Latest Posts

  • A Recipe for Roast Individual Mandate Broccoli

    When the Roberts' majority struck down the section of the Affordable Care Act penalizing states that refuse to expand the Medicaid program, most health care experts downplayed the import of the decision, arguing that Republican governors and legislators would be insane to turn down free money — the federal government will pay 90% of the costs of expansion (100% in the first three years) – to insure their populations.

    Which raises the question: Have any of these policy health wonks ever met a Republican lawmaker? Because this morning, Rick Perry made Texas the 5th state to promise to reject Medicaid expansion, joining the likes of Lousiana's Bobby Jindal, who argued that Obamacare would pave the way for Michelle Obama's tofu tax mandate.

    As of now, there's no tofu mandate, but it's increasingly likely that poor citizens of red states will not be getting any new health care beyond the mandatory broccoli we've all heard so much about. I'm reminded of an old family saying: When life hands you broccoli, you should roast it, because raw broccoli is fucking disgusting. Here's what you do…

    * Heat your oven to a temperature the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's scarier models predict is in our future. 425 degrees will do.

    * Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Add minced garlic. Toss with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.

    * Roast in the oven until the broccoli is brown-ish enough that it would be ineligible to vote in Mississippi or Florida. Approximately 20 minutes should do it.

    Stay healthy and enjoy!

    Photo by Adam Hester/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Tags: Bobby Jindal, Food, Health, Health Care, Medicaid, Rick Perry
  • GOP Robbing from the Poor, Giving to the Predator Drones

    Hey, remember last summer when the GOP agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, half of which were supposed to come from the Pentagon?

    Ha. Yeah. That was totally never gonna happen

    The House voted Thursday to override steep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget mandated by last summer's debt deal and replace them with spending reductions to food stamps and other mandatory social programs.

    While doomed in the Senate and opposed by the White House, the legislation, which would reduce the deficit by $243 billion, is a Republican marker for post-election budget talks with the White House.

    The Washington Post has a handy list of all the highlights. In addition to food stamps, Republicans are trying to cut funding for Medicaid, the Child Tax Credit, federal employee pensions, financial regulation and social services block grants, which help fund Meals on Wheels, child welfare, day care services and help for the disabled.

    So basically, just programs for the most vulnerable populations imaginable. What child needs food and shelter when they can have an unlimited supply of predator drones flying overhead?

    Insiders say Sith Lord Speaker John Boehner also tried to make cuts to the Department of Puppies and Rainbows, but he was afraid the bill would be too long. And anyway, you can't blame the GOP. They're just trying to create more jobs. Like, child funeral director or black-market organ donor. Yep, it's all about jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

    Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Budget, Debt, Economy, House of Representatives, John Boehner, Medicaid, Pentagon, Welfare
  • GOP Budget Would Only Take Health Care Away from 48 Million People

    You know, despite what the media might have you presume, Paul Ryan's proposed budget isn't all doom and gloom. There are some positive aspects.

    Like, for example, all the millions of non-millionaires who will have their lives turned inside out

    Since Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) new budget eliminates $1.5 trillion from the Affordable Care Act, cuts $770 billion from Medicaid and reduces Medicare spending by $200 billion, Ezra Klein points out that "it would be very interesting to see an estimate of the uninsured population under Ryan's budget."

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of Ryan's plan does not provide those numbers, but a rough back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that at least 48 million Americans could lose their health insurance.

    48 million newly uninsured Americans?! Oh, wow. This is not going to go over well with the Republican base.

    He couldn't have bumped it up to an even 50 million?! That's why this guy is strictly VP stock.


    Related: Paul Ryan Unveils New Budget for Democrats to Attack

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Budget, Health Care, House of Representatives, Medicaid, Medicare, Money, Paul Ryan, Wisconsin
  • The Moment the Super Committee Exploded Itself

    Okay, it's not like anybody was expecting the U.S. Senate to suddenly miraculously gloriously become functional for this super committee idea, but it's still kind of fun in an anarchic some men just want to watch the world burn kind of way to watch the catastrophic congressional highway pile-up in slow-mo.

    To that end, Reuters pinpoints the exact moment when everything fell to shit

    When the November 7 Baucus meeting began, the seven members there were ready to get down to brass tacks — although the session did not start well, according to both sides.

    It opened with a discussion of a new Democratic proposal to raise taxes by $1 trillion, cut spending by $1 trillion, and spend another $300 billion to stimulate the economy…

    At the mention of $1 trillion in tax hikes, according to aides, two of the Republicans threw up their hands. One thumped the table with his fist to emphasize their adamant opposition.

    Nooooooo!!!! Noooooooooooooo!!!! Taxes! Don't say that word! Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

    So help me God, if I hear one more person in this super committee say the word "taxes," I will punch a hole through this table and then set everything in this room on fire! I swear to everything that you people find sacrosanct and good that I will reach into that person's mouth and pull his spine out of his body and then beat every other person in the room until they are puddles of sanguine ooze on the marble floor! I will devour the entire District of Columbia and then wretch it all over Montana!

    Neeeeeeeevvvvvvveeeerrrrrrrr say the word "taxes" eeeeeeevvvvvveeeeeerrrrrr again!!!

    Now, let's start thinking about ways to cut Medicare and Medicaid.

    Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Democrats, Medicaid, Medicare, Republicans, Second Amendment, Senate, Taxes
  • Cain-Gingrich Debate Recap: You Won! No, YOU Won! No, We Won!

    When your great-grandchildren have the American History 101 microchips implanted in their forebrains they will learn about the event we witnessed last night: historic importance upon historic importance, as a scandal-plagued former fast-food executive and a formerly-scandal-plagued former Speaker of the House massaged each other's egos at a Tea Party fundraiser, just like Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. (":</ {^&," your great-grandchildren will tweedle on their iThinks, as they grasp the significance of the moment.)

    In case you "had plans on a Saturday night" or "have friends" or whatever, here's what you missed.

    * Iowa Rep. Steve King kicked things off with a slideshow about deficit spending, unenlivened by zingy graphics. (As everyone on the internet knows, the secret to a great slideshow is Kardashians, cute animals and/or foods that will kill you.) I fell asleep for a minute. When I woke up, Steve King was still talking. I ran over to the deli to get some coffee. Finally Steve King stopped talking (temporarily).

    * The first order of discussion: How great is Paul Ryan? No for real, how great is Paul Ryan? The greatest? The greatly-greatest? The greatliest greatest great in the entire Reaganverse?

    * It occurred to me that if the Ryan budget had passed the Senate last spring we probably wouldn't be having this debate. If only they'd known.

    * Newt repeated his line about "$70 to $120 billion in Medicaid and Medicare is paid to crooks." This is partially true! It would be a lot more true if he said that "about $70 billion in Medicaid and Medicare is considered improper payments, ie routine administrative errors, overpayments and fraud," but that is less of an adrenaline rush.

    * While we're on the topic of math, Newt called for the abolishment of the Congressional Budget Office, which he called a tool for expanding government because of the way its analytic models work. An hour later he cited CBO statistics to boast about his record in the House, so who even knows. (See also: his website.)

    * For Herman Cain, the complex question of entitlement reform boils down to one answer slogan: "It's your money." How will that work, for people who have already paid into the sys- It's your money. What about the- It's your money. Or, if you prefer: "When you treat it like it's your money, that's how you wean people off expecting that other people are gonna pay for it."

    * You know that old saying, if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish, he'll use this story as an argument against government activity in the private sector for the rest of his life? According to Herman Cain, a young waiter–who was black, he hastened to add–once approached him in a restaurant and said "I want to fish." I can only assume this waiter is now running Herman Cain's health policy team.

    * Cain did have a strong answer to a question about choosing defined benefit plans or a premium support system: "You go first, Newt."

    * Newt wants to apply Lean Six Sigma to the federal government and outsource Medicaid/Medicare payments to American Express and IBM, who have been begging President Obama to let them use their existing private-sector technology to evaporate government bloat, only to be met with bureaucratic silence. Again, this is just trueish.

    * Paul Ryan is super-smart and soooooooo dreamy!

    * Early in the evening Newt said that he and Herman were "the two most radical candidates" in the race. Among the radical, principled stands these two out-there types took: Cain is "a firm believer in 'Let's solve the problem.'" Newt "believe[s] in health information technology." OKAY, WILLIAM AYERSES.

    * Speaking of technology, Newt illustrated his free-market approach by asking people to imagine the situation if a government bureaucracy stood between them and the purchase of a new iPhone. But later he added that "crooks" get so much federal money because they have iPads, whereas bureaucrats only have notebooks, so… what is the solution here? Tighter government regulation of iPads but not iPhones? Buy iPads for all federal workers?

    * Standard-issue welfare reform talk: Cain says "We gotta make people want to get off those programs," Newt says "There's a certain tough love that we need to adopt," which is not what he says to Callista when she's racking up bills at Tiffany's.

    * At the end the candidates were allowed to lob softballs at each other, so Newt asked Cain what his biggest surprise of the campaign has been (surprise, it's "the nit-picky-ness of the media," what with all its questioning and investigating and so forth). Then Cain, who had been waiting for this moment all night, asked Newt what his first assignment should be if he were Vice-President of the United States. "Well, I wouldn't go hunting," said Newt. Thanks, you've been great! They'll be here for… oh, maybe another three months!

    * Sorry, almost forgot. Since this was a "debate," we are legally obliged to find out who "won."

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    Yep, just add one more set of quotation marks to the twelfth word there, and that's about right.

    Photo by Lew Robinson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
    Photo by Paul E. Tessier/Photodisc/Getty Images

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    Tags: Debates, Health Care, Herman Cain, Medicaid, Medicare, Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, Republicans, Science & Technology, Social Security, Steve King, Welfare