Dec 28, 2016 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 163

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Second of a two part series: Greg and Jonathan join Bill to discuss the fate of the health insurance industry and what the left should counter Republican proposals with. Produced: Dec 19th, 2016.

Episode 163 (50 min):
AFD 163

Last week: Greg and Jonathan join Bill to discuss what worked and didn’t work in Democratic health reform as well as what really bad ideas Republicans have for replacing it.

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Music by friend of the show @StuntBirdArmy.

Dec 21, 2016 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 162

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

AFD-logo-470

First of a two part series: Greg and Jonathan join Bill to discuss what worked and didn’t work in Democratic health reform as well as what really bad ideas Republicans have for replacing it. Produced: Dec 19th, 2016.

Episode 162 (52 min):
AFD 162

Coming next week: In part two (already recorded), we’ll discuss the big philosophical questions surrounding how societies provide for people’s health, and what Democrats should be proposing as an alternative to destructive Republican plans

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RSS Feed: Arsenal for Democracy Feedburner
iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

Music by friend of the show @StuntBirdArmy.

I wonder where the “Obamacare repeal” bills went this year?

Remember how Republicans held the House for four years without the holding the Senate and managed to vote more than 50 times in the House to repeal “Obamacare” only to have it die in the Senate?

Anybody else notice it’s now half a year into Republican control of both chambers of Congress and they have yet to send any Affordable Care Act repeal bill to the White House?

Flashback to my December 2013 forecast:

The one good thing about the crushing strength of the American private health insurance industry’s Washington lobby is that they will never allow through these idiotic Republican proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act. That lobby understands two key truths:
1. this law benefits their industry as currently written by providing lots of healthy new customers and,
2. the replacement proposals keep the most popular but most expensive parts in place, while stripping out the money-making purchase mandate that makes it financially feasible to keep the costly parts going.
[…]
Those firms benefiting from this law donate a lot of political money. If you’re a Republican in Congress right now, you don’t want to get into a political gunfight with the health insurance lobby, unless you’re a self-funding candidate.

Even the tea party wing is still dependent upon big business. They can’t afford to cross private health insurers at the moment.

 
Maybe they were all just waiting for the Supreme Court to strike it down for them? Too bad (for them) about that as well.

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GOP vs. Health insurance lobby? Good luck.

Health-and-Human-ServicesSo now that 2 million Americans are about to be getting private health insurance under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act private plan exchange of next week — with another couple million already getting covered through their parents’ plans — anti-ACA Republicans in Congress are hitting up against the very hard, cold reality that the “repeal” of the law (which wouldn’t be possible for at least another three years) would suddenly take away a lot of people’s insurance coverage. And that would make people super mad at Republicans.

While some Republicans still won’t go quietly into the night, whether due to dogmatic delusion or excessive pandering, the result of this realization is largely another round of trying to say that there’s still a way to repeal-and-replace the legislation, leaving the “good” parts (and the now-immovable exchange) while abandoning the “bad” parts.

These “good” parts are the extremely popular sections of the “Patient Protection” side of the law, which do things like compel insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and not drop chronically ill patients or cap their coverage, etc. etc. The “bad” parts seem to have been reduced down to the individual purchase mandate (and I guess probably some lesser things like the popular but more controversial contraception coverage requirements).

The one good thing about the crushing strength of the American private health insurance industry’s Washington lobby is that they will never allow through these idiotic Republican proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act. That lobby understands two key truths:
1. this law benefits their industry as currently written by providing lots of healthy new customers and,
2. the replacement proposals keep the most popular but most expensive parts in place, while stripping out the money-making purchase mandate that makes it financially feasible to keep the costly parts going.

The law is — and always has been — a big giveaway to the private health insurance companies. The Republican proposals to “fix” it would take that part away and make it financially unsustainable for the insurance firms (edit: as has already been demonstrated in U.S. overseas territories that lack the mandate).

Those firms benefiting from this law donate a lot of political money. If you’re a Republican in Congress right now, you don’t want to get into a political gunfight with the health insurance lobby, unless you’re a self-funding candidate.

Even the tea party wing is still dependent upon big business. They can’t afford to cross private health insurers at the moment. Plus, what kind of terrible, socialistic legislation would that be, to force private companies to provide many expensive services without subsidies, while taking away their revenue? No good tea partier in Congress worth his or her salt could vote for that.

The next round of debate on birth control access

This is an issue we talk a lot about on the show, in large part because it doesn’t get nearly enough coverage in the traditional media. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up another case in the right-to-choose debate, this time on birth control and the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Here’s a brief summary of the case from Slate:

The precise question before the court is whether for-profit corporations can claim a religious freedom exception to the contraception mandate—the requirement under Obamacare that employers offer contraception coverage as part of health insurance for their employees. Exceptions already exist for religious organizations, for certain religiously affiliated nonprofits, for grandfathered employers, and for profit-seeking corporations with fewer than 50 employees. But no such exception exists for large companies. As a result, some corporations controlled by owners with religious objections to contraception have sued, contending that religious freedom laws exempt them from the contraception mandate.

All I can say is that the Supreme Court had better not screw this up. If we have an employer-based health care system in this country, which almost everyone in government seems committed to continuing, we can’t just let any old corporation start applying the personal beliefs of senior management to every employee and their family members. That’s utterly absurd.

Contraception is extremely expensive relative to many other health services. For basic access, many American women will be counting on the ACA’s requirement that insurance plans cover it. Non-religious companies should have no say in what the plans cover because it’s none of their business what health services their employees need access to. So the Court needs to uphold the coverage mandate or else we need a non-employer-based health care system, and clearly the latter isn’t going to happen.

The rest of the article linked above explains, in more depth, how the line of reasoning argued by the company in question went mainstream — essentially hijacking the already strained people-have-free-speech/corporations-are-people arguments upheld in the Citizens United decision and attempting to re-apply it here even when it’s a pretty different context.

AFD 62 – Role of Government

Latest Episode:
“AFD 62 – Role of Government”
Posted: Wed, 06 November 2013

Sasha discusses the Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange. Then Bill assesses the progress of implementing the rest of the exchange and discusses the role of government in 21st century America.

Additional links:

www.slate.com/articles/business/billion_to_one/2013/10/sweden_s_billionaires_they_have_more_per_capita_than_the_united_states.html

– (shameless plug!) http://billhumphreyresearch.com/book/

AFD 58 – Yet Another Shutdown Showdown

Latest Episode:
“AFD 58 – Yet Another Shutdown Showdown”
Posted: Tues, 23 September 2013

Bill and guest host Sarah discuss health insurance exchanges, government shutdown, default, John Boehner, and Ted Cruz. Then we look at New Mexico’s legal battles over marriage equality. Finally, Bill argues in favor of diplomacy with Iran.