The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

The liberals made my life miserable for 43 years. And I’m going to make their lives miserable for 43 years.

Clarence Thomas to his clerks in 1993

This is the petty schmuck who has led the charge to make all the people he hates – women, LGBTQ+, and non-Christofascists in general – into property of the State. I say “the State” because the federal government, in the person of six ideologues who never should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court, has removed basic privacy protections from all of us.

The State has decided that only women who live in blue states will have rights to their own bodies. In essence, when one person is denied the guarantee of freedom, it opens up the precedent that everyone can be denied the guarantee of freedom. Thomas and the five ChristoClowns have decided that no one has rights to their own bodies except white, straight, Christian men. (I think Clarence Thomas counts himself as white – that’s the only explanation for his buying in to this anti-American bullsh*t.)

As Quixote pointed out in comments, this is the re-establishment of slavery; but Slavery 2.0 casts a much wider net than the original. Friday’s decision removed basic human rights from 166 million women and girls. And each of those women and girls has many people that love her and will grieve her pain along with her. So when she is raped and has to bear her rapist’s child, or dies in childbirth, or dies from an ectopic pregnancy, or lives in poverty and misery because she can’t afford a child, this suffering doesn’t just impact her. It impacts everyone around her.

The horrors that will spread from this decision are unimaginable, and I think we are all incredulous that no one could see it coming in 2016. Young white people in particular should have come out in droves to vote for Hillary, but no. They couldn’t be bothered because “both parties are the same” and “Bernie woulda won.” Do y’all get it now, Gen Z and Millennials? You’re the ones who will actually be impacted by this. I’m going to be 55 this year and can no longer get pregnant, which oddly, makes me feel guilty that I won’t be directly miserable along with so many others. (Jewish guilt is rough.)

For those who say this will only impact women of color, and wealthy white women in red states will be fine because they can travel to other states, I think they’re in for a surprise. The Christofascists have thought of that loophole. They want to test women for pregnancy before allowing them to travel out of state. And, they want to criminalize miscarriages. Sounds like Slavery 1.0, doesn’t it? Will they be sending bounty hunters to capture runaway pregnant women if they cross the border “illegally” to states where they’re not considered property?

Based on the wave of protests that started on Friday and will likely continue, as well as the vast majority of Americans who disagree with SCOTUS, this terrible decision will drive enormous turnout in 2022 and the Democrats will increase their majorities in the House and Senate. (This doesn’t even count the impact the J6 hearings have had on the QOP – but that’s for another post. That will also be quite significant.) Nevertheless, I agree with Quixote, DYB and other Widdershins that every Democrat running for office in 2022 needs to be on message as to what they are going to do to fix this. I’d like to hear them say three things: 1) I will vote to amend the filibuster to make progress on legislation the Republicans are blocking; 2) I will vote to expand the Supreme Court and 3) I will vote “yes” on the Women’s Health Protection Act. None of these things can happen without two more Senate Democrats to nullify Manchinema’s inconsistent insistence on keeping the filibuster sacrosanct sometimes, whatever whatever.

The QOP has massively overstepped both their power and their mandate. They may be celebrating now, but they will be crying in November, and for decades to come. And Clarence Thomas, you will be f*cking miserable for the rest of your disgusting, pathetic life.

I can hardly believe it, but it’s Thanksgiving next week, Widdershins! I hope you’re all going to take some time to relax. Two viruses – the pandemic and the Republican virus of vaccine and mask resistance – have cast a pall over holiday gatherings this year. The pandemic is the one affecting Thanksgiving for me. I am thankful that my family is all vaxxed, AND, that I am seeing my aunt and uncle from Baltimore for the first time since the Rona reared its ugly head. We’ll still need to get negative PCR tests before we can go inside my brother’s house for Turkey and Tofurkey Day (my sister-in-law is vegetarian), but it’s worth it to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Despite the wretched Rittenhouse verdict, we had a lot to be thankful for this week. President Biden signed the BIF and Speaker Pelosi got the Build Back Better bill signed in the House. Now, the bill goes to the Senate, but thanks to the reconciliation process, only Democrats need to vote for it. Despite Manchinema saying they’ll wait for the CBO report to say how they vote, the report is coming soon, and I don’t think they’ll make a lot of trouble after what happened in New Jersey and Virginia. Oh, and remember how McConnell insisted a couple of months ago that he would absolutely, totally, NOT vote yes on raising the debt ceiling on December 15? Looks like he and Chuck are talking about it now. Something tells me Chuck will get what he wants.

I hope you all will indulge me as I take a minute to marvel at what the Democrats have accomplished so far. The Party has had full control of the federal government only since February 3, 2021, when Schumer and McConnell agreed on power-sharing in the Senate. Given that metric, it’s been nine and a half months.

We have been so traumatized and terrified by the hostile maladministration of Rethugs that we are not used to any good news coming from government sources. I believe this trauma, in combination with our blatantly fascist media, are what’s preventing us from appreciating the revolutionary nature of this time in our political history. There has not been a truly significant investment in the 99% since the Affordable Care Act – and even that was weak sauce compared to what’s being passed now. I can only compare the current furious activity to the New Deal, without the racism of that legislation. And Democrats are doing it all with a majority of 1 vote – the revolutionary, first Black and Asian woman Vice President Kamala Harris. (PRESIDENT Kamala Harris for a few hours this week! Incredible!)

I have often said that the job of President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. 350 million souls, so many of them suffering due to social and economic inequality; and the rest of the world, looking to Biden for leadership, aid and partnership – with a few countries trying to destroy him and America from the inside. Imagine coming into that job after almost 27 years of Rethug destruction, plus a global pandemic that has been botched almost beyond repair, with a forever war to end in Afghanistan and an ongoing attempted coup added in for good measure!

Leaders talented enough to take on this job successfully need two traits in combination. One is, the ability to communicate a shared purpose that people can believe in; and the other is the ability to build the right team to drive it forward.

I think Pelosi and Schumer have been able to wrangle the Democrats into passing these historic bills not just because they too are very talented leaders (they certainly are!), but also because Biden has convinced Congressional Dems that his purpose is the right one. (This doesn’t count the Squad, of course, but they’re DINOs.) His purpose to me is quite simple: let’s join the 21st century so China and Russia don’t destroy us. He’s looking ahead strategically and seeing how many of our people are mired in poverty, illness and incarceration without access to the Internet, child care, education and healthcare. This state of the Union makes us less competitive on the world stage, holding us back from making progress on difficult problems like climate change and clean energy. Every initiative Biden has put forward has been consistent with this purpose; whether it’s the American Rescue Plan, which included an increased Child Tax Credit that has already cut child poverty by 50%; or the BIF, which includes billions for clean water and renewable energy; or the Build Back Better Act, which in its current form regulates the cost of child care, provides four weeks of paid parental and sick leave for all American workers, provides free universal pre-K for all 3 and 4-year-olds, and boosts Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, as well as containing $500 billion to address climate change. Women’s rights are far from forgotten – the latest annual budget proposal drops the Hyde Amendment for the first time since 1976, as well as the less-known Weldon Amendment that works in tandem with it, and includes historic amounts of funding for Title X and access to abortion. And let’s not forget the executive orders he’s signed to mandate vaccines in workplaces through OSHA, and block the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For more details, this poster on Twitter always has receipts.

Biden’s ability to build a stellar team is on display all day, every day. From our marvelous VP Kamala Harris, who (despite getting the Hillary treatment from the media) is succeeding on multiple fronts, to his diverse and talented Cabinet, Chief of Staff and Press Secretary, all of his team are on point, on message and doing what needs to be done.

There is plenty of bad that’s going on in this world, but today, I’m thankful for what the Democrats have done for the American people. And today and every day, I’m thankful for all of you Widdershins who have kept me going through good times and bad, for lo, these many years.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Open thread as always.

Courtesy of The Hill

Rut-roh, Bernie! There’s a new cult figure on the horizon, and *gasp,* he is YOUNG. And, he raised $200,000 more in 24 hours than you did! Oh my, oh my, what shall you do?

O’Rourke’s total crushed the first day hauls of many of his Democratic competitors and surpassed even that of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the fundraising pace-setter and a far better-known candidate who collected $6 million [actually, he didn’t. He raised $5.9 million] in the first 24 hours of his own campaign. In an email to supporters Monday, the Sanders campaign pointed to O’Rourke’s total and asked for help to “close the gap” before the first Federal Election Commission fundraising deadline.

Oh, but that didn’t happen. Why? Because Beto knew how important this was going to be, and he was ready.

The cash windfall was no accident. O’Rourke began preparing for a robust online fundraising push even before he announced his run for president, alerting top supporters to be ready to solicit contributions from their lists. Once he announced his candidacy on Thursday, the campaign began aggressive texting, email and social media appeals. O’Rourke spent more than $157,000 on Facebook last week, running more than 2,300 — many of them soliciting donations, with the campaign telling donors that “what we raise in the first 24 hours will set the tone in the national conversation about the viability of our campaign.”

Whatever we might think about Beto, he certainly has political savvy – enough to know how to shut up the yelling, pointing, almost-octogenarian Senator Sanders. And now, it looks like at least some of the Powers That Be have decided that Bernie and Beto cannot occupy the same space. The compares and contrasts are starting, first on one of Sanders’ signature slogans – er, policy positions: Medicare for All. Guess what? Beto’s on the right side of this. He favors a plan called Medicare for America,  which outlines a gradual phasing in of single-payer. Not too coincidentally, this concept is also what Our Girl proposed in 2016.

That Democrats are arguing whether their next health care proposal should cover every American in a government plan in a matter of years or a matter of decades shows how far to the left the party’s internal health care debate has shifted. But in a crowded presidential field, these distinctions are going to be treated as meaningful. O’Rourke is allying himself with more mainstream Democrats, setting up a collision with Sanders and the single-payer purists [bolding mine].

That is a good sign for Beto. But there are other, more troubling signs that despite the cash he can raise, he just might not be ready for prime time, especially in the era of #MeToo and the massive infusion of energy, brilliance and joy over 100 female freshman Democrats have brought to the House this year.

Much of the criticism of O’Rourke, while specific to the comments he has made, also revolve around his status as a 40-something white male running in a party increasingly leaning on minorities and women for support.

[snip]

Tracy Sefl, a Democratic consultant who served as a surrogate to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, summed it up by calling it “the tyranny of bro culture.”

“A seasoned campaign professional — a woman— asked me, ‘Is he running for president in this century?’ A question worth asking based on what voters saw over the past several days,” Sefl said.

So, Beto’s shiny and embodies white male privilege. Bernie’s shiny and embodies white male privilege. At the end of the day, which one, if either, will remain standing? I think we’ll find that two shiny objects cannot, in fact, occupy the same space.

This is an open thread.

 

Who pays the bill?

Good Day Widdershins!

MB has had some real life issues come up
so I’m subbing for her today.

Welp, the Super Bowl is over and as chat and I used to say, we’ve entered the Dark Times now as far as football is concerned.  However, we survive.

What we may not survive is how insurance companies treat us when we may have to use the services of the emergency room.  Basically they now have decided that unless you have diagnosed yourself, performed an M.R.I. on yourself with your own imaging machine that you keep out in the garage and truly have an emergent condition under their own list of diagnostic codes rules and, in the case of Anthem, they probably won’t cover your claim for an E.R. visit.

A list of codes from Missouri is significantly longer, with more than 1,900 diagnostic codes that could indicate non-emergency visits. The list includes multiple types of “unspecified injuries” and “chest pain on breathing.”

(snip)

In other states, the list of diagnosis codes remains confidential. Georgia insurance regulators have asked Anthem to provide a copy of that state’s list, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

The link above is a link to a Vox article describing what happened to one woman in Kentucky Who had Anthem Blue Cross.

Brittany Cloyd was doubled over in pain when she arrived at Frankfort Regional Medical Center’s emergency room on July 21, 2017.

“They got me a wheelchair and wheeled me back to a room immediately,” said Cloyd, 27, who lives in Kentucky.

Cloyd came in after a night of worsening fever and a increasing pain on the right side of her stomach. She called her mother, a former nurse, who thought it sounded like appendicitis and told Cloyd to go to the hospital immediately.

Hell, if my mom was a former nurse and told me that I would be heading to the E.R. too!

At the E.R. the doctor and staff did a CT scan and ultrasound.  They determined that Cloyd had a case of ovarian cysts.  They gave her a prescription for pain meds and an order to followup with her gynecologist.  And ya know…most of us don’t have that CT machine and ultrasound to do our own tests before heading to the E.R.

However that wasn’t good enough for Anthem Blue Cross and they denied Cloyd’s claim leaving her to pay a $12,000 bill.

What Anthem suggests other than a visit to the E.R.

Anthem discovered a really neat way to start denying E.R. claims when they received them.

Anthem has begun denying coverage for emergency room visits that it deems “inappropriate” because they aren’t, in the insurance plan’s view, true emergencies.

The problem: These denials are made after patients visit the ER, sometimes based on the diagnosis after seeing a doctor, not on the symptoms that sent them, like in Cloyd’s case.

Now, I’m not a doctor nor a nurse but I do believe when you present to the E.R. the docs and nurses will get the symptoms you are having and then start the process of ruling out or ruling in what the problem or issue is.  However, it’s much easier and cheaper (!) to go by what the discharge diagnosis turned out to be.

Vox wanted to interview someone from Anthem but after initially agreeing to an interview Anthem backed out and just gave them a written statement.  (which is bullshit btw)

Renee Hsia, a professor of health policy studies at the University of California San Francisco and practicing emergency physician said:

“If you look at insurance claims data, you have diagnoses but you don’t have what the patient came in with,” Hsia said. “It’s not fair to expect the patient [to come] in knowing their diagnosis. If they did, they wouldn’t come in and wait for ours.”

Oh and that little flyer thing above that Anthem included in some folks’ bills?  It a crock.  In my local area, urgent care places close at 6:00 p.m., they aren’t open “nights”.  So if I have chest pains after 6, do I wait until the next day when they are open or do I call 911 and go to an E.R.?  And pardon me, but the Teledoc?  I’m having chest pains and I’m going to video conference with a doc?  Uh no and besides they charge either $40 or $45 bucks and then they would say “go to the E.R.”.

At least Brittany got satisfaction on her claim.  It only took two appeals and then Vox getting into the situation.

John Rogers, president-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians said “Hospitals are starting to talk to patient advocacy groups, asking whether they’re aware of the situation,” he said. “We’re starting to sit down with legislators to say, ‘This is happening, we don’t think it’s a good idea, and these are other, better solutions.’”

Good luck Dr. Rogers.  Going up against the big health insurance companies will be a long, difficult slog.

Open thread of course.

I couldn’t bring myself to write about tRump and his calling the Democrats “treasonous” because they refused to kiss his ass applaud his S.O.T.U. address.  You’ll find out about real treason very soon Donald.

 

 

p03lcphh.jpg

Good morning Widdershins.

This week has been rough. On Tuesday and Wednesday Republicans passed the Money Redistribution Act. Not a single Democrat voted for this travesty that will gut whatever is left of the American middle-class. But Republican centrists, those honorable people likeSusan-collins-e1465230869154.jpg Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – heroines of the ACA repeal fiasco – showed once again that when it really comes down to it, they are as dishonorable as every other Republican. Both sold out the American public for a handful of dollars; actually, when I say a handful I mean a huge handful for themselves and their corporate overlords. Susan Collins, when told that McConnell would not honor his promise to her about the ACA mandate, lashed out at the media:

“I believe that the coverage has been unbelievably sexist, and I cannot believe that the press would have treated another senator with 20 years of experience as they have treated me,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “They’ve ignored everything that I’ve gotten and written story after story about how I’m duped. How am I duped when all your amendments get accepted?”

A certain female former Senator, Secretary of State and almost President might laugh at Collins’ self-pity. The GOP tax bill for all intents and purposes repeals ACA. Collins voted to repeal it after claiming she wouldn’t. Because McConnell promised her something he has no intention of delivering. If she truly thought he would – she may not look it, but Susan Collins was born yesterday.

In other news, the New York Times continued to demonstrate why they are – as I like to say – the rotting corpse of a once great news organization. Just a few short weeks ago they suspended their star White House reporter Glenn Thrush after stories came out that multiple women were accusing him of harassment and assault. On Wednesday Dean Baquet announced that Thrush would be back at the paper, just not covering the White House.

“While we believe that Glenn has acted offensively, we have decided that he does not deserve to be fired,” Baquet said in a statement. He said Thrush will receive “training designed to improve his workplace conduct,” and that Thrush is undergoing counseling and substance abuse rehabilitation on his own.

This is galling, especially when you consider that the Times previously wrote op-eds calling on Al Franken to resign. (Which he did and just announced that he will be gone atmaxresdefault.jpg the end of the year.) Thrush, one of the star male reporters who helped craft the narrative in 2016 that Hillary Clinton was unlikable and not trustworthy, was proven to be a misogynist. Perhaps considering the Times’ coverage, especially Baquet’s political coverage, one should not be surprised. But appalled and disgusted, yes. Or as Brianna Wu tweeted:

Dear . The issue with Glenn Thrush isn’t that he behaved “offensively.” It’s that he got drunk, sexually assaulted women he worked with, and then DESTROYED THEIR PROFESSIONAL REPUTATIONS with colleagues to cover his ass. How can you keep that in your newsroom?!

Perhaps more than any other paper, the New York Times has been responsible for normalization of Trump and White Supremacy, and the destruction of Hillary Clinton. If anyone still has a subscription to it, I urge them to cancel it. (Also worth noting Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, announced his retirement from the paper effective December 14th. His place as the head of the paper was taken his son, A.G. Sulzberger. Because, well, of course.)


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