GOP Leader Finally Admits Republicans Practiced The “Southern Strategy”

We know it is true. I’ve seen many Republican deny it. Finally GOP Chairman Michael Steele has admitted it. Steele admits that the Republicans have practiced the Southern Strategy–appealing to racial bias in order to win elections.

“We have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans,” Steele said. “This party was co-founded by blacks, among them Frederick Douglass. The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don’t walk away from parties. Their parties walk away from them.

“For the last 40-plus years we had a ‘Southern Strategy’ that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, ‘Bubba’ went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton.”

And now the Republicans see a black man in the White House, and are sure taking advantage of this to motivate their base.

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WellPoint Targeted Women With Breast Cancer To Drop Coverage

This is a rational business decision, but also shows why we need health care reform. Reuters reports that WellPoint has been targeting women with breast cancer to cancel their policies:

Shortly after they were diagnosed with breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled. There was Yenny Hsu, who lived and worked in Los Angeles. And there was Patricia Reilling, a successful art gallery owner and interior designer from Louisville, Kentucky.

Neither of these women knew about the other. But besides their similar narratives, they had something else in common: Their health insurance carriers were subsidiaries of WellPoint, which has 33.7 million policyholders — more than any other health insurance company in the United States.

The women paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, neither had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.

They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.

Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information. WellPoint declined to comment on the women’s specific cases without a signed waiver from them, citing privacy laws.

That tens of thousands of Americans lost their health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with life-threatening, expensive medical conditions has been well documented by law enforcement agencies, state regulators and a congressional committee. Insurance companies have used the practice, known as “rescission,” for years. And a congressional committee last year said WellPoint was one of the worst offenders.

But WellPoint also has specifically targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent to cancel their policies, federal investigators told Reuters. The revelation is especially striking for a company whose CEO and president, Angela Braly, has earned plaudits for how her company improved the medical care and treatment of other policyholders with breast cancer.

Many things are handled best by the free market, but financing of health care is not one of them. The profit motive which does make the market work well in many situations gives the insurance industry incentives such as this to improve profits by finding ways to deny coverage. As this example shows, the consequences are too serious when insurance companies are motivated to drop the coverage of women because they have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Large Majority Opposes Putting Reagan on $50 Bill

Ronald Reagan does not do as well as I would have predicted in this poll. A Republican congressman from North Carolina has proposed legislation that would replace the  President Ulysses S. Grant on the fifty dollar bill Ronald Reagan. A Marist poll found that only 12 percent support this with 79 percent opposed. Even among Republicans there is not much support for this with 71 percent in opposition. This is less than other groups with 83 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of independents opposing the change.

Fox and CNN

If you watch both Fox and CNN you are not getting all viewpoints as I’ve heard some people claim. CNN has been dominated by Republicans since Ted Turner sold it. They try to adhere to journalistic standards but do a mediocre job in reporting the news. Fox is outright far right wing propaganda. Either way you are only …getting part of the story if these are your news sources.

(A follow-up Facebook status to the one posted yesterday)

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Poll Shows Americans Still Don’t Understand Health Care Reform–But Like Individual Components

Kaiser’s Health Tracking Poll shows Americans remain confused about the health care legislation. Eight out of ten Americans know that the health care reform legislation has passed with 55 percent saying they are confused about the law. Of course this doesn’t keep them from having an opinion. As with most polls, those answering do not actually understand what is in the law. On the overall law, 46 percent view it favorably and  40 percent view it  unfavorably. When asked how they personally expect to be affected by the law, 31 percent of Americans say they expect personally to be better off because of the law,  32 percent say they will be worse off, and 30 percent say they don’t expect to be affected.

Those responding showed limited understanding of the law when asked about specific components, but some improvement has been seen. For example, last month 10 percent were aware of the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment that the bill would reduce the deficit, with this number now up to 25 percent. When asked about the provisions which take effect this year, a majority supports eleven out of eleven measures polled. In most cases Republicans joined Democrats in supporting these early measures.