Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bill Crawford: GOP Death Panels?

In the 1960s popular songs like “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies, "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers, and “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King echoed a growing mood in the country to care for people in need. Today, the majority mood has shifted again.   
Speeches last week at the Neshoba County Fair by potential gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Jim Hood and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves reflected this shift.
For example, as reported in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Hood "criticized the Legislature for cuts to the Department of Mental Health, resulting in the closure of the state’s only chemical dependency unit for adult males at a time when many citizens are dealing with opioid addiction." Hood added, "legislative leadership neglected addressing problems in favor of providing large tax cuts."
Reeves countered saying, "“I am proud we passed the largest tax cut in state history, and I’m not going to let them deny you the tax break so they can keep spending with reckless abandon."
This mirrors majority political attitudes in Washington around health care. Tax cuts and costs dominate while commitment to care dwindles.
The long-term outlook for those in need of care is harsh, particularly with regard to Medicaid. Rough comments on the Jackson Jambalaya blog tell the story. “We already have more people collecting benefits than we have working,” wrote one, adding “How much longer can this go on?” Another wrote, "Quit pouring money down a piss-hole.”
Reports say Medicaid cuts under consideration in Congress plus cuts coming from the Legislature may soon start forcing retirees out of nursing homes. Nationally, Medicaid pays the costs for about 62% of seniors who live in nursing homes, about 75% in Mississippi.
Medicaid also serves nearly half a million Mississippi children, about 55% of all Medicaid recipients. In June the Clarion-Ledger wrote about seriously ill children who depend upon Medicaid. One was 13-year old Kennedy who is a type 1 diabetic. Her parents signed her up for Medicaid to afford “the nearly $5,000 a month she needs in insulin and medical supplies.”
Not getting much attention on the street is what happens when Medicaid cuts do start putting disabled retirees on the street, eliminate extraordinary care for seriously ill children, shut-down rural hospital emergency rooms, and devastate mental health care.
Republicans railed against Obamacare's so called "death panels" for saving money at the cost of lives. Seems our cost-cutting Republican-dominated Legislature and Congress will soon take their place, unless more like state Sen. Brice Wiggins have a say.  
“I’ve heard different people and groups say we just need to get rid of Medicaid,” Wiggins, chairman of the Senate Medicaid Committee, told the Clarion-Ledger. “Okay, are we not going to take care of our grandmother and grandfather who (are) 90 years old in the nursing home? Medicaid pays for the nursing home." Earlier in the year he told Mississippi Today, “we have a duty to take care of the least fortunate.”
Meanwhile, we need some new songs like "He's My Brother, But He Got Too Heavy" and "Lean on Somebody besides Taxpayers" and "You Ain't Got No Friends No More."
Crawford is syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

Bill Crawford - Grandma and Grandpa (of which I am one) were never meant to live to be 90. That's why 62 was picked sixty some odd years ago as the age of retirement.....people typically didn't live much longer after that age. Guess what? The government is well aware of the budgetary tsunami of retirees about to hit the budget, and because of which SS/Medicare will go bankrupt. So, guess what the plan is? To UP that age of 62 dramatically to say, 72 years old before you can start to receive benefits. It's the only way to keep social security/Medicare solvent.

Anonymous said...

we have a few choices. raise the retirement age, for social security disability- narrow the scope of covered disabilities (and ensure those persons disabilities are real before granting coverage), raise taxes or cut benefits. also, allowing medicare to negotiate with drug companies would cut prescription costs. the best approach would be a combination of all of the above.

Anonymous said...

I've got a better idea. Remove the tax-free status from churches. Did you know churches and religions orgs spent almost a BILLION dollars on lobby groups and lobbyist last year?

Churches fall into the category of ‘charitable’ entities. This is often a stretch. The researchers calculated the Methodist church, for example, spends roughly .7% of its annual income on charity. Their study of 271 congregations found an average of 71% of revenues going to ‘operating expenses,’ while help to the poor is somewhere within the remaining 29%. Compare this to the American Red Cross, which uses 92.1% of revenues for physical assistance and just 7.9% on operating expenses. The authors also note that

Wal-Mart, for instance, gives about $1.75 billion in food aid to charities each year, or twenty-eight times all of the money allotted for charity by the United Methodist Church and almost double what the LDS Church has given in the last twenty-five years.

Since the 1890’s, US churches have been tax exempt. They received an official federal income tax exemption in 1894 and they have been unofficially tax exempt since the country’s founding. Churches in all the 50 US states and also the District of Columbia have been exempt from paying property tax. Also donations to churches are tax deductible. Mega churches across the United States are becoming increasingly popular which is not only bringing thousands of worshippers together, but also billions of dollars in profit.

It's past time. We can no longer afford to allow the free ride! Taxing churches could inject between 75 and 100 BILLION dollars per year into social programs for the disabled, homeless, mentally-ill,veterans and the poor.

Anonymous said...


I agree

Anonymous said...

religion in America (music minister, preacher, student minister, etc...) is now a career path. not a calling. it's about money and control. we need another Martin Luther.

Anonymous said...

Then the non-profit status should be pulled as well for all these college/university "foundations"....non-profit my should see the salaries of some community college "presidents".....they're TWICE what the Governor pull down. Plus, they're building new buildings left and right from Federal dollars they capture in the billions of financial aid that's wrongfully pulled down.....enrollments and attendance records are pervasively being manipulated (which is fraud).

Anonymous said...

We could afford to take a little bit better care of our own people if we didn't spend so much taking care of the people in other countries.
Get serious about the illegals would save quite a bit.
No free ride for politicians and their friends would help quite a few old people.
If we would stop invading other countries the war toy money could be spent on the people.

There is so much waste in our spending habits. As long as the politicians know we can still borrow money they will not control spending. They do not plan on ever paying it back anyway.

Anonymous said...

Medical costs are ridiculous mainly because of the number of tests, the cost of drugs, and all the other measures taken to reduce the risk of being sued. If we would pass Federal Tort Reform we might get some rational charges for excellent care. Mississippi has experienced such a reduction in medically related court cases and if we replicated this nationally, then the cost of care would be reduced without sacrificing any of the benefits. This is the first place health care reform should start.

When the sale of alcoholic beverages was legalized in Mississippi, a portion of that tax was to go for treatment of problems caused by alcohol. It did not take the legislature long to stop that program and put this money into the general fund. This was OK with both parties; certainly not a GOP "death panel".

Anonymous said...

You pass Federal Tort Reform then medical malpractice and bad drugs will be unchecked like a biblical plague!

BTW.. July 29, 2017 at 3:27 PM, turn around. You're preaching to the choir! ( No pun intended)

I Cut My Pills In Half To Afford Them.. said...

Huh? So, we know the age at which people will die has been pushed out. So the answer is to push out the age of eligibility for benefits? Sort of put things out of reach? I thought the purpose was to provide for old people, not penalize them by pushing out the benefit eligibility age. Where did I go wrong?

Remove the damned cap on SS paid in for wealthy folks. Get drug costs under control by whatever means. Make it illegal for sitting senators and reps to accept money from the legal drug cartels.

Anonymous said...

Want to fix SS and Medicare? Put federal employees, including those vultures in Washington on those systems instead of their cushy retirement setup, and see how fast it gets fixed. And while we're at it,how about TERM LIMITS for said vulture!

Anonymous said...

If it were up to me, an Executive Order from the President would be issued pronto removing the exemption for employees of Congress from the ACA (Obamacare) and Congress would have to buy their own policies, non-reimbursable. And, Amen, to term limits. Would help keep the swamp from forming.

Carved Up And Set Aside.. said...

Tests are not so much performed/recommended/done on referral to avoid lawsuits as they are to fatten the pocket-books of the referring physicians. Look at who owns the businesses where tests are performed. The same physicians who make the referrals. The same places where surgeries are performed (not counting hospitals) are part-owned by the physicians making the referrals and performing the surgeries. Same with MRI machines. And after the tests and surgeries, guess who is part owner of the Physical Therapy business.

And take a wild-assed guess as to why my cardiologist always puts me on a new drug as soon as the patent expires on the old one.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time that every comment is non-partisan even though the article has a partisan element.
Everyone has made good points. Hope springs.
The reason is that we actually have first hand, relevant knowledge of how some of our systems are failing.
We have forgotten that neither churches nor hospitals were " for profit" in the 1800s.
We have forgotten there is a difference in paying those whose jobs are essential to society a fair compensation based on their performance and the manufacturing and selling widgets. We never think of making law enforcement or military defense " for profit", do we?
We've forgotten why , for centuries, we distinguished between professions, services and commerce.
Churches weren't taxed then because they were not profit centers. They didn't operate for profit businesses on the side. Their income was gifted through tithes or monies were raised by the free labor and generosity of church members.
And, while doctors were always in the upper social order, they, like ministers who healed the soul, had a calling to heal the sick body. Their patients, like the minister's congregants supported them based on their ability to contribute. Medicine was not for profit.
Blue Cross /Blue Shield was a non profit insurance company and other insurance companies made money by collecting and investing money to protect the insured against unlikely catastrophic events. The money collected over years and years from the many, invested wisely (rather than ending up in the pockets of the company in amounts that couldn't work) exceeded the disasters of the few.
Even business doesn't operate the same. Look at compensation comparisons for CEOs in the 50s and compare corporate profits and what was put back into research and development then to the equivalent percentages in today's dollar value. It's shocking. Then ask, how did this happen?
We aren't putting money back into our society in rational ways. In short, we haven't been investing in the future.
We need to first decide what we want a system, any system in a society to accomplish and then we can insist that those who represent us work towards those goals. Health care is a good place start to fixing what is broken.
Money should be seen a means , not an end to creating a functioning system and a prosperous society. Prosperity is not just about the money. It's also about the opportunity of citizens to be able to reasonably pursue life, liberty and happiness.
We used to agree these were our founding principles. It's the prominent section in our Declaration for good reason.

Want Mo Git Mo said...

I think I heard that at one time in our history people did not enter politics to become wealthy either. (Columbo hand to the brow.) Anybody know the truth of that?

Anonymous said...

In the 50's, we had a true managed mixed economy. The country was also nationalist. Milton Friedman changed all of that. Starting with Reagan, the "pro-growth" policies began and his economic theories infiltrated every school of economics, and thus, every aspect of our lives.

Now, everything is about profit. So let's talk about seniors: Doctors will check a "magic box" and put an 80 year old in surgery that the patient doesn't need knowing his or her chances of dying are quite high. Life or death doesn't matter as long as they get their Medicare/Medicaid payout.
As far as the 1% goes, they use the nanny state as one of many barriers to entry. They preach free markets, but heaven forbid they actually compete with up and comers.

As far as term limits go, it won't work like you think it will because lobbyists will be waiting on fresh meat to manipulate. The people that have to leave their seat will go to work FOR the lobbyists.

If and only if, you make reforms to current lobbying practices will the idea of term limits work.

Taking away Medicare is only the beginning of the true agenda at hand. They want every govt program since the new deal to be obliterated (even the TVA), and turn the US back into a hyper-capitalist venture like it was before the crash of 29. Ideally this would be great if it weren't for barriers to entry that keep monopolies in power.

Anonymous said...

12:22....medicare doesn't pay shit toward the true cost of surgery. Turn your cap around.

Anonymous said...

6:14 don't split hairs with me. I included both for a reason.

Anonymous said...

I have a good friend in a neighboring state whose elderly dad had health issues that caused him to be hospitalized and subsequently sent to rehab to recover. However, in less than one week this reputable rehab facility told the family that dad would never come home. So 80 year old dad didn't spring back to life after surgery, loss of blood and 4 days in rehab. A family member was friends with the owner of the facility and he questioned why the diagnosis so soon. He was told "no problem, we can take care of this." When my friend went to the facility the next day the nurse manager pulled him aside and apologized and told him I didn't know your family was supposed to get the VIP treatment. What the . . . Every man or women in that place should get the VIP treatment. Medical facilities, surgery centers, hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, drug companies, health insurance companies, politicians, am I leaving someone out? They who operate solely on greed need to have a pit underneath hell. And no, if you are a nun or an administrator at catholic hospital or baptist hospital you do not get a pass.

Anonymous said...

'Split hairs'? You suggested doctors are operating on medicare patients for the money. That's pretty insane. The same surgeon would make that amount of money and more by seeing four patients instead of performing surgery at medicare rates.

Anonymous said...

7:09 am Justify the surgeon's rates on non- Medicare patients. Which is closer to your actual costs? I'm willing to account mathematically for your added costs of education. If you have to pay for use of equipment or bought it yourself, break down your costs per patient for me. Your equipment costs seems to never break even.
What I can't justify is the exorbitant costs I pay as a non-Medicare patient. Let's not pretend I'm not picking up the costs . I see my charges. I see the stuff I am " given" that could be sterilized and reused. I see the cost difference in what you charge for extremely inferior quality stockings that I threw away and they cost me less to buy myself. I'm from a textile family and know exactly how and where those stockings were developed and by whom. I know the patent names and what large corporation bought it out and when the patent expired and that the changes are not better and not innovative but of less quality.

Anonymous said...

I'd bet the majority of doctors' and nurses' direct deposits in this state can be directly traced to federal/state dollars from the programs. Yet here we are in this state complaining about moochers.

There have been some mentions lately of the number of middle class seniors who use Medicaid to pay for nursing homes. I think the CL and others should also look at how many middle class families rely on CHIP. There are plenty of blue collar hard working families where CHIP frees up enough income to pay the mortgage. I mean, let's get real people.

Anonymous said...

As all liberals do, Crawford argues that anyone who asks government to be frugal, not to waste money, and to be discriminating about who receives benefits are insensitive to the plight of the poor. They don't want to permit anyone to "lean on them." He absolutely is too lazy to take a look at the Department of Mental Health and see what programs and expenses they failed to cut in favor of cutting essential services. Instead of the good-hearted saints over at MDMH, it must be the cold, cruel hearted legislators and tax payers who cut the funds! Take a look at one of the families that was the subject of one of the Clarion Ledger's articles recently. Nobody will say anything, because they will get castigated for being critical. But, there was a family living in an upper middle class home, both parents working, and we have to pay for a several-hundred-dollar-a-day daycare for this family. No, one of them doesn't quit their job and keep the kid. And no, they aren't living in a two bedroom house in Jackson that costs $25,000. Basically, we are subsidizing their lifestyle -- and to Crawford, anyone who isn't willing to do that hates kids and wants them to die. What a total crock.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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