Saving us all from the threat of health insurance

Good for her for keeping Medicaid expansion in the news:

Democratic Sen. Capri Cafaro unveiled during a Tuesday news conference the latest legislative measure aimed at reforming and expanding Medicaid in Ohio. And while Cafaro’s proposal included some new policy, the senator focused mostly on trying to dispel a central Republican complaint — Medicaid expansion would siphon money from state coffers. Cafaro argues that expanding Medicaid would save Ohio billions.
The Northeast Ohio senator provided an analysis of Medicaid spending by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and Ohio State University that showed that the state’s Medicaid spending would reach $17.4 billion in 2025 if no expansion is agreed to. Ohio could save up to $3.2 billion during that period if lawmakers pass an expansion, according to the analysis.
The GOP-controlled legislature jettisoned the expansion, and a handful of bills circulating the Statehouse seek to reform or expand the federal program.

Cafaro’s legislation is supported by Senate Democrats. No Republicans have endorsed the measure.
“Given what we have laid out, why would somebody not support this?” Cafaro said. “We’ve taken the cost considerations off the table. We are promoting efficiency, we are promoting shared responsibility by both individuals and providers…and we are covering more people. I’d like to know why somebody would say no.”

We already know why Republicans say no, because the Ohio Tea Party has one issue and that issue is opposition to Obamacare. Without that opposition, the Ohio Tea Party has absolutely nothing to offer or talk about and they go back to being what they were prior to Obamacare – the same old cranky and disgruntled GOP base:

The most outspoken House Republican supporter of Medicaid expansion (not much competition for that distinction) has attracted attention from the Toledo Tea Party, which is actively seeking a candidate to challenge her in the 2014 primary.
Rep. Barbara Sears of Sylvania, a member of the House GOP leadership team and considered one of the most knowledgeable members on Medicaid and health care, has backed Gov. John Kasich’s effort to expand Medicaid to Ohioans making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
The expansion is possible under Obamacare – an association that prompted Tea Party groups in Ohio earlier this year to threaten GOP lawmakers with primary challenges if they support it.
The Toledo Tea Party quotes Linda Bowyer, spokeswoman for Conservative Coalition: “NWOCC supporters are very upset with Rep Sears and her continuing efforts to implement Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.” She added: “We’ve been interviewing candidates throughout northwest Ohio. Our supporters have made it clear to us that we need to support candidates who will actively work to oppose Obamacare, and oppose any candidate that is working to implement Obamacare.”
Sears said she is confident she will prevail in next year’s election. Asked if she knows of any colleagues yet who are facing tea party primary challenges over Medicaid expansion, Sears said there is a reason her name is the only one on the expansion bill.

This probably doesn’t help her any:

considered one of the most knowledgeable members on Medicaid and health care

Oh, definitely get rid of her, then. Cull the knowledgeable members – immediately.

North Carolina Meet Up

Commenter Summer had a meet up in North Carolina on very short notice and this is her account:

These two mysterious and exotic people are Summer (NOT a serial killer) and Tom (recent NC transplant), who populated the inaugural NC BJ “meet up.” Being readers of JC’s blog since the early aughts and having five dogs and one cat between our two households, we had a great time regaling each other with pet stories and Balloon Juice memories since the dark days of the Bush administration. We talked some state and national politics, activism, bike commuting, and Durham awesomeness. We raised our glasses to Tunch, in celebration of his life and in gratitude for his influence.
With the Moral Monday momentum, we thought having a bigger North Carolina meet up in three weeks (8/5), again following a Moral Monday, would be great. Sorry we didn’t catch everyone this time. Please email summerjsmith97 at gmail if you’d like to be there or influence scheduling toward another date.


Speaking of North Carolina, conservatives in North Carolina are adding further restrictions to voting. These new rules are directed at college students.

I think it would be a good idea right about now for voting enthusiasts to become poll workers. I resigned as a poll worker after Operation Chaos, which was an order from Rush Limbaugh for Republicans to vote for Clinton in the 2008 Ohio Democratic primary in order to “stop” Obama. Some Republicans in my precinct actually followed this order. They were bragging about it so it wasn’t real hard to figure out. That made me mad because Operation Chaos is contrary to Ohio law and it offends my ideas about fair play but I also just found the whole thing so stupid and dispiriting that I quit. It worked out okay because I do election protection now. We don’t have another Democratic lawyer here to do it so it’s better I stick with that. In a way, Rush Limbaugh is the reason we have a local lawyer doing voter protection in this county. We should all thank him for helping us with strategic placement of volunteers.

Anyway, poll work is a long day (as many of you who are or have been poll workers know) and the pay is lousy but if anyone is willing it would be great to jump in now.

New Job

A great little piece that is more about canvassing than Spitzer:

The text message forwarded from a friend of a friend had all the classic signs of a scam; ALL CAPS, asterisks, and a fantastical promise: $800 a day to gather signatures for Eliot Spitzer’s nascent campaign for Comptroller.
The day before, I had been let go from my job as an unpaid intern for a Queens councilmember. The truth is, I respected Spitzer. I had read Peter Elkind’s book about him and the powerful Wall Street cabal that brought him down. Alex Gibney’s documentary, Client Nine, was marvelous. Spitzer was someone who pissed off the wrong people and paid the price for going after unethical behavior.
Also, he was going to pay me $800 a day. I would have done it for a lot less. I hopped on the train and headed for the address given in the text message, a five-story pre-war residential building on West 12th Street.
Due to the high pay, I felt obligated to get at many signatures as I could. The West Village has many aging Jewish women and gay couples. These are my people. I realized the trick was to start with the most potent part to draw people in. “Hi, I’m with Eliot Spitzer for Comptroller of the City of New York. Would you like to sign our petition to put him on the ballot?” has a LOT of syllables. So I tried innumerable permutations of my pitch.
“Sign for Spitzer?”
“I’m with Eliot Spitzer. Sign our petition please?”
“Eliot Spitzer for office. Sign please?”
Then I started barking, “SPITZER! SIGN FOR SPITZER!” It worked. Many people stopped and signed. Others told me I was crazy.
“Heaven’s no.”
“Heck no.”
“You must be kidding.”
“You’re joking right?”
“You must be joking.”
“That schmuck!”
“What nerve!”
“I’d never vote for a hellion!”
I was also insulted with what seemed like 30 different Yiddish words. Who knew Yiddish could be so versatile?

It has a happy ending.

Via: election law blog

Dr. Kasich, paging Dr. Kasich

We’ve talked about this before, but I think it’s important, so I wanted to raise it again. From Plunderbund:

John Kasich is just optimistic that you’ll pull through

Until yesterday, Ohio law allowed exceptions to the informed consent rigamarole in the event of “an immediate threat of serious risk to the… physical health of the woman from the continuation of the pregnancy.” While this verbiage wasn’t necessarily ideal, it was broad enough that doctors could practice appropriately.
With Kasich’s signature of the budget, physicians can only avoid the mandatory ultrasound “in order to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to avoid a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman that delay in the performance or inducement of the abortion would create.”

Section 2919.16(K) spells out that the conditions allowing for immediate abortion:
includes pre-eclampsia, inevitable abortion, and premature rupture of the membranes, may include, but is not limited to, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and does not include a condition related to the woman’s mental health.

These rules are incredibly narrow.

The list of possible complications that can maim or kill goes on and on: anemia, arrhythmia, brainstem infarction, broken tailbone or ribs, cardiopulmonary arrest, diastasis recti, eclampsia, embolism, exacerbation of epilepsy, immunosuppression, infection, gestational diabetes, gestational trophoblastic disease, hemorrhage, hypoxemia, increased intracranial pressure, mitral valve stenosis, obstetric fistula,placental abruption, postpartum depression, prolapsed uterus, severe scarring, increased spousal abuse, third or fourth degree laceration, thrombocytopenic purpura, peripartum cardiomyopathy, and more.

Before the passage of the budget, a number of OB-GYNs protested this provision. In the past, they’ve testified that it would make them hesitate before treating women. This is consciously modeled after the Irish law that resulted in the death of Savita Halappanavar.

This should be debated. Conservatives and media limit the scope of discussion on abortion restrictions to an unwanted pregnancy, a woman seeking an abortion, but that isn’t how these laws read. Who wrote the specific medical exceptions? The lobbyists who introduced these laws all over the country? Did they even bother to consult a physician?

Conservatives at the state and national level should have to respond to specific questions on how these laws apply to women in a medical emergency. They had this debate in Ireland, too late.

Palling around with organizers

The health care law goes into effect in January, but people can sign up beginning in October. The campaign to inform and enroll people has begun. I thought I’d focus on the health care law education/enrollment effort this summer, if you’d like to follow along. The group I’ll be following locally are national. They will work on the ground in 8 states where there are high numbers of uninsured and GOP-led opposition to the law, but they are just one piece of the effort. I know one of the organizers in NW Ohio so I’ll follow some national news and also tell you what this individual organizer is up to in Toledo and surrounding counties as best I can, my schedule permitting. My pal is a great and extremely hard-working organizer who has won three out of three of the Ohio campaigns he’s been involved with, but he’ll have to work under the insane national din without losing his mind, which I imagine will be the real challenge.

Ohio is a particularly heavy lift for organizers, because the GOP base (Tea Party) are blocking the Medicaid expansion over Governor Kasich’s support of the expansion and the Republican political appointees who head our state agencies have done nothing and will do nothing to educate on or implement the law. That means there’s a lot of uncertainty for people. As you know, “uncertainty” is a horrible state of affairs that must be avoided at all costs when we’re talking about Wall Street and the stock market, but is perfectly acceptable when we’re talking about Republicans deliberately creating chaos that directly impacts ordinary people and their lives

For background on the political state of play from the other side, rather than what might or might not be going on as far as enrollment/education in real life we’ll start nationally, with a look at what Republicans are planning:

Republican lawmakers say they anticipate a flood of questions in the coming months from constituents on the implementation of ObamaCare, which will pose a dilemma for the GOP.
People regularly call their representatives for help with Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Yet, Republicans believe healthcare reform spells doom for the federal budget, private businesses and the U.S. healthcare system. They’re also enormously frustrated that the law has persevered through two elections and a Supreme Court challenge and believe a botched implementation could help build momentum for the repeal movement.
Some Republicans indicated to The Hill they will not assist constituents in navigating the law and obtaining benefits. Others said they would tell people to call the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Given that we come from Kansas, it’s much easier to say, ‘Call your former governor,'” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R), referring to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “You say, ‘She’s the one. She’s responsible. She was your governor, elected twice, and now you reelected the president, but he picked her.'” Huelskamp said. “We know how to forward a phone call,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
“I have two dedicated staff who deal with nothing, but ObamaCare and immigration problems,” he added. “I’m sure there will be an uptick in that, but all we can do is pass them back to the Obama administration. The ball’s in their court. They’re responsible for it.”
House leaders have organized a group known as HOAP — the House ObamaCare Accountability Project — to organize a messaging strategy against the law that will trickle down to constituents.
The group has an eye on August recess, when member town halls will inevitably turn to healthcare issues.
Republicans are confident that the government’s most ambitious undertaking in recent memory will collapse under its own weight.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who helped draft ObamaCare, called GOP inaction on educating constituents “outrageous.”
“For many families, this may be the first time they have access to real healthcare coverage. This can be a matter of life and death,” said Miller. “This is a real dereliction of duty for Republicans,” he added.

In other words, they have no plan to either inform constituents on the law or actually do anything towards improving health care with their own ideas, but they do have an elaborate plan – complete with catchy title (“HOAP”)- to sabotage the law politically. We should probably anticipate the same incredibly informative and unbiased Town Hall meetings on The Government Take-Over of Health Care this August that we saw in Death Panel Summer, run on a continuous loop on cable.