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Want to Know Why Mitt Romney Flip Flopped on Health Care?

Mitt's flip flops make him the new record holder for reversals and weaseling out of previous statements. Yet "Few individuals or organizations have been as influential as Mitt Romney and Bain Capital in worsening our runaway health care costs, says RJ Eskow. I urge you to read the entire article I have linked above.  As you know, Bain buys up companies and puts  bottom-line pressure to jack up health care costs. Meanwhile, Bain picks off everything of value, forces the company to excessively leverage itself, and then, often, Bain walks away leaving the company a worthless hulk and the employees looking for jobs. But when it comes to health care acquisitions, Bain profiteers on sick people, often subjecting them to needless surgeries and then overcharge them. Consider the following Eskow revelations:

* Bain purchased drug store chain Duane Reade. The CEO Bain hired was himself later convicted of investor fraud and the chain sold out-of-date drugs and baby formula.

* Damon International's CEO, another Bain hire for a Bain acquisition, was convicted for tricking doctors into ordering unnecessary tests and billing them to Medicare. It is particularly heinous that the program Mitt seeks to gut what has been his cash cow.

* Bain was among the first companies to use leveraged buyouts to over-treat patients and over-bill payers and patients.

* Bain bought Dade International, a medical equipment suppler, and milked bankruptcy laws to enrich Bain executives with investors' money. Note that Romney remained Bain's owner after he stopped leading it day-to-day.  Dade was sold to Siemens at fire sale prices, according to Eskow. Investors got pennies on the dollar.  And private insurers, Medicare, and ultimately all of us paid.

* Bain purchased CRC Health Group, a chain of drug treatment facilities. Another leveraged buyout, CRC was accused of numerous cases of abuse and neglect...all the while Bain profiteered.

* Perhaps the worst instance of Bain's affect on the quality of health care was its purchase of HCA. This particular purchase is rich with GOP taint.  (The Frist family once owned the chain but sold it. Then Rick Scott famously "led" the chain while the chain defrauded Medicare of billions of dollars.  Remember, HCA was, as an organization, charged with vast Medicare billing fraud and charged the biggest fine in medicare history, $1.7 billion. Notably Gov Rick Scott, the then CEO got off Scott-free so to speak. Still it is hard to believe that he knew nothing about the goings on there. And now he sits in the governor's mansion of Florida. Apparently, according to Eskow, HCA facilities ignored accusations that the chain's surgeons were performing unnecessary heart surgeries and fired a whistleblower who reported that.  They had bottom-line targets to hit.  

Real Good Parts of Affordable Health Care

While President Obama (no longer being forced to waste time responding to Republican lies and mischaracterizations of the health care bill) gave a succinct statement of some key provisions of the lengthy Affordable Care Act, which ultimately has been turned into a sock-it-to-'em commercial, it might be helpful for us to have a few bullet points handy (tip of hat to Bensdad, mentioned recently in DailKos in a non-wonky format:
* Health insurance will become cheaper because almost everyone will have it
* You can keep your current insurance--- if you want to
* No taxpayer dollars; you pay your policy premium just like now

Don’t Deny Us

Crossposted at ProgressVA.


Via YouTube: "This June the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on a case to overturn Obamacare. This would take away health care from millions of Americans. Some people joined us in saying, 'Please, Don't Deny Us.' For more information visit www.thanksobamacare.org."

Reminder: Striking Down Health Insurance Reform Would Hurt Actual People

18.HealthCareReformProtests.SupremeCourt.WDC.27March2012While the media this week focuses almost exclusively on politics & how hard it is to get a seat at the Supreme Court, an event at the Supreme Court today is reminding people that health insurance reform has already improved the lives of many Virginians:
Today, on this third and final day of the Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Care Act, a coalition will be at the courthouse steps to share personal stories and show support for keeping the law intact.

The court this afternoon takes up the portion of the new law which would expand Medicaid. Linda Christenson, a retired teacher from Arlington, will share her story about how Medicaid helped her and her husband, who suddenly found themselves caring for their 14-year-old granddaughter.

"She had no medical insurance whatever, because her parents had lost both their jobs, and she came with a pre-existing condition. The medication for it was outrageously expensive."

Christenson says she and her husband live on a fixed income, and were not allowed to add their granddaughter to their health plan. She adds that this was the first time she has had to rely on Medicaid, and credits the program with saving the family from severe financial distress.

But hey, the Roberts court didn't seem to care about the real-world impacts of Citizens United (i.e. one casino mogul funding virtually all of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign), so why would people like Antonin Scalia care about people dying because they don't have health insurace? Gotta break a few eggs to protect the Koch brothers' preferred political interpretation of the Constitution, know what I'm sayin'? (Photo via Flickr's Elvert Barnes.)

All Politics Is Local No More

Dr. Bob Holsworth laid to rest this Tip O'Neill wisdom during a presentation at the annual gathering of Virginia Democrats yesterday. Bob McDonnell's Chairman of the Bipartisan Redistricting Commission talked a little about the political environment in Virginia. It will mean much for the future of American politics.

Dr. Holsworth has been struck by the volatility in the last three national elections (2006, 2008, 2010). He characterizes them as wave elections where Democrats ran the table in the Senate in 2006, had the Obama wave in 2008, then in 2009, 2010 there were counter-waves that have been fairly dramatic. Virginia seemed to flow with the national tide. 19 state legislatures changed hands this past election. Holsworth says that this is a reflection of the nationalization of politics. This, he argues, means that the Tip O'Neill maxim can rest in peace. Though there remains some truth to that, it is no longer an extraordinarily good explanation of trends.

40% of the people who voted this past November say that they voted to send a message to President Obama. All of the Democrats found out that they had running mates in Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.