More of this, Democrats:
Republican lawmakers who oppose the Democrats’ health reforms should give up their taxpayer-subsidized health insurance and pay for their own coverage, say a group of progressive House Democrats.
In a letter to soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Democrats urged Republicans to stick to their principles opposing government-run health care and give up their own congressional health care plan.
“You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don’t happen to be Members of Congress,” wrote Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). “If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk.”
Pathetically, only four House members signed this letter. Every single one of them should sign it. To make things easy for the dimmer bulbs in the caucus, Heath Shuler and company can just put an X where he is supposed to sign.
Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to invite every teabagger, every protester at the Health Care town halls, and every blue hair who voted for Republicans to take the time to opt out of their Medicare. I mean, if you want government out of your health care, there is an easy way for you to start.
My congresswoman, Nydia Velazquez, who ran unopposed this year and represents a district full of working-class and poor people (who I don’t imagine have much access to health insurance), didn’t sign this.
I should primary her in 2012.
i’m surprised they got that many. why would a Dem do something to antagonize a Republican ?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
What’s also great is that the Dems have a great throwback when the Republicans argue: HCR required all federal employees to go on exchanges when they are created.
Shouldn’t that be put your teabags where your mouths are?
I especially liked this as the GOP has been on a jihad against government employees in general. As a former govt employee, I love my taxpayer subsidized govt health insurance from the same pool these jerks selected their own.
Can we get a petition for us commoners to sign as well? I’d love to see our new House Overlords stick to their twisted values. Hoist on their own petards, etc.
I don’t know, but the Dems did something really horrible yesterday. They added a leadership position in the House. And this has made David Broder really mad.
I guess Broder doesn’t care that the GOP leadership is snubbing Obama or that the GOP is blocking the START treaty or that unemployment is 10% and Broder’s buddy, George Will, wants to strip the Fed of Full Employment responsibilities. But Dems have added a leadership position, and that’s just too much.
This is filled with WIN, so of course the Democrats will walk on by…
I’ll be letting my Rep (Dingell) know I want him to sign on. Everyone else should do the same.
Probably won’t do much good, but if you’re not willing to make a similar call, you shouldn’t bitch if your Rep ignores the letter.
I will be happy to sign on behalf of Scott Brown (I-Teaachusetts).
My teabagger (but other wise intelligent) friend told me that she can’t opt out of Medicare. She is mad that Medicare Advantage subsidies are going away, because she’s going to have to pay even more now. I don’t really understand this, since I am nowhere near Medicare age. Does anyone know whether or not people can opt out of Medicare?
On a related note, my 92 year old super-Republican great-uncle, who watches Fox 24/7 from his bed at the nursing home certainly enjoys his Medicare, especially since his kidneys recently failed, and Medicare is now paying for him to have dialysis 3x/week. At 92 years old with no hope of recovery, Medicare is paying for the nursing home to lift him out of his bed with a crane, transport him in a special van with an attendant to go have dialysis 3x/week. I can’t even imagine how much this is costing. He has neuropathy and can’t walk, used to use his scooter (paid for by Medicare) to get around until he got so bad he can’t get out of bed, and has a new hip and I think knee, thanks to Medicare. Medicare also paid for his special mattress and some other stuff because he has really gnarly, deep bed sores. He does love his Medicare, but did he support the healthcare bill? Heck no. I’m not saying the nursing home should let him die, but I have been amazed that these old folks are not more grateful for all they’re getting.
Great minds and all that. I have lately taken to saying exactly this to everyone who starts complaining about the “government takeover of health care–oh noes!” around me. It shuts their big pie holes with lightning speed. And I have taken it a little further by telling all the assholes who work for local government (road crews, water and sewage authorities, etc.) to quit their jobs and all the old fucks on Social Security and Caribou Barbie fans with kids on SSI to refuse their checks and get a fucking job.
I’m sick of these people. And I now refuse to shut up about it, which I used to do in some misguided attempt to have a civil society. We haven’t had a civil society in 30 years due to the reign of St. Ronnie. Fuck them sideways.
Obama has doubled down on the START treaty. He’s on TV right now along with Kissinger, Baker, Cohen, Albright, Lugar & other former Secy’s of Defense & State Dept. He wants it done b/4 2011.
You realize this would also help lower the deficit, since health-care costs are one of the big budget-busters in the mix.
As the letter says, “walk the walk, Republicans!”
Exactly so. Sad but true, inconsequential imagery politics matters. The current GOP is such a crackpot stew of crazy that the opportunity for this kind of image politics is overwhelming; make them look like fools, it’s so f’ing easy.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
You need to set her straight on this. Medicare Advantage was set up so that private businesses could prove that they could do the job better and cheaper than the government. When the couldn’t, Republicans put more money into this so that the companies could get a profit. So this is actually costing more than Medicare.
Democrats aren’t hitting the note right.
What they *should* be saying is that Republicans in Congress only want to repeal ACA because in 2014, they’ll be tossed onto the same exchanges as everyone else. It’s called eating your own dogfood and it’s not hypocrisy keeping them from wanting to do it, it’s greed.
Shorter: Republicans just want to keep their premium healthcare.
Also2, they should turn in those Medicare scooters we bought them. heh
You beat me to this. I saw it this morning before I took my 3 year old girl to “dance” class (it’s really more like “flail around randomly” class, but it’s fun). Anyway, at least he’s consistent. I mean, I just know he wrote a piece 2 years ago, saying that Boehnhead and McConnell should step aside after the voters smeared the Republicans all over the floor on election day. I mean, he must have written that, right? Right?
Democrats are pathetic.
Democrats are extraordinary pathetic.
That is all.
I went to the urology clinic yesterday and the teabagedness was palpable.
@Martin: Of course they do, they are like all these fucking welfare tit teabaggers. THEY deserve what they get.
Even if you can’t opt out of Medicare, the principled teabagger should simply not utilize it, but find and pay for private insurance on their own.
I’m going to call my rep this morning. If your rep still has D by his name, you should call too. Look up contact info here.
Or you could buy a booth at major Teatard events and offer to assist attendees with filling out the form to decline their Social Security benefits. I’m sure you’d be very busy.
Yeah, wasn’t it pretty big in conservative circles that Congress should be subject to all of the same laws as the rest of us?
This would be a good place to start. After all, they tell us that there are perfectly good, affordable, private health care plans available for individuals to purchase.
Congress shouldn’t get government health care. That’s just money wasted that could be going into the hard working pockets of true producers: Kaiser, PacificCare, or Blue Cross.
Congress should immediately end this soshalist nonsense for themselves and their staff.
Of course, having said that, you know that the health insurance companies would immediately be climbing over each other to offer them special ‘friend’ or ‘VIP’ rates.
OT: Soros disses O-bots
Yes, they are fools. And though it’s OT, this is just more proof of what fools they are:
Medicare Advantage premiums are going *down* next year, by 1% on average. Coverage is (somewhat) going *up* next year by mandating that mammograms and generic prescription drugs be free.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are not free-wheeling plans. They’re essentially contracts between insurers and CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). CMS negotiates the Part C plans with the insurers, how much they can charge seniors, what they cover, and so on. It’s all quite strongly proscribed, and CMS can drop a plan if they aren’t willing to bring it in line with coverage/costs. For 2011 300 plans got dropped (not sure whether CMS or the insurer dropped, though, but CMS definitely dropped some of them).
The subsidies were designed to encourage insurers to offer Part C plans. Now, the subsidy isn’t going to be guaranteed, but will be based on the quality of the plan. Highly ranked plans can qualify for up to a 5% bonus.
Individuals can opt out of Medicare – they’ve always been able to. If they have a group plan and are working, or have a group plan with at least 20 members and are retired, they can opt out. Anyone can opt out of Part D (prescription drugs). Part C is a replacement for Parts A (hospitalization) & B (medical), so if you have C (medicare advantage), you have opted out of A+B.
The reason people say they can’t opt out of Medicare is that opting out of Medicare is really fucking expensive. Premiums run a minimum of $1000/mo. But they can opt out.
Actually, I don’t get this. I loathe and despise the present day Republican party with every fiber of my being. I yield to no one in the feelings of revulsion and disgust it inspires in me. Most of its members would as soon lie as breathe; they work night and day on behalf of the selfish and the greedy against the public good. They ‘have no decency’. The way in which the Republicans blocked HCR is a disgrace (one of many), and I would like to have seen single payer, and failing that a public option, but was glad when the ACA passed. But couldn’t a Republican in all consistency oppose the ACA (or something better) and think that employer-provided health insurance (or even health care) is legit, even when the employer is the govt.?
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): Yep and that “Keep government out of my medicare” was probably related to that very expensive program that people have opted into. People like the idea that it is “privatey-kind of” but it is so costly that the government should put its hands on it.
@New Yorker: Joe Crow ley is my Congresscritter. The Clerk of the House has tried to tell me that Nydia Velazquez is my Congresscritter. Our districts do abut each other but there is a blimp that gives my building (and the whole complex) to Crowley. I’ve talked to the House Clerk two times about this problem because it means I can not e-mail Crowley but must call his office. (There are times when it’s easier to e-mail him than to call. I really have to print out enlargements of some maps and mail them to the Clerk’s office, I think.)
I think it is a deep-seated (if irrational) fear that if everyone can participate in their system, then they won’t be able to continue to receive the level of care (i.e. mobilized dialysis) that they enjoy now. Super Platinum health care for me, not for thee.
Sadly, my rep with the D next to his name is Jason Altmire and he voted against ACA and ran for reelection proudly shouting about how he’d vote against it again. He’s no better than any of the GOPers. In fact, he may be worse. In his previous life, he was a lobbyist for UPMC Health Systems.
I think you can ‘opt out’ of part of Medicare. I will have to look up the details. Medicare comes in four parts:
A: hospitalization, B: outpatient, C: Medicare Advantage (from 1997) and D: Drugs (from whenever drug plan was passed).
I think you can opt out of part B. When you retire and start receiving part A, you have to make a decision regarding enrollment. My understanding is that some people opt out because a spouse is still working and they get a better deal by staying on spouse’s private plan. Some people mishandle enrollment in part B and have to pay penalties for every year they opt out, or higher premiums for rest of their life because of ‘late enrollment’. I forget out ‘late enrollment’ is defined.
I am rusty on the details and will have to look them up.
Anyway, I think a Medicare Challenge could be worked up for the Tea People, and GOP lawmakers (who should be advising their followers to opt out of this inefficient and dangerous government run death paneled nightmare).
As for Medicare Advantage costing less, I think that is true for some people. My parents’ problem on Medicare Advantage is that that the private providers have been reorganized, and churned so much that they have had to tranfser from plan to plan. It has saved them money in terms of premiums, but has lead to problems in continuity of care. One of them has kidney problems due to poor control of blood pressure for a number of years, and I think that routine aspect of care was neglected on some Medicare Advantage plans (which in central California seemed to changed every other year, sometimes new plan did not provide easy access to routine primary care).
So did they save money in terms of premiums? They say so. Is the net deal when you consider one of them has lost 30% of kidney function, when you include money and physical condition, current disability and extra cost of care now? Who knows.
I am not a doctor, so just guessing about it. But current primary care doc says kidney problems look like consquence of neglect of routine blood pressure control over about a decade in ‘early old age’.
I know one argument teabaggers make is that they’ve paid in to Medicare, so they deserve every benefit they get. So let’s do the math: the employee share is 1.45% of their gross pay per check. Nope, sorry, what the employer kicks in doesn’t count when you’re a fiercely independent Galtian hero teabagger. But still, I’ll be generous and assume your average teabagger made 66,000 per year for the last 50 years. That’s $967 per year for a grand total of $47,850.00 lifetime contribution. That’s about one hip replacement or a single bypass.
Next time a teabagger tells you they’ve earned the right to their medicare, ask to see their tax returns and then ask to see what they’re charged to Medicare. Then ask them to pay the difference back.
“Individuals can opt out of Medicare – they’ve always been able to. If they have a group plan and are working, or have a group plan with at least 20 members and are retired, they can opt out. Anyone can opt out of Part D (prescription drugs). Part C is a replacement for Parts A (hospitalization) & B (medical), so if you have C (medicare advantage), you have opted out of A+B.
The reason people say they can’t opt out of Medicare is that opting out of Medicare is really fucking expensive. Premiums run a minimum of $1000/mo. But they can opt out.”
Thanks for the details. I forgot completely that a person can opt out of part D. I should have remembered that, because the implementation of the choice of whether to enroll and which plan to enroll in was a big mess, and I heard about the ugly consequences at conferences.
Somebody should work up a Medicare Challenge for those elderly who claim to want to get out from under totalitarian slavery to big government medical care.
@cathaireverywhere: Waitaminute…he got a hip & knee replacement and still can’t walk anyway? Or were those before he got so bad he couldn’t walk?
Here’s what I just wrote to my Republican congressman:
I am writing to ask you to please give up your congressman’s health care plan and show Americans how easy it is to pay for your own health care. Please publish an open letter in newspapers in your district to explain to everyone why you are not entitled to this benefit at taxpayer expense, and share, if you will, how you chose your next health care option. Be a role model for health care repeal!
Also, please urge all your elderly constituents who are on Medicare and anyone on SSI or unemployment to surrender those benefits. They should move out of nursing homes they can’t afford, give back their scooters and dialysis treatments, refuse government handouts, and stand on their own two feet. Let’s start walking our talk, Republicans!
(sorry, that’s a secret)
@Martin: Thanks, Martin, for a cogent description of Medicare. I am federal govt retiree with the same insurance plans that members of Congress have. When I became Medicare-eligible, I opted into Part A because it doesn’t cost me anything. Part A covers hospitalization and it is the minimal required when applying for Social Security. Always wondered why people protested that they couldn’t opt out of Medicare when the only part they can’t opt out of (a) doesn’t cost them anything and (b) covers the costs of being in hospital. Yeah, I can see the signs now:
I WANT TO PAY THAT $10,000 HOSPITAL BILL, MEDICARE!!
I just called Gerry Connolly, my congressman, or I called his office, and told them I wanted hom to sign the damned letter, or if it’s too late, put his own damned letter out and get others to sign it. I told them that Harris gave this to the Democrats on a plate and they have to use it, get a little nasty and hit back on this stuff.
Everybody else who has a Democratic congressman, call the office and tell them to beat this to death for the next 2 years. Everybody on America should know who Andy Harris is by 2012. He should be the face of the Republican Party by the next election.
I think I’ll call Webb & Warner now and tell them to put out their own letter.
@debit: They’ve probably paid less than that $47,000-odd. That requires that they made $60,000 a year every year when they probably didn’t have a level salary but started somewhere lower and had raises over time to the $60,000 level. I know you’re using it as an example but it changes the final life-time contribution number when you add up what they really put in. And then they really can’t afford that hip replacement or by-pass surgery. (If they put it into savings or investments, it could have gotten wiped out in a crash and they still wouldn’t have the money for health care.)
@Mumphrey: I would add if your critter has an R next to his/her name, call and demand they opt out and pay their own.
ICAM with this. they need to ram, cram, shove it down their throats.
And what do these Dems say when the teabaggers argue that there is nothing contradictory about wanting, and accepting, employer-based health insurance?
I’m really not trying to play “concern troll” here, but it seems like the obvious rebuttal.
@PurpleGirl: Also, too, it hasn’t quite been 50 years since Medicare started. But like I said, I was being generous. My dad, bless his heart, is not quite in teabagger territory, but approaches it. He had a triple bypass a few years ago. I asked him later if he and mom were okay financially because of the expense. He said, “Oh, Medicare paid for all of it.” Medicare even paid for his membership to the Y so he could continue his walking and mild cardio exercises.
Yet this is the guy who said, in tones of grim warning after Obama was elected, “This country is now closer to socialism that ever before.”
(And no, I can’t walk the walk. I can’t argue politics with my Dad. Politics turn my normally nice dad into the raging asshole he used to be when still drank.)
@Nylund: It is government insurance. They say government insurance is bad and too expensive; therefore they should lead by example and buy their insurance on the free market like Real Americans(tm). The invisible hand will ensure that they get the best deal.
Has anyone mentioned the bit in TPM yesterday about the freshman from MD bitching about the fact his government-subsidized health care wouldn’t kick in for one month, and what was he supposed to do about that? And this was after running on getting rid of the health care reform plan?
But, but, but… but holding a pen is almost like making a fist, and they don’t want to give the impression they want a fight for f’s sake.
I would presume anyone could opt out of Medicare benefits by simply pulling out their own checkbook every time they go to the doctor or the pharmacy. Just don’t ask the doctor or pharmacy to submit your bill to Medicare. Pay for the service yourself. Full price.
Go ahead and pay for your medical treatment and prescription drugs like any other uninsured person. If you are truly tired of government spending for health care, that is.
Why doesn’t someone blast the chestnut that the government is spending all sorts of money on health care reform? Nothing is really being spent yet. Everything is pretty much down the road. Plus the act puts much more of the burden on employers — buy insurance to cover employees, or else — and on taxpayers — buy insurance, or else. The act, despite all the baloney that’s tossed around about it, is really a very sweet government subsidy for health insurance companies … those poor souls who were just barely eking out a living before.
Ella in New Mexico
Dialysis 3 times/week for a 92 year old man with end stage renal disease? Shit, why not go all out and demand a damn kidney transplant?
As an ICU nurse, I want to cry every day at the incredible amount of money we are wasting on aggressive medical interventions with the irreversibly terminally sick and extreme elderly. Since we don’t have “The Conversation” built into standard medical practices, these “choices” are usually offered as legitimate options at the suggestion of a doctor (who gets paid no matter what) given to patients and their family members who have never been given fully informed consent regarding the fact that the intervention won’t provide significant prolongation of quality of life, and in fact, will probably make their pain, suffering and end of life worse.
Just cause I can put you on a ventilator and propofol, it wont make your lung cancer stop killing you—BUT, you can stay alive for a few more weeks while all the “side effects” of that treatment also take effect, forcing us to bill your insurance for additional care.
No, we don’t need national health insurance in this country, that would put the government between you and your doctor.
Instead, my 26 year-old (who just graduated from college but is making $9.00/hr in a part-time temp job) is rolling the dice he won’t get hit by a car on his bike in the way to work and is not purchasing health insurance on the private market (for $300+ bucks a month) until he finds a full-time job that offers it.
Your uncle, with all due respect, should be a hospice patient on comfort measures, nothing more.
@Ella in New Mexico:
Um, that would be Death Panels and would make the baby Say-rah cry.
@Ella in New Mexico:
But that sounds like a DEATH PANEL.
I’m a doc and I echo your concerns. If people really understood what a huge percentage of our health care budget went to (largely pointless) EOL care they would be horrified. The insurance companies most assuredly don’t want this to change, BTW.
If they had any self-awareness or sense of hypocrisy, they wouldn’t be teabaggers and Foxtards.
Medicare is actually pretty generous on a world scale. It is known to be more comprehensive than what Canadian seniors get from their health system that covers everyone.
Yeah, and I say bring on the death panels. Because very few people really informed about end of life care opt for their lives to be dragged out painfully on machines. Honest discussion about this subject and the social cost is way over due.
Don’t forget the congressional staffs as well. All of them need to drop their government-run health care.
Remember during the HCR debate how we kept a running tally of who supported the bill and who didn’t? Let’s start calling Republican reps and keep a tally of who agrees to ditch their burdensome, un-American government-run health care and who doesn’t?
We can also keep a tally of Dems who sign onto the letter.
I called my rep, Keith Ellison. The person who answered the phone didn’t seem to know about the letter, but politely took my name and address and said he’d pass along my request to Ellison that he sign it.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): I’d love to set her straight. Do you have some links I can share with her? She won’t read obviously lefty sites, so I have to send her stuff from the most neutral sites I can find.
Dick Armey is currently suing to gain the right to opt out of Medicare without having to opt out of Social Security at the same time. You may be able to opt out of parts of Medicare but not all of it as I understand it. You could just pay your own damn bills if you are morally opposed to taking the socialized medicine from the government though. No one would stop you and your Doctor would love you for it!
@b-psycho: block quite fail- I don’t know how to do this.
@Ella in New Mexico: I completly agree. I just thought I would sound heartless if I said it. He has decided he wants to stay alive until his 88 year old wife with Alzheimer’s dies, even though she is hale and hearty in the Alzheimer’s unit of the nicest assisted living place in town, and even though we have all assured/promised him we will watch over her, and even though he only gets ot see her 10 min./day, at most, when the aides wheel her over to see him. He thinks he is still sharp as a tack, but he is not. He even got rid of his DNR order, after the renal failure hospital stay. We are all nieces and nephews, not children, so he gets to do what he wants, and Medicare pays.
I tried this with a teabagging counter protester at a rally for the health care bill before it passed the Senate.
His spittle flecked response, and I’m not exaggerating at all, he was so incensed about the HCB he was literally spitting as he talked, was “Sure, as soon as they pay me back for all the money I paid into Medicare and Social Security!”
He thought that was a really clever retort.
Phoenician in a time of Romans
Great minds and all that. I have lately taken to saying exactly this to everyone who starts complaining about the “government takeover of health care—oh noes!” around me.
Get ahold of a few of the forms necessary to do this (opt out of Medicare) or mock some up. Whip one out for these people to fill out when they start complaining. You can get insistant about it if you want them to go away.
Heath Shuler couldn’t handle Xs and Os in the NFL. I doubt he’s improved in Congress.
Just e-mailed my (D) Congresscritter. I included the link so the staffers would know what I was talking about.
I’ve had a few occasions in the past couple of years when I wanted to chuck Joe Crowley (my Congressguy) out the door, but this gives me serious naches.
Just emailed Doris Matsui (D, CA-5), with the link and an explanation of why I think it’s a good idea. Hopefully she’ll sign.
Just Some Fuckhead
The problem with this is there is very little private insurance available to the 65 and older set. Private insurers are quite happy to pawn off their most expensive customers to the public sector.
@J: Yes, but that’s not what they’re arguing. They’re arguing that when the government provides health insurance, it’s a sure road to death panels, rationing, gay abortions, soylent green, etc., etc.. The question for these GOP reps is why government healthcare is a perfectly fine employer-provided benefit when applied to them, but a deathmarch down the road to serfdom if provided to one of the poor residents of Washington, D.C.
It’s because they deserve their benefits, dammit.
you are right, most of them are….whereas the Republicans are soulless greedy parasites, which by comparison makes Dems look a whole lot better. If there were only some folks in Column C to choose from.
“Sure, as soon as they pay me back for all the money I paid into Medicare and Social Security!”
I think it was an ignorant retort.
Medicare premiums deducted from you paycheck are for Medicare part A, which is hospitalization.
For the parts you can opt out of, the premium does not cover all the costs, and the balance is paid out of general revenues.
I think parts B and D are mostly paid from general revenues, and that is the reason they are budget busters. This was why there was the whole debate about whether and how to fund the drug benefit (part D).
Edit: and what the Tea Person really means is that he has paid premiums for part A to fund his parents’ Medicare benefits, and wants to get that back somehow, or get cash from the current generation of workers who are paying his part A benefits (which are equivalent to premiums for their future part A benefits).
I will have to check out the details, but I think that is basically correct.