure and the administration can pursue its agenda without any other distractions from the kooky fringe. Thank God for that.

I would hope that these leftist extremists like Color of Change will think twice before they go after an upstanding company like FOX News because the lesson here is that somebody is going to pay a big price for doing it. In fact, it probably would pay to keep a close eye on the FOX gasbags from now on to get an idea of which groups or individuals have offended the network and get rid of them before anyone has a chance to make a public stink. It would save everyone a lot of time and trouble.

Why is this White House so scared?