Four Days Later

The Senate Dems defeated all of the GOP junk amendments intended to derail the reconciliation package. Senate Republicans have been using every procedural trick they can find to slow down the Senate from doing anything. However, someone discovered a provision that didn’t fit the reconciliation rules. So it has to go back to the House. However, the fixes are minor, and at this point it seems unlikely that the House Dems would balk at making the changes.

From reading their sites, I’m not sure some righties understand that the former Senate bill remains law even if the reconciliation package were to be defeated. I get the impression they think defeating the reconciliation bill (which, among other things, repeals Ben Nelson’s “cornhusker kickback” that provided extra money for Medicaid recipients in Nebraska) will make the whole thing go away. It won’t.

Some rightie sites (and a few leftie ones) are touting the “discovery” that states may opt out of the mandate, which (some say) undercuts any arguments that the mandate is unconstitutional.

The provision (which I remember reading about some time back) is that a state can choose to opt out of the federal program entirely (not just the mandate specifically) IF it comes up with an alternative program that provides its citizens with the same access to coverage at the same rates, and with the same consumer protections. You and I know that’s not going to happen. And since the mandate is essential to keeping down the cost of insurance premiums for everyone, cutting the mandate alone would put a state afoul of the law. But I’d say it was a smart move on someone’s part to insert that into the bill.

[Update: See also E.J. Dionne, “Health Care and the New Nullifiers.”]

More troubling are the threats of violence and acts of vandalism aimed at House members and their families. But many of us speculated we’d see violence from the Right if the Democrats actually got serious about enacting progressive change.

And, of course, nothing has changed yet. All we’ve done so far is put a process in motion that will bring about change eventually.

I thought of that yesterday when I tried to get a Lipitor prescription refilled. I got into a new group plan through the Freelancer’s Union last year that saves me considerable money on premiums over my old individual insurance, which I simply could not afford. However, the group plan (through the infamous Anthem Blue Cross) is much less generous about actually paying for stuff. There’s always some reason prescriptions cost more than the $10 co-pay, for example, although the extra amount I’m required to pay varies from month to month.

But yesterday I was told I’d have to pay $95 to get a monthly supply of Lipitor. I told the pharmacist they could keep it. My arteries will just have to harden until I can get better insurance. (But, Anthem Blue Cross, isn’t the Lipitor cheaper than paying to treat heart disease? You’d think they’d encourage me to take the Lipitor instead of penalizing me.)

But mine is a minor problem compared to that of Robert Hollister, who has stage 4 cancer and who is falling through the cracks in the reform bill. He lost his job, and in September his insurance will expire. The HCR bill provides for subsidies for high-risk pools so that people like Hollister can get affordable insurance. However, there is a three-month waiting period, and even then he can’t apply until he has been without insurance for six months. Without chemotherapy, he doesn’t expect to live that long.

Such provisions are put in to protect insurance companies — they’re to discourage people from dropping their existing insurance companies in favor of the subsidized insurance. But where’s the protection for Robert Hollister?

14 thoughts on “Four Days Later

  1. “I told the pharmacist they could keep it. My arteries will just have to harden until I can get better insurance”

    Lipitor is poison in my opinion, I was on it for 6 months and it really made me sick. I stopped taking it a couple years ago and have lowered my numbers the natural way: eat less junk and exercise. It pisses off my cardio doctor, sometimes I think she’s getting a kickback!

    These dimwitted Teabaggers are really going off the deep end, I love it. They are just showing their true colors, nothing but a bunch of ignorant racist thugs, unfortunately some people are going to have to get hurt before the wing-nuts finally decide to cut the teabaggers loose. April 19th (the aniv. of Waco and OK City) should be fun, dimwitted teabaggers are organizing the “bring your guns to DC rally” they are going to gather in a federal park near the capital and brandish their firearms. That should be fun, maybe someone will accidentally discharge a weapon and they will all start shooting at each other, a man can dream!

    • uncledad — I found your post caught in the spam filter and released it. I think the spam filter caught the “L” word and assumed you were pharma spam.

  2. April 19th… they are going to gather in a federal park near the capital and brandish their firearms.

    What the heck message do they think that sends? I mean, honestly. “We are not afraid to kill you if we don’t like you… as history has shown.”

  3. George Will’s latest editorial decries the absence of funding, the further accrual of crushing debt and the addition of the yet another underfunded entitlement in the healthcare reform bill. Is that just whining or is there some validity to the finance numbers? Wonder what tanking the F-35 program would do for the healthcare budget?

  4. Here in Arizona, the teabagger state, the teabag legislature is gleefully destroying the entire statewide healthcare system on the pretext of dealing with a budget crisis that they themselves caused by reckless tax cuts and blatant cronyism for millionaires and megacorporations. And they have the gall to complain about “Obamacare” leading to rationed health and death panels etc. etc. and declaring that it the bill is null and void in Arizona. I think the real reason they are destroying health care in this state is that they can blame Obama for their actions – an the local Fox-suckers are already swallowing the lie, hook line and sinker.

  5. re heart disease, have a look at The China Study and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Esselstyn. They’re both arguments for a low fat, plant based diet. I’ve been a vegetarian several times in my life, but my health has gotten to the point where I need to read these books, and take their findings seriously. When it comes down to it, I tend to believe that a large portion of Pharma’s remedies mostly mask symptoms and don’t get to root causes.

    re Robert Hollister – one wonders whether this situation was a conscious oversight or whether the HCR designers simply acceded to insurance company demands without realizing the consequences.

    Do see This Week in Pant-Shitting:

    Remember how we flirted with Peak Wingnut in the week after Obama’s victory? The comments of the conservative faithful were indeed hilarious and unhinged in the wake of The Antichrist’s ascension, but it was tempered by the ample time they had to prepare. For the last three or four weeks of the election, all but the most delusional shut-ins took one look at McCain-Palin ’08 and knew that we were staring at a corpse. Right wing grief and agony played out gradually over a long, schadenfreude-filled month.

    Not so with health care reform. All and sundry were confidently, perhaps even mockingly, announcing its death for six months (Think Progress has a nice compilation and timeline ). Nothing was left but to begin the victory parade. That the right was blindsided is evident in the post-vote rush to ascribe the bill’s passage to dirty, extra-constitutional legislative chicanery. It is a paranoid, lard-assed American version of the 1920s Dolchstosslegende in the Weimar Republic.

    Since I am not one to let such rare treats pass by unnoticed, it seems appropriate to recap the highlights of the week in hyperbolic, impotent, pant-shitting histrionics from the conservative version of reality. The moment the vote was cast it was clear that there would be stupid; it was my goal to capture as much of it as possible…

  6. And now, to add relevance to the argument that “BOTH” sides do it, Cantor’s office had a bullet put through the window.
    Two things make me suspicious of this:
    1. The 2nd Amendment is NOT a huge issue for those of us on the left. It’s important only because it’s important to the right, and to counter them; or, for hunting animals for food, but not to attack people.
    2. This smacks a bit of Rove’s strategy. What better way to let the right-wing blow-hards counter the “Nigger’s, and Faggot” cries, and shattering of windows, than by claiming that some God-damn Liberal Fascist did their own Kristallnacht on the leading (only?) Jewish Congressman’s office window a few days ago.
    Something stinks about the Cantor claim. It came, apparently, AFTER, the vote. And after the weekend of “Nigger,” “Faggot,” spitting on an African-American Congressman, and the mini-Kristallnacht of Dem’s offices. And the Republicans are now using THIS incident to point out the violence that’s coming, or about to come, from the left. JESUS!!!
    If I’m wrong, I will apologize. But, I would bet everything that I could, that it was a set-up. I just DON’T see a Liberal putting a bullet into a Jewish Congressmans window, even if they are a Republican. I might be wrong. But, I just don’t see it…
    Something stinks. I just guarantee you that no one will ever find the guilty party. This will allow the right to say that ‘sticks and stones,’ like “Nigger,” “Faggot,” and spitting, and breaking a few windows, aren’t quite up to breaking the ‘bones’ that a bullet through a Conservative Jewish Congressman’s office does.
    BRILLIANT, but evil!
    Let me ask, am I going crazy for even thinking something like this? This would NEVER have occured to be before Clinton and the Vince Foster BS, the Bush coronation, and the last 10 years. Am I getting TOO crazy? Am I like one of those Tea Baggers that I loathe, except from the left?
    Is this that step off the cliff of reality?

    Please let me know if, or when, I get too far out there. Thanks!

  7. Consider this, gulag. The Republicans have been amping up the crazy and declaring HCR to be armageddon, and then they failed to kill it. We’ve even had one (Grassley, wasn’t it?) take credit for parts of it. Possible that one of their beloved crazies popped that bullet through Cantor’s window as payback for letting them down? Or maybe he’s just pissed at congress for passing it and doesn’t care – maybe doesn’t even know – that Cantor was on his side?

    I believe that if you tease a tiger to the point of madness, it will rip its handler apart just as quickly and remorselessly as anyone else in range.

  8. C u n d gulag Please use “N’ and “F” Those words are just too distasteful to use 3X in a post.

    Maya: ‘Without chemotherapy, he doesn’t expect to live that long.” Solves the problem! What better way of accomplishing the goal of ‘insuring those who don’t need it and rejecting those that do.” His insurance will be reinstated the day his death certificate is signed. Then he really won’t need it. A nearly perfect way to maximize profit-the only real duty of an insurance company.

  9. I don’t know if this is definitive, but it looks to me like Cantor’s bullet was a fluke accident. See Balloon Juice for a synopsis of the police report. I know some people who are very good with guns, but it would take a genius mathematician / meteorologist to make a shot like this on purpose.

  10. Maha,
    Go down to your local health food store and pick up some organic hemp seed oil; two tablespoons per day will help greatly. The oil can be added to salad dressing, used like olive oil on veggies, etc. I just take the stuff from the spoon. The oil is high in the omega acids, does not have the heavy metal contaminants like fish oil can have, and is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

    Also, add shitake mushrooms and nopal to your diet; you can get them fresh or in capsule form. I grow both in my backyard.

    Google “health benefits” of Shitake, hemp seed oil, and nopal.
    Get watercress into your diet also; strong anti-cancer properties.

    Sadly, my wife does not follow my recommendations, but given my occupation and recreational persuits, she’ll out live me anyway………

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