Saturday, April 24, 2010

If Chickens Were Money: A GOP Health Care Reform Idea

Sue Lowden, former chair of the Republican Party in Nevada, and seeking to replace Sen. Harry Reid if she wins her primary, has been getting grilled and ridiculed for comments she has made that a barter system is the way to cut down costs for medical care -- notoriously quoted as saying that in "olden times our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house, they would do... that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with their doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I’m not backing down from that system."

Wow, our economy must really be tanking beyond the levels of the Depression from the 1930s if trading livestock or labor for medical care is seen as a viable and desirable plan.

The jokes are flying fast and furious, and there's a Facebook page wanting to provide Lowden with "one million virtual chickens". Or I suppose one could donate chickens rather than cash contributions to her campaign and she can convert those cluckers to dollars.

If you want to calculate your chicken-to-dollars abilities, a nifty calculator has been created.

Still, such weighty thinkers as those at the Wall Street Journal thinks she has a great idea which should not be dismissed:

No less an authority than the American Medical Association’s own newspaper, American Medical News, wrote about it just last year, calling it a “creative way to collect from patients during difficult economic times.”

Kaiser Health News also tipped a hat to bartering last year, reporting that “health care is surpassing auto repair and advertising as the service in most demand, say people who run local barter exchanges.” One doctor in Vermont “swapped Viagra samples for maple syrup.”

Even Lowden’s reference to livestock may not be so far off the mark. As American Medical News reported, an office manager for an orthopedics practice in Wisconsin said one doc bartered surgery for “a full cow’s worth of beef.”

All of which leads me to ask ...
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: To avoid being used to cover a pre-existing condition.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TN Democrat Party Serves Up A Cup Of Joe

I received an email today from the TN Democrat Party mentioning a story reported on this blog and nowhere else this week (well, KnoxViews did link to my previous post too as did Speak To Power in West TN):

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester pointed out the hypocrisy of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe who appeared recently at a Hamblen County High School groundbreaking ceremony despite the congressman's vote against legislation funding the $11.1 million project.

Morristown-Hamblen High School East is receiving an interest-free loan to build additional classrooms through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has been credited for generating 2.8 million jobs since its enactment. Roe voted against the Recovery Act.

"It's more than a little disingenuous for Mr. Roe to show up at the high school and try to take credit for a project whose funding he voted against," Forrester said. "The congressman should be embarrassed for voting against a measure that is enabling local communities to stretch their dollars, reduce taxes and improve infrastructure.

"Too many elected officials like Congressman Roe are playing partisan politics instead of doing what is right for communities and the people who live and work there. Instead of grandstanding and trying to score cheap political points in Washington, Mr. Roe should focus on problems in his district."

The President's Council of Economic Advisers estimates that investments made through the Recovery Act have boosted employment in Tennessee by 56,000 jobs through the 1st quarter of 2010. Nearly $6 billion in federal stimulus money has been committed to Tennessee.

"In times like these, we need to put aside our political differences and solve our problems," Forrester said. Let's focus our energy and resources on creating jobs, ensuring our children get top-notch educations and making our communities stronger and safer.

"I hope Congressman Roe will admit he was wrong for voting against the stimulus funding," he added.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rep. Roe Celebrates Funding He Voted Against

1st District Congressman Phil Roe made sure to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for much-need renovations at East High in Morristown on Monday - even though the 11.1 million dollars in funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which he voted against. As did every Republican in Congress.

Rep. Roe did not want that money to go to schools in Tennessee and continues to oppose the ARRA program. Unless he has a re-election campaign.

UPDATE: The Tennessee Democrat party picks up the story.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Congressional Candidate Challenges the Space-Time Continuum

1st Congressional District candidate Mike Clark of East Tennessee is not just running for office according to writer Hank Hayes at the Kingsport Times-News ... he is challenging the very order of the Universe!

Is that an exaggeration? Take a read of Hank's article: the headline reads "Clark Bucks History In Run For 1st Congressional District"

ELIZABETHTON — Democrat Mike Clark kicked off his campaign Saturday to run against political history in Northeast Tennessee’s GOP-controlled 1st Congressional District.

At an event held at the Carter County Courthouse in Elizabethton, Clark announced he’ll challenge first-term GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Phil Roe for a congressional seat Democrats haven’t held since Reconstruction in the 19th century.

I understand the thought pattern here, the "narrative" being spun by the politicos of East Tenn -- "why Joe, honey," they say to me while giving me the benefit of their Timeless Wisdom, "you just have to understand that no Democrat has been elected to hold that seat in Congress since, well, that awful war of secession, and we've always voted Republican since then."

Perhaps the politicos are right - voters today make their decisions based on events from the 19th century. I know a heap of folks who live up in here who never want to waver past the line demarcating the 19th and 20th, much less the 21st century.

But I also know that for this election cycle, Hayes and the KPT have been actually reporting on a Democrat candidate's existence, something they were loathe to do until most recently. (also see this follow-up)

So things can change, especially in the media and especially in our 21st century on that new-fangled YouTube page. And from what I'm reading in the Morristown newspaper, Democrat State House Representative John Litz, now seeking the Hamblen County Mayor seat, is raising more money for his campaign than his Republican opponent, Bill Brittain.

A full draft of Mike Clark's speech follows at this link, and here's a bit of it I thought a lot of residents here in East Tennessee might like to hear about:

"You know, as I'm beginning my travels across the First District of Tennessee, one question - well, besides, "Who the heck are you?" - that I keep getting asked is, "Does a Democrat actually stand a chance this November? After all, this is a red state and East Tennessee hasn't elected a Democrat Congressman since, oh, 500 years, or something like that …"

Actually, the last Democrat to go to Washington from East Tennessee was Robert L. Taylor, and he took office in 1878 and was defeated for reelection in 1880 - leaving office in early 1881. That's 129 years and counting since this district sent a Democrat to Congress.

Well, that's why we are here today. We didn't bring the DeLorean from 'Back to the Future,' we can't hit Mr. Peabody's WayBack Machine. We don't have the ability to go back and change the past - we have to create a new future ourselves. Starting here. Starting now.

Can a Democrat win in November? They say we can't. They say the odds are stacked against us. They say Democrats in East Tennessee are disheartened. There aren't enough Democrats to win, they say.

Well, let's look at a few other things they said:

They said an African-American could never be elected president … but he was. We made history.

They said we'd never get meaningful health care reform - and we did. We made history.

It isn't going to be easy. It's going to take dedication and a lot of hard work. But we know that. We need to build on 2008, return everyone we can to the polls this November and bring in a lot of new voters too. We cannot let our spirit down. We have to keep it in mind that we have the right values, we have the right views on the issues facing America, and the First District, today. And we have an outlook that is positive, not negative. Republican leader Newt Gingrich says that if and when the GOP gains the majority in Congress, they're going to repeal everything we've worked hard to obtain - not just health care, but in education, the economy, banking reform - back, back, back to the failed policies of the past; the nasty politics of the past.

You can't go back to the future, despite catchy movie titles. You have to move forward, dare to try - we have to fight like our future depends on it. There is no other choice than to reject the failed policy of the past and instead keep moving forward to prepare for the needs of the future. Yes to innovation, Yes to common sense solutions, Yes to America's children!

Our opponent is not a Yes person, apparently. He's hard to reach - forget the open door, he has open line Friday over the telephone."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Beer Is A Popular Product"

"Beer is a popular product". So says Joe Priesmeyer. President of the N. H. Scheppers Distributing Company of Columbia, Missouri, in response to a scandal in Columbia city government.

This scandal has led to one city employee resignation, another facing disciplinary action, and police and prosecutors are attempting to determine what crime - if any - was committed.

The nefarious details are from the Columbia Tribune -- but here's what is known: some 1,500 cases of date-expired beer from Scheppers was sent to the city landfill and upon delivery some 800 cases were immediately destroyed.

The other 700 cases were "intact" and that's when, allegedly, two city employees pulled up in a city vehicle and took an estimated 50 cases of the beer away with the landfill. The whereabouts of the missing beer remain unknown.

Buckler said the main issue is theft.

“Once it’s in the landfill, it is city property,” she said.

She said because the beer is city property, there could be liability issues should the employees share it with others. That remains a possibility because the city doesn’t know where the missing beer is.

Columbia police spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said police are working with city supervisors to determine whether it is criminal activity or just a policy violation.

“If we determine it’s a police matter, we will take some action,” she said.

Priesmeyer said despite the beer being past expiration, it was not in any way unhealthy and at worst “it loses some of its taste profile.”

He said it has been several years since Scheppers has taken beer to the city landfill, but Priesmeyer said there is nothing unusual about disposing of expired beer.

It also isn’t unheard of that people try to steal some of it.

“Every once in a while, we’ll have some beer get stolen by overzealous people off of our trucks,” Priesmeyer said. “Beer is a popular product.”

Be sure to read some of the comments at the end of the CT story.