ObamaCare critics Cherry-Pick facts to demonize healthcare program

We know that the Affordable Care Act run through the HealthCare.gov site has problems. After all, the critics of ObamaCare keep reminding us of every glitch, every problem—hammering us every day with cherry-picked facts, but I suspected they weren’t telling the whole story. 

So I asked: What about the State-based sites? Quote: “States can create and operate their own marketplace or a hybrid called a State Partnership Marketplace in which the state runs certain functions.”

Through Google I found a piece at TalkingPointsMemo.com that said, “How Kentucky Built the Country’s Best Obamacare Website.”

“Kentucky did it right,” Talking Points reported. “The state’s online health insurance marketplace has become Obamacare’s city on a hill while HealthCare.gov has been flummoxed by a month of glitches and bad press. Whatever the federal website seems to have failed to do to ensure its success on the Oct. 1 launch, Kentucky did.”

In Kentucky, Talking Points said more than 26,000 people enrolled in coverage and 50,000 more have started the application process. The Talking Points piece was dated October 28, 2013.

Kentucky’s success led me to ask myself this question: How many people have signed up through other state-run sites so far?

And of course—as you may have already guessed—it took a few seconds using Google to discover an answer to that question and I found it through the Christian Science Monitor that reported: “The 11 states that run their own websites and have given progress reports account for about 30 percent of America’s population, but 75 percent of total enrollments during the first month of Obamacare exchanges. … All 11 state-run exchanges had at least 1,000 enrollees, led by California at 35,364. By contrast, of the 36 states using HealthCare.gov, 27 had fewer than 1,000 enrollees.”

And Health Care.gov—the federal site—has a page that links to the state sites. So why bother with the federal run site when you can sign up through a state site—that is if you live in one of the few states that supports healthcare for all—that probably works better? Too bad if you live in a state run by conservatives who may not care if you rot or not.

Maybe the feds should ask Kentucky for help to fix the federal healthcare site. Even though I don’t need to get health insurance through an exchange because my health care provider is the Veterans Administration, I visited to make sure I could read California’s site; it worked, and my wife has been signing up there. She has complained it’s going to cost her about $100 more than her old plan but conceded the health care offered will be much better. The last time she had a physical under her current $400 a month plan, she says it cost her $4,000an annual physical through the new plan will cost nothing.

However, for every success story, we may also find a failure and Oregon provides another example of that. So far, Oregon’s insurance exchange site failed to enroll a single subscriber and had to ask thousands to apply on paper while—next door—California’s insurance exchange signed up 31,000 people in an Affordable Care Act plan in October and added 29,000 more the first 12 days of November. Source: Yahoo.com

One thing for sure, we will never hear the success stories from the critics of ObamaCare because they cherry pick the facts. They want ObamaCare to fail—without giving the program a chance—just like Rush Limbaugh said on his conservative radio talk show back in 2009 when he wanted Obama to fail after Obama was elected President and before he even took the oath of office and had a chance to do anything as president.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

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Who is [really] responsible for the U.S. federal government shutdown?

Before I say anything on this issue, I want to make it clear that I have no bias or interest in Obamacare. My medical provider is the VA, and because of my age, I also qualify for Medicare if I wanted to leave the VA medical system. No matter what happens to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I will still have healthcare.

The easy answer to the title of this post came from Calvin Woodward and Jennifer Agiesta writing for the Associated Press, but to discover what it meant in more detail I had to do some fact gathering.

Woodard and Agiesta said, “More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation’s debt in coming weeks.”

There it is—the answer to who is really responsible for the shutdown.

A Pew research poll in 2012 found that about 35% of registered voters are Democrats, 28% Republicans and 33% are Independents.  I’m one of the Independents. I can’t stand either party so I refuse to register with either one.

That means 11.2% of registered Republican voters are in control of the shutdown due to what they think is true about the national health care program known as Obamacare that has been plagued from the beginning with claims, rumors, lies and exaggerations.

If we crunch the numbers, we soon discover that there are more registered voters than the number of people who vote.

In 2012, the US Census reported that there were 206,072,000 Americans eligible to vote, but 146,311,000 were registered and 131,144,000 voted in the 2008 Presidential election.

That means about 16.3 million Americans are yanking the rest of us around because they want it all their way based on faulty, mostly misleading information. Subtract 16.3 million from the total population of the United States and you get a better idea of how small this group is.

Obamacare may not be the best national healthcare program for some Americans [since Americans that already have health care can just keep the same health care plan and change nothing], but I’m also sure this national health care program will not destroy America.

Meanwhile five-percent of the U.S. population is making sure the shutdown continues by using blackmail against the leaders of the Republican Party. This blackmail works because the leaders of the GOP fear losing too many votes in the next election.

And the GOP is counting on the short attention spans and worse memories of most Americans—the independents like me who vote—to have forgotten all about who was responsible for this shutdown by the next Congressional elections in 2014—more than a year away.

So, how about a summary profile of those 16.3 million Americans responsible for the pressure that led to the federal government shutdown.

“The Tea Party movement is best understood as a new cultural expression of the late-20th century Republican Party,” said Steven J. Tepper, associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt and associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at the university. “Compared to the Republican Party, Tea Party supporters are more likely to support libertarian principles.  But virtually every other characteristic of Tea Party supporters – from demographics to political and social attitudes – matches the profile of Republican supporters.” Source: Vanderbilt.edu

In addition, A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that Tea Party supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues. And they draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants.

Conclusion, a few Americans think they have the right to dictate how the rest of us should live. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” and “It is the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

The Founding Fathers of the United States despised democracy. In the beginning and for more than a century the United States was not a democracy—it was a republic ruled by a political system known as a plutocracy. But in the early 20th century, changes in voting laws and the structure of the U.S. Senate turned the United States into a democracy from the plutocracy the Founding Fathers created.

Do you think the tea-party movement should be the tail that wags today’s American democracy?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

The Need for Health Care Reform

All it takes is nine minutes of your time to watch this video as a way to understand why we need healthcare reform in the US.  We cannot return to the way things were in 2007-2008 as Mitt Romney says he will do if elected president. Romney has pledged he will repeal Obamacare if elected.  What does that mean?

“The percentage of people without health insurance in America in 2008 was not statistically different from 2007 at 15.4 percent. The number of uninsured increased to 46.3 million in 2008, from 45.7 million in 2007.

“The number of people with health insurance increased to 255.1 million in 2008—up from 253.4 million in 2007. The number of people covered by private health insurance decreased to 201.0 million in 2008—down from 202.0 million in 2007. The number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 87.4 million—up from 83.0 million in 2007

“The percentage of people covered by private health insurance was 66.7 percent in 2008—down from 67.5 percent in 2007 (Figure 7). The percentage of people covered by employment-based health insurance decreased to 58.5 percent in 2008, from 59.3 percent in 2007. The number of people covered by employment-based health insurance decreased to 176.3 million in 2008, from 177.4 million in 2007.” Source: Census.gov

Someone has to pay. For those without health care or those with health care that are denied care that may save a life, some will pay through death. But, if you are one of the top 5% of rich Americans, this is something you do not have to worry about. Mitt Romney’s net worth is estimated at $250 million. He doesn’t need health care reform or even health care insurance. He can pay cash for any health care he or his family needs. What about you?

Health Care.gov says, “As many as 82 million Americans with employer-based coverage have a pre-existing condition, ranging from life-threatening illnesses like cancer to chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease.

“A pre-existing condition is a health condition that exists before someone applies for or enrolls in a new health insurance policy. Insurers generally define what constitutes a pre-existing condition. Some are obvious, like currently having heart disease or cancer. Others are less so – such has having asthma or high blood pressure. While insurers generally determine the presence of a pre-existing condition based on an applicant’s current health status, sometimes a healthy applicant can be deemed to have a pre-existing condition based on a past health problem or evidence of treatment for a particular condition.

“One in Two Americans Has a Pre-Existing Condition … and Up to 86 Percent of Older Americans Have a Pre-Existing Condition.”

As for me, my health care provider is the Veterans Administration (VA), because I served in the US Marines, fought in Vietnam and returned home from the war with a service rated disability. However, less than 7% of all Americans are eligible for health care through the VA.

So, for me it doesn’t matter if America has Obamacare or not, but I am thinking of those I love: my wife and children who have to rely on the private sector and could be denied health care by an insurance company. If that happened, I would have to watch them suffer and maybe die when they didn’t have to. That is one BIG reason why I will not vote for Mitt Romney.

In fact, the VA medical system is a socialist program, and we who served paid for it by risking our lives and health to fight for our country.

Discover  Sick of Motor-Mouth Politicians  and learn why it is important to vote.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Manipulating Opinions by Leaving out Facts – see how it is done

An old conservative friend sent me a link to a post on a popular Blog. The post was about U.S. Health Care Waste Larger Than Pentagon Budget.

In this post, Walter Russell Mead’s Blog said, “It’s not exactly earth-shaking news that there’s a lot of waste in the U.S. health care system, but this item we came across still managed to stagger us: A report by the Institute of Medicine estimates that as much as $750 billion is wasted in the U.S. health care system each year.”

Mead’s Blog was correct. This news isn’t new. However, it’s how his Blog ends the short post that misleads:

“Obamacare doesn’t seem to do much to solve any of these problems.”

Both of these statements are correct, but it’s what’s missing that creates a bias and ignores the truth. The implied conclusion is misleading for the following reasons:

No President and/or Congress have successfully solved these problems in the U.S. health care system—ever.

However, that isn’t entirely true. During President Clinton’s second term in office, he was responsible for overhauling the Veteran Administration’s health care system turning it into a model of efficiency, and the VA medical system now serves more patients, thanks to World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan, because the VA is allowed to negotiate prices with the drug industry in addition to a computerized medical system that tracks the health care of every patient with safeguards built in to help avoid making mistakes. The VA is my medical provider and I have no complaints.

In fact, recently, the VA found several polyps in my colon during a colonoscopy that Kaiser Permanente (my health care provider when I was still teaching) missed several years earlier. The VA removed them and possibly saved my life because they had not become cancerous yet.

Of the 24.3 million veterans alive at the start of 2006, nearly three-quarters served during a war or an official period of conflict. About a quarter of the nation’s population, approximately 63 million people, are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans.

Since Clinton did do something as president to fix one sector of the American health care system, to avoid misleading readers, I should have said, “No Republican president has accomplished anything to fix this mess. However, Democratic presidents have succeeded three times.”

Back to the U.S. Health Care system and its wasteful spending.

The reason for the waste in health care has nothing to do with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA: popularly known as Obamacare).

However, the waste in health care has everything to do with lawyers, doctors, hospitals, and the drug industry that has spent billions blocking any attempt to reform the system. If these industries saw the PPACA as a threat, national health care would have failed as it has before.

It may surprise many that the earliest health care proposal at the federal level was in 1854.  Both houses of congress passed this bill but President Franklin Pierce vetoed it. The next attempt was by Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, but the American Medical Association (AMA) did not approve and there wasn’t enough public support, so it failed.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried again in 1933, the AMA attacked and succeeded in blocking this proposal. Then in 1965, with public support, President Lyndon Johnson established Medicare to provide health insurance to people age 65 or who meet other special criteria. (Note: Medicare has been under attack since it was established and its critics may be responsible for the financial mess Medicare is facing today–if you cannot destroy it one way, bankrupt it.)

In 1974, President Richard Nixon called for comprehensive health insurance for the nation in his State of the Union address. Nixon’a plan would have mandated employers to purchase health insurance for their employees.  Nixon, a Republican, also failed.

Then in 1994, President Bill Clinton attempted to enact a national health care plan but failed just as everyone else before him did.

However, that wasn’t the last attempt. President G. W. Bush, in 2001, supported a patient’s bill of rights but the AMA and the pharmaceutical industry came out against that congressional health bill.  In 2004, both the Bush and Kerry campaigns again offered health care proposals, and during Bush’s second term, there were two more attempts (one in 2007 and one in 2008) in congress to pass health care reform. Both failed.

From 1998 – 2010, the health care sector spent $4,222,427,808 lobbying to block reforms to the health care system and lobbyists donate money to both Democrats and Republicans.

1. Formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), this group of plaintiffs’ attorneys and others in the legal profession now goes by the name of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and boasts 56,000 members worldwide. A lobbying heavyweight, the association has been battling any attempt at tort reform, including recent proposals to cap awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The sector total for Lawyers and Lobbyists for 2011-2012: $156,747,409 — 65.3% went to Democrats Party and 30.2% to Republicans

2. Critics of the American Medical Association, including economist Milton Friedman, have asserted that the organization acts as a guild and has attempted to increase physicians’ wages and fees by influencing limitations on the supply of physicians and non-physician competition. Profession and Monopoly, a book published in 1975, is critical of the AMA for limiting the supply of physicians and inflating the cost of medical care in the United States.

3. The American Hospital Association represents 37,000 individual members at more than 5,000 hospitals and health care systems. With one-third of the nation’s hospitals in the red, the association’s primary focus is lobbying against any reductions in Medicare payments.

Total spent on health care lobbying in 2011-2012: $147,136,594 — 35.7% went to Democrats and 43.2% went to Republicans

4. The pharmaceutical and health products industry includes not only drug manufacturers but also dealers of medical products and nutritional and dietary supplements — is consistently one of the top industries for federal campaign contributions. Annual Lobbying by the Pharmaceuticals/Health Products industry for 2011: $241,481,544.

Top Recipients, 2011 – 2012 – Barack Obama: $785,385, and Mitt Romney: $622,986

STOP! You may have noticed that President Obama (D) received more money this year than Romney (R).  However, when we look at 2004, campaign contributions from this industry to President G. W. Bush (R) were $1,125.915 while John Kerry received $684,423 (D).  What does this tell us?  That lobbyists may donate more to the candidate they expect to win and Bush was already president.

Average Contribution to Members of Congress in 2010:

1. House Democrats: $27.1 thousand
2. House Republicans: $30.62 thousand

3. Senate Democrats: $103.67 thousand
4. Senate Republicans: $79.69 thousand

Source: Open Secrets.org

Is it possible that Walter Russell Mead’s Blog has a political agenda of its own?

A proper conclusion to U.S. Health Care Waste Larger Than Pentagon Budget might have said, “Both Democrats and Republicans have done little to nothing to solve the waste in America’s health care system, because the health care industry owns too many politicians on both sides from presidents to members of Congress.”

You may remember this claim by Mead’s Blog: “Obamacare doesn’t seem to do much to solve any of these problems.” This is also misleading.

CNBC reported, “Health-care fraud is an $80 billion-a-year national epidemic, with some estimates at twice that much. President Obama’s signature piece of legislation is providing the blueprint for the government’s war against this fraud. The little-known provision in the bill provided an additional $350 million in anti-fraud funding, coordinated an unprecedented partnership among law enforcement agencies, and created real-time fraud prevention systems.”

Is it working? To answer that question, CNBC said, “In fiscal year 2011, a record $4.1 billion in taxpayer money was recovered by authorities, according to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.”

You may be thinking, fraud and waste have two different meanings. However, when has a Republican president or GOP dominated Congress ever done anything constructive to deal with one or both? Instead, the GOP wants smaller government and more freedom in the private business sector to do whatever it takes to make profits even if that means turning a blind eye to waste and fraud.

Now, I am going full circle back to that old friend that keeps sending me links to Blog posts similar to Walter Russell Mead’s Blog.  I’ve known this guy since I was a kid—more than fifty years. He wasn’t always a born-again fundamentalist evangelical Christian with far-right conservative libertarian political beliefs.

However, now that he is, I’ve complained to him in e-mails about the biased, misleading crap he keeps sending me links to. I’ve probably deleted and ignored more than I’ve been tempted to open and read.

Aside from a few funny photographs and jokes that were not religious or political in nature, most of this stuff turns out to be the same as what I’m writing about in this Post. This old friend seems deaf, dumb and blind to the misleading bias he keeps sending me.

I’ve threatened to SPAM his e-mail address but that hasn’t stopped him. I have accused him of being brainwashed. I’ve insulted him as ignorant or stupid, etc.  Nothing seems stop him. Maybe it’s time that I follow through with my threat and activate the SPAM filter to stop this endless garbage of propaganda that is biased and is misleading a nation.

Discover Another Sky-is-Falling Guru

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”