• marsdragon and PictureCranialRectalLoopback are now friends

    2013-09-26 15:45:29View | Delete
  • And to quote that link I listed above, this is why Republicans in Texans now want to negotiate the use of Medicaid to pay for private insurance:

    ““Texas could go from being one of the more challenging states post-reform to one of the best states in which to own hospitals,” [Sheryl Skolnick of CRT Capital Group] wrote. “The stakes are big….””

    Of course! That’s what ACA was all about. Making it profitable to own hospitals!! Its also profitable to own PRISONS too!!! Just put 3 cards in with 3000 inmates and hire those inmates out for 10 cents an hour and voila! You just added 3000 jobs to the BLS statistics showing how Growth is happening! Raise the premiums and you can boost the stock of health insurance companies! That’s all that matters. Growth for its own sake and massaging the numbers on an accounting statement so the stock price goes up.

  • Okay, so DHS and Sebelius offered to give an exemption to low-income people that lived in states that refused to accept the Federal money to expand Medicaid.

    Here in Texas, that meant that low income people (25% of the state, roughly) would at least be spared the penalty for not receiving medicaid…

    But, guess what? Texas hospitals (like Tenet) and Texas Republicans are working out a DEAL that will let Federal Money for Medicaid come into the state after all… by using that Medicaid Money as a Voucher for the poor to buy Commercial Insurance!!!! Now that its corporate welfare, its suddenly becoming popular in Texas with the GOP. And once they do that, the exemption from the mandate that DHS offered just a month ago will suddenly be off the table in Texas and states like it. Because the medicaid money can now be used to buy private insurance!!! Paul Ryan gets his dream of voucherizing medicaid after all, using Sebelius and DHS to push it through.

  • marsdragon and PictureDWBartoo are now friends

    2012-12-09 08:59:23View | Delete
  • marsdragon and Pictureattilathehen are now friends

    2012-10-23 14:09:11View | Delete
  • Some people are just reading and not commenting, I suspect. MAybe many. Lets be honest. This blog is being monitored right now. Its a brave thing just to participate in this. I think FDL has proven to be a brave voice with its willingness to do this. Very glad to see this forum. Thanks FDL, and all who are contributing…

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-30 20:25:28View | Delete

    The anti-trust thing is a good point. Right now, Insurers are exempt from Anti-Trust law. That is why some states are dominated by a single insurer (Blue Cross Blue Shield, usually) that controls over 80% of the market, or more. There is no competition anyway within some states.

    Right now, if the insurance industry were federalized, it would allow insurers to cross state lines and thererfore competition could potentially lower costs. But, there is also the risk of a single state racing to the bottom the way North Dakota has done with banking and usury laws (no prohibition on it) and therefore most banks incorporate in ND now. (or is it SD, forgive me if I got that mixed up).

    The Federal government would need to not only federalize insurance products, but also regulate the pricing (and not the states). Since that is not likely to be a politically viable victory, then what is the next option?

    Expand Medicare. It exists, its cheaper and more efficient.

    Here’s why: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/node/11672 – Private insurance premiums have risen 700% since 1969, whereas Medicare has risen 400% since 1969. Proof of government efficiency trumping corporate greed. Second, Jon Walker made a great point. The ACA has no cost-control provision whatsoever.

    And Insurers are using that loophole without a blink of the eye. Expect our premiums to go up another 700% over the next 40 years, while our incomes go down another 5% to 10% or more due to the offshoring of jobs to slave-labor nations and the gutting of the unions, the gutting of worker rights, and the reversion to a 19th century robber-baron economy. Meanwhile, corporations are persons, there are no spending-caps on purchasing political influence using shadowy organizations with secretive donors, the existence of offshore tax havens to keep the wealth of the American working class far from their grubby little hands… This ACA ruling was just one more piece of the pie granting the few to have dominance over the many.

  • marsdragon commented on the diary post DoJ to Investigate Reign of Terror at Pine Ridge, SD in the 1970’s by wendydavis.

    2012-06-30 20:08:21View | Delete

    Thanks for the diary, Wendy. I think most Americans, particularly the younger generations, don’t even know about this episode, and don’t really understand the entire COINTELPRO thing. They don’t understand what happened to black America (and is still happening). An oppressed people often is at greatest risk of its future generations forgetting the oppression and [...]

  • marsdragon commented on the diary post Less than 100 Americans determine U.S. election results by Barefoot Accountant.

    2012-06-30 19:48:00View | Delete

    Jon Walker did a better job of explaining it, but basically, we can expect Premiums to rise another 700% over the next 40 years too. OR more. The law requiring us to purchase this product has no control mechanism or enforcement mechanism keeping the cost of that product down.

  • marsdragon commented on the diary post Less than 100 Americans determine U.S. election results by Barefoot Accountant.

    2012-06-30 19:36:04View | Delete

    Agreed on all points. Another proof point to add to your argument: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/node/11672 – There’s a chart with links to the sources that demonstrate that while medicare has gone up 400% since 1969, private medical insurance has gone up 700% in that same time. This week, the Court upheld the ACA which will require Americans [...]

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 10:14:02View | Delete

    This article does a pretty good job of analyzing the case. Roberts basically agreed with the four dissenting justices that the Commerce Clause was being violated. That sort of makes it a 5-4 ruling on the Commerce Clause, in a backhanded way. And the article is right to point out that the Heritage Foundation and the Conservative Machine proposed this law already. Justice Roberts’ court basically recrafted this law in the Conservative image, and then gave Obama his “victory” by calling it a TAX.

    Read the article. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/john-roberts-evil-genius-article-1.1103982

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 09:23:27View | Delete

    AT the end of the day, this law “mandates/taxes” the American people to purchase a financial product without any regulation on how much that financial product can cost. The insurance company has a de facto tax enforcement power over us now. If we don’t buy their product, we get in trouble with the IRS. People claiming that isn’t such a big deal have no idea how ruthless and efficient the IRS can be when it wants to. NOBODY gets to hide from the IRS. It was the only thing that took down Al Capone. The Insurance company can charge whatever it wants for insurance premiums and Americans can either but it or be penalized with a tax. I don’t care if they say “its not a penalty.” YEs, it is a penalty.

    And what will that tax money be dedicated towards? Will it go to Medicare and Medicaid? No. No dedication of revenue in the bill. It will likely go to the War on Terror or the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty (I mean, the War against the Poor).

    Real affordability would have been a law regulating how much the Insurance companies can charge. But you know why they didn’t and couldn’t pass that law?

    Because only the states have the right to regulate those prices. But the Feds have the right to force us to buy it.

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 09:13:08View | Delete

    Okay, as I am reading the law, it is $695/adult up to a maximum of $2085 per household. Or 2.5% of the combined income if that is higher.

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 09:04:54View | Delete

    2.5% per individual in the home. Is that 5% on a married couple? Or is that 2.5% per individual in the home (family of five becomes 12.5%?).

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 08:21:18View | Delete

    I can only hope you’re correct in your analysis/prediction. What irks me is that we got to this point in the first place. The level of uncertainty for the average family is not going to get better. The only thing this ruling really does is give the Insurance companies the green light to now make projections for an estimated number of new customers.

    But, the billion-dollar question is this: “Will we see premiums go down now that 30 million more Americans are buying policies?”

    IF the premiums continue to go up by double-digit percentages year over year, will we all agree this law helped, or hurt, the situation?

    Unless salaries increase at the same rate as insurance premiums, the only positive outcome for this law will be to measure whether the increase in the customer pool results in a decrease in premiums for everybody. That is how insurance is supposed to work.

    That will be the metric, I think. Its the only quick and obvious and accurate way to measure this law’s impact. By watching the cost of premiums in the years ahead. The cost of medical services is not directly impacted by this law, since most people rely on insurance to pay those services, and insurance sets the prices. Most Americans pay the premiums. Not the claims. They need to see their premiums go down for this to be a fincial success. Otherwise, it will prove itself as being what I suspect it is – a corporate welfare program for the uber-rich to become even richer at the expense of the majority of people using the instrumentalities of the state to perpetuate that dynamic. Fascism is the opposite of socialism. Socialism uses the state to help the majority of people better their lives. Fascism uses the state to help a minority of wealthy obtain more power over the masses. The price of premiums in the coming years will prove whether this was a socialist or fascist law that got upheld today.

    (OF course, being socialist in my tendencies, I would have preferred a Single-Payer option that would have cut the private financial middleman out entirely).

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 08:12:46View | Delete

    So, the question will be what defines “punitive”?

    The answer will depend on perspective. A family of four making $30,000 a year is going to have one answer. A small business owner of 5 employees grossing $500,000 a year but netting less than $50,000 a year for his/her own family will have a different answer…

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 08:07:11View | Delete

    “what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance.”

    So, what is the level of income that creates the threshold for penalty? And recall that those who are below the level at the beginning of a year will receive financial assistance, but if their income starts to increase above that level, they will have to pay the financial assistance back. Its complex enough to deter those beneath the level from seeking assistance in the first place. The majority of Americans fall in the category of being just above the level to trigger the penalty, but not by much. They will spend half their income on insurance now and without assistance. Therefore, they will just take the penalty and pay the tax.

    Until the tax one day is as much as the insurance. I don’t see a happy ending to this, even if it does take 20 years to become worse. INflation for health insurance premiums has been as much as 20% year over year in many markets. Some more, some less. The spikes in health insurance premium costs have outstripped the increases in health services costs themselves. And yet, the economy is still stagnating and the jobs are still going overseas and the incomes are still dropping across the board. The costs of living are still going up. So, who is going to help people purchase these “non-mandated but tax-punishable” policies?

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 07:57:35View | Delete

    Not the Republicans maybe. But what about the Democrats?

    And that raises the larger political question. How is this good for Democrats? Now, those of us who are wiping sweat from our heads because the tax penalties are “not-punitive” (I disagree with that characterization) will be wanting Republicans to be numerous enough to prevent the insertion of punitive penalties into this framework.

    Unless Democrats come out clearly against the insertion of those penalties, but I don’t see how or why they would. They passed the entire framework in an undivided Congress. (The 39 Republican votes for filibuster was a sham argument the entire time).

    And technically, the GOP does sometimes raise taxes. In a back-handed way. By extending the Bush tax cuts, and allowing the upper 20% of income earners to avoid the lion’s share of social security taxes, they are effectively raising the tax on everyone else. So, the GOP does have its own ways of raising taxes. I just wonder what the sham-game will look like when they do it.

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 07:53:08View | Delete

    Question for you or others — what if a harsh punitive tax is later written into the law? Does this ruling leave the door open to then come back and have it stricken as a Mandate at that point? Or is the calling of it a mandate still irrelevant since it was upheld as a tax?

    In other words, this is mere quibble, right? Lets say the Court unanimously called it a “not-mandate.” They still upheld the law 5-4 as a tax. Lets say they unanimously called it a “mandate.” They still upheld the law as a tax. They didn’t address the Constitutionality of a mandate in the event of a punitive tax, but they didn’t have to. IT still holds as a tax. Punitive or not. Right? OR do you read it differently?

  • marsdragon commented on the blog post Liveblog: Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

    2012-06-28 07:49:12View | Delete

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/dont-call-it-a-mandate-its-a-tax/

    “The ACA’s key provision now amounts to an invitation to buy insurance, rather than an order to do so, with a not-very-big tax penalty for going without.”

    How long before those penalties are increased? What will stop that? A divided congress? A divided congress has not repealed the Bush Tax Cuts. A unified Democrat Congress couldn’t even put Single-Payer on the table. A divided Congress repealed Glass-Steagal. I predict that if the insurance companies don’t get the “pool of customers” they want, the tax penalties will be increased with a stroke of the pen. Now that the framework has been created, and the framework upheld by SCOTUS as a valid tax, the only thing left to do is to insert a punitive tax regime. That won’t be stricken by SCOTUS. Congress can tax as much as it wants.

    Now, who is more likely to pass that punitive tax regime? A Republican Congress or a Democratic Congress? Republicans are in the pocket of big insurance industry, but Democrats wrote this law. IF they get flack for not enough people being on insurance, then both parties have incentives to create punitive taxes. Through Kabuki Theater. The Democrats will propose the tax increases, and Republicans will holler and hate, but will ultimately go with it just enough (while getting something else pushed in, like gutting social security or medicare, for example). The horse-trading will commence, and we will have a punitive tax in this law and the tradeoff will be more steps backwards to corporate feudalism.

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