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Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by JoanMar

My heart goes out to the residents of the areas affected by tornadoes and flooding in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. I have heard some heartbreaking stories of loss of lives and of destruction of property. People have been washed away right in front of the eyes of their loved ones. That's the type of horror from which one cannot ever recover; at least not anytime soon.

Family missing 05/27/2015 after record-breaking Texas floods. At home when house knocked off foundation, carried downriver, struck bridge, shattered apart.  Family ripped away from each other.  Husband swam out, called for help, broken ribs.
Texas family missing after house knocked off foundation, struck bridge and shattered
Mother Nature visiting devastation on communities and families without regard to race, creed, culture, or wealth.
Big 18-wheeler truck lifted and thrown onto its side by tornado just in front of chase vehicle, April 10, 2015.
Rochelle, Illinois, 18-wheeler truck hit by tornado, lifted and knocked onto side in front of chase car
At least 35 people-- 14 in northern Mexico, 15 in Texas plus six in Oklahoma -- have died in the severe weather, both tornadoes and flooding from raging rivers. Another nine people are missing.
RIP to those gone too soon. Condolences to their loved ones. We encourage help to those who are in need.

I watched and listened as CNN - with the inevitable and much-abused "breaking news" banner - covered the unfolding horror in the cities of Wharton, Texas, with their population of  8,756, and Wimberley, Texas, with a population of 2582.

As I watched the frenzied activities surrounding the devastating after-effects of the tornadoes and flooding; the amount of justifiable coverage, it dawned on me that we should have at least the same amount of time, attention, and coverage devoted to the Republican's refusal to accept a program that was designed to prevent deaths. Where was the coverage of the 9000 who died in Texas last year?

According to reputable, peer-reviewed sources, approximately 9,000 people will die this year because Texas Republican Governors have refused to expand the Medicaid Expansion Program (MEP):

Lack of insurance will certainly mean more deaths. How many more? Approximately 9,000 a year, according to Dr. Howard Brody, director of the Institute for Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Brody calculated that figure by extrapolating from a recent Harvard University study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found that states that expanded Medicaid saw a 6.1 percent reduction in the death rate among adults below 65 who qualified for the program. In a recent op-ed in the Galveston Daily News Brody wrote, “This means that we can predict, with reasonable confidence, if we fail to expand Medicaid . . . 9,000 Texans will die each year for the next several years as a result.”
Wimberley and Wharton have a combined population of 11,338.

Mother nature's fury is visited on the just and the unjust, rich and the poor, Republicans and Democrats; she doesn't discriminate.

Republican governors, on the other hand, single out and victimize the poor and the voiceless. GOP governors have, by their inaction, condemned what amounts to whole towns of people to their premature and preventable deaths. Those who do not die will suffer. Losing eyesight, losing limbs due to complications from diabetes, suffer strokes and heart attacks, or will become bankrupt.

The horror of the consequences of not accepting the MEP should be breaking news all day every day. People are suffering right now. People are dying right now.

So okay, we have been saying this same thing for about four months now.

Why are we doing this FOIA series? Just what do we hope to achieve? Where are we going?

Our simple objective is to get GOP Govenors to accept the Medicaid Expansion Program. We have asked nicely. We have asked angriliy. We begged and pleaded, all to no avail. Do you think these heartless, dishonorable governors can be shamed into doing the right thing? It's worth a try, we say.

We are rapidly coming up on the shaming phase of our project.

Once we have rounded up all the responses, we plan to send press releases 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?
We have sent out the FOIA requests and gotten back some responses (see green chart, below). We now know that the Republican governors and legislatures have done Jack Squat to keep keep track of the people who have died or are dying because of their wickedness.

Will you help us build up a media storm on behalf of our poor?

Continue Reading
Reposted from JoanMar by JoanMar

    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.      

Continue Reading
Reposted from Brainwrap by JoanMar

Wow. All I can say is...good for him, seriously:

Lifelong Republican Turns On His Party, Embraces Obamacare

Luis Lang, who is currently crowdfunding for medical expenses that he can’t afford because he didn’t sign up for insurance under Obamacare, has become a viral sensation. However, the 49-year-old South Carolina resident says he doesn’t want to be the poster child for the Republican Party’s opposition to health care reform anymore.

Many people both here and over at have criticized me, either for donating a few bucks ot Mr. Lang in the first place or alternately, for coming down so hard on the guy in my blog posts. Some thought it was a waste of time (and money) to help the guy out, while others thought it was an equal waste of time/breath to chastize him, figuring that it'd fall on deaf ears. Still others thought that it's inappropriate to donate money with one hand while berating him with the other. Well, guess what?
Continue Reading
Reposted from kos by JoanMar
Obamacare is such a failure, it can't even kill the jobs Republicans said it would!
Meet the Press:
TODD: You made some dire predictions about health care. 2014 you said fewer people would have health insurance. According to plenty of surveys, more people have health insurance today than they did before it went down from – the uninsured rate went down 17 percent to just under 12 percent. You said it would destroy jobs. The first year it was implemented, the country added 3 million jobs. Why…

BOEHNER: Obamacare made it harder for employers to hire people. The economy expands and as a result, you are going to have more employees because businesses have to. But if you can ask any employer in America, and ask them whether Obamacare has made it harder for them to hire employees, they’ll tell you yes. Because it’s a fact.

There's the substantive response to this nonsense here.

But hey, Boehner says "ask any employer in America", and it just so happens that I'm one of those. Daily Kos currently employs 35 people. Vox Media, which I co-founded, is sitting at over 400 employees. And both those companies are in America, and so am I!

So ask me, "Has Obamacare has made it harder for you to hire employees?" And the answer is "what the fuck are you talking about? Of course not!" I mean, the whole concept is patently ridiculous. Why would the law make it harder? Note that Boehner doesn't even bother trying to explain why.

You know what would make it easier for me to hire more employees? Universal health care. Take away my healthcare costs at Daily Kos, and I save over $400,000 per year. That's what, four-six employees? I could use those extra employees, too. (With nearly 10 times the employees at Vox Media, I can't imagine how many millions that company would save with universal health care!)

So what is hurting my ability to hire more people? Not Obamacare, which if anything is actually helping because it has lowered the annual increase in insurance premiums. Perhaps that's why not a single business group filed an amicus brief in support of the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case challenging the law.  

Conservatives can rail against Obamacare all they want, but it has nothing to do with business. We're doing just fine with the law on the books, thank you very much for asking, Mr. Speaker.

Reposted from Community Fundraisers by JoanMar

Many of you know Chitown Kev, a Kossack who is (among other distinctions) an administrator of Black Kos and Milk Men and Women. He is an astute observer, an effective analyst, and a fine writer whose impact here at Daily Kos is much greater than his relatively limited diary output to date would suggest. If you're not already aware of his work, I'd recommend you take a look at any of his diaries. Two of his most recent are representative of his thoughtfulness and breadth of knowledge, including this one, under the auspices of Black Kos, with a Note on Black Mental Health, or this one, on the continuing relevance of Frederick Douglass. As a black, gay, working-class man with a deep interest in and knowledge of American history in general and African-American culture in particular, Chitown Kev brings an important and valuable perspective to our community. I believe we would all benefit from his expertise and passion if he had the tools to enable more regular diaries and other contributions.

Thus, I am honored to have the opportunity to make this request of our sister and brother Kossacks on behalf of Chitown Kev: namely, enough funds for him to obtain a reliable laptop with basic software and connectivity, sufficient for him to research, compose, and write diaries from anywhere. We estimate that about $500 should do.

Your rec, tip, tweet, and share would help! And so would a donation. If you can, please send funds in any amount to this PayPal account: (Note that it is NOT an account for Chitown Kev, but for his friend, a well-known Kossack who is known to me personally.)
Here he is, in his own words, explaining the request:
I love being a part of the community here at The Great Orange Satan.  I consider the Daily Kos community thingie we have here vital to my always ongoing intellectual, emotional, mental, and spiritual development.

Simply put, I consider Daily Kos to be a home.

As a rule, I read and comment on computers at the public library. I recently purchased a cheap smartphone, so I am able to read and occasionally comment here at all hours of the day.  The posting of diaries (which usually require some research) and more involved commentary, though, must be done at the library during open hours.

I love being a contributor to this community and I want to contribute and to learn so much more from y’all.

A Kossack asked me, a couple of weeks ago, would I be willing to allow a fundraiser to be held in order for me to get a computer.

I agreed but only under the understanding that I will consider this computer to be an investment of the Daily Kos community in myself; an investment on which Daily Kos will receive a return. I will insist on that and will not chafe if called out on it.

We know that this community is caring and resourceful. We also trust that people will respond as they can to this request: whether it's with reccs, tips, shares, or tweets; whether it's with donations; whether it's with an offer of a used but still reliable laptop. Any and all possibilities are seriously welcome and appreciated.

Thank you all so much for your support!

Your rec, tip, tweet, and share would help! And so would a donation. If you can, please send funds in any amount to this PayPal account: (Note that it is NOT an account for Chitown Kev, but for his friend, a well-known Kossack who is known to me personally.)
Reposted from Tortmaster by JoanMar

... And he knows it.

     We sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every Red State governor or legislature who refused to Expand Medicaid. Thus far, eleven red state governors and one red state legislature have responded to our requests. Of the twelve total responses received, only one respondent admitted to having any documents, whatsoever, showing how many people he or she may be killing and bankrupting because that state refuses to Expand Medicaid.  

     That would be Texas.

     Every other state is positively incurious about the number of people they may be killing or bankrupting in their home state. So, in a perverted way, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is at least ahead of them. He has an idea how many people he may be killing. In response to our FOIA requests, which asked for any documents showing what he has done to find out how many people may be dying because he refuses Medicaid Expansion, he provided a 75-page document.

1.  More Dead Than We Expected.

     The document was shocking to us. We knew that there was no good reason to refuse to Expand Medicaid, and we knew that it was a decision that would either save or cost a lot of lives. We didn't realize how many. You see, we have used a Harvard Study which indicates that between 1,840 and 3,035 will needlessly die in Texas every year without Expanded Medicaid. That Harvard Study, in pertinent part, provides as follows:

"In Texas, the largest state opting out of Medicaid expansion, 2,013,025 people who would otherwise have been insured will remain uninsured due to the opt-out decision. We estimate that Medicaid expansion in that state would have resulted in 184,192 fewer depression diagnoses, 62,610 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures, and between 1,840 and 3,035 fewer deaths."
    This Harvard Study dealt with the entire nation; Greg Abbott had another study in his possession that dealt only with Texas, written by Texans, for Texans. The report, entitled Expanding Medicaid in Texas: Smart, Affordable and Fair, can be found in the files of the Governor of Texas and in its full PDF glory here. It provides as follows:
"Experience in other states indicates that failing to expand Medicaid would result in an estimated 8,400 premature deaths each year."
    That's a lot of dead Texans each year. A lot of people who have diabetes but cannot afford medication; who have diabetes and don't know it; who have undiagnosed but treatable heart conditions, high blood pressure or cancers. That's a lot of potential pap smears and mammograms that Texans will not receive. "The state leads the nation in the rate of people without health insurance — roughly one in four Texans." With approximately one million Texans in the "Medicaid Gap," it probably shouldn't have been a surprise to us that as many as 8,400 will die annually, and before their time, because of Governor Abbott's failure to Expand Medicaid. It's as if you wiped Liberty City, Texas right off the map. Then did it again every year:


     Kind of an ironic name--Liberty City--as it represents the deadly repercussions from Texas state government thumbing its nose at the Federal Government for no good reason, while the casualties pile up each year.

2.  The Only Evidence of Death and Bankruptcy Abbott Has....

     The only document Governor Abbott, a former Attorney General, has to help him decide how many people will die in his state each year without Medicaid Expansion indicates the number to be 8,400. He doesn't even have another document from some Koch-funded think tank claiming that only three people will die. The only information he has to make an informed decision about how many people he is bankrupting each year is that there will be approximately 62,610 of those woebegone folks.

     The Governor has not afforded his people due diligence much less due process. A person accused of murder in Texas gets better treatment than the working poor.  

The Rights Afforded to a Murder Defendant in Texas Versus the Rights Afforded to the Working Poor

    On a side note, please consider this: You would think that a person fighting ObamaCare tooth and nail would be the first to step up to the plate and protest against it. Not Greg Abbott. Here's his just-released Income Tax Return for 2014. As you can see from the screengrab below, Abbott put his money where his wallet is:


3.  The Other Document.

     We also requested documents in the possession of Governor Greg Abbott that would show how many Texans without health insurance have received treatment in Texas hospitals during the last reporting period. The Governor provided an eight-page report from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services indicating that hospitals in the state lose billions of dollars annually because of the failure to Expand Medicaid.

     In 2012, Texas hospitals spent $22.538 billion on health care provided to the uninsured in that state.

     To give you some perspective on that, if Greg Abbott was going to pay for all those hospital charges with his own tax payments, and he paid $104 in taxes every year, it would take him two hundred and sixteen million, seven hundred and eleven thousand, five hundred and thirty-eight and one-half years to do it.

     According to the report, uncompensated hospital charges in Texas rose from $17.51 billion in 2010 to $18.312 billion in 2011. It then jumped more than five billion to $22.538 billion in 2012. The picture will soon turn even bleaker, as the Federal Government may not be helping Texas out with those deficits in the future.


4.  The Obama Administration Tightens the Pressure on Florida and Texas and Other Non-Medicaid Expanding Red States.

     Every year, the Federal Government provides what amounts to massive block grants to states, which the states can then use to pay to hospitals that provide services to the uninsured. This has been provided as part of the Medicaid program. In this way, hospitals would receive direct payments from Medicaid for covered individuals, and they would receive the Medicaid "subsidy" or block grant money for uncovered individuals.

     Those huge block grants--in the billions of dollars each year--will stop in 2015 and 2016 because of Medicaid Expansion.

     The theory was this: Once Medicaid was expanded, there would be no need for the additional block grant subsidies for hospitals, as people would either have private insurance or be covered under the Expanded Medicaid. The second document we received from Governor Abbott described the situation succinctly:

Health Care Reform Impact. One of the supplemental Medicaid payments that greatly contributes to the Medicaid surplus is the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment. The DSH program was created to compensate hospitals that give care to a disproportionate amount of low income and uninsured individuals with a lump sum payment. Health care reform will impact DSH payments starting in 2016. The assumption is that when the individual mandate takes effect, the need for supplemental payments to cover the uninsured is less. The ACA requires HHS to reduce DSH payments.

     Of course, nobody counted on Republican governors and state legislatures allowing their citizens to die or to go bankrupt for no earthly reason.

     Texas and Florida and other wanna-be new-confederate states like South Carolina want the Federal Government to continue paying their hospital buddies with these block grants; they don't want the Federal Government to help the people with Expanded Medicaid. The Obama Administration has said, "Not so fast!" It has let these states know that the money to reimburse hospitals for care to the poor and working poor is there to be had--as soon as the states Expand Medicaid. One source reported:

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated to Texas officials Thursday that whether the state expands Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would factor into the renewal of a multibillion-dollar Medicaid funding stream next year, according to state officials.

Federal officials requested a call with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, during which they outlined their position, Linda Edwards Gockel, a spokeswoman for the Texas health agency, said in an email to National Journal.

The call came the same day that Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he would sue the Obama administration, accusing CMS of pushing the state to expand Medicaid by leveraging $1 billion in federal Medicaid funding, which is up for renewal this summer and helps cover some uncompensated care.

CMS said in a letter to Florida this week that one of the three principles it would use to evaluate the program, known as the Low-Income Pool, was that 'uncompensated care pool funding should not pay for costs that would be covered in a Medicaid expansion.'


Texas's uncompensated-care funding pool, part of a broader Medicaid waiver, is coming up for renewal in September 2016. According to the Texas Hospital Association, the program provides more than $3 billion to Texas hospitals for uncompensated care."

     Hypocritical Governors like Scott and Abbott and Haley want Federal money to pay to their buddies at the hospitals, but not a penny to provide Medicaid for their poor and working poor constituents.

5.  Abbott's Growing a New Class of Citizen in Texas: The Health Care Bankrupt.

     The Harvard Study quoted and linked above indicates that, because Governor Abbott refuses to Expand Medicaid in Texas, there will be 62,610 new bankrupts in Texas every year. Sure, many of those folks will be dead prematurely--an estimated 8,400 of them--but that leaves 54,210 every year to either file for bankruptcy or be harassed by hospital attorneys for the next forty years of their lives. That's like a Texas city the size of Victoria dying or going bankrupt every year.


     All because Greg Abbott wants to be pure. Or, because Greg Abbott and his fellow travelers don't want the American people to see the Federal Government working and helping people, while at the same time reducing the deficit, creating jobs and straightening the heretofore explosive health care cost curve. Or, perhaps Abbott is just an asshole. I don't know the answer. I do know that the evidence at his disposal--there being no contradictory proof--is that he will kill approximately 8,400 Texans every year and bankrupt 62,610.    

NOTE:  This is a community diary, which could only be written because of the efforts and activism of a number of people who belong to the Support the Dream Defenders group at Daily Kos. Their contributions are always appreciated. I am proud that they let me work with them!
Continue Reading
Reposted from Community Fundraisers by JoanMar

$343 is not that much money...but it is needed by tomorrow. I posted a diary earlier via the Daily Kos Fund Raisers group, but it didn't get much attention and only raised $60 - which I and Fineena are both very grateful for - but she's in a jam and needs the additional $343 so she can pay for her dentist's appointment tomorrow morning.

Please rec this diary and kick in a little if you can. If enough of us give just a little, we should be able to do this. It's really not that much money spread over the dkos audience. Let's get some attention for this cause so we can ease Fineena's mind about tomorrow.

And thank you to the daily kos community for all you do.

I'll repeat the pertinent info from the earlier diary below the thing to provide context and the information you'll need to ACT. Please help us tonight if you possibly can.

It starts with an email I received today from Fineena:

Continue Reading
Reposted from JoanMar by JoanMar

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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Sun Apr 12, 2015 at 07:59 AM PDT

Good morning!!!

by TexMex

Reposted from TexMex by Onomastic

A lesson from Madeline.

We love our bread, we love our butter but most of all we love each other.
(Madeline actually can't say it but she chatters something close when she see the little girls eat.)
Fight CF Madeline's page:
Reposted from KosAbility by Onomastic

Adapted from Medscape Medical News - ACA at 5 Years: 25 Numbers to Know - Robert Lowes - March 30, 2015 with source citations - figures may vary from those published by other sources. (See intro to free use of Medscape below the fold; note 170+ comments at the original article at time of adaptation.) With this we get good talk-points in daily casual conversation with neighbors, co-workers, folks in line at the market and home-improvement store, with original data-source access to keep current and authoritative... and to share around for anyone with uncertainties or doubts.

1. ► 37.2 million: Number of Americans who were uninsured in the first 9 months of 2014, a decrease of 23% from 2010, when the ACA was passed. CDC Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January – September 2014 (pdf)

2. ► 11.7 million Americans who have signed up or re-enrolled for coverage on ACA insurance exchanges for 2015. marketplace enrollment updated 8 April 2015 - Urban Institute/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dot org (website)

3. ► 46%: Increase in the number of Americans signing up for coverage in an ACA exchange plan 2014 to 2015. ibid.

4. ► 2.3 million young adults gained coverage from 2010 through September 2013 by staying on parents' health insurance plan up to age 26. Health Insurance Coverage and the ACA, 16 March 2015 - HHS dot gov (pdf)

5. ► 28 states plus Washington, DC expanded under the ACA. Current Status of State Medicaid Expansion Decisions - kff dot org (website)

6. ► 11.2 million additional Americans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in January 2015 compared with autumn 2013 HHS dot gov slash Healthcare [additional Medicaid enrollment] (website), 86% of them in states that expanded Medicaid programs. Medicaid & CHIP: January 2015 Monthly Applications, Eligibility Determinations and Enrollment Report (pdf)

7. ► 30,700 jobs Alabama would have gained each year through 2020 if it had expanded its Medicaid program. Economic Impact of the Medicaid  Expansion, 23 March 2015 - HHS dot gov (pdf)

8. ► 900,000 Americans' individual or employer-sponsored health policies were cancelled for 2015 because they did not comply with the ACA. Health Reform Monitoring Survey - QuickTake: Health Insurance Policy Cancellations Were Uncommon in 2014 - Urban Instit. Health Policy Ctr dot org (website)

9. ► $7.4 billion: The drop in uncompensated care for hospitals nationwide in 2014 resulting from ACA exchange coverage and Medicaid expansion. Insurance Expansion, Hospital Uncompensated Care, and the ACA, 23 March 2015 - HHS dot gov Medicaid Expansion (pdf)

10. ► 46%: Percentage of Americans who said they approved of the ACA in the first Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, April 2010. Health Tracking Poll: Exploring the Public’s Views on the ACA - kff dot org (website)

11. ► 50% approval rating, June 2010 (highest to date). ibid.

12. ► 33% approval rating, November 2013 during the glitchy rollout of (lowest to date). ibid.

13. ► 41% approval rating, March 2015. ibid.

14. ► 87%: Percentage of 2015 enrollees in ACA exchange plans in the 37 states using who receive a premium subsidy in the form of a tax credit. Marketplaces make significant progress in 2015 - urban dot org (website)

15. ► $3960: Average premium subsidy (annual) in 2015. Insurance Coverage Provisions of the ACAct, CBO’s March 2015 Baseline - Congressional Budget Office; staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, cbo dot gov (pdf)

16. ► 1 in 2: Number of American households eligible for a premium subsidy in 2014 who will have to pay some money back to the government in 2015 because of income changes. New Analysis - Half Of Households Eligible for a Tax Subsidy...Would Owe a Repayment;45% Would Receive a Refund - kff dot org (website)

17. ► $794: Estimated average payment these households will owe the government in 2015. ibid. "...Estimated Average Repayment is $794. Estimated Average Refund is $773..."

18. ► $15 billion: Amount saved so far by 9 million Medicare beneficiaries receiving prescription drugs as a result of the law's shrinkage of the infamous Part D "doughnut hole." Whitehouse dot gov blog-email — 23 March 2015 "Better with Obamacare (website, may be somewhat slow to load) : ■ More than 16 million  Americans have gained health coverage ■ 9.4 million People with Medicare saved a total of more than $15 billion on prescription medications ■ 76 million People are benefiting from preventive care coverage  ■ 105 million People no longer have a lifetime limit on their health coverage ■ Up to 129 million People with pre-existing conditions are no longer at risk of being denied coverage ■ ZERO Death panels were created ■

19. ► 18: ACA tax increases, new taxes, fees, and penalties the Heritage Foundation counted  —Obamacare’s Impact on Today’s and Tomorrow’s Taxpayers...August 21, 2013 (website)—  [based on/in] a government analysis  —Congressional Budget Office dot gov 22pp. 21 August 2013 letter to the Speaker of the House (pdf)—  of the ACA.

20. ► 15: Number of seats on the law's Independent Payment Advisory Board [which was] created to curb Medicare spending and loathed by organized medicine. PUBLIC LAW 111–148—MAR. 23, 2010 "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." (pdf)

21. ► 0: Number of people appointed to the Independent Payment Advisory Board so far. WIKIPEDIA - Indep. Pyt. Adv. Brd (website)

22. ► 26% / 12%: Percentages of polled Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. in March 2015 who believe an ACA government panel is involved in decisions about patients' end-of-life care. vox dot com, 23 March 2015 - "...still worried about death panels" (website)

23. ► $10: Threshold for "transfers of values" to physicians — [think of a $10 box of brand-labelled ballpoint pens from a pharmaceutical representative] — which drug and device makers must report to the government, as required by the ACA's Sunshine Act. Medscape: Every Slice of Drug-Rep Pizza Counts Starting Aug. 1 [2013] (website). See also WIKIPEDIA: Physician Payments Sunshine Act (webpage) and cms dot gov "Open Payments" (website).

24. ► 0.3%: Percentage point increase in new-patient visits as a proportion of all visits for primary care physicians from 2013 (22.6%) to 2014 (22.9%), when insurance coverage expanded under the ACA. Medscape Medical News reportage, "Doctors [are not swamped by new patients]" (webpage) on and linking to ACAView’s Second Report on the Affordable Care Act, 25 Feb 2015 - Robt.Wood Johnson Fndn dot org (pdf)

25. ► 3: Number of lawsuits about the ACA that have made it to the Supreme Court: National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius (individual mandate and Medicaid expansion), Burwell v Hobby Lobby (contraception coverage mandate), and King v Burwell (premium subsidies). The last case is pending.

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Reposted from Joan McCarter by JoanMar
Gov. Scott breaks ground on Embraer’s new Engineering and Technology Center, Melbourne, Florida. November 28, 2012
Sorry, Florida. He just doesn't care anymore.

When he was running for re-election in 2014, Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) cared deeply about the "poorest and weakest" Floridians, and bucked the tea party by supporting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. But he won in November, so all that concern is history.
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.

Scott had been essentially AWOL in weeks of very tense budget debate in the state's legislature and negotiations for a program with the federal government. The Senate included Medicaid expansion in its budget, the House refuses to include it. Scott's announcement Monday makes it pretty clear where he stands on the issue—it's not a priority. He didn't say he'd veto it if the Senate prevails, but he sure isn't going to do anything to help the "poorest and weakest" Floridians now.
Reposted from JoanMar by JoanMar

    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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