Nearly everything you need to know about TrumpCare

Trumpcare (image credit: NotionsCapitol)

TrumpCare’s first draft was written in secret. Obamacare was written largely in the public view.

TrumpCare was written over the course of a few weeks. Obamacare was written over the course of four months.

When drafting Trumpcare, Republicans didn’t get public input from doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, or patients’ advocacy groups. Democrats held public hearings with doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and advocacy groups to get their input on early drafts.

TrumpCare was introduced to the House before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to estimate how much money TrumpCare would save or cost, or how many people would lose their insurance. Obamacare went through multiple revisions, most of which were reviewed by the CBO. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton’s health is fine – focus on the real issues

hillary-clinton-weak-men-fear-strong-womenI’m not a doctor, so this is not a medical diagnosis. But it is a reminder that we need to keep things in perspective. And when it comes to Hillary Clinton, part of that perspective is the fact that, when she was First Lady, her husband asked her to take on some policy duties and because she was a strong, intelligent, outspoken woman, conservatives went apeshit and have spent the last 30 years attacking her for having the audacity of not knowing “her place.”

But seriously, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was essentially a paraplegic before his first term in office. John F. Kennedy was hospitalized and give the Last Rites three times. Richard Nixon was hospitalized for two weeks during his first campaign.George HW Bush vomited in the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister and then fainted. Then there’s the Presidents who were suspected alchoholics (Grant, Arthur) or grossly overweight (Taft, Cleveland).  Continue reading

Another Fourth, another episode of blissful national blindness

No red, white, and blue adorn my flagpole. No patriotic bunting arches over my front door. No fireworks await their flaming demise. I no longer enjoy the nation’s formal parting from Great Britain (which was on July 2, anyway).

2f45d-free_wallpaper_patriotic_eagle_american_flag_background-1-1024x768I suppose, at one time, July Fourth carried great meaning to all Americans. After all, because of the acts of the Continental Congress and subsequent versions of it, I can (and do) criticize my government without fear or favor. I can own a weapon. My home and person cannot be searched or seized without cause. I am not obligated to incriminate myself. I can practice the religion of my choice — or decide not to — without government coercion. I can peaceably assemble with others to protest almost any damn thing I want to. I can vote to select who will govern me. And Congress cannot prevent me from owning a press in which I tell others what I see and what I know and what I feel.

I love my country because of the ideals inherent in the Constitution and especially in the Bill of Rights.

But lately, I have come to dislike this overwrought holiday. Continue reading

Biking in Copenhagen

One of the happiest moments of my two-week travel adventure occurred at 6:30a.m. while sitting on the Copenhagen, Denmark metro after two short hours of sleep.

To ensure a stress-free journey to her apartment, my friend Kristina met my travel buddy, Jessica, and I at the Kastrup Airport. On our journey into town, Kristina announced in her Danish accent, “I hope you’re ready, girls. I got you bikes for the week.”

I had heard about Copenhagen, Denmark’s well-developed bicycle paths, but had only hoped to cruise down one somedaySince living in Denver, Colorado three years ago, home of America’s outdoorsy and healthy citizens, I came to appreciate those United States cities aiming to develop bike-friendly infrastructures. Still, the initiative is new in the States and the on-board cities few. Continue reading

When doctors follow the rules, are they violating the Hippocratic Oath?

– I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I went to my doctor a few weeks ago for the first time in months. During the course of conversation about my health and how I was doing, etc., we stumbled onto the question of why I hadn’t been in for a visit in so long. I told him that in the wake of my separation from my wife I had lost my insurance coverage (I was on her work plan) and had been unable to get insurance as a result of my pre-existing condition.  Continue reading

Komen hires the wrong PR firm, missing the boat once again (and some thoughts on PR Daily's coverage of the story)

So, the Susan Komen Foundation has hired a big-hitter PR firm. And not just any PR firm, either.

Now, Komen is assessing the damage, and it’s using a consulting firm founded by two former Democratic strategists. Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), the firm Komen hired to help determine how badly the crisis hurt its reputation, is founded by former Democratic strategists Mark Penn and Doug Schoen.

The goal here seems obvious. Komen’s recent bout of ballistic podiatry cost it massive amounts of support among people who believe that women’s health shouldn’t be held captive to a reactionary, partisan social conservative agenda. The foundation has accurately understood that this means it needs people from the center and points left in order to thrive. Or, at this point, survive. So they go out and hire … Mark Penn.

Wait, what? Continue reading

Komen VP resigns; an important first step, but a long road to reconciliation remains

The Komen Foundation VP at the center of the Planned Parenthood firestorm, Karen Handel, has resigned.

A few days ago I predicted on Facebook that she’d be gone within a week, but  then retracted the prediction when I learned more about the heavy-Right political leanings of the rest of the board (and the involvement of Ari Fleischer in their strategy development).

On Friday, just before America took its collective brain offline for Super Bowl Weekend, Komen offered up a fake apology that encouraged the public to believe that it had changed its mind and was going to continue funding Planned Parenthood after all, even though its release actually said nothing of the sort. It isn’t clear how many average citizens the ploy fooled, but as I explained on Saturday, it sure as hell clowned the copy desk editors of just about every major news outlet in the country. Continue reading

Nota Bene #122: OWStanding

“When I lie on the beach there naked, which I do sometimes, and I feel the wind coming over me and I see the stars up above and I am looking into this very deep, indescribable night, it is something that escapes my vocabulary to describe. Then I think: ‘God, I have no importance. Whatever I do or don’t do, or what anybody does, is not more important than the grains of sand that I am lying on, or the coconut that I am using for my pillow.'” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #121: Birds of an Ancient Feather

“Television is an invention whereby you can be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.” Who said it? The answer is at the end of this post. Now on to the links! Continue reading

Congressional Republicans hack away at Medicaid while the rich hollow it out from inside

Cross-posted from Truthout.

Republican assaults on social service programs have finally yielded some significant advances, with the Obama Administration offering to push the eligibility age for Medicare up from age 65 to 67. Also, as part of a bargain to raise the debt ceiling, the administration offered to dial down cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits.

But it’s Medicaid, which, as the health provider of last resort for the most vulnerable segment of society, has long been a tempting target for Republicans. To remind the young, to whom Medicaid and Medicare tend to blend together, up to speed, the former is a program jointly funded by the state and federal governments that pays for medical care for those who can’t afford it. Continue reading

Rep. Upton's business competition hypocrisy, exhibit A

Rep. Fred Upton, Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, held a hearing yesterday on a piece of legislation euphemistically named the Energy Tax Prevention Act. This law seeks to overturn the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. In Upton’s opening statement, he claims “I know American manufacturers can compete – but not if they are saddled with burdensome regulations that put us at an unfair disadvantage.”

On the surface, this is a completely reasonable thing for a Republican to say. After all, Republicans generally are against regulations on the laissez-faire premise that all regulation is bad for business. But Upton is also on record supporting repeal of last year’s healthcare law, something else that would put American manufacturers at an “unfair disadvantage.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #114: Big Star

“The radio makes hideous sounds.” Who said it? Continue reading

Health care reform will help everybody

by Barbara O’Brien

Many Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Obama U-turn on net neutrality? Let's hope so…

A few days ago FCC Chair Julius Genachowski suggested that the administration was seriously considering abandoning the president’s uncompromising pledge to enforce net neutrality. Some suggested at the time that the comments had the vague odor of trial balloon about them. If so, the president found out, quickly and unequivocally, what folks thought. Some reasoned, some entreated, while others of us nard-stomped for all we were worth.

If, in fact, Obama was using Genachowski to test the waters, the conclusion had to be that it’s full of alligators. So today, it looks like the administration might complete the 360:

FCC to Overhaul Regulation of Internet Lines Continue reading

Obama caving on net neutrality? We can no longer believe a word he says, can we?

During the campaign then-candidate Barack Obama kept reminding us that “politics is the art of the possible.” We were encouraged to understand “possible” in the same context as “Hope®” and “Change We Can Believe In™.” That is, the Obama presidency was to usher in a new age where the old business as usual politics of the Beltway wouldn’t be tolerated. “Yes We Can©,” he insisted, summoning the disaffected masses into an arena of engagement where the entrenched forces of corporatism and corruption could be, would be, overthrown.

That was the promise. That was the dream.

The reality of the Obama administration has been a smidge less kumbayah than many might have hoped, though. The health care “debate” was as nasty and dishonest as anything the Republic has seen since … well, honestly I can’t quite think what the applicable touchpoint might be here. Civil rights? The Summer of 1968? The entirety of the Reagan years? Blowjobgate? Heck, I don’t know. Suffice it to say that from one end of the process to the other, if a government or corporate official’s lips were moving, somebody was being played. Continue reading