Thursday, January 21, 2021

Biden and healthcare

This is from an important report by Andrew Perez and Julia Rock (DAILY POSTER):


President-elect Joe Biden’s new COVID relief plan does not adopt existing Democratic legislation to expand government sponsored medical coverage nor does it propose a promised public health insurance option. Instead, it adopts proposals from health insurance lobbying groups’ recent letter to lawmakers demanding lucrative new subsidies for insurance companies, at a moment when those corporations have recorded record profits as millions lose coverage and many face claims denials. 

Biden’s plan would shovel billions of dollars to private health insurers by providing subsidies for Americans to buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, which are far more expensive than government health care programs and have at times been plagued by high rates of claim denials. The plan would also subsidize COBRA continuation coverage through September, allowing workers to keep their employer health insurance plans when they’re laid off. 

Those initiatives — which could further boost insurers’ skyrocketing profits — were recently recommended in a letter to lawmakers from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, two insurance lobby groups in Washington that have opposed the expansion of government-sponsored health care programs. 

A few days after the letter was sent, AHIP said that “health insurance providers are eager to assist the Biden health team.” 

Biden’s inaugural committee has received donations from at least two major health insurers, Anthem and Centene, which both offer plans on state marketplace exchanges. Centene’s CEO bundled donations for Biden’s presidential campaign, and Biden’s first major campaign fundraiser was headlined by Independence Blue Cross’s CEO. 

During the 2020 primary campaign, Biden repeatedly demonized Medicare for All legislation offered by Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Bernie Sanders, questioning how the country would pay for it and proposing a public health insurance option people can buy into instead. Democrats previously considered creating a public option during ACA negotiations a decade ago — AHIP secretly bankrolled a successful $100 million advocacy campaign to kill it. 

While Medicare for All could actually save the country up to $650 billion annually, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Biden is now proposing some of the most costly and inefficient ways to expand health insurance coverage. The moves could still leave people exposed to substantial out-of-pocket costs — from deductibles, copays, and coinsurance — that act as barriers to care.


We need Medicare For All.  Anyone telling you either is a liar -- either due to stupidity or due to being a paid whore.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday:

 Wednesday, January 20, 2021.  Donald to leave today, Joe to be sworn in.

Today, Donald Trump's presidency ends.  It was four years of turmoil and nonsense -- from the press and from Donald.  He came into office a petty man and he leaves it that way as well.  Despite repeatedly insisting he was a menace to the world, Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats were more than happy to back any war funding or corporate give aways while pretending there was a significant difference between themselves and Donald.

He did cut the official number of US troops in half in Iraq.  The official number is now 2,500.  Other than that, not much can be said for President Donald.  Not much can be said that's nice.

The key word for Donald remains "petty."  

He never rose above petty.  In fairness to him and his egomania, he never rose to the level of Great Satan that so many 'faux' resistance persons -- among the people, in Congress, in press -- tried to insist he was.  

And he created jobs.  

Take Carl Bernstein, a vile and disgusting man (I say that as a friend of the late Nora Ephron's) who got to pose and preen as some sort of journalist.  Watergate was decades ago.  Bernstein did one article on the CIA infiltration of US media after that and then moved on to writing bad prose (and having fits that his ex-wife's novel was turned into a film).  Garbage Bernstein wasn't interested in truth then, no.  He didn't want the children to know how disgusting and unfit their father really was.  But the Trump presidency allowed Bernstein to show up regularly on MSNBC and be treated seriously -- as long as he toed the party line and claimed that each scandal -- real or imagined -- was, wait for it, worse than Watergate.

No, they weren't.  And that only demonstrates what many have long known -- and what the film DICK parodied -- Carl didn't know a damn thing about Watergate.  Bob Woodward took him along for the ride.  He was the Oates to Bob's Hall, the Andrew to Bob's George Michael.  Carl clearly has no grasp of what Watergate was.  It wasn't just a break-in.  It was a conspiracy, an enemy's list and a hell of lot more.  It was government persecution of the American people.  

But, again, Carl's not very smart and he has no life so he needed to be on TV.

And if you ever needed to be on TV, Trump hatred was the way to go.  Failed comic Tom Arnold was a 'resistance' hero.  Remember that?  Michael Avenatti was a 'resistance' hero.  James I-Lied-To-Congress Clapper was a 'resistance' hero . . .

So many scoundrels, so much cable TV time.

The four years ended like a really bad DC superhero movie -- in the end, the villain never lived up to the build up.

But he certainly was a wonderful distraction, wasn't he?

Allowing for members of Congress to grandstand and preen -- while they told the American people that, in a pandemic, corporations were entitled to billions but the American people only deserved about $150 a month -- that's what the only stimulus check that arrived prior to December 25th averaged out to.  It allowed them to desecrate the Constitution and continue wars around the world while pretending that they had some moral standing and/or ethics.  

Now Donald's leaving and it's 'time to heal.'

How stupid do they think his supporters -- which includes nearly 75 million Americans who voted for him -- are?  There was no 'time to heal' after the 2016's election.  There were obstacles and hatred tossed out immediately.  The "honeymoon" period every new president traditionally gets?  Denied to Donald.  

And now you have various whores ready to dance for their master.  Dickless Bruce Springsteen will trot around on a leash for Joe.  So will Jennifer Lopez.  I'm sorry, who in the world thinks Jennifer is a singer?  She was a dancer with a weak voice who had chart hits -- years and years ago.  As one desperate celebrity after another rushes to bow to empire, it becomes clear that the United States really needs some celebrities to announce that they won't perform at any presidential inauguariton -- no matter who is the president, no matter which party has the White House.  They whore themselves out.

Donald has millions of admirers to this day.  But he never managed to win over anyone not already for him.  That's because he's so damn petty.

He issued so may pardons -- including yesterday -- but not one for Ed Snowden.  Not one for Julian Assange.

Ed?  I'd argue history will judge him a hero.  

Julian?  There's no arguing.  He needed to be pardoned -- both for himself and also for what a possible US trial could mean to the press -- destroying a free press.l

Had Donald the guts to pardon Julian, he would have had one historical note to applaud.  

Instead, he's just a petty man who has no real accomplishments.  Cutting the troops in Iraq in half (officially, anyway)?  That's not getting all the US troops out of Iraq.

He's got nothing.

One historical moment -- and pardoning Julian would have been one -- would have allowed for some reconsideration of his presidency in the future.  How could he be so right about one thing (Assange) and so wrong about other things?

That would have led historians to look at the way the media treated him -- unfairly and it wasn't journalism.  But for a deep dive like that to take place and matter, there would be a need for historians to explore.  And Donald's pettiness ensured that they had no reason to explore what he did have to face.  

Will Joe Biden face that?

It doesn't appear so.  The 'independent' press spent 2020 either ignoring Joe's scandals (the credible allegations made by Tara Reade; Hunter Biden under federal investigation) or dismissing them -- and usually dismissing them with what the campaign told them to say.

Today, Joe Biden gets sworn in.  And we're supposed to be grateful that a War Hawk who is responsible for the slaughter of the Iraqi people is going to be president -- someone who in severe cognitive decline is going to be president.

He's not going to seriously address the environment.  Possibly due to having one foot, an ankle, a calf, a knee and a huge portion of his upper leg already in the grave, Joe doesn't feel that climate change is an urgent issue.  

His history of racism is appalling and maybe that'll take him down.  Barack Obama has repeatedly called out 'woke' culture and there's a reason for that: He himself couldn't have survived it had it been around when he was president.  His attacks on African-American fathers, for example, would have been loudly rebuked.  Can Joe survive "woke" America?

He already has his defensive line up, doesn't he?  People like Ryan Grim (glad you paid attention to the hair tip, Ryan, you almost look like a real boy), Betsy Reed, Naomi Klein and assorted others.  And right behind them, in the second ranks, you've got the nutless Kyle Kulniksi who will scrape and bow before power because that's what you do -- if you're a coward and a whore.  Demands?  No, no, no says nutless Kyle.  (Nuts does not invoke power in this paragraph -- I don't use that metaphor and never have.  I'm referring to Kyle's endless podcasts about his balls.  And after awhile, you have to start wondering if he can't stop talking about them because he really doesn't have them?)

The corporate press will likely go back to sleep and just spout the usual lines from government officials as fact -- the way they did long before Donald.  

ADDED at 1:25 PM EST on 1/20/21 David Sirota Tweeted:

NEWS: Biden's new health care plan lifted its proposals from insurance lobbyists' letter - it would provide lucrative subsidies to insurers that pumped cash into the 2020 election. It avoids a promised public option & Dem legislation to expand Medicare.

Nothing really changed in the last four years -- Barack's points and plans were upped by Donald Trump.  Nothing really change in the last four years except a lot of innocents were murdered and harmed and a lot of time that could have been spent addressing climate change got wasted.

That's all that happened.

But garbage like Paul Mulshine serve up nonsense like "Donald Trump’s legacy: He turned Washington, D.C., into Baghdad, Iraq."  No, he didn't.  The riot that took place does not compare to the slaughter in Iraq.  The slaughter that continues today or the slaughter that left corpses in the street or the slaughter when the US backed the Shi'ite death squads that set out to 'cleanse' Baghdad.  Paul Mulshine is garbage because he wants to pretend that DC is Baghdad.  He has no idea what Baghdad became due to the US-led invasion.  It's insulting to the Iraqi people to pretend that DC has been turned into Baghdad.  

But drama queens need their drama, don't they?  Sad because what journalism is supposed to offer is perspective and context.  We all survived without it for the last four years so maybe we'll make it through four more?

ADDED at 1:25 pm 1/20/21, Glenn Greenwald Tweeted:

If you're in the national press and will be on TV at any point today and being to feel the need to weep joyously, just hold it in until you find a private place. Nobody is expecting any adversarial coverage over the next 4 years, but it's just a matter of personal dignity.

New content at THIRD:

Ava and I did our TV piece on Sunday.  We didn't have time to update it.  We'll look over it at some point today and if it needs a note "This was written Sunday" we'll add that.  The following sites updated: