“…every other advanced country has much lower health costs than we do, and even within the US, the VHA and even Medicaid are much better at controlling costs than Medicare, and even more so relative to private insurance. The key is having a health insurance system that can say no — no, we won’t pay premium prices for drugs that are little if any better, we won’t pay for medical procedures that yield little or no benefit. But even as Republicans demand “entitlement reform”, they are dead set against anything like that. Bargaining over drug prices? Horrors! The Independent Payment Advisory Board? Death panels! They refuse to contemplate using approaches that have worked around the world; the only solution they will countenance is the solution that has never worked anywhere, namely, converting Medicare into an underfunded voucher system.”
The company that owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden is feeling the effects of its well-publicized
tantrum plan to not provide its employees — who get paid very low wages – with health insurance coverage. Of course we can expect that Darden’s owners / upper management will continue to receive outlandish salaries and bonuses, because that’s how American capitalism works. But that has nothing to do with anything… right?
How not to succeed in business: Promise to dodge Obamacare mandates – Darden began testing a plan under which it would hire more part-time employees in October, who would work fewer than 40 hours a week. That would exempt the company from the health law’s mandate to provide health insurance coverage to all full-time workers. Separate research from YouGov suggests that other restaurant chains that have recently criticized the Affordable Care Act have seen their favorability dip shortly thereafter… As much as Americans have negative opinions about the larger health-care system, they also tend to have pretty positive views of their own health insurance. Politifact has sifted through this data before, and found that polls that ask Americans whether they’re satisfied with their health-care plan can find upwards of 80 percent of respondents agreeing with them.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Darden Restaurants Inc. shares fell 9% in premarket trades on Tuesday after it said it expects adjusted second-quarter profit of 25 to 26 cents a share. The Orlando, Fla., operator of Olive Garden and Red Lobster eateries was expected to earn 46 cents a share, according to a survey by FactSet.
Pre-existing condition? Tough shit.
con-tem-plate: Mitt Romney on Leno:
“If they’re 45 years old and they show up and they say I have a heart condition and I want insurance? You can’t play the game like that.”
I know plenty of people who have pre-existing conditions. This is exactly why we need the individual mandate. The Republican spokesperson goes on and on about how this is a hard problem to solve. Well, guess what? It’s already been solved, and it called Obamacare! Obamacare is the first pass at helping real life healthcare issues just like this. Under Romney, sorry, you’re out of luck.
Is this man for real? His glib answer just came out without any thought. Cold, compassionless, heck, no intelligence either.
Jay Leno does a great job, and all it took was a simple follow-up question.
Mitt’s own wife, Anntoinette, has a pre-existing condition. But neither of them have been without health insurance (or the money to pay for the very best medical treatment) a day in their privileged, silver-spoon fed lives.
Romneybot is unable to compute a life without a lot of money. FFS, apparently Ann still has PTSD from having to “eat tuna” and sell some stock when they were in college. These two would fall apart if they had to live our lives for a couple of weeks!
“Many expect an activist Supreme Court will strike down part or all of health reform. If they strike down the mandate, the Supreme Court will be paving the way to a single-payer system, or back to the old broken health care system.” — Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), quoted by TPM.
Medicare for all. Let’s do that.
If Clarence Thomas rules against ACA, he’ll be RICH!
“Scalia’s cafeteria constitutionalism, in which he picks and chooses the laws he ideologically agrees with and ignores the ones he doesn’t, was never on better display than in Monday’s SCOTUS decisions. In the world according to Scalia, Arizona has the rights to patrol its own borders associated with a sovereign state, but Montana must bow to federal power when it comes to obeying Citizens United (the state’s 100-year-old campaign finance law was enacted free its citizens from the corrupt control of mining interests). Or as Harold Meyerson put it in the Washington Post, “You’re sovereign when Scalia agrees with you; you’re nothing when he doesn’t.” — Joan Walsh, Thanks, Antonin Scalia – Salon.com
erosum: Rachel Maddow on “Obamacare”
They did the right thing:
“Hindsight is always 20-20, but last time I checked almost every president since Teddy Roosevelt tried to do something on health care and wasn’t able to do it. It was the right thing to do, and sometimes you don’t get a second chance to do the right thing.” — Former North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge
“Republicans did a great job of misinforming … and scaring the American people. So did the insurance companies, and the fact is when you explain provisions of the bill, the American people support it. …I’m embarrassed for Congress that they didn’t pass health care reform long before we did. Far too many people in Congress think that they are there to get reelected and that’s unfortunate. We’re there to work for the American people, and that’s what we did. We passed a measure that allows millions of Americans to be insured. It allows people with pre-existing [conditions] to get covered.” — Former Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus
“You have to vote with your conscience and do what’s right. In my district, I had 350,000 who had no health insurance. I came from a migrant family, and I knew the seriousness of not having insurance and people dying because they couldn’t go to the doctor. It was the right thing to do, and if I had to do it again, I would do it again. It was now or never.” — Former Texas Rep. Solomon Ortiz
— Politico spoke to Democrat lawmakers who fought to pass the Affordable Care Act — and who were voted out as a result. The consensus? No regrets.
Think Progress: Thousands of federal firefighters are battling massive wildfires in Colorado and Utah. But because most of these firefighters are temporary employees of the Forest Service, they do not receive health benefits under federal regulations. Bill Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said health insurance is unaffordable for many unless “they have a spouse that might be able to get coverage under an employer. In some places that’s not an option.” The Affordable Care Act, on which the Supreme Court will rule tomorrow, could help them by guaranteeing coverage if they have a pre-existing condition from smoke inhalation and by offering subsidies to help cover insurance premiums. But if the Supreme Court overturns the law, as Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff writes, “the firefighters stay in the same situation they’ve been in all along: Working a dangerous job and unable to afford coverage.”
Bill Clinton gives a speech at the Cannes Lions international advertising festival in France on Thursday. (Lionel Cironneau / AP Photo)
The Daily Beast: Clinton says that if the Supreme Court decides to invalidate the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act there will be consequences which aren’t being reported:
- Changing the health-care delivery system has already produced two years in a row of 4 percent inflation in health-care costs. This is the first time in 50 years that health-care costs have gone up so little. Killing the Affordable Care Act would let inflation loose again.
- Some 2.6 million people ages 21 to 26, who now have insurance coverage for the first time because they can be carried under their parents’ policy, would lose it.
- $1.3 billion dollars in insurance refunds have already been paid to businesses and individuals because now the law says 85 percent of your premium has to go to health care and not to profits and promotion. (California hasn’t reported yet, but will likely increase that figure to more than $1.5 billion.) Refunds would shrink.
- If Republicans succeed in persuading the Supreme Court to repeal the individual mandate, somewhere between 12 million and 16 million Americans will be unable to get health insurance because of preexisting conditions.
“Clinton predicted that if the law is declared unconstitutional, Republicans will suffer a backlash when millions of Americans calculate what they have lost. Before the Affordable Care Act passed, two thirds of all the applications for bankruptcy were because of health-care emergencies, a consequence likely to return if health care inflation again rises precipitously.”
Just before the Supreme Court issues its ruling this week on the Affordable Care Act, Think Progress reminds us What you would miss about Obamacare – What happens if the Supreme Court strikes whole or parts of Obamacare? These popular provisions would be lost:
- Access to health insurance for 30 million Americans and lower premiums.
- Insurers’ inability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
- Affordable health care for lower-income Americans.
- Investments in women’s health.
- Young adults’ ability to stay on their parents’ health care plans.
- Temporary coverage for the sickest Americans.
redditor captainpixystick explains the Affordable Care Act to you like you’re five.
Bob: Hi, insurance company. I’d like to buy some health insurance.
Insurance company: No. You had cancer when you were 3 years old, and the cancer could come back. We’re not selling you health insurance.
Bob: It’s not my fault I got cancer when I was three! Besides, that was years ago!
Insurance company: If we sell insurance to you, we’ll probably lose money, and we’re not doing it.
Bob: But I need insurance more than anyone! My cancer might come back!
Insurance company: We don’t care. We’re not selling you insurance.
Obama: Hey, that’s totally not fair. Bob is right, he does need insurance! Sell Bob some insurance.
Insurance company: If we have to, I guess.
Mary: This is cool. Obama said the insurance company has to sell insurance to anyone who needs it.
Sam: Hey, I have an idea. I’m going to stop paying for health insurance. If I get sick, I can always go buy some insurance then. The insurance company won’t be able to say no, because Obama’s told them they have to sell it to anyone who needs it!
Dave: that’s a great idea! I’m not paying for health insurance either, at least not until I get sick.
Insurance company: Hey! If everyone stops paying for insurance, we’ll go bankrupt!
Obama: Oh come on Sam and Dave, that’s not fair either.
Dave: I don’t care. It saves me money.
Obama: Oh for god’s sake. Sam, Dave, you have to keep paying for health insurance, and not wait until you’re sick. You too, Mary and Bob.
Mary: But I’m broke! I can’t buy insurance! I just don’t have any money.
Obama: Mary, show me your piggy bank. Oh, wow, you really are broke. Ok, tell you what. You still have to buy insurance, but I’ll help you pay 95% of the cost.
Mary: thank you.
Obama: I need an aspirin.
Insurance company: We’re not paying for that aspirin.
WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————
“She absolutely should not be president: no way, no how. I’ve watched her on the public stage over the past four years. There has been zero effort — zero — to improve any of her obvious deficiencies.” — Steve Schmidt, remarking on Sarah Palin and the “disastrous political misjudgment” in selecting her as McCain’s running mate, in the NY Times.
Mitt Romney commenting on Obama and firemen, policemen, and teachers: “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” Romney in Iowa – watch:
Romney economics: fire more government workers — The last three years are the worst on record for public sector job loss, and the 700,000 government jobs that no longer exist remain a large drag on the American economy. [...Here's] yet another indication that Romney is more interested in continuing the GOP’s ideological battle against government instead of curing the ills that are plaguing the American economy. — Think Progress
- Recall, just last month (on the anniversary of the Osama bin Laden operation), Romney needed to wrap himself in 9/11 iconography to compete with President Obama, so he and “Noun-Verb-9/11″ Giuliani took pizzas to some FDNY government parasites for a photo-op and as a means to criticize the President over the firefighters’ salaries! What does Romney stand for? IT DEPENDS ON THE HOUR OF THE DAY.
Just another day in America: a Republican throwing more free money at capitalists – The $1.65 billion tax deal the Corbett administration is negotiating with Shell Oil Co. to locate an ethane processing plant in western Pennsylvania is shaping up to be the biggest such state investment Pennsylvania history… Under the deal, taxpayers would foot the bill for hazardous materials clean up at the western Pennsylvania site, a cost that could easily soar into the tens of millions… on top of the $1.65 billion in tax credits over 25 years starting in 2017, and other sweeteners that come with a tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zone, the state would be picking up the bill to clean up the waste from a zinc smelter site. – Philly.com
This is how America works: lay-off workers and over-compensate CEOs – Verizon Communications announced last week that it would reduce its nationwide workforce by 1 percent, and if enough workers don’t accept the buyouts, it will resort to involuntary layoffs. Verizon paid chief executive Lowell C. McAdam more than $22.5 million in 2011, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of executive compensation. The company has paid its top five executives more than $350 million in the last five years. [...] In 2011, the company’s shareholders saw an 18.8 percent increase in the value of their returns. Workers, however, have not shared in those gains. Verizon eliminated 26,000 jobs over a two-year period in 2008 and 2009 — including 16,000 jobs in 2009 alone — and laid off roughly 13,000 more in 2010. At the same time, Verizon has demanded sizable concessions from workers… – Think Progress
Fox “News” makes you stupid – Fox News host Neil Cavuto rehashed old myths on his show today to argue against a proposed Democratic bill that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 an hour and require annual increases for inflation. To make his point, Cavuto claimed the higher wage would negatively impact current unemployment levels [...]The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that raising the minimum wage has no “discernible impact” on employment, and in fact, concluded that wage increases are more likely to result in more jobs rather than less. – Media Matters
Mitt Romney will now be getting loads of money from billionaire Foster Friess and his Super PAC, Restore Our Future – the primary backer of the pro-Rick Santorum Super PAC, says he is fully behind Mitt Romney’s efforts to defeat President Barack Obama…. [...] Friess said he met with Romney at a fundraiser in Phoenix recently. ”When you look a guy in the eye you can tell a little of what he’s like and he’s a special guy. He’s got a great family he loves America.” — Buzzfeed
Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney — [S]aying your first pick is Ron Paul, but Mitt Romney will do, proves that you stand for absolutely nothing. — JM Ashby
- Paul told CNN it would be an honor to be [Romney's] running mate.
- Ha ha haa!
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
Obama clarifies ‘private sector is doing fine’ remark, responding to the ‘political games’ that started over it – “The economy needs to be strengthened,” Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. “That is why I had a press conference. I believe there are a lot of Americans who are hurting right now. That is what I have been saying for the last year, two years, three years.” Dismissing “political games” around the issue, Obama said Americans should instead focus on choosing a candidate who can articulate a clear solution to the problem. “The key is, for folks, what I am interested in hearing from Romney, is what steps are they willing to take right now that will make an actual difference? And, so far, all we have heard are additional tax cuts to the folks who are doing fine.” – TPM
Obama says the “private sector is doing fine” and the GOP circus pulls into town — As gaffes go, this strikes me as extremely weak tea. The choice of words probably could have been slightly better, but really, to treat this as some kind of breakthrough moment in the campaign is pretty silly. Indeed, what Obama said, in context, is largely correct — compared to the public sector, the private sector really is doing fine. This isn’t complicated. Corporate profits have soared, the stock market is up, and private sector job growth has fueled the recovery entirely on its own. In fact, private sector job growth last year was the second best year we’ve seen since the late 1990s, and 2012 is on track to be even stronger. The public sector, meanwhile, continues to be a drag on the economy, laying off workers and cutting budgets. Comparing the two sectors, there’s nothing shocking about saying one is “fine” and the other isn’t. If the media pushback is that the current growth rates aren’t yet good enough, that’s certainly fair — but I think everyone realizes Obama has said the same thing several thousand times. — Steve Benen
JUST HOW FINE IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOING? Corporate / private-sector profits after taxes are at record highs – Andrew Sullivan || Note: this private-sector success isn’t doing much for the nation’s economy, the treasury, or for job creation — but there are several CEOs who have huge bank accounts now.
Obama campaign’s full response to Romney’s “fire more government workers” remarks – ”After years on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney finally revealed his jobs plan today. It is a plan of job elimination, not creation. While the President has put a jobs plan on the table that addresses areas of employment where we need to spur hiring the most right now – keeping police officers on the street and teachers in the classroom, Mitt Romney promised to eliminate even more public sector jobs. Mitt Romney has also said we should ‘send home’ 145,000 federal workers – those workers are mostly military personnel, VA hospital personnel who care for the wounded and Homeland Security workers. Not only has Mitt Romney opposed the President’s plan to create one million jobs, he is actually calling for further job loss in the sector that needs the most urgent boost. While job creation in Massachusetts lagged during Romney’s tenure as Governor despite his promises, calling for job elimination when we’re still digging out from the economic crisis is nothing short of stunning.” — Buzzfeed
Romney Economics: Fewer teachers, fewer firefighters, fewer police officers — Watch:
Chris Matthews goes nuts on ‘idiot Republican argument’ – As the conversation turned to the economy in general, fellow panelist and former Deputy Press Secretary to George W. Bush, Tony Fratto, began to argue that people want the private sector and not the government to, “take the lead.” “It hasn’t. It has failed, and it keeps failing,” Matthews interrupted. As he and Fratto talked over each other, Matthews claimed that the private sector was purposefully withholding its money to keep the economy stagnant and to hurt the president’s reelection campaign. [...] “Okay, here’s the idiot Republican argument,” Matthews said. “If you’d just give them a bigger tax cut than Bush gave them.” [...] “I feel like I’m teaching first grade here,” Matthews said. “What do you think Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does for a living representing American business? He gets Republicans elected. Business and the Republican party are the same thing.” – Raw Story
NEW DATA: 6.6 Million Young Adults Insured Thanks To Obamacare – According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, 6.6 million young adults have signed up for coverage through their parents’ health insurance plans. Under the ACA provision, young people can now stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. About half of the 19-to-25 year-olds interviewed for the study reported opting in to their parents’ plans between November 2010 and November 2011. — Think Progress
WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—
Mitt Romney said Monday he wasn’t concerned about Donald Trump’s commitment to the “birther” conspiracy, one day before the GOP presidential candidate hosts a fund-raiser alongside the celebrity business magnate. Asked on his charter plane whether Trump’s questioning of President Barack Obama’s birthplace gave him pause, Romney simply said he was grateful for all his supporters. “You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.” — CNN
- Another missed opportunity to lead — By Romney’s reasoning, decency is irrelevant — he should partner with anyone, no matter how vile, so long as it furthers his ambitions and gets him more votes. — Steve Benen
- Peggy Noonan: Romney needs to cut ties with Trump ‘freak show’ — “My view is that the Romney campaign made a mistake. There was a certain freak show atmosphere to the Republican primaries in the past six months or so. Now that’s kind of over, the show is over. Mr. Romney wins the nomination tonight. Texas will put him over the top. This is a good time to differentiate himself with the stranger aspects of the Republican race. One way you don’t do it, I think, is do a fundraiser with Donald Trump. He was part of the freak show aspect.” – Raw Story
Political purity over representing your constituents: Top Conservatives Warn GOP Not To Waver On ‘Obamacare’ — “The Club for Growth supports complete repeal of Obamacare. And complete doesn’t mean partial. It means complete,” said Barney Keller, a spokesman for the group. “We urge the so-called ‘tea party’ Republicans to keep their promises to voters and continue to fight for complete repeal as well.” [...] Dean Clancy, who leads health care advocacy for FreedomWorks, said the group “would be very concerned about bills to resurrect parts of Obamacare.” He said Republicans should take no responsibility for the broken system that would result. “It would be the height of folly for Republicans to say, OK, this is our problem now,” he said. “It’s not the Republicans’ fault if 25-year-old slackers suddenly are dropped from mom and dad’s health insurance policy. It’s not the Republicans’ fault if various other provisions of Obamacare are no longer on the books. … The American people need to have a chance to reflect on the fact that the Democrats basically rammed an unconstitutional bill down their throat.” – TPMDC
- “Never before in history has a candidate run for President with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.” – Jonathan Cohn | On Health Care, Romney Goes Retro | azspot
Mormonism 101: Is Mitt Romney the ‘White Horse’ in Mormon prophecy? – That’s the one in the old Mormon prophecy attributed to Joseph Smith, which predicts that after the banks fail and when the Constitution is nearing collapse, Mormons flush with wealth — the White Horse, in the prophecy’s metaphor — will rise and lead America back to greatness. [...] “You will see the Constitution of the United States almost destroyed. It will hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber,” the prophecy has Smith saying. But “it will be preserved and saved by the efforts of the White Horse,” who will “stand by the Constitution of the United States as it was given by the inspiration of God.” There will be a Black Horse — American blacks, as the text is commonly interpreted — that sides with England and France, but eventually they’ll all submit to the White Horse as the religion fulfills its world-conquering destiny in an Armageddon-style war with the Russians—while keeping an eye on the looming threat of China. – POLITICO
- Romney and the White Horse Prophecy – [It] is not the LDS cosmology that is relevant to Romney’s candidacy, but whether devout 21st century Mormons like Romney believe that the American presidency is also a theological position. Since his first campaign in 2008, Romney has attempted to keep debate about his religion out of the political discourse. The issue is not whether there is a religious test for political office; the Constitution prohibits it. Instead, the question is whether, past all of the flip-flops on virtually every policy, he has an underlying religious conception of the presidency and the American government. At [an earlier] GOP presidential debate in Florida, Romney professed that the Declaration of Independence is a theological document, not specific to the rebellious 13 colonies, but establishing a covenant “between God and man.” Which would suggest that Mitt Romney views the American presidency as a theological office. — Salon
- “Some of the faithful worry that their comparatively young religion is less prepared for what they will face than Catholics were when John F. Kennedy was running in 1960, or Jews were when Joe Lieberman was the vice presidential nominee in 2000… Polls suggest a deep wariness about Mormonism persists among the American electorate. – Boston Globe | Maybe if it wasn’t so secretive?
How Florida Gov. Rick Scott could steal the election for Mitt Romney – On Wednesday, November 7, Mitt Romney could wake up as the President-elect thanks to one man: Florida Governor Rick Scott. With little fanfare, Scott is undertaking an audacious plan to kick thousands of Floridians off the ballot just before this year’s elections. It’s a sloppy, chaotic and possibly illegal plan. But it just might work. [...] Will history repeat itself in Florida this year? By one estimate, 7000 Florida voters were wrongfully removed from the voter rolls for the 2000 presidential election — 13 times George W. Bush’s margin of victory in that state after the U.S. Supreme Court halted the post-election recount. – Think Progress
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
Two Republican Nominees: John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party and the Obama campaign asks why Romney won’t do the same. (Hint: because Romney is not in possession of a backbone?):
Obama should seize the High Ground – Think about this: Is there anyone in America today who doesn’t either have a pre-existing medical condition or know someone who does and can’t get health insurance as a result? Yet two years after Obama’s health care bill became law, how many Americans understand that once it is fully implemented no American with a pre-existing condition will ever again be denied coverage? “Obamacare is socialized medicine,” says the Republican Party. No, no — excuse me — socialized medicine is what we have now! People without insurance can go to an emergency ward or throw themselves on the mercy of a doctor, and the cost of all this uncompensated care is shared by all those who have insurance, raising your rates and mine. That is socialized medicine and that is what Obamacare ends. Yet Obama — the champion of private insurance for all — has allowed himself to be painted as a health care socialist. – Tom Friedman
- More than 1 million veterans would benefit from Obamacare – Under the Affordable Care Act, about 630,000 uninsured veterans would qualify for Medicaid, and an additional 520,000 would receive subsidized health insurance in the state exchanges, according to a study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “It is striking how many of the uninsured veterans would qualify for Medicaid under the ACA,” said the report’s co-author Genevieve Kenney. Nationwide, 1.3 million veterans are uninsured, and another 900,000 veterans use VA care but have no other insurance coverage. On top of that, about 900,000 adults and children in veterans’ families are uninsured. — Think Progress
LOL – spoof of Mitt’s “Day One” ad (actual audio) – Text shown during audio describing Romney’s repeal of Obamacare and his plan to replace it with a ‘common sense’ health care reform: “If workers get sick, they die. That’s just common sense.” – DailyKos
“A parent should not have to pay a premium to supervise and protect their child on an airplane.” — From a statement Schumer sent the airline trade group, protesting additional fees for window and aisle seats. – AP | Daily Intel
The best way to honor war veterans: Stop needlessly creating new ones.—
(@radleybalko) May 28, 2012
True patriotism isn’t cheap. It’s about taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going. Those who earn tens of millions of dollars a year but pay less than 14 percent of their incomes in taxes, and argue the rich should pay even less, are not true patriots. Those who defend indefensible tax loopholes, such as the “carried interest” loophole that allows private-equity managers to treat their incomes as capital gains even if they risk no income of their own, are not true patriots. Those who avoid taxes by putting huge amounts of their earnings into IRAs via foreign tax shelters are not true patriots. Those who want to cut programs that benefit the poor — Food stamps, child nutrition, Pell grants, Medicaid — so that they can get a tax cut for themselves and their affluent friends— are not true patriots. — Robert Reich
While most people with MS (or any other pre-existing condition) would be grateful to have health insurance and / or simple healthcare in general, Marie Antoinette has said she doesn’t consider herself wealthy yet she explains her dressage hobby as a form of therapy for her MS:
Ann Romney and dressage: A pricey private world
[Romney] soon fell in love with dressage, a fussy Olympic sport that is also called “horse ballet.” In dressage, a horse moves in delicate, dance-like steps to music as the rider, formally clad in top hat and tails, imperceptibly guides the animal.
Because it requires tremendous muscle control, dressage also provided Romney unexpected therapeutic benefits.
“Riding exhilarated me; it gave me a joy and a purpose,” Romney told the Chronicle of the Horse magazine in 2008. “When I was so fatigued that I couldn’t move, the excitement of going to the barn and getting my foot in the stirrup would make me crawl out of bed.”
The article says, “Dressage is not for the faint of wallet; it requires healthy outlays of cash for upkeep, training, transportation and veterinary care. It attracts some of the world’s richest people…” Apparently so:
A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign would not discuss the costs associated with Ann Romney’s horses. “We are not required to disclose this information,” said Amanda Henneberg in an emailed statement.
The woman who bought Super Hit, Catherine Norris, testified that it cost $2,400 a month to board him at the Acres.
Insurance documents in the court file indicate that from November 2006 to November 2007, Ann Romney paid $7,800 to insure five horses against mortality and theft for amounts ranging from $50,000 to $135,000 per horse, which she said was far less than their value. “I self-insure for the rest,” she testified. “Just expensive to have insurance.”
That’s five horses at approximately $100,000 each. A pittance, she’ll assure you! Ann and Mitt not only want to repeal Obamacare on his ‘first day’ if he wins the election, but they want to close all Planned Parenthood clinics which provide multiple health care services for low income women. So you see, Marie Antoinette gets dressage as therapy and you get a bottle of Jack Daniels and a piece of wood to bite on. And? Ann has explained, patiently, that you just need to be wealthy in spirit, because that’s worth more than money (or a job, a car, a home, food, or medicine).
Deal with the cake you’re given to eat.
WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—
Mitt Romney panders to the far-right Christian fundagelicals who think his religion is a cult – Toward the beginning of the ceremony, Mark DeMoss, a well-known Evangelical and longtime Romney supporter, took to the podium to vouch for the Mormon candidate. He recounted a meeting between Romney and Dr. Falwell four years ago, after which the candidate sent the pastor a chair engraved with the words, “There’s always room for you at my table.” ”I trust him to do the right thing,” DeMoss said. “To do the moral thing, to do what’s best for our country. I trust his integrity, his moral compass, his judgment, and his perfect decency. Finally, I trust his values, for I feel they mirror my own.” It was meant to be a unifying moment of culture war diplomacy on DeMoss’s part, a nod to his fellow Evangelicals that Romney was, in fact, one of them. But in the middle of his speech, an angry voice from the back of the graduates’ section interrupted: “Hey Mitt! Jesus is the only way!” [...] For the thousands of conservative Evangelicals on campus Saturday who reject the candidate’s claim to Christianity, Romney may represent a compromise: They’re voting for him because they can’t do better. — Mitt Romney’s Pitch To The True Believers [image: arcaneimages]
- THE BOND between Romney and Christian fundagelical fascists will be a shared hate of those who are different: “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.” - Mitt Romney, speaking at today’s commencement at Dead Dead Dead Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.
- Romney backs away from supporting same-sex adoption – “Well, actually I think all states but one allow gay adoption. So that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.” – Raw Story
- JESUS CHRIST Himself is too ‘counterculture’ for this place: No ‘Counterculture’ Hair Allowed At Liberty University – the rules governing hair on Liberty’s campus are very strict. From the rules for men: Hair and clothing styles related to a counterculture (as determined by the Student Affairs Deans’ Review Committee) are not acceptable. Hair should be cut in such a way that it will not come over the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time. Ponytails for men are unacceptable.
Wait, Suddenly Right-Wing Bloggers Don’t Want Candidates Vetted? – In the wake of the Washington Post’s unflattering article yesterday about how five of Mitt Romney’s high school classmates recalled the Republican candidate leading an assault against a presumed gay schoolmate, pinning him down, and cutting his long hair while tears filled up in the boy’s eyes, conservative bloggers were indignant the Post would bother with such trivial pursuits. -”Is a decades old high school story really ‘news’?” (Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin.) -”Cutting-edge reporting from WaPo: Let’s take an in-depth look at … Romney’s cruel high-school pranks.” (Ed Morrissey) -”It’s a waste of time and energy and effort.” (Fox News’ Karl Rove.) -”BREAKING NEWS: Mitt Romney Went to High School. Seriously.” (Erick Erickson) Suddenly the far-right press thinks it’s pointless to delve deep into a candidate’s past in search of clues about his personality and clues to what shaped him into an adult. Suddenly they mock efforts by the press to paint a detailed personal portrait of would-be presidents by combing over their biographies. In short, suddenly right-wing bloggers are strongly opposed to vetting. – Media Matters
YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA: NBC’s David Gregory To Headline Conference For Major Republican Advocacy Group – The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states: Journalists should: — Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility. — Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity. Regardless of whether Gregory is being paid for this event and of what he says in his keynote, allowing the NFIB to raise money for its political mission using his name, reputation, and celebrity appears to be at odds with journalistic ethics. — Think Progress
Arizona Ron Paul supporters boo Romney’s son off stage – Supporters of Ron Paul booed the son of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney off the stage Saturday at the Arizona Republican Party convention as he sought to solidify support for his father’s nomination. Hundreds of state GOP members were gathered at Grand Canyon University to elect delegates for the national convention in August in Tampa, which is expected to select Mitt Romney as the official Republican nominee to challenge President Barack Obama. — azcentral.com
PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————
Obama Camp Ties Romney To JP Morgan Scandal – The Obama campaign is seizing on the news that financial giant JP Morgan lost billions of dollars trading derivatives with customer funds to attack Mitt Romney for wanting to repeal the 2010 law meant to curtail these kinds of risky bets. “Rolling back Wall Street reform, as Mitt Romney proposes, would be reckless,” says Obama camp spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement to TPM. “The law promotes transparency, limits the types of risky investments that can be made with deposits insured by federal taxpayers, and prevents investment losses at one bank from threatening the whole financial system. Returning to the failed policy of letting Wall Street write their own rules would put all of us at greater risk of another financial crisis and leave us vulnerable to another taxpayer-funded bank bailout like the one shortly before President Obama took office.” – TPM
Obamacare: A Mother’s Day Gift For All Moms Throughout The U.S. – People always say good health is the greatest gift, so let’s make health a priority this Mother’s Day. Now that I am a mother myself, I am even more appreciative that I have health insurance that covers the care I need. All moms deserve the kind of quality, affordable care that I was lucky enough to receive while pregnant and postpartum, and Obamacare is working to make that dream a reality. — Think Progress
HOW JOURNALISM is done: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Demonstrates How To Handle Tony Perkins On Television – Perkins’ presence on MSNBC isn’t surprising – the hate group leader has become a regular guest on the network over the past several months, and has typically been treated as a credible, uncontroversial political figure, especially on Hardball. On Thursday, however, things were different.For nearly 15 minutes, Matthews, with the help of Frank, grilled Perkins on his views on homosexuality, marriage equality, and same-sex parenting. Matthews challenged Perkins’ anti-gay misinformation, held him accountable for past statements, and demonstrated how out-of-the-mainstream his extreme positions really are. This is exactly the kind of interview that major news outlets should be conducting when dealing with someone like Perkins. – Media Matters
Dianne Feinstein Defends Obama On Gay Marriage: ‘What’s Wrong With People Being Happy?’ – When asked whether Obama had made a political calculation in endorsing gay marriage, Feinstein rejected the idea. “I don’t think it is a flip flop and there is no political calculus in this, because it is not smart from a political point of view. It doesn’t make sense,” Feinstein said. “From a personal point of view, I can tell you what happened because it happened to me,” she continued. “You get to know more and more gay couples and you see the happiness. You see the economic security that marriage brings. And even more fundamentally, you can see children who otherwise would not have an adopted home being able to have that home. And so same-sex couples raise children, they do a fine job. And I think when you see this — and it has happened in California — more and more people say, ‘What is wrong with people being happy?’” — HuffPo [image: randomactsofchaos]
BREAK UP BIG BANKS: A message from Bernie Sanders – J.P. Morgan Chase revealed that its in-house trading operation lost $2 billion in the past six weeks. “The debacle at J.P. Morgan Chase reaffirms my view that the largest six banks in this country, including J.P. Morgan Chase, which have assets equivalent to two-thirds of our GDP, must be broken up. This is important in order to bring more competition into the financial marketplace and to prevent another ‘too-big-to-fail’ bailout,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “At a time when 23 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed, huge financial institutions should not be involved in ‘making wagers or high-stake bets.’ They should be investing in the productive economy creating jobs and improving our standard of living.” — Crooks & Liars
Betty White says she ‘very, very much favors’ Obama – As she prepares to visit the Smithsonian Institution and National Zoo next week, White told The Associated Press she “very, very much favors” President Barack Obama in the election. The 90-year-old actress said Friday she is very bi-partisan and has stayed away from politics all of her life. She usually never says who she is for or against because she doesn’t want to turn off any of her adoring fans. White says in this year’s election, she likes what Obama has done and “how he represents us.” – HuffPo
Under federal law, hospitals must treat any patient who needs emergency medical attention even if they have no way to pay. Nursing and rehab facilities are not required by law to do so. At the same time, hospitals cannot discharge a patient without a plan in place for his or her ongoing care.
The result is patients stuck in the hospital in need of long-term care but with nowhere to go, large medical bills, and no way to pay – a cost that is usually covered at the hospital’s expense.
A cost passed on to the rest of us eventually. Even teabaggers who are against Obamacare have no problem with filing bankruptcy on their unpaid medical bills, letting the rest of us absorb the costs. Boom! Who needs reform now, Nobama?
Or recall the simple solution for people who need medical care but don’t have health insurance, suggested by the very serious DOCTOR Ron Paul (and his cheering supporters) during an early GOP debate:
And here’s something new and cool happening in the Land of Exceptionalism:
This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.
The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.
To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all, even using scripts like those in collection boiler rooms, according to the documents and employees interviewed by The New York Times.
In some cases, the company’s workers had access to health information while persuading patients to pay overdue bills, possibly in violation of federal privacy laws, the documents indicate.
The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors.
Accretive Health has contracts not only with two hospitals cited in Minnesota but also with some of the largest hospital systems in the country, including Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. Company executives declined to comment on Tuesday.
As comparison, a dispatch from an American in Korea:
————————————-WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY
What is Mitt Romney’s real tax plan? Apparently we got a rare glimpse of this when reporters overheard a private conversation Sunday night with supporters at a fundraising party: “I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well. “By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates.” Okey dokey. If Romney could actually get Congress to agree to this, I figure it would bring in roughly $100 billion in revenue. That’s assuming a complete elimination of the deduction for all state, local, and property taxes. In return, this would allow tax rates to go down across the board by about one percentage point. Maybe one and a half. Or, alternatively, it might allow tax rates on the rich to go down by five or ten points. I wonder which he has in mind? [Kevin Drum]
What’s Mitt Romney hiding? A lot, for someone asking for our votes – Mitt Romney has a secret plan to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Mitt Romney is filing for an extension on his taxes, a move that, not coincidentally, prevents him from having to release them. This all makes sense from a guy who thinks that the inequality from which he benefits so enormously should only be discussed in quiet rooms. But it’s not exactly the stuff with which he’s likely to convince a majority of voters that he can be trusted with the governance of their country. After all, Romney doesn’t even want to tell us what policies he’s running on, let alone how his personal conduct has measured up.
FROM ROMNEY’S BOOK: “Welfare without work erodes the spirit and the sense of self-worth of the recipient. And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to an indolent and unproductive life. Hardworking parents raise hardworking kids; we should recognize that the opposite is also true. The influence of the work habits of our parents and other adults around us as we grow up has lasting impact.” Does this mean Romney’s children became indolent and unproductive because their mother stayed at home and their father sat in a conference room and fired people for a living? I don’t know, but they do fit the equation Mitt Romney has laid out. Given what we now know of the Romneys, I believe a better title for Romney’s book would be — No Apology, The Case for Being a Privileged White Man. [Indolent and Unproductive | Bob Cesca]
Anti-Mormon pastor endorses Romney because Obama ‘opposes’ the Bible – Fox News host Clayton Morris noted that Jeffress was quoted in October as saying, “Evangelical Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon, therefore not a real Christian.” “Critics would argue that President Obama is a real Christian,” Morris continued. “By that metric then, why wouldn’t you support Barack Obama?” “Well, again, I never said that quote that you attributed to me,” Jeffress argued. “There was a spurious article in one magazine that just completely fabricated that quote. I’ve never said don’t vote for Mitt Romney because he’s not a Christian. But in my book that you were so kind to reference, I said, given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces non-biblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who embraces Bible principles, there’s every reason to support Mitt Romney in this election. I’ve been consistent in that.” Jeffress added that he expected evangelicals across the nation to put Romney in the White House because Obama “opposes biblical principles.” [image: mittfitts.com]
Dick Cheney, unapologetic war criminal and second in command to an administration which almost completely trashed this country, calls Obama an ‘unmitigated disaster’ — in a moment of unmitigated density and stunning lack of self-awareness: “He has been an unmitigated disaster to the country. I can’t think of a time when I felt it was more important for us to defeat an incumbent president today with respect to Barack Obama. I think he has been an unmitigated disaster to the country. I think to be in a position where he gets four more years in the White House to continue the policies he has, both with respect to the economy, and tax policy, and defense and some other areas would be a huge, huge disappointment.” – DICK Cheney, speaking at the Wyoming Republican Party state convention in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Saturday, about the President.
Republicans to slash food stamps – The White House deliberately increased monthly benefits in 2009 by about $20 per person as a way to pump stimulus dollars into the economy. And in this post welfare-reform crisis, hard-strapped governors have sought to maximize food stamp dollars as a cheap way to help families without tapping state funds. The higher costs and visibility—especially as more businesses advertise that they will honor the electronic benefit cards introduced in the 1980’s—are what’s driving the Republican push. The Recovery Act boost in benefits is already phasing out and will be gone entirely by November 2013. But the package now, to be taken up by the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday, would end this abruptly summer, impacting families Sept. 1, and saving about $5.9 billion in 2012 and 2013. [...] the severity of the proposed House cuts could be an over reach for two reasons. First they are all coming from the Agriculture panel in a context where rich farm subsidies continue to be protected at a time of record income for producers. Even in the commodity lobby, there is broad consensus that the current system of cash payments to growers at a time of high farm profits can no longer be politically defended. And by not striking more of a balance, the committee risks real damage to the coalition that has supported farm and food programs together for decades.
———————————————————–——PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS
“Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class. The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.” – President Obama in a statement on Monday’s vote
- The Buffett Rule is supported by 72% of Americans, 53% of Republicans and 2% of GOP Senators. Even though the rule received majority approval in the Senate, Republicans had to show just how out of touch they are, filibustering it.
- Wealthy Investment Banker: ‘It Is Ridiculous That I Pay Substantially Lower Taxes’ Than Working Americans
Henry Paul Monaghan, a professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School and prominent conservative legal scholar, urges the Supreme Court to uphold health care reform — “Moreover, the market for health care is distinctive (if not entirely unique) in several key respects. Virtually all of us will need and obtain health care at some point, but we often cannot predict when or in what ways we will need it. And for the vast majority of us, direct payment for the health care services we obtain would be prohibitively expensive. Yet not obtaining needed medical care can be the difference between life and death. These features help explain why, unlike many other markets, insurance is the overwhelmingly dominant means of payment in the health care market. They also explain why Congress has required that individuals be given emergency care without regard to their ability to pay. As a result, and again unlike other markets, uninsured individuals who are unable to pay directly for needed medical services necessarily shift the cost of those services to others — to health care providers, the government, individuals with insurance, and taxpayers. In that way, Congress is not creating a market which it then seeks to regulate. The insurance-based structure of the health care market is already firmly in place. That is why it was well within Congress’s discretion to design legislation to operate within, and to address problems posed by, this vast market.”
“The ESCHATON DECADE has been a pretty fucked up decade, a time when this country stopped even bothering to pretend to live up to many of its supposed ideals. We go to war and kill lots of people for no good reason, elites have eliminated any accountability for themselves for criminal wrongdoing, we’ve tortured and assassinated people, and the response to massive economic suffering and related criminal fraud has been to give lots of free money to the people who caused it all.” – Duncan Black