Thursday, December 24, 2009

I hate politics

Here's the thing: My girlfriend has Crohn's Disease. If you don't know what that is, it's basically like having a flesh-eating virus stuck in your intestines with no hope of ever extricating it. I can't even fathom trying to live with that. Suffice to say, it sure doesn't look like fun. There's a lot of blood involved.
She was getting treatments for it with a shot called Remicade, which acts a lot like Nexium does on the esophagus, in that it helps rebuild damaged tissue. But that was when she had health insurance through her work. Without that insurance, she can't pay for the shot (which is to say nothing of the short hospital stay it requires to administer it).
She hasn't received treatment in more than a year because she hasn't had a job that offered insurance. She will have a new plan through her new job come Jan. 1. Meanwhile, lord only knows what has happened to her insides. I don't even want to think about it, but it could require surgery that would lay her up for months.
If there were a public option available when she lost her job - or, better yet, single-payer system in place like the rest of the freaking industrialized world has - she would likely be fine.
But she isn't. She's in constant pain.
And I blame you jerks in Washington.
Luckily, you've just passed two bills that could help address the problem. Only they won't, because it's Washington and you'll probably stuff the resulting compromise bill so full of pork and insurance company subsidies that it will resemble nothing even remotely like what people like us need.
For instance, poor people (again, us) don't need to be punished for not buying health insurance. That is the stupidest damn idea I ever heard. We're not buying insurance because we're poor, not because we think we're indestructible "masters of the universe," as Joe Sestak is fond of saying. If we can't afford insurance, what in the hell makes you think we can afford a fine for not buying insurance? And let me guess - we'll continue to be fined until we do buy insurance? Yeah, that helps. Thanks.
Also, lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 55? Terrible idea. As Darcy Burner explained in a recent article for the Huffington Post, insurance companies don't pay or underpay for routine and preventative care because by the time chronic problems like diabetes actually have to be dealt with, they're hedging that those suffering from these diseases will be covered by Medicare and therefor the government's problem (i.e. taxpayer's problem). Lowering that age, Burner correctly points out, will only make insurers less likely to cover costs for preventive care.
Compounding that with a lack of a single-payer system or public option - which you might remember as the entire freaking point of this bill - makes this legislation almost criminally stupid. Seriously.
But it's not too late for you out-of-touch Scrooges to put something actually meaningful together. Here are some ideas to help save this bill:
1. Start listening to Dennis Kucinich. He's arguably the smartest man in Washington.
2. Extending COBRA coverage for those who have lost their jobs is fine and all, or it would be if it wasn't so prohibitively expensive to maintain coverage with COBRA. Trust me, no one can afford this and there should be a way to correct that here.
3. Single payer/public option. Get it in there, or to hell with the lot of you.
4. Alternatively, federalizing regulation of insurance and allowing for inter-state commerce of insurance companies would go a long way toward reducing costs and breaking the kind of monopolies we see here in Pennsylvania. (As long as there are common-sense provisions for what insurers can and can't do - like screw us with this "pre-existing condition" crap.)
5. Go nuclear. If it's gotten to the point that children like Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson can hijack Congress with the threat of a filibuster, then guess what? It's time to remove that weapon from their arsenal and allow a simple majority vote to move a bill forward. Problem solved, idiots.

That's it.

Have a merry x-mas, you bunch of taxpayer-sponsored jerks.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Been awhile. Not that anyone reads this stupid thing, but I thought this was funny, so I am sharing it with the Internets.

Joe Sestak took a different tack in going after Arlen Specter Thursday. First, his Sestak for Senate campaign sent out a release lauding Specter for a prediction he made at an AFL-CIO convention in September that an Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) bill “totally satisfactory to labor” had been more or less "hammered out" and would likely be passed by year’s end.
The comment caused quite a stir - mostly because it was regarded as absolutely ludicrous that there was a bill anywhere close to being "hammered out" at the time. Sestak is apparently trying to hold Specter to it anyway (good luck).
But then (and this is where it gets weird) the “Real Arlen Specter” Web site – an attack site maintained by the Sestak campaign – issued it’s own release, pointing out Specter, a former longtime Republican, was actually against EFCA before switching parties earlier this year. (Gasp!)
Yawn, right?
Fair enough, but what I liked about it is the self-referential opening line of the "Real Arlen" release: “In light of a reminder from Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak's Senate campaign about Arlen Specter's pledge to have a done deal on the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate by year's end, The Real Arlen Specter for Senate campaign would like to set the record straight."
The kicker for a colleague was the email subject line, "The Real Arlen Specter: Joe Sestak Knows I Oppose EFCA."
"The subject line is what takes it over the edge," he said. "The 'Real Specter' (a character created by Sestak, right?) is telling the world that the real, real Specter (actual Specter) knows that Sestak knows that the real Specter (I don't even know which one) actually opposes EFCA, according to Sestak."