One More Complete Media Fail: Health Insurance “Deadline”

How many news stories have you seen telling people that the Obamacare “deadline” has passed? For example, this from AP,

The deadline has passed, and so too the surprise grace period, for signing up for health insurance as part of the nation’s health care law.

How can you avoid thinking, “Wow, I missed the ‘deadline’ and now I can’t get insurance!”?

Here’s the deal: You can still get insurance, it just won’t start on Jan. 1. That’s it. Big deal.

Yes, you haven’t been able to get insurance until now and you really want to be covered. Yes you wanted to start on the very first day. But don’t worry, you can still get insurance. And you may have heard that there is a penalty for not having insurance? This is how that works: If you are uninsured for 3 or more months in a year you have to pay a penalty of $95 this year, more in following years. So get your insurance by the end of March to avoid the penalty.

Don’t let stories like this trick you into thinking you missed out and can’t get insurance.

Was YOUR Health Plan Cancelled?

Do YOU actually know anyone who had a health insurance plan that was cancelled because of Obamacare (not because the insurance company decided to) and who went to the health care exchange and did not find a better plan for less money?

It turns out no one actually knows anyone this actually happened to. One more made-up propaganda story from the corporate/conservatives.

Now compare this with the MILLIONS of people who are getting health insurance now, who couldn’t before.

Don’t Cut — Lower the Retirement Age and Open Up More Jobs

I have a post up over at Bill Moyers’ website: Don’t Cut — Lower the Retirement Age and Open Up More Jobs. The main points are:

1) Lowering the retirement age opens up jobs and,

2) Lowering the Medicare eligibility age takes the most expensive people out of the private insurance pool, which lowers everyone else’s premiums, and these people then become the lease expensive people in Medicare, which lowers the cost-per-person.

Republican/Corporate Strategy On Health Care

Insurance corporations are going to make Obamacare terrible, while Republicans work to kill it. Here’s how they’re going to do it.

Insurers have found a loophole in the health care law. Low-cost plans will restrict the doctors patients can visit, and there will be extreme expenses for patients who go outside the network.

NY Times: Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices,

From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.

[. . .] “That can be positive for consumers if it holds down premiums and drives people to higher-quality providers,” Mr. Linker said. “But there is also a risk because, under some health plans, consumers can end up with astronomical costs if they go to providers outside the network.”

And it is intentional:

Peter L. Gosline, the chief executive of Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, N.H., said his hospital had been excluded from the network without any discussions or negotiations.

“Many consumers will have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach other doctors and hospitals,” Mr. Gosline said. “It’s very inconvenient for patients, and at times it’s a hardship.”

Martin Luther King’s Dream Of Jobs And Freedom

Martin Luther King Jr. outlined his dream 50 years ago this weekend. We made much of it happen. Let’s dream some more. Let’s dream about what we could do in the next 50 years.

Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and famously told the country “I have a dream.” Fifty years later there is progress and there are setbacks. We no longer have segregation — separate schools and bathrooms and the rest. Many states finally allow everyone to marry the person they love, but at the same time many states are returning to apartheid-era restrictions of voting rights.

One huge part of the “Jobs and Freedom” Dream that still evades us is the goal of full employment or an income until a job becomes available.

On August 16, 1967 King delivered a speech titled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” addressing the need for everyone to have a job or an income,

…our emphasis must be twofold: We must create full employment, or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:

The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the, that of a taskmaster or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.

A Country Based On A Dream

Our country was founded on the dream that We the People can do things for each other instead of depending on the rich and powerful to throw us scraps.

If you look at our Constitution you see that our country is supposed to be for We the People. And I mean just look at it, not read it. The only words you see from any distance are the words “We the People.” The Founders were making a point.

The Constitution told the world about a dream that “We the People” would build a country that protects and empowers us, where together we do things for the common good, to make our lives better. And for a while we did that.

We have lost sight of that dream. We no longer seem to recognize who our country is for. We no longer talk about the common good.

Who is our country for? Who is our economy for? Certainly a We the People economy would at the very least guarantee that We the People have jobs and an income until a job is available.

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If We Lower The Social Security Age To 55

millions of jobs would open up. The newly-employed would be paying taxes and would not be receiving Food Stamps, etc. More people employed would mean wages in general would rise, which would mean the economy would boom, tax revenue would rise, etc.

And if we lower the Medicare age to 55 all the new people in the program would cost MUCH less because people between 55 and 64 use far less health care services than people 65 and over. AND the people 55 and over are the most expensive people on private insurance, so the cost of private policies would go way down.

How to pay for this? This is about priorities. How do we pay over a trillion a year for military? How did we pay for Iraq? How did we pay for the bank bailouts? How do we pay for tax cuts for the rich? How do we pay for letting corporations stash money in tax havens to evade (defer) taxes? How do we pay for giving subsidies to oil companies?

Who is our economy and country FOR?