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Friday, March 26, 2010

Promoting Excellence in California State Parks

Our parks need your help--please take the time to take this survey!

Promoting Excellence in California State Parks

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Roundup: This Week's Historic Legislation On Health Care

I haven't written a post of my own yet about the bill because I'm still researching it. I don't want to be talking about provisions that aren't there any longer or make other easily avoidable mistakes. I'm sure I'll be able to come up with my own personal set of mistakes AFTER researching the bill! ;)

One thing that I truly believe, though, is that any problems with the bill are the fault of both the Democratic and the Republican parties, for a number of reasons. I can hear the Republicans screaming from here :) But refusing to negotiate in good faith, and being unwilling to consider compromise, has consequences, just as does authoring and passing legislation.

The party A vs. party B situation is especially odd in this case. A significant segment of the Democratic base is angry about the bill precisely because it incorporates so many proposals and practices endorsed by Republicans in the past, at the expense of even serious consideration of what these Democrats were advocating. Those who wanted to see Medicare For All but were persuaded to accept some kind of "public option" as a compromise, didn't get a compromise (yet), so are unmoved by angry Republicans who seemingly got so much of what they had once asked for and yet didn't cough up a single vote.

A bitterly divided government may not govern all that well, and a bitterly divided nation can conquer and destroy itself.
Both parties. BOTH of you are responsible... for what gets done, and for what fails to get done.

Anyway, reaction to the bill is pouring in, and with it comes some information about the bill. I've posted links to some articles of interest below.

Btw, one major reaction, by the Republican Party, was to send the bill back for amendments.

The amended bill, however, did go through:
Congress Passes Amended Health-Care Law

And just fyi, a source of info on the health reform right from the White House is at HealthReform.gov


Christian Science Monitor: What Obama's New Health Care Bill Means For Us

Fact Check dot Org: A Final Weekend of

Huffington Post: Health Care Bill Passes: What You Need To Know

CNN: Health Care Reform Anger Takes A Nasty, Violent Turn

The Guardian: Democrats face death threats and vandalism over new health care bill

New York Times: Going To Extreme, by Paul Krugman

economicprincipals.com: The Hidden History of the Health Care Bill

The Economist: the health care squeeze

Esquire: What President Obama didn't say, by Dennis Kucinich

Huffington Post: Jodi Jacobson, The Health Care Bill And Women's Health: Wins, Losses, And Challenges

NOW: Health Care Reform Victory Comes With Tragic Setback To Women's Rights, by NOW President Terry O'Neill

Huffington Post: Fact Sheet, The Truth About The Health Care Bill, by Jane Hamsher

From The Network Of Spiritual Progressives
Reaction To The Health Care Debate


Not meant to be an exhaustive list. It is I who am exhausted! More will have to come later.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So What Did We End Up With?

In the coming days and weeks I know that more information will be forthcoming regarding the details of the historic health care bill which President Obama signed and which Republicans, none of whom voted for the bill, already oppose.

I can certainly understand anyone's concern about this bill, as it is most certainly imperfect. My problems with the Republican opposition are:

1. This bill happens to include many provisions which were originally proposed by Republicans. It can even be looked upon as a huge effort to compromise with Republican interests, in its rejection of Progressive proposals such as Medicare For All and in the sweeteners it gives to private insurance companies.

2. If there is a Republican plan which would help more Americans get access to health care than this bill will, I have yet to see it.

That said, I, like many people, have questions about the bill. A few of mine are:

Does the bill truly eliminate the life-threatening "doughnut hole" gap in coverage in Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan for seniors/disabled; many disabled have no other choice but this plan) ? If so, how does it do this, and when?

What is the actual amount of the much-discussed fine for people who do not purchase health insurance (for whatever reason) ?

Is the expansion of Medicaid now to cover people whose incomes are 133% of the poverty level? What happens if a state does not go along with this, since Medicaid is a federal/state program?

Do the promised achievements in lowering the deficit come at the expense of Medicare? taxes?

What does this bill and/or an executive order signed by the President do to women's rights to an abortion?

How does it (supposedly) eliminate discrimination re pre-existing conditions? What is the exact mechanism of this? What if the policies offered are unaffordable?

What goes into effect immediately?

Ok admittedly I have a lot more questions! But I'm researching a few at a time. After all, I'm ill myself, and right now in a huge mess because I can't afford my Medicare copays (a problem I do not think this bill addresses is the lack of access of the disabled under age 65 to Medigap policies.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Support The Medicare You Can Buy Into Act

The health care bill? Well...it's complicated. I hope to get some sort of compilation of info up on this blog today. In the meantime. for the legally educated or the simply courageous: you can read the bill here.

And I'm hoping Congressman Grayson won't mind me copying a mass mailing I received from him which makes an appeal for expansion of Medicare:

In 1968, a ten-year-old boy had to go to the hospital four times a week for treatment. Without that treatment, he had trouble breathing, and he felt like he was suffocating. Because he was suffocating.

His health care was covered by his parents' health insurance. But then they lost their jobs. They were worried about how they would pay the rent. He was worried about whether he would live or die.

How can we let a 10-year-old think about such things? Whether you are Democratic or Republican, left-wing or right-wing, liberal or libertarian, you know in your heart that that's wrong. And it's what you know in your heart, your empathy, that makes you human.

I was that 10-year-old boy. And I haven't forgotten.

That's why I support universal, comprehensive and affordable health care for all American. For you. For me. And for sure, for my five young children, and yours, too. The supposed "sins" of joblessness, homelessness and poverty, those "sins" of the parents, should never descend on the children.

I'm fighting for a decent life for all, especially our children. That's why I voted yes on today's health care reform bill. It's an historic first step. Historic.

But we're not done. The framework for a comprehensive health care system is in place. Now we must finish the job.

Our Medicare You Can Buy Into Act now has over 80 cosponsors in the House and over 40,000 citizen cosponsors at WeWantMedicare.com. It's a simple bill, to let you and me buy into Medicare. You want it, you buy it, you got it.


Let's do it,

Rep. Alan Grayson

[ Paid For By The Committee To Elect Alan Grayson
http://www.graysonforcongress.com ]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Calling All Californians Tired Of Endless State Budget Crises

It is now too easy for a minority to hold up passage of budget/revenue bills. The wasted time results in enormous costs to the taxpayer as well as bringing chaos to the state economy. Majority rule is normal, fair, and efficient. Requiring 2/3 to agree for budget passage is a burden shared by only a very few other states (Arkansas and Rhode Island), states whose budgets are nowhere near the size and complexity of California's.

Go HERE, to Californians For Democracy, to help get budgeting sanity on the ballot.

We have one of the highest-paid legislatures in the nation. It's time we have them doing more than bicker and stalemate.

About Me

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An undergrad economics degree was all I could afford. Alas and alack, it did not guarantee me regular meals.

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Except where individually noted, photos for this blog were taken by xbeepx .