Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Health Care Reform–Anorexic Shock?

While the insurance companies moan about their non-existent lost profits, health care reformers start to ask if they have bargained away more than they have gained.

Is this what we bargained for?

Let’s start off by saying that Joe Liebermann is such a jackass. There, that feels good, doesn’t it? Practically on the very day that the Congressional Budget Office projects that not only will Health Care Reform with the public option not increase the deficit, it will lower it, Joe Liebermann says he will join the filibuster because of his concern that it will increase the deficit. This is the same Joe Liebermann who as a young senator supported abolishing the filibuster, but now that he is older and wiser, realizes that it’s the only way a dedicated minority can tie the federal government in knots. I say “dedicated minority” since that excludes the Democratic Party, which is constitutionally incapable of agreeing with itself. And since Joe caucuses with the Democrats but votes with the Republicans–he calls it independence, other call it “being a quisling”–he wants the dedicated minority to be able to screw things up as much as possible.
Suffice it to say, however, that since Joe Liebermann has been flirting with the Republican Party, he probably can’t read anymore–otherwise, he’d never have made such an asinine criticism. But, you know, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Is the “public option” something worth all the effort that’s been put into it? According to that same CBO report, the public option is only going to affect 2% of all Americans…by 2019, up to 6 million people will make use of that long and hard fought for provision. Now 6 million people is nothing to sneeze at–except when you compare it to the most probable 2020 population of just over 300 million people. And that’s 10 years down the road. The public option won’t even kick in until 2013. Hell, most of the baby boomers with be on Medicare by then. *I* will be on Medicare by then! Moreover, the public option isn’t going to be free–it will have a price sticker roughly equivalent to private health insurance. I say roughly because it’s going to be a little bit higher–we don’t want it to actually compete with private health insurance! We want that industry to stay healthy, even if it starves the middle class! That’s kind of like eating nutritious meals so our tapeworm doesn’t get malnutrition. And furthermore–everyone will have to have health insurance or pay a fine! The poor will get a subsidy so they can afford to buy it, but we’re talking about an enforced expansion of the health insurance customer base. You would think the health insurance companies will be pleased by this. Nosireebob! They’re too busy griping about not being able to drop customers because they have expensive conditions. If that profit margin goes down, they’ll have to raise rates to protect their executive bonuses! About the only good thing about the public option as it now stands is that it has backdoored a tax on the top 1%. But not to worry–they’ll soon find a way out of THAT!
The question is, with all the stuff negotiated away to achieve this public option goal, is the final result what we bargained for? I mean, we gave away our ace-in-the-hole, single payer health care, what the people of this country both need and deserve, even before negotiations started. Since then, it’s been like Chico and Groucho negotiating a contract, stripping aways clauses until all we have left is the sanity clause–and as we all know, there ain’t no such thing as a Sanity Clause! In the efforts to get something that could be called a “public option”, have the various committees thrown away so much substance that all that is left is skimpier than a stripper’s bikini? Kucinich’s state-by-state single payer option got tossed because it was too meaty and might have jeopardized passage of the program, but it’s altogether possible the program is going to die of anorexic shock all on its own. Some people say that something is better than nothing, but we really have to ask ourselves if we are not actually condemning ourselves to another ten or more years of slow strangulation by the parasitical health insurance industry just so we can say that we achieved “something”?
I don’t know–as they say on cable innuendo news, I’m just asking–but I’ve reached the end of my column, so let’s end up with something we can all agree on… Joe Liebermann is such a jackass!

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Happy Hallowe’en from the Cthulhu Group–your trusted name in finance

Mrs. Dymme mistakes the chthonic spawn of Cthulhu for children trick-or-treating as financial executives.

Ia? Shub-Niggurath? Is that Trick-or-Treat in a foreign language?

October is my favorite month because it has my two favorite holidays–my birthday, sometimes also known as Columbus Day (a day off AND presents, now that’s MY kind of holiday) and Hallowe’en. The end of October is fast approaching, the leaves have turned orange and started to fall, and the kids have started working on their costumes–unless they go to anime cons, and then they have costumes ready all year. But for some of us, Hallowe’en started last year and has continued on through the last 12 months–the bankers who destroyed the economy, told us that it would get worse if we didn’t give them nearly a trillion dollars to bail them out, and then proceeded to give themselves bonuses for doing such a great job. TRICK OR TREAT! Now, It wasn’t completely their fault, after all, we gave them the money And then said, “Oh, don’t bother to tell us how you’re going to spend it–we trust you to make the right decisions.” After all, look where your decisions have gotten us so far! With 20-20 hindsight, this lack of oversight was beyond doubt a true oversight that we should have had the foresight to forestall. But the Bush administration was still in charge and one thing you have to say about the Bush administration–when they were wrong–they made sure they were ABSOLUTELY WRONG. Not that things have changed that much with the Obama forces–our national treasury is still in the hands of Goldman-Sachs and the prospect of tougher regulation looks like it will go the way of single-payer health coverage–off the table before we even start. Instead, we’ve decided to ask these pirates if they pretty please with sugar on top, consider not acting like the total greedy bastards that they are.
But, isn’t it amazing how the real solutions get taken off the table so quickly–like impeaching Bush, which never even got to a vote because it had been taken off the table, and once the Democrats take something off the table, it’s like last month’s minutes at the cell phone company. Look at credit card reform–capping interest rates? That might make the credit card companies upset. Instead we forced them to “give notice” when they were going to gouge their customers–and then gave them enough of a grace period to institute loan shark rates before they had to even think of giving notice. Will we even be able to slap the wrists of the credit rating companies who issued fantasy ratings for the worthless securities that drove the economy into the dirt? No no no! those ratings are “opinions” and thus guarded by the First Amendment. The rating companies have no obligation to give an honest and truthful rating, according to their lawyers. If that’s true, why do we even have these ratings companies–why not just let everybody rate themselves and cut out the middleman! And on the health care front, the big question is whether the “public option” is going to be watered down as much as a strip’n'clip bourbon and water–or water and bourbon.
To add insult to injury, our old friend Joe Liebermann has announced that once again he will not vote with the Democrats but with the Republicans against the public option, demonstrating once again that his votes are not about what’s good for the country but what’s good for Joe Liebermann. I think he was jealous of all the attention Olympia Snowe was getting. Hey, they should all be getting upset about ME! Seriously, Democrats, I think it’s time you re-evaluated your relationship with this man. He promised to caucus with you, but cheats on you every chance he gets. If this was a marriage, you’d be consulting a divorce lawyer…a year ago when he supported the Republican Presidential nominee. I wanted to draw him today as an asshole (really–two cheeks with a hole in the crack) but since I don’t want to have to mark it “mature” I decided to do him as a slug amidst the chthonic spawn of Cthulhu instead :) I think it’s an apt analogy considering what he votes for.
In any case, Happy Hallowe’en: kids, trick-or-treat safely and treaters, always buy extra of your favorite candy. Now I’ve got to go carve some pumpkins :)

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