America and Maryland Coming Apart At The Seams

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during...

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool during the 1963 March on Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a few short weeks, we’ve had the following:

A joyful national coming together to  celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech.

The warm, fuzzy feeling of a unifying “American Dream” was quickly replaced by spinning centrifugal forces.

We went to the brink of war, and back, in Syria.

Oh, never mind, forget war. Back to our regularly scheduled program: “Defund Obamacare.”  Or else.

Wait! Wait! A mass shooting inside America’s oldest military installation, the Navy Yard, in the heart of the nation’s capital, a mile from the Capitol building . . . But mass shootings and gun control debates hold our attention for shorter time spans with each round of crazy violence.

Back, quickly now, to defunding Obamacare. (Obamacare is a serious but somewhat flawed effort to provide access to health care for all Americans. Therefore, it must be EVIL, right? Let me know if you can figure it out. I can’t.)

The alternative to defunding Obamacare, far as the crazies on the right are concerned, is shutting down the federal government!  And defaulting on the national debt; to be followed by worldwide economic chaos.

Loud and fevered — and apparently serious — conspiracy to bring down the federal government of the USA has previously been known as Treason. What should we call it today? Political and cultural insanity?

English: Map of Maryland counties

And now. to add a touch of humor, or not, the counties of Western Maryland (depending on how you define Western Maryland) are talking about seceding from Maryland to form a new state, complete with two U.S. senators! (Just what we need, two more additions to the world’s most dysfunctional deliberative body.)

Into the midst of the debate about secession comes a guest host on a Baltimore radio show, who displays amazing ignorance of Maryland geography and politics. She blindly relocated a state senator from District 37 on the Eastern Shore, placing him not only in the wrong county, but in a whole other region of the state, Southern Maryland, which is on the whole other side of the Chesapeake Bay. Hey, it’s only mainstream media. Actual facts are peripheral.

Not surprising that voters are fed up with the way things are going. Can the center hold? It’s looking more and more unlikely.

Fragmentation is the preferred intoxication of the day. Ah, the sweet wine of liberty!  “Don’t tread on me,” reads the label. Savor the fruity overtones of anarchy, and the subtle hint of chaos.

— John Hayden

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7 Comments

Filed under Debt crisis, Democracy, Maryland

7 responses to “America and Maryland Coming Apart At The Seams

  1. Fred Hoeck

    Obamacare must be stopped! I was against from the start and it is only getting worse. A few people did not have health insurance but got free care at Ny hospital. And the same amount won’t have health insurance now.

    Drs are retiring when you go to the dr, they must ask if you are sexually active and other irrelevant personal questions.

    Many employers are cutting hours so they don’t need to provide health insurance. Others are dropping their plans giving employees lump sum to buy their own.

    Pelosi said we had to pass the bill to see what is in it. Well the majority of We The People don’t want it.

    Like

    • Are you serious? In an era when sexually transmissible diseases are a worldwide public health problem and can kill you, it’s “irrelevant” to ask a person seeking medical treatment or a checkup if he/she is sexually active?

      No one is a hundred per cent happy with “Obamacare,” but that is mainly because no general health care bill would have been able to get through without kowtows to the insurance industry and to loud “Don’t Tread On Me” types who are terrified lest a dime of their money go toward medical treatment for someone who is not as solvent. Or am I talking to one of those “hands off my Medicare” people who have already been enjoying a version of Obamacare for some time?

      Trader Joe’s just announced that they will no longer insure part time workers — yep, you are on to something there — since they can get on the exchanges. Oh, wait: they will pay far less on the exchanges than is now required to participate in the employee plan, but will not be eligible if their employer still offers them coverage. I don’t actually see what else the company could be asked to do. I hear that only one employee interviewed by media will pay more, because he sought the part time job to get the good deal on insurance (and some attractive employee prices on Brie and artisan bread, I guess) even though his spouse earns 200 grand a year.

      I have friends overseas who would be dead or in grinding poverty if they lived in America because of their medical predicaments. It’s laughable –except it’s not funny — to say that a mandate which will expand medical coverage, make it affordable and coax uninsured people to get covered is so terrible that we should crash the economy. Fix its problems, yes — a complete failure to rein in Big Pharma among them — but tear down the country in a fit of pique? If you’re seriously going to promote that tactic, at least learn to construct an English sentence properly.

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      • Thank you, Ms. Sled, for your thoughtful rebuttal of the first commenter. Didn’t want to do it myself, because he’s a friend, although misguided.

        BTW, I do wish some kindly doctor would ask ME if I’m sexually active. 🙂 As it is, I have to assume they think I’m too ugly to fuck, or too old. Adding more insult, the servers at restaurants just automatically give me the senior discount. (Sigh) At least I’m eligible for Medicare, so the uprising against Obamacare doesn’t affect me personally (unless they succeed in crashing the government).

        Can’t say I admire corporations like Walmart and Trader Joe’s that rely on government to provide food aid and health care to keep their workers alive and lashed to their oars. However, Walmart and Trader Joe’s, in their own stingy way, are on to something.

        The American economy would boom if all employers were relieved of the heavy burden of providing health insurance for workers. That’s a service that could be provided much more efficiently by government than the private sector. Medicare is already moderating the cost of physician and hospital services, and could do much more if allowed to negotiate prices with Big Pharma.

        The real solution is hiding in plain sight. Simply reduce the eligibility age for Medicare. Do it gradually. Reduce the eligibility age to 55 in 2014. And then reduce it 10 more years every two years. Until we get to age zero. Problem solved.

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      • Trader Joe’s actually has a national if not international reputation for taking good are of their employees, and their full time employees enjoy excellent health benefits. The conundrum arrived when Obamacare offered comparable benefits for a sharply lower outlay to most people who were only part time employees with a part-timer’s income — providing their employer did not offer them any coverage. It strikes me that they did the only sensible thing. Wal Mart they are not, no sir.

        There is something in this idea of a stepped incorporation into Medicare. Along the way, though, we have to step on the pharmaceutical companies’ (and medical-device companies’) survival strategy of making overtreatment and overdiagnosis a standard of practice. No one is served when old people are treated as cash cows who can be profitably overmedicated for every little thing, or even subjected to low-reward procedures just ’cause. Colonoscopies, mammograms, PSA tests, blood pressure and cholesterol meds — all overdone, expensively, because some drug company joins hands with the AMA and makes overkill the received standard.

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  2. Sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned Trader Joe’s in the same sentence with Walmart.

    Some employers have made health insurance available to part-timers. But the reality is this: how many part-time workers in the retail sector, and most other industries, earn enough in their part-time paycheck to pay for health insurance, even if it’s offered?

    I think the most unfortunate unintended consequence of Obamacare is that many employers are cutting the hours of full-time workers, converting them to part-time, so that they don’t trigger the Obamacare requirement to provide health insurance to full-time workers.

    Since many employers will do practically anything to avoid paying health insurance, and employers who do provide health insurance are put a competitive disadvantage, the logical solution is to take health insurance off the backs of all employers. Single-payer insurance for everyone, fair to both employers and workers.

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  3. The government should stay out of health care. Just t his week I was told by a doctors office that I routinely go for a yearly check up that I was not scheduled until 2014….no matter that I had a situation that I believe I needs attention. My primary care physician then had to refer me to another doctor who would see me for the ‘problem’ right away.

    Is this a prelude to the death panels we have heard so much about?

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    • Ray’s Mom, you didn’t say what kind of health care coverage you have, so it’s not clear what the exact problem is, if any, with the insurance or the care. It’s common practice and probably good medicine for primary care physicians to refer patients to a specialist who can best treat the condition. I’m glad you were able to be referred to a doctor who could see you “right away.” Sounds like prompt service, to me.

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