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Posted by sinkingfeeling in Editorials & Other Articles
Tue Oct 18th 2011, 02:42 PM

***Note this article requires subscription to read in full****

"Financial-industry representatives met with the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Securities and Exchange Commission or Commodity Futures Trading Commission 350 times, according to Ms. Krawiec’s analysis and meeting logs reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Representatives of unions, consumer groups, other Volcker-rule proponents and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker have met with the same agencies 20 times since the Dodd-Frank law passed in July 2010.

Ms. Krawiec, the Duke law professor, said the numbers show financial firms “won hands down” in terms of regulatory face time. “The meeting logs paint a picture of a very one-sided lobbying campaign, with Wall Street’s influence, information and pressure crowding out all the other voices.”

The above quote is from "Altercation" here: . It just shows that even with petitions, public comments, OWS, etc., we're up against all-but-impossible odds. Or as Reed Richardson ended the "Altercation" article,

"Outlobbying, outspending, and outlasting—these are the advantages that Wall Street will retain if the only forces arrayed against it are the street protestors occupying Zuccotti Park and elsewhere. To affect real financial reform and reverse the growing income inequality in this country, it will take a more concerted political effort across a larger, public stage. But without a more intrepid press exposing the truth along the way, reality, I fear, will never match the headlines."

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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion
Thu Mar 03rd 2011, 08:51 AM

The Ohio Senate voted 17-16 Wednesday to pass a bill that has stirred weeks of protests at the Statehouse, drawing more than 15,000 total protesters.

Senate Bill 5 would substantially overhaul a 23-year-old collective bargaining law, which gave public employees the right to bargain for their wages, hours, working conditions and benefits.

Six republicans broke from their party and joined all 10 Senate Democrats in voting against the bill, which will now be sent to the Ohio House of Representatives. Majority leader William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, plans to bring the bill for a vote by March 15, when hearings on Gov. John Kasich's budget proposal are scheduled to begin.

The GOP holds a 59-40 majority in the House.

This just breaks my heart as a native Buckeye.

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Posted by sinkingfeeling in Health
Fri Jan 28th 2011, 11:13 AM
my ENT just set up an appointment for a PET scan to be done in April. My insurance company requires a 'pre-approval' for such an expensive test. That's all fine, but what gets me is the approval comes from a 'vendor' named CareCore, radiology benefits management firm. Who's concerned about 'benefit rationing', 'death panels', or people who have never examined you making calls about your health care?

Here's what CareCore has to say from their website:

CareCore Radiology, a division of CareCore National, is the nation’s largest and fastest growing radiology benefits management firm. We have the industry's most extensive and current set of evidence-based criteria. Our quality and utilization managment programs provide health plans with comprehensive and robust tools to appropriately manage radiology benefits.

CareCore Radiology covers more than 30 million member subscribers in all 50 states. We work with each client to strategically identify opportunities to improve utilization and enhance quality through seamless solutions that integrate all aspects of patient-centered care.

CareCore Radiology manages benefits for advanced imaging such as magnetic resonance (MRI/MRA), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) nuclear medicine and nuclear cardiology. We partner with each client to:

•Create a dynamic and responsive radiology management program
•Surpass management objectives
•Address provider and marketplace concerns
•Immediate impact on unit cost and inappropriate utilization of imaging services
•Target specific areas
•Increase the quality of service rendered to plan members

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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Nov 03rd 2010, 09:40 AM (2010)

Yes 992,094 51.5%
No 932,615 48.5%

The Tea Party opposed this tooth and nail.
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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jul 31st 2009, 02:43 PM

Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for20electronic funds transfer.

This again, is in regards to reducing costs within the private health insurance industry and says exactly this, "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice;" This refers to the standardization of financial and administrative functions between health care providers and insurance companies!

Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)

Wrong again. This section talks about the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a temporary reinsurance program (in this section referred to as the ‘‘reinsurance program’’) to provide reimbursement to assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and to eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees. The amount paid for this policies is capped : the Secretary shall reimburse such plan for 80 percent of that portion of the costs attributable to such claim that exceeds $15,000, but is less than $90,000. Goal is to lower the costs borne directly by employer for providing retiree insurance. (pages 68 & 69).

Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.

Doesn't say that. It says that "the Commissioner shall— (1) under section 204 establish standards for, accept bids from, and negotiate and enter into contracts with, QHBP offering entities for the offering of health benefits plans through the Health Insurance Exchange, with different levels of benefits required under section 203" If the insurance companies want to play, they have to meet the government standards.

Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)

Again, does not say that all plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange, just that those entities that do, must offer at least a basic plan within a service area. They can, then optionally, offer an enhanced and a premium plan.

Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens

Again, there is absolutely nothing about resident status in this. The section reads, in it's entireity, "(7) CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE SERVICES AND COMMUNICATIONS.—The entity shall provide for culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services."

Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.

Says, "USE OF OTHER ENTITIES.—In carrying out this subsection, the Commissioner may work with
other appropriate entities to facilitate the dissemination of information under this subsection and to provide assistance as described in paragraph (2)." Then defines CHIP, Medicare, and States assistance. Also, this section is dealing with the Healthcare Exchange (participating for-profit insurance companies).

Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.

Another blatant lie. "(3) AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT OF MEDICAID ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS INTO MEDICAID.—The Commissioner shall provide for a process under which an individual who is described in section 202(d)(3) and has not elected to enroll in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan is automatically enrolled under Medicaid." Plenty of choice!

Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.

This entire Subtitle B is about the Public Option. What this section says is that the Secretary can establish the payment rates. "the Secretary to establish payment rates, including payments to provide for the more efficient delivery of services, such as the initiatives provided for under section 224.
24 (f) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or under section 224.-

Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.

This is the Public Option and there are two methods for physician payments.

"(A) PREFERRED PHYSICIANS.—Those physicians who agree to accept the payment rate established under section 223 (without regard to cost-sharing) as the payment in full. (B) PARTICIPATING, NON-PREFERRED PHYSICIANS.—Those physicians who agree not to impose charges (in relation to the payment rate described in section 223 for such physicians) that exceed the ratio permitted under
section 1848(g)(2)(C) of the Social Security Act. (Same as Medicare)."

Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No a lternatives.

Completely untrue. On page 145, there are 3 different ways an employer can provide health insurance for employees. But this is where somebody got the 'autoenrollment' stuff. Page 147, " (1) IN GENERAL.—The requirement of this subsection with respect to an employer and an employee is that the employer automatically enroll suchs (sic) employee into the employment-based health benefits plan for individual coverage under the plan option with the lowest applicable employee premium." This is followed immediately with a section describing how an employee may opt-out.

Page 126(sic) 146: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.

Again, a lie. It clearly states: "In the case of coverage for an employee who is not a full-time employee, the amount of the minimum employer contribution under this subsection shall be a proportion.." This is still for those insurers participating in the Public Option.

Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll

Really, it's stated as 'EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS IN LIEU OF COVERAGE.' and goes into Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund.

Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll

See above.

Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.

Well, they actually got something right. It's how you get mandatory participation. With a whole slew of exemptions listed in this section.

Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).

Somebody doesn't understand what a non-resident is. And no, Americans aren't going to pay for them because they're not required to have insurance in the USA because they're not citizens!

Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.

Wow. It clearly states that "the Secretary shall disclose to officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration or such State-based health insurance exchange, as the case may be, return information of any taxpayer.." Same stuff the IRS has on you already each year:
taxpayer identity, filing status, adjusted gross income, and number of dependents to "indicate whether the taxpayer is eligible for such affordability credits."

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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jul 31st 2009, 01:22 PM
These all fall into Title I of the bill: TITLE I—PROTECTIONS AND STANDARDS FOR QUALIFIED

The entire title is about the reform of for-profit health insurance. Setting new rules for private insurers, including employers who self-insure and what constitutes 'essential benefits'.

Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!

......Secretary of Labor, shall conduct a
26 study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health care markets. Such study shall examine the following: If they have the resources to cover and how plans differ from the typical insured.

Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
Definition of is to be included in essential benefit plans, including

(B) APPLICABLE LEVEL.—The applicable level specified in this subparagraph for Y1 is $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. Such levels shall be increased (rounded to the nearest $100) for each subsequent year by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (United States city average) applicable to such year.

Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)

Yes, there is to be a committee. Again to set and make recommendations to the standard essential benefit plan. This plan is what reforms for-profit insurance, reducing disparities, making for cost savings, disallowing 'pre-existing conditions from being dropped, etc. Appeals processes are under Section 132 on page 37.

Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.

IN GENERAL.—The Commissioner shall undertake activities in accordance with this subtitle to promote accountability of QHBP offering entities in meeting Federal health insurance requirements, regardless of whether such accountability is with respect to qualified health benefits plans offered
through the Health Insurance Exchange or outside of such Exchange.
Goes on to define the penalities a 'QHBP offering entity' (insurance provider) is subject to for violations.

Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to
personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Jul 30th 2009, 02:14 PM

From this site: /

And there's some great stuff here: /

I have a pdf copy of the entire report, "Hidden Costs of Health Care Report", but don't know where I got it.

Edited: Found this as well:

In 2007, the total spending for health care accounted for 16% of the country’s GDP, the highest share among the OECD and almost double the OECD average
On a per capita basis also the U.S. spent the highest with a total of $7,290 which is two-and-half times the OECD average
The public share of health care expenditure in the USA (45%) is less than any other OECD country
Despite spending the most, the U.S. provides health care coverage for only the elderly, disabled and some of the poor people
In comparison, the same amount is enough to provide universal health care insurance by the government for all citizens in other OECD countries

Great stuff about the report (costs $108 for the real report) is here:
35% of total health care expenditures is done by private health insurance which is the highest In OCED
Despite the high medical expenditure,there are fewer doctors per capita in the U.S. than most other OECD countries
Life expectancy in the U.S. is lower when compared with Japan,Switzerland, Canada and Australia
Infant morality rates in the U.S. is higher than most OECD countries. In 2006, it was 6.7 per live births relative to OECD average of 4.7
The proportion of daily smokers has fallen the most (> 50%) between 1980 and 2007 in the U.S. due to public awareness and high taxation
Obesity rate among adults is the highest in the U.S. in the OECD countries at 34.3% in 2006. Higher obesity rates leads to higher health care spending in the future
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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed May 13th 2009, 01:13 PM
new name and then hold a poll vote on the top 5.

Any one ?
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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu May 07th 2009, 02:15 PM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Through a $2 million gift from the Tyson Family Foundation and Tyson Foods Inc., the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is establishing the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace.

Judith A. Neal has been appointed the first director of the proposed Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace. The $2 million gift was matched from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation in the University of Arkansas Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, creating a $4 million endowment for the proposed center. The center will focus on curriculum development; outreach programs to business, churches and civic organizations; and research program support. Neal reports to Don Bland, Walton College senior managing director of outreach.

Walton College Dean Dan Worrell said, “Faith and spirituality are very important, yet underdeveloped dimensions of diversity in the workplace. The Walton College is very grateful to John Tyson for helping us become a top school in this emerging discipline, and we believe that Judith Neal is the right person to lead this effort. There is tremendous interest in this area of inquiry not only in academia but also in the business community.”
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Posted by sinkingfeeling in Health
Mon Feb 02nd 2009, 04:38 PM
I'm 60 years old and have the standard employer provided insurance; you know, pay a $750 a year deductible and then it's 20% for you and 80% for the insurance company to pay. I've always had employer provided insurance since I started working in 1967. The best was during the first 20 years I worked for IBM Corporation. At that time the company paid all of the premium and everything was covered 100%. Of course, that changed in the early 1990's and employees began to pay for the coverage and have deductibles and so on.

Anyway, I have only been able to use my insurance a few times. The first time I was in a hospital was to have my son ... at the time I did not have insurance because I was 'fired' from my job because I was pregnant (perfectly legal at the time). I stayed in the hospital for 5 days along with Mike being in the nursery. I had wonderful nurses and set up a payment plan and by the time Mike was 5, it was all paid off.

In 1978, I went in for a breast biopsy and stayed overnight.

In 1988, I had a hysterectomy and another breast biopsy. I was in the hospital for about 5 days and again had great care.

Several years ago I had strep throat and then noticed a lump on the right side of my neck. I was told that it was a lymph node and that sometimes they remained swollen after an infection. So I continued to ignore it. Then at Thanksgiving, I began to notice an increase in the swelling, but I had a cold and didn't pay a lot of attention. There was no tenderness or discomfort. In December, some of my co-workers began to ask questions about the swelling and urged me to see a doctor.

Now, I hadn't been to a doctor since 2001 and really don't have one who is familiar with me. I don't like doctors and it seems like I always got sick after being in for a physical like happened in 2001. But I made an appointment with an endocrinologist, thinking it was a lymph node. He examined me and sent me immediately to an ENT. I had a needle biopsy done on Dec. 18, 2008. He thought it was a tumor on the parotid (saliva gland) and the initial results were benign. We sat up surgery because he said the longer the tumor existed the more the chance of cancer.

I had the surgery on Jan. 16. I was released from the hospital on Jan. 19 after telling them I wouldn't stay another day. I felt like I was being tortured the entire time, except when I was completely out during the actual surgery.

Not one nurse or CNA ever asked if there was anything they could do for me. They 'blew' the IV's 4 times and both of arms were swollen and so black and blue I couldn't grasp a straw. The bed was worse than the 'rack'. I finally begged them to get me into a chair while still in ICU because my back muscles were so knotted up. My lips and tongue dried out so much that they both cracked open. The tumor turned out to be on my right tonsil, against my juggler vein, and cancerous. He removed it, the tonsil, and two lymph nodes in my neck. No one assisted me to get fluids or ice. They insisted on pumping 8 sacks of antibiotics through the IV at 6 hour intervals even though I was having a strong reaction to them. I passed out a couple of times because my blood pressure when so low during the antibiotic injection.

I was lucky in that the doctor made his rounds early on Monday morning and I told him outright that I would not spend another night there. He signed the release and I was freed by 10:30AM. I hadn't slept a wink since Friday night in the ICU and walked the halls almost all of Sunday night.

I don't yet know how much this all cost. But I asked my sister what the hell happened in the 20 years since I had my prior surgery. She said that everything has become so 'specialized' that there is no one left to oversee the needs of the patient. That nurses have assumed the responsibility for making sure all the 'i's are dotted and the t's are crossed' that providing that old-time TLC just isn't done.

If the tumor hadn't developed a secondary infection in Nov.-Dec. I never would have gone to a doctor about it. Now I wish I hadn't. I swear I will never return to that hospital.

Just some thoughts as I haven't made any more plans for additional treatment as yet. Not sure where I'm going with any of this.
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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Sep 23rd 2008, 10:03 AM
On every online comment section and discussion board I've looked at in the last two days, at least a dozen yahoos have claimed one or two of the following:

1. "It's the Dems fault because that stopped S.190 (to reform the regulation of Fannie and Freddie)in 2005."

2. "It's all the fault of poor/black people because the Dems pushed for giving these unqualified bums mortgage loans through the Community Reinvestment Act."

The best response to Number 1 is here:

"S190 was discussed in the Senate Banking Committee on July 28, 2005 with the result, "Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably", which I believe is Congress speak for, "we don't like this, please go rewrite it and we may reconsider", i.e., the bill died in a Republican controlled committee and never came to the floor of the Senate or back to the Senate Banking Committee for reconsideration. S190 died in committee."

That statement is documented

Also, both the White House and the American Enterprise Institute (neocon heaven) OPPOSED the passage of the House counterpart H.R. 1461, which did pass 331-90.

H.R. 1461: A GSE "Reform" That Is Worse than Current Law
" HR 1461--a bill that was supposed to create a “world class regulator”--is in fact a world class failure. Not only does it fail to improve significantly upon the regulatory authority of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), but it actually increases the opportunities for Fannie and Freddie to exploit their subsidies in order to expand into other areas of residential finance."

"The Administration has long called for legislation to create a stronger, more effective regulatory regime to improve oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks ("housing government-sponsored enterprises" or "housing GSEs") and appreciates the considerable efforts of Chairman Oxley and Chairman Baker in crafting H.R. 1461. However,

H.R. 1461 fails to include key elements that are essential to protect the safety and soundness of the housing finance system and the broader financial system at large. As a result, the Administration opposes the bill."

Best response to Number 2 is here:

Community Reinvestment Act May Have Deterred Risky Mortgage Lending

"NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--A Traiger & Hinckley LLP study of 2006 mortgage loan data suggests
that the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law that requires banks
to help serve the credit needs of their local communities, including
low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, deterred banks from engaging
in the kinds of risky lending practices that are provoking the
foreclosure crisis.

Compared to other lenders in their communities, banks making loans
in their CRA assessment areas (CRA Banks) were less likely to make a
high cost loan, charged less for the high cost loans they did make,
and were substantially more likely to eschew the secondary market and
retain high cost and other loans in portfolio."

These posters all have gleaned their lies from the National Review, Bloomberg, talk-radio, and John McCain campaign.

Help shut them down!!

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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Sep 05th 2008, 11:50 AM
I'm a child of the sixties. I was a wanna be hippie, because I was really a married college dropout when the Summer of Love took place. I gave up my scholarships to Ohio State and went to key punch school for a few weeks before taking a job so that my husband could continue in college and keep his deferment.

Vietnam was going hot and heavy. Campus protests and the anti-war movement was on. I watched as the Ohio National Guard surrounded the ROTC building on campus. This was just days prior to the killings at Kent State, my sister's school.

With the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies, anti-establishment and people first sentiments ruled my age group. I started buying 'Mother Earth News' and wanting to flee to the wilds of Montana to live by self efficiency. I wanted to 'Drop Out' and be off the grid. Practical Idealism.

However, I didn't. I found myself divorced and a mother at age 21. My ex-husband was in the US Air Force and in Thailand. I had to feed and take care of my son. I was in 'data processing' and eventually would be hired by IBM Corporation.

But I thought we'd change the world. We'd take over the governing and end the unfairness and stop the military-industrial complex dead in their tracks. How could anybody have gone through the pain of Vietnam and not wanted to end wars? I wanted a world that lived in peace and recognized the humanity of all of us. What happened?

My generation failed to transmit those moral imperatives to our children. Somehow they listened more to the TV ads telling them they needed to consume and buy this new gadget and that new 'toy'. They became 'entitled' to good grades, good colleges, and well paying jobs. Money, lots of money, became the god of this nation. Now some believe we must fight the rest of the world so that 'our' life styles won't have to change.

Anyway, I'm sorry. My generation failed to bring about the changes that seemed so clearly evident we needed in 1972.
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Posted by sinkingfeeling in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Apr 21st 2008, 10:20 AM
tell me which one of these is the human, maybe her 'law' will make some sense.

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