The Art of the Lie

Jane Mayer wrote Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All in The New Yorker on July 25, 2016.

Trump back of head in art frame New Yorker
“I put lipstick on a pig,” Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter, says. He feels “deep remorse.” Illustration by Javier Jaén

I remember reading it then, and I read it again today thanks to a link to it shared to me.

It’s posted here now for everyone to read.

It’s not so much for Trump’s detractors. While there’s a lot to be learned about Trump’s character and behavior and relationship with the truth, it’s going to be revealing more so for his supporters, especially those who have elevated him to worshipful cult figure status.

He’s never been whom his supporters think him to be. Never.

And the longer his worshipers cling to their false prophet, the greater will be their disappointment when he inevitably self-destructs.

That is if he does it to himself before he does it to the rest of us.

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History will not be kind to Trump supporters

The story for me in this NBC News/WSJ poll isn’t so much that his overall approval has sunk to 38%.
 
It’s that it’s at 81% with Republicans.
Trump job approval
 
I guess this means that 8 out of 10 of our fellow Americans who have been duped into thinking they are Republicans are happy with him and the job he’s doing.
 
I pity them for how future generations and history will treat them for being so thoroughly and willingly played for fools.
 
This cretin has precisely zero concern for them and absolutely nothing in common with common – or decent – Americans.
 
The fact that 8 in 10 Republicans approve of him is the epitome of blind obedience and partisanship.
 

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

Where was everyone?

If you missed the #March4Trump events yesterday, you weren’t alone. For the most part, the crowds appear to have been what could only be described as embarrassingly small.

It was suggested to me that the crowds were small because, “Most Trump supporters were working at the time of the rally.”

The “marches” took place on a Saturday. It would be easy to “buy” that idea, but it looks less and less like a rational explanation the more one thinks about its premise and the facts about Trump’s “base”.

Yes, surely some Trump supporters work on Saturdays, but let’s look at some facts.

Age

2016-election-voting-by-ageAccording to exit polls, Trump did well with older voters.

He edged Clinton 49% to 46% with voters 40 to 49 years old.

He did better with even older voters, winning 52% of the 50-64 and 65 and older age groups.

These oldest 2 age groups combined were 46% of the total electorate.

Are these the people who tend to work on Saturday? Perhaps, but it seems more likely to be the case if they are poor or among the working poor which leads to the question of income of Trump supporters.

 

Income

When it comes to income, Trump actually lost to Clinton by big margins with low income voters.2016-election-voting-by-income

She beat him 53% to 40% with the 17% of voters making less than $30,000 a year, and she won 52% to his 41% of the 19% of voters with income between $30,000 and $49,999.

In contrast, Trump only squeaked out narrow victories with the 54% of the electorate who make between $50,000 and $199,999.

He narrowly won the 30% of voters making $50K to $99,999 by only 3%, and by a razor-thin 1% of the 24% of voters making $100K to $199,999.

I feel pretty safe in saying that most of these Trump supporters aren’t the sort of people required to be at a job on a Saturday.

Think about it.

36% of the electorate makes less than $50K a year. Clinton won that voter block by much, much bigger margins than Trump beat her in the higher income brackets.

Again, I feel safe in suggesting that low income workers are more likely to be the kind of American workers who work on Saturdays, but that was a group that Trump lost by very significant margins.

So here’s where we are so far.

We see that Trump’s supporters tend to be the older and wealthier voters, and these are voters unlikely to be in jobs that require them to work on Saturday.

What about education level?

Yes, Trump won 66% to Clinton’s 29% of white voters without a college degree and, yes, I’ll concede that they may be more likely to be in jobs that include working on Saturday, but they were only 34% of the electorate. 2016-election-voting-by-education-and-race

It begs the question, “Where were the 48% of the white college grads he won?”

White college grads, it must be said, was another very narrow victory for him. Clinton got 45% of this voter block which made up 37% of all voters – a slightly larger group than whites without a degree.

So now let’s mix in what people actually think about the job he’s doing.

 

Job Approval

His approval rating per FiveThirtyEight is 43.9% while his disapproval is at 49.9%. fivethirtyeight-trump-approval

Given all of these facts and the reality that the crowds were small, a far more likely and logical conclusion from my point of view than his fans had to work yesterday is that;

1) he never had that many fans to begin with (he lost the popular vote by 3million)

2) his fan base includes the well off and the elderly, two characteristics that, especially when combined, aren’t likely to be working on a Saturday

3) while his fans include the non-college degreed whites who may be more likely to have jobs that require working on a Saturday, he didn’t win them all, this group makes up only about 1/3 of the total voters, and it doesn’t really explain why the crowds were small until perhaps one also considers….

4) the reality that his approval ratings are low, which means that fewer and fewer people are happy with the job he’s doing.

Maybe that’s why so few people showed up. It’s because he has fewer and fewer fans with each passing day.

 

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

http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

From W to Drumpf

Here’s the latest and surest sign that The Apocalypse is upon us.

W was funny, self-deprecating, and way, way, WAY more mature than the current President of the United States could ever hope to be.

That’s not the sign.

The sign is Republicans have gone from someone so patently unqualified as W to Drumpf.