Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Last Call For General Hospital...Closures

Just a reminder that in red states where Republicans turned down Medicaid expansion, rural hospitals are closing and people are dying as a direct result.

At least five public hospitals closed this year and many more are scaling back services, mostly in states where Medicaid wasn’t expanded. Patients in areas with shuttered hospitals must travel as far as 40 miles (64 kilometers) to get care, causing delays that can result in lethal consequences, said Bruce Siegel, chief executive officer of America’s Essential Hospitals, a Washington-based advocacy group for facilities that treat large numbers of uninsured or low-income patients.

“Everyone in a community will be affected,” Siegel said. “We could see the end of life-saving services, and patients would bear the brunt.”

Hospitals have dismissed at least 5,000 employees across the country since June, mostly in states that haven’t expanded the joint state-federal Medicaid health program for the poor as anticipated under the U.S. health overhaul known as Obamacare. Hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee and Indiana University Health are among providers seeking cost savings in areas such as cancer treatment, mental health and infant care. 

And just so it's clear whose fault this is:

Obama proposed delaying for a year the subsidy cuts for hospitals to give states more time to expand Medicaid. Congress didn’t go along with his proposal.  

Republicans blocked Medicaid, Republicans blocked doing anything about the subsidy cuts.  So hospitals are closing in red states and people are dying.  Point blank.  Your death panels making life and death decisions about people's health care choices are called "Republican state and congressional lawmakers."

Any questions?

A Heckler Of A Problem

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how the President of the United States of America handles a heckler, in a country where free speech is enshrined into the Constitution.  It happened Monday during the president's speech in San Francisco:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all 11.5 undocumented immigrants in this country right now.
THE PRESIDENT: What we’re trying –
AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: — that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform at the same time we — you have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country.
THE PRESIDENT: Actually I don’t. And that’s why we’re here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: So, please, I need your help.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Stop deportations!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Stop deportations!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. All right.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Stop deportations! Stop deportations!
THE PRESIDENT: What I’d like to do — no, no, don’t worry about it, guys. Okay, let me finish.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Stop deportations! Yes, we can! Stop deportations!
THE PRESIDENT: These guys don’t need to go. Let me finish. No, no, no, he can stay there. Hold on a second. (Applause.) Hold on a second.
So I respect the passion of these young people because they feel deeply about the concerns for their families. Now, what you need to know, when I’m speaking as President of the United States and I come to this community, is that if, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so.
But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done. (Applause.)

As PoliticusUSA's Jason Easley points out, this is exactly what the President should have said and did say.

The president didn’t have the heckler removed. He didn’t insult or try to humiliate the heckler. Instead, he listened and had a dialogue about his concerns. The president also made an important point during the conversation. 
He can’t wave a magic wand and stop the deportations. It will take comprehensive immigration reform to change our system. Even if Obama could magically stop the deportations, is that the way we want our country to be governed? 
If President Obama stopped the deportations, there would be nothing to stop the next president from reversing his policy and adopting a harsher policy. The way to get lasting change is to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill through Congress
The passion of activists deserves our appreciation, but many activists don’t understand how to use their activism to change the way the nation is governed. Anyone who yells and wants President Obama to snap his fingers and make something happen is pretending. They aren’t being honest with themselves about the slow and often frustrating policy process. 
These activists shouldn’t be yelling at President Obama. They should be yelling at John Boehner. There is enough support in the House to pass the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, but Speaker Boehner will not allow a vote.

Which is the point.  It's not President Obama preventing the House from taking a vote to pass immigration reform.  It's Orange Julius.  The Senate has once again passed comprehensive immigration reform.  The House refuses to even consider the bill precisely because it would pass.

And that failure is 100% on John Boehner.

Unfortunately, it's something the heckler himself seems incapable of getting.

A pro-immigration activist who on Monday heckled President Barack Obama during a speech on comprehensive immigration reform told CNN he found Obama's response "very disappointing." 
"This is very urgent," Ju Hong, a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, told CNN afterwards. "This is the only venue where I could speak out, and I'm representing the voices of other undocumented students who are actually in the detention center right now who can not be here."

You got your free speech.  You don't like it?  Next time, keep your mouth shut.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Go home, French intelligence.  You're drunk.

French spies plotted to pose as neo-Nazis to assassinate Abu Hamza, the hate cleric, in London because they were so frustrated with Britain’s failure to deal with him, it was claimed Sunday
They planned to send the fanatic fake death threats from the far-Right group Combat 18 before shooting him with weapons said to be associated with that group. 
In a separate move, they also plotted to kidnap Hamza and take him to France, a report by the campaign group Hope not Hate claimed. 
Intelligence services across the Channel hatched the assassination plan in 1999, amid tensions between the two countries over the scale of Islamist extremism in Britain.

Just...no.  Bad, bad France.  Bad.  Every single aspect of this idea was horrible and stupid and bad.  Bad bad bad bad bad.

I mean I know the plan was 14 years ago, but...really?  This was before Bush/Cheney made this kinda of thing "socially acceptable".

Bad France.


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