Has Clinton heard of the Affordable Care Act?!

Heard a summary of Bill Clinton’s remarks at this Fiscal Summit thing today and damn did it make me mad.  He’s just got to try so hard to be Mr. Reasonable Centrist that he accuses Republicans of being theologically committed to no tax increases but Democrats as equally theologically committed to refusing to address Medicare reforms to control costs.  Are you serious?!  Has he heard of the Affordable Care Act.  Not to psycho-analyze, but… perhaps Clinton is so jealous that Obama passed health reform where he failed (in part, by going about it in a more politically savvy manner), that he’s blocked it out.   It’s not perfect, but arguably the most important aspect of the reform is the efforts it makes to reduce the growth in health care spending, which it does primarily through a variety of reforms to medical care.  And on a larger level, so annoying to hear Clinton of all people gauging in this absurd false symmetry argument.


That last post had a long quotation in the middle.  For at least one of you reading it– on a Blackberry– that meant the quoted text was huge and took forever to scroll through.  I’m trying to figure out if that is something unique to Blackberry or unique to WordPress.  If you read this blog on a platform other than Blackberry and experience similar frustrations with the quotes, please let me know, and I’ll try and figure out a way to improve it.

Why does the GOP favor wasting money?

Do the Republicans in Congress have to be so so stupid on all matters of health care. A major cost-saving feature of ACA is to institute a board to make sure Medicare does not waste money paying for medical treatments that have no proven value.  Apparently, not wanting Medicare to pay for treatments of no or minimal benefit is rationing!!  Damn, damn, damn this stuff makes me mad.  The Republicans “care” about the deficit and government spending, yet they think Medicare should pay for any treatment any doctor is willing to give?!  Yglesias has the details:

There are currently two approaches to restraining the growth of Medicare spending in Washington. One, espoused by the Obama administration, is to create an Independent Payment Advisory Board which will prevent Medicare from paying for ineffective health care treatments. The other, espoused by House Republicans, is to do nothing whatsoever for the next ten years. And then to promise that nothing will ever be done to harm a precious hair on the head of a single precious person born in the good old days before 1955.

But if you were born after 1955? Then it’s simple—no Medicare for you. You get a coupon, of decreasing value, to go buy private health insurance.

Sometimes conservative pundits claim to believe that the problem with the IPAB approach is that it can’t be made to work. Other times conservative politicians dedicate themselves to fanatical defense of wasteful Medicare spending, denouncing IPAB as Kenyan socialist rationing. And Brian Beutler reports that they have a powerful tool tomake sure IPAB fails—just don’t confirm anyone:

There’s just one problem: Each of the board’s 15 members has to be confirmed by the Senate. That means filibusters and 60 vote requirements stand in the way of staffing a panel that Republicans decry as a government rationing board. And months ahead of the nominations, they’re telling Obama “good luck with that!”

“I think it would be pretty tough,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the top Republican on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, told TPM Monday, when asked about confirming Obama’s nominees to IPAB. “We don’t believe in rationing, nor do we believe in an unaccountable organization like that. I mean that’s crazy.”

“I’d have to think about that. If it were changed, then probably, but the way it’s constituted now, it’d be difficult,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), an influential conservative in the Republican caucus, said Monday in response to a question from TPM.

Then once this effort to increase the cost-effectiveness of Medicare for all Americans is sabotaged, the success of the sabotage will become an argument in favor of scrapping Medicare altogether.

Ugh.  Worst part is I don’t see how you get around this.  Yet more evidence that the Republicans main priority is low taxes for rich people, not reducing the deficit.

The “r” word

My son is retarded.  Ohhh, I think that makes me a horrible person.  Forgive me for not being sensitive to “the r word.”  I certainly get that the word can be used pejoratively, i.e., “you’re so retarded,” etc., and we presumably have better terms now, intellectually disabled, cognitively disabled/impaired, etc., but this word has an actual clinical definition.  Heck, it’s in the DSM-IV!  Thus, I think this youtube video on the matter is way over the top (and NSFW, by the way)

No, I don’t actually call my son “retarded,” but I think people are too sensitive on this one. Maybe that’s because I grew up calling my older brother “mentally retarded,” he is– it’s right there in the DSM– because that’s just what we called people with severe autism back before most people understood autism.  While I’m at it, I don’t get offended if someone calls my son “autistic” instead of saying he “has autism.”  Its certainly not the best way to define him– his life is shaped much moreso by his intellectual disabilities than his  autism, but it’s not worth getting bent out of shape over.  And he’s such a beautiful kid (inside and out), that I’ll throw in a gratuitous picture, too:

Theme of the 2012 Congressional races: Medicare

From the Times:

10:07 p.m. | Updated Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.

The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.

Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.

Really looking forward to seeing how this plays out in races next year.  Of course, that is a long time from now, but I still see a barrage of ominous ads with “Representative X voted to end Medicare…”

At least 45% are lying

From the Post’s latest non-sensical poll:

A new poll looks at public opinions associated with the debt ceiling.

About 50% of Americans say they understand the consequences of defaulting on the debt.  Somehow, I doubt that the true figure is more than 5%.  Meanwhile, the fact that 47% believe that approving the ceiling will increase spending is further evidence of ignorance.  We’ve already committed to most all this spending– it’s called Medicare, Social Security, Defense, etc., it’s just a matter if we’re going to borrow the money to pay for the spending we’ve already committed to.  And for that matter, what’s with not being concerned about the US Government defaulting on its debts–please!  Further evidence why we sure don’t want government by public opinion.

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