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  • Unless you end up — wittingly or not, willingly or not — being treated by an out-of-network provider. Or an exclusion or limitation applies to some of the care you happen to need. Or the exorbitantly priced drug you need turns out not to be in your plan’s formulary. Or you get so sick that you lose your job and no longer qualify for that plan. But maybe I’m being presumptuous; perhaps you actually do have America’s Most Awesome High-Deductible Plan.

    By the way — I’m not going to bother digging up the cite; I think it was probably an article by Himmelstein and Woolhandler in the American Journal of Public Health — prior to the ACA, a majority of insured patients who got cancer lost most or all of their life savings paying the out-of-pockets and incidentals. Since median net worth in the US is around $45,000, I’m guessing that’s not going to change dramatically under the ACA. Regardless, ditto to what Sarah said — good luck.

  • And as we know, in around half the states, for recipients over 55 Medicaid is not a public benefits program but a loan secured by a lien on the recipient’s estate. So, if you’re a worthless, good-for-nothing, freeloading Exchange-subsidy moocher and you fuck up on your premium payments or projected income estimates, the feds will come after you whether you’re dead or alive, and if you’re an older worthless, good-for-nothing, freeloading Medicaid moocher and you don’t fuck up at all — well, apart from being poor — state revenuers will come after you when you’re dead.

  • If Leung is concerned about giving the poors a choice, I guess that must mean Hong Kong still has independent, diverse, competitive, investigative new media. That’s simply not a problem over here in the States. Big Capital Propaganda News In, Big Capital Election Results Out. And if perchance the poors vote the wrong way, Big Capital just captures their reps once they are in office. Democracy in action!

  • I wonder if Congressman Grayson would agree that, for the 40 million completely uninsured and the many additional millions of functionally uninsured like Wandrich, the Democratic plan is, “If you get sick, die, and die quickly.”

  • PCM commented on the blog post For Conservatives it is all About Fox News

    2014-10-21 11:47:27View | Delete

    Don’t forget to point out that Fox News’s number-two shareholder is Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who is also the number-three shareholder of the new News Corp. No need to trouble your debate opponents with the detail that his holdings are only in the single digits and come with reduced voting rights due to his being a foreigner. Rupert Murdoch is the Great Satan behind right-wing news, but letting right-wingers know that they’re enriching a (cosmetically?) pro-Palestinian Saudi billionaire when they consume Murdoch’s inverted-fascist agitprop might plant an additional seed of doubt in the minds of some.

  • PCM commented on the blog post For Conservatives it is all About Fox News

    2014-10-21 11:24:05View | Delete

    Yup. If “liberals” are content to consume the distraction, misdirection, and propaganda carried on corporate advertisers’ and sponsors’ “liberal” news mills, they can be indoctrinated into believing that the Democratic Party (still?) represents their interests.

  • PCM commented on the blog post State Dept Says I Shouldn’t Write This!

    2014-10-20 16:00:14View | Delete

    And yet, the claim rings a bell. Didn’t Il-sung develop the basic concept while he was still living at the Kim family farm in Rigby, Idaho?

  • PCM commented on the blog post State Dept Says I Shouldn’t Write This!

    2014-10-20 15:56:38View | Delete

    The first rule of State Club is: you do not talk about State Club. The second rule of State Club is: you do NOT TALK ABOUT STATE CLUB. The third rule of State Club is: when State Club tells you to shut up, you shut up.

    Does that about sum it up?

  • PCM commented on the blog post This Could Be the Beginning of the End of Pot Brownies in Colorado

    2014-10-20 15:38:51View | Delete

    Goodbye store-bought brownies, hello store-bought Brussels-sprout-and-spinach quiche. But seriously:

    The actual danger of anyone accidentally consuming a cannabis cookie not knowing it contained marijuana is extremely small, but it is a concern that has received a disproportionate amount of media attention and has become the number one thing to attack by opponents.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I cooked up a batch of very strong pot brownies for my cancer-stricken mom and kept them in a well-labeled container in the fridge. By “well-labeled,” I mean with a warning saying “Marijuana Brownies — For Mom Only” written in big fat Sharpie marker. The first accidental consumer was my dad, who was scrounging around in the fridge for a late-night snack. He had been fully briefed on the brownies, and the warning was right there in his face, so I imagine something like this must have happened. He’d never been high before and was totally freaked out. The second accidental consumer was a new home-hospice-care aide who wasn’t wearing her glasses and who wanted something sweet to accompany her morning coffee. (I had taken the night shift and had already turned in when she arrived, so my dad did the introductory briefing and — if you can believe it after his own experience — forgot to explicitly point out the brownies.) She had also never been high before and she thought she was dying. (They were really very powerful brownies.) She called her daughter, who called 911, and soon a fire truck and a squad car were at the house. (By the way, medical marijuana was already legal up here and there was no ugly criminal or civil fallout. The aide went home to sleep it off and ended up staying with us until my mom died.)

    Anyway, if fully grown adults can be incapable of distinguishing pot brownies from regular brownies, little kids are even more susceptible to doing so. But the thing is, the danger with home-baked goods is probably even higher than with store-bought goods. Store-bought goods can be prepackaged with Mr. Yuck stickers already on them. (And in fact, after that second incident, I went to the drug store, picked up a bunch of Mr. Yuck stickers, and slapped at least one on every side, top, and bottom of every container. Sheesh.) Whether marijuana edibles are store-bought or home-made, or well-labeled or not, the important thing is to keep them out of reach of kids — and maybe some old folks, too? — period.

    PS: I won’t tell you the full story of how my mom secretly scarfed down three brownies while I was peeing before taking her out for a walk. Suffice it to say that the walk back home was epic.

  • PCM commented on the diary post Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Stephen R. Donaldson by dakine01.

    2014-10-19 17:56:48View | Delete

    I’ll be happy when The Winds of Winter comes out, but I can’t begrudge the man for taking a break and enjoying his success. The books are really quite massive: books four and five were originally intended to come out as a single volume and together they are more than 700,000 words long,* not including the [...]

  • PCM commented on the diary post Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Stephen R. Donaldson by dakine01.

    2014-10-18 19:57:41View | Delete

    OMG, OMG, OMG! Berek Halfhand ? Beric Dondarrion? Qhorin Halfhand? From George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire ? (That’s Game of Thrones to you TV watchers.) They are not wrong when they say, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” I could say much and more of George Martin’s masterwork but I know little and less of Donaldson’s oeuvre, so I’ll stop there. (All [...]

  • An American newspaper sanitizing and slanting its coverage of political candidates? Say it ain’t so.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Washington-Oregon Marijuana Tax Inversion Point

    2014-10-18 11:11:30View | Delete

    Washington has the most regressive state and local tax system in the country and it has the highest liquor prices — I’m assuming due to taxes — in the contiguous 48 states. I know an 80-something-year-old woman who drives to Reno with her girlfriends a couple times a year for a few days of gambling and fun, and she comes back with a trunk packed full of cheap liquor. Portland is a whole lot closer than Reno; if you start out early, Portland is a day trip from Seattle.

    By the way, The Washington sales tax rate is slightly lower in counties bordering Oregon (which as Big Al pointed out has no sales tax). I wonder if the legislature will have to lower marijuana taxes in those counties as well…

    Anyway, it will be an interesting calculus. If lots of Washingtonians make pot-shopping trips to Oregon, I guess we’ll see Washington law enforcement stepping up “civil asset forfeiture” (stealing travelers’ cash) on the way down and possession-limit enforcement (seizing travelers’ weed and arresting the travelers) on the way back up. Will the stolen cash (if indeed it’s vouchered in full) be enough to cover the cost of arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning these dangerous drug smugglers? I doubt it.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Hating the Other Party Really Drives Turnout

    2014-10-18 10:18:21View | Delete

    What does hating both parties do?

  • PCM commented on the blog post Obama Appoints Ebola Czar, Third Health Worker Isolated

    2014-10-18 10:17:23View | Delete

    What if we stopped calling them czars and started calling them emcees instead?

  • PCM commented on the blog post Obama Appoints Ebola Czar, Third Health Worker Isolated

    2014-10-18 10:13:17View | Delete

    It’s all Obama’s fault that the only spread of ebola has taken place in a private hospital that Gov Perry and governor candidate Abbott have actively ensured will see patients without health insurance so the hospital will have a bias to find reasons to send sick patients home.

    If you want to ensure that hospitals provide timely care, including diagnostics and quarantining that might prevent or reduce outbreaks of contagious disease, you provide universal, equal-dollar, first-dollar coverage — especially in a country with significant poverty. If Duncan had been a low-wage, low-net-worth worker with a subsidized high-deductible, high-copay Obamacare plan, the hospital would still have been looking at a potential collection loss for any diagnostics and treatment they provided at his first visit. If he had been on Texas Medicaid … well, I don’t know which of the services potentially required would be covered by Obamacare’s provision boosting Medicaid rates for primary care to Medicare levels [which expires on 31 December 2014] or how much lower Texas Medicaid non-primary-care rates might be. I’m not aware of any hospitals clamoring for patients on Medicaid.

    Obama and the Democrats had the opportunity to provide equal-dollar, first-dollar coverage to everyone in the United States by passing HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. If they had done so, they would have reduced aggregate healthcare costs by around $400 billion a year, left 95% of Americans with more money in their pockets, and most pertinently here, left providers with a greatly reduced financial incentive to leave a potentially contagious patient undiagnosed and untreated for days. Instead, they institutionalized and subsidized the status quo ante that allows hospitals and states to behave so reprehensibly.

    I’ll leave you with a quote from Duncan’s nephew:

    On Sept. 25, my uncle Thomas Eric Duncan went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. He had a high fever and stomach pains. He told the nurse he had recently been in Liberia. But he was a man of color with no health insurance and no means to pay for treatment, so within hours he was released with some antibiotics and Tylenol.

    * * *

    [Some people] have speculated that antibiotics and Tylenol are the standard protocol for a patient without insurance.

    What we know is that the hospital’s error affects all of society. Its bad judgment or misjudgment sent my uncle back into the community for days with a highly contagious case of Ebola.

    —- Josephus Weeks, “Ebola didn’t have to kill my uncle, Thomas Eric Duncan,” Dallas Morning News,14 October 2014

  • PCM commented on the blog post Google Now Giving More Political Contributions Than Goldman Sachs

    2014-10-17 16:28:31View | Delete

    Well, last I checked (which wasn’t all that long ago) Microsoft was the biggest source of campaign contributions to my New Democrat senator, Maria Cantwell, and to my Good-As-New Democrat senator, Patty Murray. And also to WA-1′s New Democrat congresswoman, Suzan DelBene, a former Microsoft executive who’s married to an even higher-ranking former Microsoft executive who continued to work for MS for quite some time after she was elected. And I gather DelBene’s current Republican challenger is also a former Microsoft executive; I don’t know how much MS money has gone to him. I haven’t come across any comprehensive workups on how much state campaign money comes from MS, but it’s clear from the way the Washington legislature votes that MS owns their ass. MS probably don’t really have to pay to get what it wants. State legislators are cheap, and if a legislator doesn’t play nice with MS, the money would definitely be there to support a challenger. Amazon’s influence is less patently obvious, for now.

    By the way — bear with me, this is actually relevant — my theory is that public antitrust and consumer protection investigations are currently little more than a means of shaking down wealthy tech outfits for campaign contributions, PAC contributions, dark money contributions, and revolving-door jobs. In Europe, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon get hit with massive fines and injunctions. In the US, they just kick back more cash and goodies to politicians and regulators.

  • So, basically, the government’s argument is, “We don’t want anyone to see what we do to their guys because then their guys might do it to our guys, and you can’t make us, and even if you could, it would take thousands of man-hours for us to do what 60 Minutes and Dateline NBC can do in half a day. Why do you hate America?”

  • PCM commented on the blog post How Not to Ask a Marijuana Polling Question

    2014-10-16 15:01:02View | Delete

    Agreed. The best marijuana polling question is:

    Dude, do you, like … What were we talking about?

    But all kidding aside, that’s some seriously bad poll design and language.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Democrats’ Engagement Problem

    2014-10-15 19:42:22View | Delete

    Although sometimes a little extra redundancy can come in handy once in a while, this isn’t one of those times. Sorry, guys; there was a “database error” the first time I attempted to post, and I was told to try again. I did, with a little embellishment in the second attempt.

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