Hospital executives made passionate pleas to the House Commerce committee on Tuesday to seek support for a bill that would require insurance companies selling plans on the federally run insurance exchange to negotiate with all interested health care providers in the state.
Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont is one of 10 hospitals in the state not included in Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s network for plans sold on the exchange this year. The hospital wasn’t offered an opportunity to negotiate, Valley Regional CEO Peter Wright said.
Anthem “quite cleverly followed the letter of the law, but found the loopholes to exclude the most economically disparaged [sic] communities in the state,” Wright said. “It’s almost classism. We’re supposed to be taking care of the people who can’t otherwise get care.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Nelson, R-Brookfield, was more measured, saying the bill is about “fairness, it’s about monopolies, about jobs, about the patients that are inconvenienced by the extra travel and expense.”
So it's come to this. Read below the fold...
But we listen to [the] opinions [of crazy pants squilionaires], no matter how stupid they are, because our elected officials listen to their opinions, and their jobs depend on not recognizing or acknowledging how stupid they are. It is impossible to get elected president without the backing of a cadre of multimillionaires. It is nearly impossible to get elected to the U.S. Senate without a couple in your corner. The multimillionaires and billionaires fund every effective political interest group in the country, from gun rights to gay rights groups. What makes the wealthy persecution fantasy so risible is that our political class is responsive almost solely to the priorities and views of the rich, but the fantasy serves a purpose: It prevents Congress from actually acting to address economic inequity. As long as the rich perceive even ineffectual social opprobrium as an existential threat, politicians will be too terrified to advance any actual redistributionist agenda. Our best hope for achieving anything on income inequality under this political system, in this climate, might be to somehow convince rich people that it’s their idea, and that we all love and admire them a great deal for coming up with it.
On the one hand, it's nice to see that fully paid up members of the "progressive" nomenklatura like Pareene, Matt Yglesias, Josh Marshall, and Josh Green have been given license to deploy the snark against Perkins et al., no doubt in service to the "populist" agenda Obama's SOTU so signally failed to move forward; they're good at snark. Read below the fold...
Why it’s important for jobseekers to build their own websites
“In a difficult job market like this one, you need every tool you can get to land your next job,” says Charles Pooley, founder of Workfolio, a New York-based developer of technology that boosts professional visibility.
In fact, 56 percent of hiring managers are more impressed with a candidate’s personal website than any other branding tool, according to a Workfolio survey. Yet only 7 percent of job seekers maintain a personal website.
Pooley says that a personal website sends a message that you care about your professional image. And when you develop good, relevant content, you show you put time and thought into your job.
Of course, Pooley is talking his book. But then, he has a book to talk. Read below the fold...
OK, Berkeley. Nevertheless!
Four Democratic Party candidates competing for the District 15 state Assembly seat showed remarkable agreement when responding to questions at the Jan. 23 Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club meeting. None of the hopefuls were able to capture the club endorsement, which requires a 55 percent vote. ....
Among the four candidates, two have held public office: Tony Thurmond served on the Richmond City Council from 2005 to 2008 and on the West Contra Costa County School Board from 2008 to 2012. Berkeley resident Andy Katz is president of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District board, where he has had a seat since 2006.
Candidate Elizabeth Echols, an Oakland resident, was the U.S. Small Business Administration regional director from 2010 to 2013, and Emeryville resident Sam Kang is lead attorney for the Greenlining Institute, a nonprofit social justice advocacy organization.
While Wellstone interviewed only Democratic Party candidates -- about 65 percent of the district's registered voters are Democrats -- San Pablo City Councilman Rich Kinney, a Republican, is running for the seat, as is retired anthropology professor Eugene Ruyle, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate who ran against Skinner in 2012. Candidates can't officially begin to file for office until Feb. 10.
The two top vote getters in the June 3 primary, irrespective of party affiliation, will square off in the Nov. 4 general election.
In their responses to questions posed by the club, the four candidates said they supported single payer health care and a complete moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water mixed with sand and chemicals into shale rock to release natural gas or oil.
None of this wussiness about the public option zombie magic sparkle pony. Read below the fold...
"One-Third of Americans Who Were Middle Class in 2008 Now Consider Themselves Lower or Lower Middle Class"
Pew Research has a new poll out tracking how many people call themselves middle class vs. some other class.
If you actually take a close look at the numbers, it turns out that of the people who identified as middle class in 2008, nearly a third of them now identify as lower middle or lower class. And as dramatic as that sounds, it's actually even more dramatic than those bare words suggest. Class self-identification is deeply tied up with culture, not just income, and this decline means that a lot of people—about one in six Americans—now think of themselves as not just suffering an income drop, but suffering an income drop they consider permanent. Permanent enough that they now live in a different neighborhood, associate with different friends, and apparently consider themselves part of a different culture than they did just six years ago.
I'm going to repeat that: A third of the people who identified as middle class in 2008 now identify as lower middle or lower class. And that happened in a mere six years.
One in six. Read below the fold...
The rich are different. They're way more paranoid, greedy, out of touch, and they own the political class
Apparently, some really rich dude named Tom Perkins wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”Read below the fold...
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-170, and state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, attended the 13th Congressional District Democratic Forum inside the Upper Dublin Township Building, 801 Loch Alsh Ave., Fort Washington, Jan. 26 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Arkoosh and Leach said they both support a single-payer system in which the government pays for health care costs, rather than private insurers. Leach even went as far as to say the single-payer system was “an eventuality.” Boyle, meanwhile, said he prefers the public option, because he feels by letting consumers decide their health care provider, it keeps private insurance companies honest.Read below the fold...
Excellent piece from Massocio at FDL, who quotes several recent examples of corruption (although not the wage fixing case by Silicon Valley icons like George Lucas and Steve Jobs). Here is the conclusion:
The concept “market” may be perfectly efficient and wonderful in every respect, but the practical application of the term in the real world is pretty much like every other human activity: plenty of effort by participants to game the system for their personal benefit and screw everyone else.
It’s bizarre that so many people cling to the myth of market marvelousness despite massive evidence of market corruption and inefficiency. People seem to think that each example of corruption or inefficiency is a bad apple who should be punished. But, of course, we don’t do that any more. The people behind these examples are being sued, not indicted. Their corporations may or may not pay up, but no one is going to jail, and no one is being punished. Every single one of the responsible people will walk away with a pocket full of dirty money, and their reputations, if they care about them, will be restored after the obligatory time away from the media spotlight.
Beyond that, how could anyone think that any human activity wouldn’t be subject to lying, cheating and stealing, including the sacred market?
Families shopping for health insurance through the new federal marketplace are running into trouble getting everyone covered when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not.
Children who qualify for Medicaid, the safety-net program for the poor and disabled, can’t be included on subsidized family plans purchased through the federal marketplace, a fact that is taking many parents by surprise and leaving some kids stuck without coverage.
A California man says he was given false assurances that his children could be covered by the same plan he picked for his wife and himself, and a Florida father says his daughter is going without coverage while he waits for answers.
And in New Hampshire, some parents who've enrolled in private plans for themselves alone are finding out later that their children aren’t eligible for Medicaid after all, leaving their kids with no options.
‘‘The children are getting stuck in this spot where we've enrolled the parent, but we can’t bring the children back on the family plan,’’ Maria Proulx, senior legal counsel for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire, told a state advisory board panel this month.
Well, when you've got an insanely complicated system of buckets that you're throwing people into, it's inevitable that some people are going to fall between buckets, which is what's happening here -- and wouldn't happen in a Canadian-style single payer system.* Read below the fold...
[Nice linky goodness from alert reader Ellen F on the commons. --lambert]
[Stickying this, too. I want to nail the whole project, the whole architecture, so I (and I hope others!) can start posting on individual planks or points before we get too far into the campaign season. --lambert]
[Stickying this because the concrete material benefits in the 12 Planks are comparatively easy. But what kind of political world do we need to build, how do we "do politics," to make those benefits concrete? The 12 Steps get all the glory, but the 12 Traditions are just as important, because they structure the group dynamics that enable group members to take the steps. In the same way, the policies in the planks "have to be paid for," but the sterile tax debate of the political class gets in the way; since MMT teaches (correctly) that taxes don't fund spending (though there are plenty of other reasons to soak the rich, besides fun, I mean) MMT is an importent, er, thingummy. So this part of the 12-Plank architecture needs a lot of help from Correntians, many of whom have thought deeply about these issues, and especiallly governance issues. --lambert]
In draft 2 of the 12-plank platform* I wrote:
I'm also conceiving of the 12-Plank Platform -- it's nearly done, right? -- as one leg of a triad, again modeled on AA's 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, and 12 Concepts of Service.** The Platform focuses on policy, but it doesn't cover implementation at all; we need a place for voting systems, MMT to nuke the Austerians, and stuff like land taxes (if that's a good idea), so we'll need the 12 Implementation Thingummies. We also have nothing on values whatever; we need a place for "No more strategic hate management" and "No more bullshit, yes, seriously, we don't have any more time for nonsense!" and "What about the commons?" And so the third leg of the triad would be 12 Things To Help Us Avoid Breaking Bad.
So here we have "X-point structural thingummies," and obviously I'm pleading for little help on the headline, with "thingummies." Also, exactly as I moved "Net Neutrality" here, because it cuts across our ability to get any policy passed, maybe "10. More co-operatives, fewer corporations" should move here, to be replaced with some other policy plank offering more obvious concrete material benefits. Here's what I've been able to come up with, in buckets. Read below the fold...
Peter Rouse and Mark Patterson, former top Obama administration aides, join Perkins Coie
Peter M. Rouse, the former White House official who was President Obama’s longest-serving top aide, has landed [ha] in the private sector.
Next month, Rouse and Mark A. Patterson, who was chief of staff to the last two Treasury secretaries, will join Perkins Coie LLP, where the two will set up what the law firm is describing as a new public and strategic affairs practice.
They used to call that "influence peddling." Read below the fold...
OK, state allocates rental streams (and doesn't deliver real services in the real economy; that's so 20th century FDR-style oldthink). But does the state reserve any services for itself? And, if not, are there problems? Well, seemingly not*, and yes there are problems. Here's what happens when you don't treat security screening as a core function, and outsource it to rentiers:
Lawmakers said Thursday that new details emerging from the Justice Department’s civil case against a leading company that conducts security background checks for the federal government may speed legislation designed to clean up the once-burgeoning contracting business.
This week, the Justice Department filed a new complaint in a whistleblowers’ lawsuit it joined in October against USIS, a company that conducts background checks for nearly half of potential U.S. government hires.
The filing accuses the Falls Church, Va., firm of taking shortcuts [same euphemism was used for robosigning] in about 40 percent of the cases it handled — at least 665,000 in total — and, in the process, qualifying for nearly $12 million in performance bonuses from the federal government. Yet USIS officials told the government that all the necessary reviews had been done.
“Flushed everything like a dead goldfish,” one USIS manager wrote in one of several e-mails cited in the court filing about how cases were being sped along to meet revenue targets.
“Beginning in at least March 2008 and continuing through at least September 2012, USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” the Justice Department said in a filing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alabama.
Accounting control fraud, so naturally, a civil suit (can't jail executives after all (even if these guys aren't banksters)). Read below the fold...