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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

    Daily Kos' own ObamaCare guru, Brainwrap, has recently highlighted the story of Luis Lang in a number of posts here, here, here, and here, and on his own website. The story is particularly interesting and noteworthy because Luis Lang is losing his sight but gaining some valuable insight. This is Mr. Lang:


     On Wednesday, the Washington Post explained about Luis Lang to everyone who doesn't have an internet:

Lang’s story has gone wild on the internet, turning him into a symbol of a number of intertwined narratives about the law: How Republican opposition to the Medicaid expansion has created a coverage gap claiming many low income people; how justifiable confusion about the complicated law is fueling anger at it; and so on.

It all started when the Charlotte Observer reported that Lang, 49, a self-employed Republican handyman who has never bought insurance, developed “bleeding in his eyes and a partly detached retina caused by diabetes.” The paper reported that subsequent medical bills quickly ate up his savings, whereupon he turned to the Obamacare exchange. He discovered he earns too little to get a subsidy, yet he might not be able to get on Medicaid because South Carolina has not opted into the Medicaid expansion. He risks falling into the “Medicaid gap.”

The paper reported that his family blamed this on Obamacare, prompting criticism from bloggers and others, combined with a crowd-funding drive for his surgery. In a subsequent interview with Think Progress, Lang said he now thinks opposition to the Medicaid expansion is the culprit, is rethinking his GOP affiliation, and is going to try to get coverage from the law, though he still says he has issues with its implementation and blames both parties:

“Now that I’m looking at what each party represents, my wife and I are both saying — hey, we’re not Republicans!” Lang said….

“I put the blame on everyone — Republican and Democrat. But I do mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness,” Lang said. “They’re blocking policies that could help everyone. I’m in the situation I’m in because they chose not to expand Medicaid for political reasons. And I know I’m not the only one.”….

    He's right that he's not the only one. In fact, there are approximately 250,000 South Carolinians in the "Medicaid Gap." We at Support the Dream Defenders knew this was going to be a problem, so, back in April, we sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Governor Nikki Haley asking her: What are you doing to find out the extent of the damages you are causing? This was her response:


     As you can see, Governor Nikki Haley has pockets empty of fucks to give about Luis Lang or the other 249,999 or so individuals in South Carolina who are one chicken bone or one drunk driver away from personal bankruptcy (or spending the next 20 to 40 years of their lives going to court to explain to the judge why payments for the hospital's bill couldn't be made that month).

     Besides our surprising new ally, Luis Lang, there are other less surprising entities fighting back. One of those fighters is the South Carolina Hospital Association, which stands to lose billions of dollars because Governor Haley wants to be pure (evil). In fact, at the SCHA website, you can sign a petition about Expanding Medicaid in the state. The petition is kind of fun, in a way, as it goes after other big businesses that have received the Governor's largess:

The choice for our future. For decades, our state has doled-out billions of tax credits to companies like BMW and Boeing to grow our economy and enhance the quality of life in South Carolina. We’ve also offered hundreds of millions of dollars to build highways and deepen our ports to build a better future. By accepting the federal dollars offered to our state, the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business projects that the $11.2 billion in new federal dollars will result in 44,000 new jobs. With the positive economic impact and increased health care coverage, the positive return on investment is clear.
    We urge you to sign the petition, or better still, this one from CREDO.  

     Besides all of the other reasons for Medicaid Expansion, including less DEATH, better health, working population able to work more days, fewer bankruptcies, increased jobs, less need for expensive emergency room care, controlling the previously-skyrocketing effects health care had on state and the national budgets, increased revenue from jobs (South Carolina has a state income tax), the Federal Government pays for 100% of the expense until 2016, when it will gradually lower the percentage over time to 90%.

     Here's the problem: South Carolina has seen a huge increase in people who have signed up for traditional Medicaid--and the federal reimbursement rate for that program varies between approximately 50% to 73.05%. As you can see, those numbers are a lot smaller than 100% or 90%. Additionally, many more children are signing up for the Child Health Insurance Program ("CHIP"). These larger numbers will crush the South Carolina budget. As an aside, if the nearly one million children in Texas who are eligible for CHIP, but have not signed up, ever do, Governor Greg Abbott's state will be in dire financial straits. Of course, this acts as a disincentive for red state governments to aggressively seek out children who could use the health care.      

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Fri May 15, 2015 at 04:37 PM PDT

Spotlight on Courage ~ StDDs Week 37

by JoanMar

Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

No! Poverty is not to be blamed for the murder of Michael Brown. Lack of opportunities did not take the life of Freddie Gray. The "absent black father" was not responsible for killing Walter Scott. Police officers, armed with the legal authority of the state and under the aegis of their departments, murdered those men.

In addition to changing the laws, we must also change the culture that allows police officers to think that they are a law unto themselves; that they are lords and masters of those whom they swore to serve and protect. To make that change we need outside agitation for sure; but even more importantly, we need those on the inside to make a stand against the lawbreakers in their midst.

Are there any Frank Serpicos to be found anywhere? Who will step forward? The problem is even worse than it was in the 1970s.

Today the Blue Wall of Silence endures in towns and cities across America. Whistleblowers in police departments — or as I like to call them, “lamp lighters,” after Paul Revere — are still turned into permanent pariahs. The complaint I continue to hear is that when they try to bring injustice to light they are told by government officials: “We can’t afford a scandal; it would undermine public confidence in our police.” That confidence, I dare say, is already seriously undermined. (Frank Serpico, October 23, 2014).

[Frank Serpico is a retired New York City Police Department officer who is famous for blowing the whistle on police corruption in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an act that prompted Mayor John V. Lindsay to appoint the landmark Knapp Commission to investigate the NYPD. Much of Serpico's fame came after the release of the 1973 film Serpico, which starred Al Pacino in the title role. (Wikipedia)]

I am pleased to report that all is not lost. There is some glimmer of hope. Bravery and honor are not only to be found in our history books. There are two examples of that which we need that should be getting a lot more publicity than they have thus far: Joe Crystal and David C. Couper. David C. Couper was Madison’s chief of police from 1972 to 1993 and is now an Episcopal priest in Wisconsin:

David C. CouperWhen I talk publicly about the problem of deadly force and disrespect, many white people look at me with puzzled eyes. They don’t know what I am talking about because, as it turns out, they have had little, if any, contact with police. Not so for those men and women of color in my audience. They know—and they know all too well. Recent discussions have helped us understand that “unconscious bias” is inherent in our species; what is needed is being able to identify and manage it. (A Police Chief's Call for Reform by David C. Couper)
One of the voices that stood out for me during the Baltimore Uprising for Justice was that of Joe Crystal. He was being interviewed by someone on MSNBC and my reaction was, “now you come forward?” Turned out I spoke too soon.

Joe Crystal had been doing the right thing even while he was a member of the Baltimore Police Department. He went up against his brethren in blue and in so doing, put his life on the line. BuzzFeed did an extensive piece on Crystal in what one of our members described as a "bloody awesome story." What he had to reveal was both "gripping and nauseating." You can read the whole sad account for yourself, but just one paragraph that captures a culture out of control...from top to bottom:

Joe Crystal, a whistleblower while a policeman in Baltimore
Crystal turned to the police union. He told Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police president Bob Cherry about the harassment, and he said that Cherry told him the department “was blood in blood out, and that’s why [the violent crimes unit] was mad at me,” and maybe he should consider going to another department. (Cherry didn’t respond to interview requests for this story.) Crystal hoped to transfer out of his unit. He asked a sergeant, the old family friend, where he could go. As Crystal wrote in his journal, the sergeant told him that no supervisor wanted him because he was “a rat.” The sergeant then said, “You better pray to God you’re not the star witness against Gialamas, ‘cause your career is already fucked, but if you are the star witness against him you should just resign.” (Breaking Baltimore's Blue Wall of Silence, Buzzfeed)
Is there any help to be had anywhere? How about a lieutenant?
On the advice of another sergeant, Crystal met with the lieutenant in charge of a violent repeat offender squad about a possible transfer. The lieutenant told him, he wrote in his journal, that he didn’t want him on the squad because he had snitched. The lieutenant said, “’When you are on the VRO squad you have to do things in the gray area,’ and he did not think I could do that.”
We need more than two good men. We need hundreds of good men to make a difference. To change the culture from within. We thank Joe Crystal and David Couper for following in the grand tradition of Frank Serpico.

Where are the others?

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Reposted from Scan by Onomastic

...and it's terrific. Or as the Daily Beast describes it:

"Meet the new Barack Obama: Her name is Hillary Clinton."
I thought Hillary's speeches in the last few months of her last campaign were pretty darn good, actually. They may not have reached the soaring preacher-esque heights of her Democratic rival's, but in their own wonky and populist way...not bad at all.

But this speech is better, and also makes clear that equality will be at the forefront of this historic progressive campaign.

Speaking to a friendly crowd at the Women in the World Summit in Manhattan, Clinton thundered about the rights and opportunities, political or otherwise, of women and girls around the world.

“It is hard to believe that in 2015 so many women still pay a price for being mothers. It is also hard to believe that so many women are also paid less than many for the same work, with even wider gaps for women of color,” Clinton said to sustained applause. “And if you don’t believe what I say, look to the World Economic Forum, hardly a hotbed of feminist thought. Their rankings show that the United States is 65th out of 142 nations and other territories on equal pay.

“We should be No. 1.”

Clinton placed women’s struggle for equality within the struggle for a more equal economic playing field, pointing out that the lack of parity on wages meant that families had less to spend on education, health care, and retirement.

“When women are held back, our country is held back. When women get ahead, everyone gets ahead,” Clinton said.

“Our mothers and sisters and daughters are on the front lines of all of these battles,” Clinton added later. “But these are not just women’s fights. These have to be America’s fights and the world’s fights. We have to take them on, we have to win them together.”

Don't think for a second that her potential Republican rivals came out of this speech unscathed.
“We have to have leaders who recognize that the time has come. There are those who offer themselves as leaders who take a very different view,” Clinton said. “There are those who offer themselves as leaders who see nothing wrong with denying women equal pay. There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would defund the country’s leading provider of family planning and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender. There are those who offer themselves as leaders who deport mothers working to give their children a better life rather than face the ire of talk radio. There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would even play politics with the nomination of our nation’s chief law enforcement officer.”
It's really no wonder that the Republicans and complicit news media are desperate for more Clinton "scandals". Watching this speech, one wonders how such an amazingly strong candidate could possibly be stopped.

Originally posted at Hillary HQ
Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

This week, we thought we'd use this forum to turn the spotlight on Daily Kos's campaign for the Medicaid Expansion Program: Medicaid expansion is a matter of life and death.

We are all aware of the fabulous job being done by Joan McCarter, but how many knew of this campaign for the Medicaid Expansion Program?

Our Message to Republican politicians in 22 states

Blocking Medicaid expansion may score you political points with the Tea Party, but it’s hurting real people in your state. It’s time to stop blocking Medicaid and help provide quality and affordable healthcare to your constituents.

Have you signed this petition?

If you haven't, will you please take a minute to do so now?


As the Governors Squirm: Rick Scott in the spotlight

Scott appearing human:

While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care.
My bold. That sounded like someone with a heart, didn't it? Someone who really cared about Floridians. That attack of conscience didn't last very long.
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) —In a flip flop from Rick Scott, the governor now says he is opposed to the state expanding Medicaid.

In a statement Monday, Scott expressed concern that the federal government might not make good on their promise to fund Medicaid for an additional 800,000 Floridians.

800,000 Floridians that could have access to quality healthcare are being denied because of their dishonorable governor. 1158-2221 will die this year because of a heartless man who has no business being anywhere near the seat of power. This is unconscionable.

This from AP:

The federal government has offered to pay the entire Medicaid expansion bill for the first few years and then phase down its funding to 95 percent, but Scott and House Republicans are concerned officials won't make good on that promise.

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

(850) 717-9337

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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

    The Support the Dream Defenders group saw the cruelty of Red State governors and legislatures refusing to expand Medicaid. Thousands of people are needlessly in pain, filing for bankruptcy, and dying. Republicans have no sound moral or financial reason for blocking Medicaid expansion.

Note: This is a community diary with contributions from many members of the Support the Dream Defenders group.

     We decided to turn the klieg lights on the governors and legislators - the culprits -  by sending Freedom of Information Act requests to each state. Our purpose is to create a national story that is pre-packaged and ready to air by Rachel Maddow, Melissa Harris-Perry, or Al Jazeera America.

     Most of the FOIA requests that we sent out went to the Republican governor of that specific state. In states with a Democratic governor, we sent the document requests to the state legislator who joyously boasted about blocking Medicaid Expansion to the media.

     Our FOIA requests were simple. We requested the following documents:

1.  All documents (i.e. evidence) that show what you, the Governor, have done to find out how many people you are killing because you Refuse to Expand Medicaid.

2.  All documents that show what you, the Governor, have done to find out how many people you are bankrupting because you Refuse to Expand Medicaid.

3.  A summary document showing how many people without health insurance have been to a hospital or clinic in your state over the last 12 months.

     As you can see from the responses screengrabbed below, not a single one of these Governors cares enough to even try to find out how many people they are killing and/or bankrupting in their state. (To read these letters, it may help you to open each image in a new Tab and then zoom in on the text.)

Maine: Response from the Maine governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Tennessee: Response from the Tennessee governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Georgia: Response from the Georgia Governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


South Carolina: Response from the South Carolina Governor in the form of a letter stating that her office is doing nothing to find out how many people she is killing and bankrupting because of her refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Wisconsin: Response from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Missouri: Response from the Missouri senate in the form of a letter stating that they are doing nothing to find out how many people they are killing and bankrupting because of their refusal to Expand Medicaid


Wyoming: And here's the outlier so far, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead's legal counsel apparently advised him to deny that the Office of the Governor of Wyoming is where you are to find records involving the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. In other words, the Office of the Governor of Wyoming does not have any records of the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. [Eye-roll.] We may have to sue the Governor of Wyoming!


     Here are copies of all the return receipts for the FOIA requests that we have sent thus far:


     As these responses continue to roll in, we will keep the daily kos community posted to what progress is being made. In the interim, it is time for some good news about Health Care!


     On March 25, President Barack Obama explained to the nation, in remarks intended to celebrate the fifth anniversary of ObamaCare, how this law is saving lives. That's not something we didn't already know. Only a Republican would suggest that health care has little or nothing to do with health.

     What stood out from his remarks was his claim that 50,000 "preventable deaths" have not happened since enactment of the law. ObamaCare is working, and it is saving lives.  

     Of course, since the number sounded so reasonable given the millions who now have health care for the first time and the prevalence of high blood pressures, heart diseases, diabetes and cancers in the population, it could not possibly be true!

     "That doesn't sound at all like the Death Panels we were told to look for," said every Republican who heard about the President's speech. Well, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post did a fact check of that number and ended up giving the claim a ...


     The "Geppetto Checkmark," of course, is exactly the opposite of a rating of "Pinocchio." About as truthful as you get.

     Now, think about the number of people needlessly dying every year because Republican Governors and state legislatures refuse to Expand Medicaid. If we can fight back and force Republican governors to Expand Medicaid, we would see another eight million people getting health care, and save another 17,000 lives annually. And that, my friends, is a fight worth having.

h/t to nightcat for the excellent diary linked above and here.

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Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by 2thanks

"He may be a very nice man. But I haven't got the time to figure that out. All I know is, he's got a uniform and a gun and I have to relate to him that way. That's the only way to relate to him because one of us may have to die."

Author, poet, and social critic James Baldwin on the police
London, November 4, 1971

Some years ago, my then 13-year-old son went to a classmate's birthday party and was supposed to come home by 10 pm. He had promised that he'd get a ride with a friend's mom. 10:15, and he wasn't home. I am the type of mother that if my children are one minute late, I start worrying. I called him and he said the mom had left and he was still at the party. "Get your butt home," I ordered him. "Do you want me to come get you?" "No," he said, "I'll get a ride with John's (not his real name) mom.

Another half an hour went by, and then an hour, and now I am really furious ... and worried. It was around 12:00 pm when the doorbell rang. My heart threatened to jump out of my chest ... my son had a key. I opened the door and he was standing there with a cop. "What's happening?" I asked nervously. Even at thirteen my son was as tall as the burly cop. "Now, now," said the officer, "Let's go inside and talk about this." I ignored him and addressed my son, "What did you do?" He refused to look me in the eye and muttered something that I didn't understand.

"Let's go inside, Mrs. X," the cop insisted. We went inside. The officer took command of the situation, "Before we do anything, I want you to relax," he said. "Take a couple deep breaths. Your son may or may not have done something stupid tonight..." It turned out that my son and his older classmate took a cab and when it got to a block from the friend's home, he jumped out and ran without paying. The driver suspecting that my son was in on this, promptly locked the doors and drove to the precinct.

"You did what?" I exploded, as I lunged at him. "Now now, calm down," the cop said as he placed himself in front of my son - shielding him with his body - as he took me by the shoulders. At various times throughout our talk, the officer would actually push my son back behind him and it was almost comical to see him peering at me nervously from behind his protector. But this is the key part of the evening: said the officer with the beautiful turquoise eyes (as best as I can remember), "He is a boy and boys do stupid stuff. I swear it's in their DNA. I have two boys at home and they are the reason I have no hair (he was bald). Let me tell you, they have done worse. Much worse." He gave my son a good talking to, he gave me his card and had me promise to call him if I ever needed to talk, and he complimented me on the fact that my son was only concerned that I was going to be hurt and disappointed, and then he took his leave.

My son said that when the angry cab driver made his complaint, the protective cop was actually defending him (my son). The cop told the cab driver that my son had not run; that he had stayed in the cab and so could not be accused of doing anything wrong. And then he said, "Come on son, I'll take you home."

He was white (I expect that he still is).

That type of policing cannot be enacted in law; I know that. You are either that kind of person or you aren't, but the pendulum should not be swinging from one extreme to the other. There should be a livable medium.

I was blessed that evening. We live in Connecticut and not in Ferguson, Missouri.

My cop went over and beyond the call of duty.

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Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by JekyllnHyde

Note: This is a community diary with contributions from many members of the Support the Dream Defenders group.

     When using their Capital Punishment systems, Red State governors at a minimum know how many people they are killing, who they are killing, when they are killing them and how they are killing them. Should they know any less about the working poor they are killing? My God, shouldn't they at least try to find out?  

     Enter the Support the Dream Defenders group with our Let Our Poor People Live campaign. With our Freedom of Information Act requests, we aim to force these ignoble politicians to give an accounting for each life that they have allowed to fall by the wayside. To accomplish our goal, we are sending Freedom of Information Act requests to all of the opt-out governors with some Catch-22 questions, including a demand that they provide us with all of the documents showing what they, as Governors, are doing to discover how many people are dying, or potentially dying, because they have refused to Expand Medicaid.

     You can join us as we track these FOIA requests going around the country. This is a United States Postal Service tracking tool that has been uploaded with twenty of our requests. If you click on the plus sign (+) on each of the letters that have already been "delivered," you can see where they went. For example, immediately below is a screenshot of the certified mail delivery last Tuesday of our Freedom of Information request to Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas:


     And here is a link to help you track our final four FOIA requests. They are going to Mississippi, Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia. As you can see, these were mailed out yesterday morning.

     Once we have rounded up all the responses, we intend to send them off to the media. It will be interesting to see how these governors respond once the media begins asking the following questions: How many people are needlessly dying in your state because you will not Expand Medicaid? How many people have had to file for bankruptcy because you will not Expand Medicaid? What have you done to find out the answers to these questions?

     While we have been working on the FOIA Project, we have marshaled some of the arguments for Medicaid Expansion. In the next two sections of the diary, we discuss some of the humanitarian and economic reasons for saving lives while saving your state from a future health care crisis.

1. The Humanitarian Argument.

     A Harvard Study published in 2014 has indicated that as many as 17,000 people will die each year because Red State governors refuse to Expand Medicaid. This makes sense as the New York Times has noted that approximately eight million additional people would receive Medicaid if it were expanded in Republican-controlled states. Like the rest of the population, these folks suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers and other ailments that could be treated. The Study authors noted,

Medicaid expansion in opt-out states would have resulted in 712,037 fewer persons screening positive for depression and 240,700 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures. Medicaid expansion in these states would have resulted in 422,553 more diabetics receiving medication for their illness, 195,492 more mammograms among women age 50-64 years and 443,677 more pap smears among women age 21-64. Expansion would have resulted in an additional 658,888 women in need of mammograms gaining insurance, as well as 3.1 million women who should receive regular pap smears.

     As bad as that is, the problem's even bigger than that. It still doesn't tell the whole story. The eight million or so people who would be helped by Expanding Medicaid, many of whom have undiagnosed or untreated conditions, also have to deal with the pain caused by their ailments--sometimes on a daily basis--as well as deal with the fear that the next cough or lump or tremor will land them in the emergency room and then in bankruptcy court or worse.

A. How Democrats Respond to the Issue.

     Bill Moyers is not mincing words about the situation. An article on his website by Joshua Holland is entitled, "Study Shows the Madness of States Refusing to Expand Medicaid." The article leads off with a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute that shows Republican-controlled states are missing out on $423 billion in federal health care money through 2022. But the article goes further to note other studies that show Texas leading the nation in percentage of uninsured, followed by Florida in third, and it links to the Harvard Study discussed above, which warns of up to 17,000 needless deaths each year.

     Last Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest showed exasperation with Republicans for "literally prevent[ing] individuals in their states from getting badly needed health care coverage." In fact, his entire response to a question about ObamaCare is worth repeating, with the quote above highlighted near the bottom:


B.  How Republicans Respond.

     Another way to look at the humanitarian argument for Expanded Medicaid is to look at it through the eyes of a Republican. For that, we have enlisted Scott Walker of Wisconsin. He has taken a position on the issue that is literally comedic in its villainy. We'll let Snotty speak for himself:


     Scott Walker bypassed historical villains, modern villains and book villains and, instead, plagiarized directly from a comedy villain--Judge Smails from Caddyshack:

JUDGE SMAILS:  "I think you can still become a gentleman someday ... if you understand and abide by the rules of decent society. Danny, Danny. There's a lot of ... well, badness in the world today. I see it in court every day. I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. I didn't want to do it. I felt I owed it to them."
    How egregious can Republicans get? Again, let's think about that like a Republican would. Let's say, for example, you had a tough decision about whether to give half a million people health care or take it away from them. When it came time to make that decision, would you be smiling? Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina would:


2.  The Economic Argument.

     Expanding Medicaid makes economic sense. Most people know that under ObamaCare, the states would pay nothing through 2016, and they would never have to pay more than ten percent of the costs. Additionally, there is an opt out provision if the state, for some reason, cannot pay its share of the costs.

     States that have accepted Medicaid Expansion will not have to make up for the shortfall when the Federal Government stops paying hospitals and clinics for serving the uninsured. Those states have also seen increased economic activity, including jobs that will provide salaries which will be spent in the local economies. Their employee workforce will be healthier and stronger and more competitive.  

A. Federal Funding of Hospitals and Clinics.

     A huge economic problem will terrorize Red State governors and their tax-paying constituents in the very near future. That is, the Federal Government had been giving huge grants to states every year so that the states, in turn, could pass the money along to hospitals and clinics that provided care but received no payment from the uninsured. That stops in 2015.

     With the Expansion of Medicaid, those grants should not be necessary. So, the program will be cancelled. A few Red State governors have had the temerity, while refusing to Expand Medicaid, to ask the Obama Administration to resume those payments. They have been told, "No." Instead, those governors have been told to Expand Medicaid and get the funding for their state's hospitals and clinics that way. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is already earmarking tens of millions of dollars of state funds to give to hospitals--while she ignores hundreds of millions of Federal dollars that would go to help the working poor in her state.    

B. Job Growth.

     Even Forbes magazine, a vociferous opponent of ObamaCare, has had to admit that Medicaid Expansion can be beneficial to the job market:

"States that agreed to expand coverage of Medicaid to more Americans under the Affordable Care Act have created more jobs than other areas of the country, according to a new report.

Fitch Ratings said 'healthcare and social assistance jobs grew over 30% faster between December 2013 and December 2014 for 24 states that implemented ACA expansion on Jan. 1, 2014 than those that did not.'”

C.  The Vicious Circle.

     Republican Governors are not only screwing their working poor constituents by Refusing to Expand Medicaid, but they are screwing them on the price of health care insurance coverage. Even if the working poor in a non-Expansion state could afford to pay any of the few dollars they earn over the federal poverty line on medical coverage, the price of that coverage goes up because Republican Governors Refused to Expand Medicaid.

     It is a vicious circle that kills people, costs constituents more money, costs states more money and fails to create the jobs and economic activity that would come about with Medicaid Expansion in that Red State. Let's say you are single person in Texas making $7,500 per year based on two crappy part-time jobs, and you have high blood pressure and have already suffered a stroke. You have to spend the money on the bronze plan, even though you cannot afford it, and take whatever subsidy you can get. Republican Governors have ensured that folks like this are squeezed dry, and, as high-risk insureds, they will drive up the cost for everyone buying insurance in that state. Their effect on insurance rates would be more than cancelled out if all the healthy people in the "Medicaid Gap" were allowed to join. See Why a State's Health Insurers Should Support Expanding Medicaid, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (September 2012).

     You see, if Republican Governors Expanded Medicaid and added those millions of healthy potential working poor individuals to insurance pools in the state, the costs for everybody would almost certainly decrease. Thus, the working poor gets screwed on both sides from their Republican Governors.

     Finally, with the Federal Government no longer directly reimbursing hospitals and clinics for their service to uninsured persons, the hospitals and clinics will cost-shift that expense to everybody else--or fire staff, cut hours or close down.

     To give you some idea what states are missing out on, please consider this:


     Now think about the billions of dollars and all that healthcare that Florida (Rick Scott) and Texas (Greg Abbott) are giving up every year.


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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks
Two poor people by Margaret Bourke-White
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has made a difference in the lives of another 11.4 million Americans. Eleven million, four hundred thousand people can breathe easier today knowing that they will have access to quality care if and when needed. In fact, if you were to count all those with private health coverage, young adults allowed to stay on their parents policies, and those covered through the Medicaid Expansion Program, the number would be closer to 32 million. Thirty-two million? Wow! And still the number of insured could have been more. the number should have been more...much more, and someone(s) should be forced to explain what informed their decision to deliberately work to deny poor people health care coverage.
The right-wing think tank, Heritage Foundation, have been going out of their way to spread misinformation and disinformation about the ACA. Two experts,  Stan Dorn and John Holahan of the Health Affairs Blog have taken a sledge hammer to the lies being told and in so doing managed to show the desperate obduracy of  Republican Governors. Dorn and Holahan were able to cite figures which proved that not only are States deliberately and maliciously doing harm to their citizens, but that they are also shortsightedly cutting off their noses to spite their faces.  
while a Medicaid expansion would increase that state’s Medicaid costs by about $2.5 billion from 2014 through 2022, it would also save Ohio $1.5 billion by reducing state spending on current programs in favor of the largely federally financed expansion. Such programs cover so-called “medically needy” adults, women with breast and cervical cancer, and adults who are waiting for disability determinations. At the same time, expansion would increase state revenue by as much as $2.8 billion, in part because of the economic activity galvanized by more than $31 billion in new federal Medicaid funds, but also because of prescription drug rebates and taxes on Medicaid managed care premiums. The overall result: at least $1.8 billion in net state budget gains.
Yes, refusing the Medicaid Expansion Program does not make for sound financial policy. Refusing to give poor people access to healthcare is a crime before God and man. Governors who have rejected the Medicaid Expansion Program should be forced to explain their actions. Actually, they should be forced to do a perp walk, but we'll settle for a walk of shame for the time being.

Just to remind ourselves of the harm that is being done to the least among by the most powerful among us, this is a list of the services offered under the Medicaid Expansion Program in my home state of Connecticut.

• Visits
• Preventive Care
• Doctor
• Women’s Health Care
• Family Planning Services
• Maternity Care
• Hospital Stays
• Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy/Speech Therapy
• Audiology Services
• Physical Rehabilitation
• Dialysis
• Durable Medical Equipment
• Hearing Aids
• Orthotic and Prosthetic Devices
• Home Health Care
• Hospice Services
• Ambulatory Surgery
• Hospital Outpatient Care
• Laboratory Tests
• X-rays and other Radiology Services
• Vision Care
• Emergency Care
• Dental Services (through CT Dental Health Partnership)
• Behavioral Health Services (through CT Behavioral Health Partnership)
• Pharmacy (medications)

I am hoping that you read the above and that it made you mad. That you are so angry that some 17,000 people will die annually because of the wickedness of Republican Governors that you want to do something about it. I am hoping you will want to write a letter to the editor.

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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

I have read the Department of Justice report on their non-indictment of Darren Wilson, and, quite frankly, I am very disappointed.

The report reads as if Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis county prosecutor, and his two subordinates prepared it. The whole report reads as if the investigators were more concerned with the well-being of the killer than they were about the teenager who was killed. Who was advocating for Michael Brown, I want to ask.

I must confess that I had a problem with Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, announcing the findings of the investigation of the Ferguson Police Department and the non-indictment of Wilson all at the same time. It reminded me of the stunt pulled by Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson when he called the news conference to announce the name of the murderer. If you’ll recall, that was when we were flooded with news of a “strong-arm robbery,” and so the news media dutifully focused on that rather than on the killer-cop.

This is what I got from the attorney general: We will not be indicting Darren Wilson because we could not prove he was guilty of violating Michael Brown’s rights ... but look what we have done over here!

The reaction from those who have been fighting for Michael Brown has been swift.

Activist Tori Russell:

“They’re trying to throw us a bone because we’ve been saying the police were racist, then it only took them 100-plus days to actually make a statement acknowledging that they were being racist,” Russell said.“I find it strange that the Justice Department has been found them to be operating with racial bias and that their stops and arrests are racially biased. But there are no civil rights charges against Darren Wilson. That sounds like the direct definition of a civil rights violation to me.”

Brendan Roediger, a professor of law at St. Louis University:

“I know that Holder believes the standard is too difficult to meet, but in the end it comes down to the fact that an unarmed young man was shot dead in the street and we know this police department not only knowingly engaged in discriminatory practices but encouraged a culture of racism,” Roediger said. “The end result of that culture of racism was an unarmed man shot dead in the street should be sufficient to file charges.”

Apologists for the killer-cop have been popping champagne and gleefully pointing to the Attorney General's words. Especially this:
“It remains not only valid — but essential — to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily.”

Maybe, Mr. Holder, maybe it was the picture of the white guys by their truck throwing up their arms in the air to demonstrate what they were seeing unfolding before their eyes. Why would so many people make up that particular lie? Why would the report make such a big deal about Michael Brown not being shot in the back, suggesting that the killer-cop didn't fire at him while he was running away? All the early reports were that the killer fired shots as the teen fled.

But my biggest question to my attorney general is this: Why would you believe a word of what Darren Wilson said when you know the nature of the police department for which he worked? When you know that he failed to write a report immediately after the killing and only produced one after he saw the eyewitness accounts? When you know that his testimony was not challenged in the grand jury investigation? Why would you believe one single solitary word of his self-serving, carefully crafted lies?

The Police Department for which the killer-cop worked was a cesspit of racism and bigotry, coupled with unethical and unprofessional behavior. And here, I am not relying on the DOJ's report. For years the residents of the city have been telling everyone who'd listen about the oppressive yoke around their collective necks. But given your own findings, Mr. Holder, don't you think that every case of physical abuse or killing committed by members of that department should be automatically charged as civil rights violations? In my humble opinion, to do anything less is a travesty of justice.

Among the incidents of excessive force discovered by our comprehensive review, some resulted from stops or arrests that had no legal basis to begin with. Others were punitive or retaliatory in nature. The police department’s routine use of Tasers was found to be not merely unconstitutional, but abusive and dangerous. Records showed a disturbing history of using unnecessary force against people with mental illness. And our findings indicated that the overwhelming majority of force – almost 90 percent – is directed against African Americans.

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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

Tracy Martin hugs and kisses his son, Trayvon Martin, both looking at the camera.Three years ago, February 26, 2012, to be exact, a 17-year-old young man left his home to go pick up snacks for himself and his younger brother. On his way back to his loved ones, he took a leisurely stroll home; he was talking on his cell phone, kicking at pebbles, just being a typical teenager walking through a neighborhood. He was in no particular hurry to get home.

He would not be allowed to get home that night ... or any other night. He was hunted down and murdered by a vigilante type who racially profiled him, confronted him, and then took his life.

This week, our last hope of seeing Trayvon's murderer pay for his crime was dashed when the Justice Department announced that Zimmerman will not face federal charges. Case closed.

The federal investigation sought to determine whether the evidence of the events that led to Martin’s death were sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman’s actions violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes, specifically Section 3631 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code or Section 249 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, as well as other relevant federal criminal statutes.  Section 3631 criminalizes willfully using force or threat of force to interfere with a person’s federally protected housing rights on account of that person’s race or color.  Section 249 criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury to a person because of that person’s actual or perceived race.  Courts define “willfully” to require proof that a defendant knew his acts were unlawful, and committed those acts in open defiance of the law.  It is one of the highest standards of intent imposed by law.
Not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, said Eric Holder's office.

"My client is relieved," said the murderer's attorney.

The mother of the murdered youth, Sybrina Fulton, had this to say:

"He took a life, carelessly and recklessly, and he shouldn't deserve to have his entire life walking around on the street free. I just believe that he should be held accountable for what he's done."

The Trayvon Effect

Despite the lack of accountability, I'd like to think that Trayvon didn't die in vain. His death has given birth to a new era of activism. We have been introduced to a slew of young, dynamic, passionate civil rights leaders. New organizations dedicated to the fight for justice and equality have sprung up all over the country. Had there not been a Trayvon, what happened to Michael Brown would be a one-paragraph story in a local newspaper. The #BlackLivesMatter movement had its genesis in the fight for justice for Trayvon.

On Daily Kos itself, it was the fight for justice for Trayvon which gave birth to our group, Support the Dream Defenders. It was brilliant members of our group who authored and crowd-sourced on Daily Kos the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act which gained the approval of members of two prestigious civil rights organizations, the ACLU and the NAACP. The MBOPRA seeks to protect the civil rights of citizens and gives them avenues of redress when those rights are violated. The FOIA project seeks to force Republican governors to reverse their policy of refusing the Medicaid expansion and stop killing 17,000 people per year.

Thank you, Trayvon Martin. You have inspired us. We owe you a debt of gratitude, and in your name we continue the fight.

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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by JekyllnHyde

Who says Global Warming is all bad?  If you like springtime blooms, you just one extra month of them, in the normally soggy Northwest.

May Flowers arrive Early in the Northwest
Unusually dry April brings spring flowers early

by Joce DeWitt, -- May 1, 2013  

Usually the April showers that pelt the Mid-Willamette Valley at the start of spring bring May flowers.

This year warmer temperatures and less rain have turned the age-old rhyme on its head: April showers brought, well, April flowers.

So far this year 7.65 inches of rain has fallen in Salem, said meteorologist Clinton Rockey of the National Weather Service in Portland. Normal rainfall is 17.32 inches. That makes the first four months the driest start to the year since 1892.

“It was quite a bit different from last spring. We saw lots of rain last spring. It was pretty gloomy until about June,” said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.

Here in Oregon, we've just gone through a week of clear sunny weather, with temperatures 20 degrees above "normal" this week-end.  Normally the "dry season" doesn't start here until "after the 4th of July."

When it comes to seasonal milestones, who's to say what is "normal" anymore, during this early-onset era of climate changes. They are predicting another week of sunshine, with a "slight chance of a shower" next Sunday. That is what you could call weird weather, if you know anything about Northwest springtime weather.

[Paint Brush wildflowers -- Mt Hood;  photo by jamess]

Too bad "early flowers" aren't the only thing, this weird weather is bringing ...

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Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by JekyllnHyde
About 2 weeks ago, 2 members of Support the Dream Defenders boldly went where no member of STDDs has gone before, to a town called Netroots Radio, and 2 detectives were on them like powdered sugar on pancakes. Two members of the Daily Kos group Support the Dream Defenders took a break from their agitatin and activatin and gave up the goods so easily, you could hardly tell they were seasoned crimin supporters of the Dream Defenders. Who were the detectives? Justice Putnam and Wink. Who were the Supporters? Tortmaster and 2thanks.

Listen my children, and you shall to the podcast or skim through all 3700 words of the transcript, looking for the highlights. Glance at the green Chart of FOIA Progress, and then surrey down to the stone soul pic comments, where operators are standing b waiting breathless at their keyboards to answer your every question about Support the Dream Defenders and to hear you volunteer to help them in YOUR state (if you live in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, or Wyoming) and to see your commentary and links.

Podcast -
All About Support the Dream Defenders -
Justice Putnam and Wink Grill Tortmaster and 2thanks -
The After Show on Netroots Radio -
February 3, 2015

(Interview begins at about the 31-minute mark.)
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