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Exciting times, with so many stepping up and taking direct action to make Democracy work for Mainstreet!

Hard to really tell given past history, but it seems that feedback from the base and downticket  is having an impact on the Presidential campaign!

Mr. Obama backed away from proposing sweeping changes to Medicare, following the advice of fellow Democrats that it would only give political cover to a privatization plan supported by House Republicans that turned to be unpopular with older Americans.

Administration officials said 90 percent of the $248 billion in 10-year Medicare cuts would be squeezed from service providers. The plan does shift some additional costs to beneficiaries, but those changes would not start until 2017.

Now where are medicare users going to get that money I wonder?  And is this another set up pitting those with benefits against those who are younger and will not get them?  Looking forward to wading into the weeds of the plan...

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Of course many are glad to see the jobs money in the plan, though frankly it is far too little too late after three years of growing massive unemployment.  Yes, of course, he inherited this mess, but we need massive help now.  Yes, the Republicans control the House, but what better way to contrast than to show audacity and push forth a transformational figure? Millions can't even get unemployment checks any more. My 60 year old former union factory worker brother is one of them. Is there help for them in the President's Plan?

Ending the Ten Years Wars and War Profiteering

Great to see talk of cutting war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Progressive Caucus proposed this.  Have to ask, is the Administration to be trusted on this, or is it merely in campaign mode again?

UPJ email this morning:

Under the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement all US troops are supposed to leave Iraq by December 31 of this year. However, the Obama Administration is trying to persuade the Iraqi government to continue an American military presence beyond that date.

In response Barbara Lee has introduced HR 27577 Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act of 2011 that would require the removal of all US troops and contractors from Iraq on or before the promised deadline December 31 2011.

This important bill now has 37 co-sponsors.(See list below). If your member of Congress is not on this list, please call their office and ask them to do so. Let them know it is long past time to bring  all US troops and contractors home from Iraq. Congressional Switchboard: 202 224-3121

Circulate this message widely and keep  us posted about the response you receive from the Congressional office.  

UFP Legislative Working Group unitedforpeace.org

COSPONSORS(37), ALPHABETICAL(
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 8/16/2011
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 8/16/2011
Rep Christensen, Donna M. [VI] - 9/7/2011
Rep Chu, Judy [CA-32] - 9/7/2011
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 8/16/2011
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 8/16/2011
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 8/2/2011
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 8/16/2011
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] - 8/16/2011
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 8/1/2011
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 8/16/2011
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 8/1/2011
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 8/1/2011
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 9/7/2011
Rep Hahn, Janice [CA-36] - 9/7/2011
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 8/16/2011
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 8/1/2011
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 8/16/2011
Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 8/16/2011
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] - 8/19/2011
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] - 8/1/2011
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 8/16/2011
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 9/9/2011
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 8/19/2011
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 9/7/2011
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 9/7/2011
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 8/16/2011
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 9/13/2011
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 8/16/2011
Rep Richardson, Laura [CA-37] - 8/16/2011
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 8/19/2011
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] - 9/7/2011
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] - 8/16/2011
Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 8/16/2011
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] - 9/13/2011
Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] - 8/1/2011
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 8/1/2011

If your Rep is not on the list, please contact. Also, please support efforts to oppose the War Profiteerswho are getting face time with the Catfood II 'Super' Committee and taking their 'Second to None' show on the road.

Change

The President's campaign seems to be changing with our input, but the President is still talking about deficits which is Republican fail talk .  Lets keep up the pressure for Jobs/Jobs/Jobs/real Democratic values.

Action

Many progressives are out taking direct action now and in October to lobby for change.

If you have not already, please consider joining the almost 300,000 who have signed on to work for the Contract for the American Dream / Rebuild the Dream    (Each point in the Contract has drop down menu at the link.)

I have a dream. It is deeply rooted in the American Dream.Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King1963 March on Washington

We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice . . . for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life... (continue reading the preamble)

10 Critical Steps to Get Our Economy Back on Track

I. Invest in America's Infrastructure

II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs

III. Invest in Public Education

IV. Offer Medicare for All

V. Make Work Pay

VI. Secure Social Security

VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates

VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home

IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation

X. Strengthen Democracy

8:18 AM PT: Military Retiree cuts still on the table

Retiree Benefits for the Military Could Face Cuts‎
New York Times - James Dao - Mary Williams Walsh - 13 hours ago
Cuts that deep will almost certainly entail reducing personnel benefits for active and ... The typical beneficiary, they add, is not a general but a retired ...

http://www.nytimes.com/...

The President should come out in opposition to this soon, or this will be another election snake pit.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and Recs for making history in these (16+ / 0-)

    "interesting" times, and for getting more fired up for the campaign as see change in the plan!

  •  Seeing Martin Luther King's famous quote again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, shaharazade

    and knowing he marched on Washington has us talking about going in October. You?

  •  Those Medicare "cuts" (16+ / 0-)

    need to be put in perspective.  Assuming you are correct that approximately 10% of the costs will be put on to the beneficiaries - it means that someone who pays $110/month in medicare bills will after 2017 pay $121/month.

    Is that really something worth being outraged about? Especially if overall medical costs are decreased due to the ACA and other cost-reducing strategies are implemented?

    Housing, Cable TV, Groceries, Clothes - all of these goods and services will rise at a much faster rate than the rise in medicare costs under this plan.

    •  Yes, the increase is worth being outraged about. (7+ / 0-)

      Given the ever increasing cost of everything, as you say, why on earth would raising their medical costs be a good idea, too, particularly for people who will see no appreciable commensurate increase in their income?

      As is so often the case with this Administration and their Congressional enablers, it's asking the people least able to afford it to bear the costs.

      It's also incredibly bad politics, further undermining the advantage that Republicans handed Democrats on health care as a political issue.

      It's a stinker of an idea that deserves to be laughed off stage.

      The real enemy of the good is not the perfect, but the mediocre.

      by Orange County Liberal on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:15:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Medical costs aren't being decreased (8+ / 0-)

      I know people keep saying that, but it's still not true.  Medical inflation is rising far faster than most other inflation, and the ACA isn't going to eliminate that.  It's not even going to do much to change it.  The idea that health care costs will rise more slowly than other costs is preposterous.

      We don't know the details of these proposed increases, and we certainly don't know what will come out of any negotiations.  But the biggest step that could control Medicare costs, drug price negotiation, isn't on anybody's radar screen in Washington.  That alone does not bode well for outcomes.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:23:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some said that the drug price negotiation (0+ / 0-)

        would be one of the improvements to HIR down the road.  Looks like the deal with big Pharma is still standing firm?

      •  That's simply not true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99

        I'm not saying that direct drug negotiation by CMS wouldn't help, but the plain and simple fact is that prescription drugs account for about 10% of Medicare's total outlay.  Both inpatient/Part A (~32%) and outpatient/nominally Part B (~20%) exceed Part D by good margins.

        I'm not in any way, shape, or form arguing against negotiated pricing -- but the biggest step to control Medicare costs starts in PPS reform, not prescription drugs... unfortunately -- anytime "cuts to providers" come up, many on the left either intentionally or unintentionally become appendages of the AHA.

        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

        by zonk on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 08:59:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pot

          Provider cuts will reduce provider availability.  I take Medicare patients and already accept 20% less in payments for straight Medicare patients than for most private insurance payers or Medicare Advantage programs.  The differential is sometimes more.

          If you cut Medicare reimbursements to providers more providers will quit.  The more that quit, the more unattractive it will be for other providers to take Medicare.  Hospitals will stay in the system, but doctors, ancillary services providers and others will become hard to find.  It's a great way to kill a system.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

          by Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 04:01:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  $11 can be the difference in being able to eat for (4+ / 0-)

      the last couple of days of the month.

                   Just my two cents,
                          Heather

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:25:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only For Losers Below the Middle Class nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:30:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not clear to me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second gen, aisling

      Its says 10% of the $248 Billion in cuts would affect beneficiaries. I don't think that necessarily equates to a 10% increase in cost for beneficiaries.

    •  It doesn't mean that at all because (0+ / 0-)

      there is nothing explaining to the reader of that article exactly HOW or in what amounts any cuts would be passed on.  You can't conclude anything based on the information at hand.

      What people need to understand is that the Medicare system IS teetering on the brink. Something HAS to be done in a few years or it truly will be belly up. No doubt about it. Standing around screaming "no change" and patting yourselves on the back with claims that Obama must have felt the pressure from the base is ridiculous and an extreme oversimplification. There's STILL a funding problem, EVEN with an increase in taxes on the wealthy because we have an aging society and the baby boomers have not crested yet on their way to Medicare. I'm 54 and was born in the year more kids were born in this country before or since - 1957. We should all be worried about what happens when I hit Medicare age in 11 years because there are going to be a hell of a lot of people with me. Maybe instead of continually going on the attack against this President and questioning his motives and assuming all we need to do is have his self-designated "base" throw some tantrums perhaps we need to think about the issue in a more informed and sophisticated fashion than "cuts bad".

  •  3 trillion in cuts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, shaharazade

    People think entitlements are safe...so sad.

    If it ain`t coming from the military, then from where?

    Dem 2012 ~ Austerity R US

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:00:48 AM PDT

  •  Medicare part B is already means tested (12+ / 0-)

    Not for eligibility, but for premium cost.  Individuals with income over $85,000 and couples with incomes over $170,000 already pay more for part B premiums, than those under these thresholds.  This has been the case since 1997.

    •  very important point (6+ / 0-)

      there is already a means test, making the upper levels pay a few dollars more, ie, making the means testing slightly more progressive, but not to the point of wiping out any benefit, is really not going to turn Medicare into a welfare plan.

      Any more than progressive taxation is class warfare.

      Knowledge is power,  we need to be reminded regularly of what is in the tax and payment structures of these plans, and realize they were designed originally with the idea the well to do should pay more in.   And that the notion of means testing on this limited basis is neither welfare or class warfare.

  •  Won't Medicare cuts to service providers (5+ / 0-)

    affect beneficiaries by causing doctors to limit or curtail their acceptance of Medicare patients?  I know there is padding and abuse in the system that needs to be cleaned up, but it seems to me that cuts to providers will lead to fewer providers, and in the long run, fewer services and less accessibility for Medicare patients.

    •  Yes (6+ / 0-)

      It's happening already, and if provider cuts are deep, general or draconian providers will stop taking Medicare patients in large numbers.  It's already happened to Medicaid, where providers are very hard to find in a lot of areas.  If Medicare goes the same way, it will become a very undesirable option.  Which may be the point for a lot of people planning these cuts.  They can't privatize Medicare now, but if they poison the well it may get easier in the future.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:25:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's been the threat for forty years. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tomjones, TrueBlueDem, sebastianguy99

      As soon as medical providers figure out a way to move their hospitals to Mexico, it may come true.  But it hasn't yet.

      Inland: A privately held corporation spun off from the Womb Division of MomCo a half century or so ago.

      by Inland on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:36:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the more concerning item (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Floande, zett, sebastianguy99

      But does "provider" translate to Doctor or NP or therapist?  Because the equipment end is big bucks, and has some real issues.  

      My mom has a power chair that's been serving as a coat rack in her apartment for the last two years. She fractured her and was convinced by the rehab facility that she should have it.  I'm not accusing the rehab folks of anything nefarious; she was a morbidly obese, diabetic 75 year old woman with COPD, and an ankle fracture.  I don't think anyone expected her to recover as well as she has.  But she's lost 55 pounds since in the last year and gets around better now than before the injury.  My brother has convinced her to keep it "just in case".  $4,000 in unnecessary Medicare expense right there.  Why aren't these kinds of expensive equipment leased, rather than purchased outright?

      •  Lots of them have those power chairs they don't (0+ / 0-)

        ...use.

        I've seen this from my work on the ground. We go into seniors homes and see them. Some are outside gathering rust, some have broken down and are too expensive to fix, some don't have the capacity to load them up and travel.

        The bottom line is that most don't need them, and if they do, a number only need them on a temporary basis.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 12:23:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Depends on which providers (0+ / 0-)

      Individual practices?  

      Perhaps, depending...

      But you'd be hard-pressed to find a hospital network that doesn't accept Medicare - indeed, Medicare is a profit center of many hospital networks.

      I'm sympathetic to the CAHs/DSHs that truly rely on Medicare to keep the lights on -- but the for-profits and faux-not-for-profits have been running amok for 30 years learning how to game the system.

      It will never happen under this congress, but I think it's high time to admit that the entire DRG/CMI system has been a failure and radical changes are needed.   Block grant the dependent facilities to relieve the reporting burden, but drop the hammer on the Columbia/HCA's, et al.

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:05:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Provider cuts will vanish soon after the ink dries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, divineorder, sebastianguy99

    Look, people...none of this is being added to the Constitution. It's a 10-year "road map" that future Congresses will take "under advisement"...and quickly scrap as soon as tax revenues rebound. They pass the "doctor fix" every time. It's a very powerful lobby - they won't be hurting for long.

    (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

    by TrueBlueDem on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:44:28 AM PDT

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