Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Perspective – By the Numbers: How has Job Loss under Governor Bentley & the GOP affected Alabama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 14, 2014

It’s easy to talk about “the jobs situation” in Alabama. It’s especially easier to talk about it when it doesn’t affect you… directly. It’s like armchair quarterbacking.

There’s probably much truth to the statement that Alabama’s legislators aren’t directly affected by job loss in the state. They have jobs. As musician Steve Miller sang in his song “Take the Money and Run,” they make their “living off other people’s taxes.” That goes for Republicans AND Democrats. Such an observation, of course, is not to demean those who do “make their living off other people’s taxes,” because our military, public safety and others vital to our local, state and national well-being are among them. It is however, an acknowledgment of, and call to responsibility – not merely accountability – because accountability is the only remnant once responsibility has departed. And that is how the “Blame Game” is played.

In the previous entry entitled “Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?,” we looked at facts & figures about job loss & job creation during Governor Bentley’s administration.

In this entry, we examine some details on the extent of the damage done to families & individuals under his administration.

And so, let’s again refer to some previously-mentioned facts & figures, and introduce some new ones so that we can better understand the nature, scope and and extent of the situation, and corresponding problems Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 12, 2014

When campaigning for the office of Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley – a retired dermatologist physician who at the time was an elected representative from Tuscaloosa County – promised if elected governor that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.”
ref: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/06/robert_bentley_extends_no-sala.html

When pressed on the matter, he later defined “full employment” as having state unemployment somewhere around 5%. It is a promise to which, as of the date of this entry – 12 April 2014 – he has kept. In other words, Alabama has NOT reached “full employment,” and he has not been paid a salary. He has, however, been compensated for out-of-pocket expenses (the governor’s office has a budget, so why would he personally have any such expenses for work in an official capacity?), though he has received – as legislator, a legally-mandated $1.00 per month salary. Since his election to the governorship, he has not received a salary.

Let’s examine Governor Bentley‘s employment record.

During Governor Robert Bentley’s watch, International Paper – the large paper mill formerly known as Champion Paper, in Courtland, and the largest employer in Lawrence County – closed and cost the area economy & state 1100 jobs. Those jobs were Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s all about the money… says Hobby Lobby Store Lawyer Paul D. Clement to SCOTUS.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 28, 2014

Here, all along, we’ve been made to believe that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. – a privately held firm headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which boasts themselves “as a major private corporation in Forbes and Fortunes list of America‘s largest private companies,” – objects on religious grounds (even though their owners are Protestant) to providing insurance coverage to their employees, which insurance includes coverage for female contraceptives.

Here is their attorney – Paul D. Clement, himself the 43d former Solicitor General of the United States – arguing their case:

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Docket Number: 13-354
Date Argued: 03/25/14 Read the rest of this entry »

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Remarks by President Barack Obama at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Amazon Distribution Center on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

July 30, 2013

Remarks by the President on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Amazon Chattanooga Fulfillment Center
Chattanooga, Tennessee

2:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Chattanooga!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Tennessee.  (Applause.)  It’s great to be here at Amazon.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Lydia for the introduction and sharing her story.  Give Lydia a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  So this is something here.  I just finished getting a tour of just one little corner of this massive facility — size of 28 football fields.  Last year, during the busiest day of the Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from Amazon every second, and a lot of those traveled through this building.  So this is kind of like the North Pole of the south right here.  (Applause.)  Got a bunch of good-looking elves here.

Before we start, I want to recognize your general manager, Mike Thomas.  (Applause.)  My tour guide and your vice president, Dave Clark.  (Applause.)  You’ve got the Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy Berke.  (Applause.)  And you’ve got one of the finest gentlemen I know, your Congressman, Jim Cooper.  (Applause.)  So thank you all for being here.

So I’ve come here today to talk a little more about something I was discussing last week, and that’s what we need to do as a country to secure a better bargain for the middle class -– a national strategy to make sure that every single person who’s willing to work hard in this country has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.  (Applause.)

Now, you heard from Lydia, so you know — because many of you went through it — over the past four and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes and their savings.  And part of what it did is it laid bare the long-term erosion that’s been happening when it comes to middle-class security.

But because the American people are resilient, we bounced back.  Together, we’ve righted the ship.  We took on a broken health care system.  We invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil.  Changed a tax code that had become tilted too much in favor of the wealthy at the expense of working families.  Saved the auto industry, and thanks to GM and the UAW working together, we’re bringing jobs back here to America, including 1,800 autoworkers in Spring Hill.  (Applause.)  1,800 workers in Spring Hill are on the job today where a plant was once closed.

Today, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs over the last 40 months.  This year, we’re off to our best private-sector jobs growth since 1999.  We now sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before.  (Applause.)  We produce more renewable energy than ever.  We produce more natural gas than anybody else in the world.  (Applause.)  Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.  (Applause.)

So thanks to hardworking folks like you, thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve been able to clear away some of the rubble from the financial crisis.  We’ve started to lay a new foundation for a stronger, more durable America — the kind of economic growth that’s broad-based, the foundation required to make this century another American century.

But as I said last week, and as any middle-class family will tell you, we’re not there yet.  Even before the financial crisis hit, we were going through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder just to get by.  And reversing that trend should be Washington’s highest priority.  (Applause.)  It’s my highest priority.

But so far, for most of this year, we’ve seen Read the rest of this entry »

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Growing America’s Middle Class and Increasing Profitability

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some time ago, a friend shared an unsolicited comment about “ObamaCare” before all the ruckus over it had reached the SCOTUS. He had observed about a fellow he knew and described as “a snaggle-toothed Tennessee hillbilly,” whom had joined the United States Army. He observed that the fellow had some health needs, among them poor dentition and the need for corrective lenses. Upon his enlistment, he noted that the fellow was given proper healthcare, and all of his needs – food, clothing, housing, and healthcare – was provided by the United States government.

“Now, why did they do that?,” he asked rhetorically.

Answering his own question, he said quite simply, “because they know Read the rest of this entry »

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Corporate Citizens Discover Bad-Mouthing Policy is Bad for Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 9, 2012

Papa John’s, Applebee’s And Others Pay Huge Price For Anti-Obamacare Politicking

Op/Ed
12/04/2012 @ 5:18PM

by Rick Ungar, Contributor

Writing from the left on politics and policy.

47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Arrivals

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 01: Papa Johns Pizza Founder John Schnatter arrives at the 47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

It turns out that being a good corporate citizen is as important to selling pizzas as the thinness of the crust or the quality of the cheese.

If you don’t believe it, just ask Papa John CEO, John Schnatter.

As covered—and criticized—in this column in great detail, Mr. Schnatter decided to mix his politics with his pepperoni when suggesting that he would be cutting the work hours for Papa John employees in order to bring them below the 30 hour per week threshold that would require Schnatter to provide his employees with healthcare benefits.

It turns out, the pizza eating public did not approve.

Indeed, so serious was the reaction that Schnatter was forced to publish an op-ed piece where he sought to convince us that he never really intended to cut back worker hours but had simply been speculating on what he might do in response to the legislation.

According to YouGov BrandIndex,  a leading marketing survey that measures brand perception in the marketplace (called “Buzz”), Papa John’s had good reason for concern as the pizza chain’s brand identity has plummeted from a high of 32 on election day, to a remarkably low score of 4 among adults who have eaten at causal dining restaurants during the past month.

Ouch.

Papa John is not alone in his anti-Obamacare misery.

Fast food server, Applebee’s, possessed a healthy Buzz score of 35 before Zane Terkel, CEO of one of the company’s largest franchisees, appeared on television to Read the rest of this entry »

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UK Nurse Punk’d on Royal Family Pregnancy Commits Suicide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 7, 2012

While it was meant all in harmless fun, I sincerely doubt that the individual’s response  – to commit suicide – was anything other than an inappropriate response to jesting in good-hearted intent.

It is indeed tragic that the nurse committed suicide.

Perhaps there were other underlying issues, or an inability to cope that predicated her distressing response.

One simply cannot hold others responsible for everything. As tragic as this story is, one must accept responsibility for one’s own actions.


The New York Times
December 7, 2012

Prank Call Seeking Royal Family Secrets Takes Horrifying Turn

By

LONDON — As pranks go, this one appeared outrageous and obnoxious rather than malicious: after convincing a hospital nurse who answered the phone this week that they were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, two Australian radio hosts then tricked another nurse into disclosing medical information about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, who had been admitted with acute morning sickness.

The call was broadcast on Australia radio; then it went out around the world.

But the stunt took a horrific and unexpected turn on Friday, when the nurse who answered the call, 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead, an apparent suicide.

The Metropolitan Police would not release details of the death, except to say that they had received a call reporting that there was an unconscious woman at Weymouth Street, in central London, and two ambulance crews had arrived to find Mrs. Saldanha already dead. A police spokesman said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

It was unclear what exactly had happened since the prank itself to make Mrs. Saldanha, who was reportedly married and had two children, take her life. King Edward VII’s Hospital, where she worked, said it had not disciplined her, but rather had been “supporting her during this difficult time.” Nor, apparently, had the royal family raised a fuss with the hospital, an exclusive private institution that has long been the hospital of choice for Britain’s royals.

“At no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident,” a spokesman for St. James’s Palace said. “On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and the hospital staff at all times.”

The turn of events was seen as so shocking that it provoked a response from even the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, who called it “a terrible tragedy.”

Whatever the immediate impetus for Mrs. Saldanha’s death, the episode was Read the rest of this entry »

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Research: WalMart’s Low Wages Burden Taxpayers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 23, 2012

The high cost of low living…

“Walmart’s employees receive $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store.
They are also the top recipients of Medicaid in numerous states.
Why does this occur?
Walmart fails to provide a livable wage and decent healthcare benefits, costing U.S. taxpayers an annual average of $1.02 billion in healthcare costs.

This direct public subsidy is being given to offset the failures of an international corporate giant who shouldn’t be shifting part of its labor costs onto the American taxpayers.”

You’re the life of the party, everybody’s host
Still you need somewhere you can hide
All your good time friends
And your farewell to has-beens
Lord knows, just along for the ride

You think you’re a survivor
But boy, you better think twice
No one rides for nothin’
So, step up and pay the price

Dedicated to the GOP & other radical TEApublicans who worship the “almighty” dollar, tax cuts for the über wealthy, and their multinational corporate prophets.


Hidden Taxpayer Costs

Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs

Updated January 18, 2012

Since the mid-20th Century, most Americans have obtained health insurance through workplace-based coverage. In recent years there has been a decline in such coverage caused by a rise in the number of jobs that do not provide coverage at all and growth in the number of workers who decline coverage because it is too expensive.

Faced with the unavailability or unaffordability of health coverage on the job, growing numbers of lower-income workers are turning to taxpayer-funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

This trend is putting an added burden on programs that are already under stress because of fiscal constraints caused by medical inflation and federal cutbacks. Many states are curtailing benefits and tightening eligibility requirements.

It also raises the issue of whether states are being put in a position of subsidizing the cost-cutting measures of private sector employers.

Across the country, policymakers and others concerned about the healthcare system are pressing for disclosure of information on those employers whose workers (and their dependents) end up in taxpayer-funded programs.

The following is a summary of the employer disclosure that has come to light so far. It includes two cases (Massachusetts and Missouri) in which the information was produced as a result of legislation. The other cases involved requests by legislators or reporters. The latter situations have sometimes resulted in data that are incomplete or imprecise, which suggests that only legislatively mandated, systematic disclosure will tell the whole story.

This compilation was originally produced by Good Jobs First as part of its preparation of testimony given before the Maryland legislature on an employer disclosure bill. A version of that testimony can be found here [1].

Alabama
In April 2005 the Mobile Register published an article citing data from the Alabama Medicaid Agency on companies in the state with employees whose children are participating in Medicaid. The newspaper obtained a list from the agency of 63 companies whose employees had 100 or more children in the program as of mid-March 2005. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, whose employees had 4,700 children in the program. Following it were McDonald’s (1,931), Hardee’s (884) and Burger King (861). The data were similar to information obtained from the same agency by the Montgomery Advertiser two months earlier.

Sources: Sean Reilly, “Medicaid Providing Health Care for Kids of Working Families,” Mobile Register, April 17, 2005 and John Davis and Jannell McGrew, “Health Plans Not Family Friendly,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 22, 2005, p.B6.

Arizona
In July 2005 the state Department of Economic Security issued data on the largest private employers with workers receiving taxpayer-financed medical insurance through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, with about 2,700 workers–or 9.6 percent of its Arizona workforce–participating in the program. It was followed by Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley Refuses to Help State’s Citizens

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 16, 2012

Not only are you, Governor Bentley, an embarrassment to the state and nation, but as a physician, you discredit the healing arts & profession, and contribute to sickness, disease and ill health of the people of the great state of Alabama.

Feds allow more time on health insurance exchange decision, but Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says no thanks

By Kim Chandler | kchandler@al.com
on November 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM, updated November 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

AL Gov Robert Bentley

Alabama Governor Dr. Robert Bentley, MD (R), adamantly refuses to help the state’s citizens by making a list of health insurance carriers, called an “exchange.” – (AP photo)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — At the request of some GOP governors, the federal government is giving states another month to decide if they want to run a state-based health insurance exchange.

Gov. Robert Bentley is saying no thanks to the extra time, saying his decision stands to not set up a state exchange.

“The extension from HHS did not change the governor’s decision,” Bentley Press Secretary Jennifer Ardis said in an e-mail.

Bentley, as other GOP governors have done, announced Tuesday that he would not set up a state exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Bentley made the announcement official in a two-sentence letter today to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“This letter serves as official notification that Alabama will not be setting up a state-based health insurance exchange, nor do I intend to pursue a partnership exchange,” Bentley wrote.

Today had been the deadline for states to decide whether they want to set up and run their own state exchange, essentially a marketplace for people and businesses to shop for insurance with some people getting subsidies to offset their costs.

Sebelius sent a letter Thursday to Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia saying that deadline has been extended until Dec. 14.

The governors, on behalf of the Republican Governors Association, had requested more time to make a decision, according to the letter from Sebelius. Both Jindal and McDonnell have said they don’t plan to set up an exchange.

“We are confident Governors will have enough time to Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Defies Federal Law, Refuses to Establish Healthcare Insurance Exchange for Citizens

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Governor Bentley is pulling a George Wallace stand-in-the-schoolhouse-door redux.

What an ignorant ass he is!

It’s exceedingly sad that he – as a physician – ordered Alabama’s 67 Counties Departments of Public Health to STOP giving Tuberculosis tests, thereby jeopardizing the public health of everyone who eats at a public restaurant, works in healthcare, and more – and was done as super-virulent, drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis are emerging. Gee, thanks, Governor Dr. Bentley. NOT!

Thanks for nothing, you jack-legged nincompoop!

By your defiant actions, Governor Bentley, you will FORCE the Federal Government to do something TOTALLY against your opinion – and that is, to establish a Health Insurance Exchange in Alabama.

You, Governor Bentley, are a lazy, sorry, idiotic jerk, in addition to being a liar, thief, incompetent boob, and contemptuous good-for-nothing.

Pejoratives aside, more than anything, this places the solitary onus of responsibility upon the governor and legislature to 1.) Increase education,; 2.) Increase employment; 3.) Increase Corporate Income Tax rates; and 4.) Increase Personal Income Tax rates on the wealthiest Alabamians who already pay a well-documented rate that is significantly lower than the impoverished.

By increasing educational attainment in Alabama, the governor will be demonstrating a high-quality, high-yield investment in the state’s most precious resource – people.

But the governor – bless him – is ignorant, and it is quite painfully obvious that he just doesn’t understand such simple concepts. He should understand them, however, because he has said previously, that he used the G.I. Bill to complete his medical training after his enlistment ended.

In stark contrast, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam said, “I’ve always said from the very beginning that anything we [Tennessee] can run instead of the federal government, we are going to run it better and cheaper,” The simpler thing to do is to say, ‘Here, it’s your idea, you run it,’ but I’m not convinced yet that that’s what’s best for our citizens. There’s going to be an exchange and ultimately, our citizens — through their insurance companies — are going to pay for the costs of running that exchange. So who do we think can run it cheaper: us or the federal government? I’ll bet on us every time. But we have to be convinced that the flexibility they will give us is worth taking the risk of running it ourselves.”

For the benefit of the reader who may be unaware of what an Insurance Exchange is, the exchange is designed to allow uninsured people to compare and buy health insurance plans through a single Internet portal. Those who earn up to four times the federally designated poverty level will receive subsidies to pay for the coverage.

Essentially, it’s an Internet-based non-business (nobody is making any money), that creates a database of health insurance carriers that all adhere to certain guidelines for efficiency and coverage. The law allows states to join together to run multi-state exchanges – essentially, insurance across state lines – or to exclude themselves.

In essence, make a list of companies that sell health insurance in the state, make a comparison of their plans and prices, and provide a link to the company for folks to buy insurance from whatever company they want.

Not too difficult to figure out, eh?

Here’s a link to an informative flyer from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation about what Health Insurance Exchanges are, and what they do.

You may also be interested in reading the informative site http://healthreform.kff.org.

 

Gov. Bentley says Alabama won’t set up exchange, expand Medicaid

By Kim Chandler | kchandler@al.com
on November 13, 2012 at 1:38 PM, updated November 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Bentley, in a show of continued resistance to the Affordable Care Act,  said this afternoon that he will not set up a state health care exchange and he will not expand Medicaid under the federal healthcare overhaul.

Alabama Governor Bentley speaks at luncheon

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley speaks at the Birmingham Business Alliance 2012 Governor’s Luncheon in Birmingham, Ala., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com) / Tuesday, November 13, 2012 1:17 PM

“I will not set up a state exchange in Alabama,” Bentley said during a speech to the Birmingham Business Alliance.

States have a Friday deadline to inform the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  if they plan to set up a state-run exchange, essentially a marketplace for people and businesses to shop for insurance. If states don’t set up their own exchange, either alone or in federal partnership, then the federal government will step in and design it.

Bentley said he has been in communication with other governors  — including peers in Texas, Florida and Louisiana — about the exchange decision.  He expected multiple governors to show a united front of resistance to the Affordable Care Act.

“If we stand together, I do believe Congress is going to have to look at this again,”Bentley said.

Bentley said he expected other governors to announce similar decisions.

“That will Read the rest of this entry »

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