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NY-26 aftermath: Paul Ryan unravels on Moanin’ Joe

7:25 am in Uncategorized by Cliff Weathers

On Morning Joe this a.m, Congressman Paul Ryan seemed manic, defensive, and vexed. His frustration, anger, and paranoia were palpable. Those hypnotic blue eyes are now puffy and red from exhaustion. Dare I say that Ryan’s beginning to look disheveled? He couldn’t stay on message while he continued to drone on about the GOP’s “premium support” Medicare plan, but he’s beginning to sound like a hostage reading his own ransom demand.

In the segment, it seems that Ryan is trying to recast his message. His new plan is to tie his Medicare plan to the Brookings Institution and Bill Clinton’s health care task force. That’s right, Ryan is saying it was the liberals idea all along. Unfortunately Ryan’s plan doesn’t come close to resembling the “Premium Support” espoused by Brookings. In fact, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution denies the similarities and even exposes Ryan’s plan as not being premium support at all, but smoke and mirrors.

And while the public may not be able to articulate it, they know that it’s odd for the Republicans to want to disassemble the Affordable Health Care act, only to turn around and try to create market-based exchanges for the elderly and poor. The public also knows that they will rely on health care services extensively in the final few years of their life, and probably even more in those final days. So, if you’re throwing your seniors out into the private-sector marketplace, you know that the health insurance companies will do whatever it takes not to enroll these people. It’s not very profitable to be stuck with the sick and dying after all.

Aaron pulls no punches when talking about the GOP’s health-care initiative:

There’s one provision of the Ryan bill that stands out as being hands-down the worst, and that is giving the seniors who are poor enough to also be on Medicaid a medical savings account. Does he know who these people are? They’re very sick, they’re very poor and many of them have cognitive as well as physical problems. They would be asked to cope with the inevitable headaches of dealing with private insurance and managing a personal checking account to pay periodic bills. This is not a sensible proposal.

No, not sensible at all and not what the Brookings Institution originally prescribed, it seems.

Ryan’s primary goal has not been for properly caring for the elderly, but to confuse the public mind and create yet another giveaway to the bloated health insurance behemoths. It has been to reduce the financial security of the middle class, while insuring the financial security of corporations.

However, yesterday’s vote clearly shows that a majority of Americans have seen through his charade. And now you are seeing one of the greatest political meltdowns since Joe McCarthy was called out by Joseph Nye Welch during his communist witch hunt.

If the Democratic Party plays it smart, it will ride this message until November 2012.

GOP Congresswoman Gets Sham Award From Big Pharma Front Organization

11:17 am in Uncategorized by Cliff Weathers

Nan Hayworth‘s office sent out a press release on Thursday that included a picture of the Congresswoman receiving an award beneath a sign saying, “Senior Citizens Thank You For Protecting Medicare and Social Security.” It appeared to be a perfect photo opportunity for Hayworth, being honored by a group known as the “60 Plus Association” for legislating in their best interests.

But there are two big problems with this picture. First, Nan Hayworth just voted to kill Medicare, if you’re one of the few that has forgotten. And second, the 60 Plus Association is not a senior citizen’s group at all, it’s just a front organization for the pharmaceutical industry. This is a crass attempt by Hayworth to once again deceive her constituents, particularly the elderly.

Back in 2003, the AARP Bulletin recognized 60 Plus as a front group for Big Pharma. The publication claimed that the organization wasn’t even receiving membership dues from seniors at the time and that “virtually all of their largest contributions in recent years have come from the same source—the nation’s pharmaceutical industry.

The Bulletin revealed that 60 Plus was well funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Citizens for Better Medicare, and four pharmaceutical companies, Hanwha International, Merck, Pfizer, and Wyeth-Ayerst. Currently, as a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization may legally accept corporate donations, but is not required to disclose its funding sources, which it doesn’t.

60 Plus has also been a favorite cause in among Beltway conservatives. Lobbyist, Republican operative, and convicted felon Jack Abramoff once instructed an Indian tribe he represented to contribute to 60 Plus. Abramoff told the tribe that a donation would help it get support among GOP leadership for its legislative causes.

Since its inception, the 60 Plus Association has had the back of Big Pharma, helping the industry with mass mailings, press releases, and lobbying efforts. It was one of three industry-backed associations that backed the infamous “astroturf” issue ads of Citizens for Better Medicare (another drug industry front group) during the 2000 elections.

Also notable was 60 Plus’s support of lawsuit by PhRMA against the state of Maine, in their issuance of a “friend of the court” brief. PhRMA sued to stop the State from implementing Maine Rx, a law that reduces prices for Medicare drugs by enabling the state to offer discounted prescription drugs to the working poor and elderly through bulk purchases from manufacturers. The trial ultimately went to the Supreme Court, which eventually allowed Maine to implement the trail-blazing program.
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