Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guess Where I Live???

Got this in my feed. Click the title link for the full article including pretty charts...

Red State Reality: Unhealthiest Residents, Worst Health Care

Throughout their all-out campaign to stop health care reform, Republican leaders have relied on questionable forecasts from the Lewin Group, a subsidiary of insurer UnitedHealth Group. Now, another study funded by UnitedHealth has some unwelcome news for the GOP braintrust: the red states they represent are the unhealthiest in the nation. Following on the heels of the Commonwealth Fund's 2009 Scorecard of state health care system performance, the United Health Foundation's report is just the latest confirmation that health care is worst where Republicans poll best.

As Forbes noted:

The annual ranking looks at 22 indicators of health, including everything from how many children receive recommended vaccinations, to obesity and smoking rates, to cancer deaths.

The diagnosis isn't pretty for Republicans committed to denying the health care their constituents need most of all. The 2009 rankings (above) reveal that nine of the top 10 healthiest states voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Conversely, 9 of the 10 cellar dwellers backed John McCain in 2008; four years earlier, the 15 unhealthiest states voted for George W. Bush for President.

With Vermont topping the list and Mississippi bringing up the rear, Americans would do to listen to Dr. Howard Dean and not Governor Haley Barbour when it comes to the health care debate.

Vermont ranked first this year thanks in part to its low rate of obesity, high number of doctors and a low rate of child poverty. New England in general sets a benchmark for the country, the report found. All six New England states are in the top 10. These states have favorable demographics and an excellent public health infrastructure, including a large number of doctors per capita.

Eight of the 10 bottom-ranked states are from the south, with Mississippi coming in dead last for the ninth consecutive year. Mississippi has a sky-high death rate from heart disease and high infant mortality. In general, residents of these states are more likely to be smokers or to be obese, the report found. They also have worse health insurance coverage, fewer physicians per capita and live in areas with high violent crime and more child poverty.

As it turns out, Mississippi residents aren't merely the sickest in the United States. They are also plagued by the worst state health care system in America.

In October, the Commonwealth Fund released its 2009 state health care scorecard. There, too, Mississippi led the Republican south in providing dismal health care. Again, while nine of the top 10 performing states voted for Barack Obama in 2008, four of the bottom five (including Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana) and 14 of the last 20 backed John McCain. (That at least is an improvement from the 2007 data, in which all 10 cellar dwellers had voted for George W. Bush three years earlier.)

In theory, their steadfast opposition to the health care legislation before the Senate should present a double quandary for the Republican leadership in Congress and in the states. After all, their residents not only need health care reform desperately. As it turns out, the funding for it would come in part from blue state taxpayers.

As the Washington Post noted in May ("A Red State Booster Shot"):

Health-care reform may be overdue in a country with 45 million uninsured and soaring medical costs, but it will also represent a substantial wealth transfer from the North and the East to the South and the West. The Northeast and the Midwest have much higher rates of coverage than the rest of the country, led by Massachusetts, where all but 3 percent of residents are insured. The disproportionate share of uninsured is in the South and the West, the result of employment patterns, weak unions and stingy state governments. Texas leads the way, with a quarter of its population uninsured; it would be at the top even without its many illegal immigrants.

As it turns out, health care reform spending would be little different from the overall pattern of red state socialism. That is, red state residents disproportionately benefit from the steady one-way flow of tax dollars and earmarks spreading the wealth from Washington to their states.

Of course, no amount of data will stop Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warning of a "government-run" plan that "that denies, delays, or rations health care." After all, with his home state's 41st and 45th place rankings in resident health and health care performance, McConnell's nightmare future is Kentucky's horror story present."

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Ok, I know I've been slacking. I own that, but it seems that most of you have been slacking too. Why else would congress be allowed to get away with the crap they are pulling lately? Because we all are slacking. We have forgotten our voice of just a scant year ago. We are not writing, calling, yelling our opposition to their tricks of late. Here's some nice (sic) reading for you this morning...

Right-wing protesters at GOP rally display prominent sign tying health care to the Holocaust.

The big banks are still up to their old tricks

Goodbye to Reforms of 2002

This is the one that pissed me off the most...

New York Businesses Get H1N1 Vaccine

Ok, that's my rant for the day...make a call, write a letter...let them know we are still out here and we are still watching and waiting...oh and yeah, still without a job, still starving and our babies are still going without...but hell yeah, you go on and get your H1N1 vaccine, the country would be devastated if you got sick and died...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's to little to late for us, but finally they did something for the rest of you...

House Votes to Speed Up Credit Card Reforms

Maloney-Frank bill will implement credit card reforms immediately upon enactment

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved legislation sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Barney Frank (D-MA) that would push up the effective date of credit card reforms scheduled for next year to immediately upon the signing of the bill. Originally passed by Congress and signed into law by the President last spring, the Credit CARD Act had three staged implementation dates: August 2009, February, 2010, and August, 2010. H.R. 3639 moves up the remaining dates by which banks and credit card issuers would have to comply and applies to the largest card issuers that control over 80% of the credit card market. The bill passed by a vote of 331-92.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “Card companies have redoubled many of the abusive practices that brought Congress to pass my original reforms last Spring. Rather than use the time-- time they asked for-- since the bill’s signing in May to prepare for the changes, they’ve raised rates and fees with absolutely no regard for the dire position of millions of their customers.

“I believe the card issuers have heard the message loud and clear today: their practices can no longer be tolerated. These reforms are crucial changes which level the playing field between card issuers and card holders. The reforms force the credit card market to actually function as markets should: by open competition among card offerings, with clear disclosure of interest rates, fees and other features. It bans rate hikes on existing balances, deceptive due-date gimmicks, and requires consumer opt-in to over-limit fees—and allows consumers enough time to switch cards if other terms and conditions change,” Maloney said.

“Consumers, especially in this economy, cannot wait any longer for these protections. I am extremely pleased that this legislation passed today,” said House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY), who successfully offered an amendment today that will move the effective date of the bill to the date of enactment.

The House also approved an amendment, offered by Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Betsy Markey (D-CO), permitting card issuers that adopt a moratorium on interest rate increases on current balances and new balances incurred before Feb. 22 to be exempt from the earlier effective date for a provision that requires an issuer to apply customer payments to the highest rate balance. Today’s bill also would exempt small credit card issuers that frequently outsource computer programming functions, and gift card providers, due to the fact that gift cards have already been printed and shipped for the 2009 holiday season. Both would have to comply with the later deadlines previously laid out in the Credit CARD Act.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) has introduced companion legislation (S. 1833) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, has introduced an immediate moratorium on retroactive rate increases (S. 1927).

The provisions which will take effect immediately upon enactment include:

·Prohibits arbitrary interest rate increases and universal default on existing balances;

·Prohibits issuers from charging over-limit fees unless the cardholder elects to allow the issuer to complete over-limit transactions, and also limits over-limit fees on electing cardholders;

·Requires payments in excess of the minimum to be applied first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest;

·Prohibits issuers from setting early morning deadlines for credit card payments;

·Prohibits interest charges on debt paid on time (double-cycle billing ban);

·Requires issuers extending credit to young consumers under the age of 21 to obtain an application that contains: the signature of a parent, guardian, or other individual 21 years or older who will take responsibility for the debt; or proof that the applicant has an independent means of repaying any credit extended;

·Requires penalty fees to be reasonable and proportional to the omission or violation.

·Requires that creditors periodically review all interest rate increases since January 2009 and reduce rates when a review indicates that a reduction is warranted.

These provisions already took effect last August 20th:

·Provide increased written notice to consumers of any increases in the interest rate or otherwise makes a significant change to the terms of a credit card account;

·Inform consumers of their right to cancel the card before the rate hike goes into effect;

·Send statements to consumers 21 days before the due date of any payments.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Morning Procrastination :)

Here I sit, coffee to my left, jar of peanut butter to the left of that, complete with spoon, Sheryl Crowe on the Finetune player singing "If it makes you happy" can't get much better than that.

The roast is in the oven and there is a load of clothes in the washer and one in the dryer.

Then there is this...the four to six page paper due at midnight tonight expecting me to relate Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory to my decision to enter a master's program looming all around me, books stacked in every available space on the desk. I say "available space" because there is a cat in the window, one on the printer and one on the cpu all staring at me wondering what I am going to do. I can not wrap my head around that subject, much less four to six pages, and I can't find any research to give me any ideas. I guess it's not a very important subject for research...why any middle aged woman in her right mind would decide she needed a masters in mental health counseling.

It seems as though every assignment so far has been designed to make you drag your laundry out for all the world to see and analyze it...crap, I need a therapy session or six :)

Did I ever tell you I'm one of those who can't do anything unless she's under the pressure of a deadline? Don't worry about me...I'll be cranking it out ninety to nothing probably right up until 11:59 :)