Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cory Gardner is a red flag for Colorado's political and income middle

Cory Gardner is a red flag for Colorado’s political and income middle. 

Cory Gardner, opposing Democratic Senator Mark Udall in Colorado, is ranked as the 10th most conservative member of Congress.  Colorado is hardly the 10th most conservative state in the union.  Gardner sounds and looks moderate, but his legislative positions were, are, and would align closely to his Tea Party House colleagues.  This election is also about electing a senator for the next six years who will represent your views and will be voting to determine Supreme Court vacancy  replacements.

Gardner’s and Udall’s visions of freedom are very different.  Udall promotes freedom for individuals from an intrusive government, a maverick leader in the Senate against overreaching NSA surveillance.  He is a strong advocate for the ability for women and men to choose their reproduction schedules and whom they marry.  Freedom for Udall also means freedom from worry about affording health care and college for their kids.

 Gardner’s vision of freedom is to gut environmental laws and favor tax policies for business while supporting greater government interference in choices individuals can make.  His position on reproductive rights and marriage equality are the most extreme of any, even criminalizing abortions and doctors, opposes birth control practices that interfere with his belief that life begins at conception.

The U.S. unemployment rate is now back to pre-crash levels and in Colorado it is below the national average. The deficit has been cut in half and the national economy is growing at 3%.  Colorado has the highest economic growth in the nation which is not only due to an improving national economy, but to a booming energy sector.  Science denier Gardner is not even sure humans cause global warming. Mark Udall prizes a balanced approach to natural resource development and Colorado’s growth is evidence that approach can work.

Gardner, unlike Udall, has voted in Congress to make it even more difficult for the middle income earners to recover from the Great Recession. He has voted to cut Pell grants and opposed decreasing interest rates on student loans or refinancing student loans to lower rates.   Most Colorado families depend upon women working, but Gardner has voted against raising the minimum wage or furthering equal pay for women in the workforce.

One of the most underrated boosts to middle income earners is the ACA (Obamacare), which both the GOP and Gardner still want to repeal.  Gardner offers no alternative, no fixes no workable way to pay for covering preexisting conditions. He has no viable plans to make health insurance affordable for 30 million Americans, mostly middle income, who once again would have to choose between losing their home or health care treatment because they could not qualify for or afford insurance. 

 No traditional Medicare coverage was lost due to the ACA (contrary to a very misleading Gardner ad), and the ACA added 14 years to the life of Medicare.  Gardner supports changing the efficiently administered Medicare program to provide a voucher system and block grants to states that upends a system that now guarantees coverage that keeps up with costs and gives stability to co-pays.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crossroads Skips Context in Colorado

Crossroads Skips Context in Colorado  Perfect example of how an out of context quote can skew the election.  This is the ad Crossroads GPS is running in Colorado attempting to scare women about Udall, claiming he is soft of ISIS...."not an imminent danger".  This is  checking out the ad and if the Udall campaign has failed is to counter this with more vigor. He has run ads quoting generals praising him, but that one ad is just not enough.   Udall does believe that ISIS will be a danger to the US if we do not act now.  That's a whole different take.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

If Obama is viewed as a failure, then the GOP Congress is viewed as more of a failure.

GOP candidates claim the Obama administration is a “failure.”  A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll concluded, though, that the American people were “fed up” with Washington, and they were 20% more fed up with Congress than they were with President Obama.  If Obama is viewed as a failure, then the GOP Congress is viewed as more of a failure.  

If the measure is how much Obama achieved of his own agenda, the answer is most of it has been successful.  His major failure so far is not passing comprehensive immigration reform, not from lack of trying.  Most of his domestic accomplishments, such as economic recovery and health care reform, were enacted before the obstructionist Tea Party took over the House.  Perhaps the greatest success Democrats had was keeping the economy from going over the brink into another Great Depression, using passage of stimulus spending and tax cuts and also clever fiscal policy.  The unemployment rate is now back to pre-crash levels, and the economy is showing a 3% growth rate.  Austerity measures (which the GOP pushed for the U.S., too) are threatening to force Europe into recession or deflation, and also into continuing high unemployment.

The GOP Congress still wants to repeal Obamacare, but offers no alternative, no workable way to pay for covering preexisting conditions, and has no plans to make it more affordable for 30 million Americans. 

Gardner, ranked as the 10th most conservative member of Congress and opposing Mark Udall for Senate in Colorado, wants to repeal Obamacare.  Obamacare ends discrimination against higher women’s premiums, and it also covers birth control and cancer screenings.  Gardner also pushes federal laws that not only criminalize abortion from the time of conception, but cripples in vitro fertilization, bans IUDs and some other birth control methods, and Gardner wants women to pay out of their own pockets for the few over-the-counter methods left that are legal.  (Ending Obamacare ends insurance coverage of the pill, too.)  All federal laws, including Obamacare, are already currently forbidden from covering any abortions, so that's not happening.

Armageddon as predicted by the GOP did not happen to Obamacare (ACA).  More signed up for coverage and paid premiums than forecast.  Early indications are that 2015 average premiums within exchanges will show little change from 2014.  The American Medical Association in their July journal found that the ACA is successfully working as designed.  Medicare cuts?  No traditional coverage was lost, and 14 years were added to the life of Medicare.

Energy policy?  The GOP Congress wants to ditch environmental protection laws to boost energy production.  However, while protecting the environment, Democratic “all of the above” energy policies, including promoting alternative energy sources, have permitted the U.S. to become the largest producer of natural gas in the world, and the U.S. will begin having enough oil production very soon to begin exporting. Gardner is still denying humans are responsible for global warming against the proof provided by scientists held in high esteem in the field.

Ebola?  We should not forget that the GOP congressional budget priorities were to reduce funding to the CDC.  Officials confirmed this caused a slowdown in the search for vaccines.  The president's choice for Surgeon General has also been blocked by the GOP members of Congress, which is why a "czar" had to be chosen to provide some guidance and continuity during this time.

Promoting the middle class?  The GOP congressional policies cut Pell grants, oppose decreasing interest rates on student loans, and oppose raising the minimum wage or furthering equal pay for women in the workforce.

For more, visit
America's Fed Up: Obama Approval Rating Hits All-Time Low, Poll Shows - NBC News
  "The frustration carries over to the nation’s political leaders, with President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating hitting a new low at 40 percent, and a mere 14 percent of the public giving Congress a thumbs up.""  Yet, congressional Republicans are viewed more negatively than congressional Democrats.....

Congressional Job approval ratings
No Answer
Congressional Republicans
Congressional Democrats
Despite the Republican advantages over all, Americans continue to broadly disapprove of congressional Republicans even more than congressional Democrats. "

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Number of uninsured admissions drops: Report says uncompensated care will cost hospitals $5.7B less this year - Mohave Daily News: News

Number of uninsured admissions drops: Report says uncompensated care will cost hospitals $5.7B less this year - Mohave Daily News: News

This is not a local story; it is an Associated Press national story.  What it does show is that when Obamacare is implemented fully (none of this refusal to expand Medicaid as many red states have done), hospitals get stuck less with covering the expenses of the uninsured or those who cannot pay their medical bills. They cover it by raising their charges to those insured, which in turn causes insurance premiums to go up.  The estimate is that this cost shifting pre Obamacare resulted in the insured families paying $1000 more per year in health insurance premiums. The question  now becomes: will the insurers pocket the savings or will they pass it on in the form of lower premiums to the insured.

Whether the slowdown in current health care costs per family is happening now because of the recession or Obamacare is open to discussion. With less spending money and loss of employer provided insurance due to layoffs, consumers cut back or delayed health care treatment.  There for sure has been a very significant decrease in the cost of Medicare, extending its life 14 years.  The administration is claiming the per family costs have already been $1600 or more...but that is not in premium costs, but in the cost of health care in general per family.  The Washington Post gave that claim two pinocchios, but it took a lot of discussion to reach that conclusions, mostly because the impact of the recession is not figured into the equation.

 My thought is that the impact of Obamacare is more likely to be felt more in the future since the program is not yet fully implemented, including the failure of nearly half of the states to expand Medicaid coverage and the penalties for non coverage (the mandate) will only begin to increase this next year. Cost shifting impact has not yet been fully felt yet though  medical  provider cost reduction measures had been taken a couple of years in advance of its implementation.

The challenges to covering more in Colorado and having more sign up to Obamacare were explored in an Oct. 15, report
From the report: "
Flying Solo: Why Uninsured Coloradans Go Without Health Insurance
October 15, 2014

The Colorado Health Institute released a report today analyzing the reasons given by uninsured Coloradans for not having health insurance.
"Flying Solo: Why Uninsured Coloradans Go Without Health Insurance" is based on data from the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS), the premier source of information about coverage across the state.
The report, written by Research Analyst Natalie Triedman, comes as Colorado prepares for the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. Beginning November 15, it will run through February 15, 2015.
The biggest barrier, by far, is cost. Four of five uninsured residents say they don’t have coverage because it costs too much. No surprises there, but it speaks to the importance of affordability, as well as communicating the value of health insurance.
The second most common reason for being insured was that a person lost their job or changed employers. This “churn” will be an important consideration moving forward.
The most dramatic change in reasons cited for being uninsured came from uninsured Coloradans who said they don’t need health insurance. The percentage more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, increasing from 11.1 percent to 24.9 percent, the biggest shift among the reasons cited. This could reflect a number of factors, including objections to “Obamacare” and its individual mandate."