HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » babylonsister » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 20 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 167,238

Journal Archives

A cautionary tale: A Miami man doesn't have the coronavirus but may now owe thousands of dollars...

A cautionary tale: A Miami man doesn't have the coronavirus but may now owe thousands of dollars for being tested
Haven Orecchio-Egresitz
Feb 24, 2020, 12:16 PM

A Miami man who recently visited China came home with flu-like symptoms.

To ensure he didn't have the deadly coronavirus, he went to the hospital to be screened.

It turns out that the man had the flu, not the coronavirus. But now he could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills.

An insurance expert told the Miami Herald the case was a cautionary tale about deregulation in the insurance market.

The coronavirus outbreak has already killed thousands, and health officials are urging anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms and has recently visited China to get screened for the illness.

In the US, that kind of vigilance can cost patients thousands, according to the Miami Herald.

Last month, Osmel Martinez Azcue, a Miami resident, returned from a work trip in China with flu-like symptoms. He visited the hospital to make sure he didn't have the coronavirus, the Miami Herald reported.

Azcue had the flu, not the coronavirus. But he has limited insurance coverage and received a claim for $3,270 two weeks after his test. He'll be responsible for about $1,400 of that bill, according to the Herald.

"How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to eliminating the potential risk of person-to-person spread if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3,270 for a simple blood test and a nasal swab?" Azcue told the Herald.

Hospital officials at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Azcue was seen, told the Miami Herald that in addition to the bill, he would also have to provide three years of medical records to prove the flu he got didn't relate to a preexisting condition.

"That's the critical difference between [Affordable Care Act] plans and junk plans," Sabrina Corlette, a Georgetown University professor and codirector of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms, told the Herald. "[Junk plans] will not cover pre-existing conditions."


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 07:24 PM (6 replies)

Republicans storm out of coronavirus briefing after Democrat rips Trump's response

Republicans storm out of coronavirus briefing after Democrat rips Trump's response

Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s comments were indicative of the growing political tensions around the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus response.
02/28/2020 10:23 AM EST
Updated: 02/28/2020 02:11 PM EST

Several House Republicans walked out of a closed-door coronavirus briefing Friday with Trump health officials in protest after a senior Democrat blasted the Trump administration’s handling of the response effort.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) kicked off the briefing sharply criticizing the administration as disorganized and lacking urgency in combating the coronavirus, lawmakers said. Her speech frustrated Republicans and some Democrats assembled to hear from the slate of officials from the CDC, NIH and State Department.

"If I wanted to hear the politics of it, I'd read POLITICO or something, let's be serious," said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), who was among the walkouts. A handful of Republicans began booing almost immediately after DeLauro raised concerns with the administration’s efforts, according to two people in the room.

DeLauro’s comments were indicative of the growing political tensions around the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus response. President Donald Trump, who has publicly tried to downplay the virus through a series of misleading claims, just after midnight took to Twitter to complain that Democrats were pinning the crisis on him.

But at least one Democrat was also irritated by DeLauro's remarks. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), who led the health department under President Bill Clinton, said it wasn't the appropriate setting for the criticism.

“No one wanted to hear that, either the Democrats or Republican. We just wanted to hear the substance,” she said.

DeLauro, the leading House health appropriator, accused the administration of a lack of urgency and warned that there were several crucial questions that remained unanswered about the coronavirus response. As lawmakers transferred to a bigger room to accommodate all the attendees, a visibly frustrated DeLauro told colleagues she didn’t “give a rat’s ass” and about the reaction and that members needed answers from the administration.

“I feel that the issue on resources and current expenditures has been less than adequate and that these are some of the questions that we have to get answered,” she told reporters afterward, and her office later released a transcript of her remarks. “I quite frankly don’t worry about people who may have a concern. I just know that the questions are right.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 04:54 PM (9 replies)

Former Federal Prosecutors Demand DC US Attorney Resist Political Interference

Former Federal Prosecutors Demand DC US Attorney Resist Political Interference
By Josh Kovensky
February 28, 2020 10:45 a.m.

A group of former D.C. federal prosecutors demanded in an open letter that U.S. Attorney for D.C. Timothy Shea state that his office won’t be used as a political tool against President Trump’s enemies.

The letter, released Thursday, asks Shea to “resist any and all political interference by either the President or the Attorney General” and to clarify that his office won’t become a “tool used to favor the politically connected and punish the perceived enemies of the Administration.”

The message, signed by more than 60 former federal prosecutors and first reported by the Washington Post, comes in the aftermath of Attorney General Bill Barr’s effort to intervene in the prosecution of Trump adviser Roger Stone.

The prosecutors cite “significant alarm and concern that the Office’s independence, devoid of political influence, is in grave and imminent peril.”

“The intervention by the Attorney General and the President, the withdrawal of good and honorable assistants (one of whom has resigned altogether from the Office) have created the perception that political interest has been married to substantive prosecutorial decisions at the highest level, and that the Office no longer is able, nor can it be trusted, to act independently,” the letter reads.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 12:08 PM (1 replies)

Trump Wants to Take Away Heat From the Poor to Fund Coronavirus Response

This is 2 days old so may have changed, but maybe not.

Trump Wants to Take Away Heat From the Poor to Fund Coronavirus Response
Who needs heat in the dead of winter anyway?
By Bess Levin
February 26, 2020

Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus has been, to date, typically Trumpian, which is to say: incoherent, disorganized, full of lies, and reminiscent, we assume, of that sinking feeling one gets after having unprotected sex with a porn star. Earlier this week, the president claimed that “we are very close to a vaccine,” a statement that has no basis in fact. On the same day, he threw it out there that there were only 10 confirmed cases in the United States, despite the fact that, at the time, there were more than five times that. On the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans an outbreak is a certainty, he insisted the whole thing is under control, which presumably had something to do with the fact that he doesn’t want to scare the stock market, one of the only things he cares about. And, this is all on top of a report last month that the administration has “intentionally rendered itself incapable” of dealing with problems of this magnitude, having wiped out its “entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure” and shutting down both the National Security Council’s global health security team and its counterpart at the Department of Homeland Security.

Having realized that maybe it looks bad to not even ask Congress for some money to deal with the crisis, on Monday the White House requested $2.5 billion to address the outbreak, funds that would go toward vaccines, treatment, and protective equipment. The figure was immediately slammed by Democrats as insufficient, and that was seemingly before they read the fine print on how the administration would like to partially pay for the funding, i.e. letting poor people freeze in the middle of winter. Per the Washington Post:

House Democrats tell us they are outraged by one aspect of the White House response in particular: The White House appears to have informed Democrats that they want to fund the emergency response in part by taking money from a program that funds low-income home heating assistance. A document that the Trump administration sent to Congress, which we have seen, indicates that the administration is transferring $37 million to emergency funding for the coronavirus response from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, which funds heating for poor families.

Democrats see this as provoking budgetary bickering and unnecessary political friction at a time when a clean emergency appropriation could easily avoid both. “After dithering for weeks as the coronavirus spread around the world, the Trump administration has now decided to pay for its belated response by cutting funding for heating assistance for low-income families,” Evan Hollander, a spokesman for House Appropriations Committee Democrats, told us in a statement. While budgetary disputes are commonplace, in this case an important principle is at stake. A situation like this could ideally be handled with a clean, new emergency funding bill, making this sort of battling—which could slow the response to the crisis—entirely unnecessary.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 11:55 AM (4 replies)

Our endorsement in the Florida Democratic primary: A fresh start with Pete Buttigieg Editorial

Our endorsement in the Florida Democratic primary: A fresh start with Pete Buttigieg | Editorial
By Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board
Orlando Sentinel |
Feb 28, 2020 | 5:00 AM

Floridians begin early voting Monday in some counties, and rarely have the state’s Democrats faced a more consequential choice for their presidential nominee.

Three-plus years of Donald Trump have wrecked havoc on American institutions, norms and unity.

The president has perverted the Department of Justice, sought revenge against those who place country over presidency, solicited foreign interference (multiple times) in our elections, cheapened the value of truth on a daily basis and divided this nation in ways we couldn’t have imagined in 2016.

Some Americans enjoy the daily spectacle of a reality-TV president unrestrained by civility, unburdened by guilt and uncaring of consequences.

Another segment of the population is just exhausted. These Americans want to stop cringing whenever the president opens his mouth. They want someone capable of reflection, knowledgeable of history, respectful of fact and truth, and able to convey a point without resorting to bombast and bluster.

They want an adult in the White House.

Good news — Democrats have an just such an adult on the ballot: Pete Buttigieg.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 10:54 AM (0 replies)

America is about to get a godawful lesson in why health care should never be a for-profit business

America is about to get a godawful lesson in why health care should never be a for-profit business
Mark Sumner
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday February 27, 2020 · 2:23 PM EST

For four decades, American corporations have been caught up in a whole series of refinements that are intended to improve efficiency and productivity. Our processes are lean. Our efficiency is six-sigma. Our productivity has mysteriously run far ahead of employee compensation in a way that has made CEOs billionaires while leaving workers on food stamps.

It’s a system that maximizes profit. But it’s also a system that assumes that everything can be stripped to the bare bones; that business can make do with minimal staffing, minimal supplies, minimal alternatives. Nothing is there that makes the system in the least unprofitable. The system stands like a house of glass, waiting for something to challenge its fragility.

And in the United States, health care is just that kind of system.

Like every other system in America, we now have a super-lean, infinite-sigma healthcare system, absolutely dependent on every cog remaining in place. It’s one in which there are fewer than a million hospital beds for the entire nation; one in which many, many rural counties have no hospital at all. Because that’s the most profitable way of running the system, and that’s what happens when health care is subjected to the winnowing of the marketplace—just barely enough health care, at the highest possible prices people will tolerate without demanding a change.

It’s exactly where a nation does not want to be when encountering a health crisis. And it’s why America is, unfortunately, about to get a lesson in why there is much more to a national health system than whether you pay for it in taxes or with checks to an insurance company.


By treating health care like a business, Americans have already seen one of the first people who dared ask to be tested for COVID-19 get handed a bill for thousands of dollars, the primary result of which will be to dissuade other Americans from asking to be tested. Which is, right there, exactly the result that is best for insurance companies—and worst for the nation.

It’s an absolute certainty that Americans will hide their sniffles, drown their symptoms in over-the-counter drugs, and try to “tough it out” because they can’t afford health care. Besides, they have no paid sick leave, no paid child care, and no guarantee that missing a day’s work won’t mean being cast to the curb. All that “socialist” crap.

And because our whole system runs so excellently lean, American hospitals are already seeing shortages of everything from gowns to masks to painkillers, because the single-source, lowest-price vendor of those items happens to be in an area that’s already been overrun with the coronavirus. Not only have those factories on the far side of the planet been sitting idle for weeks, but what production has been available has been needed close to home.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 10:38 AM (6 replies)

Big media is covering up Trump's terrifying incoherence in a time of emergency

Big media is covering up Trump’s terrifying incoherence in a time of emergency
By Dan Froomkin -
February 27, 2020 11:27 am EST

Here is some of what Donald Trump had to say Wednesday evening at a briefing intended to inform and reassure the American public about a public-health emergency:

This will end. This will end. You look at flu season. I said 26,000 people. I never heard of a number like that: 26,000 people, going up to 69,000 people, doctor, you told me before. 69,000 people die every year — from 20 to 69 — every year from the flu. Think of that. That’s incredible. So far, the results of all of this that everybody is reading about — and part of the thing is, you want to keep it the way it is, you don’t want to see panic, because there’s no reason to be panicked about it — but when I mentioned the flu, I asked the various doctors, “Is this just like flu?” Because people die from the flu. And this is very unusual. And it is a little bit different, but in some ways it’s easier and in some ways it’s a little bit tougher, but we have it so well under control, I mean, we really have done a very good job. [Watch video.]

Before and after knowledgeable public-health officials had made clear that a further spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. is inevitable:

I don’t think it’s inevitable. It probably will. It possibly will. It could be at a very small level or it could be at a larger level. Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared. We have the best people in the world. You see that from the study. We have the best prepared people, the best people in the world. Congress is willing to give us much more than we’re even asking for. That’s nice for a change. But we are totally ready, willing, and able to — it’s a term that we use, it’s “ready, willing, and able.” It’s going to be very well under control. Now, it may get bigger. It may get a little bigger. It may not get bigger at all. We’ll see what happens. But regardless of what happens, we’re totally prepared. [Watch video.]


Tell me this is normal.

Tell me this is unremarkable.

Tell me this is behavior by the President of the United States of United States of America at a critically important briefing about a potentially deadly pandemic that does not bear mentioning.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 07:38 AM (56 replies)

Oversight hearing room named for Elijah Cummings

Oversight hearing room named for Elijah Cummings
Cummings is the first African American lawmaker in history to have a room named for him in the Capitol complex
By Katherine Tully-McManus
Posted February 27, 2020 at 7:05pm

The House Oversight and Reform hearing room was named Thursday in honor of late Chairman Elijah E. Cummings — the first room in the Capitol complex to ever be named for an African American lawmaker.

The unveiling of the gold-lettered nameplate to hang above both entrances of Room 2154 in the Rayburn House Office Building drew congressional leaders, Cummings’ family, staffers and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. The Maryland Democrat died Oct. 17 during his 12th term in the House. He was 68.

Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney told the crowd that Cummings was like a gem, seemingly having his own inner light and brilliance.

“He brought us together in this room, and he is doing it again, even now,” the New York Democrat said. “This room and the work we do here will remind future generations of Elijah’s unwavering commitment to justice, as well as his dedication to stability and decorum.”

Maloney said the House Historian’s Office confirmed Cummings would be the first African American lawmaker in history to have a room named for him in the Capitol complex.

“When people walk the halls of Congress, whether they come in this room or not, they will see above the door his name, and they will know how special he was by that manifestation of respect for him,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Feb 27, 2020, 09:12 PM (2 replies)

Trump's COVID-19 press conference was incoherent and contentless. Shouldn't that be news?

Trump's COVID-19 press conference was incoherent and contentless. Shouldn't that be news?
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday February 27, 2020 · 4:51 PM EST

For anyone who actually watched Donald Trump's yet-again-bizarre performance in yesterday's supposed COVID-19 press briefing, the takeaways were predictable—but unambiguous. Trump gave approximately zero actual information, other than announcing Mike Pence would be in charge of it all. If anything, and as usual, Trump un-informed the public about the spread of COVID by making bizarrely false claims about the borders and arbitrarily declaring there to be "15" infected patients in the United States, despite the actual known number being, at the time of his speech, at least 60. Everything else was generalities of the usual Trump sort when he has no actual information to convey, and has had no interest in collecting information that should be conveyed.

He bashed critics. He gave false assurances that were contradicted by the public health officials he introduced. He fidgeted in the background like a bored child as others talked. But mostly, when faced with a public health crisis that could swiftly reach pandemic proportions and kill millions in worst-case scenarios, he said nothing.

At Press Watch, Dan Froomkin runs down the list of big media responses to Wednesday's baffling Donald Trump presser about the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

The problem, as Froomkin sees it: The press continues to cover up Trump's "terrifying incoherence" even now. They’re doing so even though Trump's obvious incoherence may be zero point zero hours away from killing people.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Feb 27, 2020, 07:29 PM (5 replies)

WH Moves To Screen Scientists' Statements On Coronavirus

No, no, no!


WH Moves To Screen Scientists’ Statements On Coronavirus
By Matt Shuham
February 27, 2020 1:41 p.m.


Public health officials — rather than Trump loyalists like Kudlow — have been praised for speaking bluntly about the virus.

For example, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, Anthony Fauci, has spoken openly about the timetables for vaccines and therapies for coronavirus. While progress has been quick according to epidemiological standards, Fauci has repeatedly been clear that a vaccine is at least 12-18 months away. Trump, meanwhile, has simply said that vaccines are on the way “rapidly.”

Fauci has told associates that he’d been instructed by the White House not to say anything else without clearance, the Times reported Thursday.

Another public health official, Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday, “We expect we will see community spread in this country.”

Markets plunged the same day, and Kudlow subsequently went on CNBC. The economic adviser claimed three times that the director-general of the World Health Organization had urged people not to “overreact” to the virus — something the WHO head hadn’t actually said.

Trump on Wednesday admitted his concern that the public’s perception of the virus was hurting markets; reports indicated he was furious about the stock market’s dive.

Asked about the financial markets, the President noted, “I do believe in terms of CNBC and in terms of Fox Business, I do believe that that’s a factor, yeah.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Feb 27, 2020, 04:35 PM (5 replies)
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 20 Next »