Rod Blum is having a terrible time here in the Cedar Valley the past couple of days. Hot on the heels of his miserable performance in an interview with my new hero Josh Scheinblum where he stormed off after being asked a question about campaign contributions, the congressman for the 1st district held town halls in Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls. Things went about as well as anyone could have hoped.
In Cedar Rapids the crowd was primed to ask lots of questions about health care and ask they did. You can see the highlights of the town hall here. The gist of things is that people are unhappy that Rod Blum voted for a health care overhaul that was pushed through congress without a score by the CBO, without any substantial hearings, and without any substantial public comment.
Remember, Paul Ryan—the beady eyed leader of this gang—criticized the passage of the Affordable Care Act for all the same reasons even though that process took a year. I guess that Republicans were just all too giddy to screw people over. Just look at the happiness in Jason Chaffetz’s face as he comes back from surgery on a pre-existing condition to gut your health care:
His heart is racing with the possibility that now is the time he gets to put his big boy pants on and really screw over some little people. Gotta’ get more tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires who make the Republicans go.
Back to our embattled congressman Rod Blum. Things went even worse for Blum in Cedar Falls. Seeking to placate the crowd he told them how he did not agree with the process of passing the bill before knowing the costs. Instead of voting against the bill, which a single vote from any Republican would have killed the passage, he vote for the bill. Nothing shows how resistant you are to something like voting for its passage.
Rod Blum does not represent the first district of Iowa. Hell, he does not represent the state of Iowa or any of our interests. He represents Rod Blum and the people who pay to keep him in Washington D.C. Who is that? Outside groups like American Action Network spent big to keep him in office. Who is the American Action Network? It’s a dark money front founded by Norm Coleman, the former Republican senator from Minnesota who lost to Al Franken.
Posted in Politics, Uncategorized
Tagged 1st District, AHCA, American Action Network, dark money, Donald Trump, health care, Iowa, Josh Scheinblum, Norm Coleman, Obamacare, Paul Ryan, Rod Blum, Russia, super PAC, town hall
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)
- Alcohol abuse/drug abuse with recent treatment
- 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
- Coronary artery/heart disease, bypass surgery
- Crohn’s disease/ ulcerative colitis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema
- Pending surgery or hospitalization
- Diabetes mellitus
- Pneumocystic pneumonia
- Sleep apnea
- Hepatitis (hep C)
- Kidney disease, renal failure
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.
Posted in Health, Politics, Uncategorized
Tagged ACA, Affordable Care Act., AHCA, Ayn Rand, cancer, death, health insurance, Hobbesian, Obamacare, pre-existing condition
Shortly after barely passing a bill to repeal critical elements of the Affordable Care Act House Republicans boarded some busses and headed to the White House for a celebration with their new spirit animal Donald Trump.
In the glow of potentially taking health care away from tens of millions of people and throwing the entire system into disarray Paul Ryan could not be happier with himself:
Notice something else about the image? Yeah, it’s filled with middle aged to elderly white men. Based on the average net worth of Congress these are also men who make significantly more money than the rest of the United States. We wonder why these asshats do not pass legislation that actually helps people?
Paul Ryan has come for your health care. Paul Ryan is going to come for your retirement. Paul Ryan’s goal is nothing short of a radical departure from more than eight decades of progress in the name of some ideological wet dream he had in college.
Also, these no talent ass clowns celebrated their big victory by wheeling in coolers of Bud Light. Nothing says American celebration like a lame ass beer brewed by a Brazilian company.
Thursday is apparently the day when Paul Ryan, the anointed intellectual godfather of the right wing in Congress, and Donald Trump, otherwise known as a Russian stooge at this point, are going to put the American Health Care Act to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.
According to members of the Freedom Caucus, a right wing group of Tea Party conservatives, the bill does not have the votes. According to Donald Trump, the self-styled ultimate closer and dealmaker who somehow went bankrupt in the casino business, the bill is going to pass because…um, Obamacare bad. Seriously, that is the logic at this point.
What about Iowa’s first district Congressman Rod Blum? Normally, his vote is in line with Paul Ryan and the stooges because Rod Blum is a nothing member of the House. Really, take a moment and try and find any legislation the guy has authored or fought for in any way that is substantive. Take a moment and try to find a hearing where he was a forceful contributor. I will be here waiting for your reply.
The guy will not meet with his constituents, but according to his own Twitter account he is not going to support the bill. Blum adds the important caveat “in its current form” which allows him the wiggle room to vote yes if some inconsequential change is made and he can go home without being called a spineless liar.
I will not hold my breath expecting him to be an actual no vote when the arm twisting is done, but stranger things have happened.
Posted in Politics, Uncategorized
Tagged Affordable Care Act., AHCA, American Health Care Act, Congress, disaster, Donald Trump, Iowa, Obamacare, Paul Ryan, Rod Blum, spine