Louisiana and Healthcare Reform

WLAE aired “Louisiana the State We’re In” tonight and it had several people on to discuss the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts the State of Louisiana. Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy, Louisiana State Senator and Louisiana Democratic Party head  Karen Carter Peterson and Steve Spires, head of the Louisiana Budget Project were all guests.

They first discussed the scheduled July 11th House repeal vote. Congressman Cassidy stated that the reason it is important to have this vote, even though it wont make the Senate and wouldn’t get signed by the President, is that we need to continue the discussion. Uh, what discussion? There has been no discussion on the part of the Republican Party on this issue. They never wanted to come to the table and deal with the Democrats on how to best reform Healthcare as they had no intent on ever helping Obama gain a political victory. He still managed to get one despite their best efforts, but they never wanted to discuss it so I cannot imagine they would want to discuss anything now. They are absolutely welcome to prove me wrong and I would be the first person to admit if I was wrong on it. They likely just want to use their Congressional platform to wave their banner and give more lies about the law instead of doing what they should be doing and creating a jobs bill to help put the American people back to work. Unfortunately, they don’t want Americans going back to work until a Republican President takes office.

Peterson and Cassidy debated the idea of Bobby Jindal rejecting the additional help for Louisiana’s working poor to help them get insurance via Medicaid when they normally wouldn’t be able to have any health coverage. Peterson described this as a callous disregard for the decision of the court and harmful for 500,000 Louisiana Citizens. Cassidy described this as Governor Jindal coming to the rescue and helping to save us from “bad policy”. He also said that states are spending more money on Medicaid than on education and that an education is more likely to get someone out of poverty than healthcare. Peterson countered by claiming that if the child is sick they won’t be able to benefit from an education.

Senator Peterson is right, however, in Louisiana, even if they get an education it might include from state dollars that are spent teaching people that the Loch Ness Monster is proof against evolution. I find it hard to believe that such an education would help anyone escape poverty. There are also many issues with the government vouchers that Louisiana is implementing that I have some huge problems with. But that is beyond the scope of this post. But one thing that Bobby Jindal has some experience doing is cutting services to people on Medicaid. So nobody should be surprised that Bobby Jindal would refuse expanding medical service to people who need them. Steve Spires added that there is an economic benefit to Louisiana for accepting these funds. It would not only lift the burden on some state plans that are only funded by state tax dollars before the expansion of coverage, but it would also help reimburse some doctors who provide treatment without compensation.

I kinda felt sorry for Mr. Spires on the show. You had two politicians and a guy with a lot of facts and figures who kept getting drowned out by the rhetoric. I wish he could have been allowed to speak more about the actual numbers.

The thing I found amazing about the show was Bill Cassidy complaining that the prohibition of insurance companies denying children coverage because of preexisting conditions was causing a death spiral in the market and causing insurance companies to no longer provide coverage for single children. What he doesn’t mention is that the fix to that is the mandate. Once they are required to have coverage, people cannot just wait until they are sick to buy insurance. They are required to either have it or pay the penalty to the IRS. Unfortunately, Congressman Cassidy did not go into detail of anti-selection and why mandates prevent it. Fortunately, Mr Spires jumped right on it and explained why the mandate solves the problem of the death spiral.

Mr. Spires then added that the state based exchanges would help bring prices down in the individual market  and make it more affordable. Unfortunately, Governor Jindal is refusing to implement those as well.

It was a good watch for anyone who wants a little more information about how this law impacts the citizens of Louisiana in a positive way and how Governor Jindal’s actions may very well hurt the citizens of Louisiana. I just wish Mr. Spires would have been given more time.

When Fox News is the voice of reason…

…there is a huge problem in the GOP.

The new right winged talking point for the GOP is that the Democrats in Congress voted against Obama’s budget unanimously. But did they?

In searching for what really happened (because The Hill, The Washington Times, The American Thinker and many other right wing rags cannot seem to report the whole story and only seem to wish to make this an embarrassment for President Obama) I came across this article from of all places Fox news. They were actually responsible enough to state the reason why the House Democrats voted against it. (Here is a hint, it is not because they disagree with Obama).

Democrats said Republicans had forced a vote on a version of Obama’s budget that contained only its numbers, not the policies he would use to achieve them.

So there you have it. What the GOP put up for a vote in the House was not the entirety of what President Obama proposed. It was just the numbers. But Fox didn’t just stop there.

House Republicans last tried this same tactic in 2000 on President Clinton’s budget.

House Democrats floated three of President Reagan’s budgets in the 1980s. Those budgets collected 28, 15 and one votes, respectively.

The GOP savior Ronald Reagan had a budget get one vote. This means most Republicans voted against a Reagan budget because the Democrats at the time tried this same, disingenuous, tactic. I wonder how many of today’s conservative tabloids papers would have defended Reagan way back when.