Would you be here?

What it means to be a Republican

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What every American needs to say to the GOP, and what they need to do every election day

This is exactly how I feel toward the GOP.

There can never be another compromise with them on anything. Ever.

Trump is all the proof any thinking person should need to accept the reality that conservatives and Republicans are waging a war on decency, intellect, intelligence, and the future.

The Republican Party is the enemy of everything this country is supposed to be about.

What to do?

Show up on every election day to vote against every Republican at every level of government, from school board and town council to Congress and the Presidency. If we don’t, we don’t get to complain, and we can’t be angry and outraged about the country sliding down the slippery slope toward the kind of hate-filled, corrupt, and stupid kleptocracy embodied by Trump.

Complain that the system is rigged.
Complain that there’s not enough difference between Democrats and Republicans.
Complain about Big Money in politics and anything else that bothers you.

But, stay home or throw away your vote, and you need to understand that you’re helping the GOP.

It’s that simple.

The difference between healthcare and health insurance explained (mostly for Republicans and Trump’s acolytes)

People like GA Republican Rep “Buddy” Carter and the rest of the GOP are either misleading Americans or out-and-out lying to them.

They either don’t know the difference or are intentionally obfuscating the difference between healthcare and health insurance *choices* by either unwittingly or knowingly talking about them as if they are one and the same, and that Americans are somehow being held back from making choices because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

The only people who won’t have choices and who will be left behind by the GOP are people who aren’t covered by employer-subsidized health insurance and who aren’t poor enough to be covered by Medicaid. The so-called “free market” cannot solve this issue of access to healthcare in an affordable way for EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN.

It’s a Business – That’s the Problem

Health insurance as a business exists solely because healthcare has become too expensive to be a service one can pay for out-of-pocket.

Doctors stopped accepting chickens decades ago, and a 1.2trillion dollar industry – the insurance industry, that is, of which 55% is in the life/health side of the business – has absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose as a business by actually insuring people who need healthcare.

Why does healthcare cost so much? Lots of reasons, I think, but mostly for two reasons.

Capitalism at its Worst

The first is because we’re all just greedy enough and selfish enough in capitalist America to actually put a price tag on healthcare and on life itself.

As every good capitalist would tend to agree, the more expensive something is, the better it must be (or at least many of us have convinced ourselves of that premise).

So, if healthcare costs a lot and some people are priced out of it, c’est la vie. That’s capitalism and free markets at work, right? (“Yeah! Tell those lazy poor people to get a job!”….and all of that dysfunctional and inhumane nonsense we hear all the time from libertarians and conservatives.)

The second reason healthcare is so expensive is one that many may not realize. It’s *how* it’s paid for in America.

30% of the cost of delivering healthcare in America is tied up in “administration.” That’s a euphemism for processing claims; claims that are paid by insurers whose profit motive is to take in billions in premiums and to not pay or to pay claims as slowly as possible.

Make no mistake about it. Private health insurance companies are the real death panels.

Compounding the problem of administrative overhead costs is that every health insurer has a different way to process claims. It’s why 1 in 4 people who work in healthcare work in administration.

In 2015 there were 859 health insurance companies in the the U.S. Even if all you count are the top 25, that’s still 25 ways a healthcare provider will have to know how to process claims if they want to be paid. That, or they turn away patients who have health insurance they don’t know how to process, or they outsource claims processing to a third party. Whatever decisions they make, it all adds up.

Single payer eliminates it all.

You Had 8 Years and Trumpcare is the Best You Can Do?

As for the embarrassment that is the GOP abomination presumably 8 years in the making, “choice” is among the many lies “Buddy” Carter and the rest of the GOP are trying to sell you on now.

I worked for a company that provided technology to insurance carriers. Not agents, the insurance companies themselves. I saw it from the inside. Here’s how the industry works in a nutshell.

Insurance companies come up with products – the plans they want to sell. They have to file the products with each state’s Department of Insurance where they wish to sell said product(s). Each state decides independently as to whether they allow said product to be sold to their citizens.

One of the many Protections in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that insurers did NOT like (they only liked the mandate) was the elimination of junk insurance. It’s called that because that’s what it is.

Junk insurance were plans like the one I had to have a few years back when I was laid off, couldn’t afford COBRA coverage, and didn’t want to risk being “tagged” as uninsured by a future employer and their insurance company. I went to the open market in those pre-Obamacare days.

The plan I found and that I could afford was UnitedHealthOne Saver 70. It was $275.00 per month. It had a $12,500.00 deductible, paid only 70% after that was reached, and didn’t cover office visits or prescriptions.

That’s the kind of “choice” the GOP and insurance companies want back. A cheap plan that for all practical purposes guarantees the insurer will never have to pay benefits on because the insured will never go to the doctor because that’s another out-of-pocket expense, and they can’t afford the 12-grand anyway before benefits would kick in.

If Ryan and the GOP get their way with Trumpcare’s threat of a 30% buy-back-in penalty, junk insurance will fit the bill perfectly. It will make millions off of poorer Americans who will never file a claim but who will buy junk as a hedge against that future buy-back penalty.

Insurers Put Profits Over People. Period.

The insurers who are whining and crying and gnashing their teeth as they abandoned the Obamacare health insurance exchanges in some states didn’t abandon their health insurances business (although it must be understood that some insurance companies were so greedy they did stop selling health insurance because of the PPACA’s 80/20 rule).

The insurers who have left state exchanges did so because they couldn’t make enough money in those places and from people who were previously uninsured but who are now able to get healthcare for which the insurance company must pay.

Which brings us back to Rep Carter. He’s either an idiot or a liar or both.

I take that back. What he is is a Republican politician.

In my view, the sooner Americans come to their senses and stop voting for Republicans at every level of government, including the state and local levels, the better off we all will be, and the sooner we’re likely to move to a healthcare system that serves us better and which every American can benefit from regardless of their income.

 

Sources

INSURANCE INDUSTRY AT A GLANCE

The Reason Health Care Is So Expensive: Insurance Companies

Top Health Insurance Companies

Administrative costs are killing U.S. healthcare

Rate Review & the 80/20 Rule

 

Blogs I’ve written in the past on the topic of health insurance

More #PPACA Red Herrings: Renewals and Benefits

The ‘Protection’ in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Health insurance companies keep making the case for single payer

Nice going, Trump voters and Hillary haters

It’s not a matter of if pipelines will leak, it’s only a matter of when.

dakota-access-pipeline-protestPipeline spills 176,000 gallons of crude into creek about 150 miles from Dakota Access protest camp
“It’s not yet clear why electronic monitoring equipment didn’t detect the leak, Owen told the Associated Press.”
– Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Casper, Wyoming-based True Cos., which operates the Belle Fourche pipeline
 
Yes, I’m a full-throated supporter for the need to never drill another hole, lay another foot of pipe to carry fossil fuels, and to put everyone now working in the fossil fuel industry out of work. Permanently.
 
Their paychecks and shareholder dividends don’t “trump” the planet and our lives.
 
Oh. Wait.
 
The new Secretary of State and Energy Secretary will be……………………..never mind.
 
Thanks to an archaic electoral process put in place by a small cadre of wealthy, white, slave-owning men, and the minority of American voters who, in 2016, were comprised almost exclusively by the block of 57% of the white voters who voted for Trump, we’re about to start living inside an actual existential disaster.
 
The entire federal government and far too many states are about to fall under the control of the corporatist Republican party.
 
Worse, the White House will be occupied by a president whose voters (still?) believe is someone who isn’t corrupt, isn’t an insider, and isn’t intent on rigging our economy and our society to benefit himself, his fragile ego, and his fellow wealthy plutocrats.
 
Nice going, Trump voters.
 
And, all you Hillary haters who were too holier-than-thou to do what was necessary to avoid this imbecilic man-child from becoming our 45th president? It’s on you, too.
 
You both will have to answer to history and to future generations for Trump and for the times we’re about to live in.
 

I honestly don’t know how you will look them in the eye and defend what you did.

How one GOP operative tries to dupe America in just under 10 minutes

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti’s interview with Dianna Ploss, After Trump’s Victory, Lifelong Democrat Reflects On Why She Supported Him, is a stunning example of either;

a) an orchestrated punking of Here & Now meant to launch a false narrative or,

b) how truly easily some voters can be and were duped by Trump and his machine.

ploss

 

Let that opening sink in:
“Massachusetts resident Dianna Ploss was a lifelong Democrat. But during the campaign, she quit her job so she could volunteer full time for Donald Trump.”

A lifelong Democrat? Really? Wonder if anyone at Here & Now confirmed that with voter registration records, or did they just take Ms. Ploss’s word on that?

And, who does what she claims to have done? Who quits their job to volunteer for anyone or anything full time, and how can you do that if you aren’t already wealthy and privileged?

Here’s a fact about Ms. Ploss she conveniently failed to reveal in the interview.

She was a district-level delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

ploss-ballotpedia

 

Could she really have quit her job to volunteer to do that? Sure. But, why wouldn’t she reveal such an important detail. This isn’t phone-banking and door-knocking. This is being a delegate.

Her credibility is called into ever more serious question as the interview progresses. It culminates in what some will hear as a heart-wrenching tale of financial struggle while caring for her aging father.

I find it all very dubious.

Listen for yourself. The thought processes she uses to explain herself and her rationale, the story she tells, the circumstances of her life, and the consequences of her decisions are all, to my ear, meant to tug at everyone’s heartstrings as a way to normalize Trump and his ideas.

My advice is not to fall for it.

She and whomever she’s worked with (for some reason I can’t get Kellyanne Conway’s face out of my head here) want you to come away thinking,

“Aw, gee. I guess I can see why she’d turn from Democrat to Republican and vote for Trump. Maybe we should give him a chance and support him if people like Dianna Ploss were willing to give up so much to campaign for him. She seems nice enough.”

As you listen to this interview, see if you don’t pick up on some of the same tell-tale signs I heard.

In this interview, Ms. Ploss….

Claims it’s not a time to gloat, but is a time for us all to be on the same team.

How nice. We’re all in this together. Except we’re not.

There’s no mention, of course, about what the Republican party has been doing the last 8 years to obstruct everything.

Claims not to know what “white nationalism” is but in the same breath says she takes exception to it in her defense of Bannon.

This is a serious credibility question. No one above the age of 8 or 9 can get away with saying they don’t know what “white nationalism” is. No one. And, how can she then say she takes offense to the term if she doesn’t know what it is.

Defends Trump’s supposed appeal to more than just white voters by saying Chinese Americans for Trump is “a huge group”

Huge? What is “huge”? This is another bright red credibility flag, especially after one looks at the numbers.

http://www.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls/national/president
http://www.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls/national/president

The Asian-American population who voted turned out to be 4% of the total electorate. Trump only got 29% of them.

There were 123.7million voters. Trump’s 29% of 4% of that equates to 1.43million, or 1.16% of the total votes.

Not sure where 29% of something or 1.16% of anything is “huge,” but that doesn’t dissuade Ms. Ploss from saying so.

She doesn’t offer a number, so we can’t know if she would claim that all of those Asian-American voters were all members of Chinese Americans for Trump or not.

Claims Black Lives Matter as having “done some not such good things”

What does that mean? Is she accusing the organization as a whole of orchestrating “not such good things”? By whose definition; Trump’s? Bannon’s? White nationalists’?

Insists she doesn’t believe the Southern Poverty Law Center, says they have a reputation of “preying on people”, says she “doesn’t buy” FBI statistics, seemingly tries to discredit them by asking if they’re from this week (as if whether they are or are not would somehow make them less believable).

SPLC preys on people? Doesn’t buy FBI data? She has either clearly drunk the alt-right Trump Kool-Aid here or, much more likely, it seems, she is following a script intended for a white conservative audience who believes they can pick and choose what facts they’ll believe.

Denies that Trump, his rhetoric, and his staffing decisions are responsible for the reasons people have for protesting. Despite that, she then congratulates Trump for saying on 60 Minutes that his followers should stop with the violence. She then excuses him again from any responsibility because he’s not yet the president and, like all good right-wingers, blames Obama for not leading and not talking to the American people……about what? Not protesting, a right we have in the First Amendment?

This is classic conservative deflection and misdirection. Learn to recognize it as such and call it out every time.

People are protesting Trump for who he is, what he has said and done, and what he said he wants to do as president. That’s their right.

As for him, if he’s not responsible for his followers and their use of him and his stated policies and goals as their justification for violence, then what does Trump have to apologize on 60 Minutes for and why congratulate him for doing so?

And, of course, “Thanks, Obama.” Everything can always be blamed on him.

This is where disingenuous narratives become obvious, and how people who hear them and agree with them can easily turn them into fake facts which become fake news.

Tries to excuse the swamp not being drained by dismissing the fact that lobbyists have been quoted as being excited that Trump will be president and that the GOP will be running things.

Again, she is simply denying facts and reality.

It didn’t matter to her that the Ms. Chakrabarti told her these were quotes in the Boston Globe.

Ms. Ploss can choose not to believe that Trump is an insider and that his decisions are proving that, but she and her fellow Trump supporters are wrong about this. He is, on every level, a poster child for privilege and corruption. He said so himself so many times, the least of which when he bragged about having been in the business of buying politicians for years.

Wraps up asking classic white-victim questions like, “What about me?” “What about my father? “Why does somebody else’s life matter more than mine or my father’s?”

If this isn’t a white nationalist dog whistle, I don’t know what one is.

This is just another white person’s jab at Black Lives Matter, as if to say that there’s only so much life and so much ‘matter’ to go around to help everyone.

This interview had all the trappings of a trap.

Listen to the tone of her voice and not just what she says. Listen to the inflections. Listen to the emphasis. It’s all wrong. It’s strained the way speech gets when someone is trying to tell a story they know isn’t true.

There’s just way too much evidence that points to Ms. Ploss as anything but genuine. Besides Kellyanne Conway, the other image I can’t get out of my head is that of an online-troll-turned-radio-interviewee. She fits the role as if straight out of central casting; former Democrat, white, female, middle-aged, New Englander, passionate about change, not at all scary, and caring for an elderly parent. What could be better?

This interview isn’t fake news in the literal sense, but I also can’t help wondering what the vetting process was that the Here & Now team used in deciding to interview Ms. Ploss.

The only other conclusion I can come to is that if Ms. Ploss isn’t a fake, she’s been completely and thoroughly duped into believing the most vile and despicable creature ever to win the GOP nomination and the election will suddenly change who he is and will stop doing what he’s done his entire life, and that’s to take advantage of people just like her and her father for his own personal gain.