Obama’s Death Panels (much like himself) Gaining Popularity (UPDATE: Texas Connection)

Kinda figured this would happen when government troops didn’t start showing up and killing old people like we were repeatedly warned…

The poll finds that 40 percent of those surveyed said they support the law, while 41 percent oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, opposition stood at 47 percent and support was 38 percent.

As for repeal, only about one in four say they want to do away with the law completely. Among Republicans support for repeal has dropped sharply, from 61 percent after the elections to 49 percent now.

[full story

I wonder if all this “will of the American people” talk from the Republicans hoping to kill the recently passing and increasingly popular legislation (and that’s not rhetoric, they put the word “kill” in the title of their repeal effort) takes into account new information like this poll. 

After the election, and with more time and familiarity, I’d say this poll is more accurate than those taken during the heat of battle.  And given how much the numbers have changed in such a short time (and those are pretty big changes), I wouldn’t be surprised if HCR ends up as popular as the two other programs that keep this country from falling apart (or at least keep the fallen off the streets, eating, clothed and sheltered).   Which is to say, it will likely become a 3rd rail of American politics like Medicare and SS (and like how healthcare is in every other first world country).

Obama’s numbers are also up sharply after leading Congress to a “lame-duck” compromise on a number of issues. (I don’t like that term, BTW. I think it’s lame, way overused and was completely inaccurate this year, as the LD session of Congress got waaay more done than the others).

At the same time, 48 percent of American voters approve of how the president is doing his job, up from 42 percent the month before. Forty-three percent disapprove, down from 50 percent.

Similarly, 53 percent of voters have favorable opinions of Obama, up from 47 percent, and 40 percent have unfavorable opinions, down from 49 percent.

Looking forward, 61 percent of voters think the president will do a better job in the second two years of his term, while just 21 percent think he’ll do a worse job.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/13/2014972/poll-obama-rebounding-with-voters.html#ixzz1BKPlFVW8

So the President is gaining popularity (which hit a pretty solid bottom of 42% or so bottom and didn’t go lower) and there is more hope for better change over the next two years.  This is largely because American voters love compromise (even if most are largely ignorant on what that actual compromise entails)…
In the capital’s changed political landscape, those surveyed are looking for things to get done:
• Eighty percent say the president should work to pass legislation Democrats and Republicans can agree on, even if it’s not what most Democrats want. Even 70% of Democrats feel that way.
• Eighty-three percent say it’s extremely or very important for House Republicans to pass legislation that both parties can agree on, including 77% of Republicans.
So we see the President, a largely centrist pragmatist with liberal aspirations, making deals right along those lines and the country largely agreeing with him.
In 2010, we saw the midterm election happen, with the big lie winning out.   In 2011 we started off in a horrific direction, but perhaps we can see a better political climate come out of it.  One where the facts of the matter are the important part of the debate, and not something to find out after the dust has settled.
In such an environment, Obama will shine, much like he did on the stage in Tucson.

UPDATE:  Texas, bastion of Tea Party opposition to HCR, is setting up insurance exchanges (one of the hallmark ways HCR expands coverage (and nixes lifetime caps and pre-existing condition exclusions)  while keeping prices in check).   Love the quote…

“My opposition to the federal health care reforms is no secret, and I continue to support Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to have the law declared unconstitutional,” he said.

“But the ‘connector concept’ has been around for decades and did not originate with Obamacare,” Zerwas said. “Quite frankly, it is something that we should consider on its own merits regardless of the fate of the federal reforms.”

Under the federal law, state exchanges will require insurers to compete in offering standard coverage in five categories. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to compare policies and prices. Exchanges also will help administer federal subsidies to low- and moderate-income individuals and families buying coverage.

“I completely hate this law and want it repealed…but it is filled with very good ideas people have been trying to implement for decades.”

Give it enough time and the truth does eventually get its shoes on and catches up.

The Partisan Hack vs the Objective Journalist (re: Healthcare Reform)

It’s hard to find good examples of this kind of stuff.  I’m well aware that being an “objective journalist” is something of a oxymoronic ideal, but it’s there to strive for, and the difficulty in reaching that ideal is no reason not to try.

Here’s a quick example of the difference between actually trying to be objective and doing your best to skew reality.

First up, the ojective dude.*

The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.

The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.


Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.

One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.”

Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.

You can read the rest of that article (and the comments) for some insight on how some of the provisions from health-care reform are helping to bring healthcare to millions of more people.


…you can read the partisan hack version.  This one doesn’t include quotes from Ron Rowe, rather it is filled with the deceptive statistical proclamations of one Karl Rove.

A primary task for the new Republican House majority is to undo as many of the pernicious effects of ObamaCare that it can. One of these effects is the spectacle of employers going hat-in-hand to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for waivers from some of the law’s more onerous provisions.

BTW, one of the “pernicious effects” of “ObmaCare” that Rove refers to is reducing the country’s deficits.  Even Bruce Bartlett has called out the GOP for this long-term lie.  Rove, of course, doesn’t deign to mention how repealing HCR increases the debt, but he does start slinging doozies and baseless insinuations…

In September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began granting waivers to companies that provided workers “mini-med” coverage—low-cost plans with low annual limits on what the insurance will pay out. This followed announcements by some employers that they would have to drop these plans because they did not meet the new health law’s requirement that 85% of premium income be spent on medical expenses.

Rove *very much neglects to mention* that all of these “mini-med” waivers are holdovers until the full legislation kicks in in 2014.    FactCheck.org addressed this lie recently….

Q: Has the Obama administration allowed corporations to “opt out” of the new health care law?

A: No. The government has granted more than 200 waivers, but these merely give companies a temporary delay before being required to improve the coverage of cheap, bare-bones plans they currently offer.

Karl Rove, however, knowing that his reading audience for the WSJ is already largely suspicious of  certain groups getting special favors, plays that card immediately…

According to the department’s website, the waivers cover 1,507,418 employees, of which more than a third (525,898) are union members. Yet unionized workers make up only 7% of the private work force. Whatever is going on here, a disproportionately high number of waivers are being granted to administration allies.

Note this old-school hackery…”I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m suspicious.”  This is pure hackery.  Sure, it could be pointed out that it’s comparing apples (private work force as a whole) to oranges (specific industries getting waivers), and one could also point out, like Politifact did, that…

But, as of Dec. 3, the federal government had approved a total of 222 one-year waivers that allow the insurance plans at companies like McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Ruby Tuesday, and unions, to ignore the requirement on annual limits. Far from being “Obama’s buddies,” as the Internet post claimed, the restaurant industry, through the National Restaurant Association, opposed the legislation.

.,..but only someone honest would do that.  Rove doesn’t qualify.

It should also be noted here that unlike the impression one would get from Rove’s article, we are talking about plans here that barely, if at all, qualify as “health insurance”.    And did I mention the waivers are temporary?  I probably should twice, since Rove neglected to ever mention that salient fact.

In typical douchebag fashion, Rove finishes with the unknowingly ironic…

In a speech at the University of Iowa last March, the president heralded health-care reform as “a new set of rules that treats everybody honestly and treats everybody fairly.”

…which is precisely why Republicans hate it.  Right, Mr. Rove?

* It should be noted that he is writing for Forbes magazine.   Forbes…run by Steve Forbes…who wrote…

If reelected, Obama can go back to his power-grabbing ways by having the federal government intrusively dominate higher education via programs that will make college “free” to virtually everyone. Student loans are already under his thumb.

Rigid ideologists have long known how to make tactical maneuvers to further their ultimate goals. The most famous case was Vladimir Lenin in the early 1920s. While the Communists had won the civil war, the Soviet Union’s economy was moribund, threatening the Red regime’s survival. Entrepreneurs did not fear taxes and regulations; they feared for their very lives.

I mention that bit of retarded guilt by association to illustrate that while even the editor-in-chief  of  Forbes (Steve Forbes) is a “Obama is a commie!!” nut, not all of his editors are infected with the same delusion.   A lesson one Mr. Murdoch might take to heart if he wasn’t making so much money ignoring it.

Healthcare Hypocrisy: Republican Style

There’s a certain danger in politics of, as they say, “drinking the kool-aid”.   This is usually a reference (and it’s used by both sides) of believing one’s own rhetoric to the point of suicide  (it’s a colloquialism based on this event).

In this case we have the constantly repeated mantra coming from the right about the “huge, astonomic, likely-to-bankrupt-us” cost of the healthcare-reform legislation passed last year.  This mantra is, as per, a big lie.  Note that it wasn’t the biggest lie of 2010 (that went to saying HCR was a “government takeover“)

So on the one hand you have this “HCR is too expensive” kool-aid, which has been drunk from extensively, and on the other hand you have the official scorekeeper continue to point out how the legislation actually cuts the deficit in the logn-term, another campaign promise from the R’s (note: this is possible when you tax *and* spend, and not possible if you *cut taxes* and *spend*).

Washington (CNN) — Legislation being pushed by House Republicans to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will add $230 billion to the federal debt by 2021, according to an analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

[full article]

Then they get elected on the lie (and the CONSTANT OUTRAGE!!  ABOUT NOTHING!! THAT DISAPPEARED AFTER THE ELECTION!), then create hard and fast spending rules they should have to follow which would expose the big lie…and then quickly provide an exemption to that rule in order to provide the smoke and mirrors necessary to disguise how bad that kool-aid actually tastes. 

I love how the article puts these two statements together, it doesn’t get more succint than this…

“I don’t think anyone in this town believes that repealing Obamacare is going to increase the deficit,” [New Speaker of the House John Boehner] said.

Republicans have exempted a repeal of the health care law from new rules prohibiting legislation from adding to the federal debt.

Note that bit.  Boehner says *no one* thinks it saves money…EXCEPT FOR THE REPUBLICANS THEMSELVES (and the CBO and the Democrats….which is actually pretty much everyone).

I’d get used to this stuff.   When you are rewarded for using deceptive practices, you have zero incentive to stop doing them.

Oh, and bonus points for Boehner.  He makes sure to cover all the buzzwords.   The quote…

The people “want this bill repealed, and we are going to repeal it,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. If it is not repealed, “it will ruin the best health care system in the world … (and) will ruin our economy.”

This is a great flavor of the ole ‘aid.  It comes from guys like this (and asstarts like Frank Luntz) (note: read this linked article, it’s great background on how these lies gain flight)…

 In 2008, [Wendell Potter’s] conscience got the best of him after visiting the Remote Area Medical’s healthcare fair in Wise County, Virginia and saw people standing and sitting in long lines, waiting for free care. “They were treating people in animal stalls and barns. It looked like it might have been a war torn country. I could not believe this was the United States of America.”

Shortly after leaving his six-figure job, he decided to expose and speak out against the very practices he once defended.

In his new book, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care And Deceiving Americans, he writes, “If you are among those who believe that the U.S. has the best healthcare system in the world–despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary– it’s because my fellow spinmeisters and I succeeded brilliantly at what we were paid very well to do with your premium dollars.”

“And if you were persuaded that the health care bill President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010 was a ‘government takeover of the health care system,’ my former colleagues and I earned every penny of our handsome salaries.”

UPDATE:  The champions of Democracy also quickly disenfranchised about 4,500,000 Americans.   Expect them to try and do so to many, many more.

Health Care Reform Starts to Take Effect

…and now we get to see the people the Republicans are pledging to screw back over (they’ve made it a major part of their platform to rescind the new changes, much like how insurance companies use to be able to rescind policies of people who got sick (and will be able to again if the R’s succeed)).

Insurance brokers have told the Cunninghams they won’t write a policy that covers Ryan.”They could cover the rest of us, but they couldn’t give it to us for Ryan,” Michelle Cunningham said. “We’re willing to pay a fair premium, but they weren’t willing to sell it to us at any price.”

Under the new health care law, the family will be able to buy insurance covering their son. That means Bob Cunningham can pursue his small business dream, instead of plugging away at a discouraging search for employment that provides health benefits.

“If the subject of health care reform comes up, I try to tell people about our situation every time I get a chance,” said Michelle Cunningham. “I want them to know that sick children really were being denied access to insurance.”

More stories here.  I’ve actually seen quite a few of these, including a few in comment threads.  Usually it will start with some Paultard/Tea Bagger going on and on about socialism and commies and death panels and then someone will comment with something like, “well, yea, I guess, but now my son/daughter/aunt/parent can get coverage and they couldn’t before.  I work and am willing to pay, but no one would sell us insurance.”

This was a real problem that got fixed.  Unfixing it is now a major platform for the other party.  Hopefully some of the real stories about change and improvement will get out before the election, but from experience I know most of the teabagger crowd doesn’t believe the news unless it is forwarded to them in an email by a fellow “concerned citizen”.

For some unfathomable reason (probably explained as “because socialism”) many of the illustioned want to *return* to a system that does this to people…

Problem: Insurer retroactively canceled his coverage after he suffered a stroke.

How law will help: A provision barring insurers from rescinding policies comes too late for Janis, but he may get coverage through another provision of the law.

Out of the blue, Scott Janis suffered a massive stroke in November. As his medical bills reached $175,000 a few months later, his insurance company canceled his policy.

“It’s despicable to leave a man who’s recovering from a stroke with no insurance,” said Scott’s father, Ray Janis. His parents told his story because Janis has trouble communicating following the stroke.

The Death Panel that I worry about…


…is a computer algorithm designed to make money from HIV and cancer.

They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.

Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information. WellPoint declined to comment on the women’s specific cases without a signed waiver from them, citing privacy laws.

That tens of thousands of Americans lost their health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with life-threatening, expensive medical conditions has been well documented by law enforcement agencies, state regulators and a congressional committee. Insurance companies have used the practice, known as “rescission,” for years. And a congressional committee last year said WellPoint was one of the worst offenders.

The article documents the use of the HIV Assassin Bot as well.

BFD, a t-shirt won a contest

They held a contest, this one won.

I voted for a different shirt, too. These people aren’t respecting our opinions or counting our votes! They just forced this “BFD” shirt upon us, and rushed it to print without caring what we think. Action must be taken, and fast!

I’m forming the Tee Party.

-GreenAdder [via fark.com]