Tag Archives: ObamaCare

168. What Stands Out, in This Complicated World

7 May

For an ordinary citizen of the USA, I would guess that there are so many political events and ideas reported by the media — that it may be difficult to decide what is important and what to focus on. I see my role as a blogger, to help explain important current issues in a clear way. And, of course, I admit that I see the world in my own special way and with my own set of beliefs. Maybe I should explain just a little more. I believe in the following: Kindness wherever possible, a strong and prosperous middle class, the spirit of the US Constitution, respect for 99% of the law, and that the vote of every citizen should have an equal effect. To further explain the last point, a very wealthy person should not have extra influence on elections.

Here are my choices for the most outstanding and important current ideas and issues.

Climate-Change disasters are already here and we must make every effort to work on this problem, including considerable research and construction of “green” devices. This effort will take some money, but next to nothing compared to the expense of neglecting it. Briefly, numerous populated lowland areas will be permanently flooded, there will be massive migrations, and increased fires and hurricanes. Actual global warming is increasing faster than previously estimated. Climate change work must be funded, just like our military, government and other necessary agencies without asking where will the money come from.

We must put much more effort into protecting our elections from Russia and maybe other meddlers. Generally, our voting system must be hardened and reliable. Trump has put little effort into protecting our election system, but there are some efforts by various agencies and state governments to help. Our President has little interest because the meddlers have helped him.

Our government must support scientific and tech research, which can improve our lives and help with increasing population. For example, we must stop condemning GMO foods (see my blogs) and do sufficient research to improve trust in this valuable method. Nature is constantly modifying the DNA of all living things, and does not inform us of changes. GMO changes are known and we can test their safety. Humans have changed DNA for many centuries by animal and plant breeding; GMO is a similar, but quicker and more effective.

We clearly need improvements to our health care system. Abolishment of ObamaCare without a good replacement would be a catastrophe for millions of US citizens. ObamaCare provides more citizens with insurance and more safeguards for insurance loss due to various limits and pre-existing conditions.

We must maintain good relationships with our traditional allies: Canada, Mexico, members of the EU (and UK), Australia, India, Scandinavians, Japan, and others. We must very carefully work out an appropriate relationship with China and Russia. International relationships are very complicated and require the participation of many experts. Our current gov is simplistic and often resorts to coercion when good diplomacy is better. It also uses trade policies without considering all the possible effects.

Although sanctions can be useful in forcing more responsible government, they can be ineffective because the leaders of a country will always have plenty of food and various  luxuries. It’s the ordinary citizens that suffer the most. Sometimes really good, intelligent negotiation is better.

Immigration issues at our Southern border must be worked out in a reasonable and humanitarian way. This, of course, is a very complicated issue, with many valid interests to consider. Repubs and Dems must work together and form a viable plan. Our current gov has ignored real solutions and has taken action for purely political purposes, causing needless suffering for many.

The Robert-Mueller-Report makes NO statements of innocence, and includes facts related to many administration crimes, illicit actions, various wrongdoings, and suspicious activity. Ignoring these findings would be a disaster for our country. In order to satisfy certain rules and traditions, conclusions have been ignored, and left to Congress. The evidence provided in the Report can be used for various legal actions and when appropriate for articles of impeachment.

Our new Attorney General, William Barr, is a Trump sycophant who lies, and cannot be trusted. He must be nullified in some way.

Those who believe in democracy always include a free and independent press as one of the most important requirements. The best reporters, like those who work at major newspapers, don’t attack anyone without good cause. If a leader hates the press, then likely he is corrupt and making big mistakes.

Many writers have tried to explain the bizarre behavior of our President. Here are my thoughts: his desperation to keep voters leads him to contradictions, such as supporting both Israel/Jews and Neo-Nazis (Charlottesville conflict). He has no ideals or patriotism, and is only motivated by self-interest. Like most older people, he is somewhat affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which produces memory loss, repetition, and confusion. Stress and sleep loss may be other factors.

For more ideas, please read my other blogs and my tweets,   @RichardLeeWB.

 

157. Current Issues, Briefly, #3

29 Mar
This is the third of a series of blogs with brief discussions of current issues. The material is based on my Tweets, unpublished thoughts, and descriptions of various publications that I feel are worth repeating and emphasizing.
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AOC wants a “Green New Deal,” Trump wants a “Greed New Deal”
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Here is a recent comment I wrote about Clinton, Lewinsky, and special reports
I like both exPres. Clinton and Hillary (who would have made a great president). Both fine people.  Powerful articulate leaders like Bill Clinton at their peak are constantly approached by women who want an intimate connection.  I don’t blame anyone in the Lewinsky affair. It is just natural and many good leaders indulge.  Hillary was great for her understanding and loyalty.  Angry Republicans and eager reporters made a mountain out of a mole hill. Re the Mueller Report, wait and see what it really says. As the investigation progressed, it became more and more corrupted by Trump and it looks like Mueller decided to finish early. But he and others will actually continue for quite a while.  Additional note: What a president does as president, should not be affected by personal matters, like affairs. 
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Latest: Trump says the Republican party will be “the party of health care.” Really? The Dems developed a plan with numerous benefits for all citizens and has been in effect for many years. Millions of additional folks were covered. ObamaCare, which could have had a better record, was sabotaged by the Repubs.  The Republican party has never agreed on a final health care plan in the form of a Congressional bill. They have only had several competing ideas. Clearly, Trump would end ObamaCare without replacement as he promised over and over. If that happened, literally many millions of people would greatly suffer and many would have died (estimated 25,000 dead per year). He does not care about us, he only cares about destroying the Obama legacy, proving his superiority, and supporting his rich friends with tax cuts and subsidies.
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Today,  Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee was attacked by Repub members and asked to resign because he investigates Trump.  Schiff made an excellent reply citing various well-known events, such as the Trump Tower meeting (June 9, 2016) including Trump family members and a Russian agent. Schiff has a calm intelligent confidence that should be an example for us all. Send him a nice letter or donation.
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As I watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (akaAOC) in action, she is very impressive. As she gains more experience, she will be an even more powerful force for the right causes. She is very likable and persuasive.
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Mueller could have continued his investigation but decided to quit early.  He could see that Congressional and State probes would now be more effective. His investigation was taken over by those being investigated. The Democrat House committees, SDNY (district court), and other agencies will get more answers.
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Trump touts his election win and basically says Mueller is a nothing because he was not elected. Really? More people voted for Hillary than Trump. When Republican Robert Mueller was chosen as Special Council, Repubs like William Barr (now AG) were highly pleased. Special Councils are never elected. Mueller was FBI director for 12 years and was a medaled Marine. Mueller was not elected, Trump argues, but are all elected people good citizens?
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Regarding the UK Brexit, the real message of the Theresa May plan rejections, is that what the Parliament really wants is another vote. After recent experiences, more people may be changing their minds. Personally, I would like to see the UK rejoin the EU. The EU is a powerful force for good in the world, and pre-Trump, a highly valued friend of the USA.
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Mitch McConnell prematurely brought the “Green New Deal” to a vote before any discussion. Dem senators voted “present” as a way of showing their contempt for this trickery.  The Green New Deal, AOC said, was meant to be a “vision document” and not an actual bill. I generally like the plan, but much of it is for the distant future and provokes ridicule. It would be better to have a more acceptable plan for an actual bill and have more controversial ideas as a platform or something else. “Visions” are great, but they must not interfere with voting down Trump and his Greed New Deal.
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103. Republicans Hate ObamaCare: Why?

28 Apr

“Insurance companies must use more of the premiums they receive for patient care rather than administrative costs…” (see reference below)

As I watched a number of news programs, it became apparent that commentators were not fully aware of the ACA (ObamaCare) provisions, or for whatever reason, ignored some of the most important points.

I am already familiar with most of the significant features, but I decided to search for a good summary. Here is one that is very useful and authoritative by Norma Goodwin, MD:
12 Simply Stated Features of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare
The above (beginning) quotation is from this very useful summary (search Internet for this title). This feature alone, can explain why the GOP wants to abolish the ACA rather than just improve it. Rich insurance company owners don’t want to be limited in their lust for profits.

There are a few additional points that I would like to emphasize. There is much discussion about “pre-existing conditions.” But often overlooked are many other features that are critical (life-and-death) for good heath care. These include:

1. Eliminates annual and lifetime insurance policy limits.  Many people have died because their insurance money ran out.
2. Parent insurance coverage for offspring up to the age 26.
3. Medicaid is supported, but some states have refused to accept the free financial support.
4. Medicare is protected and now many preventive screenings are included.
5. Costs for vital medications are reduced.
6. Other provisions of the ACA are designed to lower the general cost of health care, and improve the quality of care.

The ACA is not perfect, but includes many great ideas. Keeping it will insure that the people will be well taken care of. New plans by the GOP will eliminate many more citizens from insurance coverage, decrease the quality of care, and will insure that rich insurance company owners will become even richer. Hopefully, some day we will have a “single payer” system, a Medicare for all.

49. Is Cruz Better Than Trump?

10 Mar

Clearly,  Trump does not have the thoughtfulness and the temperament to function as an effective President. But is Ted Cruz better? To answer this question, in addition to what I have heard and remember, I carefully examined what he presented on his web-site.  Here is a point-by-point examination of the most important issues.

The Cruz plan for personal income tax is a single 10% flat rate for all, total simplification of tax code, and “abolish the IRS as we know it”. This absurd plan is deceptive and impossible. First, the top rate for very rich people is reduced from 39.6% to 10%. So rich people, who don’t need it, will get a big break.  Currently, most poor people don’t pay any income tax.  Some middle class people will also benefit. Who do you think will pay for the staggering loss of tax income under this plan?  All social programs, infrastructure repairs, energy innovations, medical research, veteran benefits, etc., etc, — everything that is so important to our citizens is at risk.  Tax simplification only benefits the rich because their income is complicated and it will be easier for them to avoid tax liability. It is not clear what “abolish the IRS as we know it” means, but it will always take a lot of personnel to carefully collect the tax and enforce the rules.  Just defining “income” is extremely complicated because there are many types of ways to earn money, invest, receive grants, get tips, define expenses, have a home office, lease somethig, pay a maid, etc.  Tax is already very simple for ordinary workers, “simple tax” for the wealthy makes “cheating” simpler.

Like all Republicans, Cruz wants to abolish ObamaCare, and replace it with something better. Since Republicans already dominate Congress, if they are serious, they could already have a detailed and definite health-care plan for replacement, so that there would be no gap in coverage. But they have not done this because their main goal is not the health of the people, but is the destruction of the Democrats. and particularly Pres. Obama. Cruz is not the friend of the people, but is a loyal subject of the wealthy campaign donors, and the traditional (climate disrupting) oil industry. If ObamaCare is abolished without replacement, many millions of people will lose their newly gained insurance coverage and many millions more will lose reimbursement for “pre-existing conditions”, “over life-time limits”, and many other features.

Cruz would abolish all climate-change agencies, bureaus, and programs designed to provide safety for most of the world’s citizens. Almost all major countries take (man-made) climate change seriously and have committed to greenhouse gas reduction programs. I just watched on TV an interview of Pres. Obama and P.M. Trudeau of Canada. Both are firmly committed to climate change programs. If we compare the high level of discussion between them, with the juvenile discourse of Republican Candidates, the contrast is so stark as to be frightening. The danger of climate-change effects is supported by the National Academy of Sciences, almost all reputable scientists, national leaders throughout the world, and most other educated people.  Sorry to state the obvious, but the GOP is against efforts to control climate-change, because some very rich donors, such as the Koch brothers, would lose some money in making industrial adjustments.  But all of us would lose out due to the resulting major droughts, flooding, and storms.  The disrupted populations would produce overwhelming immigrations and possible wars.

On the Cruz site, he promotes the “solution to lift people out of hardship…. by promoting the dignity of work” and “reforming programs such as Section 8 housing” (with no detail). Telling poor people that they should improve their lives by believing in the “dignity of work” is beyond ridiculous. How many major social goals have every been achieved by a simple pep talk. “Just say no” to drugs is a great example of an ineffective and pathetic way to improve lives.

Cruz wants to eliminate the IRS (mostly), and Departments of Energy, Education, Commerce, and Housing.  Understanding the elimination of educational help by the government is easy, because he and the other Republicans cannot deceive well-educated people.  But it appears that Cruz is a little better than his rivals at the covert sabotage of other primary candidates by spreading rumors.

So, is Cruz better than Trump?  For a while I thought that Trump would be better because he has more liberal ideas, but when I heard his latest Muslim bashing: “they all hate us” I really cannot decide which presidency would be more of a disaster.

 

16. POLITICAL MORALITY

1 Nov

History tells us that whether Democrats or Republicans are in office, makes little difference in the practice of religion or in other philosophical areas. The big difference for most of us is money and economic survival.

Republicans claim to be morally superior, but their most recent party leader and presidential candidate, exemplifies the distortion of moral principles and shows us what is really important. This person, when questioned on his low income tax, stated that anyone should use the most beneficial tax rules that he can.

To me, this indicates the type of government official that we would be putting in office. To heck with what is morally right, just get away with anything you can do legally, to make yourself and your buddies wealthier. Is this the kind of attitude we would want for a President? Would a very rich person, who has the success of our country as a top priority, hold on to income that in principle should be taxed, just to add more to his already overflowing bank accounts.

One more point. I believe in and practice capitalism — but whenever we talk about rich people and taxes, someone yells socialism. The fact is that for more than 20-30 years, rich people have had major, unfair tax breaks and congressional influence. This has greatly elevated the difference between the rich and non-rich. It is time to make up for this and give some breaks to the rest of us. Very rich people need to pay more because they use more resources, have more unfair influence, and have lawyers and accountants to give them advantages. And while a few poor people are lazy, most are not, and do have serious problems like huge medical expenses, being laid off due to bad economic conditions, or being unable to find work because of inexperience or inappropriate training. Of course, medical expense problems of the future — like over-limit and pre-existing conditions — are being solved by ObamaCare.