Tag Archives: ACA

Running Rod Has Got to Go

The past week or so has made it abundantly clear that “Running” Rod Blum has got to go.

First, Rod Blum voted to pass the House’s American Health Care Act.  It is bad enough that he voted for a bill which will lead to tens of millions of people in the United States being denied affordable health insurance.  It is even worse that he basically said he voted for the bill even though he disagreed with the process and the content.  Rod Blum is such a shill for Paul Ryan and Donald Trump that even when he knows a bill is bad for Iowans he will still vote for its passage.

Make no mistake, the AHCA is horrible for Iowa.  The AHCA slashes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  Rod Blum could care less about the approximately 680,000 people in Iowa that Medicaid serves. [1]

Furthermore, the cuts in Medicaid and the changes to our nation’s health care system proposed in the AHCA are just the first step in Paul Ryan’s master plan to gut our safety net.   Paul Ryan has is eyes on Medicare and Social Security as ways to pay for his vision of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  [2]  The game plan is to cut taxes to such a degree as to precipitate a budget crisis.  As the party of fiscal discipline the Republicans will demand “shared sacrifice,” which is right wing speak for screwing anyone no capable of paying membership fees at Mar a Lago, that will come in the form of draconian cuts to Medicare and Social Security.  Rod Blum has proven that he is little more than a toady for Paul Ryan so he has got to go.

Second, Rod Blum finally decided to hold some town hall meetings and it did not go so well for him.  Instead of actually answering people’s questions he regurgitated bland politician speak carefully calibrated to not say anything of importance.

Third, Rod Blum refuses to answer questions about why he is unwilling to answer questions from Iowans that he does not represent yet he is more than willing to accept money from organizations that are not in his district.  In a show of complete political farce Blum stormed out of an interview with KCRG’s Josh Scheinblum when asked that exact question. [3]  It was made even more farcical by the presence of school children brought to the interview by Blum as some sort of junior human shield.

Rod Blum has shown that he does not represent his district, he is a shill for his Republican boss from Janesville, and that he is incapable of answering questions about the way he conducts his political business without getting all huffy.

I do not know who will eventually run in opposition to Rod Blum in 2018, but short of the literal Prince of Darkness I am voting for the person.  Running Rod Blum has got to go.

 

References
  1. http://dhs.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/15-6_Improve_Health_Status.pdf
  2. https://thinkprogress.org/paul-ryans-next-move-is-an-attempt-to-privatize-medicare-a96eb9ac0a23
  3. http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Blum-walks-out-of-exclusive-interview-with-TV9-421676713.html

Life is a Pre-Existing Condition

Afford me a moment to ramble about health insurance and pre-existing conditions.

My mother died from terminal lung cancer almost eight years ago.  She fought her disease with a fierceness and dignity that I find almost unimaginable.  The greatest insult during her entire ordeal was with her health insurance.

After more than two years of purchasing a health care policy on the individual market in pre-Obamacare days she was denied coverage when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The functionary on the phone told my father that her cancer was a pre-existing condition.  It was as if they were telling him that she waited to get diagnosed with cancer after more than two years of paying premiums.  As if she waited to deal with her cancer because…reasons?

My mother probably started her path toward lung cancer taking her first drag of a cigarette as a sixteen year old in East Moline Illinois in the 1960s.  Based on health insurance company logic she had a pre-existing condition going back almost forty years.

In truth, we all have a pre-existing condition.  We are alive and we will die.  This might be a little bit of hyperbole, but after dealing with health insurance companies I do not feel that anything is beyond the pale.  When you are at your lowest these people will step on your throat.  When you have lost family members these people will drop a letter detailing their refusal to honor the policy you dutifully paid upon for two years.  These are the people that Republicans in the House of Representatives have sided with instead of actual human beings.

If you think that things will be fine you need to wake the fuck up.  Health insurance companies will drop your ass from your policy for any of the following reasons:

 

  • Breast cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Pregnancy or expectant parent
  • A Cesarean delivery
  • Being a survivor of domestic violence
  • Medical treatment for sexual assault
  • Mental disorders (severe, e.g., bipolar, eating disorder)
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Lupus
  • Alcohol abuse/drug abuse with recent treatment
  • Alzheimer’s/dementia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Arthritis (rheumatoid), fibromyalgia, other inflammatory joint disease
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Any cancer within some period of time (e.g., 10 years, often other than basal skin cancer)
  • Obesity, severe
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Organ transplant
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Paraplegia
  • Coronary artery/heart disease, bypass surgery
  • Paralysis
  • Crohn’s disease/ ulcerative colitis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema
  • Pending surgery or hospitalization
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Pneumocystic pneumonia
  • Epilepsy
  • Hemophilia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hepatitis (hep C)
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease, renal failure
  • Transsexualism

That’s right, if you survived an abusive domestic situation you have a pre-existing condition for which a health insurance company could deny you coverage.  Born with cerebal palsy?  Hell, that is almost the definition of pre-existing condition in the eyes of a health insurance company.  Paul Ryan came for your health care and he succeeded.

So, basically Republicans want to punish us for having the gall to live and to expect more than a Hobbesian existence.   The ethos in Republican circles is “Fuck you if you are not rich and powerful.”

Paul Ryan came for your health care.  Paul Ryan is coming for your retirement.

The Right Wing Health Care Shell Game

Republicans in Congress, with the House leading the charge under the guidance of Paul Ryan, are conducting a great game of three card Monte with the American public.

The proposed American Health Care Act is a joke.  It’s like Diet Obamacare and everyone with half a brain understands that fact.  It is also the type of bill that is so neutered yet destructive enough that it is finding strange bedfellows in opposition like the entirety of the Democrats in Congress and Rand Paul.  If you ever thought Rand Paul would be a dissenting vote on Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act raise your hand?

Now the spin begins.  Republicans and Donald Trump are trying to sell the idea that the goal is cheaper health insurance.  This is a farce because cheaper health insurance generally does not cover any health care.  If something is cheaper it usually means one of two things: someone else is picking up the tab or you are getting less coverage.  It is a zero sum game.

Under the Affordable Care Act the federal government was subsidizing your health insurance if you were so qualified to receive subsidies on the individual market.  Under the American Health Care Act you will just receive less coverage.  “But it is cheaper!” Paul Ryan will scream with Ayn Rand-esque shrillness.  Yes, just like a regular cab rear wheel drive F-150 is less expensive than a crew cab four wheel drive F-150.  Both trucks are F-150s, but one is cheaper because it has less content.  Everyone understands why those two trucks are priced differently and people will understand why health insurance is cheaper under Paul Ryan’s plan when they discover it covers no actual health care.

Thankfully, after seven years of claiming to work on a replacement for Obamacare and despite Donald Trump’s promise of amazing coverage for everyone Republicans have shown their utter lack of vision and leadership on the issue by producing a piece of crap bill.  Furthermore, provisions in the bill that would be windfalls to multi-millionaire CEOs and other rich people just show who the paymaster of the Republican Party really is in 2017.

Rod Blum is a Coward

Rod Blum is scared of his constituents.  According to his website he has zero events scheduled.  None.  The last event that is listed occurred in October. Not one town hall.  Not one silly tele-town hall or Facebook event or “ask me anything” digital event.  Nothing.

Recently, constituents in Cedar Rapids—which is the largest city in Rod Blum’s district—protested in front of his office downtown.  Naturally, Rod Blum was not available for comment or anything really.  Why?  He is a coward.

What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask when his next face-to-face with constituents will occur?  Nothing.

What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask if he supports a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in our nation’s electoral process?  Nothing.

What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask if he supports a Congressional investigation into the current President’s potential conflicts of interest?  Nothing.

What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask if he supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act?  Oh, he supports that one but his office is fuzzy on the details of what to do about the millions of people who will lose health insurance coverage.  I am sure it is going to be “beautiful coverage” like our new orange overlord has said.  Too bad he is on the wrong side of his constituents on that issue.

You get the idea.  Rod Blum is afraid to actually tell his constituents where he stands on issues because he is afraid that people will realize that he does not represent their interests.  He represents Rod Blum getting elected to future terms as a member of Congress.

Paul Ryan Wants to Make Medicare Look Like a Program He Hates

The pressure of having no legislative mandate, losing seats in both chambers of Congress and having a president-elect over two million votes behind his opponent do not make a mandate, and a caucus full of right wing radicals must be getting to Paul Ryan.  The wunderkind of the right wing is proposing to “fix” Medicare by making it similar to Obamacare.

Wait a second.  I thought that Paul Ryan and his free market flunkies hated Obamacare.  Well, they all liked it when it was Mitt Romney’s plan for health care in Massachusetts.  However, once a Democrat proposed something similar for the entire United States it was a bridge too far.  Cue the Tea Party to bring out signs like this:

keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare

So now Paul Ryan and his coterie of hate want to change Medicare from something that guarantees care into a handout for insurance companies.  They will tell you that the goal is let the free market work its miracle powers.  The free market and the baby Jesus serve the same function as the salve to make unworkable plans or fantastical stories possible.

Remember, Paul Ryan and his Tea Party totalitarians do not think Obamacare works.  They want to destroy Obamacare and Medicare at the same time.  In the process they want to replace Medicare with something that looks just like the system they feel is broken and needs to be replaced.  Talk about keeping your government hands off my Medicare.