Saturday, March 30, 2013

The full truth about the politically invisible American "disability" epidemic

TAL records an indispensable piece of investigative journalism that pretty much explodes the plutocrat party discourse on welfare, entitlements and macroeconomics generally.

How sorry a state we're in that we can tell ourselves these peripheral disaster narratives for so many years and nobody has yet followed up with any of them in any meaningful, investigative way.  

Spoiler alert:  Bill Clinton will still be judged by history an epic scam artist.  Also, conservatives do have a point (though they don't think it through and blame the wrong people, as usual).

This story ought to be a political game-changer  (but it won't be talked about).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Only 7% of Americans are actually concerned about the deficit

And for good reason.  The new class of ultra-rich parasites, on the other hand, being largely inoculated from the general US economy and neither investing nor paying taxes domestically, may as well not be called Americans.  So why do we still let them frame the national debate?

Really, because the federal deficit is just like a household budget?  Does your family print its own currency too?  And live without retiring its debt since 1837??  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Not worried about income inequality? You haven't been paying attention.

Robert Reich: 
The prevailing view in Washington sees as the basic economic problem of our time that Americans have been living beyond their means, and must now live within them. The real problem is the means of most Americans haven't grown in thirty years, even though the economy is twice as large, and all the gains from growth have gone to the very top. The Great Recession occurred because most Americans ran out of ways to maintain their standard of living other than by borrowing against the rising values of their homes; so when the housing bubble burst, they were stranded without enough money to keep the economy going. That's still the case. The real median wage continues to drop. All supposed signs of a more vigorous recovery are smoke and mirrors, emanating from the Fed's artificially-induced near-zero interest rates -- which are helping investors but few average Americans. Anyone who thinks we can restore this economy without tackling the fundamental problem of increasingly concentrated income and wealth at the top hasn't been paying attention.

David K Johnston has much more.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Regarding Pat McCrory, corporate lobbyist hack (also our current governor)

Update: It gets even better for Republican corporate cronyism in North Carolina. As he signs in private a refusal to let poor, elderly North Carolinians enjoy the same health care benefits as the rest of the nation.....To quote from here:

In most cases, these the Medicaid expansion would mean a significant reduction in the number of uninsured, at a modest cost to the states. They might even savemoney.
"Expanding Medicaid health benefits to everyone eligible under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law would increase state spending on the program by just 3 percent while extending health coverage to more than 20 million peopleaccording to a study released Monday by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute.
The health care law seeks to enroll into the Medicaid program anyone who earns up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $14,856 this year. But when the Supreme Court upheld the law in June, its decision allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. So far, Republican governors in eight states have declared they won’t participate, denying health care coverage to millions of their poorest residents.
… The total cost of the Medicaid expansion would be $1.03 trillion between 2013 and 2022, according to the study. States would pay $76 billion of that, which amounts to a 2.9 percent increase compared to what states would have spent on Medicaid if the health care reform law hadn’t been enacted. Under the health care reform law, the federal government will pay the full cost of covering newly eligible people on Medicaid from 2014 to 2016, then will scale back funding to 90 percent in 2022 and later years.
In addition to receiving a large federal subsidy to enroll these uninsured residents, states that expand Medicaid would be able to reduce spending on taxpayer-funded programs to help hospitals and other health care providers cover the cost of so-called uncompensated care, or unpaid medical bills. If Medicaid expanded across the country, states would save $18 billion between 2013 to 2022 , according to the study." 
Republican governors’ refusals to expand Medicaid will cost lives. It’s been shown that expanding Medicaid saves lives.
"A new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) finds thatexpanding Medicaid to low-income adults leads to widespread gains in coverage, access to care, and—most importantly—improved health and reduced mortality. It is the first published study to look specifically at the effect of recent state Medicaid expansions on mortality among low-income adults, and the findings suggest that expanding coverage to the uninsured may save lives.
…The results showed that Medicaid expansions in three states were associated with a significant reduction in mortality of 6.1% compared with neighboring states that did not expand Medicaid, which corresponds to 2,840 deaths prevented per year for each 500,000 adults gaining Medicaid coverageMortality reductions were greatest among older adults, non-whites, and residents of poorer counties.Expansions also were associated with increased Medicaid coverage, decreased uninsurance, decreased rates of deferring care due to costs, and increased rates of “excellent” or “very good” self-reported health.
The groups that benefitted from Medicaid expansion in this study—older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and those living in poor areas—are groups that have traditionally had higher mortality rates and faced greater barriers to care. The study results provide valuable evidence for state policymakers deciding whether or not to expand Medicaid, say the authors.
“Sometimes the political rhetoric is at odds with the evidence, such as claims that Medicaid is a ‘broken program’ or worse than no insurance at all; our findings suggest precisely the opposite,” said Epstein."

Read the whole damn thing.