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Healthcare, Medicare and Socialism

I had conversation recently about “socialized” medicine, specifically Medicare. First off, anytime government is seen meddling in the healthcare system, it’s baaaaad. But Medicare is an exception because we paid into that our whole lives. Secondly, Democrats want to socialize medicine and this is also baaaad. But the proposed alternative, letting people buy policies across state lines, does not lead people to follow that proposal to its logical conclusions. Sure, BCBS might be cheaper in Alabama but if all your doctors are out of network, don’t you end up paying for that? Also, if everyone is buying cheap policies, then the sickest among us will gravitate to them. Pretty soon, the insurance company will need to raise rates to cover all of the sick people and they’re going to raise those rates on everyone. The one thing that could prevent that is cost control by negotiated prices. And that’s Medicare’s big advantage.

It seems that there is a misperception out there that Medicare, which everyone looks forward to, was passed by a Republican Congress and/or signed by a Republican president. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s an oldie but goodie post from 2011 that I wrote on the birth of Medicare based on a BBC Witness podcast episode. I relistened to the podcast today and forgot that Ronald Reagan played a role back then by scaring everyone that Medicare was “socialized” medicine that would remove their “choice”. He even hints that most elderly Americans aren’t being honest when they say they can’t afford their healthcare. What he didn’t say but probably thought was that the ones who really were too poor to afford medicine most likely deserved what was coming to them, what with all their profligate spending, bad life choices and not saving for their old age. You know, the same thing David Brooks thinks and writes every day.

Anyway, here is the post from back then in its entirety. The podcast is only 9 minutes long. It shows very conclusively that if you want to make structural changes in healthcare delivery in this country, you have to reduce the number of Republicans in Congress to less than a third of the representatives. We have been kidding ourselves if we think Republicans have only recently become harsher and meaner about healthcare for the poor and elderly. They’ve ALWAYS been like that.

Let’s repeat history and make their votes in Congress irrelevant.

Witness: The Birth of Medicare (BBC)

It’s funny that the BBC frequently does American history better than, well, Americans. Recently, the BBC4 program, Witness, did a podcast on the Great Society and the birth of Medicare. 

What I found interesting is that although LBJ was the president to sign the bill into law, the concept of Medicare was not a new one. It had been introduced into congress years earlier but had to wait until Democrats outnumbered Reoublicans by a ratio of roughly 2:1.

Think about that for a moment. In order to get the kinds of programs that theAmerican middle class actually likes, you have to reduce the number of Republicans in congress substantially. Conversely, when the number of Republicans reaches parity or exceeds it, these programs come under pressure for privatization and elimination. 

This is a concept that escapes most voters who routinely vote for Republicans but who actually like liberal programs like Medicare and social security. 

Check it out here: Witness- the Great Society and the birth of Medicare.

******************************

Personal update:

I am a very lucky person. My “thing” grew very rapidly back in January and was very aggressive. But the weed killer seems to have worked – even better than expected, according to the scans. There was a slight diversion and partial panic with one scan but it turned out to be nothing in the end. The nurse navigators were in awe and almost dancing with glee when they saw the new images. That doesn’t mean that this ordeal is over. It means I have surgery next, but it will most likely be outpatient, followed by some additional treatment. Then, I should be ok. So, keep your fingers crossed that this is the homestretch and I am going to win.

Thanks to all of you for your support.

Damn, I could really use that vacation.

😢😂🤣😭😢🤪

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Bring on the Conspiracy Theories

Jeffrey Epstein is dead from hanging in his Manhattan jail cell. This just a couple of weeks after his last attempt.

It’s like finding the suicide victim with the gun in his hand and shots to the base of his skull. What are the chances?

Oh, I can totally believe he committed suicide. But I don’t believe he had much choice in the matter. Like, someone might have brought the rope like material to his cell and watched him try it on. That I can believe.

Maybe it was the stash of documents that came out a couple of days ago. Lots of records and names. I doubt we’ll see any of that. AG Barr will redact them for security reasons and the primary witness is dead.

Everybody move along now. Nothing to see.

ICE, ICE, Baby.

ICE rounded up 680 immigrants yesterday in Mississippi, leaving their American born children stranded on the sidewalk for their first week of school.

This little girl, along with other children, was taken to a gym by bystanders where she stayed overnight. She’ll probably get put in the foster care system. In Mississippi. Yeah, think about that.

We saw this coming. I wrote this back in June this year in Who Gets their Stuff?:

What happens to their American born children? Do they get swept up too? That would likely trigger judicial injunctions. Would they stay with their parents? WHERE would they stay with their parents?

Would they get left behind? Where would all those little American children get left behind? On the street? Who will feed them, house then, make sure no one hurts them?

If you were an American born kid of migrant parents and you saw the sudden panic on your parents’ faces in the last 24 hours, how would you focus on your spelling test tomorrow? How could you even sleep?

By the way, who does get their stuff now that they’re gone? Is this little girl entitled to any of her parents’ things?

I mean, isn’t it enough that we’re heartless? Do we have to be thieves too?

I only ask.

*************************

Former Missouri senator, Claire McCaskill asks a different but equally important question:

Well?

.

The Joke

For El Paso and DAYTON.

Bin Laden

If I recall correctly, bin Laden never personally highjacked a plane or killed anyone on American soil.

But we declared him our enemy anyway because of his inflammatory speeches and recruitment videos. He created an army that carried out his deeds based on his ideology and we considered him the most dangerous terrorist in the world. We even went to war to root that ideology out.

White supremacy isn’t insanity. The people who practice it are quite aware of their surroundings and reality. They aren’t undergoing a first break. They don’t have psychosis. They have personality disorders. There’s a big difference between doing something because you can’t help yourself and doing it because you want to make the world not better but more to your liking.

The latter is what makes white supremacists so much like Al Qaeda. Their targets are necessarily casualties on the path to their world. The fact that the dead had lives of their own and were sentient beings is not important. It’s better to think of them as rapists or an infestation or infidels and treat them accordingly.

We have too many assault rifles in this country that makes it easy to take the infection out.

And one bin Laden wannabe who is actively recruiting at every rally.

*********************

Here’s an oldie but goodie from Dominic Crossan on the dangers of fundamentalism. This is the moment when evangelicals for Trump need to ask themselves whose side they are on:

**********************

One another note: There were a lot of crazy people in nazi Germany too but for some reason, they killed mostly Jews.

For insane murderers, they were very discriminating.

Show your quality.

Lindsay is destroying whatever reputation he once had:

Paraphrasing Shakespeare:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Republican, 
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this Senate Judiciary Committee
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the children of asylum seekers there.

Post Debate Wrap Up: dissing Obama and Clorox.

The Twitter is all aflutter today that some of the debate candidates dared to criticize Obama. Nick Confessore gets a clue when he says that Obama’s presidency took the air out of a newly resurgent left.

Yes. It was intentional. We tried to warn people but they just wouldn’t listen when he was acting like the tofu candidate, absorbing the sauce of whatever political faction was admiring him at the time.

Would Clinton have done better? She was to the left of Obama on votes in the Senate. I think she would have faced very strong headwinds in office. But I don’t think she would have let herself get rolled like Obama. And she had more solid plans to rescue underwater homeowners, something Obama didn’t seem to care about. In other words, the bankers would have had more trouble getting their way with her.

I think she might have handled healthcare differently too. The ACA has too many compromises and was almost set up in a bipartisan way to piss off the working class. But we’ll never know how she would have done now. One thing I did notice about her candidacy in 2016. There was a sort of resignation about her policies compared to 2008. It’s like the cake was baked and there wasn’t a whole lot left to work with. We gave the treasury to the finance guys and we put in place a really lousy healthcare system that she would be forced to defend if she had no house in congress on her side. Sucked to be her.

Sucks even more to be us with the big orange in the Oval Office. But Gillibrand has a plan for that:

Ramen to that. Bleach might not be enough. We will probably need shamans and sage to purify the rooms and banish all of the Dark Psychic Forces.

So, what were your impressions of Debate night 2?