WALKER’S HEALTH CARE PLAN—OR TO QUOTE GERTRUDE STEIN, “THERE IS NO THERE THERE.”

affordable-care-act-obamacare

Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 have one thing undeniably in common. They all pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with lollipops and rainbows…er, lower premiums and lower costs and more freedom. These candidates have been asked repeatedly for specifics of their plans and sidestep the questions with more general, meaningless statements.

Well Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, has finally put the pedal to the metal and produced an outline of what he proposes to do to replace the ACA.

To preface my introduction to his plan let me just assert that

  1. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, and
  2. There are ways available to address any flaws without tearing the entire law apart, and
  3. Any fix or replacement must be based on the facts of the current situation

https://www.scottwalker.com/obamacare-plan/files/Day-One-Patient-Freedom-Plan.pdf

Here is the first paragraph of Scott Walker’s plan.

Washington’s failed approach to health care is hurting the American people. Big government created a health care system built around Washington, not hardworking families. This backwards approach drove up health care costs and reduced access to medical care for far too many of our neighbors, friends, and family members.

Each sentence is a lie.

Washington’s failed approach to health care is hurting the American people

On the contrary, the uninsured rate has dropped dramatically and there have been real positive consequences of the law.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/22/obamacare-5-years_n_6918326.html

Big government created a health care system built around Washington, not hardworking families.

Again false, That is the equivalent of the often made claim that the ACA was a “government takeover of health care.” And that, my friends, was the Politifact 2010 Lie Of The Year And do not dismiss Politifact as a source because Walker himself takes advantage of it in support of his ideas, which you will see.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2010/dec/16/lie-year-government-takeover-health-care/

This backwards approach drove up health care costs and reduced access to medical care for far too many of our neighbors, friends, and family members.

To this I can pretty much only respond, HUH?

More lies

The list of ObamaCare failures is long. Democrats have long promised affordability with their big-government health care plans, from HillaryCare to ObamaCare. But instead of lower costs and expanded coverage, ObamaCare has caused insurance premiums across the country to spike as the cost of Washington’s new regulations and taxes are passed to the American people. The Heritage Foundation found from 2014 to 2015, average premiums for young people increased by approximately 14 percent in Iowa and 19 percent in Ohio and Minnesota. Families in Kansas and Louisiana saw increases of almost 14 percent.[1] We will likely see even higher premium increases in 2016 and beyond as ObamaCare’s insurance company bailouts phase out. Probably the most cited ObamaCare failure, and Politifact’s 2013 ‘Lie of the Year,’ was President Obama’s repeated claim that if you liked your existing health care coverage, you could keep it.[2] So while both Obama and Hillary Clinton made promises that their health plans would allow Americans to keep their existing coverage, millions of people were pushed out of their preferred health plans and restricted access to the doctors they wanted to see.[3] ObamaCare has also punished employers with costly mandates and red tape, hurting growth and job creation. Another ObamaCare failure is the way it went about expanding coverage. Where ObamaCare expanded the number of people with coverage who previously were not insured, it did so mostly by pushing people into Medicaid, a program that was already overburdened.[4] And many of the people who received insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges had in fact been previously insured, but got knocked off their private health plans. Others switched coverage because federal subsidies only flowed if they signed up for ObamaCare’s prescriptive plans. As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on downgraded health policies.

Let me make some points here.

  • The Heritage Foundation can find whatever premium increases it wants, but these increases have been predicted since day one of the law and, guess what, the average actual increase for premiums from 2014 to 2015 was ZERO

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2014/dec/zero-inflation-nationwide-for-marketplace-premiums

Now, of course an average of zero does not mean there were no increases but that there were both increases and reductions. And the article cited notes the reasons behind the relative stability of health care premiums across the board including the benefits derived from the standardization of plans under the ACA. But other factors include geographical differences, the number of insurers in the market and other variations.

Likewise the predictions for hikes in 2016 are based on proposals not actualities. Again look to the Commonwealth Fund for guidance.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/jul/proposed-premium-rate-increases-for-2016

  •  “ObamaCare’s prescriptive plans”,

I am not certain what he means. All the ACA does is require health care plans to now contain prescritption drug coverage, though not necessarily for all drugs, whereas previously they did not have to.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/12/10/3042741/drugs-obamacare-coverage/

  • Where ObamaCare expanded the number of people with coverage who previously were not insured, it did so mostly by pushing people into Medicaid, a program that was already overburdened.[4] And many of the people who received insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges had in fact been previously insured, but got knocked off their private health plans.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 11.7 million Americans signed up for coverage through the exchanges in the 2015 enrollment period ending in March and

As of March 2015 HHS reported a total of 16.4 covered due to the ACA between the Marketplace, Medicaid expansion, young adults staying on their parents plan, and other coverage provisions.

So Medicaid enrollees are nowhere near a majority of the newly insured. Even if that were so, the states that accepted the expansion of Medicaid are saving money.

http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/4/29/states-find-savings-through-medicaid-expansion

However, the states that refused to expand that program are experiencing greater costs to care for the uninsured.

Nationwide, the cost of caring for uninsured people in non-expansion states between now and 2024 is projected to reach $266 billion if no new states decide to expand Medicaid, according to a report in April from the Kaiser Family Foundation. If all states decided to expand, that cost would drop by a third.

http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/6/24/not-expanding-medicaid-can-cost-local-taxpayers

  • millions of people were pushed out of their preferred health plans and restricted access to the doctors they wanted to see.

First of all, the number of people who may have had policies cancelled appears to have been grossly overstated.

http://www.factcheck.org/2014/04/millions-lost-insurance/

But do you know the only group that specifically was mandated to lose their coverage under the ACA? No, you probably don’t, but it was Congress, together with certain staffers who were kicked out of the coverage they had had. And that coverage was simply participation in the same menu of plans available to all federal civilian employees. That is why, when Ted Cruz lost his spousal coverage when his wife left Goldman Sachs, he was forced to purchase coverage from one of the ACA exchanges. Yes, Virginia, there is a mandate for Congresscritters to participate in the exchanges. A mandate, incidentally, I believe to be both totally political and stupid.

Because I find the source, FOX News, to be amusing in this context I’ll present a viewpoint expressed there.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/11/05/insurance-cancelled-dont-blame-obama-or-aca-blame-america-insurance-companies.html

But in an overall sense the ACA is a scapegoat for any cancelled policies. If insurance companies had enough introspection they would paraphrase Cassius

The fault lies not in the ACA, but in ourselves.

You see…and really this is not revelatory, simply a reminder…prior to the Affordable Care Act insurers could cancel policies for any damned reason or none at all. Just peruse this article from 2007 before the ACA was a gleam in Barack Obama’s eye.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/insurance/2007-01-28-insurance-1a-usat_x.htm

And private health care plans frequently change the providers they allow access to. See this look at the UPMCHighmark steel cage match in Pittsburgh.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303812904577295901619123904

Now to the essence of Walker’s plan, his five points.

1. Repeal ObamaCare in its entirety.

We heard you already, Scott!

2. Ensure affordable and accessible health insurance for everyone.

A. LOWER HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS

B. PROVIDE TAX CREDITS TO ANYONE WITHOUT EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH INSURANCE

C. GIVE ALL AMERICANS MORE CHOICES AND MORE ACCESS BY IMPROVING HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (HSAs)

D. ALLOW ALL AMERICANS TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE IN ANY STATE

E. PROTECT ALL AMERICANS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

Part A is a pipedream and Walker’s ideas as to how to accomplish this are nebulous and sketchy at best. And it ignores the reality that in this century health care costs and premiums for coverage have seen steady, sometimes very large increases, with and without the ACA, but the rate of growth of both has slowed since the law was enacted.

Part B, A footnote accomopanying a chart showing suggested levels of subsidies states

so there would be no intrusive oversight by the IRS and no accountant needed to determine the credit amount.

Pray tell who administers or tracks these subsidies if not the IRS. And he wants to put honest accountants out of work? I have friends who would be hurt.

Part C Here’s more on health savings accounts and pros and cons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_savings_account

One note I will add is that in Part B Walker claims his simplification of subsidies will lessen IRS influence, but HSA’s appear to reuire high IRS maintenance to ensure compliance with the law.

Part D This may be the only part that has some merit in that presumably there would be more competition for the health insurance premium dollar. But the same was said about permitting banks to operated across state lines and look at what Dr. Franken-deregulate-Stein has created.

Part E The devil is in the details. And these details have a strong resemblance to Satan. For, instead of simply requiring companies to insure those with pre-existing conditions, he forces them back into high risk pools with limited coverage. No thank you.

3. Make health care more efficient, effective and accountable by empowering the states.

A. RETURN REGULATORY AUTHORITY OVER HEALTH CARE COVERAGE TO THE STATES

B. REFORM MEDICAID

In this part Walker highlights Medicaid and declares it so broken only the states can fix it. Balderdash, Run by the states eligibility reuirements are set so unfairly that many desperately poor people have no chance of becoming insured, and thus will tax resources as noted above.

For instance in the U.S someone is considered to be below poverty level if their income is no more than $11,770 for one person, $15,930 for 2 persons in a hosehold and  $20,090 for a family of 3. But states that did not opt for the Medicaid expansion do not allow eligibility for those above a certain percentage of the federal poverty level. In Alabama, it is 13% for parents and 0% for other adults.

http://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-program-information/program-information/downloads/medicaid-and-chip-eligibility-levels-table.pdf

In other words In Alabama a household with 2 parents and a child, earning barely more than $2600 per YEAR means the parents cannot receive Medicaid (though the child may be eligibe for CHIP).

Think about that. Can states be trusted to take care of their own? Or only a small proportion of their own.

As to returning regulatory authority to the states, again this is a fallacy because they still exercise the majority of regulatory authority over insurance companies. Indeed, the differences between state actions in this respect are another reason why premium rates differ so greatly.

Along the way he asks that the current funding means for Medicaid, shared by the state and federal governments, remain in place with some tweaking of the formula with states getting block grants from the Feds. However, in states with no expansion, they are right now tied to the old levels of federal participation which rarely exceed 50% of Medicaid costs, whereas those falling under the Medicaid expansion get 100% paid by the feds until dropping to 90%. A much better deal than now.

4. Increase quality and choice through innovation.

A. EXPAND COVERAGE OPTIONS BY ALLOWING CONSUMERS TO POOL TOGETHER AND PURCHASE INSURANCE AS A GROUP

B. SUPPORT WELLNESS INCENTIVE PROGRAMS

C. REFORM LONG-TERM SERVICES & SUPPORTS (LTSS) PROTECTION

D. LIMIT EXCESSIVE LITIGATION THROUGH INNOVATIVE LAWSUIT REFORM

While at least A B and C have some merit on the surface, Walker’s approach is oversimplistic. As to Part A, group plans, these already are very common for members of groups like unions or fraternal organizations or even members of credit unions or those having other affinity relationships. The one basic limitation is that the persons eligible for such policies have some affiliation with each other besides the mere fact of seeking group insurance. Indeed, besides health coverage one can get auto or life insurance or pretty much any kind of insurance. Since so many Americans belong to affinity groups I would guess the extent of this type of coverage may be reliant on knowledge and desire of groups to pursue such measures.

Wellness incentives are already included in many private insurance policies. Does he want the government to mandate such coverage or merely command people to stay healthy?

Long term care coverage can be very important to individuals or even couples. But from what I can find on the topic, it does not really appear that the practice is over-regulated. In some cases there is next to no regulation. But Tax Qualified policies, because they do not tax benefits, of necessity must follow IRS regulations. Here is a good overview of such policies and practices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_care_insurance

Part D is a complete lie. That is tort litigation is not a prime mover of medical costs. Best estimates that the total cost of the effects of medical malpractice are slightly more than 2% per year.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048809/

But what does that mean exactly? According to the study cited here perhaps 10% of the total figure  is for what is paid out in judgments and settlements, nearly $6 BILLION a year. But that money was paid out because doctors did something wrong.That was not mere generosity on the part of malpractice insurers. In addition defense attorneys cost those insurers almostt 20% of those payouts. But defense lawyers get paid no matter the outcome.

But the major thing wrong with this point is that it is based on myths, which are dispelled here.

http://www.medmalfacts.com/facts-and-myths/

For instance various sources put the number of yearly deaths due to medical mistakes at 100,000 or more. That is close to 4% of all deaths in the country. That’s an awaful lot of malpractice yet only 1 in 8 victims of such treatment files suit. So it is bogus to argue there is excess litigation when the opposite is true.

Now Walker and his cohorts will assert that excessive damages are frequently awarded, especially for pain and suffering, but this, like many opinions, depends on whose ox is getting gored. Rick Santorum has pushed for limits and still advocates the same but when his wife lost a baby and undoubtedly experienced pain and suffering, to which he testified on her behalf, she got an award over the limits he wants for everyone else. (Not being intimately knowledgeable about her case, I believe the award is nowhere near out of bounds.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/santorum-pushed-to-limit-malpractice-awards-but-sought-larger-payout-for-wife/2012/01/19/gIQANXQeVQ_story.html

5. Provide financial stability for families and taxpayers.

Hey! Who can argue with that goal?

As a result, all of our citizens in poverty have gained access to health insurance through our state’s Medicaid plan, BadgerCare – a first in Wisconsin history. And our reforms are providing everyone in the state access to health insurance, according to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation

Never dare The UMOC to check your claims of others’ approval. In fact, not everyone in poverty in Wisconsis has access to coverage but many of the ones who gained coverage through the Medicaid waiver links to BadgerCare must now pay premiums for that coverage (unlike regular Medicaid enrollees) and can lose eligibility for enrollment for a period if they fail to pay these premiums.

In 2012, Wisconsin received approval to apply premium payments to TMA adults above 138%FPL with a 12-month restrictive re-enrollment policy as a penalty for failure to pay premiums.  In 2012, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) studied the effects of the increased and expanded premiums implemented on TMA individuals above 138% FPL. This study found that between July 2012, when the premium provision was implemented, and December 2012 over two thirds (69%) of the 18,544 individuals between 133% and 150% FPL had left the program. About one in five (21%) of that population lost coverage due to failure to pay within the initial six months.

http://kff.org/medicaid/fact-sheet/wisconsins-badgercare-program-and-the-aca/

Now early on in this plan Walker justifies his desire to rid the world of “Obamacare” with this statement.

It should come as no surprise that many pillars of ObamaCare can be traced to “HillaryCare,” Hillary Clinton’s 1993 health care plan. And the proposals in Hillary’s “American Health Choices Plan,” released during her 2008 presidential campaign, provide a useful link between her 1993 plan and her present-day ideas.

I smile at the irony. You can get a glimpse of Hillary’s plan here, in the assessment of the Heritage Foundation, a reliable go-to source for WAlker.

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1993/11/a-guide-to-the-clinton-health-plan

The Affordable Care Act does NOT resemble that at all. What it does resemble is a health care plan brewed up by that same Heritage Foundation that was introduced into the Senate in December of 1993 by 21 mostly Republican co-sponsors that also was the basis for the plan Massachusetts adopted when Mitt Romney was Governor. Now, was that 1993 plan, submitted in opposition to the Clinton plan, identical to what became the ACA? Of course not, and truth be told, it never came to a vote and other GOP Senators vehemently opposed it.

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2013/nov/15/ellen-qualls/aca-gop-health-care-plan-1993/

The core part of both the Republicans HEART plan and the ACA was the individual mandate which, of course became such a point of contention in debate and in litigation when the law passed. Sure there were significant differences.

This article expounds on the genesis and evolution of the GOP plan.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2012/02/07/the-tortuous-conservative-history-of-the-individual-mandate/

Have I been harsh on Scott Walker? Or rather on the health care plan he has submitted for public scrutiny? Oh, Geez, I surely hope so. I’m a scrutineer from way back. But this plan is deserving of all the snark and skepticism I can muster because from the get go it fails to honestly and objectively assess what impact the Affordable Care Act has had on health care after 5+ years of implementation.

I stated at the outset that the law is flawed. However, Walker chooses to evade discussion of the real flaws and instead focus his attack on the bogeymen created by Republicans and other opponents of the law, together with the same sound bites, debunked allegations, and outright lies that have characterized this eminently debatable issue since the first inklings of what the law was to be emerged in 2009.

Do I unequivocally support the entire ACA? Hell NO! While it does some great things and millions of people are reaping its benefits, at heart is still does not achieve what its main goal purports to be, and that is ensure every American has access to health care through a system of insurance.

As Bernie Sanders and others remind us to a steady drumbeat. the United States is the only major industrialized nation without universal health care.

We can argue the best means to get to that Nirvana, that paragon, but we still waste far too much time arguing if this is a desirable goal at all.

Disappointingly far too many of our politicians would sooner have us at the mercy of private enterprise…oh, yes, that institution that has never harmed one hair on our collective chinny-chin-chins. perish the thought!

All the more dejecting because a simple solution is right before our eyes.

Once more to the ramparts exclaiming…MEDICARE FOR ALL!

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Comments

  • Devildog  On August 18, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    Sorry UMOC but I can’t come even close to finishing your treatise. With that admission, two requests of you.

    Other than your belief in universal health care and it not being achieved with the ACA, what are the flaws in the act that you concede are there and what is your remedy.

    Would you please refrain from classifying as lies those opinions with which you disagree and would you please refrain from classifying as facts your opinions?

    Much thanks.

    • Little_Minx  On August 18, 2015 at 10:45 PM

      Projecting much, dd?

    • umoc193  On August 18, 2015 at 11:36 PM

      When I see an opinion that is not based on any known or proveable facts, that opinion earns my eternal disdain. When the opinion is based on lies that have been continually debunked, such as Walker’s plural digs at the ACA, I have no calling to treat the person offering them with even a modicum of respect.. And what I cited in this piece are not mere differences of opinion, they are lies.

      I cited Politifact in support of one of my points. That site is often called liberally biased, yet conservatives were all over it when Obama’s statement(s) about keeping your policy was their Lie Of The Year.

      You cannot have it both ways. Politifact is either credible in general or not credible in general. You cannot reject all the findings that go against you and love the ones you agree with. That is not the way truth works.

      • Devildog  On August 19, 2015 at 7:48 AM

        Having neither the time nor inclination to point out all the opinions that are called lies (there are so many of them), I will limit myself to the first on your list.

        Saying that “Washington’s failed approach to healthcare is hurting the American people” is Walker’s opinion (shared by many) and is not a lie. Undoubtedly, many have been hurt while many have been helped. If you want to take his statement as a lie because not every American has been hurt, that’s your bad and not his lie.

        But that is just one example of many in this treatise and continues a long-standing UMOC tradition. One of the most notorious-Bush “lied” about WMD’s in Iraq. An opinion is not a fact and an opinion that is not correct is not necessarily a lie.

        Btw, are you going to respond with your suggestions to improve Obamacare-other than going to single payer?

        • umoc193  On August 19, 2015 at 1:14 PM

          Sorry, it IS a lie. By almost every objective merasure the Affordable Care Act is working as intended for the vast majority of those directly affected by it. Calling it a failure that is hurting the American people is simply not so. Oh, I’m sure you can find anecdotal evidence of individuals having difficulties, but so what?

          There are individuals who have or mhave had difficulty adjusting to life in the U.S. Marines but does that mean the entire Corps is a failure or “hurts” the American people?

          And the UMOC tradition is truth telling, much as you seem not to be able to accept that. There are reams of proof that Bush and his subordinates llied through their teeth about WMD’s and Saddam’s connections to Al Qaeda and 9/11. But you know what? IT DOES NOT MATTER! Even IF those claims were true, invading Iraq was not justified from a military, geopolitical, or moral standpoint.

          It was as fucked up a policy decision as this country has ever seen from and administration, and there’s plenty of competition.

          Just because the facts do not comport to your worldview and you fail to see that does not mean you can express a tenable opinion.

          Opinions NOT based on facts are totally worthless.

          Now, as to the ACA and its flaws. The basic flaw is that it still does not guarantte universal health care. And since I know I won’t sway you anyways, I’m not going to waste my precious time (Judge Judy comes on at 4) searching for and arguing niggling little points.

          Walker hasd absolutely no evidence of failure of the ACA. What he does hacve is a law that purportedly confliucts with his political philosophy and sense of how to deal with health care for millions of people previously without insurance.

          But in reality, he is not interested in helping these people one freaking iota. Not One.

          But again, his basic prtemise is that the law is a total failure and I tell you that since over 17 million people have gained access to health insurance as a result of the law and having that insurance has saved numerous lives, then that basic premise is a big smoldering pile of horse—lies.

          Now, as to any flaws in the law that you can find, short of scrapping the whole thing which is a bigger flaw than anything, and you have ideas to correct these flaws, go ahead, take your shot.

          • Devildog  On August 19, 2015 at 2:17 PM

            1. I rest my case, based on your passionate response.
            2. Here are two “shots” at improving ACA-remove the tax on medical devices and remove the “Cadillac plan” penalty.
            3. You say I can’t “express a tenable opinion”. Certainly not one that would cause you from calling me a liar. Besides which, even with regard to ACA, I don’t often offer an opinion because I don’t have,or there aren’t any or enough, facts for me to offer an intelligent opinion-that, of course, never stopped you from offering an unintelligent opinion which you categorize as a fact. Rather, I prefer to either ask a question or challenge an assertion. My posts on this thread will support what I just said, as will your posts.

  • Little_Minx  On August 19, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    “Opinions NOT based on facts are totally worthless.” So true — basic Logic 101.

    And It’s not just Scott Walker in the GOP Klown Kar doing that. Carly Fiorina publicly stated recently that it’s OK for kids to get diseases that are preventable with immunizations, if the parents object to vaccines.

    There are many others, but perhaps most frightening of all is Donald Trump proclamation that he would deny birthright citizenship in violation of the 14th Amendment, without repeal of said amendment. The only feasible way Trump could work around a SCOTUS challenge to that (I suspect even Scalia would support the 14th Amendment on this) is to become the fascist dictator of the United States.

    • Devildog  On August 19, 2015 at 2:49 PM

      Minx, if you would research the matter rather than relying on your hatred of Trump, you would find that there is a so-called “small group of constitutional scholars” who believe “birthright citizenship” might be deprived without the 14 th Amendment being further amended.

      True facts are few and far between and most opinions are based on assumptions and the opinions of others and not facts. The facts are the words of the 14th Amendment. Everything else is opinion. Are you relying on the words of the 14th or the opinions of the experts? If on the opinions of the experts, your opinion is worthless.

      • Little_Minx  On August 19, 2015 at 3:55 PM

        Trump’s the one making up opinions that violate the words of the 14th Amendment.

        • Little_Minx  On August 19, 2015 at 4:02 PM

          …so by your criterion, it’s Trump whose opinion is worthless, and he’s pandering to bigots.

          • Devildog  On August 19, 2015 at 4:31 PM

            By your criterion not mine! I don’t believe any opinion is worthless; perhaps unenlightening!

        • Devildog  On August 19, 2015 at 4:29 PM

          “Violate the words of the 14th Amendment”? Is that a fact?

          • Little_Minx  On August 19, 2015 at 4:44 PM

            Yup.

            • Devildog  On August 19, 2015 at 10:35 PM

              Nope! Are you and UMOC related?

  • CJ Marshall  On August 19, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    This is as thorough a dissection and accurate portrayal of the ACA and Walker’s alternative as I have seen. What the conservatives always fail to mention is the fact that we could cut drugs costs nearly in half if only congree would repeal the “no negotiation clause” from the Part D medicare law. I could travel to Canada each month and take my prescriptions and save hundreds of dollars each month; all because Canada does negotiate its drug prices while the USA can not. This ananlysis is from my own experience as a retired pharmacist.

    • Devildog  On August 20, 2015 at 5:04 PM

      I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Just about every country but the U.S. Negotiates prices-which results in lower prices in other countries. Profits in those countries are not enough to fund necessary research so most research is funded by profits in the U.S., on the backs of the American government and taxpayer (which is the same thing). Take your choice. Negotiate prices which will reduce industry prices and profits but will necessarily reduce research funding and discovery (which discovery is at a truly revolutionary period right now) or keep the current system and, similar to military spending,bear the burden for the world.

      CJ, you were a pharmacist at the end of the distribution chain for pharmaceuticals. My time was at one of the world’s leading pharma research-innovative companies. Seems like we have a different perspective!

  • Little_Minx  On August 19, 2015 at 11:44 PM

    14th Amendment, Section 1:

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

    And who are those exceptions? Foreign diplomats and their families who have diplomatic immunity, including their offspring born on US soil.

    Stare decisus on birthright citizenship since SCOTUS decided the Wong Kim Ark case in 1898.

    Game. Set. Match.

  • Little_Minx  On August 21, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    On the bright side, UMOC, we mightn’t need to worry about Walker after all, since his campaign’s floundering, and he’s now making a desperate last-gasp effort.

    “Scott Walker 2.0 hits the comeback trail”:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/21/scott-walker-2-0-hits-the-comeback-trail

    • Little_Minx  On August 22, 2015 at 3:33 PM

      Further, Walker has declared his total non-opinion on birthright citizenship:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/08/21/decoding-scott-walkers-dodge-on-birthright-citizenship

      • Devildog  On August 22, 2015 at 5:57 PM

        If we can Constitutionally protect citizenship for other categories of mothers who have children here, would someone please tell me why should grant citizenship to children born here of mothers who are here illegally or are visiting (or perhaps other categories of mothers. I would still to continue to automatically grant citizenship, of course, to children born of mothers who are slaves.

        Minx, keep me posted on Walkerisms-puhleeze!

        • Little_Minx  On August 22, 2015 at 8:26 PM

          Google Walkerisms yourself.

          • Devildog  On August 23, 2015 at 12:32 AM

            I don’t think Google can answer a “why should we” question. Can you or UMOC answer it? Oh, I didn’t think so.

            • Little_Minx  On August 23, 2015 at 8:37 PM

              Oh, I *CAN* answer it. But I won’t, based on that old “give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” principle. If I can look it up, so can you. Just use your imagination to Google on the right sets of keywords.

              • Little_Minx  On August 23, 2015 at 8:39 PM

                Obviously you’re conceding that UMOC and I are a LOT smarter than you are, and therefore we’re correct and you’re wrong 🙂

                • Devildog  On August 23, 2015 at 9:08 PM

                  I concede and congratulate you!

  • Little_Minx  On August 23, 2015 at 8:25 PM

    Flip. Flop. Flip… “Scott Walker’s birthright citizenship position continues to change / First he said he’d end it, then he didn’t have a position. Now he says he wouldn’t change the Constitution”:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/23/on-birthright-citizenship-scott-walker-takes-yet-another-stance-dont-change-the-constitution

  • Little_Minx  On August 29, 2015 at 1:04 PM

    As the old saying goes, we’ve established WHAT he is. It’s just a matter of his price 😉

    “Sam Clovis: I Trust Trump To Go To Washington And Change Things”:
    http://www.npr.org/2015/08/29/435730371/sam-clovis-i-trust-trump-to-go-to-washington-and-change-things (audio already available online)

    Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign continues to lead in the polls, and this week Trump hired Sam Clovis to be his national campaign co-chairman. A week ago, Clovis worked for Republican rival Rick Perry. Clovis, a former radio talk show host and college professor, is an Iowan who has run for state treasurer and the U.S. Senate there. He Talked to NPR’s Scott Simon from Sioux City, Iowa.

    On why he left Perry to work for Trump

    The reason I switched was personal and I’m going to leave it at that. I’ve been under assault from people out here (in Iowa) because of my decision, and I’ve chosen just not to comment on it.

    On why he changed his mind about Trump

    What changed was for me to have an opportunity to sit down and discuss issues. I thought that Mr. Trump of all of the people running for office is the only one I could trust that would go to Washington and change things. And I think he will help us preserve this union.

    On Trump’s birthright citizenship position

    This is one of the great misconstrues that we have out here. People believe that the birthright citizenship has been a lock since day one and it has not been. Mr. Trump has started the dialogue on talking about true immigration reform and that begins with securing the border.

    On building a U.S.-Mexico wall

    I think it’s a matter of national security and national sovereignty. If you do not secure the border, then we cannot possibly amend or take a look at how we bring people into this country legally. If we can’t sort legal from illegal, than it becomes a real challenge for us to figure out what we’re doing here.

    On why he likes Trump

    I wouldn’t work for him if I didn’t like him. The one thing that I find in him that is so uplifting is his joy. He is a person who is full of spirit and full of life. There is the persona and then there is the man. What you see when he’s working the crowd is a remarkable human being, and I’m very proud to be part of his team.

  • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    “Donald Trump meet Wong Kim Ark, the Chinese American cook who is the father of ‘birthright citizenship’”:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/08/31/donald-trump-meet-wong-kim-ark-the-chinese-american-cook-who-is-the-father-of-birthright-citizenship

    The arguments proffered against Wong’s birthright citizenship were at minimum archaic, and invoked such irrelevancies as the citizenship laws of other nations and even those of ancient Rome 😉

    The author argues that the principles underlying the SCOTUS dissent, based on national descent — “jus sanguinis” [right of blood] and “jus soli” [“right of the soil”] — were essentially feudal.

    The challenge that Wong was not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US — the exception in the 14th amendment, which is applied to aliens with diplomatic immunity — was refuted in his case (and still controls).

  • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    “Things People Say That Offend All Republicans”:
    http://www.rantpolitical.com/2015/02/13/things-people-say-that-offend-all-republicans
    Posted February 13, 2015 by David Rackoff

    So I’m pretty liberal. But I am actually friends with lots of Republicans. Even my parents are Republicans (Hi Mom!). These are the things we liberals say that make them even angrier than they normally are.

    Bush Lied Us into Iraq.
    They get madder about us saying this than we get about Bush doing it. It was not a misunderstanding. Three’s Company was a misunderstanding. This was a president misleading the country into a war he already knew he wanted.

    Santa Is Not White.
    A unicorn is not left-handed. It’s a ridiculous thing to argue. Santa can be whatever you want him to be. Sorry Megyn Kelly. You are sort of a news person. This is not news.

    We Need More Regulations.
    Remember the Great Recession? Well, 78% of Americans think we actually need more rules for Wall Street. Not to mention laws protecting the environment. It seems like a pipeline has been bursting every week lately.

    CNN Isn’t Liberal.
    Yes, MSNBC is liberal. But CBS, CNN, and most other outlets are just reporting the news. If Rand Paul comes off like a weirdo, maybe that’s on Rand Paul.

    I Get My News from The Daily Show.
    Okay, this one’s legit. Even Jon Stewart calls it “the fake news”. So liberals, we love (and will miss) Jon, but you should probably check out a few other sources to round out your political knowledge.

    People Are Not Using Abortion as Birth Control.
    I’ve actually had this argument with conservatives. They think that women are having pre-planned abortions as some sort of feminist rite of passage, or simply because taking a pill every day is just inconvenient. That is not the case.

    Reagan Was Imperfect.
    This really bothers Republicans. But Iran Contra. But huge deficits. But not mentioning AIDS for so long. So just maybe cool it on the naming everything after him.

    Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Is a Fancy Phrase Meaning Torture.
    Use whatever synonym you want, it doesn’t matter what Roget’s Thesaurus says, waterboarding = torture. And it’s un-American.

    You Voted for Sarah Palin.
    Tell yourself that you voted for John McCain, war hero, Senator, maverick. But remember the name printed right below his? Yes, you cast a vote for Sarah freakin’ Palin. You did that. Seriously. I can’t believe it either.

    Racist Dixiecrats Are Now Called Republicans.
    Yes, southern Democrats used to be the racist ones. Totally. That’s on us. We’re very sorry and embarrassed. But that powerful voting bloc didn’t just disappear. They are now called southern Republicans.

    The Deficit Is Different than the Debt. And It’s Down Since Obama Took Office.
    The debt is the total amount, including from past administrations. The deficit is the the difference between what we take in, and what we spend. And it’s way down. When Obama said we’ve seen “our deficits cut by two thirds”, he was correct. And it makes Republicans nuts.

    I Don’t Care What Bill Clinton Did with Those Ladies.
    Yes, it’s a little icky. And not great. And I wouldn’t fix him up with one of my single friends. But he did a damn good job as president. George W was by all accounts a devoted husband. But not so good with the governing. I prefer good president, bad husband.

    “Under God” Was Not in the Pledge for a Long Time.
    The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892. It wasn’t until the Communist scare in the fifties that “under God” was added. In 1954. If you’re keeping track, that’s 62 years without, 60 years with.

    Lower Taxes Don’t Generate More Tax Revenue.
    This one is hard to say with a straight face. Of course they don’t. In fact, this theory is called the Laffer Curve, named after the economist who popularized it. And, while it is “Laffable”, it is what George Bush (the good one) called “voodoo economics”. It has been disproved time and time again. Because of course.

    Lincoln Wasn’t Really a Republican.
    They get mad about this one because they know it’s true. What we mean when we say Republican, and what they meant back then are totally different things. Lincoln’s Republican party (Republican Classic?) believed in a strong federal government, they created the income tax, and thought that the government should protect minorities from the tyrannies of the majority.

    Actually, It’s Dr. Maddow
    Yeah, she has a PhD. In politics. From Oxford. She’s a Rhodes Scholar. I think she knows what she’s talking about.

    They All Use Executive Orders
    Yes, Obama’s a dictator for issuing executive orders. It’s un-Constitutional. Right. Guess what? They all issued them. In fact, George W. Bush issued almost 100 more than Obama has. Literally every single president has issued them. (Except for William Henry Harrison, who died 32 days after taking office.) So impeach them all, starting with George Washington.

    Guys, I know you’re being hyperbolic and all (aren’t you?), but the Affordable Care Act is a market-based health care solution that was pretty much invented by the (super-conservative) Heritage Foundation, and implemented by comrade Mitt Romney. I’m all for socialized medicine (sort of like we have socialized police and fire departments), but Obamacare isn’t that.

    It’s just a hunch I have. Oh, wait. It’s empirical. Using data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development quality of life study, 24/7 Wall Street compiled a list of the ten states with the worst quality of life. Guess how many were totally controlled by Republicans? All of them. Sorry, did I offend you?

    Written by David Rackoff. Follow David @DavidRackoff on Twitter.

    • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2015 at 5:45 PM

      Go, Bucs!

  • Little_Minx  On September 5, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    Donald Trump recently stated that as President he’d want a General like Douglas MacArthur. Trump’s old enough to recall that President Truman FIRED MacArthur 🙂

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