Tag Archives: health care

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

Rod Blum’s Terrible, No Good Couple of Days in the Cedar Valley

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:

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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.

Paul Ryan is a Smug S.O.B.

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:

President Trump Speaks At The White House After The House Voted On Health Care Bill

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.

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.

Paul Ryan is Coming for Your Health Care

Paul Ryan, the wunderkind of the right wing, finally saw fit to release his proposed “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act.  Let me sum it up for you:

  1. If you relied on the individual market or Medicaid for health coverage you will get less. According to Paul Ryan you will like it because the free market will warm your insides with the fiery glow of Ayn Rand’s ridiculous ideology.
  2. If you relied on Planned Parenthood for any health services you are screwed because Paul Ryan hates Planned Parenthood. This is red meat thrown to a conservative base that might have a hard time supporting the bill, but can now hide behind the fact that it defunds Planned Parenthood.  Imagine the member of Congress going back to angry constituents, “I realize you are getting less health care, paying more, and even being denied coverage but we defunded evil Planned Parenthood.”  Look for this to be Ted Cruz’s defense when the human blobfish eventually goes along with passage.
  3. If you are wealthy you like this bill. Why?  You will pay less in taxes.  It is the right wing salve for the soul.  Got an HAS?  You will get to sock away more money under this plan.  The problem with this part of the plan is that poor people are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to fund an HAS for future health obligations.
  4. The bill keeps the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act that deal with keeping your children on your insurance until age 26 among others, but I suspect that these provisions will be weakened or removed entirely as the bill works its way through committee and reconciliation assuming it gets that far in the process.

Republicans do not understand how people actually live.  Asshats like Jason Chaffetz subscribe to the old Ronald Reagan “Cadillac driving welfare queen” when saying bullshit like this:

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.

This is the first shot in a war that Paul Ryan intends to fight over the government providing any sort of assistance to anyone other than the rich and corporations.  Remember, Paul Ryan only has eyes for…

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Friday Linkage 12/6/2013

Man, oh man did it get cold over the course of this week.  On Monday it was 50-ish degrees and Wednesday was so foggy that school got delayed by two hours.  Come Thursday it was in the low teens and the mercury was still dropping.  Why do I think that this is going to be one of those bone chilling cold winters?

On to the links…

Secretive Right-Wing Group Continues Its War On Clean Energy—ALEC has a whole host of problems right now, including campaign finance violations and sponsor loss, but that has not stopped these darlings if the right wing from continuing to fight solar power.  Clowns.

Missouri Gas Pipeline Explosion Causes 300-Foot Fireball—No matter how many times the pipeline industry tries to sell the public the line about safety, a story comes out where a pipeline has leaked or worse exploded.

Mounting Microplastic Pollution Harms “Earthworms of the Sea”—Is there any place that the plastic pollution from humans is not impacting?  I cannot think of any place.  I bet it is even on the freaking moon.

Marine Reserves Enhance Resilience to Climate Change—So little of the oceans are protected in marine reserves, but the value of these reserves is becoming more apparent every day.

Unless Your Pot is Organic, You’re Probably Inhaling Pesticides—I found it really interesting in Doug Fine’s Too High to Fail that many of the above board growers were trying to do away with the nasty chemicals.  If it’s going to be medicine, it should probably not have pesticides sprayed all over it.

In the FDA’s Action on Trans Fats are there Lessons for GMO Labeling—Grass roots effort beat back trans fats, maybe something can be done about GMOs.

As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500—I am a huge single payer fan.  As a matter of fact, I want the system to be Medicare for all because the insanity that is talked about in this article goes away.  For anyone who thinks that the private sector is always more efficient has never been involved in hospital billing.

Scientists Warn Obama Against Burning Trees To Produce Electricity—Cutting down trees, specifically to burn them for electricity is insane.  It’s not going to be a net positive outcome no matter what way you slice it.  Here in eastern Iowa biomass from trees was used recently to power the University of Iowa, but that source was from trees felled and damaged in a strong summer storm.

Are Bio-Fuels Worse than Fossil Fuels—This debate will probably never disappear from the public sphere.  It is my belief that if second generation bio-fuels can be brought to commercial scale that there is a place in the future energy portfolio for them.

Why It Makes No Sense To Call Wind Tax Credits “Welfare”—Conservatives love using the word welfare to describe things that they are opposed to because they spent the better part of 25 years creating a series of erroneous images to describe its recipients.  It just does not happen to be welfare when it is something being given to their donors.  That’s just hypocrisy.

Free Mike Roselle From Jail: Free Appalachia From Mountaintop Removal—  Government will silence voices of dissent even when those voices are merely asking that the government enforce the laws, rules, and regulations that are already on the books.

15 Gorgeous Photos Of The Old Cincinnati Library—The pictures from this long gone library are amazing.  It’s also sad that we have lost so many of these buildings to wrecking balls in the name of progress.  Will anyone lament the cookie cutter buildings that replaced these amazing old structures?

We are So Fat

America is fat.  Not just fat, but obese according to many studies.  How do I know?  It’s not because of some government study or think tank white paper or Michael Pollan.  It’s because I saw this at the store this weekend:

Yep, it’s now a salient point that a chair is 20% wider for our collectively fat rear ends.  There is nothing like addressing the symptom of a problem as opposed to addressing the problem.

I think about obesity a lot because I have children and I have struggled with my own weight for decades.  I want to see my children grow up healthy and I want to be healthy with them as well.  I do not want to spend my later years in the titanic struggle with diabetes or other lifestyle illnesses.  But as a country America is quickly becoming a lost cause.  How bad is it?

According to a study published by Cornell University 21 percent of health care spending is tied to treating obesity related conditions.  Think about that for a moment.  America already spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world and over one fifth of that amount is spent to treat illness associated with being fat.  Now consider that by 2020 it is estimated that upwards of 75 percent of the U.S. population will be obese, which is an increase from approximately 35 percent at the beginning of the decade.

What does our fat future look like?  Here’s one take:

As I posited in an earlier post, social justice, the food movement, and the environmental movement are intertwined.  Getting people better food, healthier food, more sustainable food will lead to better social outcomes because conditions like obesity can be reduced.  Why are we so fat?  Because it is so easy to consume bad calories.  It is so cheap to consume bad calories.  I can walk into almost any McDonald’s in the U.S.—prices higher in Alaska and Hawaii—and walk out with a McDouble for $1.  So, for one dollar I can walk away with a prepared bomb of questionable origin meat and sugared up bread.  I cannot buy a head of cauliflower or broccoli for a dollar.

How is that possible?  How can McDonald’s assemble all of the ingredients, pay someone to assemble the ingredients, and run a storefront selling a burger for a dollar when I cannot get a head of cauliflower for less than two dollars?  How has our food system become so warped that this is a common occurrence.

On a lighter note, the Economist—that final bastion of imperial Britain—has noticed an increase in the size of pants while the stated size has not increased.  This “panflation” means that a size 10 is now really a size 14.  Uh oh!

But these mac & cheese muffins looks so tasty…