Nov 20, 2013

Republican Geography 101: dumbing down America

Republican Geography 101

Author: June 9, 2013 12:02 am 
There is a revolution occurring in our schools. Traditional learning is being replaced with more contemporary and relevant lessons. Texas is leading the way with these “improvements” to our text books by promoting the importance of religion in government and removing known atheist/Socialist Thomas Jefferson altogether. Kansas is re-introducing Creationism to the science class after years of unfair discrimination. These are exciting times!

In keeping with this new wave of innovation in education, Glenn Beck even has his own online college! Republicans are also spreading the word via home schooling texts like “Of Pandas and People.” Heck, even Mike Huckabee has his own edutainment cartoon series! Let’s take a look at how we’ll see the world in the Republican future:

Local Geography –

  • Church – Where to go to show love and devotion for Baby Jesus[i] but only on Sundays and special occasions. Our preacher tells us how helping the sick and poor isn’t the American way and Jesus wants us be rich! Also, God hates fags…
  •  Mosque – Enemy territory. Possible secret terrorist meeting place. Won’t be there after me and Billy Bob drink a few more beers and get the gas can…
  • Militia compound – The safest place to be when the government comes to take away our guns. Nothing bad ever happens in these sacred places.
  •  Prisons – Low income housing for minorities.
  •  Walmart – Where else can you buy guns, beer and beef jerky all in one place? It’s like heaven on Earth! Good thing Walmart showed up right when it did, thirty local stores went out business last year after the Grand Opening. Damn economy… This is all Obama’s fault! Ooooh look! Turkey jerky!
  • Synagogue – If we keep playing nice with the Jews, they’ll finally rebuild that dang temple in JEWrusalem. After that, Baby Jesus will come back to Earth and get his vengeance! Just you wait and see…
  • Courthouse – Where the Ten Commandments should be prominently displayed right next to the Constitution during the court hearing to keep them Muslims from building a new Mosque.

National –

[i] A wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP.
[ii] “Fields of wheat and corn” is
 trademarked by the Monsanto Corporation.

  • California – Jews and homosexuals control this area. San Francisco is a modern day Sodom and L.A. is obviously Gomorrah. One day, God is going to sink the whole coastline. It’s real science! I heard it on the 700 Club. 
  • Southwest – Under constant threat of being reconquered by Mexicans and Socialists. They already stole all our jobs, now they want the land, too? Finish the dang fence McCain!
  • Northern States – Our last line of defense against creeping Canadian Socialism. Although Sarah Palin says it’s OK to cross the border and use their universal healthcare as long as we don’t bring Commie Cooties back with us. 

  • Texas – King of all states. A beacon of hope in a benighted land, where evolution is ignored, teenage pregnancy runs rampant and oil tycoons get rich. When the Second War of Northern Aggression is started by us patriots, Texas will lead the charge.
  • Alaska – Queen to Texas’ King. Where blessed oil stains the pristine landscape, charging women the cost of their rape kit is perfectly normal and a half term Governor can’t possibly be a “quitter,” she’s got her own TV show! Also the first line of defense against the Commies. We can still see you from our house, you damn Reds!
  • Mid-West – God’s own country. Where fields of wheat and corn[ii] sway in the breeze and where all REAL Americans come from. “Real” defined as “White Christian heterosexual conservatives.”
  • New York – Jew capitol. Also home to millions of scary foreigner types what don’t speak no proper English like we does. Redeemed by blessed Wall Street where the rich gather to find ways to share their wealth with all of us via a gravity and liquid based metaphor. They’ve been trickling on us for over thirty years so we should all be rich any time now!
  • Washington DC – Where all those damn politicians get together to steal our rights, our money and our future! But it was an awesome place from January 20, 2001 to January 20, 2009.
  • Hawaii – May or may not be a REAL state due to its un-American, exotic nature. Known entry point for illegal immigrants from Kenya. Local newspapers suspected of posting birth announcements that violate the laws of time and space.

Global –

  • Africa – Oh if only we could ship’em all back! There’d be no welfare or food stamps or crime or anything bad ever again! I hear it’s called the “Dark Continent” and I think you why… *WINK* 
  • Asia –Great food! Also, all my stuff seems to be made there. At least it’s cheap! I can’t afford expensive stuff since the factory closed down for some reason. Good thing I always shop at Walmart!
  • Australia – Killed off indigenous population? Check! Only a handful of important cities on the West & East Coasts with not much in-between? Check! Anti-immigration politics? Check! Poorly concealed racial tensions? Check! Homeland of St. Murdoch? Check! Natural disaster blamed on sin instead of science? Check! My God! It’s like a little America! It even LOOKS like America, just all upside down and stuff! Now if we could only teach them to speak English…
  • Europe – Nothing but Commies and Socialists! And no, we DIDN’T come from England. If we evolved from the English, why are there still English people? Ha! Answer THAT, you liberal snob what with your fancy book learning! U S A! U S A! 
  •  South America – More Socialists and all those jungles that hippy environmentalists are trying to “save.” Like anyone cares about some trees and frogs… say, do you know what today’s smog index is?
  • Central America – The single most dangerous area in the world. Riddled with drug cartels and Hispanics, the tide of immigrants threatens our very way of life. We should nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
  • The Middle East – The single most dangerous area in the world. Riddled with terrorists and Muslims (same thing, really), the creeping tide of Sharia threatens our very way of life. We should nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
  • China – The single most dangerous area in… wait, that’s from next years’ script textbook…
  • Soviet Union – Well, yes, it’s just Russia now but they’re still Commies! Well, OK, they’re not REALLY Commies anymore but they still have nukes! Well, sure, they’re reducing their stockpile in accordance with Obama’s START treaty but JUST SHUT UP AND BE AFRAID!
As you can see, Republicans of the future will be some of the most well-informed sheep slaves workerdrones citizens in the world! Next on our tour will be Republican Astronomy…

Nov 8, 2013

Nov 5, 2013

PBS’ Bill Moyers: GOP ‘Stalked’ Obamacare Like ‘Jack The Ripper’

Guest article from Mediate

On Friday’s edition of Moyers & Company, host Bill Moyers delivered a devastating take down of the Republican Party’s systematic efforts to dismantle President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Since the law passed, Moyers said, Republicans have “stalked it like Jack The Ripper.”

Moyers began by looking at the Republican members of Congress who demanded an apology from those responsible for the problems with the website. But once they got contrition from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Moyers said, “the apology didn’t squelch the partisan tirades or quench the Republican thirst for revenge.”

“Isn’t it fair to also expect at least a tiny bit of remorse, just a morsel of apology from Republicans?” Moyers asked. This led Moyers to his “Jack The Ripper” analogy, saying the GOP has “stalked” Obamacare “in the states, through the courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, which–uh-oh–ruled it constitutional. In last year’s election, when they lost again. But quit? Never. For Republicans, this has become their Alamo.”
Moyers explained that the Obama Administration “naively” figured that Republican-run states would gladly accept federal funds to set up their own insurance exchanges and expand Medicare. “Republicans, it seems, have their principles,” he said. “And health care for poor people is not one of them.”

The host resisted the urge to say “I told you so” after suggesting several years back that a public option would have been more effective that the “Rube Goldberg device” that is Obamacare.

More from Mediate...

Nov 2, 2013

Devils in the Details about junk Insurance coverage. And junk MEDIA coverage too!

That Florida woman's canceled Blue Cross policy? It's junk insurance.

She can get a real plan for only $165 a month by not falling for Blue Cross trying to UPSELL her to a Cadillac plan!

 Consumer REPORTS Published: October 29, 2013 06:33 PM
Photo: CBS News
Did you recently get a notice saying that your insurance company is canceling your policy because it doesn't meet the new health law's higher standards? Thousands of people are, and many are angry about it. But before you rush to judgement, it might not be as bad as it seems.

Conisder the case of Diane Barrette, a 56-year-old woman from Winter Haven, Fla. Her story was featured in this CBS News report and endlessly echoed on the Internet. She was upset because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida was canceling her $54-a-month “GoBlue plan 91” and offering to replace it with a $591-a-month “Blue Options Essential plan.”

Sounds terrible—except that Barrette’s expiring policy is a textbook example of a junk plan that isn’t real health insurance at all. If she had ever tried to use it for anything more than an occasional doctor visit or inexpensive prescription, she would have ended up with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical debt.

Here are some of the gory details. (You can see the rest for yourself on this complete plan summary from the insurance company.)
  • The plan pays only the first $50 of doctor visits, leaving Ms. Barrette to pay the rest. Specialist visits can cost several hundred dollars.
  • Only the first $15 of a prescription is covered. Some prescriptions can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month
  • The plan only pays for hospitalization for "complications of pregnancy," which are unlikely given Ms. Barrette's age and in any event only the first $50 is covered.
  • It pays $50 for a mammogram that can cost several hundred dollars, and only pays $50 apiece for advanced imaging tests such as MRIs and CT scans and then only when used for osteoporosis screening.
"She's paying $650 a year to be uninsured," Karen Pollitz, an insurance expert at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, said. "I have to assume that she never really had to make much of a claim under this policy. She would have lost the house she's sitting in if something serious had happened. I don't know if she knows that."
In fact, had Blue Cross Blue Shield allowed her to keep the plan, she would have been fined for going uninsured in 2014. Limited plans such as these are considered "excepted benefits" that don't fulfill the new obligation to have health coverage.

Okay, but can't we be outraged that Ms. Barrette will have to fork over $591 a month for a replacement plan? Actually, no, because she has other and better options than the costly plan Blue Cross Blue Shield wants to put her in. She get real insurance that covers all essential health benefits for well under $200 a month.
She has said her income is about $30,000 a year. It would be nice to look up her choices on, which is running the marketplace in Florida. But you can't do that without actually applying for coverage.

So, using tools available through (I'll walk you through this useful resource tomorrow), I determined that she qualifies for a premium subsidy of $320 a month. She can use that to purchase a Humana Direct Silver 4600/6300 plan for $165 a month.

Like all plans sold in the state Health Insurance Marketplaces, it covers essential health benefits such as doctor visits, inpatient and outpatient treatments, diagnostic and screening tests, maternity care, mental health care, prescription drugs, home health care, and rehabilitation services.

It's not the most generous plan in the world. The deductible is $4,600 and the only things the plan pays for outside the deductible are preventive services, the first $500 of diagnostic lab tests and x-rays in the year, and "diagnostic" office visits, meaning going to the doctor because you're feeling awful and need to know what's wrong. Visits for treatment are subject to the deductible. There's a separate $1,500 deductible for prescription drugs, after which there's a copay of $10 for generics and $50 for brand-name drugs. Once you've run up $6,300 in out-of-pocket expenses, the plan picks up 100 percent of your costs for the rest of the year.

To put these two plans in perspective, let's imagine that Ms. Barrette's luck runs out and she receives a diagnosis of breast cancer that will cost $120,000 to treat.

Under her current junk plan, she would probably receive no more than a few hundred dollars of benefits for doctor visits and drugs.  It wouldn't cover her surgery, her chemotherapy, her many expensive medications, or the repeated diagnostic tests she'd likely require. She would end up with probably $119,000 of unpaid medical bills. With the Humana plan, those bills top out at $6,300 a year, no matter what.
Got a question for our health insurance expert? Ask it here. It helps if you include the state you live in.

—Nancy Metcalf

Nov 1, 2013

5 Reasons Obama Never, Ever Should Have Trusted the Healthcare Industry

5 Reasons Obama Never, Ever Should Have Trusted the Healthcare Industry

Reprinted from ALTERNET  (you should bookmark and read this site!)
The industry keeps putting profits before serving the public.
President Obama has become the health insurance industry’s top salesperson. Yesterday, in Massachusetts, he urged Americans to take a long view on implementing Obamacare. While it may provide coverage to millions who now lack it, the evidence is mounting that Obama never should have trusted the private health insurance industry to begin with. Let us count the ways.

1. Obamacare was written by the industry for the GOP.

The template for the Affordable Care Act was the Heritage Foundation’s 1992 report for expanding the health insurance marketplace. Their plan had tax credits, while Obamacare has income-based subsidies paid directly to insurers to make it affordable to the poor, working class and middle class. As former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich points out, this was the Republican’s and insurance industry’s plan, not the Democrats, who wanted to expand existing government programs. Its reliance on the private sector was flawed from the start and is at the core of its current troubles.

2. Obamacare did not have meaningful price controls.

Even though the law passed in 2010, most of Obamacare was not slated to take effect until January 2014. That gave insurers several years to ratchet up premiums—with 18 percent to 25 percent annual jumps in states like California where insurance premiums are unregulated. While the law limits the percent of administrative costs that are part of premiums and that took effect in 2012, it does not regulate overall costs. Does anybody think insurers were not going to lock in profits and gouge the public when they could?

3. All insurers didn’t have to cooperate—and didn’t.

Not every health insurance company decided to participate in the ACA, which left many small states with very few options for uninsured residents. That means Obamacare is not offering a range of plans, in which competition is supposed to lower costs, in states like Maine and New Hampshire. That’s left state legislators wondering if they will have to create interstate compacts with neighbors to create coverage pools to attract private insurers to give residents more choices. Again, insurers did what was best for their bottom lines, not for the public health.

4. Is anyone surprised policies now are canceled?

Nobody should be surprised at the latest outrage from the industry, which is canceling hundreds of thousands of individuals’ policies, making the president eat his words that anyone can keep coverage they like. Obama ought to have known better. But as Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told Congress Wednesday, insurers are canceling policies or offering higher-priced substitutes because the old policies don’t meet the law's minimum coverage requirements.

People might be angry that their policy is being canceled or might cost more if they can’t get a federal subsidy, but they would feel a lot worse if they were hospitalized and faced thousands in unexpected bills and hounding by debt collectors. Who’s more at fault here, Obama for being played like a card, or insurers for selling bad policies in the first place?

5. And now Republicans prefer a public option?

There’s a lot more to be seen in the Obamacare drama before the nation’s new healthcare regimen emerges. But for now, a final—and perverse—reason why the health insurance industry shouldn’t have been trusted in the first place goes beyond the previous four.

Some Republicans whose states are taking federal money to expand coverage for the poor though state-run Medicaid are predicting that the market reforms won’t work. Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants the law’s public portion to work, the New York Times reported this week, but predicted the private insurance requiremens won’t. “It’s going to throw people out of work and not control costs,” he said.

That’s beyond ironic, as it reminds everyone that the best approach to healthcare reform is what Democrats and progressives have called for all along—a so-called public option via expanding existing government-run programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

“Had Democrats stuck to the original Democratic vision and built comprehensive health insurance on Social Security and Medicare, it would have been cheaper, simpler, and more widely accepted by the public,” wrote Reich. “And Republicans would be hollering anyway.”

Instead, Obama and the Democrats trusted the private insurance industry, thought it would do its part, and not keep stabbing them—and policyholders—in the back. That doesn’t mean the ACA doesn’t have positive features, as Obama keeps saying in speeches, but with the President as a punching bag the industry can keep doing what it has always done: put its profits first.

Is anyone really surprised?