Category Archives: Healthcare

The Single Payer Health Care Battle Goes On

As reported on April 22nd, by In These Times, Vermont activists stand strong on the fight to establish single payer healthcare as promised to Vermonters by Governor Shumlin who now finds himself hemmed into a tight spot due to requirements handed down by the Affordable Care Act which just so happen to conflict with Vermont’s healthcare plans.

The battle fields for success on issues such as healthcare, labor and social justice increasingly lie within the states and local governments.

Vermont Activists Battle Democratic Governor for Single-Payer Health Care

BY Steve Early

Vermonters rally for health care in 2011. (Vermont Workers Center / Flickr)

Liz Nikazmerad is a rarity in American labor: a local union president under the age of 30, displaying both youth and militancy. For the last two year years, she has led the 180-member Local 203 of the United Electrical Workers (UE), while working in the produce department of City Market in Burlington, Vermont. Thanks to their contract bargaining, full-time and part-time employees of this bustling community-owned food cooperative currently enjoy good medical benefits.

But that wasn’t always the case in Nikazmerad’s past non-union jobs, nor is it any assurance that UE members won’t be forced to pay more for their health care in the future. To curb medical cost inflation and related cost-shifting to workers, the UE has long advocated that private insurance plans be replaced with publicly funded universal coverage.

Four years ago, a newly elected Vermont governor, Peter Shumlin, took a promising first step in that direction at the state level. His Democrat-dominated legislature passed Act 48, which laid the groundwork for creating a comprehensive public insurance plan called Green Mountain Care (GMC).

Not all activists deemed GMC to be truly “single-payer,” because of potential legal or political obstacles to the inclusion of Vermonters currently covered through Medicare, the Veterans’ Administration, and even some “self-insured” plans offered by local employers. However, Act 48’s blueprint for getting everyone else into a more rational, cost-effective healthcare system, financed by taxes, was generally hailed as a great breakthrough.

Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) first required Vermont to operate a private insurance exchange until 2017, when a federal waiver permitting further experimentation might be granted. Despite this delay, Shumlin was still reassuring Vermonters, as recently as last fall, that a brighter health care future lay just a few years ahead.

By January 8, when the governor began his third term, that promise had dimmed so much that Liz Nikazmerad and several hundred others weren’t there to applaud his inauguration in Montpelier. Instead, frustrated advocates of health care reform staged a sit-in at the state capitol, chanting and singing, unfurling banners and refused to leave in protest against the governor’s abrupt abandonment of universal health care six weeks after his re-election.

“People had fought for this a long time,” Nikazmerad says. “It was a huge win and to have the rug yanked out like that was very upsetting. People were very emotional about it.”

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Thanks Nelle for Your All Your Work!

This past Thursday New Hampshire resident and activist Nelle Douville was awarded the Volunteer Service Award from Volunteer NH for her tireless work in defense of women’s reproductive rights.  Nominated by Planned Parenthood, Nelle was recognized for her dedication to women’s reproductive rights, particularly her brave service as an escort at the Manchester Planned Parenthood clinic.

Nelle was recognized in particular for her dedication to acting as a greeter/escort for women coming to the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Manchester, NH for services.  Every Thursday, the day when most of the state’s most dedicated religious wingnuttia shows up to harass women, Nelle can be counted on to provide a much needed buffer of sanity. As an escort, Nelle provides protection to women from the judgmental to those in need of services. Modest about her work but realistic about its importance, “Most days are pretty uneventful in terms of the protesters. It isn’t my job to pick fights with them, so I try to avoid interaction. I’m there for the patients.”

Nelle showing one protective weapon she uses.

Usually she says that the average count of protesters runs at about fourteen, with one time the number as high as sixty-one.  “They are there in all weather, rain, snow, heat… and sometimes some have children with them in poor weather conditions.”  Private security detail provides a security person on duty during these days to ensure that the protesters follow the law.  Nelle says that for a time the police would provide security but they weren’t always regular in showing up, the security service though is reliable, which is important. “There were two days they weren’t there. Those were particularly crazy, because the protesters didn’t feel under scrutiny for their behavior.” she adds.

Since Operation Rescue started the trend in the 80’s of harassing and shaming women entering into reproductive services clinics nationwide, the role of on-the ground escorts provides that final bridge in real time, over the troubled waters of women’s rights to secure access to proper medical care.  Asked about what sticks in her mind about her experience as a clinic escort, “Anytime someone is in tears bothers a great deal. Some of the comments can be quite cutting, and the usual ploy is to yell out all manner of uncouth things until people near the door, then they hurry a spiel to get them to go to their choice of quote family planning clinic.”

Clinic protesters in Manchester.  Apparently thinking no one notices their historic hypocrisy on the issue of supporting unmarried pregnant women, the sign at the table reads, “Pregnant women need support not abortions.”

Women like Nelle supply the mundane, yet essential service to other women who go to Planned Parenthood for a wide variety of healthcare services tailored specifically to women’s needs. As Nelle reminds, “Planned Parenthood offers a wide array of services and people try to misrepresent what it does.” While religious fundamentalists focus entirely on Planned Parenthood’s early term abortion services, most of their work provides education and screening for sexually transmitted diseases, essential healthcare such as PAP screenings and check-ups and also of course, affordable birth control.

Nelle also has helped out at rallies, providing the much needed assistance with manning tables and booths that help distribute information to the public about Planned Parenthood’s variety of healthcare services to women.

The Planned Parenthood Clinic in Manchester can always use a helping as Nelle most usually does her work alone.  Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming an escort (training is necessary to learn to deal with the protesters and provide the services needed to the clinic) one can go to the Planned Parenthood site here.  One thing to note: Planned Parenthood is not interested in counter-protesters or those feeling the urge to have the Great Battle with the protesters.  The job is to make sure that women get the services they need as easily and safely as possible.  Thanks Nelle for providing that much needed service to women in New Hampshire!

Big Pharma Hones in On Children as the New Profit Center

Not that we at Progressive Action want to make Big Pharma and their nefarious deeds the focus of this blog, it seems that lately a plethora of disturbing trends with Big Pharma have surfaced and caught the eye of many critics.  We’ve looked at the poor quality research, lack of controlled clinical trials in new drugs, including the well documented trend of pharmacutical companies to place drugs on the market long before anyone knows the effects of the drugs — remember Phen-Fen, the supposed magical weight-loss drug that caused sudden death in millions?  Remember the anti-arthritis drug —- pulled from the market after it was shown to cause fatal cardiac arrest in users?

We’ve also posted reports on the collusion of Big Pharma with physicians who have basically become salesman.  No law exists to mandate the doctors disclose to their patients the financial relationship they have with the company manufacturing the drugs they proscribe.

We also posted an article that dealt with one psychologists’ experience in the field of psychology and his run-ins with the use of psychology and psychiatry to keep soldiers in combat zones longer.  Many claim that un-checked corporate power poses no problem to our society and that conversely regulation causes an un-needed burden that hampers profits, which hurts the economic health of the nation.  But Big Pharma provides the strongest argument in real time against this idea.  With widely unchecked access to the non-professional public and doctors through endless advertising, with their high revenue streams, the pharmecutical industry has managed to convince lay people, patients and even doctors that the resolution to a problem of mood, excitement, anxiety; all once thought of as warnings of a dysfunctional living pattern or a need to change one’s environment or behavior, is encapsulated in a pill.

The profits of Big Pharma are outstanding; they are one of the most profitable industries in America today.  Private health insurance companies once played along to provide high priced financing to middle Americans to purchase drugs at whatever cost pharma wanted to pay.  But they have begun to resist and deny payments for most high ticket drugs, leaving patients often scrambling to find the funds to pay for drugs whose lives hang on the affordability of such medications.  One of the largest stickers in Obama’s efforts to put together a single payer plan was the resistance of the well financed and powerful drug companies.  So we are told.

Most disturbing is the power over people’s sense of reality and well being that drug companies seem to have developed through the pushing of psychiatric medications.  Troubling evidence shows, as one article we posted, that the field of psychiatry and that health officials in the government and military are fully aware of the power of psychiatric drugs to make people compliant, passive zombies.

In the article linked below by Alternet, the newer trend in starting children early as drug users has many disturbing implications — the long term effects of such drug use is unknown and could be irreversible and also not mentioned in the thorough report (because how many angles can one writer take without writing a book?), is the increasing problem with prescription drug abuse among children.  Is it any wonder that children have come to believe that their problems not only are unacceptable and not something to deal with as the trials of everyday life, but that the solution lies in a pill?

One of the most important drivers to social rebellion and civil disobedience is a firm belief that something in the system is wrong.  This usually comes from suffering personally or witnessing a community suffer, the effects of a system, culture or society gone on the wrong track.  Whether its going against our internal social drive to commune and not kill, or the tendency to wish to act out against something wrong; we all have an internal conscience that when disturbed can cause all sorts of negative physical and psychological reactions.  Do we want to stunt this internal driver in us all to recognize right from wrong and want to do something about it?  Who or what exists in our present system that benefits from the status quo; benefits enough to make sure that nothing changes?

Below, Alternet has published an article showing the disturbing trend of using children as the next profit-center for Big Pharma.  This is especially disturbing since as we stated previously and was stated in articles posted here and all over the net, drug companies have nearly all but abandoned the practice of controlled clinical trials prior to release of a drug.   The use of manipulating parents to allow Big Pharma and greedy psychiatrists unfettered access to their children’s minds and bodies puts the illustration of corporate greed to a new Mengelesque level of low.

How Kids Are Getting Hooked on Pills for Life

Young children were once expected to outgrow their issues; now they’re diagnosed with lifelong psychiatric problems.
October 18, 2012  |  

Where do parents and teachers get the idea there’s something wrong with kids that only an expensive drug can fix? From Big Pharma’s seamless web of ads, subsidized doctors, journals, medical courses and conferences, paid “patient” groups, phony public services messages and reporters willing to serve as stenographers.

Free stenography for Pharma from sympathetic media includes articles like “One in 40 Infants Experience Baby Blues, Doctors Say,” on ABC News and “Preschool Depression: The Importance of Early Detection of Depression in Young Children,” on Science Daily .

For many, the face of the drugs-not-hugs message is Harold Koplewicz, author of the pop bestseller It’s Nobody’s Fault , and former head of NYU’s prestigious Child Study Center. In a 1999 Salon article, Koplewicz reiterated his “no-fault” statement, assuring parents that psychiatric illness is not caused by bad parenting. “It is not that your mother got divorced, or that your father didn’t wipe you the right way,” he said. “It really is DNA roulette: You got blue eyes, blond hair, sometimes a musical ear, but sometimes you get the predisposition for depression.”

Many regard the NYU Child Study Center, which Koplewicz founded and led before leaving in 2009 to start his own facility, as helping to usher in the world of brave new pediatric medicine in which children, toddlers and infants, once expected to outgrow their problems, are now diagnosed with lifelong psychiatric problems. The Child Study Center is “a threat to the health and welfare of children,” and its doctors are “hustlers working to increase their ‘client’ population and their commercial value to psychotropic drug manufacturers,” charged Vera Sharav , president of the watchdog group, Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Read the rest on Alternet

Tagged , , , , , ,

Don’t Have Insurance? Don’t Get Care! Says NH Congressman Guinta

Yes, he said it, but he didn’t just say that he believes hospitals should have the right to turn away patients, but he also re-frames the question by saying, ‘if you are 25 years old and you are choosing…” Yeah. choosing, because you know purchasing a health insurance policy is as easy as buying a pair of sneakers, amirite?

So typical of the Tea Bagger, wing-nut claim, people choose to be poor and choose to have low-wage jobs and choose to not purchase health insurance.  Sort of like the collection agent who calls and demands that you pay off that bill even if that means your lights get shut off and your car gets re-po’ed because, hey didn’t you choose to get sick or injured, didn’t you kid choose that fever?

Sure and didn’t you choose to live in a country where gigantic mega-companies can rule your life and decide whether you paid your fee to stay alive and healthy today? Well, did you?  Because if you didn’t, Guinta’s got news for you; get out and don’t let the revolving door slam you in your crippled, sickened ass, moocher! (and that means grandma too).

From ThinkProgress:

Republican Congressman Says Hospitals Should Be Allowed To Turn Away Patients Who Don’t Have Insurance

By Scott Keyes on Oct 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH)

CONWAY, New Hampshire — Finding bipartisan agreement on any policy is a rarity these days, but lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have supported treating people who show up in the hospital, regardless of their ability to pay. Now, one Tea Party congressman is taking issue with that requirement.

Giving literal meaning to his state’s “Live Free Or Die” motto, Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) was asked at a debate Thursday about a hypothetical 25-year-old who needs treatment in the emergency room but doesn’t have health insurance. Guinta’s said he opposed the requirement that hospitals should have to treat people who come in without insurance. “If you are 25 years old and you are choosing not to purchase insurance with the expectation of trying to get it free from the ER at Memorial,” Guinta said, “that shouldn’t be the case”:

Continue reading at Think Progress where there is video as well.

Tagged , ,

Cooking the Books: More Proof (as if you needed it) That Drug Companies Have No Interest in Your Health

“Bad enough when this scandalous unchecked medication roulette occurs with established, scientifically-endorable diseases. Prescribing psychotropic drugs as if the pros know what they are treating and how, ignoring potential side effects across domains such as psycho-social-biological, and congratulations all around at the expense of the “mentally ill” takes it to another level.”

A very well written comment about an article written for the Guardian and posted in Reader Supported News about the corporate corruption of drug testing and vetting worldwide.  Unfortunately, this is not new but has been entrenched in the United States for decades and as demonstrated in this UK article, has become a global practice.

Also worth adding is that as the article states, drug companies will leave no potential profit channel untouched, unexploited or blocked.  Prescription drug addiction in America continues to climb at exorbitant rates with little sign of let-up, supposedly depression is climbing in the US and states and municipalities are increasingly pressured to allow pain clinics where heavily addictive synthetic opiates can be marketed.

One has wonder what incentives exist to control the continued prescription of highly addictive drugs and what controls exist as well on diagnosis that possibly could have an effect on the doctor’s own interest that may run counter to that of the patient, or the public welfare.

Drugs are tested by their manufacturers, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients and analyzed using techniques that exaggerate the benefits. (photo: Phil Partridge, GNL Imaging/Getty Images)

The doctors prescribing the drugs don’t know they don’t do what they’re meant to. Nor do their patients. The manufacturers know full well, but they’re not telling.

eboxetine is a drug I have prescribed. Other drugs had done nothing for my patient, so we wanted to try something new. I’d read the trial data before I wrote the prescription, and found only well-designed, fair tests, with overwhelmingly positive results. Reboxetine was better than a placebo, and as good as any other antidepressant in head-to-head comparisons. It’s approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (the MHRA), which governs all drugs in the UK. Millions of doses are prescribed every year, around the world. Reboxetine was clearly a safe and effective treatment. The patient and I discussed the evidence briefly, and agreed it was the right treatment to try next. I signed a prescription.

But we had both been misled.  The Drugs Don’t Work: A Modern Medical Scandal

Tagged , , , , , ,

Compassion: A Value, Not a Marketing Commodity

When H. W. Bush phrased his party as the party of “compassionate conservatism” in an attempt to change the perception of the Republican party as the party of Scrooge,  the oxymoronic effort derived immediate derision from the more sensible corners of the country.

But that hasn’t stopped the Republicans effort to continuously lie to the public and hide the intentions of their cuts and denial of funding for programs and legislation that would help the citizenry.

Maggie has big shoulders.

The picture above shows Maggie Hassan, the democratic candidate for governor hugging a woman.  We received this picture via a message from Facebook, which tells the story of a cold day in March on 2011 during the most dramatic anti-labor rally held that year.  At the state house union members had camped out and staged a huge protest.

When the protest was over and the crowd was leaving, a woman came running out of the state house and down the stairs crying and holding a sign.  The sender said that the woman had apparently had words with a Republican (possibly O’Brien?) unsympathetic to the plight of parents of children with Autism, the sign reads, “Support Connor’s Law” and has a picture of what everyone learned later was her son.

While most everyone present stood in stunned silence, Maggie had the courage and presence of mind to act and quickly approached the woman and held her while she cried.  Our friend also sent along a picture of the woman showing her sign, you can see tears in her eyes.

Democrats have backed and been the source of some of the most major legislation in this country that protect the rights of workers, created the New Deal, advocated for the Civil Rights Act, pushed to get out of the past wars we’ve waged, advocated for full freedom of rights for women.  We were the party that supported gay rights, that turned to listen when the streets exploded with riots in LA and some Democrats were even ready to talk about legalization of medical marijuana long before it became the cause du jour for the young libertarian.

The Republicans can make up every excuse they’d like to justify their inhumane practices in supporting corporations and the 1%, but they can never claim to have compassion.  That is the realm of the Democratic party and despite its faults, it remains their core value.  Not conservative compassion, not pre-qualified, approved, pre-packaged and market tested compassion, but the kind of compassion that comes from understanding and knowing what it is to suffer injustice.

While Democrats, Progressives and others on the left can argue compassion in degrees, we know its where we stand in solidarity at the core.  We know its the kind of compassion that rises out of the heart, that realizes that government represents real people, not statistics.  Its the kind of compassion that comes from a warm, breathing, flesh and blood person who has cried, who has loved.  It is the compassion that burns like a fire inside the heart of every Democrat who is determined to get up, get in the game and do something.  Just like Maggie did that day.

Tagged , , , , , ,

The American Stinker Lays Another Pooper

Hard at work for the corporate agenda.

Stephen McCann a classic plutocrat and contributor to the site American Stinker and the site linked to the magazine, American Spectator, sits on the Stinker pot and performs the rectal birth of a tract so full of lies even the lowest of parasites might have to bring out the lie detector.  Compensated at a rate of a mere 4.5m a year, Mr. McCann gets passive into that very narrow canal of American mogul-lovin’.  Sitting firmly within the top 1%, possibly the top .01% of wealth holders globally, the Australian McCann we’re sure gets a big BFF ranking from the plutocrat class here in the states.

So onto his scribbles from the war room water closet and why we should really give a damn what he says anyway. First off, its worth pointing out that although McCann sits in his house on the near bottom of the globe where our winter is his summer, he seems awfully disturbed by certain sectors of the American population known commonly as the “left”.

Yeah you all you pro-choice, tree hugging, union thug, anti-racist, anti-war leftists, this fine gentleman is fed up with your anti-austerity politics you hear? He’s had it with your desires for justice and equality and wants you to grow up and practice some good old austerity.  Concerned as he is with the deficit in the United States  … er… his portfolio.   He’s sick and tired of “The Childishness of the American Left” and he’s going to tell you why.

The American left is the most self-indulgent, arrogant, and spoiled group of people on the face of the earth.  They live in a nation facing national bankruptcy and societal upheaval — a country presently subsisting on the residue of past economic achievements.  Yet the only things that matter to them are their lifestyles and imposing their self-determined superiority on rest of the American people.

Social upheaval?  Could it be the social upheaval of a population sick and tired of the 1% wealthiest “imposing their self-determined superiority on the rest of the American people”?  Seems to many of us here in the US that once an economic system existed wherein at least there was some hope that a rising tide would raise all boats.  That with the work of the left through government regulation and correction,  social inequities would soon begin to disappear and anyone, a person of color, a woman, a disabled person, could as the old saying goes, capture the American Dream by working on a finally leveled playing field.

But as we all know now, the job of straightening out 300 years of socialized inequality takes some sacrifice from everyone and we’ve had our share of resistance.  Us lefties always do after a while tend to get all misty-eyed and go on about hard to quantify issues such as racial justice, gender equality and LGBT rights, worker’s rights and a clean and healthy planet.   We on the left have known for quite some time that the existing system favors a certain group of people and we have tirelessly pointed this fact out.  Basically many of us figured out after about 5th grade that the Land of the Free we learned about ain’t exactly free for a large portion of the population.

Unlike the minority who upon their birth are cloistered among nannies, private schools, Ivy League colleges and a nice inheritance, the majority of people in this country live quite modest lives.  We on the left selfishly have worked tirelessly for little money (because where do you think money comes from?), to champion causes not particularly popular with the ownership class.

We have repeatedly marched down streets, sat in halls, picketed and boycotted businesses to protest the sending of our young people to die for the myriad wars that benefit only the 1%, protested and worked toward changing injustices from gay rights to women’s rights, from working against racism, to saving the planet from industrial destruction, all in the name of that selfish idea; justice.

Do we have a superiority complex? Possibly, if one equates having a sense of fervent duty to the social contract of humanity; yes possibly if one takes seriously the precept of the prophet of our Christian based culture; “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You” All this while swarmed by a capitalist campaign of mass consumption, exploitation and greed.  We on the left have worked tirelessly to draw attention to how global capitalism exploitation kills humans and the planet.

But let’s take our lesson from Mr. McCann and hear about his concerns about the debt and the GDP; essentially his global balance sheet shall we?  First McCann draws our attention to an NPR interview:

The true indebtedness of the United States now exceeds $222 trillion.  Appearing on National Public Radio in August of 2011 Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University said:

If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, and subtract all the taxes we expect to collect, the difference is $211 Trillion.  This is the fiscal gap.  That is our true indebtedness.

Since that interview, the indebtedness has increased by another $11 trillion.

Well it seems the kind professor was making an effort to point out that with falling revenues from tax cuts, funding wars will drain the treasury.  Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans became all the fashion when Ronald Reagan proved just how easy it is to fleece the American people as long as you lie to them enough.  So easy that H.W. Bush and Bush the Younger have pushed the envelope further not only cutting taxes for their buddies but also borrowing to finance some major military adventures.  So again the professor points out that when the boss cuts your pay, going to Disneyland may not be such a good idea.

But let’s take the boss analogy a step further.  When your boss learns that you’ll  work just as hard on $7.25/hour as you would on $15/hour, especially if he promises you get a ticket to Disneyland, do you think he’ll go back to $15?.  Nope, you’ve just got suckered.  Boss got just as much work out of you for less and what’s more he didn’t bother to tell you he borrowed from your pension fund to pay for those tickets to Disney, what a deal!

Not rocket science, nor a big secret.

Then further down, McCann rails about the GDP versus expenditures.  The fact is, just looking at the GDP fails to consider so many other factors that have caused the largest economic slump since the Depression.  As is detailed on a page here a bit back, McCann doesn’t bother to tell his dear readers that while the GDP has failed miserably, corporate earnings  have multiplied upward for the last three generations, while earnings growth for those who work for a wage has stagnated since about 1979.  Also McCann fails to mention that those who possess high wealth have enjoyed as much as a 200% or more increase in their portfolio value at the same time.

So in summary, tax cuts sent the money into the hands of the plutocrats, cuts in services such as housing, poverty programs, cuts in agency funding, cuts in education funding also sent more money to the plutocrats which for some reason never came back home.  All the while corporations learned that lay-offs reward richly (and thus rewarded their CEO’s thusly), temp labor is a pip and people will work for dogs on mere promises. Add to that the people’s gullibility for tall tales about scary hordes that must be brought down by fancy artillery and young Americans’ lives and you’ve got one heck of a mess.

Now Mr. McCann, being only human can’t help but look a gift horse in the mouth.  As if fleecing the American and global population hasn’t made him rich enough, he’s now concerned about the possible collision of the health of his portfolio with the health of our nation.

Yet these estimates do not include the full impact of ObamaCare, which could add another $17+ trillion.

Now taking away the fact that McCann seems to think that Americans don’t need affordable healthcare like Australians enjoy, let’s just focus on his concern about our fiscal health shall we?  Wait what’s this? All over the internet sites figures keep quoting the CBO and its research that purport that in fact, the ACA will reduce the deficit by $210 billion, not increase it.  So in other words, McCann is either very poorly informed or just telling lies because he doesn’t think we should have public healthcare like his homeland does.  We’d suggest that McCann follow the old rule; those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Oh, Australia doesn’t fund healthcare for rich guys, oh well.

On the other side of the ledger: the annual Gross Domestic Product (the value of all economic activity in the U.S.) is $15.6 trillion.  The indebtedness to GDP ratio is a staggering 14.2 to 1 and guaranteed to further accelerate if Barack Obama is re-elected.

See Disneyland borrowed on your pension fund. We explained that already.  Mr. McCann hopes to impress and bamboozle his readers with statistics and figures that really say the same damn thing no matter how you turn them around; the rich guys spent all our money and borrowed to the hilt for whatever our paychecks couldn’t cover.  Pretty simple; you spend more than you making, you going to end up bankrupt.

The United States is not facing bankruptcy, it is bankrupt.  The primary factor that has kept the nation afloat over the past four years is that the dollar, albeit temporarily, remains the world’s reserve currency, thus allowing the Federal Reserve to print enormous sums of money to cover the Obama budget deficits and flood the global market with near worthless cash.  Today it requires $100.00 to purchase the same goods $10.00 purchased in 1950.

Firstly, the Federal Reserve does not print money! Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not some super-secret club full of special presses stamping out benjis to add to the “money supply” as they please.  So we can dispense with this quickly and move on, please see the following comic made up by the Fed in an attempt to dispel ignorance.

Comparing the value of the dollar today to its value in 1950 is much like picking up

Oh do we need to go back what was good in 1950 compared to today? Like the fact that nearly 50% of American workers were union members? That save for the social inequities that still existed, many people enjoyed a prosperity most young Americans cannot even imagine today.  Taxation was progressive and effective with the top tiers paying as much as 90% of their income, so revenues were high, wages were healthy and what’dya get? A healthy economy!  Infrastructure expenditures were up, employment rose and the standard of living in the US rose for a large majority of Americans above nearly the entire world.

Increased indebtedness due to wars funded on borrowing, money policy that shifted wealth from the commoners to the elites and the resulting bust in GDP growth among the population that depressed revenues and consumption seems an indication of selfishness, but of the leftie kind.

As a further comparison, the total annual GDP of all the countries on earth is $70 trillion.  The American indebtedness alone exceeds that amount by a factor of 3 — which contributes mightily to a world drowning in debt and facing an inevitable debt crisis and financial collapse, which will trigger a massive global depression.

Thanks again in large part of levering of the American economy by the elites on the backs of the working people who have seen their share of the pie steadily decrease even though their production has rivaled other first world countries for decades.

Currently, just 58.4% of the civilian population is employed, as compared to 64.3% twelve years ago.  Factoring in the growth of the population during that period, this drop represents over 22 million Americans unable to find work.  Since January 2009, 74% of all new jobs created in the U.S. were in the lowest-paying sectors of the economy, thereby stifling any chance of upward mobility and growth in median income which has fallen by 9% since January 2009, and average household wealth that has declined by nearly 40% over this same period.  This failure is a byproduct of a tsunami of government regulations, mandates, and taxes which has nearly destroyed the innovation and business and job-creation that made the American economy so vibrant over the latter part of the 20th century.  That innovation has now moved overseas, along with over 7.5 million high-paying goods-producing jobs since 2000.

Another patent lie, since the 1980’s government sectors on all levels have suffered massive cuts and laws that regulated finance, commerce and trade have been modified to favor corporate growth over national growth.  Couple that also with the outsourcing of the white color and blue collar sectors then mix in outflows of investment dollars to those offshore operations and you have decreased consumption within the US market as workers’ buying power decreases,  increased outflows of revenue from the what production remains (as it flows upward and not into worker’s pockets)  into the coffers of tax-free havens, off-shore trusts, third world sweat-shop factories and overall global manipulation of labor, finance and government regulation. Whew and McCann calls us selfish for bitching about it?

The reaction of the self-described progressives to this dire scenario?  Sweep the facts under the rug or ignore them completely, as it appears that the most important things in their lives are the legalization of gay marriage, free contraceptives and abortifacients, worshiping at the altar of extreme and discredited environmentalism, mocking and undermining all organized religion (except Islam), and telling the American people what they can eat, where they can live, what may be taught in their schools, how they must operate their businesses, and what health care they can access.

Au contraire Mr. McCann, while the left has beat the drum of reigning in the cowboy plutocrats, ending the wars, regulating off-shoring, stopping the trade treaties that favor global corporatism and bringing back a truly progressive taxation strategy, the right wing has gone on an endless campaign of distraction by fighting gay marriage and rolling back women’s rights to bodily sovereignty.  We didn’t choose to put these issues front and center, the Republicans did and we have been forced 24-7 to fight these battles on basic human rights, while the economy suffers global moguls continue to rake in the money.

Yes, Mr. McCann we bleat on and on about the importance of an educated and healthy population.  We voice and express concerns about how exploitative capitalism, on which your portfolio and business model relies, has caused irreparable harm the planet we call home.  But we know, worrying about an endangered planet and humanity causes your portfolio to wilt like you probably do when you’ve run out of Viagra in the middle of the deep blue on your shiny yacht after your escort has finished dictating for you.

To the true believers on the left, re-electing Barack Obama is not a matter of what is or is not good for the country; rather, for the majority on the left, the primary motivation is geared solely toward defeating their sworn enemy: conservatives and Republicans, whom many falsely believe are a right-wing horde determined to create a theocracy and impose old-fashioned morality.  But what they fear most from the right is a determination to reinstitute unfettered individual freedom and concomitant economic growth, which would relegate the American left to the back bench of American society.

Yeah we got it.  Apparently McCann seems to have a misunderstanding of American history? We’re not going to the back of the bus as much as the GOP, Tea Partiers and others wish.  In fact, its pretty clear the country is changing and electing a black president only constituted the beginning.

Thus, to them, what the policies of Barack Obama and his radical minions are doing to the long-term fate of nation is immaterial as long as Obama regurgitates his support for the various causes that are near and dear to the coalition that makes up the left.  There are two common threads to the belief system of American progressives: 1) an omnipotent central government controlled by them, and 2) an assumption that there is a bottomless pit of money to be siphoned from an equally bottomless pit of wealth.  But this is not the same nation that experienced unprecedented prosperity from 1946 to 2007.  It is not the same nation in which these narcissists on the left grew up, never knowing national adversity or trauma.

1. Yes, we do in fact represent every single portion of humanity not represented by the guests on your yacht Mr. McCann, yes we do in fact believe that the government’s role is to put selfish pricks like you where you belong — in the palm of our sweaty, hard working hands.

2. We do indeed see a bottomless pit of money — our money that we worked damn hard for that you stole from us through your wrangling and perverting our government to allow you to extract every penny from our efforts and give as little back to us as possible.

And we also know that the national prosperity has been in decline for us ever since your patron saint, Ronnie Reagan took office here and began to strip every single protection from greedy, self centered, hypocritical plutocrats like yourself.   We’ve suffered enough trauma under the reign of the greedy and we’ve had it.

The manner in which these progressives, and their titular leader Barack Obama, are conducting themselves in the current campaign season is indicative of their arrogant and immature mindset.  To the vast majority on the left, this campaign is merely a game played out on the playground of American politics, wherein they childishly engage in name-calling and temper tantrums reminiscent of spoiled brats determined to get their way, regardless of the consequences.

Well, to the vast majority of Americans this playground is ours and its our damn business how we play it out and we’d like it if global moguls like yourself keep your filthy paws out of our political and electoral business.  We are indeed determined to get our way but it seems last we knew, the bamboozled foot soldiers of the plutocracy were the ones throwing the biggest temper tantrums about having a Kenyan born Islamic black man chosen as the president of their whites-only fiefdom.  But like most spoiled brats, you people just refuse to take your marbles and go home to cry to mama, nope, instead you have to put millions into SuperPACS and keep trying to play petty games with our political system to feed your own selfish desires.

It is time to grow up and understand that the America that could absorb all the excessive spending, promises, and left-wing fun and games is no more.  This nation cannot survive on its present course, and if that course is not dramatically reversed, those on the left will suffer as much as if not more than the bulk of the American people they are trying to rule.  History has shown repeatedly that when an overwhelming political and social catastrophe strikes a nation, the people turn against the ruling class, often with a vengeance.  In the United States, that ruling class is presently dominated by the American left.

You’re absolutely right Mr. McCann, the country can no longer continue on this course.  Scientists say if we don’t make radical life style and consumption changes we may not have a planet worth living on in another twenty or thirty years.  History has indeed shown repeatedly that when aristocrats and their inbred offspring are allowed to run things, they tend to make a big damn mess of the house and leave the adults to come and clean it up.  The clean up time has begun and we’re ready to evict you and your lying friends.  Thanks for playing Mr. McCann, there’s a spot in the back of the bus for you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Should New Hampshire Expand Medicaid?

Medicaid could cover many working families that cannot afford private insurance.

The primary goal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)* is to reduce the number of people without health insurance. One strategy to reach that goal is an expansion of Medicaid, so that more people will qualify for the government program.

In its recent decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that Congress cannot force states to expand Medicaid because states will pick up some of the cost of the expansion.

Many New Hampshire Republicans, including gubernatorial candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith, and House Speaker William O’Brien, have lined up to oppose any expansion of Medicaid. If this becomes the law in New Hampshire, it will be the triumph of ideology over common sense, and New Hampshire will have lost an opportunity to improve the health of its citizens, lower the cost of private health insurance, and boost the state’s economy.  Our state budget would not work without money from Washington. Federal funds make up 30% of the budget, while state tax revenues make up 34%.  User fees, licenses, court fines, and other non-tax revenue make up the rest.

In the past, politicians from both sides of the aisle have worked to take full advantage of federal dollars when crafting the state budget. Federal money usually comes with strings attached—some state dollars have to be contributed in order to qualify for the federal funds. Typically, the state and federal dollars are in approximately equal proportions, but sometimes one state dollar can leverage two or more federal dollars.

Medicaid is a federal/state program to provide health insurance to the needy. The vast majority of those on Medicaid are children, the disabled, and the elderly, including elderly in nursing homes who are unable to afford the cost of their care. The uninsured in America are primarily the working poor who lack health insurance because their employers do not offer it, or because the cost is beyond their budget.

Obamacare The ACA calls for Medicaid eligibility to be expanded to 133% of the federal poverty level. This means a family of four with household income up to $30,657 would qualify. Under current New Hampshire law, a poor family is eligible for Medicaid only if its income is less than 68% of the federal poverty level ($15,674). The federal government will pay 100% of the cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years, 95% in the next three years, and 90% in the following three years.

Medicaid expansion would have three major benefits for New Hampshire. First, it is estimated that 20,000 people would become insured. Studies have shown that people with health insurance incur less in healthcare costs because they seek care earlier, before a condition has become acute. Better access to health care means healthier citizens. A recent study that compared states that have already expanded Medicaid (Maine, New
York and Arizona) with neighboring states that have not expanded Medicaid (New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Mexico) found that deaths dropped over 6% among those who gained Medicaid coverage.

We also should consider the benefits to New Hampshire businesses. Healthier workers are more productive, and take less sick time. Second, the cost of private health insurance will decrease as cost shifting is reduced. Under current federal law, hospitals cannot turn
away the uninsured who seek care at emergency rooms. Caring for the uninsured is not free. Those costs are included in the cost structure of hospitals, and passed on to those with private health insurance. Third, tens of millions of dollars of new federal money will be pumped into New Hampshire’s economy. Currently, New Hampshire gets back only 68 cents of each dollar in federal taxes paid by New Hampshire citizens. Accepting the Medicaid expansion money will help change that number, particularly if some states don’t take the money (and it appears that the states most likely to refuse the Medicaid expansion money are some “red” Republican states that get far more in federal dollars than they pay in federal taxes.) The economic impact of the new Medicaid money will be equivalent to the opening of a major new employer, with the benefits spread throughout the state and its 26 hospitals.

The debate over Medicaid expansion come down to this: should New Hampshire spend about $10 million a year in order to receive $90 million in federal dollars, if the new money will decrease the number of uninsured, improve the health of New Hampshire citizens, reduce costs for employers, decrease the cost of private health insurance, and boost our state’s economy?

To ask the question, you know the answer is “yes.” And you wonder how Ovide Lamontagne, Kevin Smith, Speaker O’Brien could possible say “no.”

– Mark Fernald

[We removed the right-wing label “Obamacare” and replaced where necessary with the proper descriptor, Affordable Care Act or ACA.  We at Progressive Action NH, strongly encourage writers to not adopt right-wing labels and talking points and although Obama has been the president during the proposal of this program, he personally did not think up the ACA  — his staffers copied Republican plans.]

Tagged , , , , , ,