Weekly Pulse: Paul Ryan’s Medicare Swindle

 


By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Robert Parry in In These Times examines how Paul Ryan’s budget test would turn healthcare for the elderly into one big free-market death panel.

Ryan’s plan privatizes Medicare, replacing it with premium support for insurance companies. That means the government would kick in a fixed amount of money towards insurance premiums for Americans over age 65. Ryan also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. Ryan’s plan doesn’t guarantee that Americans over 65 could get insurance in the first place. Even if they could find an insurer willing to take them, there is no reason to believe that premium support would cover more than part of the cost.

Maybe the plan is to save money by pricing most seniors out of health insurance entirely. If you can’t get insurance in the first place, you don’t qualify for premium support.

Mitt Romney and health care

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney kicked off the exploratory phase of his campaign this week, Lynda Waddington reports in the Iowa Independent. Ironically, this prospective frontrunner is best known for bringing Obama-style health care reform to Massachusetts.

Aswini Anburajan of TAPPED wonders whether Romney’s record on health care will hurt him in the primary. Repealing health care reform is one of the major themes for the Republican Party, and Romney is the architect of a similar system. However, Anburajan notes, campaigning to all but abolish Medicare hasn’t hurt GOP Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s political status, even though seniors are a big part of the GOP base..

Part of the reason why Ryan hasn’t felt a backlash from seniors is that his plan preserves Medicare for people who are currently over 55 and will only decimate the program for younger people.

Demonizing pregnant users

At RH Reality Check, Lynn Paltrow takes the New York Times to task for a sensationalized story about children born to women who are dependent upon prescription painkillers. Paltrow notes that the same alarmist language was used to hype a non-existent epidemic of crack babies in the 1980s. The evidence suggests that the impact of drug use during pregnancy on the developing fetus is relatively minor compared to the effects of other factors that are correlated with drug use, such as poverty, poor nutrition, and lack of prenatal care.

If we assume there’s a clear causal relationships between using drugs and hurting babies, it’s easier to lay all the blame on the mother. The truth, Paltrow argues, is much more complicated. Drug use is just part of a constellation of unhealthy factors that conspire to give the children of poor and marginalized women a worse start in life.

Positing a distinct syndrome caused by drug abuse is often a first step towards stigmatizing, and even criminalizing, poor women who give birth to sick children.

Hungry women and children

Speaking of threats to the health of poor women and their children, the new budget deal slashes $500 million from nutrition programs, with the Women Infants and Children (WIC) food support program at the USDA taking the hardest hit, Tom Laskawy reports for Grist.

If you get your meals through an umbilical cord, the Republicans want to protect you; but if you have to eat groceries, you’re on your own.

Big Pharma hikes HIV drug prices

Elizabeth Lombino at Change.org reports that more than 8,000 people nationwide are on the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a government program that helps poor people living with HIV/AIDS pay for medications. Lombino notes that even as the ranks of patients who can’t cover their drugs continues to swell, pharmaceutical companies continue to raise their prices. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is calling upon pharmaceutical companies to lower prices to help grapple with what has come to be known as the ADAP crisis. So far, it’s been to little effect.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Weekly Pulse: Paul Ryan’s Medicare Swindle

 


By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Robert Parry in In These Times examines how Paul Ryan’s budget test would turn healthcare for the elderly into one big free-market death panel.

Ryan’s plan privatizes Medicare, replacing it with premium support for insurance companies. That means the government would kick in a fixed amount of money towards insurance premiums for Americans over age 65. Ryan also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. Ryan’s plan doesn’t guarantee that Americans over 65 could get insurance in the first place. Even if they could find an insurer willing to take them, there is no reason to believe that premium support would cover more than part of the cost.

Maybe the plan is to save money by pricing most seniors out of health insurance entirely. If you can’t get insurance in the first place, you don’t qualify for premium support.

Mitt Romney and health care

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney kicked off the exploratory phase of his campaign this week, Lynda Waddington reports in the Iowa Independent. Ironically, this prospective frontrunner is best known for bringing Obama-style health care reform to Massachusetts.

Aswini Anburajan of TAPPED wonders whether Romney’s record on health care will hurt him in the primary. Repealing health care reform is one of the major themes for the Republican Party, and Romney is the architect of a similar system. However, Anburajan notes, campaigning to all but abolish Medicare hasn’t hurt GOP Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s political status, even though seniors are a big part of the GOP base..

Part of the reason why Ryan hasn’t felt a backlash from seniors is that his plan preserves Medicare for people who are currently over 55 and will only decimate the program for younger people.

Demonizing pregnant users

At RH Reality Check, Lynn Paltrow takes the New York Times to task for a sensationalized story about children born to women who are dependent upon prescription painkillers. Paltrow notes that the same alarmist language was used to hype a non-existent epidemic of crack babies in the 1980s. The evidence suggests that the impact of drug use during pregnancy on the developing fetus is relatively minor compared to the effects of other factors that are correlated with drug use, such as poverty, poor nutrition, and lack of prenatal care.

If we assume there’s a clear causal relationships between using drugs and hurting babies, it’s easier to lay all the blame on the mother. The truth, Paltrow argues, is much more complicated. Drug use is just part of a constellation of unhealthy factors that conspire to give the children of poor and marginalized women a worse start in life.

Positing a distinct syndrome caused by drug abuse is often a first step towards stigmatizing, and even criminalizing, poor women who give birth to sick children.

Hungry women and children

Speaking of threats to the health of poor women and their children, the new budget deal slashes $500 million from nutrition programs, with the Women Infants and Children (WIC) food support program at the USDA taking the hardest hit, Tom Laskawy reports for Grist.

If you get your meals through an umbilical cord, the Republicans want to protect you; but if you have to eat groceries, you’re on your own.

Big Pharma hikes HIV drug prices

Elizabeth Lombino at Change.org reports that more than 8,000 people nationwide are on the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a government program that helps poor people living with HIV/AIDS pay for medications. Lombino notes that even as the ranks of patients who can’t cover their drugs continues to swell, pharmaceutical companies continue to raise their prices. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is calling upon pharmaceutical companies to lower prices to help grapple with what has come to be known as the ADAP crisis. So far, it’s been to little effect.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Weekly Pulse: Paul Ryan’s Medicare Swindle

 


By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Robert Parry in In These Times examines how Paul Ryan’s budget test would turn healthcare for the elderly into one big free-market death panel.

Ryan’s plan privatizes Medicare, replacing it with premium support for insurance companies. That means the government would kick in a fixed amount of money towards insurance premiums for Americans over age 65. Ryan also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. Ryan’s plan doesn’t guarantee that Americans over 65 could get insurance in the first place. Even if they could find an insurer willing to take them, there is no reason to believe that premium support would cover more than part of the cost.

Maybe the plan is to save money by pricing most seniors out of health insurance entirely. If you can’t get insurance in the first place, you don’t qualify for premium support.

Mitt Romney and health care

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney kicked off the exploratory phase of his campaign this week, Lynda Waddington reports in the Iowa Independent. Ironically, this prospective frontrunner is best known for bringing Obama-style health care reform to Massachusetts.

Aswini Anburajan of TAPPED wonders whether Romney’s record on health care will hurt him in the primary. Repealing health care reform is one of the major themes for the Republican Party, and Romney is the architect of a similar system. However, Anburajan notes, campaigning to all but abolish Medicare hasn’t hurt GOP Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s political status, even though seniors are a big part of the GOP base..

Part of the reason why Ryan hasn’t felt a backlash from seniors is that his plan preserves Medicare for people who are currently over 55 and will only decimate the program for younger people.

Demonizing pregnant users

At RH Reality Check, Lynn Paltrow takes the New York Times to task for a sensationalized story about children born to women who are dependent upon prescription painkillers. Paltrow notes that the same alarmist language was used to hype a non-existent epidemic of crack babies in the 1980s. The evidence suggests that the impact of drug use during pregnancy on the developing fetus is relatively minor compared to the effects of other factors that are correlated with drug use, such as poverty, poor nutrition, and lack of prenatal care.

If we assume there’s a clear causal relationships between using drugs and hurting babies, it’s easier to lay all the blame on the mother. The truth, Paltrow argues, is much more complicated. Drug use is just part of a constellation of unhealthy factors that conspire to give the children of poor and marginalized women a worse start in life.

Positing a distinct syndrome caused by drug abuse is often a first step towards stigmatizing, and even criminalizing, poor women who give birth to sick children.

Hungry women and children

Speaking of threats to the health of poor women and their children, the new budget deal slashes $500 million from nutrition programs, with the Women Infants and Children (WIC) food support program at the USDA taking the hardest hit, Tom Laskawy reports for Grist.

If you get your meals through an umbilical cord, the Republicans want to protect you; but if you have to eat groceries, you’re on your own.

Big Pharma hikes HIV drug prices

Elizabeth Lombino at Change.org reports that more than 8,000 people nationwide are on the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a government program that helps poor people living with HIV/AIDS pay for medications. Lombino notes that even as the ranks of patients who can’t cover their drugs continues to swell, pharmaceutical companies continue to raise their prices. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is calling upon pharmaceutical companies to lower prices to help grapple with what has come to be known as the ADAP crisis. So far, it’s been to little effect.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Bryan Fischer: Talking the God Talk Not Walking the God Walk

The American Family Association’s resident knothead, Bryan Fischer, is no stranger to controversy. His claims are so odd and his beliefs so narrow, I can never quite decide if he’s a run of the mill crapweasel or an exceptionally smooth manipulator of his flock’s built-in fears and prejudices. Either way, he’s quite convincing. I guess I’ll stick with the former and not the latter. So it’s settled, he’s a run of the mill crapweasel.

Fischer posits in a recent blog post that, “poverty has won”. I’m actually with him on that one. Any random chart about the rapidly growing gap between the haves and have nots is clear on that point – even for a man with the perception of your average tree stump. However, its Fischer’s interpretation of those random charts that’s so troubling and his prescriptions so off the mark.

In Fischer’s eyes, poverty is a wacky sort of socialist plot, “We need more people in public office who think like Christ and fewer people who think like Karl Marx,” he advises. I’m with him there too and I’m an atheist!

However, if he’s not so hot on Karl, he’s even less so on African-Americans in a decidedly less than Christian way.

Suckling the Government Tit
Fischer says welfare has trashed the African-American family with incentives for literally screwing like rabbits to glom onto the juicy, government tit. “It’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits,” he said. According to him, the bunnies should be getting married instead.

Fischer knows whence he speaks about marriage. He knows that homosexuals can’t do it lest the Republic fall. He knows wives should always obey and submit to their husbands. He knows that BJs do not a good marriage make. And the married darkies? They’re just raising Easter bunnies in the hood to steal tax dollars.

But unlike his unparalleled knowledge of marriage, the Assistant Messiah™ doesn’t know sh*t from shinola about the rest of the world.

Bryan, just a few notes for your sleeve the next time you take the Holier Than Thou Grad School test. Don’t worry, a little cheating is OK as long as it’s for Jesus – it’s the 11th Commandment, “It be OK for the holy to use crib notes.”

Many of those rutters are married rabbits – the straight ones anyway. They went down to the local padre and tied the knot. And wouldn’t you know it, the next day their poverty parted like the befouled Red Sea. Go ahead, ask one. He’ll tell you all about it.

And it’s not just the blacks Bryan. All white people are pious and married and full of the bounty of Christ, if you can call their poverty a bounty. And the brown folk? Why all of them are in the running to helm ConAgra instead of just pick veggies for them. Damn, how that God stuff works! You think blacks are just like all the other poor people except even more so – an impediment to the spread of the gospel and tax cuts.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d wager he knows as much about poverty as he does about Jesus, which is to say not much. On the other hand, I know a little something about it.

My grandparents lived in abject poverty. Without exaggeration, their house looked like Snuffy Smith’s. The only advantage it had over a cardboard box was a deed somewhere. It left them free to use the back room for kindling, which is exactly what they did one particularly bad winter. Freezing isn’t much of an option when you can’t get out in hip-deep snow to chop wood. They probably used the deed to start the fire too. Yet my grandparents were married, one grueling day after another for nearly 50 years. And poverty was an unwelcome house guest for every damn one of them.

Controlling Asscakes Like You
Oh BTW, they were white. And they faithfully went to church. And they prayed many times a day, but God must’ve been busy trying to control asscakes like you.

They didn’t take a dime of the government’s money – partly because they were too uneducated to figure out how. Yet, they plugged along, rutted some, and ate the rabbit for dinner, because what they hunted wasn’t for sport. It was what saved them from starvation – no miraculous 3 loaves and fishes for them, just a gruelish stew of rabbit sans loaves (because they couldn’t afford flour) and fishes (because the streams were all toxic from unregulated coal mines).

Do some African-American families choose to let their families go all to hell? Yup, but so do whites and Latinos and even members of churches. However, many of them are married and the problem persists. Just as many aren’t married, but somehow manage to do right by their families despite bigger obstacles than the AFA braves over a 3-martini lunch with a grifter politician who prefers to buy votes than work for them. And they do it with a little help from Uncle Sam. That seems like a fair trade for companies working some poor bastard to death at 3 jobs because there isn’t anything else. Just a little unexpected, indirect corporate welfare.

Should people who have abandoned their families man-up and take responsibility? YES! Will poverty for most of them stop by following your golden rules, don’t bet on it.

See Bryan, poverty knows no color. It’s an equal opportunity scourge. Growling bellies know no race.  Red or yellow, black or white, poverty is poverty. Perhaps you’d do well to remember the last line of the little ditty:

“Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

Bryan Fischer: Talking the God Talk Not Walking the God Walk

The American Family Association’s resident knothead, Bryan Fischer, is no stranger to controversy. His claims are so odd and his beliefs so narrow, I can never quite decide if he’s a run of the mill crapweasel or an exceptionally smooth manipulator of his flock’s built-in fears and prejudices. Either way, he’s quite convincing. I guess I’ll stick with the former and not the latter. So it’s settled, he’s a run of the mill crapweasel.

Fischer posits in a recent blog post that, “poverty has won”. I’m actually with him on that one. Any random chart about the rapidly growing gap between the haves and have nots is clear on that point – even for a man with the perception of your average tree stump. However, its Fischer’s interpretation of those random charts that’s so troubling and his prescriptions so off the mark.

In Fischer’s eyes, poverty is a wacky sort of socialist plot, “We need more people in public office who think like Christ and fewer people who think like Karl Marx,” he advises. I’m with him there too and I’m an atheist!

However, if he’s not so hot on Karl, he’s even less so on African-Americans in a decidedly less than Christian way.

Suckling the Government Tit
Fischer says welfare has trashed the African-American family with incentives for literally screwing like rabbits to glom onto the juicy, government tit. “It’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits,” he said. According to him, the bunnies should be getting married instead.

Fischer knows whence he speaks about marriage. He knows that homosexuals can’t do it lest the Republic fall. He knows wives should always obey and submit to their husbands. He knows that BJs do not a good marriage make. And the married darkies? They’re just raising Easter bunnies in the hood to steal tax dollars.

But unlike his unparalleled knowledge of marriage, the Assistant Messiah™ doesn’t know sh*t from shinola about the rest of the world.

Bryan, just a few notes for your sleeve the next time you take the Holier Than Thou Grad School test. Don’t worry, a little cheating is OK as long as it’s for Jesus – it’s the 11th Commandment, “It be OK for the holy to use crib notes.”

Many of those rutters are married rabbits – the straight ones anyway. They went down to the local padre and tied the knot. And wouldn’t you know it, the next day their poverty parted like the befouled Red Sea. Go ahead, ask one. He’ll tell you all about it.

And it’s not just the blacks Bryan. All white people are pious and married and full of the bounty of Christ, if you can call their poverty a bounty. And the brown folk? Why all of them are in the running to helm ConAgra instead of just pick veggies for them. Damn, how that God stuff works! You think blacks are just like all the other poor people except even more so – an impediment to the spread of the gospel and tax cuts.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d wager he knows as much about poverty as he does about Jesus, which is to say not much. On the other hand, I know a little something about it.

My grandparents lived in abject poverty. Without exaggeration, their house looked like Snuffy Smith’s. The only advantage it had over a cardboard box was a deed somewhere. It left them free to use the back room for kindling, which is exactly what they did one particularly bad winter. Freezing isn’t much of an option when you can’t get out in hip-deep snow to chop wood. They probably used the deed to start the fire too. Yet my grandparents were married, one grueling day after another for nearly 50 years. And poverty was an unwelcome house guest for every damn one of them.

Controlling Asscakes Like You
Oh BTW, they were white. And they faithfully went to church. And they prayed many times a day, but God must’ve been busy trying to control asscakes like you.

They didn’t take a dime of the government’s money – partly because they were too uneducated to figure out how. Yet, they plugged along, rutted some, and ate the rabbit for dinner, because what they hunted wasn’t for sport. It was what saved them from starvation – no miraculous 3 loaves and fishes for them, just a gruelish stew of rabbit sans loaves (because they couldn’t afford flour) and fishes (because the streams were all toxic from unregulated coal mines).

Do some African-American families choose to let their families go all to hell? Yup, but so do whites and Latinos and even members of churches. However, many of them are married and the problem persists. Just as many aren’t married, but somehow manage to do right by their families despite bigger obstacles than the AFA braves over a 3-martini lunch with a grifter politician who prefers to buy votes than work for them. And they do it with a little help from Uncle Sam. That seems like a fair trade for companies working some poor bastard to death at 3 jobs because there isn’t anything else. Just a little unexpected, indirect corporate welfare.

Should people who have abandoned their families man-up and take responsibility? YES! Will poverty for most of them stop by following your golden rules, don’t bet on it.

See Bryan, poverty knows no color. It’s an equal opportunity scourge. Growling bellies know no race.  Red or yellow, black or white, poverty is poverty. Perhaps you’d do well to remember the last line of the little ditty:

“Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

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