Tag Archives: healthcare

Having “Access” to Health Insurance is the Latest Right Wing Bait and Switch

Over the next few weeks you are going to hear a lot of right wing talking heads spout off about ensuring “access to health insurance” in whatever plan they happen to be promoting at the time.  However, access to health insurance is not the same thing as being able to obtain health insurance.

Bear with a thought exercise for a moment.  Everyone in the United States has access to a Chevrolet Corvette.  However, only a small percentage of the population of the United States can actually afford a Chevrolet Corvette.  Access does not equal the ability to obtain.

The example is facetious and it does not go far enough.  No one needs a Chevrolet Corvette for transportation when a Chevrolet Sonic will do just fine in most cases.  Yes, it is a completely different car but it provides basic transportation.  Again, a large segment of the population cannot obtain a Chevrolet Sonic even though they have access.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act millions of Americans were denied access to health care based on pre-existing conditions.  Now, Republicans are likely to not totally scrap the prohibition of denial based on pre-existing conditions but it is likely to be modified in a way that benefits health insurance companies in denying you coverage.  Therefore, Republicans will have preserved “access to health insurance.”  See, they are looking out for the little guy.  Aren’t you relieved?

Beyond accessibility is the issue of affordability.  Under the current system, which again is defined by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance for lower income individuals is subsidized.  Makes less money and you qualify for a larger subsidy.  According to Republican logic this is evil.

Under Republican plans the current menu of subsidies would disappear and be replaced with…you got it, tax credits.  These tax credits are not based on income, but age so even if you are rich you get the same tax credit as someone who is poor.  Furthermore, these tax credits will do nothing for the segment of the population that cannot afford health insurance and does not pay taxes because they make too little income.

Make no mistake that the right wing of the right wing, known to most in Washington D.C. as the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” will probably support none of this tax credit nonsense.  The reasoning will be a word salad including the terms “socialism, communism, fascism, Obama, market based solutions, capitalism, Ronald Reagan, America, freedom, and Jesus.”  You can feel free to rearrange the words to match whatever particular politician from the Republican Party happens to be speaking.

In practice this means that whatever mechanism to ensure affordability that survives the gauntlet of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will likely be so meaningless as to make health insurance as unaffordable as it was prior to the Affordable Care Act.  Therefore, “access to health insurance” has been limited because affordability is central to accessibility.  Do not fall for this madness.

Under Republican plans prices for plans will go up, the ability of health insurance companies to screw you over will increase, and the ability of people to actually afford health insurance will erode considerably.  However, you will have “access to health insurance” and that should make you feel all warm inside as you read that dog eared copy of Atlas Shrugged.

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Friday Linkage 6/27/2014

It’s amazing how busy you can be ferrying children to dance lessons, teeball games, and birthday parties. It almost makes you pine for the lazy winter weekends where the biggest decision was whether or not to put in three mini marshmallows in the hot cocoa.

On to the links…

Justices Uphold Emission Limits on Big Industry—Guess what? The new EPA rules are going to stand as long as a Democrat is in the White House. Assuming Hillary runs and the Republicans go with a slate of crazies as potential nominees these rules have a good decade or more to be law of the land. Dig it.

Nebraska Utility Is Phasing Out Some Coal Units, And It Won’t Cost That Much—Forget what the talking heads on Fix News and you hyperbolic members of Congress have said because the newly released EPA regulations that will likely close down some coal plants will not dramatically alter the American economy. It’s a good thing.

EPA to Reassess Sherco Coal Power Plant’s Effect on Two National Parks—It is starting to feel like coal is on its last legs as a fuel for the future in the U.S. Every time you turn around there is a movement to close down yet another plant for one reason or another.

What’s Better — A Solar Loan or a Solar Lease?—As companies offering solar leases proliferate this is a question that will be asked by anyone considering a residential solar photovoltaic system.

Buying Into Solar Power, No Roof Access Needed—How about a third option for getting access to electricity from the sun?

Colorado Springs Solar Garden Sells Out, Even Before Construction Begins—If you do not believe there is demand for solar power just look at the stunning success of solar gardens in Colorado. These things are fully subscribed well before construction begins.

Utah Utility Cuts Deal For 20 Years Of Solar Power Because It’s The Cheapest Option—Here’s why retiring dirty old coal plants is not going to be that expensive. Renewables are getting to be just as cheap.

Worldwide Solar Power Capacity is 53X Higher than 9 Years Ago! Wind Power 6.6X Higher!—Crazy. Crazy good that is.

How Your Bee-Friendly Garden May Actually Be Killing Bees—Bees cannot get a break. Even when you plant a pollinator friendly garden you may be inadvertently killing off bees. Ugh.

One Quarter Of India Is Turning Into Desert—This is why environmental restoration efforts are so critical. There is a lot of land all over the world that has been negatively impacted by mankind’s hand. We need to heal the land.

Rethinking the Word ‘Foodie’—Everyone would be better off if we recognized the costs—usually externalities—associated with our cracked up food system. Plus, killing the term “foodie” would be great.

How We Can Tame Overlooked Wild Plants to Feed the World—As we lose plants to disease because we have bred out food system to uniformity wild plants will be increasingly valuable. Think about your morning coffee. Most of the coffee we drink is descended from a single genetic strain originating somewhere in Ethiopia. The hundreds, if not thousands, of wild coffee plants that might have resistant to various blights have not been exploited.

We Have a Crappy Healthcare System—I don’t usually talk about the U.S. healthcare system because it pisses me off so much. Have a parent struggle with the system while they are dying and you will have an unceasing hate for insurance companies. In the U.S. we have great practitioners of healthcare—doctors, nurses, etc.—but the archaic and bloated system around these practitioners does nothing but add cost and inefficiency.

Bjorn Lomborg Is Part Of The Koch Network — And Cashing In—If you didn’t already thing that Bjorn Lomborg was a fraud, then the latest news about his affiliation with the evil Koch brothers will just erase any lingering doubts. The man defines sell out.