Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

AHCA Is An Immoral Disaster

How can you call it a “health care plan” when it would deny millions of people insurance and raise medical costs for everyone else?

The American Health Care Act, passed by Republicans in the House last week, is inhumane, an abomination, heartless and a death sentence for millions of Americans. There is no language too strong to describe the cruelty of what the GOP just did. If the AHCA becomes law, it will lead to massive death and pain-filled, excruciating lives. It’s as if the GOP has voted to commit an act of war against American citizens.

It allows states, for example, to opt out of a provision in the current law that prevents insurance companies from gouging people with preexisting conditions. That’s why the “opt out” provision is in the bill. It’s there for a reason. It’s obvious millions of people will get priced out of insurance altogether.

It also slashes funding for Medicaid, leaving 14 million people without any coverage, according to earlier estimates. Oklahoma, which never accepted the federal expansion of Medicaid under the current law, would be hit hard, and even more people would go without much needed health care.

Employers insurance costs are sure to rise under this non-plan, which will be passed on to employees.

Let’s face it: (1) People will either lose their health insurance altogether (2) or pay much more for less coverage while rich people get a tax cut under the AHCA. That’s the Republican plan in all its clarity. It’s not an over-simplification. It’s not an issue of choosing one’s doctor or “freedom” of choice when it comes to treatments.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate, had this to say about the bill:

This is not a health care bill. This was a bill that provided $300 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent at a time when we already have massive income inequality in America today. What kind of health care bill are we talking about when you throw 24 million people off health insurance, substantially raised premiums for older workers, defund Planned Parenthood?

What it might well become is an issue of surviving until a real revolution occurs in this country and we finally get universal, single-payer health care.

No, the ACHA isn’t law yet because it has to go through the Senate. The pundits are speculating it won’t pass there or that the Senate will change it considerably. I’m not so sure of that. These are not normal times. Don’t count on red-state Republicans, who would suffer just like everyone else, to rise up to protect themselves and speak out against the plan.

As I’ve been arguing since the election of Donald Trump as president, showing up on the streets to protest and voting Republicans out of office are the only things that can save our democracy and now, it seems clear, save our very lives. Everyone but the extremely wealthy will suffer if the AHCA in its current form becomes law.

Congress to Hold Hearings on Youth Unemployment

Just recieved this release and thought I’d just post the whole thing:

Contact: Matthew Segal, SAVE executive director, 847-502-5012, matthew.segal(at)savevoting.org;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC- The Committee on Education and Labor in the U.S. House of Representatives has announced it will hold a hearing this Thursday, October 1st at 10am entitled “Ensuring Economic Opportunities for Young Americans.” The hearing was scheduled as a result of a conference organized by the 80 Million Strong for Young American Jobs Coalition, which convened hundreds of young leaders in the U.S Capitol to urge Congress to examine the disproportionate effects of the economic recession on young Americans.

Data shows that youth unemployment is nearly double the national average:

  • 18% of all 16-24 year olds are unemployed compared to a 9.7% national average (BLS)
  • Young African-American unemployment has climbed to 27.3% (BLS)
  • Young Latino unemployment stands at 21.37% (BLS)
  • Undergraduate debt from student loans averages $27,000 per graduate
  • $2000 dollars is the average amount of credit card debt by the age of 24
  • 30% of young people are uninsured, the highest of any age group, according to the Kaiser Foundation

To address this crisis head-on, nearly thirty of the nation’s leading youth organizations launched the 80 Million Strong for Young American Jobs Coalition, working collaboratively to endorse various policy platforms that will create jobs and economic opportunity for the 80 million members of the millennial generation.

The coalition’s proposals center on four areas: increasing entrepreneurship resources, student debt reform, access to public service careers, and the creation of “mission critical” jobs that tap young talents.

“In a recession, young people are great sources of innovation and entrepreneurship – yet because of predatory lending and debt, our generation is also more hamstrung at an earlier age than we have ever been.  We need some breathing room in which to create new ideas for a new economy,” said 80MS national co-chair Matthew Segal, executive director of Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE). “Young people are inherently entrepreneurial. We need a legislative environment that supports, not burdens, young ideas,” stated Segal.

“In order to strengthen the American economy, we must invest in young adults today,” said 80MS co-chair Hilary Doe, director of Roosevelt Institute Campus Network.  “Our parents and grandparents have been hit hard by this crisis; their security and retirement is on the line.  The Millennial generation is already stepping up by going home and working hard to support their families.  We cannot leave this young generation crippled with debt and waiting for jobs; we need to help them stand up and lead the new economy, lifting the burden off all generations in the process.”

“Whether it be providing grant money to low-income youth for historically unpaid service and internship positions or increasing access to community college, many Americans need more opportunities to get the skills and training they need to build the 21st century economy that will power our country for the future,” said Maya Enista, CEO of Mobilize.org and co-chair of the 80MS coalition.  “And by investing in mission critical sectors like health care, national security, and green jobs, our Congress can further grow our economy by opening new opportunities where young people are ready to serve, and where our nation most needs our labor.”

News of Thursday’s hearing comes just weeks after the 80 Million Strong Coalition issued a formal letter to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) requesting a hearing to exhibit the financial concerns of young Americans. “This is a big victory for young people,” said Matthew Segal, “we are confident that Thursday’s hearing will demonstrate how our generation has developed and expanded its record-breaking civic engagement since the 2008 election.”

For more info, please visit http://80millionstrong.org

Senator No

( – promoted by DocHoc)

by Steven D, originally published at Booman Tribune and reprinted here with permission.

It’s a sad fact, but Senator Dodd was unable to stop a very bad FISA bill, that even Bruce Fein, a former Reagan official at the Department of Justice claims is a gross violation of our civil liberties.  Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid wouldn’t let him.  Yet one man, one Senator, has been able to stop dozens of bills simply by saying “no” to Harry Reid.  Who is this all powerful Senator?  Why a Republican, of course:

. . . Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has a large framed picture next to his desk that serves as a constant reminder of his political ideology. Inside the black frame and matting is a single word, in large white letters: “No.”

Coburn has become best known as the lawmaker who says no — no to increased funding for unsolved civil rights crimes, no to creation of a national registry for victims of the disease ALS, no to more money for child pornography prosecutions. […]

Most of the bills, including a child pornography law that passed the House 409 to 0 in November, are so noncontroversial that they would normally sail through on voice votes, with no roll call taken. […]

Since January 2007, Coburn has used his senatorial “hold” to block more than 80 pieces of legislation, which means Reid knows that Coburn will object to unanimous consent on those bills.

Coburn is also the Senator who put a hold on extending additional protections to government whistleblowers, a bill that had already passed the House 331 to 84.  The same bill that would likely pass the Senate with a veto proof majority if it were allowed to come to a vote.

Does anyone wonder anymore why Congress has such a poor approval rating?  When Republicans held the majority they passed whatever the hell they wanted (or whatever Bush told them to pass) and Democrats were powerless, or at least they claimed they were.  Remember the Terry Schiavo legislation?  That passed even though a majority in the country opposed it because the Democrats in the Senate caved. Yet, now, when Republican Senators up for re-election are running scared and willing to back many Democratic proposals, Reid lets one yahoo nutcase like Tom Coburn put the kabosh on any and all legislation regardless of how beneficial it might be.  Need you be reminded of just how loonie Coburn is, take a peek at this:

(cont.)

At a Republican meeting this spring, Coburn warned: “The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power … That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That’s a gay agenda.” […]

“I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life,” he told the Associated Press in July. Last week, he told the Hugo [Okla.] Daily News: “We need someone who will speak morally on the issues and not run from the criticism of the national press … We need to have moral clarity about our leaders. I have a 100 percent pro-life record. I don’t apologize for saying we need to protect the unborn. Do you realize that if all those children had not been aborted, we wouldn’t have any trouble with Medicare and Social Security today? That’s another 41 million people.” […]

In 1999, after the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, Coburn opposed President Clinton’s proposal for making adults liable if they allow their children to buy guns and harm others. “If I wanted to buy a bazooka to use in a very restricted way, to do something, I ought to be able to do that,” said Coburn.

Yet this moron is allowed the privilege by Harry Reid to hold up any damn thing he wants, no matter how popular it is with his own Republican colleagues.  This ideologue and criminal, who illegally sterilized one of his Native American female patients without her consent and filed a fraudulent Medicaid insurance claim, is more powerful than Harry Reid.  You have to ask yourself — why?  Why does Reid allow this buffoon to run rings around him, and delay and deter desperately needed legislation?

Whatever happens in the Presidential election this Fall, Democrats are likely to retain their control over the House and Senate. And if there is one thing we’ve learned it is that our current Democratic Leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been a disaster for the Democratic Party.  They were not only dead wrong on FISA, but they have been ineffective across the board in promoting the Democratic Party’s stated agenda, from ending the Iraq occupation to increasing funding for the SCHIP program, which provides health insurance to uninsured children.  Reid allowed the Senate to pass the Lieberman-Kyl amendment which all but grants the Bush administration permission to attack Iran at its discretion.

Time after time Harry Reid has proven himself to be a gutless coward when it comes to standing up for  progressive policies which have the support of the majority of Americans.  When push comes to shove, he’s permitted President Bush to get whatever he wanted on the important issues of the day.  And now he has allowed one idiot Senator from Oklahoma to run rings around him in blocking the passage of needed bipartisan legislation.  It’s time for Democrats to just say no to Harry Reid’s continued tenure as Senate Majority Leader.  If he can’t out think and outfight Tom Coburn, he doesn’t deserve to lead the Senate.