Friday Morning Open Thread

It's been 34 days since the House passed its versions of the Health Insurance Premium Assistance Act.

The Senate has spent all year wasting time in their committees to now basically toss out the versions of a health insurance bill they wrote. Harry Reid ended up writing his own bill and now they are negotiating that bill. Who knows what their final bill will look like.

And then there should be a conference between the House and Senate for a final bill. And then that probably won't pass either the House or the Senate. So this year might produce a reconciliation bill that will be inserted into one of the budget bills or no bill may be passed at all.

As a demonstration of governing ability, Democrats have pretty much failed when it comes to the health insurance issue, no matter the end result.

This is an Open Thread.

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    Your Congress working for you- oops (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 07:54:54 AM EST
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates.

    The legislation that originally passed the Senate health committee last summer would have banned such limits, but a tweak to that provision weakened it in the bill now moving toward a Senate vote.

    As currently written, the Senate Democratic health care bill would permit insurance companies to place annual limits on the dollar value of medical care, as long as those limits are not "unreasonable." The bill does not define what level of limits would be allowable, delegating that task to administration officials. AP

    Gotta watch those tweaks.

    limits! (none / 0) (#29)
    by noholib on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:43:55 AM EST
    OMG, is that the acronym for Oh my God!
    This provision says absolutely all you need to know about what kind of a sham this overhaul is.  And who pretty please will determine what's "unreasonable"?  The Congress will be afraid to do so and to step on the toes of the for-profit insurance companies, the same ones who have determined what "reasonable and customary charges" are for reimbursement -- somehow, never near the actual cost of services.

    And now, in another news about awards (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:46:58 AM EST
    for our administration and attempts to achieve peace and improve the plight of so many in this world . . . amid all the hubbub about one prize yesterday, perhaps the irony was missed that yesterday also was the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the United Nations.  A great document authored by Eleanor Roosevelt.

    And thus, it was the day when our Secretary of State also got an award, and I quote: "the Eleanor Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award in Human Rights for her commitment to ensuring that women's rights are recognized as human rights."

    A bit of attention to that by our media might have been helpful for some of our Dems to recall that great quote from Clinton at a world conference, and then perhaps they could recall it when constructing laws in this country about women.

    A great honor, (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:08:00 AM EST
    and I do not believe its recipient likely to, at once,  acknowledge the good work of Mrs. Roosevelt and consider it quaint.  Nor do I think that the recipient is likely to be embarrassed for being tagged a human rights advocate, and, hence, launch a defense for human rights abuses and pontificate about its moral justification.

    for Human Rights when your support for war has no consequences- or did Hillary come out and argue that continuing the war in Afghanistan is a massive Human Rights violation and I just missed it.

    Well, may be your are right. (none / 0) (#56)
    by KeysDan on Sat Dec 12, 2009 at 12:30:30 PM EST
    Mrs. Clinton will be frightened that she will lose ground with those that support torture as being in the national interest. Accordingly, she may invoke with nostalgia the do-gooder that was Eleanor Roosevelt, but in the next breath, claim her ways to be passe in the face of never-before-seen  evil.  However, a rousing defense of Torquemada tempered with just war quotations from St. Augustine will leave everyone happy. Then the staff releases the hawks into the skies and Sarah Palin will applaud shouting "I told ya so".

    Accolades, when earned, (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:25:23 AM EST
    make everyone proud. Congrats to Hillary!!

    For all those who feel (none / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:36:18 PM EST
    worse about her hitting her head on the Waterford Crystal ceiling than they do about thousands of clusterbombed Iraqi women.

    Yeah, racism? What racism?


    WIGN are you (none / 0) (#52)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:43:47 PM EST
    ranting about now?

    And, just who are you trying to call a racist? I believe that accusation is against this site's rules.


    Right (none / 0) (#53)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:54:59 PM EST
    the blithely cavalier silence about the consequences of the Iraq invasion is just one of those out-of-sight-out-of-mind things, is that it?

    If the shoe dosnt fit, dont wear it.


    I think its the irony (none / 0) (#54)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:58:37 PM EST
    - you know like how people think its weird that Obama is getting the Nobel Peace prize despite leading two wars, its odd that someone who supported the war in Iraq, voted in support of Clusterbombs and landmines, and is currently the a key figure in a forgien policy apparatus that is at best accomadating to Human Rights abusers seems funny to them.

    It's not ironic (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:28:49 PM EST
    when seen from inside the logic of a personality cult.

    I've see this before. When a meditation teacher I knew was starting to get grief for seducing one too many of his students, all the weak-in-the-knees revisionists and enablers started up immediately with the "his ways are not our ways" self deluded baloney and no one, on pain of death, could tell them different.

    Once that idealizing emotional tie is established, anything resembling objectivity ceases to exist.


    It gives one pause (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by ChiTownDenny on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:14:03 AM EST
    to see the fits and starts, the lack of purpose, for which this Congress and President were elected.  They were given the tools via majority control and have done nothing but bicker with each other or acquiesced to the other side of the aisle.   For what purpose should Americans give majority control to Democrats in the future?

    This (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:54:22 AM EST
    is what happens when you don't sell the public on your ideas before an election. Running as "not McCain" is a hollow victory indeed. Besides, what has Obama ever done in political life that led people to believe he could handle all of this?

    To your point, (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by ChiTownDenny on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:11:54 AM EST
    he began as "not Clinton".  Now, all we can do is scratch our heads and ask; "who is he?".

    This is cool... (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:41:56 AM EST
    Swiss businessmam builds a minaret in protest to the tyrannical ban.  And he ain't even a muslim.

    Civil Disobedience...ya gotta love it.

    here's the new (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:44:53 AM EST
    Face of the Republican party, from that reputable source, 'The Onion.'

    Classic... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:52:07 AM EST
    even without sound...classic.  

    I wouldn't put it past the GOP either...they can even tell the evangelical block Reagan is god's only son.


    Must...eat...brains! (none / 0) (#24)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:11:06 AM EST
    So, I clicked over to check out the AV Club's Top albums/records/CD's/downloads--whatever the kids are calling them these days--of '09 and realized how old I really am.  



    Health Ins Premiums (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:08:39 AM EST
    Jump 31% for my company.  Not one major illness, all younger than 40 save for me, total of 11 doctor visits for everyone all year and that includes kids.  

    We are of course exploring other plans......

    UHC (none / 0) (#35)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:45:48 AM EST
    We have UHC.  The premiums went up $1000 last year and the prior year.  Now the corporation has been purchased and we will have Aetna next year.  You know Aetna.... the company that expects to force 650,000 off it roles through premium increases as it increases it's profit margin from 4% to 7%.  I have never heard of an insurer with a 7% margin.  It's typically 3-4.  We already know the coverage is less and there are only 3 dentists in service.  We have no options as we are lucky enough to have employer insurance. Ha.

    aetna has been our provider (none / 0) (#46)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 04:03:52 PM EST
    bc/bs has a policy (pre-underwriting) that is exactly where we are now.  I will report back after it goes through initial screening.  We have had at least a 20% increase every year.

    The last time i raised rates was in 2000.  But my service is not a necessity  :)


    Outrageous... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:51:17 AM EST
    good luck shopping around man...if it wasn't such a gamble, and if you could actually find doctors to quote prices, you'd be better off self-insuring.



    51% at mine.... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:36:25 PM EST
    we shopped and found a much better policy. Still increased premiums, though nowhere near 51%.

    wow! (none / 0) (#47)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 04:04:14 PM EST
    Heh - our broker gave us the (none / 0) (#48)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 04:58:17 PM EST
    award for the largest increase he has ever seen!! Our average age jumped 10 years.

    done (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:38:37 AM EST
    same quotes all around, of course they ask you what you are paying and will not give you a quote unless you include your current spend.

    Now that is a kick arse business model.  We will only give you an estimate if you send us your last 3 bills so we know what you are spending.  We will give a quote only after receiving that information!  


    More on 2010 elections (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:06:31 AM EST
    Should make for a long year, between talking heads, robocalls, and political ads.

    Dems face multiple ethics probes in 2010.

    Of course, the Republicans have their own issues too.

    More dirt - coming to a TV near you.

    Failure (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:18:55 AM EST
    As a demonstration of governing ability, Democrats have pretty much failed when it comes to the health insurance issue, no matter the end result.

    I can't think of a single issue where the Democrats haven't failed.
    Maybe that's because I have been stuck with the irrational feeling that they are somehow more progressive than the Republicans.

    Barney Frank HR 4173 (none / 0) (#4)
    by samsguy18 on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:27:10 AM EST
    " Financial reform Bill " This seems like another power grab......
    Is it? I feel like they are trying to hammer us into a state of submission. If the fear factor doesn't work create chaos ...divide ...separate
    Personally the constant manipulation is making me very angry !!!!!
    Chicago Politics at it's best!!!!!

    Yeah, Barney (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:11:24 AM EST
    is such a Chicago pol!

    The Obama administration's (none / 0) (#34)
    by samsguy18 on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:38:30 AM EST
    Crew give great tutorials ! Chicago politics at it's best!

    State regulation (none / 0) (#36)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:48:41 AM EST
    Yeah, that special piece of work is going to federalize regulation of National banks thus subjugating the states ability to put limits on ATM fees etc.

    Erin Andrews update (none / 0) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:13:42 AM EST
    An Illinois insurance executive agreed to plead guilty to interstate stalking after secretly making nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, according to court documents filed Thursday and first obtained by The Associated Press.

    Barrett could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. But as long as he accepts his responsibility for his actions, shows remorse and stays out of trouble, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 27 months in prison. Barrett also will have to pay full restitution to Andrews.

    I'm rather amazed that a 48 year old man would go to such stalking lengths as this man did. I really expected it to be some 21 year old intern.

    The phrase... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:29:07 AM EST
    is dirty old man, not dirty young man.

    A 21 year old gets all the smut they need from their facebook friends:)


    And someone (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:16:17 AM EST
    who is an insurance executive - not someone who lives in his parents' basement.  Very surprising.

    What a sicko; this was serious stalking (none / 0) (#9)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:28:46 AM EST
    Barrett rented hotel rooms adjacent to Andrews in three cities last year, altering the peepholes and shooting videos of Andrews in two of the locations - in Columbus, Ohio, in February 2008 and in Nashville, Tenn., seven months later. He adjusted a hotel peephole in Milwaukee, Wis., in July 2008 and called 14 hotels to find out where Andrews was staying, prosecutors said.

    Barrett is accused of uploading the videos to the Internet and trying to sell them to the Los Angeles-based celebrity gossip site TMZ this year. Several TV networks and newspapers aired or published images of Andrews taken from the videos.

    Note to self (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:32:37 AM EST
    Next time I stay in a hotel, cover the peephole.

    (Not that I look like Erin Andrews)


    The great joy (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CoralGables on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:50:11 AM EST
    and comfort that can come from the ubiquitous post-it note.

    Jenny Sanford files for divorce (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:52:46 AM EST
    I've heard of coin collections... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:54:44 AM EST
    baseball card collections...but ecstasy collections?

    This guy is one helluva good samiritan to risk arrest himself to protect the thieves or their customers from possible poisoning...classy guy.

    I like the police quote (none / 0) (#22)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:02:24 AM EST
    "Why would you make something like this up?"



    white house (none / 0) (#19)
    by CST on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:55:40 AM EST
    reviewing their policy on condolence letters sent to families of soldiers who commit suicide.

    I hope they change the policy (currently no letters sent).

    Whether you lose your mind or body, it's still a casualty of war.  And losing your mind is so much harder for the families to deal with.

    I don't know CST... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:02:15 AM EST
    if the government sent a loved one of mine off to occupy foreign lands, and it helped drive them to suicide, the government is the last outfit I'd want a letter from...might piss off grieving families and make them even angrier.

    the government (none / 0) (#26)
    by CST on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:18:12 AM EST
    didn't just send them off.  They joined.

    Most of the military at this point probably joined when they knew what they were getting into, and believed what they were getting into.

    That doesn't mean they could handle it.

    It might be different if there was a draft.

    Also, would it piss you off more if it drove them to suicide versus got them killed by a bomb?

    Having a discrepancy between the two just stigmatizes the suicide even more, and absolves the government for the role that war played in the suicide.

    I just think it might help them find closure, which can be incredibly painfull and difficult to find, especially after a suicide.  There is often a huge feeling of guilt that goes along with a suicide, and maybe this will help relieve some of that.


    Points taken... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:49:21 AM EST
    Come to think of it I probably wouldn't want a condolence letter from the bastards under any circumstances.

    True (none / 0) (#31)
    by CST on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:53:29 AM EST
    but then again, I somehow doubt you would join the military willingly :)

    Saw that (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:02:16 AM EST
    So families of military suicides don't deserve condolences from thier boss?

    it's a long standing policy (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by CST on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:20:12 AM EST
    let's hope they change it.  

    Glenn Greenwald discusses reaction (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:05:04 PM EST
    to Obama's Nobel speech.  Truly bipartisan.  Neocons and Dems. all liked it.  And, by his speech and past action, Obama has made Bush admins. policies his own.  Discouraging.

    We were verging on... (none / 0) (#40)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:59:32 PM EST
    needing a passport to fly out of New Mexico.

    On Thursday, the Obama administration has agreed to delay enforcement of the Real ID Act that would have made New Mexico drivers licenses invalid for clearing airport security checkpoints--requiring travelers to use passports, instead.

    Senator Tom Udall's office says the Homeland Security Department has agreed to accept New Mexico licenses after December 31 when the new law goes into effect.

    WSJ gives unsolicited financial advice (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 01:08:52 PM EST
    to Ms. Woods:  link

    Interesting about the pre-nup: (none / 0) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 01:53:23 PM EST
    Be aware that even if you take it to court, trying to overturn your prenuptial agreement is going to be an incredibly tough challenge, no matter what your husband has done.
    I would think she has all the power in the world to get it overturned.

    Surely she knows enough stuff about him that if she threatened to tell it to Nike, The Enquirer, his kids and/or his mom, he would quickly agree to "re-negotiate" the pre-nup?


    She could have... (none / 0) (#43)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 02:01:34 PM EST
    something worse than the (now public) knowledge of his fooling around with pron stars?   I shudder to think what could be worse than that in terms of his public/private image.

    Heck, even if he doesn't, his position is so precarious it'd probably be worth a bucket-load to him just for Elin to agree not tell her side to Oprah or whatever...

    Speaking of Oprah..... (none / 0) (#45)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 02:26:22 PM EST
    it appears her next chapter is going to be replacing Barbara Walters on the celebrity interview specials venue....well, maybe competing rather than replacing since they are on different networks.

    Sunday night...the celebrities in the WH will be telling Oprah all about the experience of their first Christmas as first family.


    Steroids? (none / 0) (#49)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 05:22:43 PM EST
    Uses non-sanctioned equipment?  Drools in his sleep?  Beats the dog?  The list could be endless I suppose.  

    But, Tiger doesn't strike me as someone who really cares what people think.  The sense of entitlement and self-adoration seems to be pretty strong with that one.