Fun With Regulatory Reform

Huzzah!  This probably will go under the radar in all the health care hoopla, but House Dems passed a regulatory reform bill, which is a gigantic step in the right direction.  The highlights:

The 1,279-page bill creates a new federal agency dedicated to consumer protection, establishes a council of regulators to police the financial landscape for systemic risks, initiates oversight of the vast derivatives market and gives the government power to wind down large, troubled firms whose collapse could endanger the entire financial system. The legislation also gives shareholders an advisory say on executive compensation, increases transparency of credit ratings agencies and sets aside billions in government funds to aid unemployed homeowners.

I love the smell of reform in the morning!

Do not miss Rep. Gutierrez spanking Cons on the House floor:

As part of regulatory reform for the financial industry, Republicans believe Democrats have created a “bailout fund.” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) yesterday decided this is a lie worth debunking in detail.
Gutierrez, who is bilingual, told his colleagues, “I’ve had the bill thoroughly examined by those who do speak the English language and have only spoken the English language all their life, and they cannot find the ‘bailout fund’ in the bill.”
Ryan Grim added, “What the bill does do, [Gutierrez] explained, is create a fund that major firms must pay into. If banks get into trouble, the fund is used to take them over, break them up and sell off the parts. If such a fund was socialist, Gutierrez said, then so is Geico. But unlike Geico, he said, drivers who crash the economy don’t get their bank repaired and returned to them under the Democratic plan.”
In the hopes of making this easy enough for his GOP colleagues to understand, Gutierrez explained, “What they won’t tell you is unlike everybody in this room who has to go and take out an insurance policy to drive a car, they want Wall Street and Goldman Sachs to be able to drive our economy into the ground without paying a cent of insurance in case they act recklessly. And all we’re saying as Democrats is: ‘It’s simple. If you want to do business in America and you threaten the economic stability of our country, then you’ve got to pay into an insurance fund.’

We’ll see if that was simple enough for Cons to grasp.  I somehow doubt it – he didn’t bust out the crayons and construction paper.

And as the cherry on top, Rep. DeFazio and like-minded Dems are trying to get Glass-Steagall back up and running.  If you don’t know why that’s such a good thing, why, visit the link and rejoice.

Dear Wall Street: Ha ha ha fuck you.  Sincerely, Dana Hunter.

Advertisements

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Well, my darlings, it looks as if the public option is dying a slow and painful death in the Senate.  You can thank Joe Lieberman for that.  He’s still being an obstinate ass, even though his own supporters are pounding him over fucking Connecticut over this.  Apparently, Joe Lieberman’s need to feel relevant is far more important to him than what his constituents want.

So, if we lose the public option, what might we get?  Well, there’s talk of an OPM plan, which would basically create “a national, non-profit health plan along the lines of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, which offers coverage to members of Congress.”  And there’s a Medicare buy-in on the table.  They’re not bad alternatives, as far as I can tell.  Debbie Stabenow, public option supporter, says it really doesn’t matter as long as the alternatives accomplish the same goals as the public option.  We’ll see if Whining Joe Lieberman can accept that.  Alas for him, if he manages to kill the public option but still wants to throw a tantrum over the alternatives, he may just manuever himself out of leverage, because Queen Snowe could come back into play.

Isn’t sausage-making fun?

And, of course, Lieberman’s the only idiot in the Dem caucus throwing tantrums.  Ben Nelson’s introduced his just-like-Stupak’s-Stupidity amendment, and still insists he will settle for no less.  Debbie Stabenow is basically telling him to go fuck himself on that one.

Harry Reid hit the Cons particularly hard over their dumbfuckery:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office is criticizing the GOP’s “fake outrage” in response to comments he made on the Senate floor this morning.
Earlier today, Reid whacked Republicans for attempting to kill health care reform, comparing their obstructive tactics to those used to slow the end of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights.

When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, some dug intheir heels and said, “slow down.”
When women spoke up for their right to speak up–when they demanded the vote–some insisted they simly stop.

When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to all citizens…some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.

Powerful stuff.  You can tell how powerful by how loudly Cons are crying.  Now if only Harry would hit the Conservadems that hard, we might actually get a decent health care reform bill going.

Cons are busy being upset at Harry right now, but they’re really going to be screaming when they see what Al Franken’s got in store.  How they’ll be able to vote against forcing the insurance companies to spend more of their money on actually providing customers with health care and justify it, I’m not sure.

Insurance companies, on the other hand, are supporting Tenthers in a last-ditch effort to avoid the effects of reform.  Any more evidence needed that they are not on our side?

Grassley’s doubled-down on the Cons’ failed gimmick, and now wants not only Congress, but the President and White House and everybody else to get the same health care the rest of us end up getting.  I don’t think he quite understands that Dems like this idea, the President included.

Oh, and Cons?  Don’t get too excited about those polls showing most Americans are against health care reform.  It turns out that many folks are against the current bills because they’re not reformalicious enough.  Which means that the vast majority of the country still wants meaningful reform.  Suck it, punks!

Global Warming Dumbfuckery Abounds

My darlings, I have the solution to our energy woes.  We can stop global warming in its tracks by tapping into a source of infinitely renewable energy.  All we have to do is tap into the endless dumbfuckery of the global warming deniers.  We can heat our homes with their fevered imaginations.  We can run our industries on with the dynamos of their denial.  We could recharge our electric cars by holding memos and emails just out of their reach on treadmills.  We’ll never need oil, gas or coal again.

They’re so fucking desperate they’ve turned to a life of crime in a pathetic attempt to discredit the science:

Burglars and hackers have attacked the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, apparently in an attempt to further the “Climategate” intimidation of global warming researchers. The Climategate smear campaign rests on the release of thousands of emails illegally hacked last month from the British Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The National Post reports that the Centre for Climate Modelling, a government institution, is also the victim of repeated criminal attacks:

Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria scientist and key contributor to the Nobel prize-winning work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says there have been a number of attempted breaches in recent months, including two successful break-ins at his campus office in which a dead computer was stolen and papers were rummaged through.

As the United States — led by President Barack Obama — prepares to join the world in the fight against global warming, the opponents of reform are resorting to criminal desperation, harkening back to the amoral extremes of Richard Nixon.

Oh, yes.  That certainly adds to their credibility.  That puts them right up there with ALF and murderers of abortion doctors as fighters for truth, justice, and the American way.

But just in case their thefts don’t destroy the science, in case all they can find is evidence for global warming as they rummage through scientists’ effects, they’ve got a backup plan:

“Biased thermometers” are to blame for scientific data documenting a precipitous rise in global temperatures, according to Marc Morano.

Morano was Rush Limbaugh’s former producer and a columnist at the rightwing “news” site, Cybercast News Service, before becoming denialist-extraordinaire Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)’s top aide on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. In 2003, Inhofe described global warming as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” a statement which he stills stands by today.

Morano now runs the climate denialist website ClimateDepot.com and is, essentially, the very heart of the entire climate change denialist echosphere.

[snip]

Here’s the too-short debate between Morano and Balog, as hosted by CNN’s Rick Sanchez, where Morano argues that the earth is actually cooling, despite scientific evidence — based on “biased thermometers,” as Morano argues, “placed near air conditioner outlets, near asphalt” — showing this decade to be the warmest on record. We’ll leave it to you to decide whose got their facts straight, the science photographer or Rush Limbaugh’s former producer:

<br>

Wow.  “Biased thermometers.”  That’s novel.  And I suppose the “biased thermometers” are causing the melting of the Arctic sea ice, the drastic loss of Antarctic ice sheets, retreating glaciers, forest fires, droughts, and rising sea levels, because the earth’s just that gullible.  It’s all a psychosomatic effect.  Brilliant!

But “biased thermometer” man and the happy gang of smash-and-grab goobers aren’t the only ones fighting the science of global warming.  Billionaire right-wing fucktard David Koch is pouring tons of cash into the fight:

In an op-ed in the Boston Globe yesterday, I observed that Koch has manufactured a positive image for himself by giving to laudable causes, while at the same time, quietly “funneling tens of millions of dollars to more subterranean efforts that reflect his conservative politics.” Despite his funding of the Smithsonian, Koch has done more to politicize and and undermine the public’s understanding of science than any other single person. Koch has funded the leading groups dedicated to spreading skepticism of climate change:

– Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing tea party group which Koch founded in 1984 and continues to finance, has just announced that it will send a team of political operatives to Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. AFP intends to hold a press conference to attack any climate change solution the President promises as a mistake that will “kill jobs here” and “infringe on our personal and national freedoms.”

– Koch has funded the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has been the most aggressive conservative front group heralding hacked e-mails as proof that climate change does not exist.

– Koch funds the “Hot Air Tour,” a campaign led by lobbyists stopping in cities across the country to call into question the science underpinning climate change. The tour also features an actual hot air balloon to illustrate their beleif that climate change science is just “hot air.”

The National Academy of Sciences, the US Global Change Research Program, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have all come to the same conclusion: “that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use and the loss of carbon-sink capacity in heavily timbered forests are increasing temperatures and making oceans more acidic.” David Koch’s Koch Industries derives much of its profit from its oil refineries, one of the major emitters of carbon dioxide, and from its George-Pacific timber subsidiary, one of the largest contributors to the loss of carbon-sink capacity.

And if you thought Bush’s gang of nitwits were done fucking the country over when Obama took over the White House, think again.

Why are they all so frantic, you may ask?  Well, it could have something to do with the fact that world leaders are meeting in Copenhagen to hash out a game plan for dealing with the climate crisis.  And it could have something to do with the EPA’s stark findings:

As expected, the Environmental Protection Agency is poised to formally declare that greenhouse gases are a dangerous public-health hazard and must be regulated by the government. The “endangerment finding” is the result of a study ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 on the effects of greenhouse gas pollution on human health and welfare.
Whether Congress approves a cap-and-trade measure or not, the conclusion raises the specter of combating global warming through the regulatory process of the Clean Air Act. As you may have heard, business groups, to put it mildly, aren’t fond of that idea.
[snip]
Today’s EPA declaration should help crystallize the near-future for polluters: back cap and trade or the EPA won’t have much of a choice. It’s your call.

That’s why they know their only hope is to destroy the science.  Alas for them, there’s too much science.  And even if it weren’t for the science, we’re going to have a lot of Pacific Island nations underwater soon enough who will be happy to put a human face on the cost of global warming.

So, you may ask, what can you, as a person intelligent enough to realize we must do something about global warming, do?  Use your energies wisely.  And some genius inventor needs to get to work on that stupidity-to-energy conversion device.

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

I didn’t blog this over the weekend because it should’ve been a foregone conclusion, and I really couldn’t get excited over it, but Dems managed to stick together just enough to ensure that the Senate health care reform bill could be debated.  Of course, now, Conservadems are posturing against the public option, and making sure we all know they’re still perfectly willing to fuck us over in favor of the insurance companies.  Joyous.

Joe Lieberman has a new excuse as to why he hates the public option.  This month, he’s against it because he says we’ve never done anything like this before.  I somehow doubt that, what with all the public/private competition we’ve got in this country.

The most important thing to remember about these dumbshit Dems (and the idiot Independent who pretends to caucus with Dems) is not Lieberman’s lengthy history of piss-poor excuses.  No, it’s the fact that Blanche Lincoln was for the public option before she was against it.  In fact, she was for the public option while she was against it:

But as Igor Volsky noted, as recently as yesterday, Lincoln’s own website argued, “Individuals should be able to choose from a range of quality health insurance plans. Options should include private plans as well as a quality, affordable public plan or non-profit plan that can accomplish the same goals of a public plan.”
That was the senator’s official position a day after Lincoln stood on the floor of the Senate, “promising” to join a Republican filibuster of health care reform “as long as a government-run public option is included” in the bill.
After Volsky’s post, Lincoln’s office changed the senator’s official position, scrubbing the page of any references to allowing consumers to choose among competing plans.

Can’t cover your tracks that easily, Blanche.  You are so very, very fucked.  Paging Mike Stark

Greg Sargent thinks Conservadems will realize the urgency of passing health care reform, and will, possibly, ultimately do the right thing.  Color me skeptical.  But perhaps polls showing that not passing reform murders Dem electoral chances will help clarify things for them. Perhaps not.  They’re cunning, but they’re not exactly smart.

They’re certainly not willing to do the right thing.  Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is.  And he doesn’t care jack diddly shit about the political cost.  I hope he sits the Conservadems down for a long talk.

Let’s hope Sebelius’s state-by-state impact assessment of health care reform will help a few Dems see the light as well.

But enough about Dems.  Let’s talk about Con fuckery.  There’s plenty of it.  In fact, the sheer volume of lies pouring from Cons’ lips is overwhelming:

Looking over the rapid-response list, the efficiency of the DNC operation is impressive, but the key takeaway is more important: Good lord, Republicans sure do lie a lot about health care.
I mean, GOP lawmakers weren’t even close to the truth. Watching the debate as it unfolded, one got the sense that reform’s opponents either know literally nothing about the issue at hand, prefer almost pathological levels of dishonesty, or perhaps both.
Over the weekend, Josh Marshall noted in passing that the congressional GOP lied quite a bit during the 1994 reform debate, but Republicans are now “upping their game … lying even more shamelessly than in round 1.”

That’s because they’ve discovered there are no consequences for endless lying.  Teabaggers love it, and most Americans are too fucking clueless to realize they’re being lied and lied and lied to.

In fact, the GOP has become so shameless that they feel perfectly comfortable claiming a number they just made up as gospel truth.  They’re now saying health care reform will cost $2.5 trillion.  Where did this number come from?  Apparently, Sen. Gregg’s ass:

It appears as if the number comes from a press release from Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg (R-NH), written the morning after the CBO released its analysis, which reads “American taxpayers are about to see an unprecedented expansion of the federal government that will cost a staggering $2.5 trillion when fully implemented.”
 The underlying critique has a tiny bit of merit to it. Democrats did indeed diminish the 10 year cost by delaying the tax-and-benefit provisions for a few years after the bill becomes law–they felt they needed to push some key reforms down the road a year to keep the bill’s 10 year cost from exceeding Obama’s $900 billion top line. Hence the caveat “when fully implemented.” But even if you were to start the clock in 2014, and stop it in 2024, the number $2.5 trillion seems to have been made entirely out whole cloth. Perhaps a projection line drawn arbitrarily on a graph cooked up by a Republican Budget Committee staffer.
And, of course, the critique elides the fact that, whatever the federal responsibility for health care becomes as a result of this bill, it’s projected to dramatically reduce the deficit in both the near and long term.

Of course it does, because that’s the truth, which is something Cons seem deathly allergic to.

Here’s something even more outrageous: Gov. Barbour touting Mississippi as a model of health care reform when it “rates 51 (out of 50 states plus DC) in health care ranking.”  Yup.  Sure is a perfect example – of what not to do.

So what are the Cons’ allies up to?  Well, the Chamber of Commerce wants to kill health care reform so they have a better chance at killing climate change legislation later on.  The gun lobby’s trying to kill health care reform because they have some paranoid fantasy that health care reform means all their guns will be taken away.  And Teabaggers are busy laughing at families who have suffered a tragedy:

From Chicago journalist Kristen McQueary, this deplorable story:

As a journalist covering Chicago politics, verifying information is like climbing a mountain of sand. With each step you take, the deeper you sink.

Last week while researching claims from a local Tea Party activist, I found myself asking a family for proof that they had lost an unborn grandchild.

The family, Dan and Midge Hough, of Chicago, spoke in favor of health care reform and in support of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) at a Nov. 14 town hall meeting in Oak Lawn.

Their daughter-in-law, Jenny, and an unborn grandchild died recently due in part, they believe, to a lack of health insurance. They said Jenny was not receiving regular prenatal care and ended up in an emergency room with double pneumonia that developed into septic shock. Her baby died in the womb, and Jenny died a few weeks later, leaving behind a husband and a 2-year-old daughter.

Catherina Wojtowicz, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, an organizer for a Tea Party splinter group, Chicago Tea Party Patriots, falsely claimed that the Houghs fabricated their story. In an e-mail, she called them operatives of President Barack Obama who “go from event to event and (cry) the same story.”

When the Houghs spoke at the Lipinski event, some Tea Partiers ridiculed them. They moaned and rolled their eyes and interrupted. Midge Hough began to cry.

Such a credit to their cause, aren’t they?  Despicable dipshits.

In case anyone else needed any more proof we need reform, check out the results of the free clinic Keith Olbermann helped sponsor. You know, the one where people with diabetes, heart failure, and breast cancer haven’t been able to get any sort of health care until now.

With all of the Con fuckery eagerly aided and abetted by Conservadem fuckery, I haven’t been too hopeful about reform.  But here’s news that makes me hope that something good will come out of this bill: it appears the Senate version strips Congress of its health insurance and throws them into the exchanges.  Kevin Drum reports it was a dirty trick by Grassley that went horribly awry, since Max Baucus decided it was a great idea and happily threw it into the mix.

I haven’t had any inclination to congratulate Grassley or Baucus, but I have to offer them a heartfelt muchos gracias, even though in Grassley’s case the good was unintentional.  Because if this resolution stays in, that means Congress is going to have to ensure that health care reform works, as they’ll be suffering right along with the rest of it.

It’s about fucking time.

Stupid Credit Card Company Tricks

Digby points out the length to which credit card companies go to ensure you rack up plenty of late fees:

I honestly believe that this is the kind of thing that affects people every day and is leading to a populist backlash. People not only blame those who do these things, they blame those who have the authority and power for failing to step in and stop it:

Three years ago, the Haggler’s credit card bill seemed to stop showing up in the mail. Another month went by — no bill. The month after that, still nothing. Each month, the Haggler would call the issuer, Bank of America, and pay over the phone, then ask the same question: “Why did you stop sending me a bill?”

We’re still sending you a bill, came the company’s reply each time.

Guess what? The company was right. It just was sending the bill in a restyled envelope, with no trace of “Bank of America.” In other words, it looked like junk mail, and the Haggler kept throwing it away.

Now, the Haggler can’t prove it, but this seemed like a brilliant, low-cost way to pocket a fortune in late fees.

And that’s not all:

And that’s what people are dealing with all the time as consumers, with their health insurance, their credit cards, their mortgages, their pensions — overwhelming complexity designed to trip them up and cost them money or deny them benefits to which they believed in good faith they were entitled. And its all perfectly legal — or at least there’s no visible accountability for it.

The late fee tricks we are seeing all over the news is apparently going to go on unabated for as long as they can get away with it. And it goes back to the same central problems that created the financial meltdown in the first place:

The backdrop of this boo-boo is an industry that for the last 10 years has been refining the low art of late-fee shenanigans. Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, says that starting in 1999 — when the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act allowed commercial and investment banks to merge — credit card companies started looking to late fees for profit.

“It began with regulators allowing banks to say that if a bill arrived on the due date but after a certain time on that day — like noon — then it was late,” Mr. Mierzwinski said. “Now, how many people know when a bank checks their mail?”

Some banks started moving up due dates without notice. Others required that payments sent via overnight mail use a special address, so that if you sent a payment by FedEx to the regular address, you were late.

Getting the picture?

Indeed.

And remember that the Cons think this is all fair and admirable and prevented Congress from stopping these nefarious fucks in their tracks.

That’s all we really need to know about the Cons’ concern for the common man, innit?

Let’s Talk About Boobs

Specifically, the boobs who are throwing a hysterical fit over the new breast cancer screening recommendations:

On Wednesday, a group of women GOP lawmakers held a press conference to denounce a new recommendation by the federal Preventive Services Task Force that women receive mammograms less frequently. “This is how rationing begins,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “This is the little toe in the edge of the water.”
[snip]
As the Washington Independent’s Mike Lillis notes, the concern of the congresswomen about rationed mammograms is especially ironic considering that they oppose legislation that “would require insurance companies that cover diagnostic mammograms also to cover routine, annual breast cancer screenings for all women 40 and older.”

Lessee.  Hypocrisy, check.  Ridiculous fearmongering, check.  Failure to comprehend simple words like “recommendation,” check.  Pure Con dumbfuckery.

But if you’re tempted to fall for a Con, or if you’re just confused over what’s best for your health, or if you want to see a breast cancer researcher take down the bullshit in stunning detail, you can head on over to Orac’s Repectful Insolence blog and read the following:

“Obama’s fixin’ death panels for your mama,” the misogyny gambit, and other idiotic responses to the updated USPSTF mammography recommendations

“Obama’s fixin’ death panels for your mama”: The USPSTF recommendations for mammography used as a political weapon

A two-part takedown that is truly Oracian in scope and insolence.  And if you still want more, there’s always really rethinking breast cancer screening.

Funny how Con talking points and fearmongering just don’t have the same impact when you’re armed with the facts, innit?

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Things are on the move, my darlings.  Sen. Reid has filed for cloture.

In a rare show of sense, Sen. Coburn has decided not to be an absolute ass, and is no longer demanding the entire bill be read.  I wonder if they slipped him some anti-psychotics.

So, what’s in this bill that won’t be read on the Senate floor?  Steve Benen has a rundown – along with Hatch’s promise that this will be “holy war.”  The Cons do love using terrorist lingo, don’t they?

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Senate and House bills.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities calls it an “enormous step forward.” 

That stupid state opt-out is in there, and it looks like states can opt out immediately.  That means that one-third of the population of this country could be fucked over because Cons are too fucking stupid to allow them the choice of an anemic public option. 

And abstinence-only funding oiled its way in there somehow.  Heellloooo, teen pregnancies!

That brings us to the subject of abortion.  The Senate’s language on abortion is a lot less noxious than the Stupak Stupidity.  And what does that mean, kids?  Why, it means Sen. Ben Nelson will take the opportunity to play the grandstanding fucktard, and the Cons will lie and lie and lie about how the bill will force everybody to pay an abortion fee, and how a vote to proceed is a vote for abortions.  To hear them tell it, the bill is a veritable mandatory abortion fest.  Dems fought back fast and hard with, y’know, actual facts.  Like, nothing the Cons have said is in any way connected to reality.  Color me shocked.

At least Sen. Bayh’s claiming he’ll allow the bill to come to the floor.  Look, people, if even Evan “Deficit Hock” Bayh can vote with his party for once, and Coburn’s showing a sliver of sanity, perhaps the rest of you foot-dragging, tantrum-throwing, lying, cheating fuckwits can scrape around in the bottom of the barrel and come up with a shred of human decency?  A thread?  An atom, even?

Do we need more incentive?  Yes?  How about realizing that, under the status quo, health insurance companies are perfectly comfortable condemning a little girl to a lifetime of deafness:

One of the worst abuses of the private health insurance industry is its practice of denying claims to pay for necessary care for patients. This practice has become so rampant in the industry that a recent study by the California Nurses Association found that a whopping 21 percent of all insurance claims filed in the first half of 2009 in the state of California were denied by insurers.
As the story of six-year-old Madison Leuchtmann of Franklin County, MO, demonstrates, even children are victims of this insurance company abuse. Madison was born with bilateral atresia, which means she lacks ear canals in both ears. In order to hear, she wears a special device on a headband that allows her to make out sounds. Despite her disability, Madison is at the top of her kindergarten class and is slowly learning to read.
Yet Madison, due to her growth, will soon require a new hearing implant to be able to recognize sounds. Her hearing and speech therapist warns that “if she doesn’t get her implants by age seven, she’s not going to be able to blend her words. … She won’t be able to hear herself [talk].” Madison’s pediatrician, Dr. Randall Clary, also insists that without the implant, the girl may never be able to hear again.
Unfortunately, the Leuchtmann’s family insurer, Cigna, has issued “one denial after another,” flatly refusing to cover the $20,000 bill for the implant. In a written statement to the local news station Fox 2, Cigna explained, “It is not unusual for commercial benefit plans to exclude hearing assisted devices,” prompting Dr. Clary to angrily respond, “This is obviously medically necessary. You have a child that has no ear canals!” Dr. Clary also told Fox 2 that he sees these sort of denials “on a weekly basis.”

Let’s have some reform before a six year-old loses her hearing for good, before others face a choice between bankruptcy or death because their insurance companies decided they didn’t need treatment, or rescinded the insurance for some bullshit reason.

And let’s hope Congressional Dems get the drug companies to explain why, exactly, they’ve decided to hike prices just enough to negate the savings they promised.

The moment of truth is coming.  We’ll see exactly which of our elected leaders have our best interests at heart, and which are telling us to go fuck off and die.