Let’s Discuss “Medicare For All”

People on both sides of the political isle are making a big deal out of the sudden Democratic support for Bernie Sander’s annual “Medicare for All” bill.
This is something he has proposed almost every year since he’s been in Congress. This is the first year the party is showing support for it.
First let’s look at this bill from the Democrat’s perspective:
Nobody in the party expects this bill to pass through a Republican majority in both the Senate and the House to reach the Oval Office for signature by a Republican President.
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For Democrats, this current bill’s only purposes are to force Democrats to decide if they’re going to align themselves for the 2018 midterms with the populist progressive base that rose up within their party last year or that entrenched corporatism of the health care lobbyists and their deep donor pockets.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Warren, Booker and others are aligning with Sanders, while Pelosi and her camp are still for maintaining the ACA as is instead of using it as a launch pad to something even better. Even Clinton, today, came out against the Medicare for All bill, and Sanders who introduced it..
The folks at Fight For Healthcare are even keeping a running list of which Democrats have supported the bill and which have not along with the tagline:
“If your senator isn’t supporting medicare for all, call & ask them “Why not?”
But for anyone that’s been following along with the political climate for the last few years, there should be few if any surprises on that list.

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For the Republicans, this is a perfect opportunity to continue the intentional conflation of socialized medicine with Socialism.  It will serve as their own rally cry for 2018, as they scream:
“How can we afford it?”
“Who’s going to pay for it?”
“Where’s the money going to come from?”
“Not my taxes!”
But this is nothing new either, we already have decades of proof from the Nixon era on, but especially since the advent of “Reaganomics.” that the price tag for compassion is far to steep for Republicans to tolerate.
So let’s take a moment to answer those questions, because the Democrats, including Sanders don’t seem to be doing a great job of doing so in a coherent and meaningful manner.
From a fiscally conservative standpoint, how can we afford not to?
If the populace had access to Medicare for All for fundamental care, it would immediately eliminate the need for ACA subsidies for health insurance assistance, all of which could be instantly diverted to this pool of money as well.
It would lower the cost of actual health care through nationally negotiated single payer rates.
It would eliminate the necessity for mandatory insurance penalty taxes from the ACA.
It would eliminate the need for employers to carry insurance plans for their employees, as well as the necessity to pay the employer portion of the premiums for those plans.  This would allow them to free up money to pay higher wages or hire more workers, both of which boost the economy.
It would eliminate the need for employees to pay exorbitant health care premiums for care they can’t afford to use anyway because of the massive deductibles.    This would in essence give a net income raise to all of our citizens as their disposable income would greatly increase each month as a result.   Thus making a living minimum wage, a lower requirement for employers to shoulder.   Consider how significant a portion health care and health care insurance play in the current cost of living in our nation.
That release of corporate obligation in health care would also free employers over any concern due to religious objection as to what care is available to their employees.
It would also allow for the closure of quite a few corporate welfare tax loopholes over health care expenses.   The proceeds from which could be diverted into the funds for Medicare for All instead of back to the corporations.
It would eliminate the requirement for “in network” insurance limitations and confusing variable fees for the populace.
It would make insurance valid anywhere in the United States without having to absorb those out of network fees.  Thus making the workforce more open to relocation and travel as well as making leisure travel more likely for people have avoid it for due to concerns over availability of care.
It would lead to people pursing the use of more preventative care to avoid illness instead of focusing on reactive care only after they become ill.   This will mean that employees will require less sick days and health will be less of a factor in creating non-productivity due to untreated chronic illness at work.

The availability of preventative care for all would greatly lower the risk pool for more expensive medical needs.

It wouldn’t take a significant new additional Medicare tax on income for people and/or businesses to cover it, and that new would be more than offset by both the individual savings of the people and their employers.
Finally, it wouldn’t even end the Insurance business as many will ask you to believe.
Even now, those on Medicare can pursue additional supplemental insurance for elective procedures and other issues.   There is no reason those options will not continue, and continue to be quite lucrative for the companies that offer them.
  • A healthier populace.
  • Increase in Net Income for everyone (for many the difference between poverty and middle class) as a result of lifting insurance costs
  • Increase in corporate profits for all businesses already carrying health insurance for their staff for the same reasons, leading to more profits, the ability to hire more or pay more, as well as increase marketing and reinvestment in the company
  • Economic boost from businesses investing more and populace with more disposable income.
  • Removal of insurance as a middle man to prevent care, so insurance can become a supplement for add-on and elective services.

 

How can we honestly accept that not moving to Universal Health Care is the fiscally conservative option?

Finally, there is the wild card in this entire political battle over health care.

 

 

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While Trump campaigned heavily on ending the Affordable Care Act — that dreaded ‘Obamacare’ — but he also mentioned more than once the promise that he’d improve health care and get everyone covered with better care.
If the bill does make it to his desk, I give it a better than 50-50 chance that he signs it, because doing so allows him to claim he ended ‘Obamacare,’ while also punishing all those Republicans who have openly disparaged him throughout his campaign and presidency.
It will play right into his narrative of being an outsider.
And the change will directly benefit every one of his own personal business interests.

Drain The Swamp

It wasn’t so long ago, that the Republican president was screaming about fixing the issues with foreign collusion, pay-to-play access, cover-ups, and bribery.

He claimed he would be the one to end all of that.

 

 

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that if he drained a swamp, he pumped all that sludge and even a few creatures from that black lagoon right into the White House offices.

Just so we’re clear on the sequence of events over the last two days:

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates just pledged $100 million to Ivanka Trump’s fund for women entrepreneurs.

 

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In return Saudi Arabia received a $110B arms deal from the United States, and they get to purchase — through the Blackstone Group —  a significant ownership of the infrastructure work Trump promised his voters during his campaign, which will mostly involve toll roads and other services that American citizens will have to pay to use, on top of paying their taxes to support and supposedly fund.

 

 

 

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So the Trump’s family gets a massive personal payout, Saudi Arabia gets a tremendous amount of weapons while not addressing any of their long list of Human Rights violations, and they receive control over a substantial segment of American infrastructure system.

Robert Reich has some raised some additional concerns specifically about that last point:

 

 

“Saudi Arabia just joined the parade of investors into U.S. public works by pledging a record $20 billion investment with Blackstone Group’s new infrastructure fund.
It’s the latest push around the world by large investors to buy up U.S. airports, roads, bridges, water systems, and other public projects.
Rather than taxing the wealthy and then using the money to fix our dangerously outdated infrastructure, the states and the federal government increasingly are giving rich investors tax credits to encourage them to do it.
The investors then charge tolls and user fees, and earn big profits.
So the public pays twice – once when we subsidize the investors with our tax dollars, and then again when we pay the tolls and user fees that also go into their pockets.
We don’t even get the infrastructure that’s most needed. Projects most attractive to investors are those whose tolls and fees bring in the biggest bucks – giant mega-projects like major new throughways and new bridges.
Not the thousands of smaller bridges, airports, pipes, and water treatment facilities most in need of repair. Not the needs of rural communities and smaller cities and towns too small to generate the tolls and other user fees equity investors want. Not clean energy.
To really make America great again we need more and better infrastructure that’s for the public – not for big developers and investors. And the only way we get that is if corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.”

Leadership 101

To be a great leader, you do not need to be able to do everything or even know everything. But you do need to know enough about yourself to recognize your strengths, admit your weaknesses, and both understand and acknowledge what you do not know.

If you are capable of that you can assemble a team that compensates for your weaknesses and compliments your strengths.

Unfortunately if you are not capable of that, such a team won’t put up with your inability to lead competently; good people will quit, while the best will never accept the job with you. Then the only people you’ll be left with, that are willing to work for you, are a team of people who either can’t get other work elsewhere or are willing to be sycophants feeding your ego enough to convince you that you’re a good leader while everything around you falls to pieces.

The Republican president is not a good leader, because he thinks he knows more than everyone else, he thinks he can do every job better than every one else. And as this synopsis of a single day of his presidency shows, he is completely and utterly wrong about both of those things. He is also incapable of admitting a mistake, and more importantly incapable of learning from it.

He has already assembled his team of incompetent sycophants, and we’re all watching everything around him fall to pieces. The only one that doesn’t see it — including his supporters — is he, himself. His narcissistic delusions of grandeur shield him from any version of truth and reality.

Farewell; Welcome; Thank You Both

 

Yes, that is right.

Thank you to both Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Those of you that have been following this blog or the Facebook discussion page for any length of time might find the latter inclusion confusing.

Thank you Mr. Obama for modeling who we are capable of becoming and what we are capable of accomplishing.    Thank you Mr. Trump for proving who we still are and how far we have yet to go.

Last night, President Barack Obama offered his “farewell address” although it was much more a State of the Union address than a farewell.    While he is leaving the office of the Presidency, it is clear he is not leaving the political arena and will remain active striving for progressive change in our nation.

So, in light of your absolutely incredible amount of progressive reform and accomplishments as President over the last eight years despite a congressional opposition dedicated to obstructing his every action even when doing so would be detrimental to their own constituents of voters, Thank you, good sir.

While I do not agree with everything you have done, I approve and appreciate the majority of it.   You have been one of the most successful Presidents our country has ever elected.

Here is a list of hundreds of President Obama’s accomplishments as President. Every one of them has a citation, so no one can dismiss them out of hand.

As part of his closing, President Obama said,

“I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.”

I would like to take the opportunity to respond:

Thank you, sir, for your service, offered at all times with grace and dignity far above and beyond our highest expectations, and despite the overt racism directed at both you and your family.   You lead by example and modeled the behavior and ideals we should all hold dear in this nation.  
I deeply regret that as citizens we have failed you, as far too many of us strayed from the path you laid out for us and refused to learn from your example.

Having said that, I’d like to shift now to offering my thanks and undying gratitude to President-Elect Donald Trump as he prepares to assume the responsibilities and duties of the office of the President of the United States.

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for opening our eyes and launching what history will recognize hopefully as the Second Civil Rights Movement of the United States, and not the Second American Civil War or World War III.

Until your campaign, many people actually thought we were living in a post-racial, religiously tolerant, gender equal society. with only some odd, old, hold-out fringe elements still causing some friction.

Now thanks to your campaign we know beyond a doubt that there is still far too much to be done and no time to waste.

The use of dog whistle rhetoric throughout the campaign cycle calling out to the White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, Sovereign Citizens, and just plain willfully ignorant that were hiding among us, showed us that despite our reform efforts racism and bigotry still thrive hidden just below the surface in the hearts and minds of far too many.

As a result of your Anti-Muslim rhetoric and embrace of legalized religious intolerance and discrimination of non-Christians which have stoked a marked increase of violent hate crimes, we now know that no amount of social justice reform or new laws will have any lasting affect upon our society until the laws created are enforced fairly and equally in a manner that doesn’t provide the illusion of a progress that is not enforced in reality.

Your classless and distasteful public mockery of Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Serge F. Kovaleski‘s physical disability, shows we must prepare for the fact that those with a physical or mental disability will be at greater risk under your administration from discriminatory policies, public abuse, disregard, and disenfranchisement than at any point in my lifetime.

The abundant history of your misogyny as well as the more recent ones from you throughout the last year and a half have proven that gender equality is still far from being achieved or even desired, especially in the eyes of the Republican party leadership and members.  In fact, we now know our next President is not only an advocate of the American rape culture but an active participant thanks to your recorded confession of workplace sexual assault.

Your assertion in that recorded confession that:

“When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”

And:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”

have shown that Affluenza is not a buzzword, but a real affliction that we must strive to eradicate if equality of justice is ever to be an attainable goal.

Your call to Russian hackers to directly attack your own political rivals and embrace of their actions once done shows how vulnerable our election process is to outside foreign influence.

The pandering throughout your campaign to the “alt-right” agenda of racism and white nationalism and Neo-Nazi beliefs, your constant propagation of their messages and fabricated fake news stories through social media, speeches and interviews, and your appointment of one of their media leaders, Steve Bannon, to your transition team and White House administration have clearly exposed how dangerously widespread and prevalent subversive racism really still is in our society.

The win you achieved through the Electoral College, despite having lost the election by a greater margin of votes than any President in history, has exposed the inherent flaws and deeply entrenched racism within the system that we had been led to believe was designed to prevent a candidate like you from ascending to the Presidency.  Thank you for exposing these flaws and showing us what needs to be addressed to start adjusting the allocation so that people of color aren’t discredited as 3/5 of a vote in future elections.

I also need to thank you for demonstrating to everyone that civility, decorum, and human decency are qualities reviled by a significant segment of our population.   For teaching our young children that the path to success, fame, fortune, and power is best achieved through lies, deceit, manipulation, belligerence, personal attacks, greed, selfishness, and the emotional fortitude of an elementary school bully.

Thank you for showing us just how fragile the small level of democracy in our Democratic Republic truly is and for galvanizing us to begin fixing these flaws that too many were not even aware were there.

So finally, to close and recap, Thank you President Obama for using your time in office to show us who we can and should be — and thank you, President Elect Trump for holding up the mirror and showing us who we still are and what is really left to be done.

Now it is time to get started.

By exposing all of this to those that believed we had actually made progress on many of these issues over the last half century,  Mr. Trump may have unwittingly and inadvertently done more for the civil rights of America before even being sworn in as president than any single person since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr died.

It is time for us to answer President Obama’s farewell request — that we believe in our ability to change.  And utilize it.

Don’t wait.  Start now.  Today.

Rally.  Protest.  Call and write your governmental representatives.  Get everyone who is eligible registered and eager to VOTE.  Be informed.  Be involved.  Donate to or help campaign for candidates that support your values and represent your concerns on the issues at hand.  Cast a ballot on every issue and for every office at ever opportunity for each city, county, state, and national level.

 

Eliminating The Check and Balance System of Government

“As a matter of constitutional law, the Senate is fully within its powers to let the Supreme Court die out, literally,” wrote the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro in a column Wednesday titled “The Senate Should Refuse To Confirm All Of Hillary Clinton’s Judicial Nominees” on The Federalist.

This article explains that Shapiro is well-versed in constitutional issues, and his argument has a legal, if contorted, basis. Nothing in the Constitution explicitly stands in the way of senators who would be willing to destroy the nation’s highest court ― if not an entire branch of the federal government ― to stop Clinton from selecting judges who share her views.

Both Senators John McCain (http://huff.to/2faKvWY) and Ted Cruz (http://on.msnbc.com/2eTQ48u) have announced that they both intend to indefinitely continue blocking any judge proposed by President Obama or Hillary Clinton if elected.

Considering the Republican Party’s dogged refusal to negotiate or compromise on most issues over the last eight years and their nearly unwavering dedication to obstruction even when doing so is detrimental to their own constituents, it really isn’t a difficult leap to think that they’d actually be willing to kill off the one branch of our three branches of government that has the authority to declare the laws they are attempting to create (such as the religious right to discriminate and voter obstruction laws) are actually unconstitutional.

So the questions I have for you are these:

If the Supreme Court is allowed to die by attrition, what is the impact on our national political structure with the loss of the three way check and balance system between the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches

Is it a transition our society and/or economy could survive?

Does the willingness of one party to hold hostage and threaten to destroy a fundamental core piece of our governmental structure influence the way you had intended to vote on either the Presidential or down ballot options?