Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Kos’ Sunday Talk: Keep it in perspective

Sunday Kos

This week, the first official Obamacare enrollment numbers were released, and it was a big fucking deal.”How big was it?“… you asked him knowingly.

So big that it made Hurricane Katrina look like a day at the beach—and yet, so small.

Only 26,794 lucky duckies were able to navigate around healthcare.gov; another 79,391 got coverage through state-based exchanges; and 444,000 others found safety via Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “That’s not so bad, all things considered. Only 123 people enrolled in Romneycare during its first month; but after just a few years, 98.1% of Massachusetts residents had health insurance!”

And that’s certainly true… to a point.

However, the fact also remains that once all of the minoritiesslutsstonersgeezers,veteranspoorsdweebieskidsLGBTs and immigrants have been purged from the Obamacare rolls, you end up with less than zero.

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); RoundtableTom Brokaw (NBC News), Kathleen Parker (Washington Post), Republican Strategist Mike Murphy and Chris Matthews (MSNBC).Face the Nation: LBJ’s Youngest Daughter Luci Baines JohnsonHugh Aynesworth(Dallas Morning News); Mike Cochran (Associated Press); Kennedy/Oswald Surgeon Dr. Ronald Jones; Author Thurston Clarke; Author/Professor Larry Sabato; AuthorDouglas BrinkleyPeggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal); Harvard University Prof. David Gergen.

This Week: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R);RoundtableGwen Ifill (PBS), Former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, Republican Strategist Matthew Dowd, Former DNC Chair/Vermont Gov. Howard Dean(D) and Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal).

Fox News Sunday: US Senate Candidate Liz Cheney (R-WY); Former Maryland Lt. Gov.Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D); Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI); Roundtable:Brit Hume (Fox News), Bob Woodward (Washington Post), George Will (Washington Post) and Judy Woodruff (PBS).

State of the Union: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Sen. John Barrasso(R-WY); Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Roundtable: Former Green Jobs “Czar” Van Jones,Ross Douthat (New York Times) and Amy Walter Cook Political Report).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report from inside Guantanamo Bay prison, where 164 accused terrorists have been locked up, most for 11 years without charge or trial (preview); a report on a group of billionaires who are pledging to give at least half their vast fortunes to charity in hopes of changing the world (preview); and, a report on an orchestra that’s raising spirits and providing hope in the poorest section of Paraguay’s capital (preview).

 

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Massachusetts Special Election Results: Ed Markey Beats Gabriel Gomez

massachusetts special election results

Well, there’s some good news today after all…

The Huffington Post

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) defeated Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts special election, projects The Associated Press.

The result has been predictable, as Markey has had a solid lead in the polls since winning the April 30 primary and Gomez has struggled to gain much traction in the traditionally Democratic state. Markey embraced national Democrats including President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, while Gomez got little help from national Republicans, who are unpopular in the state.

“Thank you Massachusetts!” tweeted Markey. “I am deeply honored for the opportunity to serve you in the United States Senate.”

The election featured low turnout, due to the unusual timing of in late June and the fact that the state is going through a heat wave.

Republicans had hoped that Gomez would replicate Scott Brown’s upset in 2010; however, Gomez faced a much more determined Democratic party and a less favorable national climate.

The ascension of Sen. John Kerry to the position of Secretary of State created the vacancy, which has been temporarily filled by the appointment of Sen. Mo Cowan (D-Mass.).

Click here for full returns.

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Bystanders wrongly pegged by New York Post as Boston ‘Bag Men’ file suit

New York Post fingers 17 year old kid as bombing suspect

Here’s hoping the two get a large pile of Murdoch money in exchange for this mess. A very, very large pile of money ~ Daily Kos on Facebook

Daily Kos

Here’s hoping the two get a large pile of Murdoch money in exchange for this mess. A very, very large pile of money.

I’m only surprised it took this long:

A Massachusetts teenager and his 24-year-old friend filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Post Wednesday in Boston, accusing the tabloid of falsely portraying them as suspects in the deadly Marathon bombings by plastering their photograph on the front page under the headline, “Bag Men.”

As the picture above demonstrates, the Post wasn’t shy about it, calling them the “bag men” in large type even while their own story admitted that it wasn’t actually clear if the two pictured were the ones law enforcement were actually investigating. As it turns out, they weren’t—it was a picture that some online sleuths found suspicious, and that was all it took to make the Post front page, and to therefore make the two a conspicuous public target:

When Zaimi arrived at work that day, a company vice president called him into his office. Zaimi did not understand why until the office manager showed him a copy of the Post.“He immediately started shaking, his mouth went dry, and he felt as though he was having a panic attack,” the complaint said. […]

That night, the complaint said, as he waited for the train home, someone pointed him out as the person in the New York Post. Zaimi fled.

Given that we’re living in an age when would-be public heroes even fire shots at fleeing shoplifters, I’d say hightailing it out of a crowd that thinks you might be a terrorist based a front-page picture saying so was probably a very good idea. The Post should count themselves lucky no worse harm came to the two.

Here’s hoping the two get a large pile of Murdoch money in exchange for this mess. A very, very large pile of money. The crooked, reckless sensationalism of the Post was demonstratedthroughout the Boston story, but in this instance it could have gotten someone killed.

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Guns in the home proving deadly for kids

Guns

USA Today

While efforts at gun control are still being fought, children’s advocates are urging parents and communities to take their own steps to protect kids.

He didn’t know the gun was loaded.

The 14-year-old Massachusetts boy had recently found his mother’s handgun, which she kept hidden under her mattress for protection.

“Promise me you’ll never touch it,” his mother, a single mom, had asked him.

But the lure of the gun was irresistible. He decided to show it off to his neighbor, 12-year-old Brian Crowell.

“He was going, ‘Click, click, click,’” pretending to shoot the gun, says Brian’s mother, Ann Marie Crowell, who spoke to the child and his mother after the incident. “But there was one last bullet. It went into Brian’s neck.”

And just like that, Crowell’s son was gone.

Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

Although mass shootings get more attention, children are far more likely to be killed at home.

Through homicide, suicide and accidents, guns cause twice as many deaths in young people as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as infections, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Continue reading here

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Elizabeth Warren Grills Financial Regulators: ‘People Want to Know’ (Video)

Senator Elizabeth Warren is seriously kicking financial regulators’ butt..

AATTP

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, grilled two financial regulators this Thursday as to why the men were favoring big banks over families that are struggling.

The questioning took place during a Senate Banking Committee hearing where Warren took aim at Daniel P. Stipano of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Richard Ashton of the Federal Reserve. The line of questioning centered around the Independent Foreclosure Review, which investigated foreclosure abuses that ended in January with a $8.5 billion settlement.

Warren claimed the two were withholding data obtained from the investigation. She asked whether they planned to disclose evidence of illegal activity to families who were in the middle if litigation with the banks for the wrongful disclosures, with Ashton responding that they had not made a decision.

“So I just want to make sure I get this straight,” Warren continued. “Families get pennies on the dollar in the settlement for having been the victims of illegal activities or mistakes in the banks’ activities. You now know individual cases where the banks violated the law and you’re not going to tell the homeowners, or at least it’s not clear if you’re going to do that?”  She added,

People want to know that their regulators are watching out for the American public, not for the banks, and the only way that we can evaluate whether or not you’re doing your job is if you make some of this information publicly available.

Watch Senator Warren in the video below.

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Elizabeth Warren’s First Senate Banking Committee Hearing

Pic of the Moment

Democratic Underground

Senator Warren: ‘Why aren’t more bank execs in jail?’

The Senator says, “I’m just concerned that too big to fail has become too big for trial.”

“Too big for trial,” that’s a powerful tagline to hit the Goldman Sachs crowd with. It’s a brilliant turn of phrase.

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Barney Frank Would Welcome Interim Appointment To Fill Kerry’s Senate Seat

I saw former Rep. Barney Frank talking about this on Morning Joe today.  I think it’s a great idea given the looming fiscal talks which will  take place in a few weeks.

The comments from this TPM’s article are pretty good…

What do you think?

TPMLiveWire

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), whose 32 year career in the House of Representatives came to an end yesterday, said Friday that he’s told Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) that he would welcome an interim appointment to the seat expected to be vacated by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).

Frank said that the fiscal cliff deal that passed the House of Representatives earlier this week and set the stage for a return to the same legislative fight in a matter of months “means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months” for the American economy. The outspoken Democrat indicated he would only hold the seat until the statewide special election and has no designs of carving out a career in the Senate, but he relishes the opportunity to be a part of the next fiscal battle on Capitol Hill.

“I’m not going to be coy. It’s not anything I’ve ever been good at,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I’ve told the governor that I would now like, frankly, to do that because I would like to be a part of that. It’s only a three-month period. I wouldn’t want to do anything more. I don’t want to run again.”

Kerry has been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the longtime senator is expected to breeze through the confirmation process.

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Meningitis outbreak: Massachusetts agencies ‘failed to enforce regulations’ on big pharma

Meningitis outbreak screenshot 100612

There seems to be little doubt in my mind that the Massachusetts agencies in question have a lot of explaining to do but my focus is on the corporations who have resisted regulatory oversight for a very long time.

One of the more vociferous  GOP talking points is less government intrusion and regulations on corporations.

Yet, this is just one small example of the consequence of such twisted logic.  A Laissez-Faire approach to government causes more problems, not less.

The real tragedy is that corporations have little sympathy for the  tragic results of their callousness toward rejecting regulations and it’s affect on the population.

The Raw Story

State agencies are facing questions over the enforcement of existing regulations covering compounding pharmacies like the New England Compounding Center

Authorities in Massachusetts have been accused of failing to properly enforce regulations aimed at protecting patients from contaminated drugs, after the death toll from an outbreak of meningitis linked to a medicine made in the state rose to 14.

The specialised compounding pharmacy at the centre of the escalating health scandal is being investigated for breaches of state and federal laws.

A patient from Minnesota, one of almost 14,000 patients at risk of contracting the disease after being injected with the potentially tainted steroid produced by New England Compounding Center, has filed what is expected to be the first of many lawsuits against the company.

Now state agencies are facing questions over their enforcement of existing regulations. On Friday, a congressional committee called on the state’s pharmacy regulator to provide information about its oversight of the company.

Massachusetts is one of just 17 states with regulations designed to protect patients from the sort of health scare which has now spread to 11 states. Two former compounding pharmacists who now work in the quality control industry told the Guardian that the risk to patients would have been minimal had the regulations, known as USP 797, been enforced.

“It’s abysmal that the local authorities are calling for greater oversight” said Eric Kastango, a committee member of US Pharmacopeia (USP), the industry body behind regulations governing compounding sterile drugs. “If someone just enforced Massachusetts law, these cases could have been avoided. They failed in their responsibility for enforcing what they already had.”

The scale of the outbreak makes it by far the worst of a series of fatal infections and overdoses connected to specialised “compounding” pharmacies.

Corporations are not “people too, my friend.”  They don’t get sick, or bleed or contract illnesses from their own callousness.

Continue reading here…

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Romney lied about pre-existing conditions during debate

John Aravosis of America Blog nails it:

Mitt Romney’s camp is already flip-flipping over Romney’s promises during last night’s presidential debate.  Starting with health care reform and pre-existing conditions, a topic Romney already flip-flopped on four times in a single 24-hour period a month ago.

Which is a pretty amazing record, considering that Romney has never really given anyone any details as to just what his health care plan is.

Here’s Romney during last night’s debate, lying:

OBAMA: But the fact of the matter is that some of the prescriptions that he’s offered, like letting you buy insurance across state lines, there’s no indication that that somehow is going to help somebody who’s got a pre-existing condition be able to finally buy insurance. In fact, it’s estimated that by repealing Obamacare, you’re looking at 50 million people losing health insurance…

LEHRER: Let’s…

OBAMA: … at a time when it’s vitally important.

LEHRER: Let’s let the governor explain what you would do…

ROMNEY: Well…

LEHRER: … if Obamacare is repealed. How would you replace it?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Well, actually it’s — it’s — it’s a lengthy description. But, number one,preexisting conditions are covered under my plan.

And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on — on my plan. In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That’s part of my health care plan. And what we did in Massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. And I said that at that time.

What they did in Massachusetts is ban discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. The same thing that happens in Obamacare. Mitt Romney plans on repealing that, and leaving it up to the states if they want to ban pre-existing conditions.

Brian Beutler of TPMDC:

After the first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Colorado on Wednesday night, one of Mitt Romney’s top advisers acknowledged that, as a result Romney’s plan to repeal Obamacare, people with pre-existing medical conditions would likely be unable to purchase insurance.

“With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, referring to existing laws which require insurance companies to sell coverage to people who already have insurance, or within 90 days of losing their employer coverage.

Pressed by TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

Oops.

The practical import of this is that 89m people would lose the pre-existing condition protection they have under Obamacare. That ain’t nothing.

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Romney’s Advice To The Uninsured: Go To The ER

Notice how Romney assumes that those who don’t have insurance “don’t have to sit in their apartments and die…”  Talk about elitism and a disconnect from the rest of America, Romney assumes that if you don’t have insurance, you’re on the low rung of the economic ladder and he assumes that “those people” live in apartments.  Sad and untrue.

Think Progress

During a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley on Sunday evening, Mitt Romney suggested that there are already adequate measures in place to protect Americans who lack health insurance. According to Romney, Americans should just go to the hospital to seek care, regardless of the crippling expenses they may incur without adequate health coverage:

PELLEY: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

ROMNEY: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we– if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.And different states have different ways of providing for that care.

PELLEY: That’s the most expensive way to do it…In an emergency room.

ROMNEY: Different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, “You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.”

However, as Pelley points out, ambulatory care is extraordinarily expensive and shifts costs from often-uninsured emergency room patients into the overall health care market, effectively driving up everyone’s cost of care.

All Americans are entitled to care though the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or (EMTALA), a law Ronald Reagan signed. It requires hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding to treat patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of legal status or ability to pay. But EMTALA only applies to medical emergencies. “So, yes, if you’re actively giving birth, you can expect to receive care at an emergency room,” Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll explain. “If you’re actively having a heart attack, you can also get emergency room care. If you’ve been seriously harmed in a car accident, you can go to the emergency room.” Patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference — the millions of Americans with diabetes who need “regular access to medication to stay alive,” asthma patients, or women diagnosed with breast cancer — would not be able to access needed treatments.

Although Obamacare and Romney’s own health reform law in Massachusetts both overcome this hurdle by mandating and subsidizing health insurance for all residents, irrespective of pre-existing conditions, Romney no longer seems to believe that his own program — which has improved the lives of millions in Massachusetts while nearly eliminating the children’s uninsured rate in the state — is effective enough to be implemented in other states.

UPDATE 

Romney has not always believed that emergency rooms are the best route for the uninsured. Back in 2008, Romney decried uninsured emergency room visits as “free riding,” declaring, “If somebody could afford insurance, they should either buy the insurance or pay their own way. They don’t have to buy insurance if they don’t want to, but pay their own way. But they shouldn’t be allowed to just show up at the hospital and say, somebody else should pay for me.” According to Jonathan Gruber, a close adviser and architect for Romney’s Massachusetts health care law, overcoming this “free-rider” dilemma was at the heart of Romneycare. “The guy has come completely full circle,” Gruber said.

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