Prescription for Chaos

October 12, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Healthcare

In an idiotic ceremony today, Trump hurled a blazing molotov cocktail into the nation’s health insurance program by abruptly ending $7 billion of subsidies that make insurance affordable for millions of Americans.  Every health organization opposed the move, but he predictably did it anyway, and all the normal morons showed up at the WH today to celebrate killing off poor Americans.

Trump has already cut the enrollment period for 2018 in half, cut the advertising budget by 90% and slashed the navigator program which helps people enroll.  Even though the ACA survived repeal by the knuckle draggers in Congress, it looks like Trump was the useful idiot who signs everything put in front of him, and he did it again today.

Hopefully, when the program implodes, voters will understand who did it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Distractor in Chief

September 25, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Goat Rodeos, Healthcare

While the media was obsessing this weekend over Trump’s latest foul-mouthed tirade, his staff extended the Muslim travel ban and Republicans in the Senate wrote in more payoffs to hold out Senators to get them to vote for gutting the US healthcare system.  This has become a common occurrence since Cheeto Jesus infested the WH, and I don’t believe it’s a strategy put in place by him; I believe it’s a strategy developed by very evil and very smart people who are exploiting his proclivity for attention-getting bombast.

Trump’s childish tirades and embarrassing behavior are well known.  They’re also predictably unpredictable.  Almost every time he engages in outrageous behavior, his staff slips something out to the public – unwinding environmental protections, rounding up immigrants, issuing some other cringe-inducing executive order.

This weekend, Trump attacked NFL and NBA players for various fake affronts.  Steph Curry declined to come to the WH with his NBA team, so Trump rescinded the invitation in a Twitter based insult.  Later, in one of his silly campaign rallies, this time in Alabama in support of appropriately named Luther Strange, Trump started his war on NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem as a form of protest against violence against racial minorities by police.

During the ensuing firestorm, his staff issued a new travel ban, adding countries to the existing ban that has been blocked by the courts.  Also, under the cover of this circus, Senate Republicans added payoffs for Arizona, Kentucky, and Alaska to the latest effort to destroy healthcare for millions of Americans in an effort to get yes votes from John McCain, Rand Paul, and Lisa Murkowski.

Stayed outraged.  But pay attention.

It’s All Kabuki Now

July 18, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Goat Rodeos, Healthcare

As we’ve all heard, the latest iteration of the GOP’s “Appeal and Replace”, better known as “Search and Destroy”, died last night when two conservative senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, said they couldn’t vote for the bill because it didn’t wreak enough havoc or kill enough Americans to suit them.  Later in the evening, TurtleNeck McConnell predictably announced that the Senate would then just vote to repeal with no replacement so even MORE people would die.  That idiotic notion died a sudden death today when less insane Republicans said no to that.  So what is left of this issue, Donald Trump’s biggest promise to his red-capped mobs who voted for him?  This:

For the Republicans, who are hell-bent on erasing Barack Obama from the history books to satisfy their mouth breather base, they can only offer Kabuki, or highly stylized and exaggerated staging, like signing ceremonies for letters, executive orders, and silly truck shows on the White House lawn to make it look like they’re really doing something when they’re not.

In these days of clowns, carnival barkers, and totalitarians infesting the White House, I’ll certainly take nothing over something, which is what the Congress is producing, at least so far.

And Just When You Thought That …

July 05, 2017 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

… Republicans had used up their allotment of crazy, they go and have a tweet storm.

They tweet pictures of Democrats lambasting the Republican heathcare plan and ask, “Where’s YOUR plan,” Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, Democrats?

 

Okay, see, these are the same Republicans who tried to repeal Obamacare about a 100 times for the past seven years, and now that they’re the dog who finally caught the car … they have no plan.

These are the same Republicans who control both houses of congress and the presidency, but can’t come up with a damn plan.

Okay, they want to see the Democratic plan?

 

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Oh dear, I miss the good-ole-days when Republicans took Democratic surpluses and used it to give tax cuts to their rich friends instead of taking healthcare away from helpless little children.

They are crazy, y’all.

Thanks to SGray for the heads up.

 

Cruising for a Bruising

July 05, 2017 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

Ted Cruz decided to spend the 4th of July in McAllen, Texas.  McAllen is home to about 130,000 people and is 85% Hispanic.

Cruz did not have fun at the parade.  He, of course, was met by protesters.  When you go to a highly Hispanic and Democratic city along the border and you favor sending half of most family back to Mexico, it’s kinda unlikely that they want you to be Grand Marshall of the parade.

Y’all, seriously, I think the boy was lost.  Or dunk.  I dunno.

 

“Ted Wants Us Dead,” was a favorite chant.  My personal favorite sign? “No transfer of wealth 4 our health.”

Cruz referred to the protesters as a “small group of people on the left who right now are very angry.”  Small?  Did he say small?  Honey, only 12% approve of the senate healthcare bill.  Who looks small now?

Thanks to Deb for the heads up.

An Economics Lesson for Paul Ryan

March 13, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Healthcare

Paul Ryan was on Face the Nation yesterday morning talking about the Republicans’ new anti healthcare bill they’re trying to sell to the American people.  Host John Dickerson tried numerous times to get Ryan to acknowledge that millions will lose their healthcare and that all major medical associations are opposing the measure.  Ryan engaged in his now familiar obfuscation with a big smile, repeating this most often used mantra of giving people “choice” and fostering “competition” in health care delivery.

Here’s the problem with the Republicans’ key economic assumption in their ideology.  Choice and competition come from a functioning free market.  You can call our healthcare delivery system in the US a lot of things, but “free market” is not one of them.  Here’s why:

Over 30 years ago, Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School developed a model to describe markets.  In his model, he describes 5 essential forces that control markets.  To be a fully functioning market, the power of buyers must be in parity with the power of the sellers.  At the same time, buyers must have alternatives from existing competitors, and those competitors must be continually under threat from new entrants into the market as well as new products or services that can substitute for the product already being sold.  An example: You want a car; you have numerous choices between new and used, expensive or thrifty.  You can buy online, you can buy from individuals, you can buy from numerous dealers.  You can check prices online, making the market relatively transparent.  As well, you can choose when you buy that car.  Or you can buy a motorcycle.  Or you can not buy a car and take Uber.  This market balance represents a relatively free market, subject to truth in advertising and financing laws.

Now, let’s look at our healthcare markets: Sellers (insurance companies and healthcare providers) dictate coverage and pricing.  The polices are intentionally complex and pricing is completely opaque.  In most Americans’ cases, EMPLOYERS pick which plan their employees can buy.  In this market, the sellers hold all the power and the buyers have only the choices that are dictated.  Additionally, the insurance markets are protected by state agencies, making it very difficult for alternatives to get into the market.  To make matters worse, when you’re sick, the LAST thing you have time or the inclination to do is price shop for healthcare.  Removing the market protections the ACA provides puts individual buyers at  the mercy of this cruel government protected market.  Republicans are trying to jam free market ideology into a market that is anything but free.  The cabal of insurance companies and healthcare delivery companies is impossible to to fight, especially by individuals.

So, with these clear market realities that make the Republican plan unfair and unworkable, what does that say about Paul Ryan’s argument for his plan?  There are two possible answers: 1) Ryan is stupid with no understanding of the realities of markets; or 2) He’s a lying sack of sh*t (sorry Momma) who is looking out for his base and the interests of his largest donors to the detriment of everyday Americans like you and me.

I’ll take Door Number Two, Alex.