Tag Archives: ACA

200 Stories: Healthcare Forum Attendees Reject Repeal of ACA

healthcare forum

Approximately 75 people attended the open mice healthcare forum.

For months, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have been trying every trick in the book to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”). Multiple repeal and replace bills died during the summer of 2017, thanks to public outcry against kicking millions of Americans off of health insurance while giving tax breaks and sweetheart deals to insurance companies and others. Overwhelmingly, Americans said: We want a health insurance system that is fair, affordable, and wide-ranging in its coverage.

Fast forward to November 2017, and the Republicans are at in again. Rather than hiding tax cuts for the rich in health insurance bills (as they tried last summer), they are hiding an ACA poison pill in the middle of a tax cut bill for the uber-rich.

Do the American people want to go back to market-driven health insurance with high costs and limited access to care and drugs? Do they want millions of adults to lose their insurance altogether– with the fight to rollback Medicaid expansion? Do they want poor children to lose their insurance– with the pending sunset of KidsCare? No! Citizen backlash on social media and in the streets has been strong and swift. In Southern Arizona, protesters have dogged CD2 Congresswomen Martha McSally, who voted for Republican plans to eliminate the ACA, kick millions of Americans off of health insurance, cut taxes for big corporations and the uber-rich, and raise taxes on the rest of us. Do Tucsonans agree with McSally and the Republican Party?

Continue reading

200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum, Oct 29

200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum

Do you have concerns about the Affordable Care Act and repeal attempts; about the future of Medicare and Medicaid; or about access to care or the cost of drugs?

Whether you are a patient or a provider, we want to hear your medical and health insurance stories. The LD9 and LD10 Legislators are holding an open mic forum in which we listen, you talk, and we all learn.

This is a free educational community event for residents of Pima County. It’s about listening and learning from each other. Senators David Bradley and Steve Farley and Representatives Kirsten Engel, Randy Friese, and Pamela Powers Hannley have confirmed their attendance. (Rep. Todd Clodfelter was invited but has a scheduling conflict.)

In the news, we hear what politicians and big corporations think should be done with our country’s overly complicated and extremely expensive health care system. At this event, the people of Southern Arizona will have an opportunity to tell us their stories and help shape future policy.

Mark your calendars for October 29, 2017. The event will be held 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd St.

Please take a few minutes to register with EventBrite by clicking here. We want to make sure we have enough seats.

Watch Facebook and other social media for updates.

15,000 Join Women’s March in Tucson (video)

Women's March, Tucson

Women’s March, Tucson

One day after Donald Trump became president of the United States the world saw the largest mass protest ever.

On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew more participants than Trump’s inauguration the day before, and “sister marches” were held in 600 locations around the world. If you are a long-time follower of my blogging, you know that I have attended and videotaped many protests, marches and rallies. This was by far the largest protest march I have seen in my 35 years in Tucson. It was impressive.

The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino,  and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page.  (Video after the jump.)

Continue reading

Top 20 Reasons Why Republicans Want to Repeal Obamacare (video)

elysium-NLIn Elysium, Matt Damon’s 2013 post-apocalyptic drama, the 1% are safely ensconced on a idyllic floating space station (Elysium). In contrast, the 99% toil in poverty and grime and suffer from police oppression on Earth, which has been destroyed by pollution and over-crowding.

Early on in Elysium, Damon, a former thug who works in a giant factory with no safety equipment, workplace regulations, or human resources protections, has an industrial accident and is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. Fellow workers hear his screams from the radiation chamber and try valiantly to get him out, but the supervisor tells them to leave him in there and go back to work “because he’s already dead”. After the exposure, they drag Damon out (literally) and take him to the factory clinic. When the CEO sees him, he tells the supervisor to send Damon home before he soils the sheets. At several junctures in the movie, the dire, dirty conditions on Earth are juxtaposed with the gleaming perfection of Elysium, but the contrast in healthcare is the most stark. On Elysium, people have high-tech, full-body scanners that can cure all diseases. On Earth, people are left to die.

At one point, the CEO says to a worker whose daughter is dying, “This isn’t Elysium. We can’t just heal her.” This movie is the Koch Brothers’ wet dream and our nightmare. If the Republican Party could get away with it, this is where we will be by 2154 (the date of the movie) or sooner. Getting rid of the Affordable Care Act and social safety net programs are the first steps.

Continue reading

ACA Update: Are Insurance Companies Ill-Equipped for ‘Obamacare’ Roll-Out?

HealthNet stock prices from Bloomberg News. Note the stock price on Nov 8, 2013 was 27.7 (a few days after the ACA began), and the stock price for March 10, 2014 was 35.09.Someone is making money.

HealthNet stock prices from Bloomberg News. Note the stock price on Nov 8, 2013 was 27.7 (a few days after the ACA began), and the stock price for March 10, 2014 was 35.09.Someone is making money.

Since October 2013, Americans have been enrolling for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Healthcare.gov or through insurance agents and brokers. With only a few weeks to go before the March 31, 2014 ACA enrollment deadline, the US Department of Health and Human Services has reported that more than 5 million Americans have enrolled for health insurance through the state-based exchanges.

Enrollment in the ACA and in expanded Medicaid has been patchy because states were given too much leeway regarding what care would be available, how people should enroll, and how much money and effort would be invested into educating residents about enrollment. Some states (like California) have well-developed online insurance exchanges of their own, while other states (like Arizona) allowed the federal government to create their ACA exchange websites and did little to educate residents about health insurance enrollment.

During the final weeks, non-profit groups and volunteers in Arizona have been scrambling to enroll people, while the Arizona Republican Party is scrambling to spread misinformation to discourage enrollment– with multiple speaking engagements and mass distribution of an editorial entitled Obamacare: To Enroll Or Not To Enroll? That Is The Question by local doctor, Elizabeth Lee Vliet. And on the national level millions is being spent to dissuade Americans from enrolling, while Republicans in the House offer bait-and-switch alternativesto the ACA which would cost more and cover fewer people.

As both sides of the political spectrum work hard to sway the public, my question is: Are the insurance companies really up to the task of providing care for so many new enrollees?  Continue reading

The “Managerial Republican” is mostly a fantasy

I will say that Ronald Brownstein’s recent column in the National Journal is a bit better than what we’ve been getting lately from the hordes of DC pundits attempting to analyze Arizona. In particular, I liked this bit at the end:

After Arizona’s tax revenues plummeted with the housing market collapse, Brewer backed a temporary 1-cent sales-tax increase to limit spending cuts. But even so, since 2008, the GOP majority’s commitment to squeezing government has produced the nation’s third-largest reduction in per-student K-12 spending; the largest percentage reduction in per-student support for public higher education; and the biggest public tuition hikes. No other choices capture as starkly the contrasting priorities of a ruling GOP coalition that still receives almost all of its votes from whites (many older, rural, and exurban) and a minority population that now represents the clear majority of students in Arizona’s public schools.

It’s refreshing to see a conservative admit outright that Arizona Republicans have slashed public education funding (instead of doing the Goldwater Institute song and dance about how the schools are really funded quite generously if you look at all these charts and squint) and that the cuts are ideological and not fiscal in purpose.

Brownstein’s main thesis is that Arizona’s politics operate along fault lines of age and race, with the older whites voting overwhelmingly GOP and the Democratic base being younger and browner. I take no issue with that assessment. What I do dispute is this: Continue reading