The sheer number of patents in the U.S. is fueling frivolous litigation and drastic action is needed to make patents more difficult to obtain and easier to invalidate, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said Tuesday. > more ... (0 comments)
This week, potential Republican presidential contender Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) rolled out one of the country’s most regressive tax proposals, a plan that would shift Louisiana’s tax burden away from the wealthy by raising taxes on the bottom 80 percent of state residents. Apparently, the “austerity” measures don’t stop there. According to New Orleans CBS affiliate WWLTV, Louisiana residents over the age of 21 who are on Medicaid — the public insurance program for disabled and poor Americans — will stop receiving hospice care benefits at the end of this month. That means that low-income Louisianans with terminal illnesses, debilitating disabilities, and chronic long-term medical problems will no longer have access to the essential home and medical care that they need.Yep, all about priorities. It amazes me how much of their time Republicans devote to shitting on the poor and lower-middle-class.
Imagine you’re a relatively well-paid commercial banker with a great PPO health plan that pays 80% of the cost of your medical procedures. Now imagine you get a shoulder injury that will require two surgeries and the out-of-pocket portion that you have to cover is $30,000. It turns out that you don’t have the cash to dedicate to such a large expense and they won’t do the surgery unless you have the ability to pay. So you affirmatively choose to live with the pain until such time as you can save up enough money to have the surgery.
So that story is the story of a friend of mine. It shocks me to no end.
Just imagine what life must be like for a store clerk, or a phone support representative, or whoever else is making peanuts – with no health insurance. Scary.
Obama’s campaign, which doesn’t draw much attention to the health care law on the campaign trail, has made it a top issue in Spanish-language ads, targeting an audience that is among the most uninsured in the country.
The Administration’s employer-provided birth control policy has generated some, ahem, interesting pushback. Personally, I’m not moved by appeals to the integrity of the Catholic Church, but it really does appear as though HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Administration weren’t quite prepared for this particular tempest in a teapot. Even the liberal E.J. Dionne is upset about it, and you know what that means!
Seriously, though, I have to give the conservatives credit on this. The indications are uniform that the public (and Catholics in general, too) are not on their side. But they’ve managed to make this into a real headache for Democrats and have even managed to make it seem like it’s not entirely a partisan thing. That’s smart politics, it really is, and I’m always for credit where it’s due. But just count on this man to ruin it for them by going and pushing a bill to block it:
House Speaker John Boehner delivered a scathing attack from the House floor today on the Obama administration’s mandate that health insurers offer birth control coverage.
Escalating the already intense debate over the new requirement, Congress’ most powerful Republican called it an “attack on religious freedom.”
Conservatives have complained in recent days that the rule will force employers who object to contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs to cover those services. Catholic charities, universities and hospitals often object to such procedures.
It is unusual for a House speaker to address the House from the floor, as Boehner did today.
“This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand,” he vowed.
Here’s why this is dumb. Right now, conservatives have some leverage here. The Obama Administration has famously walked the talk of trying to avoid social issue “discussions” like this one. They think they are divisive and don’t want to get into this stuff if they don’t have to, and are often literally frightened of tough criticism in this area (see the Plan B decision last year, which just reeked of panic). They don’t want to go down this road if they don’t have to, and if Congressional Republicans were to let this thing build organically, they’ll likely get most of what they want. The White House has already dropped peace feelers, and whatever your feelings about Obama’s team, this is just how they roll. They will make concessions for no reason in hopes of placating the opposition, just as they always have.
And, suddenly, here comes John Boehner, full of swagger, ready to throw down some legislation that will almost certainly turn this into Just Another Culture War Skirmish, resetting everything to normal partisan loyalties as usual. Democrats uneasy with the policy will now be able to say that it’s being turned into a political weapon, allowing them to have their cake and eat it too by saying they have their issues with the policy but aren’t going to be tools of the anti-choice right. Their pro-choice constituents and traditionalist Catholic constituents will be satisfied, I suppose. Meanwhile, this puts pro-choice Republicans on the spot, having to decide whether to support their party or…ha ha ha. Of course they’ll support their leadership even if they disagree because that’s just how they roll. And they’ll pay the price in November for having voted against making birth control more easily available. Anyone want odds that this isn’t how the situation turns out? And that, in a month, it’s nothing more than one more thing for Rick Santorum to grouse about on the stump?
I don’t know if you all have seen the old Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy miniseries from the early ’80s (if not, go watch it!), but the line where Smiley says that Karla is weak because he’s a fanatic has always stuck with me. If you’re fanatical, you’re going to go to extremes that aren’t advisable because you’re so convinced you’re right, and that is correctly classified as a weakness (at the very least, it’s something that can be manipulated). And Smiley’s line perfectly encapsulates why Republicans are losing this battle, among other things. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cleaner example of one person screwing up something politically useful more efficiently than this. I’m so glad this incompetent boob is the top Republican in the House.
I’m from Oregon and I remember when Ron Wyden was elected to the Senate. At the time I scratched my head and asked, “Who the fuck is this sweaty, lisping drip running for Senate?” I remember discovering that he was a big advocate for the elderly through his entire career. Here’s Wikipedia:
While teaching gerontology [ed. note !!!] at several Oregon universities, Wyden founded the Oregon chapter of the Gray Panthers; he led that organization from 1974 to 1980. Wyden is also the former director of the Oregon Legal Services Center for Elderly, a nonprofit law service.
Fast forward to today and this fact has got to make your head explode when you ponder why he has now so cavalierly decided to sell our country’s future elderly into a system that no longer guarantees coverage for their medical treatments.
[I just mentioned this on Lev's earlier post, but I thought it bore repeating.]
The Obama administration moved Tuesday to roll back a number of rules governing hospitals and other health care providers after concluding that the standards were obsolete or overly burdensome to the industry.
Among other things, the proposals would allow hospitals to save money by sometimes using qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants in place of better-paid doctors, allowing doctors to focus more on patients and helping address “impending physician shortages.”
Read the whole thing. Sounds pretty smart to me. For my part, I’m always amazed by how much more efficient my dentist’s office is than my doctor’s office. I go into the dentist, within a few minutes I’m in the chair. The hygienists and assistants do nearly everything, and the doc comes in for just a few minutes to look everything over. The doctor’s office is pretty much the opposite–much longer waits, the nurses do some things, but it seems like the doctor has to do a lot of stuff that a nurse or an LPN could do without too much of a problem. Admittedly, the plural of anecdote is not data. But it’s something I’ve noticed pretty consistently during my life.
Since I’ve used it too often, there’s no Sugar for you this time. But as I’ve been listening to more R.E.M. since the breakup, I’ve discovered this song which is nearly the same as “A Good Idea”. So enjoy:
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