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Nederlog

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Crisis: Trump's "Healthcare" - Protests, Party of Death, Moral Travesty, Plain Sadism


Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Protests Erupt After House Republicans Pass Healthcare Bill
     That Could Hike Premiums for Millions

2. The 'Pro-Life' Party Has Become the Party of Death: New
     Research on Why Republicans Hate Poor and Sick People

3.
The Moral Travesty of Trumpcare
4. Did the Marquis de Sade Write This Health Care Bill?
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday
, May 6, 2017.

Summary: This is a
crisis log with four items and four links (all about Trump"care", if only because it is exemplary awful): Item 1 is about an article and interview by Amy Goodman; item 2 is about an article by Chauncey DeVega; item 3 is about an article by Robert Reich, and item 4 is about an article by RoseAnn DeMoro. As I said, all are about Trump"care" and
all are good (from my point of view).

And this is the usual about the updating problem that I am now plagued with for no less than 1 1/2 years, now only at one of my sites:
May 6: As to the updating problem: The Danish site was again on time today. The Dutch site is off again and sticks on May 4. They did it well from 1996 till 2015, updating within minutes at most. I think they totally stopped doing this to limit the readings of my site. I think (but I don't know anything whatsoever about "xs4all") they now update once a week, which means that they are - for me - over 10,000 times worse than they were between 1996 and 2015.

These horrors happen now for the 16th month in succession. And they happen on purpose, because it is extremely simple to do this properly, and it was done properly from 1996 till late in 2015. (If you want these horrors, then sign in with "xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them like the plague.)

And what changed is that you have to refresh (and refresh and refresh and refresh) to get the latest, which is again NOT as it was before, from 1996 till 2015, and which for me this only serves to make it extremely difficult for naive users to get the latest from my site - that for them may seem to have stuck somewhere in 2016 or 2015.

And I have to add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others I have NO idea AT ALL: It may be December 31, 2015. (Xs4all wants  immediate payment if you are a week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying my site now for over a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. Protests Erupt After House Republicans Pass Healthcare Bill That Could Hike Premiums for Millions

The first article today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts with the following introduction:

Republicans have moved one step closer to repealing Obamacare after the House narrowly approved legislation Thursday that would result in tens of millions of people losing health insurance while providing a massive tax break to the rich. The future of the bill remains in doubt as Republican senators have vowed to write their own healthcare bill. Most major medical organizations and the AARP warned the bill will cause serious harm to patients and drive up the cost of healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office was not given enough time to "score" the legislation—meaning the House voted on the bill without knowing its projected impact. The bill was also opposed by almost every sector in the healthcare industry, including hospitals, doctors, health insurers and consumer groups. It puts a cap on federal spending per person—including seniors and children—under Medicaid and blocks Medicaid funds going to reimburse Planned Parenthood for providing preventive care to women. We speak with Margarida Jorge, co-executive director of Health Care for America Now and Health Care for America Now Education Fund, and Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong, a women of color reproductive health collective.

Incidentally, I normally print the introductions to the interviews on Democracy Now! that I review, simply because they are good and clear.

Here is Amy Goodman with one critical remark one should bear in mind:

AMY GOODMAN: However, the future of the bill remains in doubt as Republican senators have vowed to write their own healthcare bill instead of taking up the House bill. Shortly after the vote, President Trump hosted Republican lawmakers at the White House Rose Garden for a celebration.

More precisely, as Robert Reich also explains in his article about Trumpcare that is below, in fact there are four more hurdles this sick and crazy plan has to take before it becomes law: it still may fail.

Here is what Trumpcare seems to involve - and the "seems" is motivated by the fact that the full bill, to the best of my knowledge, at least, has not yet been published - is, among other things, the following:

AMY GOODMAN: While President Trump praised the bill, most major medical organizations and the AARP warned the bill will cause serious harm to patients and drive up the cost of healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office was not given enough time to "score" the legislation, meaning the House voted on the bill without knowing its projected impact. The CBO projected 24 million people would lose health insurance under an earlier version of the Republican bill. The bill was opposed by almost every sector in the healthcare industry, including hospitals, doctors, health insurers and consumer groups.

Critics of the bill faulted numerous provisions. Under the new bill, health insurance companies would be allowed to charge customers with pre-existing conditions as much as they want. The list of pre-existing conditions include rape, sexual assault, postpartum depression, cesarean sections and surviving domestic violence. It would roll back the expansion of Medicaid and cut Medicaid by $880 billion over 10 years. The bill also puts a cap on federal spending per person, including seniors and children, under Medicaid.
And that means this is not a health-bill at all: it is a bill to make the profits of the insurers as big as possible by forcing out a considerable portion of the poor.

Here is Margarida Jorge, who makes the same point:
MARGARIDA JORGE: (...) One thing is that the Affordable Care Act was largely a bill that created a set of rules for insurance companies. And the rules for these insurance companies were critical, because, if you remember before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could charge whatever they wanted for pre-existing conditions. They could charge a woman more for an insurance policy than they would charge a man for a comparable policy. And that policy often wouldn’t even include things like birth control or maternity care or prenatal care. So, a lot of these rules really address issue of fairness, equity, and protected consumers from being overcharged. So, many of those provisions, some of the most popular provisions in the bill, are being rolled back.

Yes, indeed. And incidentally, I should also point out that what is now called "Obamacare" (a propagandistic term, however you take it) started out as "Romneycare" (idem) because the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (<- Wikipedia) had introduced such a system while he was the governor of Massachusetts, and because Obama thought he could put that bill, which was itself not good, through Congress and the Senate.

That is, "Obamacare" was originally a Republican plan from the early 2000s. Here is more by Jorge:

MARGARIDA JORGE: I mean, I think we’ll learn that the impact of the bill is even worse than we thought. And, you know, it’s not—shouldn’t be any surprise that the Republicans have done everything that they can to obscure the impact of the bill. This whole process has been conducted without one single hearing, through the reconciliation process, that is purposely being used to rush this thing through. And it’s only thanks to the activism, the support, the outrage of the public at town hall meetings and during recesses that we’ve even been able to get this much information, because keep in mind that the plan from the beginning was that the Republicans wanted to have this piece of legislation passed through both chambers and on the president’s desk to sign on his first day in office. So it’s been quite an accomplishment to delay that and to force them to answer questions about the impact of the bill.

But certainly, you know, the impact, overall, isn’t just on healthcare. It really raises questions that I think are bigger questions about the administration and about Republicans in Congress, about what they actually believe about democracy that they would rush a bill that could potentially restructure a sixth of the economy without even basic data from a nonpartisan source about what the impact is going to be, through a process that didn’t give anybody an opportunity to weigh in, offer information. The fact is, they didn’t go to any experts.

I quite agree. As to what the Republicans in Congress "actually believe about democracy that they would rush a bill that could potentially restructure a sixth of the economy without even basic data from a nonpartisan source about what the impact is going to be": I personally think the majority of the present Republicans don't care for democracy or government: They care for the rich, and they care for themselves, and what they tell the public generally consists of lies and propaganda.

The bill is simply sick and sadistic, but Congress is for it because (i) it will increase the profits of the insurers and the incomes of the rich, and besides (ii) Congress did take care of one thing: To exempt the Members of Congress and their servants from Trumpcare.

There is considerably more in this article which is recommended.

2. The 'Pro-Life' Party Has Become the Party of Death: New Research on Why Republicans Hate Poor and Sick People

The second article is by Chauncey DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon:

This starts as follows:

On Thursday, Republicans in the House of Representatives forced through a health care “reform” bill that is likely to leave millions of Americans without health insurance, especially those who suffer from chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It has been estimated that if the Republican Party is successful in eliminating the Affordable Care Act that at least 43,000 Americans a year will die from lack of adequate health care.

Yes indeed - and incidentally, while it awful enough to die because no one took care to design decent American health care for all, there are very many more than 43,000 who will not die, but who will suffer a lot simply because they cannot afford to pay what is necessary to help them.

And this is - I agree - the real point of the "healthcare" plan of the Republicans:

The Republican Party is pursued this policy in order to give millions of dollars in tax cuts to the very rich. President Trump, who is a billionaire, would financially benefit if Republicans succeed in repealing the ACA.

It is abundantly clear that Trump and his party possess a deep disdain for sick people, the poor and other vulnerable members of American society and wish to do them harm.

I agree to the last bit as well, though I reduce it simply to disdain for the poor. Here are some questions about it:

But an important set of questions still remain: Why do Republicans and conservatives have such disdain for the weak, the vulnerable and the sick? Why do they want to kill the “useless eaters?” What does this tell us about how Republicans and conservatives view the world, as well as their relationships and obligations to other human beings?

I think it is because they are rich, because they are capitalists, and because they think - as Trump does - that they are genetically superior persons, who are better than the rest, and who deserve to get paid for their individual excellence.

It is all utter ideological bullshit and propaganda for their own excellency, but this is - it seems to me - what most of the present Republicans believe. It is also more or less what the Aryans thought about themselves: That they are superior for inborn genetical reasons over anyone who is not Aryan (which is - in case you didn't know - one of the nonsensical foundations of Nazism, for their never was anything like "an Aryan race").

Here is more, followed by an illustration that seems appropriate to me:

This survey from Pew continued:

Republicans are more likely to say the reason someone is poor generally has more to do with of a lack of effort (56%) than circumstances beyond a person’s control (32%). By 71%-19%, more Democrats say that circumstances beyond one’s control are generally more often to blame for why a person is poor. The share of Democrats who link a person being poor to a lack of effort has declined since 2014 (from 29% to 19%).

In fact, the poor generally work the hardest of all, precisely because they are poor, and this has been so ever since the Romans and the Greeks. Here is an - ideological, but mostly quite true - depiction of the kind of capitalism most Republicans believe in:


That is: The Republicans - these days, for it was a bit different in Eisenhower's years - believe that they are the natural born rulers, who rule not because they are rich, but because they are born with superior genes that makes them better and more deserving than anyone who is not a ruler.

It is all ideological bullshit, but this does not mean it isn't believed in religiously.

Here is DeVega on the just world hypothesis (which anybody who is not born a millionaire knows to be total trash):

The just world hypothesis is a fallacy.

In reality, people exist in a society where their life trajectories are largely determined by impersonal social and political systems. Nevertheless, the just world hypothesis can be compelling. It allows the privileged, the powerful and the rich to rationalize their opportunities: “I earned it! Those people are lazy!” “Good things happen to good people! Those people are immoral and made bad choices unlike me!” “Their problems aren’t my responsibility!”

Yes indeed: That is how it works. Here is more by DeVega:

Once again, the repeated efforts by the Republican Party to repeal the minimal protections offered by the Affordable Care Act serve to remind us that conservatism is a type of socially motivated cognition that minimizes any sense of human obligation and connection to other people, outside a narrowly defined kin or other peer group.

I agree again, and point again to the above image of the capitalist system.

Here is the last bit of DeVega that I'll quote:

Today’s version of American conservatism is also a celebration of selfishness — and a belief that true freedom and liberty are based on a perverse individualism with little sense of common decency or linked fate with someone’s fellow citizens. Today’s American conservatism also embraces an extreme form of neoliberalism whereby human worth and dignity are determined by profit-and-loss statements and capitalism and democracy are confused with one another. Ultimately, American conservatism is a value system that is antisocial, anti-democratic and anti-freedom.

Yes, again I quite agree.

Incidentally (for the really intelligent): I was born and bred a complete atheist and I still am, but probably the first genuine and conscious libertarian anarchist was Gerrard Winstanley (<-Wikipedia), who lived in the 17th Century, and who had a great mind and who wrote a truly beautiful English and who also was a Christian.

Here is a link to a good exposition of Winstanley's ideas: Gerard Winstanley: 17th Century Communist at Kingston, by Christopher Hill. Also quite good: Winstanley & The Diggers, by Kenneth Rexroth.

And I am not recommending this because I want you to convert to Winstanley's ideas, but to show you a great mind and a great writer from the 17th Century who would have been as opposed to the present Republicans as I am or as anyone else is.

3. The Moral Travesty of Trumpcare

The third article is by Robert Reich on his site:

This starts as follows:

Today’s version of American conservatism is also a celebration of selfishness — and a belief that true freedom and liberty are based on a perverse individualism with little sense of common decency or linked fate with someone’s fellow citizens. Today’s American conservatism also embraces an extreme form of neoliberalism whereby human worth and dignity are determined by profit-and-loss statements and capitalism and democracy are confused with one another. Ultimately, American conservatism is a value system that is antisocial, anti-democratic and anti-freedom.

The losers are up to 24 million Americans who under the Affordable Care Act get subsidies to afford health insurance coverage, including millions of people with pre-existing conditions and poor people who had access to Medicaid who may not be able to afford insurance in the future. 

The winners are wealthy Americans who will now get a tax cut because they won’t have to pay to fund the Affordable Care Act, and healthy people who won’t have to buy health insurance to subsidize the sick.

Yes, precisely: That is what it comes down to. Here is more, namely an explanation why this is so extremely unfair:

The Affordable Care Act puts healthy and sick people into the same insurance pool. But under the Republican bill that passed the House, healthy people will no longer be subsidizing sick people.  Healthy people will be in their own insurance pool. Sick people will be grouped with other sick people in their own high-risk pool – which will result in such high premiums, co-payments, and deductibles that many if not most won’t be able to afford.

Precisely and as I have been saying before: This is not healthcare, it is profitcare, and the profit belongs solely to the rich and the healthy, while the losses are for the poor and the sick.

Here is the last bit I'll quote from this article:

Here we come to the heart of the matter. 

If patriotism means anything, it means sacrificing for the common good, participating in the public good. Childless Americans pay taxes for schools so children are educated. Americans who live close to their work pay taxes for roads and bridges so those who live farther away can get to work. Americans with secure jobs pay into unemployment insurance so those who lose their jobs have some income until they find another. 

And under the Affordable Care Act, healthier and wealthier Americans pay a bit more so sicker and poorer Americans don’t die. 

Trump and House Republicans aren’t patriots. They don’t believe in sacrificing for the common good. They don’t think we’re citizens with obligations to one another. To them, we’re just individual consumers who deserve the best deal we can get for ourselves. It’s all about the art of the deal.

Hm. I don't like patriotism and tend to feel like Dr. Johnson (<- Wikipedia) felt about it: "Patriotism is the first refuge of the scoundrel". It is also true that I don't think Reich is a scoundrel, and that I think "sacrificing for the common good, participating in the public good" are indeed both good and desirable things.

For me patriotism is too vague. But this is a recommended article.

4. Did the Marquis de Sade Write This Health Care Bill?

The fourth and last article today is by RoseAnn DeMoro (<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows (and is from a specialist: DeMoro is the executive director of the National Nurses United):

Republican leaders in the House and White House wanted to implement a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans (the health care bill passed Thursday) as a prelude to adopting a second massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations (the tax bill that’s next on their agenda).

They needed the first tax cut so they could pass both bills through a process called “reconciliation” which allows them to enact both massive gifts to the 1 percent by a simple majority in the Senate without the 60-vote threshold in the Senate for other legislation.

The first tax cut for the very rich is called the American Health Care Act, the not so hidden fine print in a bill that is also a horror story for tens of millions of Americans who would be deprived of health coverage and millions more who are threatened with bankruptcy for being sick.

And, no doubt many of the 217 Republican Congress members who narrowly passed the bill are among those expected to benefit from the nearly $600 billion tax cut in the AHCA, most of which goes to those with incomes of over $1 million a year.

What does the rest of America get? A nightmare, which ought to violate the Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Yes indeed: I quite agree. Here is more:

Most notably, the legislation, if enacted, would eviscerate $880 billion from Medicaid, affecting low income Americans, with a cap on federal reimbursements to states, an open invitation for states to cut eligibility and reduce covered services.

It is especially punitive for people with what the insurance companies endearingly call pre-existing conditions, which is virtually any existing health status from asthma to cancer, with the added discrimination against women, notably higher costs for pregnancy.

Under the AHCA, 40-year olds could be hit with massive increases in costs for premiums of $142,650 for metastatic cancer, $26,580 for rheumatoid arthritis, $18,720 for congestive heart failure, $17,320 for pregnancy, $8,490 for certain mental health conditions, $5,600 for diabetes, and $4.340 for asthma, according to the Center for American Progress.

Yes indeed - and no one but rich men can afford such premiums. Besides, this goes completely counter to the idea of healthinsurance and indeed of insurance, which is that all pay to help the relatively few who do get ill.

Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:

You’d think the 217 heartless legislators who voted for this monstrosity would be hiding their heads in shame. Instead they engaged in a raucous celebration, wheeling a sled full of beer into the Capitol and then holding a victory rally in the White House Rose Garden with President Trump. 

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.

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