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"Affordable" Health Care or "the road to Neo-Feudalism"?

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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:37 AM
Original message
"Affordable" Health Care or "the road to Neo-Feudalism"?
This is based on several recent posts by Marcy Wheeler (blogger Emptywheel).

First, some numbers, based on the current Senate bill: consider these two working lower middle-class families.
(See http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/16/the-mybara... / and http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/27/affordable... / for links and further info.)


Family 1: 301% of Poverty Level: $66,370 Total Income (for family of 4)

Federal Taxes (estimate from this page, includes FICA): $8,628 (13% of income)

State Taxes (using MI rates on $30,000 of income): $1,305 (2% of income)

Food (using “low-cost USDA plan” for family of four): $9,065 (14% of income)

Home (assume a straight 30% of income): $19,275 (30% of income)

Health Care: $14,477 (9.8% of income in health insurance premium + $7,973 out-of-pocket limit; totals 22% of income)

Total: $52,750 (79% of income)

Remainder for ALL other expenses (including utilities, clothing, transportation, education, existing debt, etc.):
$13,620 (or 21% of income)



Family #2: 401% of Poverty Level: $88,420

Federal Taxes (really rought estimate based on this page, includes FICA): $13,263 (15% of income)

State Taxes (using MI rates on $45,000 of income): $1,957 (2% of income)

Food (using “low-cost USDA plan” for family of four): $9,065 (10% of income)

Home (assume a straight 30% of income): $26,526 (30% of income)

Health care: $20,565 ($11,900 out-of-pocket limit + 9.8% of income in insurance premiums; totals 23% of income - though note there is no limit on premiums for this income level, so the total could be even higher)

Total: $71,376 (81% of income)

Remainder for ALL other expenses (including utilities, clothing, transportation, school, existing debt, etc.):
$17,044 (or 19% of income)


Now, add some additional expenses, assuming that these families have to pay utilities, gas, and child care:


Child care (average cost for just one pre-school child in MI): $6,216

Transportation costs (assumes 1 car, 12,000 miles/year, at IRS reimbursement rate of $.55/mile, and does not even include car insurance): $6,600

Heat, electricity, water: $1,500

Phone, cable, internet: $1,200

Total expenses for child care, gas and utilities: $15,516


**************************************

That leaves Family #2 with $1,528 left for ALL their other needs (such as clothes and existing debt, for example), and Family #1 with the negative balance of -$1,896 (in other words, they cannot afford this and would have to go in debt or give up the car or move in with relatives).

**************************************


Emptywheel calls it "an attempt to turn the middle class into serfs to the health care industry". Assuming these middle class families come close to hitting the max in a given year, it would leave them completely broke. That’s simply unsustainable and "would basically institutionalize a condition in which the middle class continues to fall further and further behind, paying far too much for health care and/or avoiding necessary treatment. It would keep the middle class drowning under debt. It would continue to force the middle class to choose between health care and things like college or fixing the roof on their house."

"Obviously, this does not take away from the fact that the poor will get health care, with subsidies more realistically set to income levels. ... For those, reform is a vast improvement.

But for the middle class–those above 300% of poverty–this remains unaffordable, and the mandate threatens to put those families into debt without giving them health care in exchange."



Excerpt from another post (read it all at: http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/15/health-car... / ):



Health Care on the Road to Neo-Feudalism

I believe that if the Senate health care bill passes as Joe Lieberman has demanded it–with no Medicare buy-in or public option–it will be a significant step further on our road to neo-feudalism. As such, I find it far too dangerous to our democracy to pass–even if it gives millions (perhaps unaffordable) subsidies for health care.

20% of your labor belongs to Aetna

Consider, first of all, this fact. The bill, if it became law, would legally require a portion of Americans to pay more than 20% of the fruits of their labor to a private corporation in exchange for 70% of their health care costs.

Consider a family of 4 making $66,150–a family at 300% of the poverty level and therefore, hypothetically, at least, “subsidized.” That family would be expected to pay $6482.70 (in today’s dollars) for premiums–or $540 a month. But that family could be required to pay $7973 out of pocket for copays and so on. So if that family had a significant–but not catastrophic–medical event, it would be asked to pay its insurer almost 22% of its income to cover health care. Several months ago, I showed why this was a recipe for continued medical bankruptcy (though the numbers have changed somewhat). But here’s another way to think about it. Senate Democrats are requiring middle class families to give the proceeds of over a month of their work to a private corporation–one allowed to make 15% or maybe even 25% profit on the proceeds of their labor.

It’s one thing to require a citizen to pay taxes–to pay into the commons. It’s another thing to require taxpayers to pay a private corporation, and to have up to 25% of that go to paying for luxuries like private jets and gyms for the company CEOs.

It’s the same kind of deal peasants made under feudalism: some proportion of their labor in exchange for protection (in this case, from bankruptcy from health problems, though the bill doesn’t actually require the private corporations to deliver that much protection).In this case, the federal government becomes an appendage to do collections for the corporations.

Mind you, not only will citizens be required to pay private corporations. But middle class citizens may be required to pay more to these private corporations than they pay in federal and state taxes. Using these numbers, this middle class family of four will pay roughly 15% in federal, state, and social security taxes. This family will pay around $10,015 for their share of the commons–paying for defense, roads, some policing, and their social safety net share. That’s 15% of their income. They will, at a minimum, be asked to pay 9.8% of their income to the insurance company. And if they have a significant medical event, they’ll pay 22%–far, far more than they’ll pay into the commons. So it’s bad enough that this bill would require citizens to pay a tithe to a corporation. It’s far worse when you consider that some citizens would pay more in their corporate tithe than they would to the commons.



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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. k&r for the truth, however depressing. n/t
:dem:

-Laelth
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. Depressing is right. And wait, here's more:
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 09:39 AM by inna
I'm sorry, but it actually gets worse.

As if the bill wasn't horrible enough already, now, apparently, they are gutting the consumer protection mechanisms (such as annual caps, limits on out-of-pocket expenses) and basically removing and reversing everything that was good about the House Bill (e.g., instead of taxing millionaires, as House Bill proposed, it is middle-class insurance benefits that will be taxed - which will dramatically worsen the quality of CURRENT insurance coverage for many millions, as shown in articles/links below).


The Senate Bill Is Designed To Make Your Health Insurance Worse

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/12/15/the-senate-... /

The sole defense of this massive corporate giveaway, formally known as the Senate health care reform bill, is that it would still do some “good,” helping millions of the uninsured. Unfortunately, the bill would dramatically worsen the quality of current insurance coverage for tens of millions Americans, thanks to the new excise tax on insurance plans. It is unlikely that any of the remaining “good” in this bill will outweigh the massive amount of harm.

Most of the “help” this bill will do is dubious at best. Help is being defined as giving insufficient subsides to Americans now forced by the government to buy extremely expensive, poorly regulated, junk insurance. Without banning annual limits and an extremely high out-of-pocket cap (which thanks to a massive loophole is not really capped at all), the insurance regulations are basically meaningless. Having this new, mandated “coverage” will not stop you from being bankrupted by accumulated medical debt should you get seriously ill. Insurance that does not protect you from financial ruin if you get sick makes a mockery of the entire concept health insurance.

The harm this bill will do thanks to the excise tax on employer-provided insurance benefits is enormous. The health care bill is designed with the goal of making millions of middle class Americans’ health insurance coverage much worse. That is not a bug, it is a feature.

The excise tax is meant to force your employer to cut back your insurance benefits, reduce your coverage, and increase your co-pays and deductibles. This is not the conclusion of partisan think tanks, bloggers, or activists, this is the conclusion of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). They CBO concluded:

-snip-

To translate, they both conclude the tax will effectively force employers to scale back the health insurance benefits they offer in order to avoid the excise tax. This can be done by reducing what benefits the plan covers and/or increasing cost sharing (i.e. higher co-pays, higher deductibles, higher out-of-pocket limits, and possibly lower annual limits). If you have a good employer provided health insurance plan, it will be dramatically scaled back. Contrary to Obama’s direct promise, you will not be able to keep the coverage you currently have, and that is by design.

The real problem with this excise tax on what are dubbed “Cadillac” plans is that it is not indexed to health care inflation. In the first few years, it will only affect high-end plans, but, after a decade, it would force employers to make the vast majority of employer-provided health insurance plans much worse. A decade after reform starts most Americans will have much worse health insurance coverage as a result.

Instead of paying for reform with a tax on the richest one percent of Americans, like the House bill, the Senate bill pays for reform by worsening the insurance coverage for the vast majority of Americans. Ruining the coverage of most working class Americans to get the money for a huge corporate boondoggle that will only enrich the insurance companies while not stopping medical bankruptcy in this country does not sound like a good trade.


...


So Much For Health Care Consumer Protection: Reid Guts Ban On Annual Limits
http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/12/11/so-much-for... /
For all those apologists who say we should absolutely pass a health care bill, even without a public option, because it still “has so many great consumer protections,” I have a rude awakening for you. The AP is reporting that Harry Reid quietly gutted one of the most important consumer protections in the bill, the ban on annual limits...

...

Health-care reform: Senate bill leaves coverage loopholes
http://blogs.consumerreports.org/health/2009/12/healthc...

...

Health care loophole would allow coverage limits
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iY4N1...
A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates.

....

There is more, but... it's just too depressing.

:(
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #8
18. Kicking the thread with an honor recommendation for this post.
Thanks again, inna.
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nightgaunt Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
26. Just another tendril to ensnare us in a web we can't get out of
Just like in Texas--mandatory car insurance but not mandatory low fees for those of us too poor to afford any more coverage or any at all. It is all part of the system that if you don't have car insurance then you can't renew your driver's license or inspect your car. Devious because once interrelated you are caught on all sides with no recourse. The onus is all on you to pay and they will do nothing to help you. Fines and jail time too if you violate it. So we may be seeing the growth of debtors prisons again. Yet another boon for corporations. (The old Scrooge that Dickens' wrote so eloquently about in the work horrors of 19th century England.) Health care, pharmaceuticals, prisons, (private) police and of course a legion of clerks to handle the increased paperwork as the "more efficient" corporate model gains an even greater strangle hold on our collective throats.

The coming Age of Corporate Capital is here and getting deeper into all our societies and it will be ugly for 80% of humanity.
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Delphinus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
28. How can anyone,
Democrat or Republican, vote for a piece of shit like this?
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OttavaKarhu Donating Member (206 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #28
58. My question as well. n/t
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #8
40. May I encourage you to make a clear and usable chart with all this information?
So many charts have been posted, but yours would be based on the latest information. For example, many people have been arguing that the bill will be good because of annual caps, limits on out-of-pocket expenses, etc. But you say these are now going by the wayside.

We need to know what is in and what is out.
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Vermontgrown Donating Member (180 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #8
83. Quite simply: Our newly elected
messiah, will drive it in deep and dry baby. So bend over and get ready cause here it comes. The only alternative is to take them to court or, flat out, every able body person, grab your guns, and march down to the corruption capitol of the world and start a brand new war on the terror that is spreading acrossed our lands.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 07:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. These figures need to be sent to every one of our representatives.
The bubble of Washington has them totally enthralled and OUT OF TOUCH.
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AllentownJake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. They don't really care
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 07:59 AM by AllentownJake
They like the President, passed a bill which is what they wanted.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Then our job is to make them care.
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
38. YES
!
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
5. k&r n/t
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Walk away Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
6. As a 55 yr old woman from NJ (where ther are tons of regulations in place..
for the insurance business) I am currently living on the razor's edge financially and paying for a bare bones policy. This bill will literally break me. Because I am a cancer survivor and over fifty my premiums could increase 500%.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Have you tried this calculator?

http://healthreform.kff.org/SubsidyCalculator.aspx

I usually criticize this "reform", but in some situations, believe it or not, it may actually provide some help, from what I've seen! For example, they would not be allowed to charge you more than 400% in premiums compared to a healthy young person (if I understand this correctly), and then subsidies and out-of-pocket limits may help!

I wish you all the best and hope that this reform will help you! :hug: Our health system is so screwed up, only in America corporate profits are more important than people's health, lives and well being. :cry:
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. I just ran the calculator figures, and I'd be WORSE OFF
under the Senate plan.

Great bill they've put together. Screw them.

By the time this goes into effect, I may have the wherewithal to move to a country (not in Europe, unfortunately, but some of the Latin American and Asian countries welcome foreign retirees) that has affordable health care. I sure hope so.
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emsimon33 Donating Member (904 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. My retirement money is already in European banks in euros and pounds
I haven't trusted any of these bastards since Clinton! Congress should have to live under the same rules that they impose on use, both health care and retirement!
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #29
43. That was smart.
.
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Goldstein1984 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #29
47. How do I do that?
Do you worry about reporting out-out-of-country money?

I've been looking into this.
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #23
39. +1
.
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OttavaKarhu Donating Member (206 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #23
59. Great. Another "got mine and ran" liberal.
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #59
64. Yeah, liberals get under your skin, don't they?
nt
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. How many people hit annual max every single year.
Using an average out of pocket medical expense would be more realistic.

Remember after deductible most plans have co-insurance so $11,900 out of pocket is more like $30K-$40K in medical costs.

Not that $40K in medical costs is impossible to obtain but most people won't have $40K in medical costs every year.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. So that means that they're paying thousands of dollars a year for NOTHING
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 09:08 AM by Lydia Leftcoast
I have never hit my deductible, and yet I'm paying thousands per year to an insurance company NOW.

Deductibles are EVIL. They're a license for the insurance companies to print money. They prevent people from getting needed diagnostic tests and preventive care. (Ask me: I know this from experience.)

When I sprained my ankle, it hurt so badly that I was afraid it was broken, and yet I hesitated to go get it looked at, even at my local urgent care clinic because I have a $5000 deductible. I finally went, but I REALLY hurt when I saw the bill.

As far as I know, the U.S. is the only country with deductibles. Some have co-pays, but the co-pays are modest, less than $50 for an office visit or test.

There's this idiotic myth (undoubtedly spread by insurance companies) going around that if there are no deductibles, people will suddenly turn into hypochondriacs and go to the doctor for every little sniffle.

What percentage of people would suddenly turn into hypochondriacs and attention seekers versus the number NOW who are postponing or just not getting needed care because they're afraid of not being able to meet the out-of-pocket costs?

One reason I hate the new bill is that it forbids me to drop insurance. When I consider the amount of medical care that I didn't get and could have gotten if it weren't for having to pay my monthly premiums, I get more and more tempted to dump the whole thing.

Far from seeing this as "our last chance," I believe that the proposed system is set up to be such a nightmare for the average person that it discredits the idea of health care reform for another generation. Already the right-wingers are referring to the current plans as "government-run health care" and "just like the Canadian system" (both nonsense of course).

In a way, I'm lucky. I'm pretty healthy, and my work is totally portable. If the burdens of insurance became too intolerable, I could move to a Mexican beach town or something, but a lot of people are going to be HURT by this bill.
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OttavaKarhu Donating Member (206 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
61. So your dream future is being the overclass in Mexico?
Wow.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #61
66. If it's my only hope for survival under this shitty health care system, yes
But no, I have no intention of living in a gated community with a bunch of drunken Libertarians who think they're oppressed because they have to pay taxes at all.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. True, but... that's not the point. The point is that...

1) ...when and/or IF one hits annual max (in the event of major illness or accident, which is not unlikely to happen at some point in life, believe it or not), they are screwed. Insurance won't protect them from going broke, as shown in examples in the OP.

and

2) Even paying premiums alone (9.8% and more of total income) can be an extreme hardship for many struggling middle class families.
For them, getting actual health CARE may be prohibitive because of high deductibles/copays, especially if they have a lower cost bronze plan.
Case in point and an illustration: mandated health insurance in MA. Although Romney care is way better than the current Senate bill, almost one quarter of people in MA forgo necessary medical care because of cost:
http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/17/21-of-peop... /


Bottom line: many people will be forced to pay for unaffordable health insurance that does not even provide them an access to actual health care, and this overpriced insurance won't help them or protect them from bankruptcy when they need it most - i.e., when/if they become sick.


This so-called "reform" is an absolute travesty. It's just another forced upward transfer of wealth from working people to corporations and elites, Wall Street bailout style.

(See my signature.)
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
11. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, inna. :thumbsup:
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. You're very welcome.

:hi:

Have you seen "the update"? It's even more disheartening, but a "required" read, IMO: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. Yes, I read the entire thread up to my post and I would've recommended your post #8 on it's own
merits, but D.U. won't let me so I will come back later to kick that post with an honor recommendation. :)

Peace to you. :hi:
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WeCanWorkItOut Donating Member (182 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
14. You've told us what Paul Krugman should have
His claim was that this program really helps
lower-income and lower-middle-income families.
Some in the 135-percent-of-poverty range it will help
in a few years time
(although it will hurt the states and schooling).
Others, like the working lower-middle-class people
in the example, will be hurt.
Krugman should have done the math.
It's good that we have others to think it through.
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
15. Oh come on. It's not "Neo-Feudalism".
That assumes regular feudalism stopped at some point.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Hey there, nice avatar! :)
(Sorry, I just HAD to comment on it.) :D

:pals:


We skipped feudalism. Feudalism precedes capitalism; Neo-Feudalism, at least in theory, may be a result of unsustainable Post-Capitalism. I hope we won't go that way.
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. I just go with whomever's being attacked by the Rahmpologists
Last week it was Dean, now it's Ms. H.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #21
34. +1000
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TheKentuckian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #21
45. I'm going to go with hammer this piece of crap and bash Hamsher
but I literally laughed out loud and needed it.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
16. Our multimillionaire "representatives" have NO IDEA what it is to live as a common person. nt
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #16
35. Nor do they much care. nt
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
19. K&R thanks for posting this!
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clear eye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
22. This is why wanting House Dems to vote against this cannot be called
playing into the hands of the Republicans. There is life-altering substantive reasons to oppose this catastrophe of a plan.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #22
33. +1000
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ipaint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
24. k&r.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
25. K&R
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icee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
27. Excellent post. I've printed it and will copy it for the get-together
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 02:29 PM by icee
at my house next weekend. The people in my neighborhood are furious about Obamacare. The vast majority of them will not vote for Obama again even if he's running against Little Kim. This healthcare abortion just increases the constant fear we all live under. Soon, suicide will become a viable option for some. In France had this happened, the French would have shut down the city with clubs and rocks. Here, we post on bulletin boards because violence is soooooo bad. It's as if we've turned in a bunch of monks. Even to die for a cause you believe in would be better than this.
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emsimon33 Donating Member (904 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
30. This bill is Obama's "read my lips" moment!
He never had the right nor will he ever, and with this bill his lost his base, the left, and the middle.

Way to go, Barack!
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
31. A "corporate tithe": EXACTLY.
"But middle class citizens may be required to pay more to these private corporations than they pay in federal and state taxes."
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
32. K&R
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
36. Thanks for posting this. I just don't think people see how much this is a major
victory in the war the wealthy declared on workers and middle class Americans. I see it as stripping the last of what's left to people at these levels right out of their pockets and destroying any shot at upward mobility for workers ever again.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. Here's a fitting quote:
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 05:13 PM by inna

"The class warfare is over -- we lost. I want to make that announcement today. Working people lost. The middle class lost."

"Don't tell me about class warfare. Come to my neighborhoods in Cleveland. I will show you class warfare. I’ll show you hollowed out areas. I’ll show you businesses that went down because they don’t have access to capital. And on Wall Street it is fat city. Don’t tell me about class warfare."

"All across this country people are starved for capital. Small businesses are failing, you have shopping centers that are becoming vacant because people can’t afford the rents anymore because the people who own the malls the developers are getting cash calls and credit is tightening."

"The separation between the finance economy and the real economy is real. This is not some fake idea. You can’t call that class warfare. That’s a fact."

"The wealth of this nation is being accelerated upward."


- Dennis Kucinich, December 16, 2009, before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/144650



Personally, I was startled when I read this today. I want to believe that things are not quite as bad, that we haven't lost YET (but clearly we're IN THE PROCESS of losing). And the most unbelievable, almost surreal thing about it is the fact that this ACCELERATED process of upward transfer of wealth is taking place under a Democratic president and Democratic congress. :wtf: :banghead:


Like Bill Moyers said (another fitting quote I saw today, thanks to Nikki: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... ),


Something's not right here. One year after the great collapse of our financial system, Wall Street is back on top while our politicians dither. As for health care reform, you're about to be forced to buy insurance from companies whose stock is soaring, and that's just dandy with the White House.

Truth is, our capitol's being looted, republicans are acting like the town rowdies, the sheriff is firing blanks, and powerful Democrats in Congress are in cahoots with the gang that's pulling the heist. This is not capitalism at work. It's capital. Raw money, mounds of it, buying politicians and policy as if they were futures on the hog market.



On edit: and while i'm at it... another highly germane quote, to complete my "harrowing quote collection of the day" :) :


The escalation of the looting and the cooperation of our government which they are not even bothering to try and hide is frightening. Unless they know something we don't know, it makes no sense to bring the entire country, let alone the planet to it's knees. The question I fear the answer to is, what do they know that we aren't seeing yet? My usual thoughts run along the lines of knowing we are already a failed state and they are looting everything they can before the population is aware.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


(i hope you don't mind that i quoted you here... :hi: )

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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #44
56. +1000
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OttavaKarhu Donating Member (206 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #44
62. This is my heartbreak too.
Was reading to my partner some stuff about this absolute yak fart of a "health reform" bill, and I observed that, though I didn't vote for Obama (too Republican for me), and think I have no illusions about the parties, it still chokes me up that this is happening on the Democrats' watch.

SUNSET CORPORATE CHARTERS!

poclad.org
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #44
78. For a good while now
I have been afraid they know something we don't know.

It is as if President Obama could give a fuck if he is re-elected. Why is this?
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MisterP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
37. we're all 19th-century Russian serfs now
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 03:09 PM by MisterP
or maybe the VOC's corporate Bandanese nutmeg slaves
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
41. Indentured to corporations with no requirements from them other than to take your money.
Brilliant...
:eyes:


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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #41
80. +1000
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #80
82. Thanks. n/t
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
42. over the last 12 years i have filed bankruptcy twice on medical bills
both times i had medical insurance but the first 1000`s and the 20% the insurance company did`t pay. i`m filing the second one in two weeks.

there`s nothing in any of these plans that stops the majority of bankruptcies of people who have medical insurance
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #42
48. That's where I'd be if I ever got really sick
:-(
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #42
55. Oh geez, I've had the same experience with my former insurance company
they wouldn't cover a damn thing when I needed surgery, nor did they cover any of my ER visits ("out of network"). I didn't file for bankruptcy but I did lose my entire life savings. :grr:
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #42
70. This is so sad and messed up, our current system is FUBAR on all levels.
:hug:

But! Check this out, this may actually be useful for you!

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Bette Noir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
46. The neo-feudalism of it all can be shown without any math--
We can't buy from any exchange that might be made available until we have been without insurance for 6 months, if rumors of the content of the health reform bill are accurate. That means the risk-averse among us can't quit our jobs, if they offer health insurance, until we're old enough for Medicare. We're stuck, indentured to our employers even if we have money, because no one has enough money to self-insure against cancer or a major auto accident.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #46
73. You get COBRA for some months after leaving a job. You get to pay
for the insurance that your employer previously paid for. Of course, the insurance company gets to set a new rate for you. That is probably why you are not allowed to sign up for the insurance in the exchange until after a certain time period has passed.
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Goldstein1984 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
49. Very ugly numbers
"Neo-feudalism" -- I haven't seen it put better.

The working class is bound for serfdom and peasantry.
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Johnboi70 Donating Member (114 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
50. This is great work! n/t
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ProgressIn2008 Donating Member (848 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
51. Neo-Feudalism -- a depressing yet truthful ring to it. nt
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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
52. Big K & R !!!
:mad:

:kick:
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hay rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
53. Out of pocket costs- update?
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 06:30 PM by hay rick
This from Sen. R. Menendez' web site (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=B... ):

Under the heading MENENDEZ PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN THE LEGISLATION-
"Out-of-pocket cost limit for families between 300-400 percent of the federal poverty level - IMPORTANT FOR HIGH COST OF LIVING STATES. For those between 300-400 percent of FPL, within the same actuarial value, the benefit will include an out-of-pocket limit equal to two-thirds of the Health Savings Account (HSA) current law limit."

The HSA contribution limit for 2010 is $6150, which would make the out-of-pocket limit $4100 for the 301% family in the example given above. This would reduce total health care spending in the above example to $10,604- almost exactly 16% of income.

The Menendez post is dated 12/24 while the Wheeler post is dated 12/16.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #53
60. Actually...
Edited on Mon Dec-28-09 08:21 PM by inna
The calculations above DO reflect the provision that you mentioned, namely: "For those between 300-400 percent of FPL, within the same actuarial value, the benefit will include an out-of-pocket limit equal to two-thirds of the Health Savings Account (HSA) current law limit."

For reference, the calculations in the OP are based on Senate Leadership Bill Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) (reflecting the manager’s amendment announced December 19, 2009) which, to quote:


Reduce the out-of-pocket limits for those with incomes up to 400% FPL to the following levels:

100-200% FPL: one-third of the HSA limits ($1,983/individual and $3,967/family);
200-300% FPL: one-half of the HSA limits ($2,975/individual and $5,950/family);
300-400% FPL: two-thirds of the HSA limits ($3,987/individual and $7,973/family).


However, note that an out-of-pocket limit equal to the HSA current law limit equals $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families in 2010.

In other words, unsubsidized out-of-pocket maximum will be $11,900 for Family 2 (401% FPL),
and two-thirds of that amount, i.e. $7,973, for Family 1 (301%). Which is exactly what the charts in the OP say. :)

(Apparently, you were thinking in terms of a single individual, not a family.)

What's interesting though is that the OOP maximum for a single individual that you quote is slightly higher than the one used in the calculations. Unfortunately, I've seen those higher OOP # as well in different versions of the bill. I have little doubt that by the time the final bill is passed, they will use those higher numbers. Anything to pass up the costs to taxpayers, as always. :(


Anyway, thanks for the link. :hi:
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hay rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #60
63. Out-of-pocket limit.
Sorry, I mistook the contribution limit ($6150 for a family in 2010) for the out-of-pocket limit ($11,900 for a family in 2010).

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
54. I'll say it once again; for the self employed buying their own insurance, deductibles
run 8-12k depending on the plan. After that there's a 20% copay on everything. So, assuming that I make 35k a year I'll lose 35% of my income even before calculating my monthly insurance payments should I become ill. How is that sustainable?
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #54
68. Dear Lorien - You really should check this out!
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

You might find this info useful!

I'm a huge critic of this inadequate pseudo-reform, but believe it or not, it may actually provide certain relief to some people (especially, those with income under 300% of FPL and those who are being totally gouged and raped by their current insurance).

From the subsidy calculator tool in the link...

Assuming that you make $35,000 (which is 323% of FPL), and live in a "medium-cost area" (whatever that might mean... note that costs may vary +/-20% based on geographical location), and assuming that you are single...

you DO qualify for premium subsidies, and your out-of-pocket premiums will be capped at $3,500, independent of age!



Now, in addition to premiums, you will have to pay deductibles and co-pays of course (i.e., "out-of-pocket" expenses or "cost sharing"). Well, the good news is that you will also qualify for "cost-sharing" subsidy, and your OOP limits (i.e., the maximum you will ever have to pay in deductibles and copays per year) will be capped at $3,987.


Wow, all of a sudden it looks a LOT better than your current plan! :bounce:

Let's see: premiums fixed at $3,500 (independent of age) plus OOP limit of $3,987 --> equals $7,487 a year total (which is 21% of your income). Still expensive, but it's a whole lot better than what you mentioned in your post.


Wow! I'm far from becoming a fan of this reform, but I'm happy that it (apparently) will help your current situation. I think I understand Krugman and other supporters of this reform better now. It's clearly not completely worthless, after all.


Of course, there is a caveat - this is not a final bill yet, and they still can f*ck it up beyond all recognition (let's hope not, but you never know). Still, I feel much better about this bill, and I have to reconsider whether or not it should be killed at this point.


Interestingly, this doesn't really contradict Marcy's OP:


Obviously, this does not take away from the fact that the poor will get health care, with subsidies more realistically set to income levels. ... For those, reform is a vast improvement.

But for the middle classthose above 300% of povertythis remains unaffordable, and the mandate threatens to put those families into debt without giving them health care in exchange.


Hmmm... Well, in your case (assuming that you make $35,000 as a single individual), you are above 300% of FPL, and still the reform will be a big improvement compared to your current policy.

I don't know, what do you think?.... :hi:


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OttavaKarhu Donating Member (206 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
57. Agree entirely. K&R for the numbers, n/t
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scentopine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
65. There could be money left over? How the blazes did they miss that?
The damn fools!

- Montgomery Burns
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
67. Kick.
Excellent post and observations.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
69. This has been the obvious problem all along
and whenever I've brought it up certain people scream 'SUBSIDIES' at me.

It's great if the bill helps those in the lowest income brackets, but it can't be at the expense of the middle class. It will end up creating a lot of poverty.

It's good to see the math laid out clearly. I don't expect that it will have much impact on the supporters of the bill however.
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
71. Thanks Inna!
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 12:25 AM
Response to Original message
72. And, two income families may very well decide it makes more sense to just have one earner

Save the money for child care...travel...all work related expenses and have one parent stay home...

20 + percent of income is enough of a factor to drive some people out of the work force to gain coverage through government subsidies. It will become a very real calculation.

Why kill yourself to give every extra (HA!) penny to the corporations?

And, who on earth could blame any family who comes to this conclusion?

They are pushing what is left of the middle class right over the cliff with this bill. It really is akin to spitting right in their faces.
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ima_sinnic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #72
76. & single, self-employed people can simply cut back on work
a very real possibility for me, at somewhere between 300% and 400%. I make a "comfortable" living, but under this bill it would become uncomfortable, not to mention my strong aversion to paying money (a lot of money) for absolutely nothing, with no limit on additional amounts for copays, to insurance company PIGS. I'd rather live poorer than make them richer.

I spend the little I make above and beyond my needs on various home improvements (supporting local tradespeople) as well as helping a family in need in Jamaica and for donations to various charities. Charitable contributions can then be expected to drop off if middle-class people are going to strategically cut back income.

So the bill ends up indirectly harming those most in need, the beneficiaries of charities, and it works wonders for the economy, too.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 02:21 AM
Response to Original message
74. Proud # 100!!! This is is
This is the type of information we need about the health care bill.

The issue isn't the damn bill, it's flat wages for 10 years, flat job stats - no growth - and people can't afford the damn costs if it's the new bill, an even better bill with a public option, or the current system --- it's too damn expensive.

Thank you!
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Blasphemer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
75. K&R... Depressing but informative... nt
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ima_sinnic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 03:59 AM
Response to Original message
77. excellent work, thanks so much
now I am furious that even the progressive Dems sold us out by voting in favor. For the first time EVER, I am actually thankful my senator is Olympia Snowe. Does that make me a bad person?
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
79. afternoon kick
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
81. Corporate/Fascism . . . they will now have a controlling interest in people's government ...
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