Republicans Supporting Health Care Reform

Republicans currently in Congress are determined to prevent the Democrats from having a political victory by passing health care reform, regardless of how much this is needed or how much better off the country would be. In contrast to those currently in Congress, many other Republicans are backing health care reform ideas similar to the current Democratic plans.  Arnold Schwarzenneger is the latest Republican to support health care reform, issuing this statement today backing a national push for health are reform:

For Immediate Release:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on National Push for Health Care Reform

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement urging the passage of health care reform at the national level:

“As Governor, I have made significant efforts to advance health reform in California. As the Obama Administration was launching the current debate on health care reform, I hosted a bipartisan forum in our state because I believe in the vital importance of this issue, and that it should be addressed through bipartisan cooperation.

“Our principal goals, slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individuals, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery, are the same goals that the president is trying to achieve. I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the political aisle at the national level to move forward and accomplish these vital goals for the American people.

Earlier in the year, former Republican Senate leaders Bob Dole and Howard Baker backed ideas similar to the current health care reform legislation. Bill Frist also agreed recently. In many ways the current Democratic proposals are like Mitt Romney’s plan, with ideas on financing coming from John McCain.

Even Bobby Jindal supports the ideas in the current health care proposals, even if he isn’t bright enough to realize it. In yesterday’s Washington Post, Bobby Jindal wrote a bizarre op-ed in which he claimed, “The debate on health care has moved on. Democratic plans for a government takeover are passé.” Jindal showed he doesn’t really understand what is in the Democratic plans, such as with his false characterization of them as a “government takeover.” Jindal then proceeded to lay out what he considered Republican ideas for health care reform, and they wound up being fairly close to the current Democratic ideas which he claims are passé. The difference is that Jindal just provided general principles without any concrete mechanism to put these ideas into practice–such as those present in the Democratic health care proposals.

Rewriting The Bible To Eliminate Liberal Bias

The religious right loves to cite the Bible to justify their positions but there is one problem–all those liberal ideas which are in the Bible. Apparently the Bible, like reality, has a liberal bias. Conservapedia, which has already been writing its own facts to support their ideology, has started the Conservative Bible Project to remove all this liberal bias from the Bible. This is comparable to how they have rewritten the works of the founding fathers to deny the existence of separation of church and state.  (Hat tip to Rachel Weiner)

Following are the ten principles they are using in their rewriting of the Bible:

  1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
  2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
  3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]
  4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.
  5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”;[5] using modern political terms, such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census
  6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
  7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
  9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
  10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”

Amy Sullivan wonders what they will come with for a conservative, free market interpretation of “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Even some conservatives realize how crazy this is. Rod Dreher writes, “the insane hubris of this really staggers the mind. These right-wing ideologues know better than the early church councils that canonized Scripture? They really think it’s wise to force the word of God to conform to a 21st-century American idea of what constitutes conservatism? These jokers don’t worship God. They worship ideology.”

Ed Morrissey writes:

…if one believes the Bible to be the Word of God written for His purposes, which I do, then the idea of recalibrating the language to suit partisan political purposes in this age is pretty offensive — just as offensive as they see the “liberal bias” in existing translations.  If they question the authenticity of the current translations, then the only legitimate process would be to work from the original sources and retranslate.  And not just retranslate with political biases in mind, but to retranslate using proper linguistic processes and correct terminology.

Update: While conservative bloggers have joined liberal bloggers in mocking this item, as I noted above, at least one nutty right wing blogger has the audacity to try to turn this around into a means to attack liberal bloggers. I won’t give someone who lies about what I have written the dignity of a link back, but will mention this briefly for the benefit of those who have following his link. He misrepresented this post to imply that I am writing as if all conservatives take Conservapedia seriously (while making the equally absurd assertion that “no conservative blogger has ever cited, referenced or in any form acknowledged ‘conservapedia’ as a source for anything ever.”)  This is despite the fact that in writing this post I quoted the reaction of three other bloggers and intentionally used conservatives for two out of three responses.

The same blogger had also submitted an almost incoherently written comment which attacks liberals while distorting the substance of this post. I responded the way I generally respond to liars who distort posts in commenting. I generally delete such comments and place the author in the blacklist so that I will not have to waste any more time looking at other comments they might submit.

Doctors Support a Public Plan Because Our Chances of Actually Getting Paid Are Better Than From Private Insurance

Big Government claims that, in supporting a public plan, doctors are endorsing the largest denier of health care claims. The selected data they cite is misleading and the blog’s argument is contrary to our actual experience. The chances of getting paid is far better from Medicare than most private insurance companies assuming Medicare was correctly billed as primary insurance. Such personal experience is what is going to influence physician support for a public plan–not selective quoting of statistics by conservative blogs.

The post lists a column on percentage of claim lines denied but doesn’t account for the reason. In real world experience, the number of denials is a small fraction of this. Another number which is far more consistent with my real world experience is percentage of claim lines reduced to zero. By this measurement Medicare is far more likely to actually send payment.

When my office does have Medicare claims rejected, by far the most common reason is that the patient was enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but is unaware that their coverage was changed. When physicians support a public plan we are supporting a plan based upon the original government Medicare program before it was screwed up by George Bush and the Republicans. I have also seen far more incorrect rejections of claims from Medicare Advantage plans, often taking multiple phone calls and faxes to fix, than I see from the government Medicare plan.

The second most common reason for denials I see is when a patient has Medicare but the patient or a spouse are working and another policy is actually primary. Medicare for All would fix that problem.

There are also situations where Medicare is pickier than other insurances on technical matters, but these rejections are easy to fix. The most common rejection of this type I experience is when an employee makes a mistake in typing in the Medicare number.

When a claim does need to be corrected, it is generally a simple matter to correct and resubmit the claim electronically. In contrast, if many private insurance plans initially reject a claim they will then reject fixed claims as duplicates, making it more difficult (and time consuming for physician offices) to actually get payment.

Medicare also has a number of rules by which they pay for certain services but their rules are all posted on line. It is generally easy to figure out what it takes to get a claim paid, but I’m sure that some physicians fail to pay attention to this and might be responsible for a larger number of rejections. In contrast, private insurance plans often reject claims without providing any good explanation. Often private plans will require prior authorization, taking up more staff time and increasing office overhead.

Private plans reject claims due to preexisting conditions. Medicare never does this. Private plans sometimes also find ways to drop a patient when they become too expensive, but this is not a problem with Medicare. Once a patient is dropped by private insurance plans, no more claims are submitted and this is not reflected in their percentage.

The bottom line is that in general Medicare pays us more reliably than private plans. It is also less expensive to bill Medicare as they don’t play the types of games private insurance plans often do in order to get payment. It is no surprise that so many doctors support a public plan as part of health care reform, with many also supporting Medicare for All.

Update: Another important factor is that there is a fair system of appeals and due process when Medicare claims are rejected. On rare cases where I have had rejections because of Medicare claiming that something was not necessary I have been successful in appealing their decision and receiving payment. If an appeal is not successful it can be taken to an administrative law judge. This is far less likely to be successful with private insurance.

Liberty Counsel’s Program to Pray For Liberals

You just can’t make up stuff stranger than what is coming out of the right wing. The Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, has started a program to adopt a liberal and pray for them:

Since the landmark 2008 general election, there can be no doubt that a very large percentage of our Nation’s leaders have a liberal mindset. The undeniable fact is that the 111th Pelosi-Reid Congress and the Obama Administration demonstrate a far left political philosophy. And since the President nominates federal judges and Justices of the United States Supreme Court, the judicial branch of government could take on a decidedly more liberal bent as the Obama Administration wears on.

Liberty Counsel has therefore named this special new prayer-in-action program Adopt a Liberal. And that’s exactly what we invite you to do — adopt a liberal who is in authority for regular, intense prayer in accord with St. Paul’s admonition to his disciple, Timothy. In fact, we expect that many of our friends and supporters will choose to adopt many liberals as subjects of regular prayer!

Pick one or more of the liberals from the list we have posted online at, or choose your own liberal(s) to adopt. If you are led to choose one or more of the liberals we have selected for consideration, please read their brief biographical statement, including the reasons they stand in need of prayer.

Pray earnestly and intensely for them! Pray that the Lord would move upon them and cause them to be the kind of leaders who will encourage others to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” We encourage you to seek the Lord’s guidance on how to pray for your liberal(s), always allowing Him to temper your prayer with His love and mercy.

Please pray daily for the liberal(s) of your choice, so each can become a good influence on our Nation’s culture. Prayer is powerful! It allows God to change the minds of those for whom we are praying. In fact, we fully expect that many of our adoptees will “graduate” from this prayer program with vivid testimonies of God having changed their lives and worldviews!

They even provide a list of names of liberals to pray for, including the “Unknown Liberal” for any additional liberals:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Congressman Barney Frank
Director John Holdren
Mr. Barry Lynn
Secretary Janet Napolitano
President Barack Obama
Senator Harry Reid
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Senator Olympia Snowe
The “Unknown Liberal”

Reading the warped descriptions of the views of the people on their list is also good for a few laughs.

(Hat tip to Amygdala and Andrew Sullivan)