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PatrickforB

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
Current location: Not disclosed
Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 07:28 PM
Number of posts: 12,557

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Given what just happened in Georgia, I am respectfully asking all DU readers:

Please call your US Senators daily on the urgent need for a new voting rights act.

If we all call them daily, write them, email them, and otherwise be very noisy, they might just take some action. Because this really is urgent. We can kiss this republic goodbye if this GA law, and the dozens of others Republican controlled state legislatures are cooking up, are allowed to stand.

We need to force them to make this happen.

I commit to all of you that I will be calling my two Senators every day on this matter. At each of their offices, locally and in DC.

Please, let us overload their switchboards with huge call volume.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of

their appointed rounds."

We've all heard that, I know. Heck, when I was a kid it was even in cartoons.

I have posted before about the horrible 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and how it is my belief that the Republicans did this to the USPS to break the union and starve the USPS for funding so they could crow about how government is inefficient and take steps to privatize the postal service.

But I found out something just the other day that hit me like a ton of bricks. Here is a three-paragraph excerpt from a book I'm reading:

President George W. Bush went after the US Postal Service in a similar manner with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The Postal Service had been accumulating surpluses and proposed to use some of that money to convert its fleet of postal carrier vehicles—the largest vehicle fleet in the United States—from gas to electric and hydrogen-powered. This was intolerable to the fossil fuel billionaires who largely owned the GOP. So oil company CEO Bush’s 2006 law required the Postal Service—and the Postal Service alone—to set aside $5 billion every year to keep in a trust fund to pay for the health care expenses of people who would retire in 75 years.

No other company or government agency had ever been required to set aside monies to pay for people who, in most cases, were not even born yet; it was a naked attempt to drain cash from the Postal Service to stop the modernization of its fleet and to starve the postal beast to set it up for privatization.

Had the Postal Service not publicly announced its goals in 2006, it would have revolutionized transportation in the United States, setting a standard for moving the entire country’s fleet of cars away from gas and diesel.


Now, I know some of you do not like this author because he has been known to also criticize Democrats, but this excerpt, and indeed the whole content of the book is right on.

This book is well worth reading. I don't want to sound gushy here, but Hartmann is right up there with Howard Zinn, and for me that is high praise.

Here is the citation:

Hartmann, Thom. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy (p. 106). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Cats...

We do love our cats - we've got four. Two tuxedos, a Siamese, and a tortie.

I'm not really that much of a morning person, and my wife, who usually feeds the little fellows in the morning, is having a sleep-in. But this morning I was wide awake just before six.

So, I showered, dressed, and then went up and fed the cats.

Now, I get back down here and am online catching some news.

The cats had taken several of the keys off my keyboard!



I found the '5' key off to the side, and they had loosened the T and the Y. Plus it looked like one of them had browsed on the internet and was attempting to erase the browsing history.

Seriously.

I suspect the tortie.

I still want better healthcare.

Like most Americans who are still lucky enough to be working, I have crummy, rationed healthcare with financially crippling copays. My employer and I together pay my HMO, which shall remain nameless, 19.1% of my gross.

But that is just the premiums! Oh, no, it gets better...

Here are my copays:
Primary care - $30
Specialty care - $50
Urgent care - $60
Emergency - $350
Hospital - 20% co-insurance up to the 'out-of-pocket maximum' of $4,000. Each.

So, worst case scenario, I am out $28,000 with premiums and the financially crippling 'co-insurance.'

But...wait...

That is not the worst case. It could get far worse. The new agreement between the HMO and my employer leaves them wiggle room on the out-of-pocket maximum - if I require something like a hip replacement, which their bean counters now say is 'elective surgery,' my 'coinsurance' can go up dramatically, leaving me in danger of bankruptcy.

WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY is there SO much resistance to Medicare for all Americans? A single payer plan paid for with tax dollars? Like what they have in Britain? Or Canada? Or Australia? Or pretty much any other advanced industrial democracy in the entire world?

Oh, because we would not be able to choose our doctor!
Well, I have to choose between a bunch of HMO in-system docs. I cannot go to anyone out of system without paying an arm and a leg. So that excuse does not cut it.

Oh, because we have to wait too long for basic surgeries!
My wife's left hand is useless because of arthritis, and after the rigamarole we had to go through to finally get her an appointment for surgery, we are looking at several months - more like a year. And in terms of a scar-tissue removal surgery to relieve chronic pain from her failed knee replacement, we are looking at never, because the doctor simply does not want to do such a surgery. So that is a myth.

Oh, we do not want the Federal Government running our healthcare!
Oh, ok. So we would rather have a public sector CEO who makes $17.2 million with around $11 million of that tied to shareholder profits running our healthcare? Our care dictated by a for-profit insurance company whose interest in maximizing shareholder profits is in direct conflict with our best interests as patients? Maybe with some nice MBA bean counters working with nurses to deny care? That is what we have now.

I want better healthcare. We should not even have to worry about going to the doctor. We should just be able to go in, get the treatment we need, and be done. The profit motive needs to be removed from healthcare because it is a public good.

A colleague of mine was in Australia at one time in his student days. He broke his ankle. His friends took him in to the hospital and asked how much it was going to cost. Nothing.

After treatment, as they were leaving, they were asked to visit the cashier. Oh, no, my colleague thought. Here's the fine print...

So he gets up to the window and they GIVE him $40 to pay for a cab. Seriously.

Please tell me why we Americans do not deserve this kind of healthcare here at home.

Well, yesterday I got my first shot of COVID vaccine.

It is the Pfizer vaccine, and the shot itself didn't hurt at all. My arm is sore today just a bit, and I had some minor cramping last night.

To be honest, I was kind of scared of the shot because of the potential side effects, but even if it makes me sick, I figure it is better than dying of COVID.

I just wish the provider could have got my wife in at the same time. She's further down the list because she's just a baby at age 60.

Oh, and (on edit) I know this is the lounge, but under Trump, I did not think this day would ever come. Isn't Biden doing a bang-up job? He's great.
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