HomeUncategorizedThe HMO Act of 1973 and 7/22 Open Thread
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Thanks, wi!

Don midwest
Don midwest

and more thanks

did not know this history


Tip jar for civilized health care system!


Thank you wi59! I did not know all that!

Bernie sent them pizza. 🙂


Good piece of history regarding health insurance legislation.

About those specific provisions still under consideration by the Senate Parliamentarian, I got this from the NYT:

But we convened a panel of experts and Byrd Bath veterans from both political parties to help provide some educated guesses about what might happen to questionable portions of the Senate health bills. According to our nine experts, at least some parts of the bill are likely to be eliminated before the voting begins.

Panel of experts:

• Sarah Binder: professor of political science, George Washington University

• Bill Dauster: retired, former deputy chief of staff for policy for the Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

• Sarah Kuehl Egge: senior manager, Washington Council Ernst & Young

• G. William Hoagland: senior vice president, Bipartisan Policy Center

• Chris Jacobs: senior health care policy analyst, Texas Public Policy Foundation

• Gregory Koger: professor, University of Miami

• Ed Lorenzen: senior adviser, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

• Rodney Whitlock: vice president of health policy, ML Strategies

• Billy Wynne: managing partner, TRP Health Policy

(1) Restrictions on abortion coverage

Will survive 1
Will survive with modifications 1
Will be struck 7

All versions of the health bill say that subsidies to help people pay their insurance premiums can’t be used to buy plans that cover abortion services. Seven of our nine panelists thought this provision would not survive.

“I worked with the drafters of the Byrd Rule,” said Bill Dauster, a retired Democratic Senate staff veteran who worked on the Budget and Finance Committees, as well as in the majority leader’s office. “The abortion issue was the parade example of something for which budgetary effects were merely incidental to the policy.”

(2) A provision defunding Planned Parenthood

Will survive 6
Will survive with modifications 2
Will be struck 1

A G.O.P. bill would strip all federal health care funding for one year to health providers with a set of specifications that apply only to Planned Parenthood. The organization has been arguing that the provision should be eliminated in the Byrd Bath, but our panelists think it will probably stay. Only one thought it would be struck, while six thought it could stay, and two thought it could remain with minor changes.

(Note: Bernie has vowed to fight this one tooth & nail, and we need to call our Dem Senators to remind them to object while in debate as this provision violates the Byrd Rule)

(3) A newly permissive state waiver process

Will survive 3
Will survive with modifications 3
Will be struck 3

A Senate bill would make it relatively easy for states to waive Obamacare rules for their insurance markets, including regulations on the benefits required of insurance products, and the funding formula used to determine how much customers receive in subsidies. A version of this provision was part of Obamacare, but a Senate bill would strip away many of the requirements for approval, making the only hard rule that a state program could not add to the federal deficit.

Our panel was divided on this one. A few members thought it would be eliminated. A few thought it would survive with changes, and a few thought it could stay.

(4) Changes to rules governing insurance pricing by age

Will survive 4
Will survive with modifications 1
Will be struck 4

Both the House and Senate health bills said that insurance companies could charge their oldest customers five times as much as they charged their youngest ones, a change from the Obamacare rule that limited the ratio to 3:1.

Our panelists were split. The four experts who thought the provision would be dropped noted that it’s really just a regulation of insurance products, not the federal government. The four who said it should stay noted that insurance subsidies in the bill are linked to insurance prices, meaning that changes to sticker prices could affect the federal budget.

(5) Funding for cost-sharing reductions

Will survive 2
Will survive with modifications 1
Will be struck 4

Congress and the White House are fighting in court about an Obamacare provision that awards subsidies to insurance companies so those companies can lower deductibles and co-payments for low-income customers. A direct appropriation would settle the dispute and calm insurance markets, and a Senate bill would provide one for two years.

But because the cost-sharing reductions are already part of current law, most of our panelists argued that directing the White House to spend them doesn’t have a direct budgetary effect. Nevertheless, many argued that they may remain anyway, since Democrats may choose not to raise a challenge. “Assuming it is challenged, it is struck,” said Rodney Whitlock, a former aide to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and now a vice president of health policy at ML Strategies.

(6) Elimination of the medical-loss ratio rule

Will survive 2
Will be struck 5

Obamacare requires health insurance companies to spend a minimum percentage of their premiums on medical care for customers, limiting how much they can keep as profits or overhead. A Senate bill would eliminate this rule, letting states decide whether to regulate insurer profits.

Of the seven experts who answered this question, five thought it would not survive. Several described it with the phrase “merely incidental budgetary effects.”

(7) The Cruz Amendment

Will survive with modifications 2
Will be struck 5

One version of the Senate bill contains a controversial provision that would allow insurers to offer plans that are not subject to many of Obamacare’s consumer protections, as long as they also offer plans that follow all the rules. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has indicated that he will require such a provision to vote for the package.

Only seven members of our panel answered this question, but all of them thought the provision could run into trouble. Five thought it would be eliminated, and two thought it could remain only with modifications.


This fight is far from being over. This morning I read that Capito and Murkowski are back in the Pro-repeal column. We have to keep e-mailing and calling our Senators, both R’s and D’s.


I wonder what they were bribed with?


From Tumblr: Bill of Rights 2.0 Column (bold emphasis is mine) Click on Read More to see the paragraphs separated. Sick & Tired of Democrats Selling Out Dear Fellow Patriot, I am sick and tired of so-called “Democrats” who totally kneecap us, the 71% of Americans who make $50,000 or less. Just this week, two shoes dropped that convinced me that the Democrats still don’t have their act together even after having lost to the most unpopular candidate in history, Donald J. Trump. The first shoe to drop was the Intercept article on July 19th. House Bill 1697 and Senate Bill 720 would criminalize your right to protest. As the ACLU notes, if you advocate for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, or even inquire about BDS while engaging in interstate commerce, I could be subject to fines of $1 million, civil penalties of $250,000, and 20 years of jail time. That, my friends, is mass incarceration on steroids. So if I run a mom and pop store and I wrote a blog post asking people not to do business with an Israeli-owned company or a company that does business in the illegal settlements in Palestine, I could face charges. I would expect the Republicans to fall in line behind this horrible bill. But 14 so-called Democrats in the Senate and 63 in the House have signed on as well. Included in this list are some of the most respected members of the left. Adam Schiff. Joe Kennedy III. Ted Lieu. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Israel controlling our government any more than I do Russia controlling our government. Our politicians can’t have it both ways. They have to choose between the US Constitution or their allegiance to Israel. And quite frankly, it dishonors the legacy of Barack Obama, one of the better presidents we’ve had in our time. President Obama actually had the guts to stand up to AIPAC, the lobbying arm of the Israeli Dictatorship, and successfully headed off a war with Iran that Bibi so desperately wanted. I understand that BDS is not a popular position to take. But if BDS gets criminalized, what is to stop Trump from criminalizing the Women’s March? The Science March? Protests against police brutality? Some of the politicians say they have a different read on the bill. Tough – I guarantee you that if the cries for impeachment get too hot, Trump is going to interpret it his way – which is to say that he will dig up dirt and prosecute people who are too strong on the BDS issue. This is about country over party. I’m sorry, but the First Amendment is still the law of the land, and any politicians who engage in dictator worship, whether it is the Russian dictatorship, the Israeli dictatorship, or any other authoritarian regime, has got to go. I don’t care if you have a D or an R by your name. The second shoe to drop is what I call the Dirty Energy Bill of 2017. It would sink millions of dollars into fracking research and development. As of now, only one senator has come out against it – Bernie Sanders. I live hundreds of miles from any fracking zone, but I can still feel it every once in a while when there is a manmade earthquake. Think about it if you have to live near it every day. It poisons the water that you drink. And fracking actually accelerates climate change; it doesn’t decrease it like its proponents claim. There are plenty of groups out there who claim to be progressive. But then they get out and run candidates who are for forced pregnancy. In other words, if a woman is raped or has an unplanned pregnancy, they either are forced to carry the unwanted child to term, or have an invasive ultrasound, which is a form of sexual assault. All in the name of someone’s personal religious beliefs. This is not a Bernie vs. Hillary issue – that issue is old news. This is about principle – the notion that we must protect, defend, and expand the Constitution. Consequently, any candidate who worships dictators, seeks to destroy our planet through fracking, or supports forced pregnancy in the name of his or her personal religious beliefs, does not get my vote, period. We have lectured the Republicans for years about putting party before country. Well, it is time for those of us on the left to put country before party – by using our votes as leverage. Only that way will we take back our country from the big money groups, foreign dictators, religious fanatics, and other people who want to control our way of life. I supported Democrats from 2004, when I was horrified at the practices of the Bush administration in Iraq, to 2016, when it was necessary to come together against Donald Trump. But now, it seems that certain corporate Democrats feel that they are entitled to our votes because they are not Donald Trump. I’m sorry, but the polls are clear – people are not sold just because you are not Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton learned that the hard way. From now on, if you want my vote, you have to earn it. And you can’t just say you’re not Dirty Donald or the Corporate Democrats. You have to be for something as well. If you support forced pregnancy, fracking, or Israel Right or Wrong, it’s a dealbreaker, no matter how progressive you say you are or how loudly you say you’re for Single Payer or that you hate Trump’s guts so much you want him impeached. You have to be for something as well. If you support any one of the following – the Fight for 15, Universal Basic Income, Single Payer, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, or the ACLU, then you get my vote and support. But we’re not going to be like certain organizations who value cozy relationships more than… Read more »

Don midwest
Don midwest

Glenn co author of article in Intercept about restricting free speech

OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

I went to Max Blumenthal’s twitter feed and found another article on this bill

Bill making it a federal crime to support BDS sends shockwaves through progressive community

Finding out more and more about “liberals” ….


This is the most dangerous threat to our bill of rights since the Patriot Act. Imagine an America without the right to free speech. Incredible.


This man’s plea to Gillibrand re: the anti-BDS bill was very well-received, respectful, and even brought a little tear to my eye:

Don midwest
Don midwest


Meanwhile with the political crap in the US, the Empire continues to collapse

Jeremy Scahill interviews Alfred McCoy

A new book by the famed historian Alfred McCoy predicts that China is set to surpass the influence of the U.S. globally, both militarily and economically, by the year 2030. At that point, McCoy asserts the United States Empire as we know it will be no more. He sees the Trump presidency as one of the clearest byproducts of the erosion of U.S. global dominance, but not its root cause. At the same time, he also believes Trump may accelerate the empire’s decline.

McCoy argues that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the beginning of the end. McCoy is not some chicken little. He is a serious academic. And he has guts.

Don midwest
Don midwest

and trending on twitter is commissioning of Gerald Ford Aircraft Carrier. US has 10 of 17 active aircraft carriers in the world

article that has some history of carriers

What It Would Really Take To Sink A Modern Aircraft Carrier

and China….

China Might Have a New Way to Sink U.S. Aircraft Carriers


A perfect example of “The pot calling the kettle black”.


Imagine if all the Dems were barnstorming the country for single payer. not that it would pass right now, but it would become so much more doable in 2020.


Much more of this to come due to Trump’s policies on climate change!


More of this also!


Strange things have been happening in the frozen tundra of northern Siberia. Last August a boy died of anthrax in the remote Yamal Peninsula, and 20 other infected people were treated and survived. Anthrax hadn’t been seen in the region for 75 years, and it’s thought the recent outbreak followed an intense heatwave in Siberia, temperatures reaching over 30C that melted the frozen permafrost.

Long dormant spores of the highly infectious anthrax bacteria frozen in the carcass of an infected reindeer rejuvenated themselves and infected herds of reindeer and eventually local people.

Methane release from melting permafrost could trigger dangerous global warming

More recently, a huge explosion was heard in June in the Yamal Peninsula. Reindeer herders camped nearby saw flames shooting up with pillars of smoke and found a large crater left in the ground. Melting permafrost was again suspected, thawing out dead vegetation and erupting in a blowout of highly flammable methane gas.


pretty sickening (literally) but there’s still a debate, you know. /s


We are supposedly the good guys.

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