Tag Archives: Obamacare

Republicans REALLY Don’t Want the Poor to Have Health Insurance

Poor No Health Insurance

The Republicans haven’t won the fight to kill off Obamacare (yet…) but they have managed to keep millions of Americans from getting health insurance.

Approximately 8 million Americans living in Republican-controlled states will not get health-care coverage under Obamacare because their states have refused to participate in expansion of Medicaid. 26 states have opted out of the federally funded expansion, including every state in the Deep South (minus Arkansas!).

Under Obamacare, all Americans are required to purchase health insurance. For lower and middle-income earners, there are federal subsidies on the new health exchanges to help them afford insurance. The Medicaid expansion, however, was meant to cover the poorest Americans, especially the working poor. So it’s pretty ironic stupid that the states with the highest concentrations of poverty have rejected the expansion.

And who exactly is on the losing side of the Medicaid expansion opt-out? Rich, white plantation owners! No, it’s obviously of low-income blacks and single mothers. The New York Times analysis of census data revealed that two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance are being left without health coverage because their state opted out.

“The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion — many of them Southern — are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute,” said Dr. H. Jack Geiger, a founder of the community health center model. “It is their populations that have the highest burden of illness and costs to the entire health care system.”

These 8 million Obamacare castaways basically have three options:

  1. Boost their income so they can qualify for federal subsidies on the new health exchanges that launched on Tuesday
  2. Become SUPER poor so they can qualify for Medicaid in its current form (and I’m talking $11 a day poor)
  3. Maintain their uninsured status and pray they don’t get hit by a car

All great options, but Option C seems the most plausible. But on the plus side, at least they don’t have to worry about getting raped by the Uncle Sam/Burger King hybrid!

Via: The New York Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Obamacare

Current EVent Cat - Obamacare

Despite Senator Ted Cruz’s best attempt to undermine healthcare reform and that whole “government shutdown situation”, Obamacare went live on Tuesday – glitches and all.

The Affordable Care Act, lovingly referred to as Obamacare, had a bit of a glitchy first day. As enrollment opened for those seeking affordable health care, many people quickly encountered technological problems that prevented them from getting rates, comparing health plans, or signing up. Around 2.8 million Americans visited Healthcare.gov to sign up for Obamacare, causing so much traffic that the website kept going down. In addition, 81,000 not-so-tech-savvy Americans dialed into the help center. On the plus side, it looks like America has quite a healthy appetite for Obamacare.

As the healthcare program launched, President Obama said the opportunity would be “life changing” for as many as seven million Americans who do not already have health insurance.

Tens of thousands of Americans die each year just because they don’t have health insurance,” Obama said, standing in front of a group signing up on the new online health insurance exchanges.

“Millions more live with the fear that they’ll go broke if they get sick. And today, we begin to free millions of our fellow Americans from that fear.”

As for the glitches, Obama pointed to the high demand for health coverage that “exceeds anything that we had expected.”

“We found out that there have been times this morning where the site has been running more slowly than it normally will.”

“The reason is because more than one million people visited healthcare.gov before 7:00 in the morning,” the President explained.

Despite the already high enrollment for Obamacare, the Republicans still won’t back down.  After trying to defund, delay and eliminate portions of the health care law, they’ve now taken to blaming the Democrats for the shutdown, insisting they are unwilling to give in to their demands.

But while the Republicans are busy blaming others for the shutdown, Generation Opportunity, a Koch Foundation-funded anti-Obamacare group, is helping them out by trying to discourage young healthy Americans from signing up for Obamacare.

With intelligent, not at all creepy ads such as this one (below), it’s only a matter of time before everyone opts out of health care insurance… or gets raped by an Uncle Sam/Burger King hybrid.

Via: New York Times & Current Event Cats

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Actual Government Shutdown

Current EVent Cat - Government Shutdown

Well, now they’ve done it. For the first time in 17 years, the US government shutdown, going from doing basically nothing to doing literally nothing.

The shutdown happened Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. when, after a lot of back and forth, Congress failed to pass a temporary spending bill to continue funding government services.

The Office of Management and Budget began preparations for the shutdown and issued orders shortly before the midnight deadline that “agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations” because the two houses of Congress failed to agree on a new budget. More than 800,000 federal employees now face unpaid leave with no guarantee that they will receive back pay once the shutdown is over. But on the bright side, at least Congress won’t be paid either! Oh wait…. yes they will. Apparently they are considered an “essential function of the government.” Oh the irony…

The economy will also feel a hit from the shutdown. The dollar fell on Tuesday and it is estimated that a three-week shutdown could shave as much as 0.9% from US GDP this quarter. In addition, national parks, museums, federal buildings and government services have been shut down indefinitely. Basically it’s a bad week to be a tourist in the US. Or a space nerd – because NASA is gone too.

Despite not being able to break their bitter budget standoff, Republicans and Democrats do agree on one thing: it’s 100% the other’s fault.

Even though the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare, aka the downfall of the American way of life for reasons no one can clearly explain) was passed fair and square four years ago, was upheld by the Supreme Court and was part of Obama’s reelection platform, Republicans still think the whole thing is unfair and are appalled that the Democrats are unwilling to negotiate with them. I mean, they’re willing to negotiate with IRAN and not Republicans? Actually, I guess that says something about Republicans…

House Speaker John A. Boehner spoke with Obama as the midnight deadline approached and it did not go well. Boehner summed up Obama’s remarks as: “I’m not going to negotiate. I’m not going to negotiate.”

And what do the Democrats think?

They’ve lost their minds,” Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader,  said, before throwing out another House bill that removed Obamacare. “They keep trying to do the same thing over and over again.”

President Obama was equally frustrated. Shortly after midnight, Obama tweeted: “They actually did it. A group of Republicans in the House just forced a government shutdown over Obamacare instead of passing a real budget.”

But I think Representative Devin Nunes sums it up best: “It’s moronic to shut down the government over this.” And he’s a Republican. 

Via: The New York Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Government Shutdown

Current Event Cat - Shutdown

The U.S. government could shutdown on Tuesday if Congress can’t reach a deal on a temporary spending budget bill, costing more than 700,000 jobs and $200 million a day in the Washington area.

Looks like Senator Ted Cruz found something that was a bigger job killer than Obamacare: himself.

The Democrats and Republicans have been going back and forth on this bill – adding funding for Obamacare (Democrats), removing funding for Obamacare (Republicans), reciting children’s books for 21 hours for no reason (Ted Cruz), re-adding funding for Obamacare (Democrats), etc.

The political bickering isn’t just limited to Democrats vs. Republicans. Fighting has occurred within the Republican party as well, between those who hate Obamacare so much that they’d be willing to shutdown government and those who don’t hate it that much and realize that the economic and political consequences of a Republican-induced shutdown would probably be worse than requiring Americans get health insurance.

Congress has until midnight tonight to get their sh*t together and pass the temporary spending bill in order to avoid a shutdown and continue funding the federal government’s operations, employees, and services.

But as of now the ball is in the Senate’s court. At 2pm on Monday, the Senate will take up the House-approved spending bill, which delays implementing Obamacare for another year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already vowed to reject the House bill and its new amendments, saying “the American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists” and any changes to Obamacare would be a deal-killer. So once again, they’ll take out the anti-Obamacare stuff and send it back to Congress. And this process will continue until the Republicans agree to it or until 12:01am when everything goes black.

And to make matters worse, the debt ceiling crisis is back and is far more worrisome than some temporary spending bill… but let’s just deal with one government showdown at a time.

Via: CNN & Current Event Cats

Ted Cruz’s Faux Filibuster Goes On and On and On and On…

Ted Cruz

The Republicans (well, mainly Ted Cruz…) are at it again, trying to get rid of Obamacare once and for all. Their motto: if at first you don’t succeed, try again for the 42nd time.

Senator Ted Cruz is now into the second day of his marathon speech in an attempt to block Obamacare funding. The Texas Republican kept talking though Tuesday night, beating out Rand Paul’s epic 13-hour filibuster in March. Although technically Cruz’s all-nighter Obama health care rant isn’t really a filibuster – Wednesday’s Senate vote is happening whether he likes it or not. So I guess he’s just having a bit of fun grandstanding?

I intend to speak in support of de-funding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand,” Cruz, sporting running shoes, said when he began his marathon speech on Tuesday afternoon.

Cruz has been leading the charge on the effort to defund Obama’s 2010 health care law and is determined to do it even if the entire government shuts down. Congress has until October 1 to pass a temporary budget bill to keep federal agencies running but Cruz is trying to tie de-funding Obamacare to the spending measure. The Democrat-controlled Senate will obviously take it out the defunding health care nonsense but when they send it back to the Republican house, who knows what will happen…

Well, there are only three things that can happen: The government shuts down because they can’t pass this thing, Obamacare gets defunded and Ted Cruz jizzes is pants, or everyone realizes Ted Cruz is a crazy Tea Bagger and the funding for Obamacare continues. Option 3 is most likely, especially considering many Republicans are already opposed Cruz’s plan and would rather avert a government shutdown than have one blow up in their faces.

And if they need any extra convincing that Ted Cruz might be a bit of a nutcase, they should just tune into his speech. Cruz started speaking Tuesday at 2:41 p.m and jumped right into comparing President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to slavery during the Civil War and Nazis during World War II. After repeatedly referring to Obamacare as a “jobs killer”, Cruz passed some time quoting Duck Dynasty as well as lyrics by country singer Toby Keith. Then he moved on to Dr. Seuss, reciting Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor.

Green Eggs and Ham has some applicability, as curious as it may sound, to the Obamcare debate,” Cruz said once he had finished. Americans “did not like green eggs and ham, and they did not like Obamacare either.”

Hmm. I guess Ted Cruz never finished the book. The story ends with the narrator agreeing to try green eggs and ham, and guess what? He likes green eggs and ham! But Cruz is right about one thing – the story does have some applicability. It shows that Republicans are afraid that once the public actually tries Obamacare and all of the conservative horror stories don’t come true, the public will end up liking Obamacare.

Via: BBC News 

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Obamacare Employer Mandate Get Delayed

Obamacare Delayed

The Obama administration announced that it was delaying an Obamacare mandate that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as Obamacare, requires that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health insurance that meets certain standards. But now the Obamacare empl0yer-mandate will be delayed until after the 2014 midterm elections because of the “complexity of the requirements” in the healthcare law.

Apparently many businesses complained that the reporting requirements were too complicated and they needed more time to prepare for the changes. Since counting employees and giving them insurance was too much to handle, the Obama administration decided it was easier to delay the law, thus giving the administration more time to simplify it, rather than explain it to employers.

So now employers now have until 2015 to extend healthcare benefits to their employees. The good news is that most employers already provide the coverage that the law requires. The bad news is that those who don’t probably treat their employees like crap and they need it the most.

The even worse news is that Republicans (and crazy Fox hosts) are now claiming this delay is the proof America needs to repeal Obamacare.

“The White House seems to slowly be admitting what Americans already know,” said Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, “Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with common-sense reforms that actually lower costs for Americans.”

Fox News host and bow-tie enthusiast Tucker Carlson has just the common-sense reform needed! While guest hosting Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, Carlson suggested that not only should the individual insurance mandate in Obamacare also be delayed, but that a black market system where Americans pay cash for healthcare services would be “far more efficient” than insurance.

Tucker with Bowtie

“For people who just want to be covered against catastrophic illness and don’t want to pay for other people’s hair transplants or sex changes, they’re out of luck… I keep hearing Democrats saying, the implementation of Obamacare at the end of the year is going to be a disaster — I can’t even use the profanities — a disaster,” Tucker said.

The National Review‘s John Fund agreed that Obamacare would be a disaster (a jobs disaster!) and that a black market heathcare system could potentially emerge.

“Which would be a far more efficient system, by the way,” Carlson declared.

Not sure what kind of moron would suggest a black market for healthcare, especially considering America already pays the highest cost per person, but it does seem apparent that his years of bow-tie wearing may have cut the oxygen supply to his brain.

Via: BBC News

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