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Posts Tagged ‘Health Care’

It was on his official schedule last night, but today it’s apparently been deleted from his website. Gov. Rick Scott will reportedly be chatting it up with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today on the phone from 5:15 – 5:45 p.m. (Gosh, I wonder if either of them will try to verify that they’re actually talking to the “real” Gov. first? That might be a wise idea.) Gosh, I wonder what they’ll talk about? Will one of the “real” Koch brothers be on the line with them? After all, the Koch’s do have ties to Gov. Scott and his high-speed rail sabotage plan, who knows what else they might be up to?

Yesterday Gov. Scott said this about unions and collective bargaining:

“My belief is as long as people know what they’re doing, collective bargaining is fine,” Scott said in an interview with Tallahassee’s WFLA FM radio station.

Sure, whatever. Of course if you know anything about Gov. Scott, you can take your chances that he means it, but I for one don’t buy it. Especially when the Florida Legislature is already working on the unions.

Sen. John Thrasher, former state GOP chairman, looks like he has filed a bill (SB830) to starve unions like the Florida Education Association, SEIU, AFL-CIO, firefighters, police unions or AFSCME by banning the Democratic-leaning organizations from using salary deductions for political purposes. The legislation also says any “public employer may not deduct or collect” union dues, etc. Lastly, it says that any public employee who didn’t specifically authorize the use of his money could be entitled to a partial refund.

The bill doesn’t seem to go as far as Wisconsin’s by ending collective bargaining rights in Florida, though in a right-to-work state there’s only so much union bargaining that can take place. Still, the language about union dues sure looks like it’s right out of the playbook of the tea party and Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker (who incidentally is not a high-speed rail fan, either).

Gov. Walker said this about high-speed rail funds in his state last Nov.:

Governor-Elect Scott Walker today released the following statement on high-speed rail:

“Since learning about the state’s agreement with the federal government we have been exploring all legal options to stop the train from moving forward, and we believe this is a step in the right direction.  We are continuing to work with members of congress on redirecting this money to fixing our crumbling roads and bridges.”

Why, that sounds distinctly familiar. That’s kind of what Gov. Scott was expecting to do. But he can’t, because the money must be used toward the high-speed rail project, or it goes elsewhere, and there’s a lot of other states with their hands out just waiting. Scott has until Friday to make a decision.

Meanwhile, back in Tallahassee, now “nationally famous so-called fiscal hero” (we know he is because the media tells us so!) Marco Rubio, the former Tea Party darling, turned U.S. Senator who now shuns Tea Bagger voters who put him in office (but not the Tea Party corporate funders of course), came back to Florida yesterday to talk money with the Florida House. He reportedly spoke with no notes, and no teleprompter, but he really didn’t need to since that speech is burned into his memory. He gives the same one all the time. All he needs is someone to pull his string and he’s off!

“The math is straightforward. The federal government this year, in order to operate, will have to borrow one-and-a-half trillion dollars. – trillion dollars,” Rubio said. “Medicare and Social Security as they currently are structured, is unsustainable,” he said to applause. “They will bankrupt themselves and ultimately bankrupt our country.”

But despite his calls for bipartisan solutions, Rubio gave no specifics and offered standard party-line fare to reduce spending and not raise taxes.

“Apart from all the ideological rhetoric,” he said, “an increase in taxes will destroy the ability of our economy to grow, which will mean less revenue to government. It’s a vicious cycle. They’re starting to doubt about our ability to pay our debt back”

Of course, he gives no specific ideas, but then he never does.

“What I fear most of all is that we have a political process in Washington that is frozen,” he said. “The White House knows this. The congressional leadership knows this. But no one wants to go first because they don’t want to get beaten up about it….

“If we don’t figure this out, none of these politics and elections are going to matter anyway because this country will decline so rapidly that you won’t even recognize it by 20 or 30 years. It’s not going to be a third world country. But it’s not going to be exceptional or unique. Our decline is not inevitable.”

You don’t have to be psychic to see why he was giving this speech, or where he was going with it, but chances are Social Security and Medicare are on Rubio’s mind as well as on the table, but Rubio doesn’t want to “go there first” anymore than he claims other political “chickens” do either, so he didn’t say the words. Wink, wink.
Also from the same article was this:
Prior to his speech, Rubio met privately with Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, all of whom are Republicans. Rubio said he discussed Panamanian and Colombian free-trade issues with Scott and discussed Bondi’s efforts to fight so-called “fake cocaine” sold under the guise as bath salts.
How very secretive of them. Gosh, do you suppose they talked about unions too, along with talking points dolled out by the Koch brothers, and some on health care from the National Federation Of Independent Business, the lobbying group helping to foot the bill for Florida AG Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, AND who gave generously to Bondi’s campaign as well last year and endorsed her?

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told a state House committee this month that most of the rest is being covered by the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that opposes the law because of what it considers unconstitutional costs and regulations on firms and people.

“They have dedicated a tremendous amount of resources to the lawsuit,” Bondi said Feb. 10. “We’re thrilled, because that’s saving our state money. That’s saving the 25 other states money as well.”

Did they discuss these issues along with other ways to bleed Floridians in addition to Gov. Scott’s already draconian budget plans? Maybe they did discuss such things, maybe not. But we’ll never know, because they’ve taken up Gov. Scott’s habit of meeting secretly with only Republicans. The rest of us are just not privy to their plans until it’s too late.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall during this afternoon’s phone call between Gov. Scott Walker and Rick Scott. If they’re really who they say they are.
Hello?……Hello?

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In keeping with his habit of governing in the dark, Rick Scott topped off the unveiling of his proposed budget privately with yet another private dinner at the Governor’s mansion last night for select state legislators. At the dinner were Sens. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and they were invited there to “discuss” Scott’s budget.

Here’s the gist of that discussion:

Rick Scott: “Just pass it.”

Wow. Dictator much Gov. Scott?

If you’ve kept up with Scott’s ego, you know that the last few days he’s been crowing that his budget should be a model for the entire nation. After a whole month of experience, Scott now feels that President Obama should also take his freely offered advice on how to govern. This probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, after all during his campaign he often made the mistake of thinking he was running against President Obama, and even skipped mentioning his true running mate, Alex Sink, several times in his ads. So much so that she laughed it off herself in her own ads. (I thought she deserved kudos for resisting an eye-roll on camera.)

It seems Scott is doubling down on the idea that he alone can lead the nation with his draconian budget slashing ideas according to an account of last night’s secret boys club meeting:

Later in the night that theme would be repeated when one of Scott’s top aides would suggest to all three senators that the nation will be watching to see if the Legislature enacts Scott’s “fiscally conservative” budget.

Yes, the nation is watching, but not for the reason Scott thinks it is. The nation is watching, and the nation is saying “Can you believe that those people actually elected that guy??” It’s not just that Florida actually elected the guy who was never charged with Medicare fraud, but whose former company set the record for Medicare fraud fines and is a textbook case, and now claims he wants to run the state like a business. (What could possibly go wrong in a state largely dominated by elderly residents?) It’s that combined with all that, Scott is also clueless on how to govern, and it shows.

Note to the ever-watchful nation: be afraid! Rick Scott announced last week that he would be spending a great deal of time in Washington, D.C., specifically on a monthly basis. (Gosh, I wonder if that might have anything to do with assisting the GOP in trying to dismantle the new Affordable Care Act?) If that’s the case, the “nation” may want to sleep with one eye open from now on. Don’t fall under a false sense of security if you aren’t aware of his presence. Just because you don’t see him or hear of him won’t necessarily mean he isn’t there. He operates under cover of darkness. As a resident of Florida I can tell you we have no clue what he’s up to down here most of the time. We only find out after the fact. Chances are unless you’re a lobbyist, business owner, or you’re made of money and want to throw some of it at him, you won’t either.

So by all means “nation” keep watching Rick Scott. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn from Florida’s mistake.

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In the wake of the ruling yesterday by Florida Judge Roger Vinson against the Affordable Care Act as “unconstitutional,” the Republican Party is absolutely beside itself with joy and cheering that the health care law is now all but defeated. Nothing to see here, move along. But as they happily bow at the feet of the health insurance companies and the lobbyists that they serve, let’s put some of this into the perspective of reality for a moment.

Yes, the ruling was troubling for those who were going to benefit from it with affordable health care that has eluded their grasp for so long. Yes, the ruling is just what the health insurance companies ordered over the recommendations of actual doctors, which is also the point. But is the Affordable Care Act really “over” as many are running victory laps are predicting? No, not necessarily. I will defer to those with more expertise on the many details of the ruling and the law like Ezra Klein does so well here.

But there’s one little thing I would like to point out here. After the ruling came out yesterday every Republican official in Florida was racing to be the first to declare the ACA a defeat and the true death panels, the health insurance companies and the Republicans who carry out their wishes, the clear winners. From our newly elected Gov. Rick “Who was Never Charged With Medicare Fraud” Scott, right down to every local Tea Bagger wannabe GOP involved in government in any way, they all rushed to crow about the ruling.

One in particular gave me pause. Newly elected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. In her news release declaring victory, she said this:

“Today’s ruling by Judge Vinson is an important victory for every person who believes in the freedoms granted to us by our Constitution,” said Attorney General Bondi. “This proves that the federal government requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is in fact unconstitutional. In addition, the bipartisan effort from Attorneys General across the country shows the federal government that we will not back down from protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

Really? This proves that the federal government requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is in fact unconstitutional.” Actually it “proves” no such thing. (Perhaps we should ask for proof of Bondi’s law degree.) What it “proves” is that one more Republican judge ruled against it. Two Democratic judges also upheld the ACA. Yet Bondi needs no more proof than this one ruling. She’s good! Thanks for playing!
That aside, it also shows that the The Family Research Council and the religious right found a judge who agrees with them so much that he used some of the very language in that ruling that they use. What a coincidence, huh?
Even beyond that, it appears that groups like The Family Research Council (also branded as a hate group by the SPLC, mind you) can have great influence on judges. Furthermore, it also appears that the religious right and The Tea Party and their corporate funders with big pockets also have “great influence”  in elections, thanks to that other court ruling: Citizens United.
Of course, there’s no “proof” of that, it just looks that way.  But hey, what do I know? I’m no Attorney General.

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Here are just a couple of things you’ll see and hear very little about in the mainstream media about President Obama’s health care reform law:

On the ruling yesterday that PART of the health care reform bill is unconstitutional:

Henry E. Hudson, the federal judge in Virginia who just ruled health care reform unconstitutional, owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform.

Most of the reports I’ve read and heard on this are neglecting to mention Judge Henry E. Hudson’s ties to the GOP.

Then there’s this, which surprisingly many people are still unaware of:

Clients lobbying on H.R.3200

Just an FYI for those who actually believe that lawmakers have only the best interests of their constituents at heart.

As hard as it is to believe, there are those who actually do.

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Yesterday was a banner day for Republicans in Congress. It was also a defining moment for the Party as a whole.

After eight years of marching in lockstep with the Bush-Cheney Administration on everything from tax cuts for the rich, right on down to lying us into wars and giving the nod to torture, just for starters, they took yet another “stand.”

The party that vowed they would like nothing more than to see our President fail (hence, the country) and that their number one priority is to see that he is a one term President, stooped to new lows yesterday. And yes, low EVEN for them.

In their quest to achieve the only goals in their platform; power and as much money as they can possibly get their greedy hands on, they also vowed to hold their breath like spoiled children until they get what they want: tax cuts for the rich, or as I call them, bailouts and bonuses for millionaires and billionaires. The only difference is when spoiled children hold their breath, they aren’t cutting off the oxygen for their entire family. But eventually children are smart enough to know that holding their breath is a dumb idea.

Not so the Republican Party. They are determined to choke off the oxygen of 98% of the country so that the 2% of the wealthiest may breathe a little easier than they do now. Besides, they have lots of money to spend on things like oxygen tanks, so no worries.

It hasn’t been enough that the Republicans have blown our economy on wars of choice, bank bailouts and yes, tax cuts for the rich, they want more. To prove it they have voted against just about everything that has come before them so far to prove it.  Just to name the most the most recent, yesterday they blocked the chances of the DREAM Act and a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. They blocked the National Defense Authorization Act. The party that goes by the mantra “Support The Troops” and claims only THEY can keep us safe is merely an illusion. They hide behind their flag pins.

Not only do the Republicans refuse to support the very troops, be they gay or otherwise, who are fighting their ginned-up wars, the troops aren’t the only ones they’re using. Yesterday they stooped to a new low. They blocked Democratic legislation to provide medical care for 9/11 first responders.

Let me repeat that:

THEY BLOCKED DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE FOR 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS

This isn’t the first time they’ve blocked it either. This is just the first time they blocked it while also holding its victims for ransom. If some MORE of those victims die in the process, well so be it. These Republicans don’t really care. After all, the so called “War On Terror” is good for their bottom line. Why not squeeze even more out of it while they’re at it?

I’ve heard speculation that when Republicans have more control in Congress next year, they may put forth their own legislation for some of these things they’re voting against now simply in an attempt to look like heroes in the long run. To them that may seem logical. They probably see this as a win since the public seems to have a short memory. Add to that, they have a vested interest in keeping the public stupid and in the dark. That’s what FOX-GOPTV is for after all.

Well sorry GOP. There are a lot of us who have really good memories, and we plan to remind those who don’t every chance we get. Today seems like a good day to start.

So here, along, with Florida’s own Sen. “Stand-In” George LeMieux, are the names of those Republicans who yesterday told 9/11 first responders who breathed in all those toxic fumes nine years ago (those who are still alive) that the price of their bravery is just too high for them to pay.

Sen. Lamar Alexander [R, TN]
Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY]
Sen. Robert Bennett [R, UT]
Sen. Christopher Bond [R, MO]
Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA]
Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY]
Sen. Richard Burr [R, NC]
Sen. Saxby Chambliss [R, GA]
Sen. Thomas Coburn [R, OK]
Sen. Thad Cochran [R, MS]
Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME]
Sen. Bob Corker [R, TN]
Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX]
Sen. Michael Crapo [R, ID]
Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC]
Sen. John Ensign [R, NV]
Sen. Michael Enzi [R, WY]
Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC]
Sen. Charles Grassley [R, IA]
Sen. Judd Gregg [R, NH]
Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT]
Sen. Kay Hutchison [R, TX]
Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK]
Sen. John Isakson [R, GA]
Sen. Mike Johanns [R, NE]
Sen. Mark Kirk [R, IL]
Sen. Jon Kyl [R, AZ]
Sen. George LeMieux [R, FL]
Sen. Richard Lugar [R, IN]
Sen. John McCain [R, AZ]
Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY]
Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK]
Sen. James Risch [R, ID]
Sen. Pat Roberts [R, KS]
Sen. Jefferson Sessions [R, AL]
Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL]
Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]
Sen. John Thune [R, SD]
Sen. David Vitter [R, LA]
Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH]
Sen. Roger Wicker [R, MS]

 

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Where all that corporate misinformation on health care comes from?

 

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President Obama has recorded a new radio ad this week for Kendrick Meek’s Senate campaign.

The text of the ad:

President Obama:

This is Barack Obama and I want you to know why I strongly support Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate.

Kendrick’s been a powerful voice for Floridians: standing up to special interests, to hold Wall Street accountable, fighting the insurance industry to make sure health care isn’t denied to our children because of a preexisting condition, working to eliminate subsidies to banks so young people can afford a college education, and Kendrick strongly opposes extending tax breaks for the wealthy and has worked tirelessly to expand the middle class and support small businesses.

So please join me in supporting Kendrick Meek for Senate.

Because if we work together, he will win.

Announcer:

Go to KendrickMeek.com to learn more. Or text”join” to 35736. That’s “join” to 35736 to get involved today.

Kendrick Meek:

I’m Kendrick Meek, candidate for senate, and I approve this message.

You can listen to the ad here.

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