Slavery, Sarah Palin and Senator Mary Landrieu: Conspiracists United!

Affordable-Care-Act

UPDATE: President Obama in a press conference this morning said “We fumbled the roll out” and is offering a plan that will allow individuals to keep their insurance for another year.  However, this plan can only be regulated by insurance commissioners of each state.  This plan will go to Congress for passage.

I have to be honest, Washington and the political machines of this country ramped up their level of subterfuge on the American people within the past week or so.

Actually I’m rather impressed.

Two major political messages got conveyed within the past week that I truly wonder did the American public actually pay attention to.  Among the first (let’s go in order) was the neo-conservative reappropriation of slavery.  Yes, now the GOP and the right-wing owns slavery.  I don’t usually delve into conspiracy theories, I usually find a logical explanation and for the most part try and give the political bots talking-heads the benefit of the doubt–even the incorrigible likes of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk–but this recent talk about slavery from the right wing can’t be just coincidence.

I blame the current token Negro Dr. Ben Carson who was the perfect catalyst who compared Obamacare to slavery.  In fact he said it was the worst thing since slavery.

Pardon me, he actually said it is slavery.

As a point of clarity, there’s a difference between the notion of slavery and the law.  The law states that everyone must have insurance.  We’re subject to laws every single day and no one has cried slavery.  The simple fact is while everyone who buys a car is obligated to have insurance, not every one is forced to own a car.  The argument seemingly is that, conversely, your state of being a human being and a citizen of the U.S. you must purchase this insurance is a forced right.  The conservatives have always believed that health care is a privilege, and the liberals and progressive believe it is a right.  I fall in the latter.  However for me, if there was someone who’s against this notion of requiring all to have insurance, the economic argument is that regardless of them being in favor of universal health care or not at some point someone is still going to have to pay for their medical treatment–and they might as well be insured.

This is not American slavery.

Whole families aren’t being separated as a result of this law, fugitive slaves aren’t going to be captured and returned to insurance plantations, humans won’t lose limbs or appendages because of their failure to enroll, and entire region’s economic system is not wholly dependent on the forced labor of those who are enrolled.  De facto slavery, is that system in which the human beings are regarded as 1) property and 2) are forced into doing an act (let’s say labor in this case) for free.  (The property status already entails that their bondage is perpetual and freedom can only be granted at the whim of the owner.)

So enough with the hyperbole: Obamacare is not slavery.

Try telling that to Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin is the type of person that truly makes me want to devolve into ad hominem name calling attacks and carelessly throw around words that have unfair and sexist connotations like bimbo and wench.  But, I’m not going to do that.  However, leave it to Sarah Palin to tell us what the other definition of slavery is.  Rather than ponder how in the world does she still get so much airtime to display her vapid sensibilities, I’m convinced there’s a subtle plan in the midst that the GOP are cooking up and boy it’s going to be a doozie.

It’s not coincidence that both Ben Carson and Sarah Palin are using the slavery motif to downplay the Affordable HealthCare Act.  It amounts to them accusing the president of being a slaveowner.  Really?  Are you catching the irony?  Slavery, acts a trump card in the rhetorical game of political and societal atrocities.  Western slavery and the Atlantic slave trade is up there with the Holocaust and the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to infer that the current president is a slaveowner is tantamount to rhetorical treason.  It’s an insult to injury that the divisive speech escalated to this point with a black president.

The second thing that happened and is even yet developing as of the publication of this writing, is that congressional Democrats are lobbying for an administrative fix to address the couple of million of people who got cancellation notices from their private insurance providers.  What I think has been conspicuously missing in this is really just what segment of the population is being affected by this.  We know it’s a proportionately small segment, but who are these citizens?  Are self-employed workers?  People who work at very small businesses who weren’t getting cadillac health plans to begin with?  Are they rural people?  Urban?  All of which I think plays into the perception.  Dozens of local news affiliates ran stories in October highlighting local people who got their insurance cancelled and the only alternatives were to re-enroll with a substantially higher premium or attempt to enroll through the health exchange on the new born baby on the infant critical care unit named Healthcare.gov.

Initially, those stories of people with cancelled insurance were real tear jerkers.  Regardless of racial or economic background, you can imagine the feeling of getting that letter and opening it.  Also knowing that HealthCare.gov isn’t the most viable option as of today, and it’s easy to lay that blame at the feet of the sitting president who more or less pulled a George H.W. Bush and did the equivalent of “Read my lips” by saying consistently “If you like your plan, you’ll get to keep your plan.”  This allowed news outlets and conservative talking heads to say “Sure, Mr. President, tell that to ___________ (insert old white lady’s name like Gladys Michaels).”

Here’s where my conspiracy theory takes root:

It’s hard to know if the administration counted on the both/and situation of 1) the website being a total fail and 2) insurance companies suddenly canceling policies of a couple million.  The two acts combined have clearly been devastating.  This has opened up the GOP to complain about how only 106,000 people nationwide have signed up because of the website glitches.  But don’t believe it; they’re feigning interest and secretly hoping the whole thing fails.  Yet, at the same time, we’re seeing the congressional Democrats threaten to unravel the very intricate and delicate threads that hold the economic well-being of the Affordable HealthCare Act together.  To not hold to the dates, and to not penalize people will completely throw off the actuarial science behind making this program work.  In short, the country needs enough healthy people and younger people to be paying for insurance to balance off the older and unhealthier people–simple as that.

So when I see Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on the news rounding up a Democratic posse that’s going against the White House of their same party, I’m confused.  I’m perplexed.  I’m bewildered.  With Obama in the White House, the Democrats have wonderously been rather united since 2008 across the board from Congress, to Democratic governors and even in state houses, so to see Landrieu making this very public plea, almost sounding more in concert with the GOP is startling to say the least.

mary landrieu and bobby jindalLandrieu is from a red state.  A VERY red state.  And they re-elected Gov. Bobby Jindal twice!  She has an uphill battle to say the least.  Voter turn-out in Orleans parish (about the only blue parish here in the whole state) is certainly in question going up against the rest of the state.  The decrease in population after Katrina is usually attributed to Jindal’s win and the Republican occupying that seat because there just wasn’t enough votes in Orleans parish to overcome the rest of the state.

Jindal has been very vocal about his dislike for ObamaCare and has done everything in his gubernatorial power to prevent it from being carried out here in this state.  And so have a lot of other governors.  The lack of state-run healthcare exchanges has lead to people’s lack of knowledge and it also, I’m sure led to people being turned against it unfairly nor has it given them the opportunity to fairly assess their options and easily enroll.  The states with their own healthcare exchange website have seen better numbers.  Over 27,000,000 views have been counted for the website, so that means the interest is probably there for people to actually enroll, but they can’t.

Conspiracy theorists unite: this is a Jedi mind trick.

Landrieu doesn’t give a damn about ObamaCare anymore than the next one.  She wasn’t vocal about getting it passed.  She did nothing to clap back on the governor of Louisiana for not creating a state-run health exchange, nor has she even been vocal against why her governor is so against ObamaCare.  She has not been vocal in trying to advocate for the healthcare rights of her constituency.  Looking at Louisiana health numbers and seeing as how we’re now #1 in obesity (move over Mississippi), one would think she would have been an early supporter.  Nope.  She’s just an early critic who’s only interested in re-election.

The other Jedi mind trick is that GOP’s are feigning support by saying “only 106,000 have enrolled” as if to say they’re interested in increasing that number.  They’re not.  Don’t fall for the okey-doke.

Another one is that Sarah Palin and Ben Carson are having an affair.  There’s no way possible that Ben Carson from the east coast and Sarah Palin from the other side of the country are on the same page spouting the same mindless drivel–and about slavery of all things.

Also, the insurance companies are in bed with the GOP and are making it as hard as humanly possible for ObamaCare to be successful.  I’m convinced they hatched a plan to cancel plans so that Obama could have egg on his face.  Whatever Democratic lobby they had with the insurance companies was obviously not strong enough.  There’s no way Obama and the White House would have put out the message that you could keep your current insurance plan if they knew that wasn’t going to be the case.  Well, not saying there’s no way, but this administration doesn’t have the same track record of lying to the public or being especially deceptive.  Granted Obama hasn’t had as many press conferences as I would have liked, that doesn’t amount to the deceptions that we were subject to under the previous administration.

Summarily, I think there are some legitimate behind the scenes concoction that are dead set on ObamaCare not working.  However, it flies in the face of logic.  The people who got their plans cancelled would have tax subsidies set aside to offset the cost.  Oddly enough, Fox News and resident talking head Juan Williams I believe said it best:

Having failed to kill the Affordable Care Act in Congress by shutting down the government the opposition is currently taking delight in charging the president with lying to the public when he said anyone who likes their current healthcare plan will be able to keep it under the new law.  It turns out that some people in the individual care market – about 5 percent of the overall insurance market — are having their insurance policies cancelled.  It is estimated that half of those folks will get better coverage for a lower price. Some people will even get subsidies to help them pay the lower price.

But some people losing their current policies [and being offered better coverage] are going to have to pay a higher price. Taking crocodile tears to a new level, ObamaCare opponents are now rushing to their defense and calling the president a liar.  These critics include Republican politicians who did not vote for ObamaCare; these are Republican governors who refuse to set up exchanges to reach their own citizens; these are people oppose expanding Medicaid to help poor people getting better health care; these are people who have never put any proposal on the table as an alternative fix for the nation’s costly health care system that leaves tens of millions with inadequate medical coverage and tens of millions more totally uninsured.

The fact is if you are one of the estimated 2 million Americans whose health insurance plans may have been cancelled this month, you should not be blaming President Obama or the Affordable Care Act.  You should be blaming your insurance company because they have not been providing you with coverage that meets the minimum basic standards for health care.  Let me put it more bluntly: your insurance companies have been taking advantage of you and the Affordable Care Act puts in place consumer protection and tells them to stop abusing people.

The government did not “force” insurance companies to cancel their own substandard policies.The insurance companies chose to do that rather than do what is right and bring the policies up to code.  This would be like saying the government “forces” chemical companies to dispose of toxic waste safely rather than dumping it in the river.  Or the government “forces” people to drive with intact windshields and working brake lights.  How dare they “force” drivers to pay money to get those things fixed if they are broken?

One of the most popular and important provisions of the Affordable Care Act is setting basic minimum standards of medical insurance coverage. Here are some of those standards:

- Your insurance company is no longer allowed to cancel your policy if you get sick

- Your insurance company cannot deny you coverage or charge you more if you have a pre-existing health condition

- Your insurance company must allow you to keep your children on your plan until they turn 26 years old or get a job that provides health insurance.

- Your insurance company cannot impose lifetime caps on you health coverage.

- And perhaps most relevant to current discussion about insurance companies canceling substandard policies, your insurance company must cover what are called “essential health benefits.”

My healthcare prior to ObamaCare was a $0 deductible and $117 per pay period.  It went up to $500 deductible and $145.  Did I blame ObamaCare? Yes I certainly did.  But look at what changed:

  • I now have mental healthcare taken care of rather than just an EAP progrom.
  • My money-out-of-pocket (MOOP) went from $1,000 to $2,000 but deductibles, copays and coinsurances all were included in the MOOP total whereas before it didn’t.
  • There used to be a 90/10 split in urgent care or hospital visits and that now has been taken care of by flat copays.
  • Coinsurance kicks in only with deductible claims whereas before, the 90/10 split was how it was settled.
  • The concept of pre-existing conditions is now rendered null and void.

So Juan is correct, many companies just readjusted as need be and kept the ball rolling.  This wasn’t some grand scheme as Elisabeth Hasselbeck says either.  I think there will be a day when I as a man, won’t have to pay a premium that includes maternity care, or even a woman over the age of 55 wouldn’t have to pay for it either.  However I feel mental health care coverage should be considered a minimum–but that’s just my opinion.

Although, I think for most uber-progressives, this proved our point that we needed a single-payer system in place.

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

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9 responses to “Slavery, Sarah Palin and Senator Mary Landrieu: Conspiracists United!

  1. Thank you Uppity for the ACA info and its political implications.

    Keeping it factual matters, as does education, history, recent, old, and ancient. Integrity matters too.

  2. ‘None of are free’….Solomon Burke and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama c. 2002; album, ‘Don’t give up on me’

    And here we are.

      • The best analogy I’ve got, mandatory automobile insurance (private for profit corporations) for those who choose to own and operate cars; healthcare (private for profit corporations) for all who own (?) and operate a human body ?

        Would less overhead, government single-payer healthcare work, Medicare for all?

  3. I will say, this administration has made me both anti-Republican and anti-Democrat. I’m sure white Republicans ejaculated something serious with Dr. Carson’s use of the word slavery — anytime a black person uses slavery as a justification for white radicalism, I swear I can feel the collective rising heat emitting around me. At the same time, I definitely feel like a large segment of registered Democrats go to extremes to justify Obama’s every decision rather than fully taking into consideration the cons that are at times very valid.

    Now, the fact is I’m part of the population that doesn’t have to worry about health insurance because 1) my job provides decent benefits, and 2) I’m paid well enough to cover emergencies even if I opt out of insurance, which is something I had been doing every other year to increase my savings since I only get checkups on odd years and I’m low risk health-wise. That said, I do agree that health insurance should be everyone’s right, not privilege (score one for the Dems), but I also agree that health insurance should be voluntary, not mandatory (go ‘Pubs). Speaking from a very selfish and knowingly privileged standpoint, the ACA now forces me to shell out upwards of $2,000 of my own money every other year for services I don’t need or use (to draw a parallel to your article, if you never end up taking advantage of that mental healthcare you’re not forced to carry, you’ll never get that portion of your premium refunded).

    I do agree with mandating that healthcare be accessible and affordable to all who want it, but I vehemently disagree with taxing those of us who have alternatives that we sufficiently rely on. Furthermore, I disagree with any government mandating all residents to transact with private businesses. It’s not the government’s responsibility to drum up revenue for for-profit organizations, which is what the “tax or die/buy” portion of the ACA does. I like the intent, but I definitely think 1) Democrats are being a bit standoffish about considering the full scope of impacts, and 2) Republicans are clouding the conversation and enabling the Democrats’ hardheadedness with their immature antics and inflammatory rhetoric.

    The grown up in me says: I’m just hoping we can get that tax eliminated from the ACA, but at the end of the day, I can always just re-budget and keep it moving.
    The child who grew up in poverty in me says: It’s my money, I earned it, and I don’t wanna give it away not ever, never, because it’s mine to do what I want with.

  4. Whatever I did, this reply is to Mademoiselle’s cogent musings:

    The best analogy I’ve got, mandatory automobile insurance (private for profit corporations) for those who choose to own and operate cars; healthcare (private for profit corporations) for all who own (?) and operate a human body ?

    Would less overhead, government single-payer healthcare work, Medicare for all?

  5. Hm… Universal Medicare has me thinking. I was actually thinking more about adding an option similar to a 401K where people get to opt in to setting aside a portion of their income in a health savings account with no rollover cap, but with the similar withdrawal penalties (tax free until you withdraw, and any non-medical loans drawn on it would include steep fees).

    I suppose universal Medicare would require the HI Tax to go up in order to be able to provide it to everyone, which I would actually also be in favor of IF it was treated the way SSI is treated where using it before a certain date reduces the amount available to be paid out to you, while waiting until your vesting date would leave more to cover late-life emergencies. I would also want it to guarantee routine wellness exams and generic medicine for the most common illnesses for low income families before it reduces the full benefit amount. If a 1% tax (realistically, more like a 2% to 6% tax) was proposed to go to that kind of program, I’d be all for it, but as it stands, the ACA tax only guarantees that you won’t be prosecuted for evasion.

    • @Mademoiselle

      I think one day we are going to get to a point where men won’t be forced to pay for maternity/pregnancy care, nor will women past the child-bearing age either–a real cafeteria plan. However, we’re not there yet. I think the Dems were aware of this, which is why some were pushing the single-payer plan.

      • I’m pretty sure we’re a long ways away. I don’t get the sense that anything a la carte will become standard any time soon. If we were headed in that direction we’d see passenger insurance become available to protect people from negligent designated drivers, or cable-your-way plans, or pre-published medical costs like those nutrition facts on food containers. My dreams are more idealistic than the government I’m subjected to. ’tis all.

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