Author Archives: kwinker

Republican Health Care Zombie Staggers On

Given that the BCRA is now dead, I’ve begun this new post. We are now in uncharted territory. No hearings have been held, there is no passable bill to even vote on, and Republican Senate leadership has a death grip on the wheel, eager to pass anything at all—and that anything has no glimmer of hope of improving health care for the country. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

25 July update from the Alaska Dispatch News. Motion to proceed passed 51-50. Pence had to make the tie-breaking vote, with Collins & Murkowski voting against it with all 48 Democrats. There is absolutely nothing on the table that isn’t detrimental to Alaskans, so good on Murkowski. The BCRA itself then died a swift death 43:57, with nine Republicans joining all Democrats in opposing it. Those nine, per Matt Fuller on Twitter (@MEPFuller), were: “Nine Republicans voting no at this point on BCRA: Collins, Cotton, Corker, Graham, Heller, Lee, Moran, Murkowski, and Paul.” The process going forward now is nothing less than a total mess, with no clear bill to vote on and no outcome on the table that doesn’t take away health care from many millions and cause dramatic insurance cost increases among large swaths of society.

Fivethirtyeight is carrying ongoing coverage. NY Times is also keeping up, of course.

Everyone should be calling their Senators, daily. The best path forward for, you know, actually improving health, is a bipartisan approach to fixing the ACA. From my prior most:

The way to move forward is simple and most agree on it: “Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place.” Eleven governors (bipartisan) sent a letter to Congress to advocate for this approach.

Pick up the phone. I’m sure your Senators will enjoy hearing from you.

P.S. The disappointment of the day was probably John McCain. What an American. And what a way to go out not with a bang but with a whimper. His kowtowing to the party began probably in 2000, as I recall. But I have to say that coming back from life-threatening, publicly funded brain surgery to then vote for the BCRA to take such hope from tens of millions of fellow Americans is contemptibly low. That’s party before country stuff. I wish him a strong recovery (he’s served his country much more than most), but I wish we could turn the clock back to when he was clearly for all Americans.

26 July update. TPM provides a timeline for today.

 

BCRA – Breaking the Nation’s Health Care

If I had more time, this would be a long post. But I can only spank boiled ire down on the page for a short time today. A bill developed in secret with “screw you” core elements is not dead yet. It needs to be. Wrongly labeled “better care,” the only healthy improvement it contains is wealthy peoples’ income from tax breaks. The rest of us will suffer. This bill will take health care away from tens of millions, give generous tax breaks to the wealthy, cause major economic hits to great swaths of society, and is opposed by most Americans. It is also opposed by the health care community (from big insurers to hospitals and medical associations), by the AARP, and a long list of other groups. It has an approval rating among the public of just 17%. It’s the least popular legislation in 30 years (and has gotten less popular since this article appeared).

It is amazing that such a terrible piece of legislation is alive at all. Republicans developed it in secret and are trying to ram it down our throats. Conveniently, we are distracted by the Trump circus. Call your senators and encourage them to vote against it (or thank them if they are already committed to doing so).

Don’t be confused by the uncertainty regarding details of this legislation—there is nothing good on the table, just different flavors of really bad. This is purely a party-before-country ideological march over a cliff, for which tens of millions of Americans will suffer immediately (health-wise and economically) and more over the longer term. Here are some of the general outcomes.

Here are details on the bill’s effects. And here is Alaska as an example.

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The Ninja from Beringia (Internet security)

The U.S. government has given the green light to your internet service providers to sell your data. Yep. Your privacy is for sale, and you have nothing to say about it until your next chance to vote for new representatives in Congress. But there is a series of fairly simple things you can do in the meantime to improve your life and make your data crap for those wishing to sell it.

I am not an expert, but I can figure things out and see that they work, and most people just naively do nothing and hope everything will be alright. It won’t be. So protect yourself. Feeling brave, the “I’ve got nothing to hide!” bravado? Get past this, or you and your secure accounts (like your bank) are more likely to get hacked. Plus it just feels good to improve your internet experience and give a big ol’ one-fingered salute to the greedy bastards who want to sell your data and the assholes who decided to let them.

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