Archive for David Lazarus

How about calling out #Obamacare critics on actual lies?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

lies liars club

David Lazarus's column in the Los Angeles Times examines the so-called lies that President Obama told when he promised that if you like your health care insurance policy, it won't change. Lazarus opines that he did not lie at all, but more like misspoke, omitted, or as Lazarus worded it, "to put it charitably" he "oversold" the details of the Affordable Care Act.

He explains why he and others wouldn't call that lying, but he also points out something that most commentators haven't: President Obama's critics have told a few whoppers of their own, "serious" ones, and aren't being called out for them:

[T]he shapers of the Affordable Care Act assumed that people would jump at the chance to receive better coverage at a better price.

They didn't factor in the idea that some people, because of either ignorance or stubbornness, would remain loyal to their old plans, regardless of how much they could improve things under Obamacare. [...]

So, yes, the president wasn't as clear as he should have been. You can call him a liar if you want. But I see a clear difference between not offering the full story and making stuff up out of whole cloth.

I mean, it's not as if he publicly insisted that so-called death panels would decide people's medical treatment, or that most small businesses would be crippled by the reform law or that the government is taking over the entire healthcare system.

That's what his critics have been saying.

Those are some serious lies.

And the worst part is, way too many people bought into the destructive lies told by those critics.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

If this health plan is "socialism," we need more of it: More like "true, transparent, capitalistic competition"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

hide the kids

In a nutshell, the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but it is an improvement (increased coverage for children, pre-existing conditions, etc.), but personally, I support Medicare for all. Since that's not happening any time soon, let's concentrate on what is working.

Better yet, let's check in with David Lazarus at the Los Angeles Times, whose latest column focuses on how California (my home state) "got their first glimpse of what insurers plan to charge for coverage to be offered next year to about 5 million state residents who don't receive health insurance from employers."

For the first time, consumers are in a position to make an informed decision about health insurance. They can opt for the lowest-priced plan or they can factor in other considerations, such as personal convenience.

Insurers, meanwhile, are going toe to toe to win customers, keeping prices as low as possible and stepping up quality of service.

Amazingly, the sky hasn't fallen and the world as we know it hasn't come to an end.

Don't be silly, David. We all know what a French gay commie Kenyan socialist Marxist the president is, and his influence is EVERYwhere. Hide the kids! Obamacare is coming and we're turning into Cuba! We're all gonna die! (Right after Herr Obama and his death panels take over the world, that is.)

Private insurers will have to meet minimum standards for coverage when they begin open enrollment in October, allowing people to compare apples to apples for the first time when shopping for individual or family policies.

Insurers also will have to post their prices in a clear and easily accessible fashion, introducing a long-absent element of competition to the market.

Criminal, just criminal. How DARE they? As Lazarus puts it, "What a shocking idea: Transparency and competition can improve a marketplace." Here is a sentence my fellow liberals will enjoy:

Perhaps what has conservatives in such a dither is that it took a strong regulatory push to achieve what the free market was unable to accomplish.

Yes, it's true, regulation can and often does work. The so-called free market resulted in insurers holding down costs by minimizing the amount of treatment they cover as they raised rates and deductibles. Guess who swooped in with a fix or twelve? Hold your nose, Republicans: "Big Government."

Those dirty, rotten socialists! Wait, hang on, what's that I'm hearing in my imaginary earpiece? This isn't about socialism?

It's good old-fashioned capitalism, with a little helping hand from Uncle Sam to overcome personal and corporate considerations.

Please read the entire piece by Lazarus here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

As gun biz was hiring 13,000 people a year, its product was being used to kill more than twice that

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
Via .ecobumperstickers.com

Via .ecobumperstickers.com

David Lazarus has a column in today's L.A. Times that is titled "Job Creators, Life Enders" about the gun industry, regulation, and more.

In it, he interviews Larry Hunter, one of the organizers of Gun Appreciation Day, a former vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a congressional staffer who now heads Revolution PAC, a conservative political action committee.

Here are a few of the words Hunter chose to use while discussing public safety regarding the common sense regulation of firearms: Liberty, freedom, police state, runaway government power, tyrannical, and "preventing the government from overthrowing liberty."

He also said the NRA doesn't go far enough in its defense of gun rights.

Or as I like to call it, extremism.

Then Lazarus went on to write about the firearms industry:

Gun and ammo companies accounted for nearly $32 billion in economic activity last year, according to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group based in Newtown, Conn., where 20 little kids and six adults were shot to death last month. [Laffy Note: I wrote about them and their chillingly ironic location here.]

The foundation emphasized that its members are, first and foremost, job creators. [...]

But left unsaid was the fact that as the gun business was hiring about 13,000 people a year, its product was being used to kill more than twice that number.

Read that last part again. Some track record.

Lazarus then quoted a few more stats: Guns were used in 11,078 U.S. homicides in 2010, and in 19,392 suicides, and every year, about 600 fatalities are a result of accidental gun deaths. He then reminds us of a 3-year-old boy in Washington state who discovered his father's gun under a car seat and fatally shot himself in the head. (You can read about many, many more firearms “mishaps”  here.)

And that leads us to regulation of not only guns, but also other products that can kill. As Lazarus rightly notes, "guns are inherently dangerous, just as cigarettes and alcohol are." But gun supporters are reluctant to acknowledge the obvious:

We heavily regulate smokes and booze to minimize as much as possible their threat to society. Why shouldn't the same thinking apply to guns?

That doesn't mean anyone should or will be taking away people's handguns and rifles. We don't do that with cigarettes or liquor.

But just as the goal of much of our tobacco and alcohol regulation focuses on keeping these products out of the wrong hands and preventing them from being misused, regulation of firearms needs to focus on reducing gun violence.

Of course Hunter (ironic name) insists that "The problem is not gun violence. The biggest problem is that we live in a culture that is suffused with violence... and psychiatric drugs." And while Hunter insists on insisting that anything-but-guns is the problem, Lazarus insists that "guns, like cigarettes and alcohol, have a track record of causing harm to their users and others" and that our very non-tyrannical president is simply prioritizing transparency and limited access to specific weapons "whose sole purpose is to kill people."

In other words, lives matter.

We tend to regulate any product that causes needless deaths. Lazarus uses cribs and power tools as examples of items that at times have proved to be unsafe, and notes that gun zealots (my word, not his) don't object to crib/tool control, but when it comes to gun safety, uh-uh, verboten, no way, no how.

Hunter expressed his concerns that stricter weapons oversight would lead to complete prohibition, as happened with alcohol back in the day. I don't know about you, but I've heard that argument a lot lately. Lazarus responds with this:

He needs to look around and realize that liquor is legal and available; cigarettes are legal and available. But they're regulated to improve the public welfare. No one would argue that, absent such regulation, the country would be better off.

Take note, "freedom" defenders and "pro-lifers."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Republican plan to cut Medicaid is just plain mean. "You've really got to wonder about these guys."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Medicaid is the safety net for people who can't afford health coverage or don't receive medical benefits from employers. It helps people. It keeps people alive. About 70 million people are covered, half are poor children.

David Lazarus's L.A. Times column talks about how the GOP wants to take that aid away in order to tax rich people less. Yes, the "pro-life" party would rather let the less fortunate among us die than raise taxes on those who have more money than they know what to do with.

I'm posting bits and pieces from the column, but please read all of it and then pass it on to those who are turning their backs on working families (or those who are trying to get work or can't work) who just can't make ends meet, families with brand new babies who are born with life-threatening conditions who must be hospitalized and cared for in order to save their brand new little lives. Saving brand new little lives costs money that some families don't have.

Share it with so-called family values Republicans, "pro-lifers" who demand forced ultrasounds and births but once that's accomplished, ignore the newborns who need urgent care; instead they're willing to let them die because Medicaid is something Democrats-- President Obama specifically-- support, something that our big evil life-saving government is forcing on the opposing party, apparently so they and the Muslim Brotherhood can take over the world.

Lazarus:

Republican leaders are determined to protect rich people from paying higher taxes. Now they also want to reduce health coverage for the poor.

You've really got to wonder about these guys. [...] This is scary stuff [...]

Medicaid is a declaration that healthcare in the United States is not limited solely to those fortunate enough to have well-compensating jobs or fat bank accounts. [...]

But cutting access to Medicaid for many low-income people, as the Republicans are proposing, isn't just horribly shortsighted — would they prefer people turning instead to emergency rooms? — it's an act of meanness unbecoming of the party of supposed family values.

Paul Castro, chief executive of Jewish Family Service, an L.A. nonprofit that assists the needy:

"Without Medicaid," he said, "we'd see levels of poverty in this country we can't even imagine."

Medicaid isn't just another budget item, such as the nearly $80 billion the Air Force has spent so far developing a new fighter jet, or the almost $600 billion that the Navy will spend on warships over the next 30 years.

Medicaid is people. It's a fair chance.

It's a healthy little baby now residing in Paulina and Jose Cifuentez's home.

David Lazarus is an author and American business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He won first place in the 2005 National Headliner Awards contest for business reporting. And the Society of Professional Journalists in Northern California named him "Journalist of the Year" in 2001. (Wikipedia)

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Healthcare reform is about lives, not just politics; "My whole financial future is in Kennedy's hands."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

David Lazarus has a column in today's L.A. Times that the GOP should read. Not that it would make a difference. Not that all that many of them read.

Okay, cheap shot, but this article really has me worked up, because health care is a rather vital ingredient of, you know, life, and Republicans who take such pride in labeling themselves "pro-life" often seem to be anything but.

Lazarus makes his points by describing what a Crohn's patient is going through. One of my twins has Crohn's Disease (a severe intestinal disorder that can cause intense pain and a variety of complications), so this hits home... hard. And just like the man Lazarus's story, my son has been suffering his whole life (well, since he was nine) from this often excruciating, debilitating ailment, and finding an insurance coverage for him was not easy. Nor are the enormous premiums:

Dale Berman doesn't just have a rooting interest in the Supreme Court upholding the healthcare reform law. You could say his life depends on it. [...]

He's also watched as his insurance costs have steadily increased over the years, forcing him to seek refuge in government programs for "high-risk" patients who are unable to receive affordable coverage from private-sector insurers.

You know what aggravates Crohn's? Stress. You know what causes stress? Worrying about your health and how to pay for treatment. If the Supreme Court decides to rule against President Obama's Affordable Care Act, it would leave people like Dale Berman and my son in a real pickle. Remember, the health care reform law doesn't fully kick in until 2014.

Millions of people like Berman could then find themselves at Square One, left to fend for themselves in a healthcare system that openly discriminates against the sick and leaves many destitute as the bills pile up.

"It's terrifying," he told me. "I don't sleep at night thinking about what could happen." [...]

Not to be alarmist, but this could be the last stab at healthcare reform many of us will see in our lifetimes.

Berman's experiences with the healthcare system are instructional for what's at stake.

Please read the rest here. It's painful, but not as painful as Crohn's, and especially not as painful as Crohn's without affordable and proper medical attention.

When November rolls around, remind yourself what a conservative Supreme Court is capable of: Throwing elections (Bush v. Gore, Citizens United) and removing lifelines for those in dire need of decent health care:

"My whole financial future is in Kennedy's hands," Berman said.

Healthcare reform isn't an abstract legal issue. It isn't a political game. It's a very real concern for millions of Americans, in some cases a life-or-death matter.

The justices should keep that in mind.

But my gut tells me five of them won't.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare