Insurance companies drive physicians crazy – nearly half now prefer upgrading Obamacare to single-payer

❝ There are many reasons people put off going to the doctor. One of the big reasons is cost — a huge arc in the current debate about whether and how to repeal and replace Obamacare, which sought to increase the number of Americans with quality health insurance. Another is access, or finding a doctor who takes your insurance and has appointment openings. But whatever the reasons, the disconnect means that many people choose to become patients only in extreme circumstances and are then at the mercy of the system.

❝ “It really debases and demeans and takes away your dignity to be shuffled around when you know you have something wrong with you,” said Dr. Paredes, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Lakeland, Fla., who practiced in a variety of healthcare settings before retiring two and a half years ago. “I think healthcare is something that should be available to everyone from cradle to grave.”

That’s one of the main reasons nearly half of the 500 doctors who responded to a February LinkedIn survey said they would support a single-payer healthcare system, or Medicare-like coverage for everyone, not just the elderly, instead of the current patchwork model of insurance coverage.

Aside from the crap lies offered by Congressional Republicans…

❝ …For many physicians, the issue comes down to efficiency. In their responses, they cited the administrative hassle of working with multiple insurance companies, each with its own rules and billing procedures. And they pointed to some of the less visible costs, like patients who bounce from one healthcare provider to another as their health plans change.

A total of 48% of physicians said they would be in favor of single-payer healthcare, while 32% were opposed and 21% said they didn’t know.

❝ And even though doctors acknowledged that they might take a financial hit under a single-payer system, many respondents said it would be more than mitigated by getting out of the collection business. In other words, even if they earned less, there would be more patient care and less of the aggravation that comes with negotiating with and tracking down payment from multiple insurance companies.

RTFA for pretty middle-of-the-road analysis. For me, the truth has always been cost. Social Security and Medicare each are national insurance programs with premiums paid by the insured and, generally.their employers. There’s an artificial cap allowing high earners to stop paying the SSA tax at just over $100K income. Still, both of these systems are run with administrative costs less than 3%. And they work well. Helluva lot better than the motley arrangement Obamacare relies on.

Our adorable insurance companies declare their administrative costs run 14-25% and jack up all their rates accordingly. Couple that with a Congress that refuses civilians the same right the military has to negotiate fixed prices for prescriptive drugs – and we get screwed twice by the existing system. That’s the system Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats want to make more expensive and less safe for the insured.

Humbug!

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz


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What the Republican [screw your] online privacy bill will do


Republicans always celebrate screwing over your privacy

❝ The new Republican Congress hasn’t gotten much done in its first three months, but one thing it has accomplished is rolling back internet privacy regulations passed in the waning days of the Obama administration.

The regulations, if they had gone into effect, would have prohibited internet service providers from selling information about your online activities to advertisers. But…the House of Representatives blocked the move. Companion legislation has already passed the Senate, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill.

❝ That has sparked a backlash from Democrats and many privacy advocates. Michael Copps, a former member of the Federal Communications Commission, called the bill a “perversion of what the internet was supposed to be.” And many ordinary internet users wondered what they should do to protect their online privacy.

❝ The good news is that nothing is going to change right away. The Obama regulations weren’t scheduled to take effect until later this year, so the Republican bill simply preserves the status quo, which allows ISPs to sell customer data to advertisers. And while the law currently allows ISPs to do this, most aren’t currently doing it.

What the bill does do, however, is open the door for ISPs to sell customer data to advertisers in the future. Which means that customers who don’t want their ISPs sharing this kind of information with advertising networks are going to have to do some extra work to opt out of any programs their ISPs eventually put into place.

The bill has all the things wrong that are basic to opt-out regulations. The default setting = you are screwed unless you notice you are being screwed and hollering sets you free. The Republicans thought of that and opting-out will only be an option if your service provider feels like it. They won’t have to respect your privacy – which would have been required by Obama’s regs.

They will have the right to sell your metadata without your permission. So, if you think you can trust your ISP, cross your fingers and keep voting Republican. BTW, I have a bridge in Brooklyn going up for sale, next month. I’ll give you first bid.

Donald, This I Will Tell You — You’re A Sucker…A Tool…You Got Played — Sincerely, Maureen

Dear Donald,

❝ We’ve known each other a long time, so I think I can be blunt.

You know how you said at campaign rallies that you did not like being identified as a politician?

Don’t worry. No one will ever mistake you for a politician.

After this past week, they won’t even mistake you for a top-notch negotiator…

❝ …You, Donald, are getting a reputation as a sucker. And worse, a sucker who is a tool of the D.C. establishment.

Your whole campaign was mocking your rivals and the D.C. elite, jawing about how Americans had turned into losers, with our bad deals and open borders and the Obamacare “disaster.”

And you were going to fly in on your gilded plane and fix all that in a snap…

❝ You promised to get the best people around you in the White House, the best of the best…Instead, you dragged that motley skeleton crew into the White House and let them create a feuding, leaking, belligerent, conspiratorial, sycophantic atmosphere. Instead of a smooth, classy operator like James Baker, you have a Manichaean anarchist in Steve Bannon.

❝ You knew the Republicans were full of hot air…and they have no aptitude for governing…You knew that Paul Ryan’s vaunted reputation as a policy wonk was fake news…Instead, you sold the D.O.A. bill the Irish undertaker gave you as though it were a luxury condo, ignoring the fact that it was a cruel flimflam, a huge tax cut for the rich disguised as a health care bill. You were so concerned with the “win” that you forgot your “forgotten” Americans, the older, poorer people in rural areas who would be hurt by the bill…

❝ You were humiliated right out of the chute by the establishment guys who hooked you into their agenda — a massive transfer of wealth to rich people — and drew you away from your own.

…You got worked over by the Republican leadership and the business community, who set you up to do their bidding.

They’re counting on you being a delusional dupe who didn’t even know what was in the bill because you’re sitting around in a bathrobe getting your information from wackadoodles on Fox News and then…peppering aides with the query, “Is this really a good bill?”

You got played

Sincerely, Maureen

There are times when Maureen Dowd really rocks. This is one of the best.

Click the link and RTFA. The whole enchilada. Worth it.

Trumpcare FAIL — as the Republican Party’s repeal of Obamacare pulled from House of Representatives


Thanks Ian Bremmer for the cartoon

Republican repeal of Obamacare fails as healthcare bill pulled from House vote…

Donald Trump suffered a major legislative reversal on Friday as Republicans were forced to pull their repeal of the Affordable Care Act from the House floor…

As it became clear that Republican resistance to the bill was hardening, House speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to tell Trump in person that he did not have the votes to pass the bill.

However, as the 3.30pm deadline slid by, first reports emerged that Trump had asked for the vote to be pulled.

Minutes later House Republicans, short of votes, had withdrawn the health bill.

Sometimes the truly corrupt get what they deserve. True, there isn’t much difference between Congressional Republicans [or Blue Dog Democrats] and a slug like Donald Trump. Corrupt. Liars. Useless to the real needs of American workers, American working-class families.

Trump is more of a pathological liar than the crafty slime stinking up Congress with each of their several sects, e.g. Tea Party, so-called Freedom Caucus, neo-cons, whatever. So, give him credit for being the worst of the lot.

Former head of Colorado Republican Party charged with voter fraud

❝ A Colorado talk radio host who once chaired the state Republican Party and has accused Democrats of widespread voter fraud has been charged with forging his ex-wife’s signature on a mail-in ballot in the 2016 election…

Steven Curtis, 57, who served as state GOP boss from 1997 until 1999, is charged with one felony count of forgery and one misdemeanor count of tampering with a mail-in ballot, according to a criminal complaint filed in Weld County District Court.

❝ The case stems from an inquiry lodged with the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office by Curtis’s former spouse, Kelly Ireland, who contacted the agency in October to check on the status of her voter registration after the couple split.

Ireland was informed then that a signed mail-in ballot bearing her name and voter information had already been submitted, according to Carly Koppes, an elected Republican who serves as the county clerk.

“At that point, my office researched the situation further, and the signature was questionable, so we then contacted the District Attorney’s Office to start an investigation,” Koppes told Reuters.

❝ If convicted, Curtis faces a maximum three years in prison for forgery and up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine for ballot-tampering, said Tyler Hill, a spokesman for the district attorney.

❝ The former Republican Party boss hosts a morning political talk show on conservative Denver radio station KLZ-AM called “Wake Up With Steve Curtis.”

Curtis spoke about election tampering in a segment titled “Voter Fraud and Other Democratic Misbehaviors” on his Oct. 6, 2016 broadcast.

“It seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, but virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,” Curtis said…

The Republican Party really should check and see if anyone holds the trademark for hypocrisy. They should register it as their own. Modern history bears out their ownership.

Election Security in America is OK, Donald

❝ The U.S. secretaries of state, charged with running elections, recently met in Washington, D.C., to evaluate the past election season and to discuss what they can do to improve the process. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, who serves as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, spoke with The Pew Charitable Trusts about the security of voting in America.

Q: What is on the minds of secretaries of state?

❝ A: The security of the elections. We’re seeing the Department of Homeland Security declare elections critical infrastructure. This happened just a few months ago, and we’re still trying to figure out what exactly is the role of the federal government in a highly decentralized system. We’re also thinking about issues of whether or not there is voter fraud, how much is there, and should we have some sort of national voter ID, or even a national ID card—those are the big issues this year.

Q: You’ve been working on reducing long lines at the polls. Do long lines mean people might not vote at all?

❝ A: Oh, absolutely. There’s no problem with a long line if it’s moving. The problem is when it gets stuck because of bad management—not enough poll workers or enough lines, or the lists divided incorrectly. These are all management issues…

Q: The 2016 election has been covered extensively, but what might the public not know?

❝ A: There are over 100,000 polling places in this country. None of them is connected in any way to the internet. Hacking an election is completely impossible.

Q: Voter fraud has been in the news. Tell us the facts.

❝ A: The reality is that voter fraud is highly unusual, especially the type that’s being discussed: in-person voter fraud. Actual fraud—people impersonating a voter or trying to vote when they’re not eligible to vote—is extremely rare…

RTFA for more about ideas to make voting easier, reporting quicker, accurate and timely. The Republican fake news about voter fraud pisses me off, no end. We went through the whole crapload of lies when we got our “moderate” Republican governor, Susana Martinez.

The Secretary of State – later thrown out of office for fraud unrelated to voting – spent a year with a specially chartered investigation of voter fraud with focus on undocumentados getting on the voting rolls. The study “discovered” fewer than a dozen people in the state registered who didn’t qualify. Only two of them had actually gone to the polls to vote because they thought it was mandatory. The usual appointed poll-watchers caught the mistake – they realized the mistake and left. None actually voted once they were notified of the mistake and the system worked just fine.

Except for the creeps in the NM Republican Party wasting $200,000 of taxpayer funds on one of their phony issues.