Wednesday, June 28, 2017

To dream the impossible dream....

"Fixing healthcare really has turned out to be the impossible dream. And it has turned out to be a very unbeatable foe."

Ain't gonna happen. This is what many have been saying for quite a while now. We are on a plane which is getting ready to crash, and the rescue plan is .... nowhere in sight. What happened yesterday with the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (Whew! What a name!) was only act one of a very long play. What kind of a play? A Greek tragedy.

Senate Leader McConnell pulled the bill from being voted on yesterday for good reason. Rather than have another kerfuffle like what happened in the House, Mitch proclaimed, "We will wait until after the 4th of July recess to vote on this." Now if I may quote one of my former managers - "Bad news does not get better with age." And this bill as it stands right now - is very bad news.

Last night on Fox, Dr. Krauthammer summed it up quite well. To paraphrase what he said, you can't open up the goody box like Obama did with health care, and then try and take some of those goodies away. The only problem is, the "goodies" are helping make ObamaCare self destruct. Many of the recipients of those goodies however, can't see it. They just keep getting the free stuff. Those who are paying the freight however, are seeing it in technicolor. 

More and more folks on the Right are now suggesting this healthcare thing is too broken to save, too broken to fix. We should wave the white flag and move on to tax reform. This healthcare thing is not worth wasting a ton of political capital on when in fact, nothing can be done. Nothing? Hey - what about single payer? Medicare for all? 

We can do that. We can go to a "Medicare for all" program like Comrade Bernie Sanders suggested during the last campaign. But the costs? What will we do with all those nasty costs? First off, if we did this, kiss tax reform good-bye. In fact, there will be an additional tax to help pay for it. And this additional tax will be skewed so the wealthy pay more (sound like ObamaCare?). But even with confiscatory taxation, that will not be enough. Any extra costs will just pile up in our ballooning national debt. And (what most experts agree on), the quality of our care will have to be less. Less choice, less options, and yes - even some rationing.

So here we are, going into the middle of a wonderful summer, with a busted healthcare system. Thank you Barack Obama, for leaving us this POS. Chucky Schumer is standing on the sidelines, ready to put cement shoes on any Republican plan and then toss it into the Potomac. This healthcare thing is worse than toxic. Any smart Republicans should stay a mile and a half away from this thing. And what about those promises to "repeal and replace"? Tell the truth - Republicans did not know how broken this thing really was until they were in the diver's seat.

To dream the impossible dream. To fight the unbeatable foe. To bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not to go. Those words from the Andy Williams song sum up where we are right now. Fixing healthcare really has turned out to be the impossible dream. And it has turned out to be a very unbeatable foe.

Enjoy your 4th of July folks - things are going to get real tough once it is over. 


  1. If you believe this bill was to provide adequate healthcare for appropriate prices, please send me some of what you've been smoking.
    This bill is about sending the poor and middle class folk of America the standard conservative message. "Pull up your big girl panties and get to work, earn your way, and pay for your own insurance."
    This bill is designed to return the money that privileged Americans have been paying to assist their down trodden second cousins.
    Millionaires would get tax cuts averaging $52,000 a year from the Senate Republicans’ health bill while middle-income families would get about $260, according to a new analysis of the foundering bill.
    The analysis was done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It found that half of the tax cuts would go to families making more than $500,000 a year.
    I'm OK with that. The part I'm not OK with is the Medicaid cuts. These reductions are just a shift in tax burden from Federal to State. Persons with real and debilitating conditions receive Medicaid funds, as do their caregivers. States will have to pick that up. Middle to low income folks spend down their assets when they enter Nursing Homes, after the spend down, Medicaid pays. States will have to pick that up.
    So, along with the biggest transfer of additional wealth to the top 2 percent in decades, the taxpayers of MN and every other state will be given the burden of making up the Medicaid cuts.
    This is standard Republican response to a problem and it's what makes me throw up in my mouth every time one of your policies succeeds. The benefits are always for the select few, at the cost of the unwashed many.
    If this administrations term doesn't cause a revolution,, I will be very surprised and dissapointed.
    Have a great day and a celebratory week ahead.
    Dave Gjerdingen
    ps Odds of a MAJOR cyber attack or home grown terrorist action in the US this week are low, less than 20 to 1.

  2. Not to rub it in............
    The chair of the Metropolitan Council will step down from the Twin Cities regional planning and transit organization at the end of July.
    He’ll be replaced as chair by Alene Tchourumoff, currently the state rail director. Like Duininck, Tchourumoff will be a fulltime chair.
    Before Tchourumoff was appointed state rail director in April 2016, she was the planning director at the Hennepin County Public Works Department. She previously worked as a transportation consultant, including advising the Federal Railroad Administration.
    As state rail director, she oversees freight-rail safety, including oil trains and rail infrastructure.
    In a statement, Tchourumoff said she would try “to improve our transportation systems and our infrastructure” and work with “local communities, counties and businesses” as chair.
    “That translates to expanding economic opportunities and a better quality of life for all of our region’s residents,” she said.

    Wow! What a great world we live in!


  3. Like many Americans, I’m having politics fatigue. Or, to be more specific, arguing-about-politics fatigue.
    I haven’t run out of salient points or evidence for my political perspective,but there is a particular stumbling block I keep running into when trying to reach across the proverbial aisle and have those “difficult conversations” so smugly suggested by think piece after think piece:

    I don’t know how to explain to someone why they should care about other people.

    Personally, I’m happy to pay an extra 4.3 percent for my fast food burger if it means the person making it for me can afford to feed their own family. If you aren’t willing to fork over an extra 17 cents for a Big Mac, you’re a fundamentally different person than I am.

    I’m perfectly content to pay taxes that go toward public schools, because all children deserve a quality, free education. If this seems unfair or unreasonable to you, we are never going to see eye to eye.

    If I have to pay a little more with each paycheck to ensure my fellow Americans can access health care? SIGN ME UP. Poverty should not be a death sentence in the richest country in the world. If you’re okay with thousands of people dying of treatable diseases just so the wealthiest among us can hoard still more wealth,
    there is a divide between our worldviews that can never be bridged.

    I don’t know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy. I cannot have one more conversation with someone who is content to see millions of people suffer needlessly in exchange for a tax cut that statistically they’ll never see.

    I cannot have political debates with these people. Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.

    I can’t debate someone into caring about what happens to their fellow human beings. The fact that such detached cruelty is so normalized in a certain party’s political discourse is at once infuriating and terrifying.

    The “I’ve got mine, so screw you,” attitude has been oozing from the American right wing for decades, but this gleeful exuberance in pushing legislation that will immediately hurt the most vulnerable among us is chilling.