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Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June 18th, 2009

Oh, yes, Americans just loooooove their healthcare system

Posted by Charles II on June 18, 2009

Via Greg Sargent, we learn just how much the healthcare companies are lying:

U.S. HEALTH SYSTEM GETS POOR MARKS, BUT SO DOES A MAJOR OVERHAUL: A majority rate the nation’s health care system as fair (30 percent) or poor (29 percent). Only a small minority rate it excellent (6 percent) or very good (10 percent). While 14 percent of Americans think the health care system needs a major overhaul, 51 percent agree with the statement “there are some good things about our health care system, but major changes are needed.”

NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN ELEMENTS RATED HIGHLY: Between 68 percent and 88 percent of Americans either strongly or somewhat support health reform ideas such as national health plans, a public plan option, guaranteed issue, expansion of
Medicare and Medicaid, and employer and individual mandates.

MIXED REACTION TO HEALTH BENEFITS TAX CAP: Reaction to capping the current tax exclusion of employment-based health benefits is mixed. Nearly one-half of Americans (47 percent) would switch to a lower-cost plan if the tax exclusion were capped, 38 percent would stay on their current plan and pay the additional taxes, and 9 percent don’t know.

CONTINUED FAITH IN EMPLOYMENT-BASED BENEFITS, BUT DOUBTS ON AFFORDABILITY: Individuals with employment-based health benefits are confident that employers will continue to offer such benefits. They are much less confident that they would be able to afford coverage on their own, even if employers gave them the money they currently spend on health benefits. However, were employers to stop offering coverage, respondents report that they are likely to
purchase it on their own.

RISING HEALTH COSTS HURTING FAMILY FINANCES: Those experiencing health cost increases tend to say these increases have negatively affected their household finances. In particular, they indicate that increased health care costs have resulted in a decrease in contributions to a retirement plan (32 percent) and other savings (53 percent) and in difficulty paying for basic necessities (29 percent) and other bills (37 percent).

COSTS ALSO AFFECTING HEALTH CARE USE: Many consumers report they are changing the way they use the health care system in response to rising health care costs. Roughly 80 percent of those with higher out-of-pocket expenses say these increased costs have led them to try to take better care of themselves and choose generic drugs more often. One-quarter also say they did not fill or skipped does of their prescribed medications in response to increased costs.

The best part. The poll was commissioned by “AARP, American Express, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Buck Consultants, Chevron, Deere & Company, IBM, Mercer, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Principal Financial Group, Schering-Plough Corp., Shell Oil Company, The Commonwealth Fund, and Towers Perrin.”

If you loooove your healthcare as much as I do, give your Senators a smack.

Posted in health care, health issues | 1 Comment »

So “Optional” And “Mandatory” Are The Same Thing?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 18, 2009

I hate to keep harping on this, but I’m beyond sick of the not-so-cute little games John Aravosis loves to play — especially when folks who should know better are falling for them. Here, for your delectation, is the latest stunt he’s pulling.

Last night, he put up a post claiming that the rights Obama granted today already existed:

I just asked OPM Director John Berry, on a White House media conference call, whether in fact federal agencies already have the right to give these benefits to gay employees. The answer, “yes.” So what’s new about tonight? Obama is going to “tell” the agencies to give the benefits – as if any agency in the Obama administration would dare tell a gay employee no to a request for time off to attend their partner’s funeral?

But there’s One Small Problem here.

As Alex Blaze, who was also on that call, shows, Aravosis had to twist John Berry’s words around pretty damned hard to get that particular frame to obtain:

Third, John Aravosis asked him what’s actually changing with these guidelines. Federal employment is already supposed to be based on merit, not on factors unrelated to job performance. Aravosis mentioned a woman who worked for the federal government who got leave to take care of her same-sex partner.

Berry responded that previously such benefits to gay employees was “subject to whim of the supervisor.” They were optional, and now they’ll be mandatory.

So in Aravosis-speak, optional and mandatory are apparently the same!

Arrrrrrrrrgh. I’m glad I’m not an alcoholic, or else I’d be in the Sterno right about now out of sheer frustration.

And Blaze also mentions this:

Fourth, I got a question in and wanted to know about protections for trans people mentioned in the Advocate. Since Berry mentioned several times that only job-related factors will now be considered in federal employment, and said how sexual orientation isn’t included in that several times, I asked if the new directions will specifically mention gender identity, gender expression, and/or transgender people. He responded:

Gender identity is a non-work-related factor, and in the guidelines [to federal agencies] we will be making that clear.[…] Gender identity will be added and made very clear in our guidelines.

That’s at least one positive out of this memo: specifically mentioning transgender people when it comes to federal employment.

Exactly. As far behind as the Feds are with regard to gays and lesbians, they’re in the Dark Ages when it comes to transgendered persons. Now the T in GLBT is getting some long-overdue Federal recognition — and protection.

There’s much more at Blaze’s piece. It debunks a lot of bullshit being paraded around lately.

UPDATE: I just found out that Alex Blaze cites me in a recent Bilerico piece. Thanks, Alex. And thanks for pointing out the crashing irony that the guy currently reaming out Obama for perceived insults to the gay community is the same guy who fought tooth and nail against transgendered persons — persons whose rights as Federal employees are being addressed for the very first time by Obama’s memorandum this week.

Posted in WTF? | 1 Comment »

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