Showing posts with label Affordable Care Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Affordable Care Act. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2017


If you have health insurance under the ACA or the Affordable Care Act, which is the same thing, you are covered by Obamacare. If Republicans succeed in repealing Obamacare, you will lose your coverage under the ACA.

Friday, October 17, 2014


From an excellent letter to the Advocate newspaper by David Hood, former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Baton Rouge.
Several Louisiana health insurance companies have announced that they want to raise premium rates for some policies next year. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are using this to again attack the law and its impacts on health insurance. But consumers — and voters — should keep a clear head and ask some basic questions.

The ACA requires companies to publicly justify rate increases of over 10 percent, and requires 80 percent of premium dollars be spent on health care, not administrative “overhead.” Consumers are better off because of those provisions, though some states like Louisiana have not allowed the law’s full benefits to be implemented.

Given that Louisiana has the third-highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, and that we rate 49th in poor health outcomes, we should support “Obamacare,” not fight it.
David Hood replaced Bobby Jindal as head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals during the administration of Gov. Mike Foster, when Jindal was drafted by the Clinton administration as a bipartisan showpiece to serve as Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Hood serves as Senior Healthcare Analyst for the Public Affairs Research Council and knows whereof he speaks.

Here's the link to a video of David Hood speaking great good sense about Jindal's refusal to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion, which would provide health insurance for up to 400,000 uninsured citizens of Louisiana.  "What are we waiting for?" The funds that Jindal refuses go to other states.

Photo from Louisiana Public Square.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


The State of Louisiana can't come up with the cash to fund the Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection program in New Orleans, which provides services to people and families with income that exceeds the limit for eligibility for Medicaid but who do not earn enough to purchase private insurance.
The population covered by GNOCHC falls within the income limits of the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But that expansion, which would be fully paid for by the federal government in its early years, has been opposed by the Jindal administration, and an effort to get around the governor’s opposition was shot down in a state Senate committee last week.
Neither the governor nor the members of the state legislature care enough about the people who will lose access to health care to fund the program, nor will they allow Medicaid expansion. This policy of exclusion is either madness or group hardheartedness beyond what I can imagine. The so-called "good Christians" in the governor's office and in the legislature need to spend time reading the Gospels in the Holy Bible, which they recently considered making the official state book. Their neglect of the 240,000 citizens who could be helped by Medicaid expansion is shameful and downright immoral.

My nomination for official state book is A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, the title of which is also an apt description of the present governor and most, but not all, of the members of the state legislature. 

Friday, March 28, 2014


Fox News and friends, including Sen David Vitter (R-LA), are freaking out over President Obama's extension by a few days of the deadline for the sign-up period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Once again, Republicans demonstrate signs of impaired memory about the rollout of Medicare Part D under President George W Bush.

Below is the text of my letter to Sen David Vitter in response to his recent email suggesting that I send him my ideas on Obamacare.

Dear Sen. Vitter,

Your recent email on Obamacare is nothing but a load of malarkey.  If you see those words as acceptable, you must really think I'm stupid.  After a bad start, Obamacare is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing.  Perhaps your memory is not entirely clear about the rocky beginning and the extension of the deadline in the rollout of Medicare Part D under President George W. Bush.
'In May of 2006, just days before the end of open enrollment, President Bush took administrative action to waive “penalty fees for very low-income seniors and people with disabilities who sign up late” and allowed “the same impoverished beneficiaries to sign up for Medicare drug coverage until Dec. 31.”

“In other words, you can apply after May 15th without penalty,” Bush told seniors during an event in Florida. “And that’s important for low-income seniors to understand.”
Republicans seem to have selective memory recall about the periods in recent history when they were running the show.  Why not spend your time and our tax dollars doing something useful, such as helping the uninsured in Louisiana obtain health insurance, rather than repeatedly harping on the evils of the Obama administration?  The constant reiteration of the same old, same old is beyond tiresome.

Thank you for your attention.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013


Another dastardly Republican plot is afoot to convince young people not to sign on to the Affordable Care Act but rather to pay the penalty. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) speaks strong words about the people in the groups participating in the scheme.
Tuesday begins a 6-month race to enroll as many uninsured people as possible in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges. For the markets to be effective, they need millions of customers, and for elderly participants not to vastly outnumber younger ones.

It’s in this context that well-heeled conservative groups are appealing to uninsured young people to remain uninsured — part of a backdoor effort to undermine the structural integrity of the health care law. (My emphasis

Their efforts have attracted the attention of one senator who recounts how being insured saved his life when he was a young adult, and who has since then watched others die due to lack of coverage. And he doesn’t mince words with those who’d take risks with other people’s health security.

“That’s a scandal — those people are guilty of murder in my opinion,” Sen. Angus King, a Maine Independent who caucuses with Democrats, told me in a Friday interview. “Some of those people they persuade are going to end up dying because they don’t have health insurance. For people who do that to other people in the name of some obscure political ideology is one of the grossest violations of our humanity I can think of. This absolutely drives me crazy.”
Sen. King is my hero for his plain-speaking in naming for what it is the despicable deception in the pressure groups' attempts to convince young adults they do not need health insurance.  The extreme right in the US care about nothing and no one in their determination to achieve their own political agenda whatever the cost to people other than themselves.

Even as those of us here at home watch in horror the spectacle of Republicans in their recklessness and intransigence risk the welfare of the entire country in their refusal to vote on the clean budget bill from the Senate, my friends from other countries watch with dismay and incredulity the continuing temper tantrum of the extremists Republicans in the House.

As David Kurtz from TPM says:
It can't be reiterated often enough: If John Boehner puts a temporary spending bill on the House floor, without any anti-Obamacare stunts in it, it would pass.

He can do it today and avoid a shutdown, or he can do it in a few days or weeks and end a shutdown. It's up to him.
Rep. Boehner, at least some of us are aware that the Hastert Rule is not in the US Constitution, and you can, if you so choose, bypass the rule at any time. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


BATON ROUGE, La. - U.S. Sen. David Vitter told a packed town hall meeting Thursday that he will support a federal government shutdown this fall rather than agree to pay for President Barack Obama's health care law.

"I'm going to fight like the dickens. I'm going to vote to repeal, to delay, to defund," the Republican senator said.

Vitter said he won't vote for legislation to continue paying for U.S. government services beyond Sept. 30 if it contains money for the health care law's implementation.
In the midst of cries of, "Shut it down!" you have to wonder if the people at the town meeting think at all about consequences. 
He [Robert Ordeneaux] and several others in the audience said they'd be willing to temporarily lose their government benefits through Social Security, Medicare and other programs listed by Vitter that would stop issuing checks in a shutdown.
Well, yes they do.  Temporarily?  For how long?  The folks who are so willing to sacrifice had better prepare for the long haul.  Who knows when the Republican clown show in Congress will get around to funding the federal government once again in this age of deadlock? 

Senator Vitter's support of a government shutdown is despicably reckless and irresponsible, and he'd be very foolish to believe his supporters will not flood his office with phone calls demanding their checks.  Vitter draws the line at the suggestion by his supporters to impeach President Obama, because he says it could backfire.  If  Republicans succeed in shutting down the government, Vitter will soon know the meaning of backfire in spades, for the voters will not blame Obama and the Democrats.  When Social Security payments don't arrive, and Medicare stops paying the bills, the blame will go squarely where it belongs - on reckless and irresponsible Republicans who would rather destroy the country than not have their way.

The Health Insurance Marketplace, part of the Affordable Care Act, is due to begin taking applications on October 1, 2013, and the Republicans are fearful that the marketplaces may actually work and citizens will see the benefits, so they want to stop it in its tracks.
Open enrollment starts October 1, 2013. Plans and prices will be available then. Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014. 
Republicans are afraid, very afraid.

On a side note, Vitter says he supports Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in the Senate race against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), but the Tea Party folks don't much like Cassidy because he's too liberal (Ha ha).  Rob Maness is their boy.  Maness says Cassidy is just another Mary.  Landrieu is a right-leaning Democrat, so since Bill Cassidy is comparatively sane, but still quite conservative, Maness is probably not far off in his comparison.  I will support Landrieu, though I don't always agree with her policies and votes, because any Democrat in the Senate is better than a Republican.  To see two Republicans mix it up in the primary will do my heart good.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney advisor, admitted that if Obamacare is repealed, those with pre-existing conditions would probably not be able to purchase health insurance.  The individual states would first have to pass laws to prevent insurance companies from excluding the sick from coverage.  Romney's plan would only assure that those who have insurance would continue to be covered.
The admission directly contradicts the GOP candidate’s claim during the debate that “pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan” — a contention Romney has repeated on the trail and that his campaign has repeatedly walked back. 
In other words Romney lies, and even his own campaign staff admit it.

UPDATE: Or as Margaret at Margaret and Helen says:
Well Margaret, once again I am going to say what the media won’t. Mitt Romney is a lying sack of shit and he wouldn’t know a middle class tax cut if it bit him in the middle of his gold plated ass. Evidently the media seems to think that the person who slings the bullshit the farthest wins the debate. Well if that ain’t the damnest thing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Romney is now claiming credit once again for the health care bill which he signed into law in Massachusetts after distancing himself from it for quite a while.  Well, kinda, sorta....  With each new day one wonders what will be Romney's position du jour on the various issues.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Last week, Romney's top campaign adviser said the federal penalty for refusing to get health coverage was exactly that -- a fine, not a tax. This week, Romney said it is a tax because the Supreme Court opinion he opposes declared it a tax.

Confused? So is the Romney campaign, apparently.

The back-and-forth shows the tightrope Romney must walk on the health care reform issue now that he is the certain Republican presidential nominee.
There you have it.  Romney disagrees with his chief adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, (and himself!) about whether the ACA mandate is a tax or a penalty.  One has to be sympathetic to the poor adviser as he makes his way through the thicket of mind-changes by Mitt.  How's a fellow to keep up?

The Wall Street Journal scolded Mitt, and he quickly stepped away from his adviser's characterization of the mandate as a penalty or a fine.  So then, the anti-tax Romney imposed a tax on the people of Massachusetts when he was governor and signed the health care bill into law?

Monday, July 2, 2012


Those of us who do NOT wish to see Mitt Romney elected can only hope that the national news outlets continue to invite Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as a guest.  Here's Bobby on Meet the Press with David Gregory.
David, every governor's got two critical decisions to make.  One is do we set up these exchanges.  And, secondly, do we expand Medicaid.  And no, in Louisiana, we're not doing either one of those things.  I don't think it makes sense to do those.  I think it makes more sense to do everything we can to elect Mitt Romney to repeal Obamacare.
There are a lot of facts and figures there, a lot of charges which are disputed, so I want to try to flow this down and break it down so it's understandable.  Governer [Howard] Dean, on what Governor Jindal is proposing to not do, can you actually explain what the impact of that will be?

Let's deal with the exchanges.  First, if you don't put in your own exchange the federal government's going to run one for you.
The exchange is where you would actually go and buy--
--a program.
To buy health insurance.  So he has a choice.  Bobby has a choice, basically, of having this done for him by the federal government or doing it himself.  So I think that's a no brainer.  But, look, in my state we have had universal healthcare for every kid under 18 for 20 years by an expansion of Medicaid.

In Louisiana, it's 48th in the country in terms of child poverty, 48th in the country in terms of premature death, 48th in the country in terms of industrial accidents and so forth.  Just by expanding Medicaid alone, by accepting the president's Medicaid expansion, 340,000 out of those 860,000 uninsured people get covered.  This is a great deal.
Jindal goes on to say that the unemployment rate in Louisiana is lower than the national average, and the rate is low because of his policies as governor.  Well, I suppose he's entitled to take credit for the low unemployment rate, but it's mainly due to oil and gas company activities.  If Jindal takes credit, he also has to take the blame for the fact that the state is broke, and to maintain the fiction of the mandated balanced budget, he had to cut vital programs in a state that weighs in at the bottom in the good stuff and near the top in all the bad stuff.  Plus, he had to use one-time money to fill the budget gap, money that will not be available next year, so presumably there will be more cuts to vital services.
MITT ROMNEY: With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need.
This is somebody who says, "Let's repeal a law that has the individual mandate at its core."

Well, I think Paul Ryan made this point very well Friday.  Mitt Romney's always been against the national mandate.  He's always been against Obamacare.  Always said he wanted to repeal it.  Look, states are different.  Founding Fathers intended each state to be a laboratory of experimentation.

I come from one the most distinct cultural states in the entire country.  Mardi Gras is great for Louisiana.  May not work as well in Vermont or other states.  The reality is what works in Massachusetts may not be appropriate to another state.  Mitt Romney--
You're really comparing Mardi Gras to universal health insurance?
Ha, ha, ha.  Yes, David, Jindal is doing just that.  Next thing you know, the Obama socialist team will be trying to run the Mardi Gras festivities.  You know...the slippery slope.

Watch the show, or read the entire transcript at the link above, and remember...

In a brief slip of the tongue while discussing the Supreme Court’s health-care ruling, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal invoked the term “Obomney’’ care, a phrase that does Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney no favors.

“There’s only one candidate, Gov. Romney, who has committed that he will repeal the Obomney, uh, the Obamacare tax increase,’’ Mr. Jindal said.


Friday, June 29, 2012


UPDATE: Or as Gov Bobby Jindal of the Gret Stet of Loosiana succinctly puts it - "Obamneycare".
In a brief slip of the tongue while discussing the Supreme Court’s health-care ruling, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal invoked the term “Obomney’’ care, a phrase that does Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney no favors.

“There’s only one candidate, Gov. Romney, who has committed that he will repeal the Obomney, uh, the Obamacare tax increase,’’ Mr. Jindal said.

H/T to David A on Facebook.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


From my inbox today:
Dear Friend,
The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare is obviously an extremely disappointing ruling. But I am more committed than ever to repealing Obamacare outright.
Obamacare may have been judged constitutional in this clumsy way, but I think it's also been proved a bad idea since its passage that's making things worse.  It continues to increase the cost of health care services and puts the federal government between patients and doctors.
I’m sure President Obama and his liberal allies that forced this law through Congress will try to spin the Supreme Court ruling as a major victory, but the bottom line is Obamacare is a disaster.
This decision is misguided - it rewrites the Obamacare mandate as a tax in order to uphold it. But that also makes clear that President Romney and a Republican Congress can repeal this all through reconciliation - with a simple majority in the Senate. That's what I'll demand, what I'll fight tirelessly for.
At the beginning of this Congressional session I introduced leading bill in the Senate to fully repeal Obamacare, and I’ll continue to work tirelessly to get that passed.
David Vitter Signature
David Vitter

United States Senator
Dear Sen. Vitter,

I am not your friend, nor have I ever voted for you.

A member of my family has a job that provides no health insurance benefits  Greater numbers of people are finding themselves in a similar situation.  What you call the Obamacare disaster is already helping her buy health insurance.  What would you offer to replace Obamacare?  You have your safe government health care plan for you and your family.  Would you call your health insurance socialized medicine?  The government pays.  Why should not every American citizen have access to the same health care benefits as you and your family?

Shame on you and your fellow Republicans and your announcement of your intentions to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Where is your compassion and concern for the common good of your fellow citizens?

Your constituent, but not your friend,

June Butler