Journeying Through the Health Care Maze

ObamacareWe’ve been into the ACA now for some months and reports are coming in from any number of sectors. After all the dire warnings that economic disaster would ensue, millions of people would lose jobs and coverage, the facts tend to tell a quite different story.

The Congressional Budget Office CBO continues on a regularly basis to project that the costs associated with the law are dropping with each assessment. Further, uninsured rates are dropping significantly in those states that adopted the ACA and Medicaid expansion. Insurance carriers are expanding their services, and entering new markets.

Evidence is still scant, but there are reports that states are seeing more competition and some evidence at least that premium costs to consumers will reduce or at least not rise at nearly the rates they did before the law went into effect. Trips to emergency rooms has dropped significantly for participating states versus those who stubbornly refuse to help their most disadvantaged.

Those are the general facts. I’d be the first to tell you that anecdotal stories have little value in terms of proving a point, since truth is seldom an all or nothing proposition. It’s usually an “on balance” sort of thing for such things  that involve millions of people. Some people undoubtedly have suffered under the Act, but we have always asked more of our more wealthy citizens, and there are almost no verifiable stories of people grossly hurt by the law, although there are no end to horror stories that upon investigation turn out to be bogus.

My story is offered as one that, as far as I have learned from a dozen or so others, is not atypical of the average person.

Years ago, back in the mid-90’s, I was associated with the Sister’s of St. Joseph who ran St. Joseph’s Hospital in Flint, Michigan. As a potential novice, I began volunteering there. As part of that activity I had a general checkup. It was noted that my blood pressure was elevated and I was given a cuff and told to monitor my blood pressure several times a day for a week. The results suggested all was okay.

Fast forward several years, to 2000. I am newly married and my husband insists that I get some coverage. At 50, health is going to be more of a concern. I apply. I routinely inform them that I was last checked at the aforementioned hospital with the only concern being my blood pressure. The carrier was unable to obtain any records. I was denied coverage. That became my “pre-existing condition.”

So I was one of those unable to secure insurance.

Along comes the ACA.

I, like thousands of others, entered the Marketplace soon after the site opened. I too ran into trouble. I was not “verified” as to who I was. I was given a coded number and told to call Experion who would complete that process. When first called, Experion told me I had called too soon, and to wait a few days. Days turned into weeks, and I decided to wait a couple of months to let things get sorted out.

When I returned in December, things had not improved. Experion did not have my coded number. I called the exchanges to speak to a live person. They started my application over again. In about 30 minutes we were done. I was informed that I “might” qualify for Medicaid, so I could proceed no further until that was resolved. I was told this would be submitted automatically but that I could call them and speed up the process by giving them the information over the phone.

I called New Mexico Medicaid. In an automated message, I was given a laundry list of required information. It included prices for any cars, what was still owed, mortgage if any, stocks, savings accounts, utilities,  as well as the normal “income” requirements. We were most sure I could not qualify and hated getting all this crap together for nothing.

I had kept a newspaper which gave the names and numbers for some “facilitators” operating in our area. I called and made an appointment. My goal was to cut the tape, avoid the Medicaid issue and return to the Marketplace. Instead, my facilitator seemed to have little information regarding the ACA, but told me that the NM Medicaid had no business asking me for any of the information beyond what my income was.

She filed an application securing only our SS income and sent the application in. A couple of weeks before the closing of the open enrollment, I got a letter from NM Medicaid, along with two cards. The letter made little sense being full of acronyms which were not defined, but suggested that BOTH my husband and I had been approved for something, and denied something, none of which we could figure out.

My husband called, and sure enough, the cards were our new Medicaid cards and we both were covered. My husband politely declined, being entirely happy with his VA coverage locally and at Fort Bliss VA facility. I, after my usual “avoidance” as I awful-ized all the dire medical diagnoses I could imagine, made an appointment with my new doctor and proceeded to begin a series of referrals and tests to “bring my health records from non-existence to a reasonable state”.

That process began in late June and was in mid process in mid-August when I got a letter from NM Medicaid. Again, a letter that made little sense but suggested something was up. I called. I had been cancelled. They had “just learned” that my husband had started to receive SS. WRONG. My husband in one fashion or another (disability for PTSD to regular SS) had been receiving benefits since the late 90’s. Oh, so then I must have just started receiving SS. WRONG. I’d been receiving SS for two years. Both yearly totals had been included on my regular application.

The bottom line: I did not qualify for NM Medicaid, a thing we had both felt fairly certain of before we applied.

NM Medicaid indicated that my coverage would CONTINUE until Aug 31. Why that was so, is inexplicable. I was also informed that I had been graciously granted “family planning services” so my future pregnancies or contraceptive care was meant to offset my loss of general coverage. At 64 I was really happy to hear that.

Since I was taking several medications and scheduled for several more tests, I was in a bit of a pickle. Sure I could pay the bills myself, but they would be rather significant (the routine blood analysis and urinalysis alone was $1100).

I called the Marketplace in a serious funk, sure that they would tell me I had to wait until the open enrollment resumed in November, leaving my uninsured once again for the intervening months.

The Marketplace people were simply appalled at NM Medicaid’s error. All the information was indeed there on my still-filed application. They assured me that my circumstances allowed them to “reopen” my file as a “failed” Medicaid deferment, and I re-entered the Marketplace. They completed everything over the phone, gave me time to look at several plans with the promise that I could go to many others if I was not satisfied with those.

I chose my plan, and they scheduled it to start on September 1, so I would have no loss in coverage. I was given the phone number of my new insurance company. They apologized again and again for the error that was not theirs.

I called my new insurance carrier. They found me in their system immediately, and pointed me to their web site. I was able to pay my premium online well before the bill came in the mail.

I got all their material and my new health cards seamlessly.

I had to go to my doctor to get help with prescriptions that Walgreens was screwing up. I told them about my new insurance and that I was not sure that I could continue with her under my new plan. The women there took the information and got in touch with my carrier, worked it all out, and I was able to keep my doctor. Again it was all seamless. My previous carrier paid for everything up to August 31, and my new one took over on September 1.

While the ACA was a mess in terms of sign up at the beginning, they did everything else wonderfully as far as I am concerned. I am pleased with both my insurance coverage and my doctor and her care. My meds are amazingly affordable as are my copays.

I have the peace of mind that can only come from being checked and found in pretty good shape. My blood pressure is a bit high, and I have meds for that. I am at the entry level for type II diabetes, take a med for that, don’t monitor my blood sugar, but avoid “obvious” sugar. My eyes are fine, so was my mammography, gynecological exam, and bone density scans. I feel great, I’ve lost a few pounds, and I’m seeking to eat a better diet.

If it were not for the ACA, I’d still be rolling the dice. I am most grateful. Bureaucracy will always cost us time and trouble. That is not a good reason to grouse about a law that provides decent health care to millions who did not have it. My experience was annoying and frustrating to be sure, but very little of that had to do with the law. Most of the fault lies with the people who work at NM Medicaid in my case.

I am happy with my health care. I thank my President. My heart goes out to all those millions who still go without care because their Republican-controlled states refused to help them just to prove that hatred in their case is more powerful than doing their duty by their citizens.

Wish I’d Said That Thursday

I truly wish I had said it.

Reblogged from BrainSpank

 

I am a woman. I gave birth. It was painful.  Excruciating.  Agony.  No one knows.  I do.

My child knows no one other purview until it gulps air outside of me. Until it leaves my womb it belongs to me and no one else. No other body, governmental or even judicial matters at all to me.

Not as far as I’m concerned anyway.

I really don’t care what you have to say.

I cannot stand five catholic men in black robes who would decide anything for me or the child in my body.  I loathe you for trying.  Your ignorance.  Your arrogance.  Your hubris.  When the day comes I want to relinquish control of my life, my child’s life, to the likes of you, I’ll let you know.  It will have a big fancy seal.  It will be on parchment.  Sheepskin.  You’ll know.  Champagne and caviar.

Until then, shut the fuck up.

We all know you think it’s your religious privilege.  We all know you think you’re somehow entitled to a voice here.  A heavy legislative hand.  A right.  But you are wrong.  You don’t.  You can’t.  You won’t.  You can’t tell me what contraception to use anymore than you can tell me what to do with my womb.  My body.  You stand there, collecting your filthy lucre from the dirtier angels of our filthiest nature and presume to define sin for me.

Fuck you.

You took a stand on the side of a company that wears its hypocrisy on its goddamn face.  They invest in and make money off of the manufacture of contraceptive products.  They willingly paid for the objectionable products for their employees for years.  Decades.  What changed besides Obamacare?  They say their mission is to prevent abortion but the only net gain from this will be more abortion.

By the way, they say the contraceptive products the won’t pay for kill babies.  Wrong.  Completely wrong.  What they do is prevent fertilization.  No beings.  No babies.  How did we get to a place where the Supreme Court is guilty of science denial while listening to and valuing the opinions of clerics and wizards?

Five Roman Catholic men who wear black robes to work.

In this process you would willingly consign me to a coat hanger.

I am a man and I do not accept this jurisprudence.  It is the antithesis of jurisprudence.

But I am a woman too.

It’s like your whole reason is to make sure it’s born.

After that, it’s nobodies business but mine.  Ironic how you grab responsibility before it’s born and surrender it completely the second after.  How do adult white men entertain the notion that they somehow get to champion the fetus and forgo the child?

Jackasses.

They are the last people.

Then, some sonafabitching congressman comes along to make my last stand.

To pretend to speak for me and all the unborn.

I am a woman and I have given birth and if I begin to understand that delivery might mean my death, I get to decide what to do.  If that child will be born inside out?  My problem.  If that child is born with whatever disability?  My problem.

Not yours.

Fuck off.

The same goes for my contraception.  Sometimes it’s to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. 56% of the women in this country that avail themselves of contraceptive medication have it prescribed to them by doctors for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.  Sometimes it’s to prevent my spending days in bed writhing in the kind of pain that makes botulism or ebola look Fischer Price.  Sometimes it’s to reduce my risk of certain cancers.  Viruses.  You don’t know.  You can’t you bastards.  I am a woman and you are not.

I can no longer countenance five greasy old academic males deciding any of this shit.  It’s none of their business.

None at all.

I am a woman.

I would make each of you pregnant tomorrow morning if I could.

Or, I would visit the menstrual cycle upon each of you if I could.

Then we would see who the women are.

That would be awesome.

Bitches.

I am a man speaking for women.

Drinks for my friends.

I’m So Damned Tired of This

Affordable_Care_Act_100413This is truly getting annoying.

If one more person suggests that the Mainstream Media is in the bag for the Democrats, I surely will flatten them with a left hook. The so-called “liberal media” has been relentless since the roll out of the Affordable Health Care Act, in pointing out all its flaws and shortcomings. It has repeatedly asked the question: “are these glitches portents of real issues in the law itself?” Yes, of course, the pimple on my nose is also directly related to the rainstorm that now threatens too. Please folks get a clue.

Meanwhile the EXTREME RIGHT has all its ducks in a row and is panting out the same refrain from radio and TV–this is a train wreck and it’s just as we predicted. This can’t be fixed! The President lied! Millions are losing their insurance! Millions are facing huge increases in premiums!

Suddenly the awful healthcare system in this country, one that does just fine for the wealthy but barely exists for the poor, is being touted as the “best health delivery system in the world!” It ain’t. People who are not rich but are well enough off routinely travel to other countries for a variety of procedures that can be done cheaper with every bit as good an outcome. It’s called medical tourism.  And whatever they might try to tell you, people are not leaving Canada, Britain and a host of European countries, all in some attempt to escape “socialized” medicine in those countries.

Yes the Website for the healthcare exchanges is bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was. Was that inexcusable? Certainly. Shame on them all. Has anyone been harmed by the delay? Not a single soul as far as I know. Today, you can negotiate the site fairly easily. When I tried to continue my enrollment and found that the information input was not taking properly, a phone call to the 800 number (which was answered promptly and involved a wait of only two minutes) provided an answer within five minutes and I am ready to reset and try again.

Much has been made about all these people getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies. Somehow this is making Obama out to be a liar. He is not, quite plain and simple. Let me make this as clear as can be:

  1. Company policies that were in place BEFORE the ACA became law, are grandfathered in. Many of these were and are substandard policies, not covering major catastrophic needs, but they are grandfathered in nonetheless.
  2. Policies that were issued AFTER the ACA became law, are required to be “brought up to standards”.
  3. There was, therefore EVERY reason on earth for the President to tell people that for those who had EXISTING policies, they could keep them. This did ASSUME that they were grandfathered policies for WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY WOULD ISSUE SUBSTANDARD POLICIES AFTER THE ACA PASSED KNOWING THEY WOULD BE GOOD FOR ONLY ONE YEAR?
  4. How was the President to conclude that those policies issued BEFORE the ACA would be cancelled? And that in many cases, insurance companies would run the following scam: Hi, you insurance is being cancelled because it doesn’t meet the ACA standards to go into effect Oct 1, 2013. Here are some new plans you can buy from us that are up to the new standards (all at much higher prices).  If we don’t hear from you, we will continue your coverage under a new compliant plan at this new price. (no mention that you might find better coverage at lower cost on the exchanges).
  5. Insurers create and drop plans all the time, and they continue to do so. Is the President responsible for this process and do people have a right to hold him accountable just because their insurance was cancelled due to the usual alternations conducted by the insurers? Surely most people have had their insurance cancelled at one time or another. This is not the President’s fault, but the fault of companies who are always playing the numbers and when you seem ripe for a claim, they are doing their best to cancel you before that happens.
  6. The cancellations are being sent out to approximately 5% of all people who are self-insured. Most people are not self-insured by are covered through employer programs, or medicare/Medicaid. Of these some 3% will end up when all the dust has settled with premiums higher than they had before for substantially the same coverage. Those are pretty darn good numbers, even though in the individual circumstance they might be painful. In most cases, they will occur to people who can afford the increase.

To all those who are so filled with hate for Obama that you would rather eat nails than get cheaper and better health care? Well, I have one answer. Keep your fake insurance or get none at all. But the FAIR thing to do is to pass a law exempting medical expenses from bankruptcy. Then when you get hit by a bus, you can pay your fair bill from the hospital and not stick the rest of us with your treatment. Capish? I mean, you don’t want to be one of those awful “takers” do ya?

PS: On an anecdotal note: I got into two conversations on Facebook with “Obamacare disaster victims”. In both cases (one over 70, the other in their 90’s), neither wanted Medicare and were unhappy because their insurance companies wanted a lot more money to keep insuring them. Cry me a river. Seriously.

It All Depends on How You Define Insurance

obamacare-bumpersticker-no-freedomThe headlines are simply appalling:

Pregnant woman loses her health insurance because of Obamacare”

Florida woman told her $50 health insurance will now cost $500 under Obamacare.”

Peter Sessions sends forth a Facebook entry: “While the Obama Administration publicly promised that Americans who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it, privately it knew that wasn’t true.”

The GOP knows the whining about a website’s faults only gets so much traction. As one commentator said, the average person can pretty much separate a faulty website from the value of an insurance plan.

So we have to move on. Now all we are hearing is that millions of people are losing their insurance unless they play 5, 10, 20 times what they paid before. All this after the president promised that we could keep plans we liked.

Okay, lets actually look at the FACTS.

obamacareDeath_Panel_protest_sign_2_croppedPresident Obama did say that if people were happy with their insurance they could keep it. In some instances he said “if you are happy with your employer insurance, you can keep it.”

Eighty percent of all those who are insured are insured through employer plans. So the President was accurate as to 80% of all insured people.

That means 20% are self-insured. Of those something between 40-60% have plans that meet federal standards or are grandfathered in. The latter accounts for the 20% discrepancy since the grandfathering aspect is a case by case situation depending on how stable the plan has been over time–if your plan fluctuates every year in terms of deductibles or so forth, it might not be grandfathered.

Let’s be fair and split the baby. Say 50% of all self-employed have policies that are acceptable. That means that now 90% of all insured people can have the policies they already have. The President is now 90% accurate.

That means that for 10% of insured, their cannot keep the insurance they have.

Why is that?

Quite simply, it’s because those policies are deemed to be sham policies by and large. They have exorbitant deductibles for instance, don’t cover pre-existing conditions, have annual limits or life-time limits, and don’t cover enough situations to make them considered real insurance. The “insurance” company has two options–to discontinue the policy or to improve it with presumably higher premiums.

Is that the end of it?

Certainly not. Every such person affected has the right to then go into the Affordable Health Care system and see what is available there. In most cases, they will end up with better coverage at equal if not less cost. That will not be true in all cases, but at least preliminarily from anecdotal information that has actually be investigated, it suggested that upwards of 60-70% of those people will end up with better policies at little or no additional costs and sometimes much cheaper.

Let’s look at some of the cases reported so far that I have heard of.

  • A well-known satirical writer from NY who is I would guess in his 30’s, says he went on the exchanges and ended up with a much better policy at a lower cost than he was paying.
  • Three people appeared on Sean Hannity and said they were losing their policies and would have no insurance they could afford because of Obamacare. One later admitted he had simply lied, none of his claims were true. The other two admitted that they had not sought to determine what they could get on the exchanges. When that was done for them, in front of them, based on the information they supplied, both were eligible for plans that were better than they had and at lower cost.
  • One man got a letter from his insurance company saying his plan would be cancelled. He went on the exchanges, and admits he found a better plan at a lower cost, but he is angry because he has the right to pay more for less if he wants to and no government has the right to step in and keep him from being an idiot (okay, he didn’t say the very last part).
  •  CBS News reports The Florida woman who was paying $50 and will have to pay $500? Start with she lives in Florida whose governor and state legislature are controlled by Republicans who have refused to extend Medicaid or set up exchanges. This story was reported on CBS Evening News. The reporter, Jan Crawford, didn’t bother to do any investigation. If she had, she would have learned that the woman in question had what Consumer Reports calls “junk” insurance. The policy doesn’t cover hospitalization of any type. It grants her $50 toward a doctor’s visit, $15  toward her prescriptions, and pays for lab tests. This is not insurance. The company clearly makes money, since nobody sees their doctor once a month or gets lab tests every month. This is similar to “prescription insurance” cards which pay some portion of any prescription you might have to get in the future. If you have a condition with monthly prescription renewals, you surely aren’t going to qualify. They want to make money, not pay it out. Further, with the Florida woman, there is no indication that she has even looked at the federal exchanges. The $500 premium is what is quoted from her “insurance” company for a policy that meets federal standards. With a bit of effort it was determined that this woman might well qualify for a full plan under AHCA at almost exactly what she was paying, but at worst (if her income were substantially higher, she could get a full plan for about $332.00.
  • Red State reported the pregnant woman story. They did not bother telling you the entire story. Again, the woman was paying $98 a month in California for “coverage”, of what we know nothing. Obviously it cannot be for much. It turns out that the woman cannot get subsidies because she and her husband (both lawyers) make in excess of $80,000 per year. Well, I’m terribly sorry but I fail to see why I should be heart-broken if two lawyers can’t afford something a bit more than $98 a month for a junk policy.
  • I can think of at least three other instances of people self-reporting that they got through the exchanges and discovered that they could get more coverage at lower rates than they were paying.

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Anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove much I admit. But most of these examples are from the Right. And they prove to be false.

It turns out that the vast vast majority of self-insured will come out the same, no different or better than they were before. A few percent will pay more we think. Some will be more than able to afford it.

The GOP has made this whole thing worse by its refusal to extend Medicaid in poor red states. And now they cry about the predictable outcome.

Just like they claim that the business is getting a years delay. Except the truth is that 6% of business is getting the delay. Not the other 94%.

It’s all lies, brought to you by those who are desperate to dismantle health care before everyone discovers the truth–it’s good for America. When people have that fact concretely in their brains, they will demand that the GOP stop blocking their right to health care. But the GOP prefers not to help solve the problems that exist, but only try to pretend that such problems will cause the end of America.

So are you hearing different? Let me know.

obamacarezvqstyHUW1qexjbwo1_500

A Typhoon in the Bathtub Only Threatens the Rubber Ducky

rubberduckyExcuse me if I’m a bit confused here.

The GOP has agreed on one thing–to a man and woman they HATE Obamacare. I mean they don’t just think it’s not a good program, they see it, also to a man and woman as the singularly one piece of legislation that will be known historically as the only and complete cause of the demise of the Republic and like a domino, will precipitate the collapse of Western civilization (which is the only one worth discussing of course) as we know it.

They have worked tirelessly since its passage to repeal it, defund it, and/or otherwise make it ineffective. They have sued it, screwed it, and otherwise squeezed it until every bit of blood was drained from its carcass. This they have tried.

They have warned the public that the plug would be pulled on grandma, that death panels would deny their precious precocious preteen the very treatment needed for life, all in the name of communistic commune-style equality. They have said that the doctor you love so much that you never forget her birthday, will be ripped from your arms to be replaced by automatons spitting forth paper check-off symptomatic lists and nurses that cackle in the hallway as you sit drenched in sweat and shivering dressed in your paper suit awaiting the verdict from a committee of cost-cutting psychopaths.

They have, in the guise of their governorships and GOP-controlled state houses, refused to participate in enlarging their own Medicaid rolls, even when guaranteed that for the first three years the Federal government would pick up the entire tab and 90% of the tab thereafter. They have sat with arms crossed and refused to set up exchanges to allow their citizens easier sign-up.

They have threatened the very economy of the entire country rather than give up on their pipe dream of ending this law–all in the name of stopping the vicious damage they have predicted would ensue to Ma and Pa Kettle and all their lil’ childrens across the great American landscape.

Sooooooo.

It strikes me as odd, that when your constant refrain to folks is, by golly gee wiz, doncha dare sign up for that devil-inspired, dripping with communistic red health care plan, that when there are problems, as there always are, with the website and sign-up procedures, you are not jumping for joy at how many people are being saved from the evil law, but rather you are complaining about how difficult it is for people to sign up as if that is evidence that the law is all kinds of bad.

I mean my head is turning around faster than Regan in the Exorcist. Aren’t they glad the sign-up is not working? Instead all I see are properly “horrified” members of Republican rectitude moaning about how this “has got to be fixed” or defunded, or repealed, whichever.

Has there been ONE SINGLE offer of a solution?

Has there been ONE SINGLE offer of an alternative to insure those presently uninsured?

Oh, yeah, I forgot, this is the party of NO. This is the party of destruction. This is the party of no government is good government.

Except where you and my uteruses are concerned. Except where who I sleep with is concerned. Except where who I pray to is concerned. Except to what I learn as science is concerned. Except there. Oh yeah and except where there are enough cheap junk F-18+ how ever many more there are today that still don’t work worth a damn but until there are enough of them to have one in every damn driveway of America–Strength Through Massive Military Might–. Except where it concerns black and brown people and their pesky determination to continue having children and making me sooo uncomfortable that they might not want to the same things I do, so I need to keep them marginalized with voter suppression laws. Have I left anything out?

Now, the President has called once again for the House of Representatives of Big Business to get off their yawning asses and get on with some immigration reform. And the response of  Speaker out of both sides of his mouth, Boehner and his wanna be speaker next, Eric Cantor, has been, why sure we need some of that, cuz as rational? Republicans we know that we gotta placate those brown faces EVENTUALLY or we will never win a damn election again. But the rank and file? Oh my heavens no.

The same crazy that brought you 16+ days of glorious “screw America” can’t wait to bring you more of that sort of crap, because “I can’t stand to even look at your face” and you know that means that we can’t do a thing that would make this BLACK Demon look good. We enjoy cutting off our noses to spite our ugly faces doncha know? Course it ain’t got a thing to do with our fear that we as pasty white dudes are losing control of the reins of power. We are wearing Depends all the time now, cuz we are so scared you will do unto us as we have traditionally done unto you. But you’re being Black? Why that’s irrelevant to our cause, and besides you are only half-black which means something even worse to hear it from the TeaLegions of Crazy.

Which all goes to say, that I am expecting nothing to change.

Did you know these lazy asses have only 19 more days to work for the whole rest of the year?

And I am so very sick and tired of talking points.

And I’m in favor of taking a lottery system and putting everybody’s name in the drum, and drawing out the requisite number of sending them forth to Washington. It could not seriously be worse. I mean can you imagine worse at this point? Don’t you feel rather Italian? Or Greek? Hurrah, we now have governments just as chaotic and worthless as much of Europe. Or truthfully, are we more like China, with only the illusion of government meant to mimic real ones?

I’m going back to bed. At least my dreams involved palm trees, and warm sands and softly brushing waves upon the shore of my sanity.

We Knew That They Would

gawkersYa just knew it would come down to this. Although of course, there just might be a last-minute reprieve that postpones things another few days or weeks.

When you deal with unstable and basically ignorant people, there is little hope of getting through with logic or common sense.

And the TeaBirchers are certainly unstable and certainly ignorant. It’s hard to understand what they are for or against, unless it starts with the letter O, they are against all things O. Once you cross that line, any semblance to a recognizable landscape vanishes and you might as well try to remain upright walking through the fun house.

Many a pundit has concluded that the TeaBirchers are not people who want to govern but rather those who wish to destroy government in general. That’s partially true.

These pundits claim that the TeaBirchers were sent to Washington to say NO to everything that has to do with spending money. Reduce government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub they cry, ala Norquist. Yet, if you ask them (the average idiot who wears the funny tri-corner hat at the rallies) if he or she is ready to dump social security or medicare, well, they are pretty much likely to carry these signs:

Tea-Party-Medicare-signAs I said, these folks are severely lacking in basic knowledge about that of what they speak.

Which always brings us to race, and well, yes, that is a huge part of what’s going on here, but not all.

The thing is most TeaBirchers aren’t against social security and Medicare. They like those things. They feel they should have those things for themselves. But they are very suspicious that nice upstanding, hardworking, bible-clutching, (read WHITE) folks like themselves are but a small number of the people who are getting this “earned benefit”.

It’s all those “other” people who don’t deserve these benefits that cause the trouble. Why, these little programs would be just fine (and hugely smaller) if only the “right” people got the benefits.

Now, of course that is not the way Calgary Ted or Randy actually see things. They are serious elitists, draped in the American flag, and passionately proclaiming that “real Americans” don’t want or need government handouts of any sort. Get old? Your family is responsible for that, and heck, the poor house is still a viable option for those who refuse to work until they drop dead. Work keeps you young! Be just poor? Company towns will make sure there is a roof over your head (of sorts) a few square feet of personal space and all the potatoes and fat back you can eat. Keeps you healthy enough to work on the killing floor of the slaughterhouse no?

Course Ted and Randy keep that “real” agenda on the QT, since the rabble may be dumb, but probably not that dumb.

There are, shockingly, no hordes poised at the gates threatening to storm the Bastille. But you wouldn’t know that to hear Ted or Michele, or any of the rest of the utterly crazy head spinners who grab every microphone within a ten yard radius to tell us that “all the American people know that Obamacare is a disaster, and 30 million people who have healthcare are losing it”, and the death panels are mere seconds from having their first hearing to DENY YOU your dialysis treatment.

You’d really think that there should be crowds picketing the White House no?

Did somebody forget that Obama beat the Romney “we hate Obamacare” machine by a record 51%, a higher margin than any posted since DD Eisenhower? Higher than even Ronnie “the now God” Reagan? Did somebody forget that the Democrats WON seats in the Senate and increased their number while Republicans LOST seats in the 2012 election? Did somebody forget that with having a near strangle hold on almost all of their gerrymandered seats in the House, they managed to lose a net 8 seats to Democrats and lost the popular vote by a 1.4 MILLION vote margin?

Does that suggest that people on average are pretty okay with the Affordable Healthcare Act?

Does the fact that out of the numbers who are “against” Obamacare, fully 30% are against it because it doesn’t go far enough, “i.e., single-payer system). And that those “against” it go down when you use the words Affordable healthcare Act instead of Obamacare?

Does the fact that by a strong majority people don’t think it’s appropriate to defund an existing law or threaten a government shutdown to do what you can’t do at the ballot box, matter?

Funny, when the GOP talking pointers tell me how much “all Americans” know Obamacare is a disaster, they never mention these points.

Funny, they also (with straight faces to a fault) tell me that the President and Harry Reid are unwilling to negotiate. I mean let’s get past the chutzpah of these folks who refuse on principle to compromise on ANYTHING, because it’s a dirty word. First get past that. Then riddle me this brain of a protozoan:

The AHA was passed by both houses of Congress by MAJORITIES, duly signed into law by the PRESIDENT, and found CONSTITUTIONAL by a Court that nobody considers liberal under the most strained definition.

The GOP cannot manage to either win the Presidency, nor the Senate, nor convince Democrats (some of which surely must care about the well-being of the American public before the well-being of their party) to pass in both houses a repeal nor convince the President that he should go along with them.

Failing that, they have said, okay, a minority of us within 1/2 of 1/3 of the government, are willing to burn the place down if we don’t get our way, having figured out no other means to get our way–LIKE VOTES BY THE PUBLIC ELECTING THEM TO CONTROL THE GOVERNMENT.  It’s akin to a robber putting a gun to your head and saying, “your money or your life, and if you refuse to give me your money, well don’t blame me that you are dead.”

They think I’m so stupid that I will blame the hostage rather than the hostage taker.

I am not going to blame the hostage.

Nobody is going to blame the hostage.

Except fellow travelers of the hostage takers. And you had then at hello.

The question left is: JOHN BOEHNER DO YOU HAVE PAIR? EVEN A STRAP ON SET WILL DO AT THIS POINT. You can give ‘em back if it’s too heavy a carry after this  is over. ONCE AND FOR DAMN ALL.

 

Searching for the Gem

Estate saleAre you a junkie?

“Psst, come over here so we can whisper.”

Does your heart go pit-a-pat at the idea of buying other people’s stuff at bargain prices?

Yeah, I know. It’s just too good to pass up.

I like estate sales way more than auctions. I hate to wait for hours for “my” item to come up and then the bidding starts about a kazillion more than I could ever pay in the first place.

Estate sales are neat and tidy. Everything is already marked.

We went yesterday to a great one. Chock full of lawn and garden this and thats. I mean stuffed with planters and statues, chairs and tables. Just stuffed. We bought a bear carved from a log with a welcome sign. That went at the front door, hoping to distract from the lovely? piece of patio stone with the words “The Payton” carefully painted on it, a gift from our handyman. Of course it’s Peyton and not Payton and it should have an ‘s at the end. We must of course show it. We would not be rude.

We also got “Juanita” a two-foot terra-cotta Indian woman with long braids and an ample girth. She’s in the living room hopefully giving off good vibes. Then I splurged on a copper sculpture that is a series of rings mounted on a disk. I guess I should take a picture, but anyway it’s a piece of authentic art produced by a sculptor here in Las Cruces. I also picked up a glorious leather purse on the cheap which is the perfect size.

We are going back today when things are “half price” an ultimately “best offer” to gather up some garden urns and perhaps some wall artwork.

Sequester-Army-KnifeI am so freakin’ tired of the word, and all it entails.

I am so tired of idiots.

Boehner looks more and more the boob as one-trick pony. If he says, “it’s time to get serious about spending cuts,” I may hire a thug to go to DC and beat him to a pulp.

It’s time to get serious about kicking your ass to the curb.

It’s time to get serious about kicking the Tea Bibbers to the curb, permanently.

It’s time to require a basic test to anyone who wants to run for a government office. Prove that you can read. Prove that you can think. Prove that you can count to 100. I don’t know, something. I’ve heard more stupid from people who got people to actually vote for them for some office than I care to remember.

Seriously, my dog could do the job. Seriously, I think he could.

Just-MarriedI really think this is gonna happen.

I mean I really do.

I think the Supreme Court will overturn California’s anti-gay marriage legislation.

About 30 other states have similar ones. They should fall too.

If the Court does invalidate it, hopefully it will be on a denial of equal protection under the law, a constitutional precept. Us constitutional law trumps and any state law or constitutional provision.

Game over.

Then perhaps we can get on with other issues rather than continuing our relentless attempts to punish people who aren’t like us.

The same will probably not be said for the Voting Rights Act and section five. That is probably going to fall. And that is a shame. Instead it ought to be upheld and broadened to cover the entire country. And it ought to prohibit any attempt that tries to disenfranchise any group of people, be their students, the elderly, or ethnic minorities. Voting is our most precious right. We should bend over backwards to make sure than everyone who wants to can. And maybe we should mandate that everyone does.

ObamacareThe GOP assured us that they would NEVER go willingly into the land of Obamacare.

They would kick and scream, they would throw themselves upon grenades if need be.

No never!

But political realities have a way of changing stubborn minds. Fearing that his time in office is limited, Governor Scott of Florida has had a change of heart. Chris Christie saw the logic of the situation as well.

Bobby Jindal has not. Which is a pity, since he counseled that the GOP must stop being the party of stupid. He’s the one of stupid for continuing his hold out. I mean who wants to be in the same camp as Ricky Perry from the grand old state of delusion, Texas? I mean Bobby, you still have New Orleans! You are not in Mississippi or Alabama, fighting for your very IQ life. I mean really Bobby.

whichwayWell it just ain’t about Obamacare though.

It’s about everything these days.

It’s about immigration, and gay rights. It’s about women’s rights. It’s about taxes, and loopholes.

How to rid themselves of TEA! When all the respectable Republicans (assuming they exist) just want a cuppa joe.

Boehner looks sad most of the time.

He must weep a lot at night.

The Tea Bibbers on the other hand, are all gleeful. They are too stupid to know any better.

I tell ya, it is so unfair to elephants to have them embarrassed this way in association with jackasses. I mean is that an irony or what?

We’re hitting around 70 degrees here today. I mean that is enough to make a heart sing is it not?

brave-but-dumb