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Posts tagged "Medicaid"

Reasonable people who don’t follow politics closely can be forgiven for dismissing Democrats’ focus on the Koch brothers as just a political tactic– not unlike the Republicans’ attacks on George Soros. They’re all rich and politically active. So what? 

Senator Bernie Sanders begs to differ–and so should we. Sanders points out that the brothers are worth 80 billion dollars (including an increase of 12 billion in the last year alone), and he points to the extent of their involvement in the political process–and the degree to which they have used their enormous resources to misinform and confuse, most recently funding political spots that flat-out lie about the Affordable Care Act, which–along with Medicare and Medicaid– they are intent upon repealing. (I guess when poor people get health care, it offends their peculiar version of justice.) 

David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980. And Sanders suggests we take a look at the platform on which he ran: 

  • “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.” 
  • “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” 
  • “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.” 
  • “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.” 
  • “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.” 
  • “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.” 
  • “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.” 
  • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.” 
  • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.” 
  • “We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.” 
  • “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.” 
  • “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.” 
  • “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.” 
  • “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.” 
  • “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.” 
  • “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.” 
  • “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.” 
  • “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.” 
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.” 
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.” 
  • “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.” 
  • “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.” 
  • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.” 
  • “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.” 
  • “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.” 
  • “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.” 


The Koch brothers want to repeal every major piece of legislation that levels the playing field or protects the middle class, the elderly, children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country, and thanks to Citizens United and McCutcheon, they can spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the American government they want. 

They’ve realized that the Libertarian party can’t deliver their particular version of “liberty”–but properly funded, they hope the GOP can. 

They may be right.

H/Y: Sheila Kennedy at Peacock Panache

msnbc:

The more that states embrace Obamacare, the better it works. See how.

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: MoveOn.org

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that same-sex spouses will be recognized in administering several aspects of the Medicare program, regardless of where the couple lives. CMS works with the Social Security Administration to conduct eligibility determinations and to enroll seniors and individuals with certain disabilities in the program. Social Security updated their own marriage recognition policies earlier this week to streamline the handling of marriage-based claims involving transgender people. The announcement is the latest step implementing the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Social Security will now begin processing Medicare enrollment, requests for Special Enrollment Periods, and requests for reductions in late-enrollment penalties for many same-sex spouses. Eligibility for Medicare Part A and Part B coverage is particularly important for these families, who are disproportionately likely to be uninsured. Medicare Part A coverage is often available without paying a monthly premium, making it important for the many lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who struggle to afford coverage.

CMS’s decision also impacts some people who previously applied for a Special Enrollment Period but were denied eligibility because of DOMA. For some of these couples, Social Security will be able to approve a second request for a Special Enrollment Period, giving more immediate access to Medicare coverage.

For couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions this announcement offers some, but not all of the same opportunities for enrolling in Medicare coverage. Domestic partnerships and civil unions are not recognized for the purposes of Special Enrollment Periods for applicants 65 or older, but for those applicants with disabilities who are under 65, Special Enrollment Periods are available as long as the applicant has coverage through their partner’s current employer.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and CMS have been acting to implement the Windsor decision since last year, expanding coverage for many same-sex couples. HHS announced last month that plans sold through Marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act must offer coverage to all same-sex spouses starting in 2015. In September of last year, CMS sent a letter to state Medicaid directors granting discretion to recognize same-sex marriages according to the laws of their state.

Read the full Medicare announcement here.

crooksandliars:

VA Tea Party Delegate Calls Elderly Woman 'Intellectually Lazy' Over Medicaid Expansion

If you’re an elderly citizen concerned about your healthcare and you don’t understand why your own state legislatures refuse to expand Medicaid because of a Conservative ideological hatred of the government, then be careful when you question or email that representative.

AATP:

Tea Party Virginia Delegate Tag Greason cares about his constituents. In fact, when they say something with which he disagrees, like ‘As an elderly woman, I think you should support Medicaid expansion,’ he cares so much he feels the need to set them straight–as Loudoun County resident Susan Merk discovered when she e-mailed him on March 28 when he told her she is ‘the problem’ and called her ‘intellectually lazy’ for supporting something that would greatly benefit her.

Merk voiced her support for the Medicaid Expansion. “It’s imperative that federal Medicaid aid is passing the [Virginia] budget,” Merk wrote. Greason respectfully disagreed…well, maybe not respectfully, but he did disagree. Her elected official mansplained to her that, “ObamaCare has already proven to be inefficient, costly, and an utter disaster,” and that “Medicaid is one of the largest and fastest-growing parts” of the budget even without expansion.

read more

h/t: Igor Volsky at Think Progress Health

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama’s upcoming budget proposal will not include his past offer to accept lowered cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs. Those had been a central component of his long-term debt-reduction strategy.

Officials said Thursday that those potential reductions in spending, included in last year’s Obama budget, had been designed to initiate negotiations with Republicans over how to reduce future deficits and the nation’s debt. But Republicans never accepted Obama’s calls for higher tax revenue to go along with the cuts.

One official said the offer would remain on the table in the event of new budget talks but that it would not be part of the president’s formal spending blueprint for fiscal 2015.

The official was not authorized to comment by name on the budget plan before its March 4 release and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The decision to drop the cost-of-living proposal was essentially an acknowledgement that Obama has been unable to conclude a “grand budget bargain” with Republican leaders, even by including in his previous budget plan a benefit reduction opposed by many Democrats.

While Democrats will cheer the new decision, Republicans are sure to portray the White House move as abandoning any commitment to fiscal discipline.

The new Obama proposal would eliminate congressionally mandated automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to continue kicking in through 2015 by adding $56 billion to the budget, evenly divided between military and domestic spending. That increase would include money for what the White House calls an “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative.”

H/T: Huffington Post

On his radio show yesterday, Bryan Fischer called for ending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, as well as the elimination of the minimum wage … all in order to help the poor and those struggling to make ends meet, of course.

So logically this discussion resulted in Fischer eventually calling for a return to an electoral system in which only people who own property can vote.

"You know, back in the day, in the colonial period," Fischer said, "you have to be a landowner, a property owner to be eligible to vote and I don’t think that’s a bad idea. And the is very simple: if somebody owns property in a community, they’re invested in the community. If they’re renters, they’re going to be up and gone; they could leave the next day … [P]eople that are not property owners - it’s like people that pay no taxes, they have no skin in the game. They don’t care about the same things that somebody does who is rooted in the community."

From the 01.14.2014 edition of AFR’s Focal Point:

More delusional advice from Bryan Fischer.

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

The stereotype of the low-income people enrolled in government programs is that they spend the money on frivolities and are unwise with their budgets. But the data proves otherwise. Families who receive public benefits such as housing assistance, welfare cash assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security Income (SSI) for the disabled or low-income elderly havemuch smaller spending budgets than those who don’t receive benefits and spend a bigger portion on the basics such as food, housing, and transportation, according to an analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On average, families who are enrolled in these public programs spend less than half of what families who aren’t enrolled spend. They also put a bigger percentage of that money toward food, housing, and transportation, devoting 77 percent of their budgets to these necessities compared to about 65 percent for other families. Meanwhile, they spend less, on average, on some things thought to be luxuries like eating out and entertainment. A family that doesn’t get public benefits spends 4.5 percent of its budget on “food away from home,” while a two-parent family who gets benefits spends 4 percent of its budget on eating out and a single parent spends 3.6 percent. “Food away from home spending was higher in both dollar amount and percent of total spending among families not receiving assistance,” the report notes. Families who don’t need assistance also spend more on entertainment in both dollar and percentage terms and devote more of their budgets to “other” expenses.

Families who receive benefits are also more likely to go without higher priced items like houses and cars. Just 3 percent of families who don’t get benefits went without a car, compared to nearly a quarter of those on the rolls. On average, a family that isn’t enrolled in public programs has about two cars, while a family that is enrolled has about one. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of families not receiving assistance are homeowners, while the opposite is true for families who do need the support: just about three-quarters are renters instead of homeowners.

And while the stereotype of the “welfare queen” is a woman who has more children to increase the benefits she gets from government programs, families who are enrolled look similar to those who aren’t. “Average family size was the same (3.7 persons), whether or not a family received assistance,” the report notes.

In reality, many of these benefits that families rely on are paltry and, worse, have recently shrunk. The value of benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), formerly known as welfare, have fallen so that their purchasing power is less than what it was in 1996 for the vast majority of recipients. A family of three that relies solely on TANF won’t be able to make market rent for a two-bedroom apartment and will live at just 50 percent of the poverty line, or $9,765 a year. Food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were reduced in November to an average of less than $1.40 a meal and more cuts are likely on their way after Congress agrees to a new farm bill. Housing assistance from the Section 8 rental voucher program got hammered by sequestration and local authorities had to rescind vouchers from those who had gotten off waiting lists, freeze the lists, and reduce the amount of rent each voucher would cover.

Still, these programs represent a vital lifeline. Government programs such as SNAP, SSI, housing assistance, cash assistance, and others kept millions out of poverty last year.

h/t: Bryce Covert at Think Progress Economy

bspolitics:

Darrell Issa: A shill shilling for shills.

Newly released documents have exposed the agenda of the conservative North Carolina-based J.W. Pope Civitas Institute showing that the organization is seeking funds to engage in a campaign to decimate Medicaid funding in the state. North Carolina media should take care to disclose these revelations to ensure readers know what’s really behind the Civitas Institute’s forthcoming Medicaid attacks.

On December 5, The Guardian released documents noting that conservative groups across the United States “are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment.” The Guardian explained that the “proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.” Indeed, according to a report by the Center for Media and Democracy, the State Policy Network (SPN) and its member organizations “work together in coordinated efforts to push their agenda, often using the same cookie-cutter research and reports, all while claiming to be independent and creating state-focused solutions that purportedly advance the interests or traditions of the state.” he report added:

Although many of SPN’s member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, our in-depth investigation reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, ALEC-backed agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders, all while reporting little or no lobbying activities.

Among the groups cited in the Guardian papers was the Civitas Institute. The organization requested funding for a campaign to try to sway politicians into reducing the amount of money North Carolina gives to the state’s Medicaid program, which it characterized as “failed,” and if successful, export their messaging to other SPN affiliates around the country:

As Media Matters has previously noted, Civitas is affiliated with the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which gets funding from Donors Trust — once dubbed the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement.” The Trust counts the Koch brothers and other major conservative donors as its benefactors. The Civitas Institute itself, receives a significant portion of its funding from North Carolina conservative luminary Art Pope, who is also a budget advisor to North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory.

h/t: MMFA

H/T: Andy Kroll at Mother Jones

liberalsarecool:

America way of life under attack from within.

Via Bernie Sanders on FB.

(via holygoddamnshitballs)