Taking Obamacare on the road

I went to an HHS event last night on Obamacare and small business. Just to clarify, the federal regulation of large businesses is the actual issue behind the screaming about sluts, but this was on Obamacare and small business, so perhaps we’ll be listening to conservatives and media screaming about sluts who own small businesses rather than sluts who work for large businesses in a month or two and we’ll be better prepared this time.

To set this up, the man in the photo below is Kenneth Munson, the regional HHS director who presented the program and who is (possibly) the most patient and endlessly polite person in America:

Does he look tired? Yes, but it was the end of the presentation, and you would too, if you had his job.

I met my friend Ann at the event, and as soon as I sat beside her she told me “there are Tea Party people here”. The Tea Party leader apparently felt it was his job to fact-check the HHS director. Unfortunately for the Tea Partier, the HHS director wasn’t engaging in any kind of hard sell of the health care law, but was simply explaining how it works, a factual recitation with slides, so the cross examination by the Tea Person sounded a little silly.

I deal with county and state agency employees a lot in my work, so in my view this paranoid, combative approach is akin to my challenging an employee of a state or county agency who is explaining a rule change or some other incredibly dull process with “you, sir, are a LIAR”. In other words, he wasn’t there for information he was there to discredit the speaker, and that approach just sounds bizarre and unhinged outside of Fox-News-World.

As an example, The Tea Partier focused for a long time on an “inaccuracy” he had spotted, where he objected to the HHS director and other attendees stating that they “could not” purchase health insurance if they had a pre-existing condition prior to passage of the law. The Tea Partier insisted that they COULD have purchased a policy, but they couldn’t AFFORD a policy. I’m not sure why this distinction was so important to him, or why he seized on it in this sort of smoking gun, lawyer-on-The Simpsons way, returning to it again and again, but one of the attendees got tired of it, turned in her seat to face him and and shut Lionel Hutz up with “it was unavailable TO ME. Okay? TO ME”. He seemed smugly satisfied with that important concession. There was more along those lines, but I was really amused near the end when the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account, because blurting out “look at me, LOSERS, I have TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!” reminds me of Mitt Romney.

There was a lot of information presented, so I’ll just give you the outlines and an excellent link, to Small Business Majority, which is a national public policy advocacy organization which is not (yet) owned by the Koch Brothers. We can hash out the details some other time. There is a “tax credit calculator” at the link that is helpful, so have fun with that!

• If you have up to 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000, and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of your insurance. This will bring down the cost of providing insurance.
• Under the health care law, employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can now get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
• Starting in 2014, the small business tax credit goes up to 50% (up to 35% for non-profits) for qualifying businesses. This will make the cost of providing insurance even lower.
• In 2014, small businesses with generally fewer than 100 employees can shop in an Affordable Insurance Exchange, which gives you power similar to what large businesses have to get better choices and lower prices. An Exchange is a new marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy affordable health benefit plans.
• Exchanges will offer a choice of plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Starting in 2014, members of Congress will be getting their health care insurance through Exchanges, and you will be able to buy your insurance through Exchanges, too.
Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from new employer responsibility policies. They don’t have to pay an assessment if their employees get tax credits through an Exchange.

This woman is self-employed, had a pre-existing condition, and was unable to purchase health insurance prior to passage of the law. She pays $315 a month for her policy. She brought her insurance card to show the HHS director, so I took her picture:

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104 replies
  1. 1
    slag says:

    I’m not sure why this distinction was so important to him, or why he seized on it in this sort of smoking gun, lawyer-on-The Simpsons way, returning to it again and again, but one of the attendees got tired of it, turned in her seat to face him and and shut Lionel Hutz up with “it was unavailable TO ME. Okay? TO ME”. He seemed smugly satisfied with that important concession.

    Hilarious, kay!

  2. 2
    dr. bloor says:

    Best not to provide any further information on the nice woman with her insurance card. Malkin will track her down and do a mineral analysis of her kitchen counters.

  3. 3
    Culture of Truth says:

    The Tea Partier insisted that they COULD have purchased a policy, but they COULDN’T afford a policy.

    Edited for accuracy.

  4. 4
    Culture of Truth says:

    I read this whole post, and to sum up, those death panels are going to be really boring.

  5. 5
    Liz says:

    Excellent post-thanks Kay. I always enjoy reading yours-very informative and funny too.

    It’s so nice to know that people are in fact continuing to push forward in spite of all the smoke and noise being generated in this election year.

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    Just to clarify, the federal regulation of large businesses is the actual issue behind the screaming about sluts, but this was on Obamacare and small business, so perhaps we’ll be listening to conservatives and media screaming about sluts who own small businesses rather than sluts who work for large businesses in a month or two and we’ll be better prepared this time.

    LOL! So true. I went to a local healthcare town hall with our Dem rep a couple of years back when the ACA debate was raging, and the tea party peeps shut it down by shouting inane slogans until the rep gave up and left. I wonder what would happen if she tried again. Haven’t seen any notices about it, though she did hold a phone town hall. So she could mute the assholes, I guess.

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    Unfortunately for the Tea Partier, the HHS director wasn’t engaging in any kind of hard sell of the health care law, but was simply explaining how it works, a factual recitation with slides, so the cross examination by the Tea Person sounded a little silly.

    Have you watched this clip from Steve Benen?

    during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on contraception, a confused Republican congressman, Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, falsely accused HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of lying about the administration’s policy

  8. 8
    jibeaux says:

    so the cross examination by the Tea Person sounded a little silly

    No. Way!

  9. 9
  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    Thanks for this post, Kay. This stuff is so important and it shows how the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, even if the path is long.

    It also shows that Tea Partiers are dicks. There is no other word for it: insufferable, selfish dicks.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    The more empirical evidence you show these reactionary, knuckle-dragging, cave-dwelling, “MORANS!”, the harder they dig into the bunkers of their own delusional “realities.”

  12. 12
    taylormattd says:

    Maybe the person wasn’t really a Tea Partier, but instead was a poster from FDL. KILL THE BILL!!

  13. 13
    slag says:

    I’m actually kind of surprised that this tumultuous economy isn’t making more people realize how insanely f’d up our employer-based health care system is. When Tea Partiers take the attitude that having no health care coverage is better than government provided health care coverage, I really don’t see how the average unemployed guy down the street isn’t sitting there thinking that’s absolutely insane.

  14. 14
    patrick II says:

    So, do you think that pleasant looking lady with the insurance card is getting contraceptives? She’s probably a slut.

  15. 15
    MariedeGournay says:

    Reminds me when I used to cover town meetings and the crazies would come out and accuse the selectmen/women of some vast evil conspiracy when all they were there to do was to accept a resident’s gift of a gazebo for the town green. If it wasn’t for the tea party most of these guys would be the regular town cranks who work to make local officials’ lives miserable.

  16. 16
    Bulworth says:

    the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account, because blurting out “look at me, LOSERS, I have TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!” reminds me of Mitt Romney.

    I also have two cadillacs. Why don’t you?

  17. 17
    chopper says:

    see, if you’re broke you can buy insurance. you just can’t actually buy insurance. suck on the logic, libtards!

  18. 18
    artem1s says:

    In other words, he wasn’t there for information he was there to discredit the speaker, and that approach just sounds bizarre and unhinged outside of Fox-News-World.

    well it sounds pretty bizarre and unhinged on Faux News too but people are finally beginning to realized that having your crazy Uncle shouting at you every day isn’t as easy to bear as merely putting up with him at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for a couple of hours. And when you are trying to get information that is critical to your health and welfare its no damn fun at all.

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Okay, so I’m paranoid, but I was listening to this person who presented himself as a small business owner, and he was asking a lot of questions. The Tea Partier (I think) sensed a potential ally, so allowed him to speak, but it was interesting to listen to it play out, because the (real, actually, as it turns out) small business person eventually sort of came around to the HHS director’s side, and the Tea Partier then lost interest in the details, because those are boring.

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    reminds me of another Simpsons line

    @chopper: “In theory, Communism works!”

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    The more I think about this the more obvious it seems that over time this is another thing that the right wing can’t win on. People have to have healthcare. It’s not a controversial subject. It only seems so if you don’t know the faintest thing about it and get all your news from Fox and talk radio. Real lives and real problems are going to resist the crazy on this subject because it’s too serious and too basic.

  22. 22

    Thanks for another great post, Kay. The whole thing with tea party cross exam would have given me a headache. Which would have made me cranky. As a result, it might have gotten uncomfortable or unpleasant for the tea party guy when I responded to his behavior.

  23. 23
    BGinCHI says:

    @Kay: Yep. It’s healthcare, not moon mining. It’s not something people can take or leave. It’s about everyday life and human dignity. The assholes just can’t win against this.

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    That tea party guy realizes that his TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS wouldn’t even pay to have his appendix taken out, much less cover him for a round of chemotherapy, right?

  25. 25
    Comrade Dread says:

    The Tea Partier insisted that they COULD have purchased a policy, but they couldn’t AFFORD a policy.

    Tell that to my wife, who was denied coverage by every insurance company to which we applied.

    Without “ObamaCare” she would still be uninsured.

    And these Republicans who want to take that away can go to the devil.

  26. 26
    Rafer Janders says:

    There was more along those lines, but I was really amused near the end when the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account, because blurting out “look at me, LOSERS, I have TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!” reminds me of Mitt Romney.

    Ten! thousand! dollars! Woop dee doo, that’ll cover one extremely minor, very tiny, not all that threatening walk-in procedure, just about. If anything really goes wrong with him, he’s screwed.

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    Life is a race between reality and those who oppose it.

    Thanks, Kay. Excellent post, as usual.

  28. 28
    mamayaga says:

    This is the reason the wingnuts are so desperate to gut ACA before it’s fully implemented. When our badly-informed citizenry comes to realize what it actually entails, they are going to like it, and will not want to go back to the bad ol’ days. It will join Social Security and Medicare on the expanding third rail of American politics. Even the reviled mandate may turn out to be popular, if it is in actuality affordable and provides meaningful coverage, because, with the exception of extremely healthy, extremely young glibertarians, most people would buy health insurance if they could afford it.

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    The Tea Partier has $10,000 in a health savings account… Wow, $10,000. He doesn’t realize that one minor surgery, say, like the fatty tumor removal I had could easily cost $15,000 and would wipe out his savings. A hemi-laminectomy is probably over $20,000 by now. Everyone here knows what I mean… $10,000 is PEANUTS these days.

  30. 30
    Lurker says:

    I was really amused near the end when the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account…

    He could only save money in an HSA legally with an HSA-compatible health plan. So nice that he himself has health coverage while doing his best to deny others the ability to buy their own health insurance.

  31. 31
    kay says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    I think he hurt his own cause. A lot of the people there were skeptical, but they weren’t overtly political or combative. They had real, specific questions. They came because they wanted to know.
    I’ll tell you what bothered me a lot. One of the women said she belongs to two local chambers, and she was wondering why she hasn’t been given any information on this from them. The HHS director said he “hasn’t been able to get in” to local chambers, which sucks. How political are local chambers, now? Are they yet another arm of the GOP?

  32. 32
    BGinCHI says:

    @PurpleGirl: He probably thinks the last brain transplant he got for 10K was a real bargain.

    And judging by the brain he got, I guess you get what you pay for.

  33. 33
    amk says:

    Great post, Kay. Trust a dimwit teabagger to disrupt an educative session.

  34. 34
    4tehlulz says:

    $10,000 would be good for an outpatient procedure…maybe…if you are cool with a student anesthesiologist.

  35. 35
    someofparts says:

    Lovely. Just sent a copy to the great small business I work for on my side job.

  36. 36
    negative 1 says:

    I can not stress this enough…

    I am responsible for health care at my organization. We recently had an employee actively undergoing chemotherapy get booted off of his old insurance (long story) seamlessly get on to ours. Without the ACA, that wouldn’t have happened. In a nutshell, it saved his life.
    It’s not the bill everyone wanted, but it is still a HUGE improvement over the old way. That’s important to remember.

  37. 37
    kc says:

    I was really amused near the end when the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account, because blurting out “look at me, LOSERS, I have TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!” reminds me of Mitt Romney.

    Ten thousand dollars? That’s great. If Mr. Paranoid gets diagnosed with cancer, he can afford maybe one month’s worth of treatment. Maybe.

  38. 38
    kc says:

    @kay:

    How political are local chambers, now? Are they yet another arm of the GOP?

    Very, and yes. Except that they tend to be teabaggers when it comes to spending public money on things that will benefit everyone, but big fat liberals when it comes to public spending that will benefit their members.

  39. 39
    Felinious Wench says:

    Yep, I deal with this crap all of the time from True Believers, except in a different capacity. I deal with developers who have commenced Holy Technology Wars and simply will not listen to each other about anything or conceed any ground.

    This poor man was trapped. Only thing that could have been done is for the disruptive ones to be removed, which wasn’t going to happen, or for a member of the crowd to shut down the disruptors. Looks like that happened.

    Yet another reason for us to attend these events. We need to protect the speakers.

  40. 40
    amused says:

    Please. Until they turn into a real party, there is no Tea Party. They’re Republican extremists, which, even then, is redundant. Don’t let the GOP get away with pretending these extremists aren’t the Party now.

    edited for greater accuracy

  41. 41
    The Bobs says:

    @Bulworth: Someone needs to ask Mitt what his wife would be driving if Obama hadn’t bailed out GM.

  42. 42
    PurpleGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: LOL. Very good.

    ETA: The procedures I referred to took place in the 1990s and 2005 and were covered by insurance at the time. I have no idea what the costs would be today.

  43. 43
    gene108 says:

    if they had a pre-existing condition prior to passage of the law. The Tea Partier insisted that they COULD have purchased a policy, but they couldn’t AFFORD a policy.

    They really do love to parse words to fuel their cognitive dissonance.

    There are a lot of people, who probably parrot the same line and think it’s a good argument.

  44. 44
    gnomedad says:

    He seemed smugly satisfied with that important concession.

    So she should respect the invisible hand of the invisible death panel and die, already.

  45. 45
    Mary G says:

    One of my friends is married to a Fox-News-all-day-long die-hard Republican. Nicest guy in the world, but just a staunch member of his tribe.

    Until he came down this year with rheumatoid arthritis. Since I have had it since 1979, she’s come to me a lot for advice.

    I told her if he failed all the lesser drugs, which I thought he would based on how severe it seemed, he would have to go on a biologic. I told her most insurance companies insist on trying Enbrel first and that, like most all of these medications, it would be very expensive.

    “But he has Medicare,” she said. I tried to explain about Part D vs. Part B, but her eyes glazed over. His co-pay for the Enbrel turned out to be $750 a month. She was shocked.

    Then I explained the horror of the doughnut hole, where you have to keep paying the premium, but they don’t cover anything until you get to a certain amount. Since he’s an ex-Marine, he has gone to the VA, who are helping with the expenses.

    She is a fan of the Affordable Care Act now. He looks a little sheepish when it comes up.

  46. 46
    jibeaux says:

    I assume you checked the kerning on that health insurance card, kay.

    More seriously, to all of you who know someone whose health care situation has improved for the better by ACA, please encourage them to write letters to the editor. Email friends and family, put it on facebook, whatever. Spell out exactly what the premium quote was then, and now. Spell out that you kept an adult child looking for work on your health insurance, whatever it is. Stories help fight the misinformation, they make things concrete, and these opponents don’t have any stories.

  47. 47

    @kay: Many local chambers began leaving the national group after the 2010 midterm elections because the national group overtly supported many GOP candidates. I suspect the local chapters you are asking about may not have to deal with many Democrats. I believe this is an under reported story and an obvious pressure point for local activists. Chambers are usually very responsive to this sort of adverse publicity. As much as right wingers may not want to admit it, some small business owners are liberals, or at least Democrats. We enjoy building profitable enterprises as much as anyone. Shocking, I know, but true.

  48. 48

    @kay: Here is SW Ohio they certainly seem to be yet another GOP arm. As is. more overtly, the local Area Progress Council for Redderthanred Warren County. Which events I nonetheless attend in an effort to extract sponsorship funds from those dipweeds for county NAMI affiliate. So I keep my tongue in check and make nice. Then I have a stiff cocktail that evening. The “state of the county” luncheon is in 12 days, not that I’m counting, or laying in the booze for that night or anything.

  49. 49
    amk says:

    @The Bobs: missus mitt sez it was all mitt’s idea to begin with. The brazen lying is unbelievable.

  50. 50
    Martin says:

    Kay, wanted to let you know that as fate would have it, one of the new co-ops approved for federal support last week is being launched by a close family friend, so I’ll get a bit of an up close look at them.

    Not as much fun as having me start one, but it’s pretty close. I didn’t even learn about it until after it happened – he was doing it on the down-low, as he’s now competing against his former employer, but there’s a chance I’ll have a relative in a C-level position there.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  51. 51
    Linnaeus says:

    The $10,000 would have covered my tumor surgery that I had about five years ago, with some money left over. But not if that tumor had been malignant. Suddenly 10 grand isn’t such a great cushion.

  52. 52
    gwangung says:

    I can not stress this enough…
    __
    I am responsible for health care at my organization. We recently had an employee actively undergoing chemotherapy get booted off of his old insurance (long story) seamlessly get on to ours. Without the ACA, that wouldn’t have happened. In a nutshell, it saved his life.
    It’s not the bill everyone wanted, but it is still a HUGE improvement over the old way. That’s important to remember.

    But…but…Obama sold us out on the public option!
    /snark

  53. 53
    kay says:

    @Martin:

    Thanks. Email me and I’ll put it up. I think that Small Business Majority I linked is out of California, so it’s nice that there’s a non-wingnut small business group out there. I didn’t know they existed.

  54. 54
    Glix says:

    How far does that bozo think his $10k will go if he actually gets sick? And he will, everybody does eventually.

  55. 55
    Martin says:

    @Linnaeus: Mrs Martin had two complicated pregnancies and we had two preemies with lots of time in the NICU. Her OB estimated the total cost to bring our two kids into the world somewhere in the quarter million dollar range. At the time, that probably exceeded my lifetime net income.

  56. 56
    GregB says:

    The Chamber of Commerce is really The Coalition of Corporate Fascism and the Committee to Keep Wages Low.

  57. 57
    kay says:

    @Martin:

    You forget that there are decent people in the world. One guy admitted that his diabetic daughter would be in serious trouble w/out his wife’s government-job insurance, because he estimated that her last medical “event” cost 40k, but was 500 out of pocket to them. So, he’s skeptical of the PPACA, but he gets it, he’s not bullshitting himself about being a mavericky small bidness bootstrapper.

  58. 58
    Pseudo Irishman says:

    Nice post Kay. I appreciate how you take the time to get down into the weeds and show how big public policies get implemented at the state and local level.

  59. 59
    Tom says:

    Actually, if you are a high risk person and even if you CAN afford insurance you may not be able to buy it, since your only option may be a state-administered high-risk pool, and they have a limited number of slots.

  60. 60
    Frank says:

    The Tea Partier focused for a long time on an “inaccuracy” he had spotted, where he objected to the HHS director and other attendees stating that they “could not” purchase health insurance if they had a pre-existing condition prior to passage of the law. The Tea Partier insisted that they COULD have purchased a policy, but they couldn’t AFFORD a policy.

    This is a lie. I know a friend who has cancer. She can NOT purchase a policy. She has tried. But no insurance company will allow her.

    I wish these less informed people from the so called Tea Party would inform themselves before they make idiotic statements.

  61. 61
    jharp says:

    @slag:

    “When Tea Partiers take the attitude that having no health care coverage is better than government provided health care coverage”

    Heard exactly that position from a teabagger. I explained to him that he does have health insurance. It is called the emergency room and is paid for by the taxpayers.

    And I explained to him that the free ride is over. Either buy insurance or pay a penalty. No more freebies for you.

  62. 62
    Comrade Dread says:

    These types of stories are exactly why the Republicans are pushing so hard to repeal it quickly.

    The more people experience the benefits (or know close friends and family who do), the less they’ll want to repeal it.

  63. 63
    bemused says:

    @amk:

    What Missus Mitts said didn’t make any sense.

  64. 64
    Frank says:

    but I was really amused near the end when the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account,

    Again, another astonishingly ignorant statement. $10,000 is literally less than peanuts if he gets a serious disease. Hell, your typical MS patient may spent over $2500 a month on medicines. Or what about just about anything such as surgery, colonoscopy, etc etc.

    It is mind-blowing to hear these people. They are not that different than the birthers in terms of being just clueless.

  65. 65
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Do we on the left have to call it “Obamacare”? Just like the righties?

  66. 66
    amk says:

    @bemused: up is down, left is right, let them go bankrupt is saving them … you know ? the typical rethug lies.

  67. 67
    Frank says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    It won’t be repealed and they know it. They would need 60 votes in the Senate to do that, which even they know won’t happen. However, what they do know is that the Supreme Court can strike down the ACA as soon as this spring. That’s more likely and could actually happen knowing that the USSC nowadays is the most politicized court we have ever had and where the rule of law means little.

  68. 68
    rikyrah says:

    you bring good stuff, Kay. thank you for this.

    Patricia Kayden,

    I think we should call it OBAMACARES.

  69. 69
    Cermet says:

    @Mary G: All I can say is god damn people like that asshole – they make sure, through their stupidity, that fair health care bills fail and getting anything good at all is the fight of our lives to get. But these assholes refuse to spend a few minutes learning the truth. Result, every one is fuck but through great effort, they get protected and their ass’s saved by the very people they attacked. Yeah, now the asshole realizes some of the truth (but I am sure still votes thug.) These idiots never learn to think until the shit hits them.

  70. 70
    g says:

    the Tea Partier volunteered that he had ten thousand dollars in a health savings account,

    Good luck with that. If your wife can’t get contraception, it’ll take just one healthy pregnancy and a delivery without complications to go through that.

  71. 71
    Linnaeus says:

    @Martin:

    Oh, I can only imagine.

    My surgery cost, in total, about $8500. Which may seem low as surgeries go, but I wouldn’t have been able to afford even that on my low TA salary at the time. My health insurance covered most of the cost, thank goodness, and I paid about $1200-$1300 out of pocket. That was still a pretty significant cost for me, but one that I was able to pay nonetheless.

  72. 72
    Linnaeus says:

    And I should add that even though I’m working 3 (part-time) jobs and make a little more than I did as a TA, my “health security” is less than it was when I was “poorer” because I currently have no health insurance.

  73. 73
    ericblair says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Do we on the left have to call it “Obamacare”? Just like the righties?

    Why not? In a couple of years, goopers will insist it was never called Obamacare by anybody and was in fact all thanks to the Republicans that it got passed.

    If ACA survives the court challenge (which I think it will, and might get punted several years anyways), and it helps a lot of people (which it seems to be already), the goopers have serious problems. First, um, they’re now very obviously full of shit, and second, if this is SOSHULISM! then maybe a lot of folks might think this SOSHULISM! stuff ain’t too bad, really.

  74. 74
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Patricia Kayden: It’s called reclaiming the name. Because when the ACA is truly popular, the Republicans will suddenly remember that having an individual mandate was once championed by the Heritage Foundation and that Mitt Romney implemented something similar in Massachusetts and so they deserve the credit. By calling it Obamacare along with them I’m ensuring they never get to make that pivot.

  75. 75
    kay says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Do we on the left have to call it “Obamacare”? Just like the righties?

    I don’t think you have to call it that. I call it that because I sometimes walk people through it in this office if they’re curious or need insurance (they don’t have internet access) and they all call it “Obamacare”, so I figured why fight it?

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Frank:

    I wish these less informed people from the so called Tea Party would inform themselves before they make idiotic statements.

    If wishes were horses, rides would be free.

    The teatards REVEL in their ignorance and stupidity. It’s what these pathetic excuses for humans are all about.

  77. 77
    Steve says:

    The Tea Party and your local Chamber of Commerce are natural enemies, or ought to be in a thinking world.

    Let’s say your local community wants to build a transportation center that will make it easier for workers and shoppers to get to your town more easily.

    Do you think the Chamber of Commerce will support that? Do you think the Tea Party will?

    At the local level, the Tea Party people end up pissing off so many people by opposing all sorts of economic development and local government services. It’s not a movement that’s going to grow.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Do we on the left have to call it “Obamacare”? Just like the righties?

    Actually, the president himself has been embracing the term, and I think he’s right:

    In the first stop on President Obama’s week-long midwestern bus tour, the president appeared to attempt to take ownership of the term “Obamacare” – a phrase Republicans have been lobbing at him as a pejorative since the 2008 passage of his controversial health care bill – telling audience members, “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares.”
    __
    “I do care,” he pointed out. “If the other side wants to be the folks who don’t care? That’s fine with me.”

    If someone throws “Obamacare” in your face, say, “Yes, he cares that every American should be able to get medical care if they need it. Why are you supporting the people who would let you die in the gutter because you can’t afford cancer treatment?”

  79. 79
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Suddenly 10 grand isn’t such a great cushion.

    Healthcare is not priced for “consumers”, which is why all teabagger talk about opening it up for price comparison and letting the market do its thing is bullshit. There is no extrapolation from buying generic painkillers off the shelf to getting a cut-rate biopsy.

    Ezra Klein said it pretty succinctly a while back, and I’ll paraphrase: as a nation, the US can afford to provide everyone’s healthcare affordably; as 300 million individual customers, it can’t. I drove past a bunch of billboards yesterday advertising a hospital and an MRI facility: that’s just a tiny example of the inefficiency in the American Way Of Healthcare.

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @g: Implies facts definitely not in evidence — such as that Tea Partier and wife are still of reproductive age. They are old, old, old.

  81. 81
    Dr. Squid says:

    Is the Tea Partier looking for someone to pat him on the head and give him a dog biscuit for having $10k in an HSA?

  82. 82
    Lurker says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    The Tea Partier has $10,000 in a health savings account… Wow, $10,000. He doesn’t realize that one minor surgery, say, like the fatty tumor removal I had could easily cost $15,000 and would wipe out his savings. A hemi-laminectomy is probably over $20,000 by now. Everyone here knows what I mean… $10,000 is PEANUTS these days.

    He can only sock away $$$ into a Health Savings Account if he’s already covered by an HSA-compatible health insurance plan. The intention of the HSA is to pay for the deductible and the max out-of-pocket costs on that HSA-compatible plan, and the plan will pay for the rest. An HSA is not meant to pay for all health care costs.

    It’s possible that he let go of his HSA-compatible plan after he saved $10,000 in his HSA, but I doubt he’s stupid enough to go without any health coverage at all.

    That said, if he’s on a HSA-compatible health insurance plan with $5900 max annual out-of-pocket costs like me, he can go through that $10,000 easily if he suffered a medical crisis that lasted two years or more.

  83. 83
    Linnaeus says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Healthcare is not priced for “consumers”, which is why all teabagger talk about opening it up for price comparison and letting the market do its thing is bullshit. There is no extrapolation from buying generic painkillers off the shelf to getting a cut-rate biopsy.

    No argument from me on this. I try to explain to folks every now and then that “the market” doesn’t work in health care. With varying degrees of success.

  84. 84
    prufrock says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That tea party guy realizes that his TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS wouldn’t even pay to have his appendix taken out, much less cover him for a round of chemotherapy, right?

    A single round of outpatient chemotherapy for testicular cancer cost about 13,000 in 1995.

    I’m sure it’s gone up since then.

  85. 85
    Comrade Dread says:

    @Frank: On the other hand, SCOTUS is pretty business friendly, and the ACA ensures tax breaks for small businesses plus it has the mandate which delivers a boatload of new customers to the insurance industry.

    I’d say it’s a toss up between which impulse governs SCOTUS more, the desire to screw liberals or the desire to benefit large health care corporations.

    Do we on the left have to call it “Obamacare”? Just like the righties?

    My logic is that once enough people realize that they receive some type of benefits from it, it’ll be useful to remind them who (and which party) was responsible for passing it.

  86. 86
    trex says:

    That said, if he’s on a HSA-compatible health insurance plan with $5900 max annual out-of-pocket costs like me, he can go through that $10,000 easily if he suffered a medical crisis that lasted two years or more.

    A friend’s has a friend with a son who was in extreme pain. She doesn’t have insurance and she took him to emergency. After an ultrasound the boy was diagnosed with a kidney stone and give pain killers. The bill for that afternoon? $6000.00. After much begging and pleading by the mom the hospital knocked it down to $3600.00 and let them go on a payment plan.

    That is one afternoon’s bill for one person in the family. The year has 365 days and lots of things that can go wrong in that time. If Tricorner Mc Dickweasel thinks his $10,000 is sufficient to cover his potential health concerns he’s got another thing coming.

  87. 87
    Bostondreams says:

    What an idiot, as if 10 grand in a health savings account is that much. Just before Christmas, I came home with my 3 year old daughter and found my wife collapsed and unconcious on the floor of our new house in North Carolina. Temerature of 87 degrees, blood sugar over 1000, and the beginnings of kidney failure, as a result of diabetic kedoacidosis. The ambulance trip, 2 days in the ICU, 4 days and nights in the hospital, and our 14 thousand in the health savings account is GONE. And our rates were already sky high with her pre-existing condition.
    I dread the future. These Tea Party hacks can go live on their conservo-libertarian island and not care about each other all they want. But I want affordable health care.

  88. 88
    WaterGirl says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Yeah, but won’t they be pissed in 5 years when everyone sees what an improvement this is, and Obama gets credit every single time someone talks about it! :-)

    “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies come floating by.”

  89. 89
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bostondreams: I am sorry. Your family has to go through all of that, and worry about money at the same time. That’s just wrong.

  90. 90
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Do we on the left have to call it “Obamacare”? Just like the righties?

    Yes, we do, so that in the years ahead, all Americans who have health care for themselves and their families will know that it’s thanks to President Obama and the Democratic Party.

    I only wish that Republicans in the past would have been so stupid as to have branded Social Security as “FDRCare” and Medicare as “LBJCare.”

  91. 91
    Seth Owen says:

    I have never had the slightest problem calling it ‘Obamacare,’ because that’s among the huge blunders made by the GOP/Right in this fight. If it becomes more popular as the various parts of it take effect in noticible ways this has the potential for helping Democrats for a generation. Every time it’s mentioned, the public is reminded who gets the credit. As it is, I think ‘Obamacare’ is winning out as the common use term over ACA. This is the fuel realignments feed from. Even now Republicans have to pretend they are ‘saving’ Medicare and Social Security when they’re really trying to dismantle them. Obamacare will join them if Obama is re-elected and gets to oversee implementing it.

  92. 92
    Rafer Janders says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Ezra Klein said it pretty succinctly a while back, and I’ll paraphrase: as a nation, the US can afford to provide everyone’s healthcare affordably; as 300 million individual customers, it can’t. I drove past a bunch of billboards yesterday advertising a hospital and an MRI facility: that’s just a tiny example of the inefficiency in the American Way Of Healthcare.

    I sometimes use this analogy when explaining it to people: as a nation, America can afford a vast fleet of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. As 300 million individuals, well, we can’t.

  93. 93
    WaterGirl says:

    I just received an email message from the person I support in the democratic primary for our IL-13 representative in congress.

    We were redistricted, and we finally have a chance to get rid of our no good/terrible/very bad representative Tim Johnson (R-slime).

    David Gill a good man and an emergency room physician who has run before and has a really good chance of beating Tim Johnson in november, but he has to win the primary first.

    I wanted to give 100.00, but could only afford 25.00, but if there’s anyone out there who wants to help us keep the house of representatives, this is a good guy to support. Here’s the link if anyone has some loose change:

    https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/entity/27489

  94. 94
    Bostondreams says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Thanks, Watergirl. Fortunately, my wife’s mom has been very generous in helping us out financially, and my wife is finally taking her health and stress far more seriously. She had lost a great deal of weight and decided on her own she didn’t need her insulin anymore, and was under a great deal of stress with the move (I had moved 6 months earlier to take a teaching job, leaving her a single mom).
    We are about broke, but my wife is home with me, and that is what matters. And we have started rebuilding the health savings account.
    On the plus side of the cost, we hit our deductable already, so there is that. :/

  95. 95
    Frank says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    On the other hand, SCOTUS is pretty business friendly, and the ACA ensures tax breaks for small businesses plus it has the mandate which delivers a boatload of new customers to the insurance industry. I’d say it’s a toss up between which impulse governs SCOTUS more, the desire to screw liberals or the desire to benefit large health care corporations.

    You might be right. I personally think they are Republicans first and foremost. Citizens United, which was the ultimate gift to the GOP, is an example of that. I think they will do whatever they can to come up with a legal opinion which renders ACA useless. We have already seen some very strange legal opinions on ACA that have been derived in the lower courts by Republican judges.

  96. 96
    BruceJ says:

    @Bulworth: I wonder if the Tea Partier with the oh-so-extravagant $10k has any clue that he’d burn through that $10k in a few hours of surgery or intensive care, should he need it? That it would cover, roughly being diagnosed with cancer, followed by “Well, now we need to treat you, that will be $200,000, please!”

  97. 97
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @BruceJ: Yeah, that’s the thing that conservatives don’t get at all. If catastrophic care cost $10k, why does your health insurance cost way more than that every year? If you get severely sick/injured (and everyone does, though maybe not until they’re much, much older), your bills come in at the hundreds of thousands minimum.

  98. 98
    Elizabelle says:

    Agree with calling it “Obamacare” at every opportunity.

    I think he should have bumperstickers that say “Obama Cares”

    cuz the GOP wankers sure don’t.

  99. 99
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bostondreams: Sounds like there are a ton of good things to be grateful for. Yay for that!

  100. 100

    @BruceJ: $8,748 to get an MS diagnosis. For which tx (with an efficacy rate of 38% at the high end)is $2-4K/month. Needless to say, I won’t be treating. I may do a clinical trial, however.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Ugh. Keep in mind that, with a chronic condition like MS, self-care (including exercise) can go a long way towards keeping you mobile.

  102. 102
    Steve says:

    There is nothing wrong with carrying a high-deductible catastrophic policy combined with an HSA. For some people, that may be their best option under the current system. Republicans are sort of clueless to think that it can work for everyone, though.

  103. 103
    slightly_peeved says:

    Exchanges will offer a choice of plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Starting in 2014, members of Congress will be getting their health care insurance through Exchanges, and you will be able to buy your insurance through Exchanges, too.

    Bolded because I think this is worth bringing up far more often. Partly because the story of it is hilarious – Republicans suggested it to try and make the Democrats balk, and then Senators like Franken took it and ran with it, saying that it was an awesome idea and they’d be proud to use the Exchanges like every other American. And partly because when people criticise the ACA (often without actually having read it), they often resort to hand-waving arguments about how Congress will just be lazy and let the insurance companies weasel out of their obligations in one way or another.

    Congress will be using the Exchanges. If there are any problems with the insurance plans on the Exchanges, I’ll bet the first person to complain will be some idiot Republican Congressperson who doesn’t even realize where they’re getting their insurance from. I’m stocking up on popcorn ahead of time.

  104. 104

    You should never have put up that woman’s picture. Michelle Malkin and Eric Erickson will be snooping through her trash and Limbaugh will be ranting about what a health care slut she is within a week.

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