Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Damn Socialists, Commies, and Libruls – Updated February 24th

In an editorial, the publisher of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden Alabama confirmed to the Montgomery Advertiser on Monday that he authored the Feb. 14 editorial calling for the return of a white supremacist hate group.

In a conversation, Goodloe Sutton added to the editorial.

“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off.”

Asked to elaborate what he meant by cleaning up D.C., Sutton suggested lynching.

“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them,” Sutton said.

(Finally, someone who know what hemp is used for besides medicinal. As an 18 year old, I would help my dad rig rope-scaffolds on the buildings in Chicago. I can still splice Manila – hemp ropes up to 1 inch as my hands have growth weaker over the years.)

When asked if he felt it was appropriate for the publisher of a newspaper to call for the lynching of Americans, Sutton doubled down on his position.

“It’s not calling for the lynching of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?” Sutton asked.

Montgomery Advertiser reporter Melissa Brown

Update:, February 23, 2019: In a, I do not give a damn – Melissa moment, Goodloe Sutton, decided he had had enough as did his family with Goodloe.

“Lady, I don’t give a shit. I’m quitting. You can tell everybody you ran me out of the newspaper business.”

The Sutton family: “Effective February 21, 2019, Elecia R. Dexter will be the Publisher and Editor of the newspaper going forward.” Elecia is a Black woman and it is hinted she may now be the owner.

Montgomery Advertiser reporter Melissa Brown

So much for white-trash.

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Kapernick

It was September 2017, and bad boy Trump spouts off; “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out,’” He’s fired. He’s fired!’” The crowd of supporters erupted in cheers.

With just a few words and by the close of that weekend, Trump had managed to get hundreds of NFL players taking a knee like Kaepernick or staying in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick was on his way out the door and Trump managed to slam the door shut and turn it around for him. In one weekend and a few stupid words by Trump and Kapernick, as Atlantic’s David Graham pointed out, became an icon of protest.

And now? After the NFL’s plea to dismiss the case was rejected by an arbitrator last August, the NFL folded and agreed to settle before the next hearing in a month. Too much at stake and too much to be exposed in depositions by owners and coaches. And as Jemele Hill said in yesterdays Atlantic; “Technically, Colin Kaepernick withdrew his collusion case. Technically, the NFL did not admit that it conspired to blackball Kaepernick from the league after he began taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. But nontechnically speaking, the NFL lost. Massively.”

Kapernick may never play NFL football again; but, he did win a much bigger game for all of us.

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The Wrongness of the Green Lanthern Theory of the Presidency

Just one of the many mixes of comments and publications I see at AB in the comments sections. Not sure where EMichael got the Goldwater comment.

“What’s wrong with the Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency?

Basically, it denies the very real (and very important) limits on the power of the American presidency, as well as reduces Congress to a coquettish collection of passive actors who are mostly just playing hard to get.

The Founding Fathers were rebelling against an out-of-control monarch. So, they constructed a political system with a powerful legislature and a relatively weak executive. The result is that the US President has little formal power to make Congress do anything. He can’t force Congress to vote on a bill. He can’t force Congress to pass a bill. And even if he vetoes a bill Congress can simply overturn his veto. So in direct confrontations with Congress — and that describes much of American politics these days — the president has few options.

Green Lantern theorists don’t deny any of this. They just believe that there’s some vague combination of public speeches and private wheedling that the president can employ to bend Congress to his will.”

The Green Lantern Theory of The President Explained

We’ve certainly seen this theory pushed in here many times over the last decade (and we’ll see it down the road), but I bring it up here now as it explains another mental issue trump has.

He believes in the green lantern theory. You can see it many, many times over his first two years. And it now appears in Andrew McCabe’s book:

“After we agreed on a time to meet, the president began to talk about how upset he was that Comey had flown home on his government plane from Los Angeles—Comey had been giving a speech there when he learned he was fired. The president wanted to know how that had happened.

I told him that bureau lawyers had assured me there was no legal issue with Comey coming home on the plane. I decided that he should do so. The existing threat assessment indicated he was still at risk, so he needed a protection detail. Since the members of the protection detail would all be coming home, it made sense to bring everybody back on the same plane they had used to fly out there. It was coming back anyway. The president flew off the handle: That’s not right! I don’t approve of that! That’s wrong! He reiterated his point five or seven times.

I said, I’m sorry that you disagree, sir. But it was my decision, and that’s how I decided. The president said, I want you to look into that! I thought to myself: What am I going to look into? I just told you I made that decision.”

Every Day Is a New Low in Trump’s White House

Then again, there is also just plain mean:

“Toward the end of the conversation, the president brought up the subject of my wife. Jill had run unsuccessfully for the Virginia state Senate back in 2015, and the president had said false and malicious things about her during his campaign in order to tarnish the FBI. He said, How is your wife? I said, She’s fine. He said, When she lost her election, that must have been very tough to lose. How did she handle losing? Is it tough to lose?

I replied, I guess it’s tough to lose anything. But she’s rededicated herself to her career and her job and taking care of kids in the emergency room. That’s what she does.

He replied in a tone that sounded like a sneer. He said, “Yeah, that must’ve been really tough. To lose. To be a loser.”

In the 1964 elections we saw the Dems employ this against Barry Goldwater:

“In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

A Johnson campaign barb.

It needs to be brought back for 2020. But 1964 and Goldwater was the beginning of the modern GOP, and that is easily shown by:

“In 1960, Goldwater’s book, The Conscience of a Conservative, publicizes his views—including strong opposition to creeping Communism. His message taps into post-war anxieties about the communist revolution in China, expansion of the Soviet Union, and a growing club of nations armed with nuclear bombs.

At the ’64 Republican convention, Goldwater wins the presidential nomination over objections from centrists. Many are worried he could start a nuclear war-and worried with good reason, given Goldwater’s record of comments such as, “Let’s lob one into the men’s room at the Kremlin.” The Johnson campaign uses groundbreaking TV ads to zero-in on voter anxieties.

On election night, Johnson wins by a landslide. Goldwater picks up Arizona and five Southern states, where white Democrats like his opposition of the Civil Rights Act of ’64 (a position consistent with Goldwater’s view of states rights). The election is a political watershed. After ’64, the South becomes a dependable Republican stronghold, contributing to the election of seven Republican Presidents during the next 10 elections.”

The Sixties, The Years That Shaped a Generation.

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Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar, A Semite

My new Congressional Representative likes to use Facebook to inform her constituents of what she is doing in the House. I do engage in Facebook and probably shouldn’t do so. Facebook is too much of a waste of time and it is filled with advertising and silliness. Then too, I like knowing what our Rep is doing so I use Facebook. I also connect with various people I hope to keep in contact with as their status allows me to input my thoughts and ideas. Here is what my Congressional Representative had to say:

“I would like to make the following statement regarding Rep. Omar’s comments of Feb. 10. Her comments traffic in age-old stereotypes and anti-Semitic bias, drag down public conversation, and are counter to our fundamental values of religious freedom and mutual respect – the very values that led to Rep. Omar’s historic election last year. While I recognize Rep. Omar’s apology for her comments, I call upon her to strictly avoid anti-Semitic speech, particularly when violent anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise, as we saw in the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue. Elected officials must lead by example, particularly now, and carry out their responsibility to unite rather than divide the American public.”

Well ok and she joined a chorus of others including Pelosi, McCarthy, Trump, and the other female Semite in the House. Seeing it was safe to bash Omar and not have anyone take issue, Pence joined the crowd yesterday. For Ilhan Omar, its gotta be a lonely life when you screw up, do not make your point clear enough, the sharks with which you hang with come in to feed off of your wounds, and everyone starts to call you an anti-Semite.

A little history: anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns under way in central Europe then. The term has a broad and extensive usage which is a misnomer since it implies a discrimination against all Semites of which Arabs and other peoples may also be Semites. Yet other peoples identified are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood today. The term is inappropriate as a label for the anti-Jewish prejudices, statements, or actions of Arabs or other Semites.

Others may take exception with my definition or citation above. I am fine with it and am going to move along in my complaint. In his editorial “Representative Ilhan Omar is Not Anti-Semitic (So Says this Jew)” Political Writer for “Paste Magazine” Jacob Weindling starts off: “First off, Representative Omar is a Semite. Secondly, even if the people claiming that Omar is being anti-Semitic in the anti-Jewish sense are right (which again, they’re not), equating AIPAC with ‘all Jews’ is being FAR more anti-Semitic than what these folks claim Omar is asserting.

It all began with a tweet that admittedly was far too vague, and for a certain kind of person who looks at Omar’s hijab and thinks of anti-Semitism (again, she’s a Semite, just like me), or simply someone who isn’t plugged in to the day-to-day political madness, this looks like it could be another George Soros-type ‘Jews control the world’ conspiracy.

GOP House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who published anti-Semitic memes after George Soros received a pipe bomb in the mail, decided that he was done being an anti-Semite who ginned up support from the anti-Semites in the GOP, and was now an anti-Semite who virtue signals towards the Very Serious People in our nation’s capital to gain their support. Luckily for him, this kind of anti-Semitism is tolerated in our nation’s capital, and he has bent the Democratic Party to his will.

Omar quickly corrected her sole error of vagueness, and specifically identified who she was talking about when she insinuated that a political leader was taking money to advance an agenda.”

In this case Ilhan Omar called out the Israeli PAC “AIPAC!.” As Jacob further explains: “AIPAC is the Israel lobby in Washington D.C. To add to this, there is a difference between Israelis American Jews. This basic nuance is completely lost on much of major media, many of whom echoed McCarthy’s false charges of anti-Semitism, favoring the vagueness of Representative Omar’s first tweet over the specificity of her second one. As a Jew, this kind of stuff is so much more hurtful than the traditional stereotype that Omar is falsely accused of perpetuating:

The first-term Democrat suggests GOP support for Israel is fueled by campaign donations.

Jacob adds . . . AIPAC does not represent most Jews. Eighty-five percent of Israelis supported Trump moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, while just 46% of American Jews did. This hurtful conflation of two very different things reduces people like me to caricatures of whatever AIPAC wants, as if all Jews are united on the topic of Israel. We’re not—far from it. We are very divided and it is frankly, exhausting. I didn’t even want to write this column even though I knew I had to. Jews in Israel are different from Jews in America the same way anyone in Israel is different from anyone in America.

I can’t believe I even need to type those words, but the constant stream of bad-faith attacks on Omar from major power brokers in both the political and media establishment demonstrates an extremely narrow—D.C.-centric—view of the world. I’d bet half the people in our nation’s capital arguing that Omar committed some unforgivable sin haven’t been west of Philadelphia or south of D.C. since the 20th century.”

The rest you can read for yourself the balance of what Jacob has to say at Paste Magazine under his title; “Representative Ilhan Omar is Not Anti-Semitic (So Says this Jew).” Of interest might be Jacob’s comments on Chelsea Clinton’s opinion and the other side’s opinion by Batya Ungar-Sargon who Jacob finds falsely characterizing what AIPAC does.

And if I am wrong in my thoughts? There are enough learned people such as Barkley Rosser, Robert Waldman, Mike Kimel, and Dan who can critique my thoughts. I do place value in having a mix of Congressional Representative from different cultures, races, and genders. The country is evolving and has changed much since my ancestors arrived at the Rock.

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Sunday News

Texas AG Claims Noncitizens Voted in 2018, Liam Stack, NYT

Texas AG Ken Paxton: “Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice.” Texas has called into question 95,000 registered voters who in the past have identified themselves as noncitizen and legal residents of the United States.

Other authorities are skeptical of the AG’s claim 58,000 noncitizens of the 8.2 million registered voters listed voted in 2018. A spokesman for the AG followed up stating the identification of the 95,000 is not proof of voting. Texas is asking each of the identified for additional proof of citizenship. Texas has one of the strictest voting laws in the nation. Nonvoting citizens is a felony, oops a mistake, noncitizens voting in Texas is a felony and noncitizens registering is a misdemeanor.

Civil Rights Attorney Kristen Clarke: “Texas has a rich history of undertaking action to make it harder for people to vote,” she said. “Whenever you’re invoking the threat of criminal prosecution, the chilling effect becomes almost unavoidable.”

From Celebrated to Vilified Sheryl Gay Stolberg, NYT

As symbols of diversity when they were sworn in last month, Congressional Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota joined the other 435 members of the House of Representatives.

One month later and after bringing their views on Israel to the forefront, they have found themselves to be the most vilified of the Democrats by their own party and that of Republicans. The president of the J Street a liberal Jewish advocacy Ben Ami said the two are “opening up a discussion that is absolutely needed on American policy.” They are helping to pull the Democratic Party more toward the view espoused by J Street and “younger liberal Jews” who believe that “you can be sympathetic to the state of Israel and also sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people.”

Both women are under fire for their views and comments.

the smirking face of Trumpism in America Rafia Zakaria, The Bafler

This comes a bit late. I was off visiting family in Chicago and helping my wife keep two young, challenging grand daughters busy while temperatures plummeted in the minus twenties at night and the winds off the lake did not make the minus teens any better during daylight. I can not recall in my 60 plus years temperatures of this kind even living further north. And neither can I recall the outward arrogance of teens on display at the Lincoln Memorial.

As Rafia writes; “Just as many seemed to be coalescing against the shamefulness of young men deriding a Native American veteran, another story, the cherished ‘other’ side with which the pain of non-white Americans is trivialized, was gathered up. Solemn faced television anchors and their off-air Twitter colleagues now dished up ‘context.’ Whether or not it was intended for this purpose, its effect was to muddle up the story that the original video told, a story whose racist truth cast in the arrogance of a young man and the fortitude of an old one had galvanized an America of ever-dwindling empathy to actually care.”

What other side of this can there be? A teenage white-boy standing in front of a native American veteran with a smirk on his face wearing a red “MAGA” cap to a protest designed to protect the unborn. The Catholic church caves to the white parents of the white students. There was a moment when this could have gone the other way. The young teen could have left his red cap at home, could have stepped out of the way, could have watched with respect of another culture practicing a religion unknown to most of us, etc.

There was a defining moment and the young man in question showed one example of it, an image of American intolerance of minorities in a mostly white American. There is no other side to this story. It is strictly what can be observed.

I have been asked to talk about my global travels at a Jesuit University from where I earned my Masters. There is a great example here of how not to be an Ugly American. There is another side also and it is “how to behave as a minority” in another country.

Millions of College Students Go Hungry While Pursuing a Degree, Marcella Bombardieri, The Atlantic

From a 2017 survey, 42 percent of community-college students nationally experienced food insecurity within a previous month. This could mean missing meals altogether or not being able to afford balanced meals. Twelve percent of students were considered homeless at some point in the previous year.

Among Amarillo College students who took the same survey, 54 percent had experienced food insecurity within the past month, and 11 percent had been homeless in the past year. The Amarillo student body is not significantly needier than those of other institutions, but the college leadership’s interest in highlighting the extent of the need is much more unusual.

Amongst college students food insecurity is a real issue. A new report from the Government Accountability Office highlights the breadth of those students affected. Three common risk factors for food insecurity were identified among low-income students; being a first generation college student; receiving SNAP (receiving SNAP can be considered a risk factor in that it may reduce and not entirely eliminate food insecurity); and being a single parent. Of the approximately 7.3 million low-income students, 31 percent were first-generation college students, 31 percent reported receiving SNAP, and 25 percent were single parents.

‘Show of force’, Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner

In a show of force, the Trump administration has flooded a Texas border town sitting just over the river from the Mexican city of Piedras Negras. 1,800 caravan migrants arrived earlier in the week as well as hundreds of law enforcement personnel across the river. Both sides of the river have been watching this caravan move. And of course every news media glorifying Trump’s actions is out carrying the “you will not pass this way” message. “To me, it is showing force. It would give a message to the immigrants wanting to come illegally through Texas that it is always prepared and has a lot of manpower at the border — that they should go to another state,” County Sheriff Tom Schmerber.

“100 U.S. law enforcement vehicles lined a one-mile stretch of the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass, Texas on a Saturday afternoon. Sixty sat together in one section of the river on a local golf course.”

I wonder what the fairways look like now? I am sure the golf course and the resident golfers were thrilled. And they will blame the supposedly wretched illegals for trying to escape a condition the US helped to create.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s SOTU Sour Expression Provokes Republican Response

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)

Andy Borowitz: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s facial expression during the State of the Union address came under continued attack from Republicans on Thursday, with the former House Speaker John Boehner joining the chorus of disapproval.

‘When I saw her with that pained expression on her face, I couldn’t believe my eyes,’ Boehner said. ‘It was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life.’

The former Speaker said that Ocasio-Cortez broke his ‘No. 1 rule’ of reacting to a State of the Union speech: ‘No matter what the President is saying, be sure to look cheerful and upbeat at all times.’

‘I didn’t always agree with what President Obama had to say over the years, but I always kept a smile on my face,’ he said. ‘I think if the congresswoman went back and looked at video of me and my fellow-Republicans during the Obama speeches, she could learn a lot about maintaining a non-stop happy facial expression.’” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Actually Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s facial expressions reveals quite lucidly what many of us feel in listening to the garbage spewed forth by Trump and supported by Republicans with nary a word out of fear. AOC portrays what we feel . . . disgust.

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Scales of Justice Played Out in Madison County, Indiana

There is quite a bit of Medicare fraud occurring in the nation and there has been a coordinated attack on it. The fraud can be measured in the $billions. Commercial healthcare Insurance fraud is also a problem and insurance companies spend quite a bit of money fighting it which adds to their administrative fees of 15 and 20%.

99.9% of the time the theft goes into the pocket of the thieves. People get rich off of this stuff.

In Madison County Indiana, a school superintendent resigned her position. The reason? She took a student to a healthcare clinic seeking treatment for him because he had symptoms of Strep throat. Not a big deal and an act of kindness and charity.

The problem arises with her claiming him as her son and having her insurance pay the $233 bill. Except, this was not her son, she committed fraud, and her kindness and charity does not count.

The Madison County prosecutor Rodney J. Cummings who has tried “100 major felony and homicide jury trials” has charged the school superintendent with three felonies and one misdemeanor. Yes, it is an act of theft. I admit it and I am sure others will dispute my cavalier attitude here on crime and justice.

$233 to help a child and committing fraud to get him care is now worthy of three felony charges plus a misdemeanor? What was I thinking when the state news in Indiana is talking about $billions in Medicare, healthcare, and opinion fraud? Perhaps, not much is happening in Madison County just northeast of Indianapolis.

But then there is the plea deal going on here. One year of checking in with the county to make sure you are still behaving and admit to the crime. As measured against the $thousand which will be spent on court dates and administering the sentence for one year. Mr. Prosecutor, don’t you have something better to do?

Scrap the three felonies and misdemeanor. There is no evil act going on here and move on to other things. She can pay the insurance company back, court costs, get a stern warning, you will still look like you are cracking down on fraud, and also show you have a heart

Now here is a potential real felony: “Two days after accidentally firing his handgun into the floor of an Anderson restaurant, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings acknowledges he could have done more to prevent the mishap.”

Awww, sorry folks, it was a new gun. Go back to eating your steaks (Texas Roadhouse).

“It was a new gun. I’ve only had it for a couple weeks, who noted he has carried a firearm for 36 years as a prosecutor and a police officer.”

Cummings told the newspaper he plans to have the gun examined by an armorer to ensure there are no mechanical problems. He also plans to buy a holster.

“I will not in the future have a round in the chamber, It’s just not worth the risk.”

Another JA wannabe cowboy.

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MSU Pays for Former MSU President’s Criminal Defense

This does not come as a surprise to anyone in Michigan. Mostly it is quiet here and people are still stunned about something of this magnitude could go on for years. There were numerous complaints by female student athletes of various college ages and under which span 20 years. Complaints made to the university, administrators, coaches, trainers, etc. quietly fell to the wayside with conciliatory answers.

“he is an Olympic doctor and he should know what he is doing”, “filing a report would involve an investigation, making an accusation against Nassar, and requires a statement that I felt what Nassar did was unprofessional or criminally wrong”, “you could file a report if you were uncomfortable; but, there may be consequences”

Lindsey Lemke is a “Sister Survivor,” the name taken by the 256 survivors of Larry Nassar’s physical sexual assault. She and the others spent the last 18 months fighting “not just for justice for Nassar;” but, they also fought for accountability, “the accountability of Michigan State University who enabled Nassar’s continued abuse” by not reacting.

People are stunned this could happen at a state university. And there still is a battle going on for accountability beyond Nasser.

Former MSU President “Lou Anna Simon and Coach Kathie Klages face charges of lying to police about when they knew about sexual abuse reports against Nassar.” MSU is paying for their legal defense which is in the $milions along with half of Dean William Strampel’s defense. The mental harm done will never be erased for the hundreds of young women (one as young as 6) which is something MSU forgets when it comes discusses its image and the costs of going to court.

Recently, Interim President and former Governor John Engler resigned (requested) from the position. Some of his comments to victims and publicly in defense of the university were totally wrongheaded lacking empathy. The university is still learning there image is not as important as the harm done to the students who were abused under its watch. As attorney John Manly believes states:

“I think it’s sexism, misogyny, and you know, it’s not college football, it’s gymnastics. And the audience for gymnastics doesn’t generate hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.”

To hell with the money . . .

References:

Larry Nassar gymnastics scandal costs Michigan State in legal fees so far

Sister Survivors

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Its Time for Democrats to Come To Negotiate

McDonalds Anyone, Trump Buys for Lunch? Dems Refuse over Bad Offer on the Table.

Giving this guy some coverage is questionable; but he is an idiot along the lines of his boss who also says the dumbest things.

KEVIN HASSETT, Trump economic adviser: “You know as soon as it’s resolved, then people get their paychecks, and the government will go back to acting normal, and the economy will go back to the 3 percent growth that President Trump’s policies have delivered.” — interview Tuesday with Fox Business Network.

While it is true the economy probably will get a boost once the shutdown ends, but few independent economists think that boost will be sustained. The economy is facing other headwinds that make it unlikely growth will return to 2018’s pace. This shutdown in my opinion will only make it worse and cause consumers to hold back from spending which is needed to keep the economy going.

You have to wonder what goes on in this guy’s head with the little sh*t -eating grin he has. First damage to the economy (:50) and than an effect on the economy (3:11). Hassett argues Trump made a good and fair offer and Dems should come and discuss what they have already turned down before.

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Healthcare News

Massachusetts ACA Enrollment Exceeds Last Year, Charles Gaba, ACA Signups Blog

Massachusetts: (January 14, 2018) saw an increased 285,000 signups for healthcare for 2019 which is up 6.6% YOY and with 9 days left until the ACA signup deadline. This comes even though Republicans and Trump have been sabotaging the ACA. Even more impressive, 97.2% (90% National Average) of enrollees have paid their 1st month fees.

Republicans and Trump Implement the CSR again, Ban Silver Loading, and then Kill the CSR in 2021, Andrew Sprung, xpostfactoid blog

The Trump administration has called for an appropriation to fund CSR the old way — by reimbursing insurers directly for providing it. This comes after President Trump revoked the CSR subsidy used to help pay for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. When the CSR was revoked, ACA companies loaded the costs solely into the Silver plans in which they were used and resulted in Bronze and Gold plans to become less costly. Income-based ACA premium subsidies are based on a silver benchmark and silver loading generated major discounts in bronze and gold plans.

“For the first half of 2018: 16% percent of enrollees were enrolled in a plan with zero premiums after application of advance payments of the premium tax credit, 19 percent of enrollees paid a premium of less than 5 percent of the total plan premium.” This is largely the result of Silver plan loading, which created $0 premium bronze plans widely available and less costly gold plans which doubled in enrollments in 2018. There was also an increased enrollment of approximately 300,000 enrollees in 2018 with the likelihood of a 2-3 million boost in subsequent years.

So what is the issue? CMS released the annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) January 17th. In its efforts to kill the ACA, CMS is calling for an elimination of Silver loading in 2021. Given the lowered cost of various plans resulting from Silver loading, Democrats should not be willing to sacrifice the silver loading windfall without trading it for a less haphazard boost to marketplace funding.

As xpostfactoid blog suggests, perhaps a cap on premiums as a percentage of income for all enrollees up to 600% FPL and improved subsidies for the 200 – 400%FPL.

Healthcare Job Growth Outpaces Nearly Every Sector in 2018, MedPage Today, John Commins

For 2018, healthcare created a total of 346,000 jobs or nearly 29,000 new jobs each month which is up from 284,000 jobs created in 2017. The 2018 figure includes 219,000 new jobs in ambulatory services and 107,000 new hospital jobs.
Healthcare job growth outpaced nearly every other major sector of the economy in 2018, including food services (261,000), construction (280,000), manufacturing (284,000), and retail sales (92,000).

The new data is in line with Bureau of Labor Statistics projections that healthcare sector employment will grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs.

The VA’s Choice Program Meant to Eventually Replace the VA Gave Companies Billions and Vets Longer Waits, Isaac Arnsdorf & Jon Greenberg, Politifact

As a short-term response to a crisis, the VA paid contractors at least $295 every time it authorized private care for a veteran. The fee was high because the VA hurriedly launched the Choice Program to meet a ninety-day deadline from Congress in response to an Arizona VA facility not responding quick enough to veteran’s needs for healthcare and resulting in deaths.

Four years later, the fee never subsided — it went up to as much as $318 per referral.

Since 2014, 1.9 million former service members have received private medical care through Choice. It was supposed to give veterans a way around long wait times in the VA or travel long distances to be seen. But their average waits using the Choice Program were still longer than allowed by law, according to examinations by the VA inspector general and the Government Accountability Office. The watchdogs also found widespread blunders, such as booking a veteran in Idaho with a doctor in New York and telling a Florida veteran to see a specialist in California. Once, the VA referred a veteran to the Choice Program to see a urologist, but instead he got an appointment with a neurologist.

While it was true officials at the Phoenix VA were covering up long wait times, the inspector general eventually concluded that no deaths were attributable to the delays. However, critics seized on this scandal to demand that veterans get access to private medical care. As a safety valve for veterans, the Choice program is an alternative provided the quality of outcomes is there. My own experience with the VA has not been bad nor did my appointments take months. On the other hand, there are times I end up at clinics or the ED when I can not see my PCD.

An IG of the Choice program found the VA overpaid by $140 million besides other issues with the program.

Access to VA Health Services Now Better Than Private Hospitals? Nicole Lou, MedPage Today

Researchers find some wait times generally improved since 2014.

In 2014, the average wait for a new VA appointment in primary care, dermatology, cardiology, or orthopedics was 22.5 days, compared with 18.7 days in private sector facilities (P=0.20). Although these wait times were statistically no different in general, there was a longer wait for an orthopedics appointment in the VA that year (23.9 days vs 9.9 days for private sector.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that wait times in 2017 favored VA medical centers (17.7 days vs 29.8 days for private sector facilities). This was observed for primary care, dermatology, and cardiology appointments — but not orthopedics, which continued to produce appointment lags in the VA system (20.9 days vs 12.4 days), the authors stated.

As resources in the VA are increasingly diverted to purchase care in the community, it remains to be seen if access to healthcare services can be maintained while access in the private sector continues to deteriorate, adding that virtual care may be one way to improve access given the non-infinite supply of face-to-face appointments.”

Fee-for-Service Must Go Says Ex-Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Joyce Frieden, MedPage Today

Dean, an internist and former Democratic governor of Vermont: “Under the current system, you only make money if people get really sick. Every financial incentive we have in American healthcare is to spend as much as we possibly can.

“We’re not getting paid for keeping people healthy in our system. I don’t believe that doctors think it’s a wonderful idea to have people get sick. But incentives work in every system … and monetary incentives always work in human beings. If you keep the incentive system the way it is, you have a distorted system that works against good health.”

As for universal care in the U.S., I’m not necessarily opposed to Medicare for All, but the problem is it’s a fee-for-service system so we’d have to fix that. The only way you can really save money is with capitated care.”

by run75441 (Bill H)

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