July 7, 2005

Healthcare Deadbeats

Tom Oliphant in the Globe.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy came up with an idea the other day that could nudge the debate over the country's worsening health insurance crisis both nationally and in Massachusetts.

Why not have the states publish lists of large employers (50 workers or more) who have full-time people receiving publicly financed healthcare like Medicaid and the program that helps insure children of the less well-off? Fifteen states already do so.
...
The legislation -- Kennedy's co-conspirators are Democrats, Senator John Corzine of New Jersey and Representative Anthony Weiner of New York -- is aimed at monsters like Wal-Mart, infamous for its luscious benefits for company big shots and nonexistent coverage for ordinary employees, whose insurance is then left to taxpayers. The most common estimate is that more than 600,000 Wal-Mart employees, nearly half of its workforce, have to use public safety-net programs.

What Wal-Mart doesn't do, out of profits that total $10 billion or so, costs taxpayers more than $200 million to provide -- including $61 million in Florida and some $3 million in Massachusetts. In 12 states Wal-Mart is the largest employer with workers on Medicaid and other assistance programs. The fact remains, however, that half the uninsured in Massachusetts and in many other states work at outfits with fewer than 25 employees.

Read the rest here then share your thoughts.

40 Comments:

At 7/07/2005 11:49 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Go, Teddy, Go!

He has been the most powerful and effective voice in the US Senate since the early 1970s for overhauling our national health care system. He knows we have to have a blend of private and public based health care policies, and he also knows that the insurance companies resist change fiercely in the name of free enterprise.

Again, like so many times before, Kennedy leads the way with fresh ideas that make good sense. That is his legacy.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:08 AM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

Teddy Kennedy a creature that continuously fascinates simply by existing. It's nobodies business if Wal-Mart doesn't offer health insurance to its lower wage employees? As you may have noticed... that stuff's expensive. If people who don't make very much money, for whatever reason, choose not to buy healthcare or cannot afford it... that is not Wal-Mart's fault. Why don't we publish how many of these people on Medicare have more than one car, cable television, internet access and cell phones?

 
At 7/08/2005 12:24 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Ahhh.. I hate to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man, but here goes.

Senor, can you tell me why you think that Wal-Mart providing insurance for their millions of employees would cost the same as if you walked into an insurance agency and bought it for yourself?

Are you really saying that with profits in the 10s of billions that Wal-Mart can't provide a minimum of health care benefits for it's employees? Are you saying that they can't be expected to pay a living wage so perhaps employees could at least afford a minimal policy?

Are you actually happy that YOU and other taxpayers are required to pay more than $200 MILLION in taxpayer financed health care to Wal-Mart workers while the Walton family pockets BILLIONS in profits?

You're for government provided health care for the largest employer in the country? What are you, some sort of Commie-pinko Socialist?

What do corporations have to do to you before you realize they're making the country an ugly and much worse place for you and your offspring? Do they have to take away your beer? What? Take away your guns buried in your back yard?

What will it take to get you to wake up, take the blinkers off, pull your head out of the Limbaugh induced fog it's in, and realize that you should be concerned even if you're not able to recognize the effects these issues have on you directly?

 
At 7/08/2005 12:28 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Oh, and Senor, Dave has said he'd like to be a guest poster, though at first he wanted you to hold his hand. He later manfully said he'd do it by himself, though so far, he's not gathered the fortitude to send me anything or contact me.

But I just wanted to extend the same invitation to you that I have to Dave and other posters and allow you a post of your own if you wish.
Get in touch.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:37 AM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

For the sake of full disclosure, my wife just had a baby. Yes... yes... of course it is a hate-filled spawn that will grow to be evil and stupid like me. I have even set up a 529 plan so I can use tax-preferred dollars to send him to hate-school. So, I would love to post, but my consistency will be limited.

Also, I am not happy that Wal-Mart doesn't pay for people's health insurance... I just don't think it owes anyone health insurance. These people take the job knowing what they get. I can't go into my bosses office tomorrow and indignantly demand some extra ten dollar bills in my office every morning.

Certainly, Wal-Mart can afford to pay for health insurance, why do you believe that means it HAS to? Can you afford to buy me lunch once a week? If so, why don't you? Are you one of those evil country-uglying entities yourself?

Why would you start your response with some stupid "battle of wits with unarmed man" comments and then expect a reasonable discussion. Is this your definition of pummeling Dave and myself? You should be proud of yourself.

 
At 7/08/2005 1:25 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I would be proud, if it required much effort. But sadly, it's not too tough.

But seriously, congratulations on your new addition! I'm sure the child will find out what it's like to be raised in the strict dad, no pity mode and won't be allowed to go "soft". Hell, they might be expected to change their own diapers soon. (just kidding)

All kidding aside, best wishes on this blessed event.

But you have an annoying problem where you get the personal and government policy all mixed up together. You seem to judge every government action as if it's an individual and whether it makes sense on that basis. (Which would mean of course that you're livid about Bush and the Republicans spending us into deficits that are so large they're incomprehensible. After all, a family has to live within it's means, right?)

It's your manner of thinking that produced the age of the robber barrons. It's your way of thinking that allows completely unfettered capitalism to reign supreme without any government checks to mitigate the often disasterous effects it brings.

I assume you're against bank regulation? I suppose you think that corporations should grow until they squash all competition, like Wal-mart, and have the size and financial clout to literally dictate to the entire country how things work?

I can't believe that you actually suggest that workers should be subject to the dicates of mega-corporations alone with no government help.

I hope you have no problem with America becoming a banana republic with people working 12 hours a day for substinance wages.
Because under your beliefs, that's exactly what will happen.

You believe that huge employers like Wal-Mart and others should be able to pay the minimum amount possible to capitalize on unskilled workers desperation to survive? What's to keep them from lowering the wage to say, a buck and hour? Oh yeah... government regulation. (And I'm sure you're against the minimum wage too, right?)
Your views would result in Americans crowding around to get temporary low wage jobs and fighting for them, much like imigrant laborers do now.

Do you really think that wages and benefits should be allowed to sink as far down as corporations want them? Do you really think wages would ever reach a point where people would simply refuse to work for them? Not when the number of poor and struggling people and families are exploding due to Republican (and Democratic) policies.

Unrestrained capitalism is NOT a good system. Our country realized that regulation and control was vital to stave off it's devastating effects on workers over a hundred years ago.

Why do you want to go back to the days of sweatshops and child labor?
And what makes you think it would never happen without regulation and control?

I know you may be unfamiliar with it, but this issue also involves morality. It gets to the point where exploiting workers and forcing them to become wards of the state in order to amass obscene and excessive profits is immoral.

You obviously don't believe capitalism or the market can ever result in immoral results.

It gets down to what sort of society do you want for this country. One where there is a permanent underclass ridden with drugs crime and all the ills of poverty, or one where the very people and companies that have capitalized on the labor of people and this country (including corporate welfare) to earn enormous profit should be required to give something back for the betterment of the government they've enjoyed and the labor which provides their profit.

 
At 7/08/2005 1:27 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And by the way, hell yes I'd buy you a sandwich if you were broke or hungry. I'd probably buy you one even if you weren't. Why shouldn't I?

(and I'd especially buy you one if I could afford a million sandwiches and not even feel it, and if you'd been a part of helping me make that money.)

 
At 7/08/2005 7:03 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Ahhhhhh but what everyone is failing to see here is the age old phenom...

Senior Badbreath has strong feelings about this subject which I am SURE he would totally flip flop around to the opposite view IF HE OR ONE OF HIS LOVED ONES had to endure working at Wal-Mart and did not have the medical policy coverage.

Then surely it would be DIFFERENT somehow.....in his view.

I have heard that and seen that happen numerous times with persons who speak with such ignorance and it's always very interesting........

Especially when folks who think like Sr. Badbreath have to try and justify why they are suddenly making different arguements after years of beating on the people caught up in the situation which they preach about in their rantings. But it's different when it's their son, daughter, neice, brother, or themselves in those shoes!!!

 
At 7/08/2005 7:09 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Explain again what Ted "I once killed a woman" Kennedy has done for healthcare.

 
At 7/08/2005 7:23 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Nice !Chappaquidik what does that have to do with the price of ying-ying in sing-sing. To continually bring it up is also an insult to the Copecny family. Nice Dave!

 
At 7/08/2005 7:29 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Just answer the question.

 
At 7/08/2005 8:27 AM, Blogger diehard said...

And I suppose you and your family are so rich that the idea of affordable health care is crazy. My guess is that your not. Dont beleive the propaganda of the insurance companies an the AMA.
You have a right to be healthy and as Christian which I'm sure you tell everyone you are you have a duty to make sure your fellow man is taken care of when needed!

 
At 7/08/2005 9:23 AM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

Right to be healthy? How the hell do you enforce such a right? Can I sue the government if I get cancer? "Your honors, the constitution clearly states that I have the right to be healthy. As you can see by this biopsy... I am not. I need justice!!"

 
At 7/08/2005 9:33 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Life, liberty and the pursuit os happiness.
Oddley a Republican Teddy Roosevelt started a lot of proggresive programs under his watch as president. Because of school vacinations we dont get a lot of the dieseases we used to die from as Americans.
That was a form of socialized medicine. Are you against that to?
And I hope you dont have cancer Senoir. I have seen too man people die of that lately.

 
At 7/08/2005 10:05 AM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

The PURSUIT of happiness!! Not a guarantee of happiness. You may want to paint me as someone who would be happy to see people dying on the street, but that isn't accurate. I am not arguing that their are no issues with healthcare. I am arguing that government should not be in the business of forcing a private company to pay for health insurance.

Anyway, the weekend is coming up, so I will drink me some beers and argue further. Be back shortly.



Arrrrreeeeeebbbbaaaa!!!!!!

 
At 7/08/2005 11:14 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Diehard needs help over here too!

 
At 7/08/2005 11:40 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Hey just because I actually care about this country over right wing blather. What's the matter Dave dont care about the health of your fellow Americans?
Thats not very patriotic of you.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:01 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

In your mind it seems, diehard, that the only two options are to believe government should solve a problem, or to not care that a problem exists.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:09 PM, Blogger Dave said...

I just don't want to pay for the healthcare of those who choose to be non-producers. And you still haven't answered the question about Teddy "the Swimmer" Kennedy.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:26 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, one of the nation's most effective Senators, has made improvements in a whole range of health care issues since his election to the Senate in 1962. From improvements in Medicare and Medicaid, to improving access to health care for the poor and streamlining excessive bureaucracy in the health care system, Kennedy has been a real force. His efforts to cut red tape and paperwork, generated by insurance companies and government, have been very successful.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:37 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Too general. Be more specific,

 
At 7/08/2005 1:10 PM, Blogger diehard said...

Sorry everybody i just went to lunch. Oh I went on a road that the goverment built with federal money.
And I stopped into visit my uncle who is on SSI.
I listen to radio that was regulated by the FCC.
I think our goverment is the worst sytem except for all the others!
More people cared about the Kennedy's ,the Roosevelts , and the Regans than ever cared about the Bushes.
So Dave and Senoir quit being unpatriotic and bashing America.
What are you some kind of cut and run from health care hippies?

 
At 7/08/2005 2:26 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

diehard is right. Please show more patriotism toward the Kennedy family, which has sacrificed many members of their family in the name of public service and military service, and toward our health care system. In fact, I recommend that we start wearing green ribbons on our cars to thank the Kennedys for their duty to our nation (Joe Jr. was killed during a bombing raid in WWII, Kathleen was killed in a war-era plane crash, President Kennedy saved lives during his heroic service on PT109, etc.).

Thanks, Diehard, for standing up for America's best and the good old red, white and blue!!

 
At 7/08/2005 2:52 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Oh, and let's not confuse the issues here. This is not a question of bigger government or smaller government, this is a question of whose side government and our tax dollars should be on --the insurance companies or the American taxpayer. That's the issue.

Kennedy and others have tried to reign in the power of the insurance companies, in an effort to streamline red tape and cut government involvement to help the American consumer and taxpayer.

NO, says the insurance HMOs, NO way, we run this shop. We donated hundreds of millions to the GOP in charge, they had better protect the status quo.

That is the political reality of this issue -- it's not whether you want bigger or smaller government.
Actually, Kennedy and others have tried to streamline the process.

THis issue is about power, campaign contributions, profit and political turf. Senator Badass and Dave, wake up.

 
At 7/08/2005 3:02 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

Senator Kennedy was primarily responsible for creating the HMO's... in an effort to streamline and cut the cost of medical care. So, maybe we should give someone else a chance, since you seem to admit that he failed miserably.

What, exactly, is it that Kennedy is proposing that will streamline and cut redtape? I haven't heard anything like that from him, unless you are referring to his dream of a single payer system, which would be the antithesis of reduce government involvement.

And, you want to talk about power, Senator Kennedy craves power almost as much as he does single-malt. You seem willing to give such knuckleheads carte blanche for decision making because their lust for power is somehow more just and good than a corporation's lust for profit. In a given country, the same people should never have all the guns and all the money. The government's got all the guns, I'm just as happy to let corporate American keep all the money. It beats the alternative.

 
At 7/08/2005 3:05 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

What kind of abuse is being heaped upon people by these insurance companies anyway? I have a pretty meager Health Alliance plan, and I have never had a single problem with them, through three pregnancies, two miscarriages and endless ear, sinus and strep infections they have done just fine.

 
At 7/08/2005 3:07 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

I dig the typo in an earlier post, "SENATOR BADASS"... I like that. Samuel L. Jackson could play me in Mr. Badass goes to Washington. I would put the BUST in filiBUSTer when I filibuster a move on my cardboard in the streets of DC. Ah wiggity wack and a reeeba!

 
At 7/08/2005 3:12 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Wait now. Americans have 300 million guns and you're saying the government has all the guns? Wow, that's an amazing statement. In our "wild west" culture that allows just about anyone to own as many guns as they wish, including hunters to use semi-automatics (let's figure that one out some time ... what does it take a semiautomatic to kill a deer?), I don't fear government's ability to have weapons to ensure the general safety for all in our society.

Columbine, Oklahoma City, 9-11 -- all prove that weapons in the wrong hands can wreak havoc on a society.

As a strong second amendment supporter, I favor LAW ABIDING citizens' rights to own guns. I just wish the NRA would show some COMMON SENSE and help us outlaw cop-killer bullets and help us keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Is there room for compromise on that issue or it this issue just too polarized and polluted with distortions to reach any fresh agreement?

 
At 7/08/2005 3:21 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Senator Badass -

HMO's have enormous political clout and can almost singlehandedly kill attempts to reform the health care system.
The fact of the matter is that for every ten dollars spent on health care in our nation, one dollar goes toward paperwork. That's atrocious.

There have been Kennedy bills introduced to get to the heart of that problem (and apologies, I don't have bill numbers at my finger tips and my staff is out at the John Deere Classic).

But, Senator, you must admit that the system is awash in paperwork that must be streamlined. If you agree, please contact Senator Ted Kennedy ASAP to help him do that.
Thanks.

 
At 7/08/2005 3:45 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

Do you really think that the federal government is the source for a solution to the paperwork problem?
I am not be a smart-ass here, and I don't care what the bill numbers are, but what in a nutshell does Kennedy propose doing to reduce paperwork? I'm just not sure it possible... insurance contracts are nothing but paper.

 
At 7/08/2005 3:53 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

I don't think that the gun control issue is too polarized, but I do think that there is some problem with the way people view the second amendment. The Gun-Control lobby always frames the argument as, "you don't need a machine gun to hunt or defend your home from a burgler." The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting and very little to do with protecting your home from other private citizens. Its purpose to keep the people armed so they can protect themselves from the government. I respect the police and the military, but in a situation where there is an power grab on the federal level that overshoots the limits of the constitution, I would like to be armed. Right now, I am do not own a gun, nor would I with three small children in the house. But, wouldn't you agree that, if everyone's paranoid fantasies about Bush and his right-wing religious fanatic followers are right, having an armed populace would come in pretty handy?

 
At 7/08/2005 5:53 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

No one has given my comment any merit or response yet. So Badass and Dave -- you would expect your own kin to put up with shitty or no benefits from WalMart? That would be ok with you? Or would you do as I suggest and suddenly it'd be ok to complain about it and maybe get a little helpin hand from Uncle Sam??

Quit bashing Diehard and answer my question.

 
At 7/08/2005 6:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hey Dave... congrats on working in a reference to Chappaquiddick, (though you no doubt couldn't spell that so just worded it differently using only 5 letter words or less.)

I don't think that's fair though. That's why I never bring up the fact that Laura "Pickles" Bush rammed her car into her boyfriend's Jeep and killed him, and then was never charged with manslaughter.

Hell, there's even an account of it on Free Republic, the most raving lunatic right wing site in existence.

 
At 7/08/2005 6:15 PM, Blogger Dave said...

The unemployment rate is 5%, find a different job. If I think my job doesn't pay enough or offer good enough benefits, guess what? I'll find a different job.

diehard is in over her head

 
At 7/08/2005 6:20 PM, Blogger Dave said...

apples and oranges dope, and you know it

 
At 7/08/2005 9:45 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

I put up with shitty benefits from some of my jobs... no benefits from others. I was one of the millions of uninsured for about five years in my youth. I am not bashing anyone, but if I am upset with the shittiness of my life, I don't automatically turn to the government for a solution. I would hope any of my kin would do the same.

 
At 7/08/2005 10:57 PM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

So, dope, are you saying that it is okay that Kennedy got drunk and got in an accident that killed a woman, because Laura Bush got in an accident that killed a man? Or were both wrong? Or was one okay and the other not? You didn't seem real reluctant to bring it up, you know, with the links and all.
Laura Bush hasn't been elected to any office that I know of, so a traffic accident is of little consequence either way. Kennedy's walking away from the accident shows some insight into his character. Now, maybe his character has strengthened since then. My opposition to Kennedy has nothing to do with his part in a woman dying... it has to do with him being a power-hungry buffoon. One of the times he championed the cause of health care was pushing the Patient's Bill of Rights. One of those rights was the right to sue your employer in a malpractice case... since they determined the group of doctors from which you would choose. The slobbering drunk bastard would have gotten my health insurance dropped if he would have passed that catastrophe. My boss would be an idiot to put himself on the line like that.

 
At 7/09/2005 2:45 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah.
You couldn't do Kennedy's job for one day without coming off like a "slobbering drunk", even if you were stone sober.

Kennedy has more character in his toe than Bush will ever have in his entire under-achieving, spoiled brat life.

Sorry, I can't even dignify such ignorance on your part. If you want to insist on believing the fairy tales you've been spoon fed by el Rushbo, go ahead.

But the fact remains that Kennedy has been demonized far beyond recognition for sins that look like child's play compared to the leaders of your party. (By the way, you see any Bush family members being killed in action in service to the country, no matter how far back you look?)

I only brought up Laura's vehicular homicide in response to your dragging out that tired, moth-eaten BS about Kennedy.

You missed my sarcasm about hating to bring it up. Not my fault. I was glad to be given an excuse to bring it up.

But you say Kennedy has bad "character", but how has that shown in his long service to the country? Is it health care for everyone that gets you so mad at him? What is it that he's done to you that has gotten you so personally hateful of him?
Anything specific that he's done as a legislator that you can think of that really drives you nuts?

Or is it as I suspect, that you've just been propagandized to within an inch of the breaking point?

 
At 7/09/2005 8:09 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I still maintain that anyone working at least 32 hours a week deserves some minimum health care for the worker. I don't give a hoot what the idiots who post here defending their rich bosses and their own right wing ideals say.

The minute America's health care costs went up, the businessmen of our good ol US of A decided to cut that line item from the budget using various creative accounting means (can you say Enron?).

Now our country has a whole new population created during the Regaan years called the "working poor".

The fact our nation is so wealthy makes this criminal. Our government seems unable and unwilling to do anything about it. The last time we saw any promise of a solution under President Clinton, suddenly there was a big stupid scandal associated with the members of Congress who ran the committees in power and no one remembered what we wanted when we stepped into the polling booth to elect Clinton in 1992.

Then of course the Republicans saw how well that little charade worked, and continued to hone their well-oiled PR machine using their rich friends' corporations to then buy as many media outlets as they could to reinforce the entire farce.

I have read about the days when working for a living automatically meant you had medical insurance. Not so in our world anymore. Insurance is a luxury for the lucky and the rich.

 
At 7/11/2005 10:33 AM, Blogger politicalwind said...

If anyone wants to talk about Ted Kennedy's character, they need to include the horrible times he had to bury his three brothers -- Joe, John and Robert -- each of whom died in violent ways while in service to our nation. You have to factor in Ted Kennedy's bearing the burden of raising John and Robert's small children who were left fatherless in the 1960s after the twin assassinations.

Don't talk to me about Ted Kennedy's character. Whatever accidental mistakes were made at Chappaquiddick, and there were mistakes made, one has to factor in the entirety of Ted Kennedy's life.

What you will see, if you have an ounce of fairness, is a life of tremendous character and courage and commitment.

 

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