On October 1st, 25 million uninsured Americans will be able to sign up for health insurance through new health insurance marketplaces.
Don't be fooled by extremist members of Congress and their pointless efforts to repeal the healthcare law. Obamacare is the law of the land and on October 1st of this year, 25 million uninsured Americans will be able to enroll in health insurance plans through the newly created health insurance marketplaces.
Obamacare has already delivered benefits to 100 million Americans by:
- Providing preventive health services like well child visits, cancer screenings
and annual checkups at no additional cost;
- Allowing young adults to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan if they’re
- Saving seniors on prescription medicines if they participate in Medicare;
- Providing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions; and
- Ending the worst insurance company abuses like charging women more than men for
the same coverage and putting arbitrary dollar limits on care.
Health insurance coverage will begin on January 1, 2014. Make sure everyone you know who is uninsured understands that healthcare access is close at hand.
My father, sister and I sat in the near-empty Chinese restaurant, picking at our plates, unable to avoid the question that we'd gathered to discuss: When was it time to let Mom die?
It had been a grueling day at the hospital, watching — praying — for any sign that my mother would emerge from her coma. Three days earlier she'd been admitted for nausea; she had a nasty cough and was having trouble keeping food down. But while a nurse tried to insert a nasogastric tube, her heart stopped. She required CPR for nine minutes. Even before I flew into town, a ventilator was breathing for her, and intravenous medication was keeping her blood pressure steady. Hour after hour, my father, my sister and I tried talking to her, playing her favorite songs, encouraging her to squeeze our hands or open her eyes.
Doctors couldn't tell us exactly what had gone wrong, but the prognosis was grim, and they suggested that we consider removing her from the breathing machine. And so, that January evening, we drove to a nearby restaurant in suburban Detroit for an inevitable family meeting.
My father and sister looked to me for my thoughts. In our family, after all, I'm the go-to guy for all things medical. I've been a health-care reporter for 15 years: at the Dallas Morning News, the Los Angeles Times and now ProPublica. And since I have a relatively good grasp on America's complex health-care system, I was the one to help my parents sign up for their Medicare drug plans, research new diagnoses and question doctors about their recommended treatments.
In this situation, like so many before, I was expected to have some answers. Yet none of my years of reporting had prepared me for this moment, this decision. In fact, I began to question some of my assumptions about the health-care system.
I've long observed, and sometimes chronicled, the nasty policy battles surrounding end-of-life care. And like many health journalists, I rolled my eyes when I heard the phrase "death panels" used to describe a 2009 congressional proposal that would have allowed Medicare to reimburse physicians who provided counseling to patients about living wills and advance directives. The frenzy, whipped up by conservative politicians and talk show hosts, forced the authors of the Affordable Care Act to strip out that provision before the bill became law.
In a revealing interview with The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker John Boehner discussed the conversations he had with President Obama during closed-door fiscal-cliff negotiations. Appearing to have a case of battle fatigue after weeks of negotiations, at one point in the interview Boehner said "I need this job like I need a hole in the head." He says he was most shocked by Obama saying that Washington doesn’t have a spending problem. The speaker, just entering his second term, also explained his notorious “Go f--k yourself” snap at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I was in Ohio, and Harry’s on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don’t lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me,” he said. Boehner also discussed his decision to vote for the Senate tax package, saying a "no" vote would do "serious damage to the economy.”
"What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: "At one point several weeks ago," Mr. Boehner says, "the president said to me, 'We don't have a spending problem.' "
"I am talking to Mr. Boehner in his office on the second floor of the Capitol, 72 hours after the historic House vote to take America off the so-called fiscal cliff by making permanent the Bush tax cuts on most Americans, but also to raise taxes on high earners. In the interim, Mr. Boehner had been elected to serve his second term as speaker of the House. Throughout our hourlong conversation, as is his custom, he takes long drags on one cigarette after another."
"Mr. Boehner looks battle weary from five weeks of grappling with the White House. He's frustrated that the final deal failed to make progress toward his primary goal of "making a down payment on solving the debt crisis and setting a path to get real entitlement reform." At one point he grimly says: "I need this job like I need a hole in the head."'
"The president's insistence that Washington doesn't have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called "a health-care problem." Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—"They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system"—he replied: "Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem." He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that."'
"With the two sides so far from agreeing even on the nature of the country's fiscal challenge, making progress on how to address it was difficult. Mr. Boehner became so agitated with the lack of progress that he cursed at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Those days after Christmas," he explains, "I was in Ohio, and Harry's on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don't lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me. I came back to town. Saw Harry at the White House. And that was when that was said," he says, referring to a pointed "go [blank] yourself" addressed to Mr. Reid."
"Mr. Boehner confirms that at one critical juncture he asked Mr. Obama, after conceding on $800 billion in new taxes, "What am I getting?" and the president replied: "You don't get anything for it. I'm taking that anyway."'
Guest Post by Jim Messina, Campaign Manager, Obama for America
For this video, we asked people to compare Mitt Romney's real positions with the ones he's claimed to support in the final weeks of the campaign.
We know Mitt Romney will say anything to win, even if it’s not true – just like he did in Massachusetts and in the first debate. The real Mitt Romney has been running on his “severely conservative” positions for years, but now – just weeks before Election Day – he’s trying to hide them because they’ll hurt the middle class and his chances of winning.
We saw this clearly in the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, as Governor Romney cynically and dishonestly hid the self-described “severely conservative” positions he’s been running on – and there’s no doubt he’s memorizing more deceptions as he prepares for Tuesday’s second debate.
On Tuesday, Romney will be asked some simple questions by Americans from diverse backgrounds about how his plans will impact their lives. So we’ve provided some simple translations to help voters – and the media – interpret the deceptive answers he’s most likely to give in return.
Question #1: What’s your tax plan and what will it mean for middle-class families?
What he’ll say: “I will not, under any circumstances, raise taxes on middle-income families.” – Mitt Romney, Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12
Translation: As part of his tax plan, Romney has proposed $5 trillion in specific tax cuts. As independent, non-partisan analysts have highlighted, to pay for his plan, Mitt Romney has promised $1 trillion more in tax cuts for the rich than there are tax benefits to close. As a result, he would have to cut popular tax deductions that middle class families rely on, like the mortgage interest and charitable deductions, to pay for $250,000 tax cuts to multi-millionaires. Paying for Romney’s tax cuts would mean the average middle class family with kids would see their taxes go up by $2,000 a year.
Reality under President Obama: The typical middle class family has seen their taxes cut by $3,600 by President Obama over the course of his first term, and he has a detailed plan that would keep income taxes low for 98% of families and 97% of small businesses, while asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share to help create an economy built to last.
Question #2: What about that $5 trillion tax cut skewed toward the wealthiest I’ve heard about?
What he’ll say: “First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut…I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” – Mitt Romney, Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12
Translation: Mitt Romney has detailed a specific tax plan that provides $5 trillion in tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires – a combination of a 20 percent cut in individual income taxes, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, repealing the estate tax and the high-income Medicare tax, and cutting taxes for corporations by $1.1 trillion. That math is clear, but when it comes to paying for these tax cuts, Romney hasn’t specified a single loophole he’d close. Even if he eliminated every deduction for high-income taxpayers and enough loopholes to pay for his corporate tax cut, he’d still need to increase middle class taxes by $1 trillion to pay for his plan.
Reality under President Obama: President Obama has already signed $1 trillion in spending cuts as part of a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion, while maintaining critical investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure needed to create jobs now and grow our economy in the coming decades.
Question #3: So how can you claim your tax cuts won’t result in more taxes for the middle class?
What he’ll say: “Six studies have guaranteed…that this math adds up…even their own deputy campaign manager acknowledged that it wasn't correct.” – Paul Ryan, Vice Presidential Debate, 10/11/12
Translation: While Romney will cite “studies” to back up his wild suggestion that he won’t raise taxes on middle-class families, independent fact checkers and journalists have noted time and time again, those so-called “studies” are actually partisan op-eds, blog posts and analyses by conservative think tanks. None have disputed the total cost of his plan or the fact that it is a large tax cut for those at the top – so none prove that he can pay for his tax plan without raising middle-class taxes. He’s trying to take statements out of context to get around the truth: he’s proposed $5 trillion in specific tax cuts, and even if he closes every deduction for the wealthy, he’ll still fall $1 trillion short. That means he has to either raise taxes on middle-class families or explode the deficit.
In a new video ad, called "Facts," President Obama aims to set the record straight in the face of attacks from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on his Medicare plan.
"Mitt Romney continues to mislead the American people about President Obama's record on Medicare--and skip the truth about his own plan to eliminate the guarantee of Medicare and provide people with a voucher to buy health care instead," Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said in a statement announcing the new ad.
"Facts," according to Fetcher, will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
"President Obama's new ad 'Facts' gets the facts wrong," responded Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "The facts concerning the President's record on Medicare are clear: 1) Obama cut the program by $716 billion, 2) millions will be forced to lose their Medicare Advantage coverage and 3) the program will go bankrupt in 2024. Mitt Romney has a plan for Medicare that protects it for today's seniors and strengthens it for future generations."
Republicans have criticized Obama for diverting $716 billion from Medicare, apparently referencing a July report by the Congressional Budget Office which said a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would result in a $716 billion increase in Medicare costs through 2022.
But the report also says that Medicare will not lose $716 billion should Obamacare stay in place, as Romney claimed in his ad. More of Romney's "sauce for the goose" crap, I suppose. Better duck, Mittens, more pesky facts headed your way!
Ladies, this video from the Guttmacher Institute explains how contraception can make all the difference in the world for us to control our own bodies, our own reproduction, and our own lives. And in case you haven't yet heard, something amazing happened this week:
Beginning today, up to 47 million women may be eligible to get free access to preventive health care services as that provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act goes into effect.
Even after all the right-wing snarling and gnashing of teeth, we have real women's health care, basic, preventive, life-saving health care.
Well-woman visits, including an annual check-up for adult women to get recommended preventive services, and additional visits if women and their doctors determine them necessary.
Contraception and contraceptive counseling: Women will have free access to all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and patient education and counseling without a co-pay. Most workers in employer-sponsored plans are currently covered for contraceptives.
Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future and the children of women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant during childhood.
HPV DNA testing every three years for women who are 30 or older, regardless of Pap smear results. HPV screening has been shown to help reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer.
Annual sexually transmitted infections (STI) counseling for sexually-active women. Such sessions have been shown to reduce risky behavior in patients; only 28 percent of women aged 18-44 years reported that they had discussed STIs with a doctor or nurse, according to HHS.
HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women. From 1999 to 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 15 percent increase in AIDS cases among women, and a 1 percent increase among men, suggesting an increased risk for women.
Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling for pregnant and postpartum women, including access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment.
Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling for all adolescent and adult women. An estimated 25 percent of U.S. women report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes and screening will lead to interventions to increase their safety.
Already covered under the law are other free preventive services for women recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including mammograms every 1-2 years for women over 40, cervical cancer screenings and prenatal care.
There are still many women out there who need affordable access to health care, but 47 million is one heck of a start.
This is such big news for women that it seems one Republican congressman wants to make August 1st a national holiday!
Here's what Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly (R) had to say:
"I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that's Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11th, and that's the day of the terrorist attack," Kelly said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates."
AFSCME, a union representing over a million public service workers, on Tuesday uploaded a video to YouTube that criticizes Republicans for their opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
The video, based on the opening and theme song of the 1970′s sitcom "The Brady Bunch," claims that “working people don’t matter” to prominent Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
The Republicans in the video have vowed that they will do whatever they can to repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in a landmark ruling, but Speaker John Boehner and corporate-backed politicians in Congress still can’t let it go. This week, the U.S. House is set to vote again — for the 31st time in 18 months — to repeal the health reform law.
They’d rather keep wasting taxpayer time and money refighting old political battles, attacking Obamacare even as polls show support for the law has increased significantly since the Supreme Court ruling. Even some Republicans doubt the wisdom of a political stunt that will only serve to highlight how out of touch Boehner, Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP bunch are.
Congress passed health reform, the President signed it, and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It’s time to move on and fully implement the law so we can ensure all Americans get the health care they need.
And remember, your congress-critters have excellent government-run heathcare, and they don't seem to mind that one bit!
Good morning, today is Tuesday, July 10, 2012. A new animation from Mark Fiore: Republican drug addicts? Now that the Supreme Court has largely upheld the Affordable Care Act, demand for RepubliBliss has been increasing.