Tag Archives: Obamacare

10 Reasons Why the Government is a Good Thing

Good governmentAs English philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote in 1651, life without government is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Don’t let the Republicans control the narrative that government “is bad” or “is the problem.” The argument is bogus.

My father used to say that “civilization is the last bubble in a long fermentation.” He was a City Manager and believed that a city was the loftiest expression of society. He grew up when FDR was President and believed that public service was the highest calling of a citizen.

How far the image of the government has fallen since my father died. Years of propaganda from right-wing libertarians have made “government” a bad word. Disinformation from the billionaire Koch Brothers has brought attacks on “government schools” and “big government.”

The next time you meet someone who thinks the government is a bad thing, talk to them about this list of 10 reasons that government is a good thing. The government carries out the rules of our society and takes action for the public in efforts that people cannot do as well individually. Government activities that everybody likes are law enforcement, roads, the courts and trash pickup.

But there’s so much more that we get from the government:

Environmental safety that guarantees us clear air and water. Without this, we’d have choking air pollution like in Shanghai and Delhi, India, and poisonous rivers like the Ganges in India and the Yellow River in China. When government is working properly it promotes a clean power plan, works to combat climate change, establishes flood building standards, prohibits coal dumping in streams, and participates in world climate agreements. 2017 was the hottest year on record in Tucson, and only government can prevent it from getting worse. Continue reading

I’m Sick of John McCain’s Healthcare Hypocrisy

Don’t shed a tear for Senator John McCain. As he spends his dying days enjoying the best health care the government can buy, he is in favor of gutting health insurance for 11.8 million Americans who get health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

McCain became a quasi-hero last year when he voted against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, but don’t be fooled. He votes with Trump 83% of the time and he’s solidly in the “repeal and replace” camp.

The GOP Congress has worked to sabotage the health care law by killing the individual mandate to have insurance, cutting the sign-up period in half, slashing the ad budget and stopping billions in subsidies to insurers.

Despite that, 43,499 people in Arizona enrolled in coverage for 2018 on Healthcare.gov. McCain, who is dying of brain cancer, gets free healthcare as a US Senator and Navy veteran — but he would take away the guarantees and protections that the health care law provides for everyone else.

McCain’s appalling reply

Recently I wrote McCain, calling on him to support the Affordable Care Act. His letter back was appalling:

Since the enactment of Obamacare more than seven years ago, American’s across the country continue to see the consequences of this disastrous law. In Arizona alone, the cost of midlevel health insurance plans on Obamacare’s marketplace increased by 116 percent on average last year. Worse still, before Obamacare, Arizona had 24 insurance companies selling plans on the individual market. Today, there are just two companies and 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties have just one insurer. That is not what President Obama promised when this bill was signed into law, and why the status quo is simply unacceptable.

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Poor children are pawns to be used by Paul Ryan in shutdown politics

Evil GOP bastard House Speaker Paul Ryan has a plan to avert a government shutdown at midnight on Friday. He intends to use poor children covered under the CHIP program as pawns and to attach the long-delayed CHIP program renewal — something which should have already been approved as a stand alone bill — to a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to entice enough votes to pass the short-term spending bill and kick the can down the road again into February.

POLITICO reports, House Republicans coalesce behind plan to avert shutdown:

House Republicans on Tuesday night appeared to coalesce around a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown Friday — even as conservatives threatened to oppose it and a bitter fight continued over the fate of more than 700,000 Dreamers.

Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a plan at a House GOP Conference meeting to fund the government through Feb. 16, and numerous rank-and-file members quickly endorsed it despite their frustration with another short-term patch. To further sweeten the pot, the Wisconsin Republican’s bill also includes a delay of several Obamacare taxes and a six-year extension of a popular health care program for children.

“It’s a good strategic position because not only does it offer CHIP [funding] for six years … but you also have a medical device tax delay as well as the Cadillac tax delay,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.), referring to some of the taxes that would be delayed. “I think it puts Democrats in a very difficult position of having to vote against that in the House or in the Senate.”

House GOP leaders will whip the bill Wednesday before a possible Thursday vote. If the funding measure passes the House, senior Republican sources in both chambers expect the measure to clear the Senate.

House GOP leaders, however, still have some work to do: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said many of his conservative members oppose the plan, dismissing the tax delays as a “gimmick” that won’t necessarily help leaders find 218 votes for passage.

After the GOP Conference meeting, the House Freedom Caucus met and did not take a position on the stopgap bill. But Meadows expressed skepticism leadership’s plan would pass in its current form with just Republican votes.

Based on the number of ‘no’ and undecided votes, there is not enough votes for a Republican-only bill,” he said.

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The GOP’s war on the poor: Medicaid work requirements

Now that Tea-Publicans have accomplished their one goal of passing their “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill, this year their attention will turn to punishing the poor for being poor, those damn “takers”!

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” wants to fulfill his life-long dream of dismantling Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called “entitlement” programs, more accurately the “social contract” programs for which people paid taxes into during their working years on the premise that it will be there for them in their retirement years.

But with the Senate down to a bare 51-49 GOP majority, the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, says Entitlement reform is not on 2018 Senate agenda despite what House Speaker Paul Ryan and senior Trump administration officials say. It’s Ryan vs. McConnell on entitlement reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s dream of dismantling the nation’s entitlement programs in 2018 has run into a harsh reality: His own party isn’t on board.

Nevertheless, Tea-Publicans are going to chip away at the social contract programs this year. In a break from longstanding legal precedent, last week the Trump Administration Says States May Impose Work Requirements for Medicaid:

The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to impose work requirements in Medicaid, a major policy shift that moves toward fulfilling a conservative vision for one of the nation’s largest social insurance programs for low-income people.

Federal officials said they would support state efforts to require able-bodied adults to work or participate in other “community engagement activities” as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.

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Left behind by Congress until January 19

You may have noticed that we did not have a government shutdown for Christmas because Tea-Publicans in Congress agreed to a “clean” Continuing Resolution” (CR) to continue funding programs at current levels until January 19, when the real fight will take place.

Congress kicked the can down the road on a number of controversial issues that Congress had said it wanted to resolve before the end of the year. Who gets left behind in the spending bill:

Keeping the government funded was nearly an afterthought after Republicans celebrated passage of their historic tax bill and ditched town for the holiday season.

But in the rush to close out a year of turmoil in Washington, Congress left disaster aid, Dreamers and pensioners on the back burner, and gave only a temporary reprieve to children’s health insurance and spying powers. Even though lawmakers stripped out most additions to the spending bill, GOP leaders scrambled for days to clear it.

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Senate passes GOP tax bill, back to the House for final action of betrayal

In the end, there was not a single Tea-Publican in the Senate to display courage and conviction of principles to vote against this abomination of a GOP tax bill finaced by $1.5 trillion in debt that future generations will pay. They all failed their “Profiles in Courage” moment.

The GOP’s plutocrat campaign donors and corporate masters demanded a tax cut they did not need and these lickspittle servants of the oligarchy kissed their feet and said  “yes master, your wish is my command.”

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning when decent people were asleep, the Republican Tax Bill Passed the Senate in a 51-48 Vote:

Republicans took a critical step toward notching their first significant legislative victory since assuming full political control, as the House and Senate voted along party lines on Tuesday and into early Wednesday to pass the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in decades.

The $1.5 trillion tax bill, which is expected to head to President Trump’s desk in the coming days, will have broad effects on the economy, making deep and lasting cuts to corporate taxes as well as temporarily lowering individual taxes.

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