It may be worse, but as this post describes, it is frighteningly close to passing, in part, due to an entirely transparent bribe included in the bill to sway what may be the deciding vote. There is no level too low for the GOP to stoop. I conclude the post with my growing sense that capitalism may just have to go and that all reforms to this system are bandaids. Gulp. No small task.
Tithing Options Today
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Global Warming Express has launched a one-week campaign to raise funds to expand their afterschool programs that educate Santa Fe youth. And for that one week period, Mike Hopkins, Board Chair, has offered a dollar for dollar match, click here to read more and donate
Chainbreaker Collective. Chainbreaker has launched Equity Summer a community education and fund raising campaign designed to increase community awareness of the extent of economic and racial injustice in Santa Fe and help all us understand the causes and learn about possible solutions. Funding will enable Chainbreaker to hire a community organizer to expand the scope of their work. Click here to read more and to donate. After a quick start to the fundraising campaign, it has stalled a bit just shy of $1700. Let’s see if we can get it to $2500 today. Many of the donations recorded have come from Retake supporters.
Senate Healthcare Bill Inches Closer to Passing. Time to Act
As reported in Truthout: “McConnell’s new bill still ends Obamacare’s provisions that stopped insurers from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions, which is almost everybody over age 50. It reinstitutes lifetime coverage caps for insurers, which will leave people exposed to medical bankruptcy. And it eliminates Obamacare’s requirement that commercial insurance policies cover essential benefits, like maternity care.” This is just immoral and as someone whose son had leukemia and survived, I know personally what is at stake. If you do have friends, in Nevada, Alaska, Ohio West Virginia, or North Dakota, the following ‘moderate’ Republicans are said to be on the fence: Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and John Hoeven of North Dakota. Click here for contact info for all 50 US Senators and snd this post to friends in the above states, encouraging them to get their friends and families to email and call these Senators and share this post on your Facebook page. Despite being worse than the previous iteration, the bill is frighteningly close to passing and these four Senators may be our only hope of preventing this bill from passing.
” ‘I knew this bill was unfixable. What I didn’t count on was that it would get worse,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for President Obama. “There is an even bigger endorsement of higher deductibles with new catastrophic plan provision.’ ”
This bill is so bad that even the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the primary lobbying organization for health insurers had this to say: “The individual market faces well-documented challenges to stability, including higher premiums, lower-than-expected enrollment, fewer plan choices, and risk pool problems in certain states and markets. Policy solutions exist to create more stability in the market by reducing premiums and attracting enrollment of younger and healthier individuals. In this context, it is important that policymakers avoid policies that threaten to further increase uncertainty or threaten stability. Such policies include opening up non-compliant plans to new enrollees, bifurcating the risk pool, or allowing plans covered by different rules to compete in the same market.” Non-compliant plans is a key component of the current Senate bill thanks to Senator Cruz and as the Truthout report describes, the prolonged saga and accompanying market uncertainty is like a self-fulfilling prophecy as insurers are afraid to offer coverage within the context of such chaos. Click here for the full Truthout report.
So how desperate is the GOP to pass this bill? Vox reports that buried in the bowels of the current bill is a provision that would give any state with premiums 75% above the national average about a billion dollars. So guess how many states qualify for this boondoggle? One, Alaska where moderate Republican Lisa Murkowski could be the deciding vote on this bill, as she has not indicated how she will vote. Right now two GOP Senators have indicated that they won’t even vote to debate it, Rand Paul (KY) and Susan Collins (ME). That means if the GOP can hold all the remaining Senators in line, they will pass their bill.
From the Vox report: “Let’s just say that they do something that’s so Alaska-specific just to, quote, ‘get me,’” she [Murkowski] said in June. “Then you have a nationwide system that doesn’t work. That then comes crashing down and Alaska’s not able to kind of keep it together on its own.” It’s worth noting that Murkowski ran for Senate over McConnell’s wishes in 2010 and doesn’t owe him much by way of her political success.” If her objection to the bill is about the steep cuts to Medicaid, her reason for not voting for the last iteration of Senate-Care, then those provisions remain precisely the same. Here’s hoping a sweet little billion dollars to her home state doesn’t shift her thinking. It is scary that other GOP Senators are not indicating lack of support. Before the July 4th break, there were 6-7 Senators breaking ranks. We need three. Click here for the Vox report. It has interesting background on why Alaska’s premiums are so much higher than the national average.
Lastly, a OregonLive report written by JB Silvers, a health economist from Case-Western, provides responses to the five core assumptions that drive the GOP’s positions in relation to healthcare. Silver’s analysis debunks all five assumptions. It is a fascinating analysis, that unravels all the GOP ‘thinking’ (if you can call it thinking). Click here for the full report.
It is greed that is driving all of this and increasingly, I am coming to the conclusion that nothing less than the complete rejection of the capitalist system is the only solution. All the mediating reforms are bandaids that don’t get at the underlying truth: capitalism is survival of the fittest and the rest be damned. It isn’t the kind of world I want to live in. While that kind of quantum shift isn’t likely to occur in my lifetime, that doesn’t mean the fundamental assumption that capitalism is the root of our problems is wrong. It just means the challenge is great. One ray of hope in this line of thinking is to consider that 3 years ago Bernie Sanders was considered a fringe player and his ideas considered entirely outside political consideration. Today they are very much part of the conversation. In that context, is it unrealistic that with worsening conditions, and an intractable system, even more progressive ideas surface and become part of the conversation? More on this in future posts.
Paul & Roxanne