Tag Archives: health care

Trump needs to fire some staff – especially Bannon

But first …

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By Steven R. Maher

In the wake of the disastrous end of his “repeal and replace” Obamacare legislation, President Donald J. Trump should fire some of his staff. It’s what a smart businessman usually does after such a debacle.

After he withdrew the legislation, Trump said he wanted to work with Democrats in the future on health care. He also clearly wants to work with the “Freedom Caucus,” the successor to the “Tea Party” – a group that thought throwing 24 million Americans off their health insurance didn’t go far enough.

The website “Business Insider” reported on Saturday March 25, 2017, that White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon said to Freedom Caucus members: “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

The New York Times reported Saturday that Bannon and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short wanted a vote on Trump’s health care bill because they would be able to compile an “enemies list” of Republican Congressman to take revenge on.

“You know, the last time someone ordered me to do something, I was 18 years old,” one Freedom Caucus member was quoted as saying. “And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”

Trump also supposedly said during one meeting that he was not going to negotiate further on his insurance program, and Trump wanted their votes.

Not private sector

This “take it or leave it” approach might work in the private sector where everyone works for the boss, but it can be fatal in ego driven Washington, where Trump needs the votes of independently elected representatives.

Trump has two choices: If Trump expects to win enough Republican votes to pass his legislation on every major issue, he will be turning veto power on his Presidency over to a group of conservative extremists who will not compromise on issues that cry out for bi-partisan support. If he wants to find common ground with the Democrats, Trump will be writing off the Freedom Caucus.

Either way, Trump should clean house. A first good step would be to fire Bannon and Short. Both have alienated the Freedom Caucus. The Democrats despise Bannon for his involvement in Breitbart and see him as the evil genius manipulating Trump for his own obscure goals. Getting rid of Bannon would demonstrate that Trump is serious about changing his approach and would make it easier for Trump to reach out to either the Freedom Caucus or the Democrats.

Bannon feuds with Ryan

The one to watch is White House Chief of Staff Rence Priebus. Priebus reportedly urged Trump to work on his health plan first. He is a close ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, with whom Bannon has also been feuding. This is another reason for Trump to fire Bannon. Not only is Bannon alienating the Freedom Caucus, he is straining the relationship between Trump and Ryan. If Trump fires Priebus, Washington insiders would take this as a victory of Bannon over Ryan.

Trump will undoubtedly find many scapegoats for his defeat on health care. Whether he learns the harsh lessons Washington taught him on March 24, 2017, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Trump faces two upcoming issues on which he is also likely to be opposed by the Freedom Caucus. As the New York Times reported Saturday: “Mr. Ryan repeatedly counseled the president to avoid seeking vengeance – at least until he has passed spending bills and a debt-ceiling increase needed to keep the government running. In the end, the president decided to back down.”

“Trumpcare” – NOT in style!!!😱😱😱

But first …

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REPUBLICANS SUSCEPTIBLE TO “OVERPROMISING” POLS

By Steven R. Maher

“If you’re going to live a good life, you’ve got to live within your income.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Treasury Secretary George Humphrey

“Through his time in office, he [Humphrey] insisted that the government do just that. He fought profligate spending, irritating liberals and imprudent tax cuts, to the annoyance of conservatives.” – From “Eisenhower: The White House Years,” by Jim Newton.

Recently, I was watching a talk show and heard one Republican pundit say that Trump “overpromised” on health insurance during his candidacy for the Presidency.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump repeatedly promised that his replacement for Obamacare (some call it “Trumpcare”) would allow everyone to choose their own doctor and medical plan; would cost less money; increase benefits and make available universal coverage to all Americans.

How was such a miracle to be accomplished?

Basically, through the miracle of the marketplace. Trump vowed he would make insurance rates go down and make health insurance benefits go up by increasing competition of insurance companies by allowing insurers to sell their policies across state lines.

“Believe me,” Trump would say after promising how much better a program than Obamacare, Trumpcare would be.

Trump later backed off from these pledges, saying health care was more “complicated” than he had anticipated.

Susceptible to this?

Why did so many of Trump’s supporters believe this?

I’m beginning to believe that Republican voters are particularly susceptible to demagogic appeals. We saw this with “Supply Side” economics. Under this highfalutin theory, Congress could cut taxes, increase military spending and balance the budget – all at the same time. Try doing this with your personal life. You will find yourself in bankruptcy court. Granted, you will live high off the hog, eating caviar, filet mignon and lobster to your heart’s content – right up to the point where you run out of credit cards and the bondholders decide to cut you off.

Unfortunately – or rather fortunately, given who is in the White House – there is no Chapter 11 under which nations can default on their debt.

Someday the United States will have to balance its budget. Better that we do it now ourselves, rather than wait until America’s creditors force us to do it.

Republicans used to be the party of fiscal rectitude, wearing the old green shade accounting hats as they counted beans. They threw away those sensibilities when they adopted the fraud known as “Supply Side” economics. Now they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater with Trumpcare.

The Republicans won’t be the party of common-sense economics, like Dwight Eisenhower, until they give up “supply side” economics and “Trumpcare.”

Congressman Jim McGovern Pledges to Fight GOP Repeal of Affordable Care Act

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From Jim’s office:

Today Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat, led debate for Democrats against S.Con.Res. 3, the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution, the House Republican bill to begin the process of repealing of the Affordable Care Act.

“For nearly seven years my Republican friends have railed against the Affordable Care Act. Their well-funded allies have spent billions of dollars distorting the ACA and lying to the American people about what it actually does. And for nearly seven years, there has not been a single comprehensive health care bill brought to the floor by Republicans as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Not one!

“We have voted over 60 times to repeal the ACA on the House Floor. I’d be the first to admit the ACA is not perfect. We want to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen it, to make it better. But my colleagues don’t want to do that. They are determined to just vote for an outright repeal and that is going to hurt countless people in this country.”

“The Donald Trumps of the world certainly don’t have to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If someone in their family gets really sick – they’ll just sell some stocks or close down another American factory, or not pay their workers – as our President-elect has been known to do on many, many occasions.

“As someone who represents Massachusetts, this is especially personal because Medicaid is one of the best tools we have in the fight against opioid addiction, providing real care for the addiction and the underlying conditions that drive the opioid epidemic in our communities. Repealing Medicaid expansion under the ACA would rip coverage away from an estimated 1.6 million newly insured individuals with substance use disorders.

In Congressman McGovern’s closing remarks, he spoke directly to Republicans, “It is a cruel thing to do to take away people’s health care. We believe that health care ought to be a right, I know you don’t. We believe health care protections ought to be in law, you believe they ought to be up to the insurance companies. But this is a lousy thing to do. We’re gonna fight you on this. This is a fight worth having. Protecting people’s health care is something we should all be dedicated to and we’re going to fight you on this.”

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Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech:

“For nearly seven years my Republican friends have railed against the Affordable Care Act. Their well-funded allies have spent billions of dollars distorting the ACA and lying to the American people about what it actually does. And for nearly seven years, there has not been a single comprehensive health care bill brought to the floor by Republicans as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Not one!

“We have voted over 60 times to repeal the ACA on the House Floor! I’d be the first to admit the ACA is not perfect. But rather than work together to tweak it, to make it better, all we get from them are repeal bills, repeal bills, repeal bills. And let me again point out – not once, not once was a replacement bill offered.

“Not only do Republicans not have a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and protect access to health care for more than 20 million Americans who gained coverage, they can’t even agree on a timeline for when they’ll pass their replacement.

· President-elect Trump says repeal and replace will be done on the same day and he wants it to happen now.

· Rep. Steve Scalise said Republicans will replace the ACA over the course of the next few months.

· Sen. John Thune said it could take two or three years for the replacement to be implemented.

· Rep. Chris Collins said Republicans have six months to work out the replacement plan.

· Sen. Mitch McConnell refused to even give a timeline, just saying it would happen.

“While Republicans fight for each other over timelines, I think it’s appropriate to ask: If they did have a replacement, what would that replacement be?

“And what, specifically, would they replace the ACA with?

“Well, President-elect Donald Trump has the answer! When asked what we should replace Obamacare with he said, and I quote, “Something terrific.” When pressed for details and more specificity, he said “Something that people will really, really, really like.”

“You can’t make this stuff up! It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.

“It’s tragic because what Republicans are trying to do is take health care protections away from millions and millions of families.

“No one in Congress has to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. And the Donald Trumps of the world certainly don’t have to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If someone in their family gets really sick – they’ll just sell some stocks or close down another American factory, or not pay their workers – as our President-elect has been known to do on many, many occasions.

“But for millions of Americans it will be a different story. Repealing the ACA would mean over 30 million Americans would lose coverage, including nearly 4 million children; more than 52 million individuals with pre-existing conditions could have coverage rescinded or see their premiums dramatically increased; millions of young adults would be unable to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26; over 14 million individuals enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion would lose coverage; and nearly 140 million individuals with private insurance would lose access to preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.

“And millions of seniors would see their prescription drug prices increase because it would re-open the so-called doughnut hole that the ACA has begun to close.

“Republicans want to slash Medicaid, a health care program that does a lot of good and enables mothers to work their way out of poverty by providing affordable coverage for their children.

“And as someone who represents Massachusetts, this is especially personal because Medicaid is one of the best tools we have in the fight against opioid addiction, providing real care for the addiction and the underlying conditions that drive the opioid epidemic in our communities. Repealing Medicaid expansion under the ACA would rip coverage away from an estimated 1.6 million newly insured individuals with substance use disorders.

“That’s what’s at stake – and that’s what my Republican colleagues are so happy, so giddy, and so excited to do. It is sad. It is pathetic.

“But – they’re moving forward anyway – with no replacement in sight. I suppose they can roll out their oldies but goodies – like health savings accounts or their other healthcare prescription – take two tax breaks and call me in the morning.

“But that doesn’t do it.

“We have a complicated health care system, no doubt. I wish it were simpler. That’s why I’ve always favored a single-payer system and that is why I favor a public option.

“But the problem with our system before Obamacare was that it left all the decisions up to the insurance companies. Do you remember the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health insurance because they said “being a woman was a pre-existing condition?”

“They can’t do that anymore. Why? Not because of my Republican friends. They can’t do it anymore because we passed the ACA.

“It is a cruel thing to do to take away people’s health care. I will say to my Republican colleagues that they need to know that we will fight you every step of the way on this. There are some battles on behalf of the American people that are worth having and worth fighting and this is one of them, making sure that their health care protections remain intact. I came to Congress to help people, not make their lives more miserable.”

“This is a sad day because what we are doing here by voting for this budget is setting in motion a process to deny millions of people health care protections. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that.

Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? No. We’re the first to admit that and we want to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen it, to make it better. But my colleagues don’t want to do that. They are determined to just vote for an outright repeal and that is going to hurt countless people in this country. People who have benefitted from no pre-existing conditions. People who have benefitted by being able to keep their kids on their insurance until they are 26. Senior citizens who have benefitted from closing the doughnut hole. I could go on and on and on. All of that is about to be eliminated.

We’re told that there will be a replacement. Someday. Somehow. For six years, over six years, you have been talking about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and replacement and you haven’t brought one bill to the floor. Not one.

“Now, we believe that health care ought to be a right, I know you don’t. We believe health care protections ought to be in law, you believe they ought to be up to the insurance companies. But this is a lousy thing to do. And as I said in my opening statement, we’re gonna fight you on this. This is a fight worth having. Protecting people’s health care is something we should all be dedicated to and we’re going to fight you on this.”

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pic: R.T.

Peter Stefan of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home in Main South often helps seniors pay for their prescription meds. Our system is broken! Americans deserve single-payer health care! An expanded version of Medicare is the ticket to a healthier U.S.A! – R. Tirella

I was in Piedmont earlier today, at Family Health Center …

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I love my docs on Queen Street! -Rosalie Tirella

Check out their neighborhood health fair!

LOGO (1)

Annual Neighborhood Health Fair

August 12

Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc. welcomes you to join us for our annual Neighborhood Health Fair on Friday, August 12

At 26 Queen St.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Our health fair theme, “One Big Happy Family,” celebrates the global family located right here in our community. We hope you can join for this exciting, fun, family-oriented event that will rejoice in the vibrancy of our diverse city!

The Neighborhood Health Fair is an outdoor event held at 26 Queen St. which promotes health, fitness and fun!

Family Health Center staff will offer health screenings and insurance enrollment assistance to interested community members!

There will be food, music, games, balloons, face painting and much more!

BE THERE!!!!

Improving health care for women veterans‏

 Bedford – VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) has received a grant for Women’s Health Primary Care Nurse Mini-Residency, one of 32 projects funded nationally by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The $21,000 grant will provide for two inter-professional women’s health mini-residency training programs for primary care providers and nurses utilizing simulation equipment and live models to practice skills necessary for caring for female patients. The mini-residencies will be conducted in April and June 2013. Some of the topics which will be covered are contraception, cervical cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal uterine bleeding, menopause, gynecologic emergencies, interpersonal violence, military sexual trauma, breast and pelvic exams, and cardiac disease in women.

 “Our goal is 100 percent accessibility for women Veterans who need us,” said Michael F. Mayo-Smith, MD, Network Director, VISN 1. “This new project will improve access and quality of critical health care services for women.”

VHA’s national Women’s Health Program Office and Office of Rural Health jointly selected the winning proposals for projects that will improve emergency health care services for women Veterans, expand women’s health education programs for VA staff, or offer telehealth programs to female Veterans in rural areas.

This is the largest number of one-year grants VA has ever awarded for enhancing women’s health services.

The grant program is part of VA’s continued effort to improve access and quality of care for the increasing number of women Veterans seeking care at VA.

“We are committed to providing individualized, sensitive care to women Veterans,” said Cindy Williams LICSW, women’s health program manager, VISN 1. “This grant-funded project enables us to continue to enhance care for women and exceed patient expectations.”

Women serve in every branch of the military, representing 15 percent of today’s active duty military and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces.  By 2020, VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population. Over 20,600 Women Veterans received care in VISN 1 in fiscal year 2012, which is up from 7,700 ten years ago.  VISN 1 pays special attention to providing quality, comprehensive health care, including more accessible and flexible clinic hours for working women who may have childcare or eldercare responsibilities and difficulty getting time off for appointments. VISN 1 provides tele-health for users in rural areas, maternity care coordination, assistance in finding housing for homeless women and their children, and initiatives to ensure patient privacy.

Visit www.newengland.va.gov and www.womenshealth.va.gov to learn more about VA programs and services for women Veterans.

US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans

From The Guardian. – R. T.

US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans

Last year, more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. And after a decade of deployments to war zones, the Pentagon is bracing for things to get much worse

William Busbee 

William Busbee was in many ways the archetype of the US soldier, and his mother feels he was let down by the army he loved so much. Photograph: Libby Busbee

Libby Busbee is pretty sure that her son William never sat through or read Shakespeare’s Macbeth, even though he behaved as though he had. Soon after he got back from his final tour of Afghanistan, he began rubbing his hands over and over and constantly rinsing them under the tap.

“Mom, it won’t wash off,” he said.

“What are you talking about?” she replied.

“The blood. It won’t come off.”

On 20 March last year, the soldier’s striving for self-cleanliness came to a sudden end. That night he locked himself in his car and, with his mother and two sisters screaming just a few feet away and with Swat officers encircling the vehicle, he shot himself in the head.

At the age of 23, William Busbee had joined a gruesome statistic. In 2012, for the first time in at least a generation, the number of active-duty soldiers who killed themselves, 177, exceeded the 176 who were killed while in the war zone. To put that another way, more of America’s serving soldiers died at their own hands than in pursuit of the enemy.

Soldier suicides Credit: Guardian graphicsAcross all branches of the US military and the reserves, a similar disturbing trend was recorded. In all, 349 service members took their own lives in 2012, while a lesser number, 295, died in combat….

to read more, click on link below …

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/01/us-military-suicide-epidemic-veteran


Bay State’s 99% to Host [NO!]mination Convention!

As Mitt Romney delivers his nomination acceptance speech at the RNC Convention in Tampa…

Bay State’s 99% to Host [NO!]mination Convention to Speak Out on Failed Romney-Bain Agenda

Unemployed workers, seniors, healthcare advocates, Bain employees, low-income and middle class families and others join together to tell the truth about Romney’s record

ROXBURY – Just hours before Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivers his official acceptance speech in Tampa, working families and seniors back home in Boston will gather to tell the real story of Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor and CEO of Bain Capital. Held today at 5:30pm at Roxbury’s Hibernian Hall, the [NO!]mination Convention will feature unemployed workers, seniors, healthcare advocates, employees of Bain-owned companies and other low-income and middle class families who have suffered under Romney’s failed leadership in the public and private sectors.

Romney has built his candidacy on a host of what he calls ‘success stories’ on his watch in government and business. But his record as Governor of Massachusetts paints an entirely different picture – one where constituents were saddled with more than $2.6 billion in new debt and saw the state fall to 47th in job creation. Massachusetts lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs during Romney’s tenure, in addition to call center and other state jobs he outsourced to India. Those who toiled under Romney’s Bain Capital fared even worse, asthousands were sent to the unemployment lines as their jobs were shipped overseas to China and India. The few employees that remained were subjected to a ‘worker-exploitation-for-profit’ model that slashed pay and benefits, reduced hours, forced off-the-clock work and committed outright wage theft.

“Those of us who call Massachusetts home were the first to see the kind of harm Mitt Romney and Bain Capital can cause,” said Katrina Fitzpatrick, a Dorchester resident who worked for Bain-owned Dunkin’ Donuts for more than 15 years. “That’s why it’s so important that we speak out and warn the rest of the country – people need to know the truth about the Romney-Bain agenda.”

Today’s [NO!]mination Convention follows days of protests at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where Fitzpatrick and local Bain workers joined hundreds of others in speaking out against the harmful effects of the Romney-Bain economic agenda.

WHAT: Massachusetts workers and seniors host [NO!]mination Convention to tell the real story of Romney’s failed record as governor and Bain CEO.

WHO: Employees of Bain-owned companies, unemployed workers, seniors, healthcare advocates, low-income and middle class families, and a host of faith and community leaders

WHEN: TODAY! Thursday, August 30 – 5:30 to 7:00 PM (Program to begin around 5:45PM)

WHERE: Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street – Roxbury

 

Healthcare workers say Senator Brown should change course on Medicare vote

Brown changes talking points on GOP plan, but caregivers press for a change in his vote

BOSTON – Massachusetts healthcare workers will launch a radio advertising blitz tomorrow calling on Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to change course on his plan to vote in favor of a Republican budget plan that would dismantle the Medicare system and implement controversial voucher system. Caregivers say that voucher system would put their senior patients at the mercy of private insurers and drive up costs for Medicare consumers.

The advertisements will air statewide until the vote occurs in an effort to sway the Senator against supporting the GOP plan which he announced his support for on Friday, May 13, at a Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry event.

Senator Brown has since tried to distance himself from his own endorsement of the budget and Medicare package put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), but it was reported yesterday that he still intends to vote in favor of it.

“We’re not asking Scott Brown to change his talking points on this dangerous plan to destroy Medicare,” said Leslie Stafford, a patient access representative at Boston Medical Center, “We’re asking Scott Brown to change his vote on this plan which would end Medicare as we know it, and jeopardize the health of thousands of vulnerable seniors.”

Members of the state’s largest healthcare workers union,1199SEIU – which includes a range of hospital, home care, and nursing home employees – say that Senator Brown’s endorsement of the Medicare overhaul is misguided.

“As frontline caregivers, we know that dismantling Medicare is a threat to our patients,” says the advertisement which will air on radio stations across the state until the vote is called. “We’re asking Scott Brown, please, don’t destroy Medicare. Don’t turn your back on seniors.”

“Even if Senator Brown thinks his party’s attack on Medicare will fail, he should still vote against the bill on principle. His allegiance to the party on this proposal to gut Medicare really calls into question his independence,” said Veronica Turner, executive vice president of 1199SEIU. “Everyone agrees there is a need to address the deficit, but dismantling Medicare while giving even more tax breaks and subsidies to big oil is absolutely the wrong approach.”

Massive rally of caregivers at State House will focus on healthcare payment reform

BOSTON – Hundreds of healthcare workers and their supporters will rally at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, May 11, at 3 p.m. in an effort to shape upcoming payment reform legislation and to raise awareness of the vital role healthcare service workers play in the delivery of quality care.

As lawmakers prepare for hearings next week on what is being called “phase two” of Massachusetts healthcare reform, members of the state’s largest healthcare union will be mobilizing in massive numbers to lobby legislators on the bill. Those lobbying efforts will be followed by a huge 3 p.m. rally at the Grand Staircase of the State House.

1199SEIU launched a major public awareness campaign Continue reading Massive rally of caregivers at State House will focus on healthcare payment reform

The other side: Illegal immigration healthcare costs affect you

By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

The national spotlight is on Arizona for doing what the Federal government and previous Governor Napolitano refused to do: rein in an invasion of illegal aliens bankrupting our state (Arizona). At an August 2009 healthcare Town Hall in Phoenix, legislators said that more than half of Arizona’s 4 billion dollar budget deficit was the result of paying for three areas of services to illegal immigrants: education, healthcare, and incarceration.

What does illegal immigration have to do with your costs and your access to medical care when you need it?

Estimates are that 20% – 40% of uncompensated (“free”) medical services are provided to people in the US illegally. The actual number may be much higher. Shockingly, hospitals and clinics don’t ask about citizenship…a medical version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Continue reading The other side: Illegal immigration healthcare costs affect you