The Daily-Ish: The ACA’s Non-Existent “Death Spiral,” Benghazi (Again!?), Prison Rape, and Paul Ryan’s “New” (Old) Budget

10149987_10203477434562652_1933562262_nWelcome to my new column, The Daily-Ish. I’m sure you’re wondering what this new column is all about. Ok maybe you aren’t wondering, but I am going to tell you anyway. As the name implies, it will be published daily-ish, which is essentially a fancy way of me saying a few times a week (hopefully) when I have time to write around my crazy work schedule. The content will be my rantings about current events. And now without further ado, here is the first installment of The Daily-Ish.

Let’s start with the Affordable Care Act.

On Monday, the first period of open enrollment under the ACA closed. While exact figures aren’t in yet, more than 7.1 million people have signed up for insurance through a healthcare exchange. But, the deadline really signifies something bigger, namely it’s proof that the ACA isn’t going to fail into a “death spiral” like conservatives predicted. (Kind of reminds you of election night, doesn’t it?)

It also should have signified the end of the debate – the ACA is here to stay. But of course it didn’t. Conservatives are still yelling and screaming about it.

Here’s my response: Yes, approximately 5 million people (myself included) had a “plan” but it wasn’t an actual plan because it didn’t really have any benefits. Now we have real plans with real coverage. I wouldn’t call offering me real insurance with actual benefits for less money every month (and a lower deductible) being “forced into something.” Even if my old plan wasn’t cancelled I would have done the financially responsible thing and cancelled it to buy a better plan on the exchange. In other words, even if my old plan wasn’t cancelled I would have done the fiscally conservative thing and cancelled it to buy a better plan in the free market. Oh that sound? That’s the sound of conservative heads exploding, of course.


Furthermore, I am sick of hearing that people should be able to opt out without penalty. When people opt out without penalty it creates the same problem the law was implemented to solve in the first place: The huge amount of money added to the federal deficit because of the emergency room treatment (#ThanksReagan) that was being funded by the taxpayer instead of the person receiving treatment. The whole point of the penalty is that if you’re not going to buy insurance, you still have to pay towards your treatment.

And yes, some people will be able to pay for their own care out of pocket even without insurance. But the majority of the people who weren’t covered before and many who still aren’t covered now, won’t be able to make those payments if they get sick and need care. And yes, some people will pay the penalty and never need to receive the emergency room treatment that they are paying for, but that is how society works. My tax dollars are used to build roads in Kentucky that I will likely never drive on. That’s it. Over, done, end of story. Repealing the law would add $109 billion to the federal deficit, and we all know how much Republican’s like to talk about the deficit. The GOP will move on, or they won’t – kind of like my next story….

Benghazi, the never ending Republican talking point that should be used when all other talking points fail.

On Tuesday I happened to sign on to Twitter for two seconds when I caught a tweet from Sen. McCain’s account that said, “It requires a willing suspension of disbelief to think WH & its allies weren’t involved in deception on #Benghazi.” Seriously, how are they still talking about this? Virtually everyone with a brain that has looked into this has debunked each and every GOP claim. If anyone is guilty of deception it’s people like Sen. Bombs Away that keep duping Americans into believing falsities. When all else fails just start screaming Benghazi. I’m so confused. No I’m not. As Machiavelli once said, “Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”

Speaking of deception, let’s talk about the GOP/Paul Ryan’s “new” budget. And by new budget, they really mean same old budget. I guess you can’t reason with people who have no new ideas. What’s in the new (old) budget?

Here’s a breakdown: Vastly increase military spending, decrease domestic spending to the lowest levels ever, cut education funding by $145 billion over 10 years, cut Pell grants for college students by $90 billion, force university students to be charged interest on their loans while still in school, turn Medicare into a voucher program, and repeal the ACA (code for add another $109 billion to the deficit, see above).

If these sound like good ideas to you, vote for a Republican. If not, vote for anyone (or any party) that isn’t Republican.


Last but not least, let’s talk Texas.

On Tuesday, Slate reported that Rick Perry sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, signaling Texas’ unwillingness to comply with federal regulations issued by the Department of Justice to reduce rape in prison. What is it with the GOP and rape? Rape is rape, even if it happens in prison. In fact, especially when it happens in prison. What about rape being rape does the Republican party not understand? Also, Rick Perry’s going to pick and choose what laws he’ll enforce? Isn’t that what conservatives are accusing Obama of doing when they call him a tyrant? Just something to think about.

Oh and there was also more news about Hobby Lobby, their employee 401K plans include pharma companies that make abortion pills. Wait, what? And the campaign finance ruling from the Supreme Court. I have a lot to say about the ruling, but my blood pressure is still a bit off the charts since it was announced. So I’ll just sum up all my thoughts with something simple – #MoveToAmend.

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!

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  • strayaway

    Why did you ever purchase a plan without benefits? I keep hearing about the cost of all these people getting their medical care in the emergency ward. What exactly was that cost above what they would have been billed at a clinic? How does that difference compare with the combined costs of hiring thousands of IRS agents, navigators, subsidizing state (un)ACA plans, increased costs of conventional private plans required to subsidize the (un)ACA, hidden new taxes like the 2.3% tax on medical equipment, and eventual lost jobs that will be offshored to evade (un)ACA costs? You aren’t paying for them with you new plan but someone is.

    • Gary Smith

      Strayaway: When I was unemployed for several months more than a decade ago, I purchased a such “plan” to cover myself and my family (my also-laid-off wife, 7 y/o son, newborn son) because even that long ago maintaining COBRA for a family of 4 was ruinously expensive. The price seemed good, and that was the hook.

      When it came time to use the insurance, it turned out that the “plan” covered practically nothing. This fact was (deliberately) hidden in the finest of print, obscured by jargon, and required medical/legal speculation and extrapolation that was beyond my abilities at the time. It was the insurance equivalent of snake-oil: virtually useless for the stated purpose.

      For instance, routine visits to the pediatrician for the newborn cost us over $100 each out of pocket, while the insurance paid the Dr. only $20. On a decent insurance plan, the deductible should be far less than the total bill; on this “plan” the insurance paid maybe 17% of the bill. I would have been better off just paying it all out of pocket myself than to be bilked by this “insurance company”.

      That’s the type of useless junk insurance — predatorily marketed to the young and naive and desperate — that the ACA makes illegal.

      • strayaway

        Gary, Once, on a very hot day when I had to be working outside in the heat, a big truck pulled in so I went to see what it was about. It had a Texas license. It turned out to be a grapefruit salesman. He took me around the back and up into his truck. It was dark and refrigerated in back and stacked with boxes of grapefruit about the size of beer cases. My eyes had to adjust to the relative darkness. He opened one box exposing huge grapefruits then took out a long jacknife and cut a piece out of one. I don’t know if it was because I was tired and dehydrated, the refrigeration felt so good, or it was a good grapefruit but it seemed like the best grapefruit I’d ever tasted. So I bought a box for $18 if I remember correctly and he drove off. I took it in to discover that only the top row had big grapefruits. The rest were about the size of big oranges. I felt tricked and realized I’d paid too much. But whose fault was it that i wasn’t more careful? True story. One thing I didn’t do was ask my legislators to write a law to license out of state grapefruit guys or have the post office sell grapefruits. I don’t like insurance companies either.

      • crabjack

        Did he offer you another box of grapefruit, same size, that he admitted was better, but instead of $18 it was $90 – way more than you could afford?

      • strayaway

        No, that would be the federal government hiring thousands of IRS agents and navigators, bribing states to distribute grapefruit, raising costs of selling grocery store sold grapefruits by marketing them with required stuff no one wants, and charging new hidden taxes like the 2.3% tax on grapefruit picking machinery to pay for the difference in order to sell some $90 boxes of grapefruit for $18.

      • Julie Johnson Smith

        Hungry guy gets ripped by small grapefruit but being just a little guy was unable to fight the big salesman and ended up being grateful to have even small grapefruit. Then one day a law was passed that made buying larger, better fruit attainable. He moved on from shoddy grapefruit to better grapefruit. Happy ending.

  • Mrs_oatmeal

    Stray away, many people had plans that basically covered NOTHING! If you got cancer or MSor were hurt in an accident you were screwed! There are many horror stories about non insurance health plans. The insurance company loved selling them. Now they can’t. Emergency rooms were overflowing with people with no insurance that used them as their primary care. They can’t refuse you. Can’t pay? That gets shifted around and those with insurance get charged more. ($19 for aspirin?). They can Bill them whatever, but if they can’t pay, they can’t pay! So the costs get shifted onto those who can pay. My brother died of esophageal cancer. No insurance, waited until there was nothing they could do for him to go to a doctor. Was covered by a hospital Donor. Next person in wouldn’t be so lucky. It’s a hell of away to take care of sick people in an industrialized nation. Just my opinion.

  • John Clark

    In over half of all prison rape, the assailant is a staff member. In juvenile and women’s detention facilities, those percentages are even higher. Rape is violence.

  • shellgirl

    Here’s what I think about Benghazi: I think Republican funders and operatives were behind the actual attack. They weren’t sure whomever the Republican nominee would be would win but wanted a sure October surprise to damage Obama. It cost a lot of money and they were all briefed on how to spin it. They can’t get over that it didn’t work, so they can’t let it go. Romney’s smug quick response after the attack was the first time I thought he seemed like aha, I’ve been waiting for this.

  • terry63

    Benghazi, IMOHO was a CIA op gone bad. What were they doing there? My guess is weapon retrieval? Syria, recruiting? We may never know. It was however a planned hit on the anniversary of 9/11. The order to stand down fit’s Hillary’s track record. That track record started in Somalia and will forever be known as ” Black Hawk Down”. The Clinton’s gutted the military. Rolled back Intel, abroad. Then the Towers were hit for The first time. There was no retaliation. The offer from Sudan to deliver Bin Laden to the Clinton’s was denied. A CIA hit team who found Bin Laden could not get a green light to take him out. Later a new President would see the Towers fall, killing Thousands.It would lead to a bloody war. One that Hillary Voted for. She was for it before it became unpopular. Benghazi? There has been no retaliation. Al Qaeda now own Libya. They also have reclaimed Fallujah. How many kids did we waste on that? I buried one two years ago, who died of traumatic Brain injury. He was a Ranger. Im proud to have known him. No retaliation. If your voting for Hillary, get used to that. Afterwards Hillary would go on vacation, sending An African American woman to face the arrows, Rice was royally set up. When Hillary returned she and McCain really liked Kerry for Sec of state. I would have thought that the black caucus would have came out in Protest, but no, being the lap dogs that they are they never made a peep. If you can vote for that, go ahead. You’ll get more of it.