Archive | Corporate Statism

Wyoming is basically trying to outlaw clean energy

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Solar and wind would be penalized under proposed law Wikimedia Wind turbines It’s often said that in New Zealand, there are more sheep than people. In Wyoming, there’s way more energy than people. The state, the least populous in the U.S., ranks second in overall energy production; first in coal production; fourth in natural gas; and… Continue Reading →

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Senate Republicans voted to start ACA repeal in the middle of the night

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After a long, marathon vote-a-rama in the Senate tonight, Republicans managed to get their resolution to begin repeal of the Affordable Care Act passed on a vote of 51-48. Senator Dianne Feinstein was absent because she is having pacemaker surgery. Senator Jeff Sessions slithered in toward the end to cast the 51st vote. Before the vote… Continue Reading →

Trump’s HHS nominee needs an ethics investigation now

Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, shakes hands with Stuart M. Butler, senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings

You gotta wonder why the House of Representatives put gutting an independent ethics body at the top of their list. It turns out that Trump’s cabinet pick for Health and Human Services, renowned Obamacare hater Tom Price, may have, allegedly, totally not convicted yet… …traded stocks for companies directly affected by legislation he was involved in… Continue Reading →

Report: Murdoch is advising Trump on FCC picks. God help us.

Apparently, in Right-Wing Billionaire World, two television networks (FNC and FBN) devoted to promoting conservative causes is not a big enough thumb on the scale of democracy. From Gabriel Sherman: According to a well-placed source, Trump has asked Murdoch to submit names for FCC Chairman. Murdoch, another source said, also wants conditions put on the AT&T-Time… Continue Reading →

What they plan to do to Medicare

Tom Price (R-Ga.) and chairman of the House Budget Committee speaks at the Brookings Institution

They’re putting a doctor in charge of how much doctors should get paid for seeing Medicare patients? What could go wrong?

You know the drill: Read up on what they want to do, and call ALL your representatives to say you’re opposed.

I worry about this unfortunate tendency our voters have to simply write this off: “My congressman is a wingnut, what’s the point?” The point is, if he or she gets enough call against, they report it back to the Republican caucus. It matters.

Please, now more than ever, politics is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit transfixed and watch like it’s a disaster movie. Get up off your butt, call or write letters.

Mark the date

Joe Scarborough launches into furious, days-long tweetstorm after reporter suggests he 'partied' with Trump

This one time, I’m actually going to agree with Joe Scarborough on this one thing:

To many political journalists, Scarborough and Brzezinski’s presence at Mar-A-Lago confirmed their suspicions: The co-hosts were far too cozy with Trump, trading favorable coverage for access. Scarborough had made no secret of his long friendship with Trump, or even that he occasionally gave him political advice, and now critics say he and Brzezinski were enjoying the perks of that friendship.

Even Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director and moderator of “Meet The Press,” sent out a tweet that was widely interpreted as being directed at Scarborough: “It really stinks to watch others continue help ruin the reputation of your industry,” he wrote. After Scarborough responded, Todd tweeted again: a link to a video of the song “Let It Go.”

Scarborough sees what he does differently: For generations, he says, journalists from Ben Bradlee to Andrea Mitchell have had friendships and social relationships with the politicians they cover, and many political reporters have drinks, dinners and other off-the-record meetings with politicians and political operatives. The only reason Scarborough has been targeted, he says, is because the politician in this case was Donald Trump.

Read the rest for a more detailed explanation.

But he’s right. This is just one more instance of something that’s been going on for a very long time, the reason Digby wrote her famous post on The Village. For some reason, Scarborough seems to have hit a nerve with his ass-kissing, so who knows? Maybe news orgs will stop kissing Trump’s behind.

Tort reform will fix everything!

OGR Field Hearing in Charleston, SC

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) asserted on Sunday that part of the solution for replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law is to give patients fewer rights when suing doctors for malpractice. During a panel discussion on CNN’s State of the Union, Delaware Democratic Representative-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester pointed out that many of her constituents relied on… Continue Reading →

Balance billing

This really is the kind of thing you should be calling your reps about:

Tom Price wants to “reform” Medicare by allowing “balance billing” of Medicare-eligible patients by doctors without requiring them to exit the Medicare program entirely, the practical effect of which, as Ryan Cooper, writing for The Week explains, would “[allow] doctors and hospitals to devour the nest eggs of thousands of American seniors:”

Permanently obliterating the financial security of helpless families with no or bad insurance as a loved one dies slowly and painfully of a chronic illness is a nice little profit center for providers. But it pales in comparison to the gravy train they might get if they can bring balance billing to Medicare.

Physicians For a National Health Care Program describes the practical implications of the Price proposal:

Even though we often hear threats that physicians will stop seeing Medicare patients, most really can’t afford to give up their Medicare revenues, and, besides, too many Medicare beneficiaries do not have adequate resources to pay large medical bills in full. The current law provides leverage to ensure that physicians will be there when Medicare patients need them.

The [Price] legislation would no longer require physicians to exit the Medicare program entirely should they enter agreements to independently bill the patients for the balance of their fees. Also Medicare would still have to pay the allowed charges. As a further insult, the physician can require the patient to do their own Medicare billing. The physician gets the full fee, in cash, including the disallowed charges, and the patient has to do the paperwork.

PNHP also notes there would be no limit on prices medical providers choose to “negotiate” with otherwise Medicare-eligible patients under the Price plan.

Cooper observes that 55 million Seniors, many with significant retirement savings, provide a perfect target for medical providers to exploit.  In 2011, Tom Price, Trump’s now-designated overseer of Medicare introduced a “Medicare reform” package designed to do just that.  It received the AMA’s imprimatur of approval, since it allowed physicians to require their patients to pay the full balance of their unrestricted fees, even if far in excess of Medicare allowable charges, thus benefitting the physicians and providers that organization represents.

In 2011 we had a President Obama to assure such a plan to bankrupt Seniors through onerous medical bills would go nowhere. And many physicians, even some within the ranks of the AMA, are vehemently opposed to it.

Democrats showing signs of life

Well, looky here:

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2016

FOLLOWING REPORTS THAT PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP’S CABINET NOMINEES ARE SLOW-WALKING FULL DISCLOSURE OF KEY INFORMATION, SENATE DEMOCRATIC RANKING MEMBERS SAY PROCESS SHOULDN’T MOVE FORWARD BEFORE ALL DOCUMENTS ARE TURNED OVER & REVIEWED

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following reports that President-elect Trump’s Cabinet nominees have not yet provided the relevant Senate Committees with important documentation, such as a completed financial disclosure statement, ethics agreement signed by the Office of Government Ethics, and more ahead of their confirmation hearings, the Democratic Ranking Members of 16 Committees in the United States Senate today issued the following joint statement of principles for vetting the President-elect’s nominees:

Statement of Principles for Vetting Cabinet Nominees of President-elect Donald J. Trump

“The United States Senate has a rich, bipartisan tradition of vetting nominees to the President’s Cabinet. We hope to continue that tradition with our colleagues in the Republican Majority because the American people are entitled to a fair and open consideration process for all executive nominations. Therefore, a Cabinet nomination should only proceed to a mark-up in Committee if:

The nominee has cleared an FBI background check

The nominee provides a completed financial disclosure statement and ethics agreement signed by the Office of Government Ethics

The nominee has satisfied reasonable requests for additional information and Members have time to review that material.”

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