Aurora, Colorado; Republican Congressional Representatives in Action
In Colorado, on Saturday, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman held an event for his constituents at a
a public library in Aurora, Colorado. At least 150 constituents showed up, most of them hoping to ask Coffman about his recent vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his plans for a replacement. But only about 70 people got to meet with Coffman: Despite booking a large room with ample space, Coffman allowed in only four constituents at once for five minutes at a time. When the crowd grew restless, police put up crime scene tape and Coffman snuck out the back door—six minutes before the event was scheduled to end.
Coffman co-authored a Denver Post op-ed on Friday urging the full and immediate repeal of the ACA. About 419,000 Coloradans have gained health care coverage since the enactment of the law, and many of them stand to lose their insurance if it is repealed. Yet Coffman has not proposed a clear replacement for the law, an issue constituents hoped to ask him about on Saturday. “I am potentially going to lose my health insurance,” Berthie Ruoff told NBC 9 while she waited to meet with her representative. “I’ve had a preexisting condition. I’ve had breast cancer. What’s going to happen to me? My spouse who had health insurance passed away. What do I do? You know, what am I supposed to do?”
But neither Ruoff nor many other constituents who stand to lose coverage had an opportunity meet with Coffman. When it grew clear that Coffman would refuse to meet with a majority of those at the event, the crowd channeled its agitation into patriotic songs:
This show of unity, however, did not impress Coffman. Indeed, it appears to have scared him: Rather than address the crowd, Coffman had police officers secretly escort him out of the back door before the event was set to conclude.
A few people noticed Coffman sneaking out and attempted to address him. “Next time,” one woman pleaded, “please be sure you hear all your constituents!” Coffman ignored them, hopped into a waiting car, and drove away.
“Have a good afternoon!” yelled another exasperated woman.
GOP Rep. Sneaks Out of Townhall Meeting, Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, January 15, 2016
I don’t think the needs of the majority are taken into account often enough in today’s America. The mindspace seems to be reserved for special interests and small fractions of the electorate and even the non-electorate. I think it is a very good thing for democracy when once in a while the 95% of Americans who now or some day need healthcare speak up. I just wish Obama-care was a better system, or that a better one was on offer.
If these people want to channel their anger about how this event unfolded, they should take it up with their police department. On what basis did they put up crime scene tape (which by itself with a Republican politician is ironic)? Did someone report a crime or a threat to the good Congressman’s life? Who, dammit? Because that was a false report and the person making the claim should be prosecuted. No, the police were complicit in this charade by letting this feckless coward escape without at least hearing out all of his constituents. I’ve gone to town hall meetings held by my own Congressman, some of which are contentious and he’s stayed long, long after the meeting was supposed to run. But these disappointed constituents should make somebody pay for enabling this politician to skulk off without actually, ya know, doing his job.
Praha (Prague Partisan?):
The last thing you want to do is challenge the police. You will not win and end up in jail. Go to court and challenge them and more than likely the court will side with them. The Congressperson was an ass.
i think his skulking off is good news. better than his staying and giving dumb answers to constituents questions.
maybe people will get the picture.
“[There] ain’t no point in talking when there’s nobody list’ning so we just ran away.” – “Young Turks” (Rod Stewart)
Maybe he knew that there was no problem because President Trump is going to give everyone an awesome program that covers everyone, has reduced co-pays, and cheaper premiums so he just left because there was nothing left worth talking about.
“an awesome program that covers everyone” is probably understandable for the constituents. Nobody would complain about it being too complex.
Maybe he heard that the promised shipment of magic unicorns and pastel ponies had just came in and he needed to make sure each constituent got one.
As long as we are snarking. And JackD you were snarking?
it needen’t be complicated. a medicare for everyone design would work. the money you currently pay for healthcare insurance would instead be deducted as an essentially flat tax from your paycheck. the government would oversee costs and effectiveness of treatments [a know a doctor who seems sincerely concerned that the government would restrict her from practicing good medicine.. i am not so sure, but i think this would need to be addressed if it can be don honestly. my experience with some other doctors is that they will milk the system.]
the key to the “medicare” idea is that you pay a flat tax whether you are young or old, sick or well, and you get treated when you need it even if you have no money or a pre-existing condition. those who are young and healthy would essentially be paying in advance for the time when they are old and sick and have no income.
i know there are people who believe the government can’t be trusted. i am almost one of them. especially now. but if the governemtn can’t be trusted, nothing else will work either.
one possibility that keeps occurting to me is that managing health insurance the way we manage highway construction might produce the benefits of private competition and government oversight. that is let the government design the plan… and then let the insurance companies bid to perform the services for each geographical subset of the population.
but we will get nothing as long a government is in the hands of the predators. which it appears to be.
You still have Part D and Supplemental insurance to contend with today.
Yeah, Medicare for all! Shouldn’t be hard to get the Republican Congress behind that.
Medicare is a good back door for sneaking in single payer coverage. Most Republicans don’t realize it is a government program.
maybe we could get rid of the Republican congress.
maybe we could devise a good solution and then fight for it. instead of sitting around pretending to be statesmen and having to “compromise” with all the interest groups.
yes. today is a mess. even Medicare Classic has been turned into a half-welfare political football.
Plus instead of letting the people pay for it out of their paycheck while they have a paycheck, they come up with the stupid idea of taking it out of their social security which wasn’t enough to live on in the first place.
this is what happens when you have “damn politicians” design things instead of people who actually think about the how to, you know, actually solve the problem of providing medical care to the people in the sanest way possible.
unless you are expecting costs to go down, the least burdensome way to pay for it is “pay as you go.” that way each generation pays their own future costs at the rate of today’s costs, each following generation does the same, but each following generation should have more money than the one preceding it.
Of course building up a large TF is problematic as Congress never wants to give it back and make excuses such as “entitlement” issues to keep the TF. Medicare is the closest thing the US has to what the European model is today.
To some extent, it does control medical costs; however, it does not do it in the same fashion as the VA or Medicaid or to the same extent. Simple example, there are two types of Metoprolol. VA will let you have the version you can take twice a day and not the once a day version . . . to control costs. Under Part D, you “may” pay a fee for the once a day version. Letting Medicare negotiate drugs would help lower costs.
Most people do not know the European model is a two tiered system with public and priate financing . . . government and private out-of-pocket or insurance to pay the gay just like Medicare.
i hope your patience with me holds up. you know more than i do.
my objections to Medicare are not deep, but i feel they are worth thinking about… if only enough to understand them.
i don’t know what Trust Fund operates in Medicare. there doesn’t need to be one. Even the TF in Social Security (OASDI) is not really necessary. nor is it really necessary to pay it back. that is not the problem with SS, even if members of Congress think it is. They are ignorant and dumb. Sorry if that offends the “polite” people here. It’s the only way I know to state the fact: you listen to Congresspeople and they are mouthing soundbites that show they know nothing at all about SS and nothing about “medical care” (since i don’t really know much about Medicare I can’t really say they know nothing about Medicare, but I suspect it is like everything else they know nothing about but talk about as if they did.
People are going to need more medical care as they get older. After they retire they are going to have less money to pay for it. It makes more sense to buy an insurance policy that gradually pays for your eventual needs over a whole lifetime while you have the income to pay for it, than to wait and try to pay any part of it after you have gotten old and sick.
And though I may be the only one here that believes this, it makes more sense for “the people” to pay for it than for “the government” to pay for it by “taxing the rich.” The primary problem is that the rich do not want to pay for it, and the people should expect to pay for their own costs of living…. to the extent that they can. They need of course to be paid a wage high enough to cover the eventual costs of retirement and medical care. And those who cannot pay for it need, of course, help from “the government”.. But in that case the government would be taxing the rich to pay for the needs of the country…. a country cannot afford to have it’s poorest people dying of starvation or treatable medical needs…. but this is not the same as just expecting “the rich” to pay for the ordinary costs of living. In the end the money comes from the same place (the workers, though “the rich” are sure it all comes from them), so it’s mostly a matter of psychology and the proximate chain of ownership of the dollars: i am saying here better to pay the workers for their work and let them pay for their own needs… rather than “make the rich” pay for the government to pay for the workers needs… so “the rich” feel robbed and the workers eventually feel like… and are… mendicants dependent on the political process.
I think Europe, and Japan, are used to a society in which “the rich” provide for … or are expected to provide for… the poor. This still is subject to the problems i suggest above, but it seems to go down easier in countries with traditions of aristocracy than it does in America where people expect to be “equal” (politically, morally, and socially) and therefore to pay their own way.
I don’t know how well “medical care” works in Europe… I understand that it works much better than America in terms of “the poor” (the workers) getting the care they need, but i also hear that the system is constantly under attack by the same political forces there as there are here. Forces that would have less credibility if the people were seen to “pay for it themselves.”
and the only way that can happen (given the your money or your life marketplace in medical care) is by pay as you go financing managed by a government that rigorously oversees costs.
how that affects the one dose a day drug vs the two doses a day drug I don’t know. i have, at least for now, some sympathy for doctors who don’t want the government telling them how to treat their patients. but i have, for longer than down, a great suspicion that many doctors in in it for the money and that they will game any insurance, but especially government insurance, to generate windfall profits.
i don’t think these questions can be solved by politics as usual. My only…. far from knowledgeable… thought is that the people and the doctors need to work something out through their representatives… not politicians but specifically for the purpose chosen “experts” (in medical care and in the needs of the people as seen by themselves) and that something needs to be imposed on the politicians by overwhelming public support.
this may be all too naive… but only because the people… you and me… won’t try to make it happen.
it may also seem unclear, confusing, and even wrong… but that can be fixed.
Medicare for all, universal care, public option, etc. was never going to happen when the PPACA was being debated. The Senator from Aetna Liberman held the PPACA hostage until the public option was removed. Without Liberman, we would have been back to ground zero. For want of a better plan pre, during, and after the election, we may get nothing in return. We fed the fire to repeal.
Healthcare in Europe is still a two tiered system with interference by the government in all levels of healthcare. I put this out here before, take a look at it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_health_expenditure_covered_by_government and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Europe. “The systems are primarily publicly funded through taxation (universal health care). Private funding may represent personal contributions towards meeting the non-taxpayer refunded portion of costs or may reflect totally private (non-subsidized) healthcare either paid out of pocket or met by some form of personal or employer funded insurance.” Like I have said and like Medicare, nearly all healthcare systems are two tiered with private and public contributions. If Medicare for all is what people want, then there will be supplemental insurance and drug insurance too. Unless of course it is changed to be more generous. of course at the saying goes; “Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which one gets filled first.” Not concerned about a TF, we just need to pay for it.
typo above: “i have, for longer than down, a great suspicion that many doctors in in it for the money and that they will game any insurance,
should have been “..for longer than now, …. doctors are in it…”