Health Care Reform: Looking Grim, but Not Over

10 12 2009

It appears that the public option, a plan advocated by a majority of Americans, will no longer exist in the final version of the health care bill.  There seems to be consensus, however, that the age limit to qualify for Medicare will be lowered to 55.  There will also be (probably) an expansion of Medicaid as well as a half-assed attempt at covering people 300% under the poverty line.  In addition, there will be a collection of national private plans which will be “managed” by the Office of Personal Management.

It’s still early in the process, because the Senate and House may meet in committee to hash out the final details, so the news as it stands right now lacks any real specifics.  There is also talk of the House simply accepting what the Senate throws at them, a procedure called “ping-ponging.”

The most heartening aspect of this legislation, the lowering of Medicare’s age limit, seems to have progressives like Bernie Sanders somewhat excited.  This is because the public option that was originally on the table was so anemic to begin with, that there are elements, according to Sanders, which may actually be better.

We will see, won’t we?  And there is, too, this 800 pound elephant no one in Washington seems to want to notice: The Dirty Deadly Secret About Health Care Reform, an excellent diary by Daily Kos’ Turkana.

Here is Senator Bernie Sanders, along with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, on the Rachel Maddow show last night:

Congress is biting at the bit to finish this before Christmas break, so stay tuned as details out of D.C. will continue to emerge sooner rather than later.





Are Student Loan Companies Destroying Your Life?

4 11 2009

Is your life or a loved one’s life in turmoil because, despite your best efforts, you simply cannot make the payments companies like AES, Sallie Mae, etc. are demanding? It is estimated that one in four undergraduates will default on their loans in their lifetimes, and that unlike credit card debt, there are almost no consumer protections for people who fall behind in paying on their student loans–meanwhile loan company executives reap huge personal windfalls on the backs of the broken.

If you live in the Southern California area, Ramblin’ Man Films is looking for your story for an online video project. We want to hear from people who have put their best effort forward in trying to meet their obligation but cannot, due to unforeseen circumstances such as unemployment, disability, etc. make payments. If your story includes unfair, unethical or downright nasty behavior from these companies, we would certainly like to hear about it too. The only stipulation is that you must be located in Los Angeles!

Please send this appeal to as many people as you can. Visit http://RamblinManFilms.com for examples of our social issues work. We appreciate your time and consideration and hope that you’ll join us in starting a national dialogue on this underreported issue.





Billionaires for Wealthcare Strike Again

24 10 2009

The Billionaires struck again at America’s Health Insurance Plans’s state issues conference on Friday by serenading Republican pollster Bill MnInturff.  McInturff has done work on behalf of the health insurance lobby and was, most notably, a driving force behind the ‘Harry and Louise’ ads of 1994 during President Clinton’s ill-fated attempt at health care reform.  The Billionaires are a grassroots network of universal health care and public option proponents who pop up around the country to ‘sing the praises’ of for profit health care.  Check out this video for an appearance they made in Los Angeles during a health care rally outside of the Anthem Blue Cross office.





Delaying Tactics Ensue on Health Care Legislation

24 09 2009

Pat Roberts (R-KS) is now pleading for a brief respite so that lobbyists–or as he calls them, “the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all the legislation.”  As Arthur Delaney writes at The Huffington Post: “It’s hard to imagine…that [this] means anything other than lobbyists from the health industry.”  Below is video, courtesy of HuffPo: