Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Obamacare Better Than Haslam’s Empty Promises

Haslam Medicaid PlanLast week Gov. Bill Haslam admitted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion would make a big difference for working families and the struggling hospitals in Tennessee.

Even so, immediately thereafter, Haslam said there’ll be no Medicaid expansion, comparing federal health reform to a “clunker,” a run down car, as his reason for not expanding health coverage.

From Memphis Daily News, here’s Haslam:

“It’s all this federal money. It will help hospitals and it will give people better health coverage. All of that is true.”

So what’s Haslam’s reasoning for rejecting healthcare coverage for the hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans who are in need?

“The flipside is Medicaid already takes up a huge portion of our budget. As we expand that, that will make a bigger issue.”

Haslam says caring for working families is too expensive. Predictable, but what he doesn’t say is that taxpayers and the insured already care for people without insurance — in the most expensive and ineffective way possible — through emergency rooms, increased premiums and higher hospital fees.

Haslam’s second excuse is an insult to anyone who’s lived without health coverage.

“The expansion didn’t provide a way to have better health outcomes. It just increased the number of people we covered.

Some truth to Haslam’s blathering excuses: Health coverage saves lives. And being alive is a better “health outcome” than being dead.

dark_bill haslam

In 2009, the American Journal of Public Health published a study that found 45,000 deaths a year are linked to lacking health coverage. The study says uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than working-age Americans who have insurance.

Health insurance also protects our security and livelihood.  As of 2013, medical bills were still the number one cause of bankruptcy in America.

Haslam then said, “I honestly think we can do it better.”

Then do it. Last March, Haslam promised he was working on a plan to expand Medicaid. Nearly a year later, we’re still waiting — to even see the plan.

Working Tennesseans who don’t have insurance through work are counting on the governor to live up to his word. Hospitals and the healthcare workers, too. Just show us that this wasn’t just a political red herring.

Instead Haslam seems content doing nothing and selling his mirage as a healthcare plan while still blaming President Obama and Democrats for even passing Medicaid expansion, the aforementioned “clunker.” More from Haslam:

“So they are saying, ‘Here’s a clunker. Do you want this clunker?”

Yes, people want it. From October through December, 6.3 million Americans signed up for Medicaid health coverage.

Even if Medicaid health insurance were an unpopular “clunker” — it’s not — it’s clear families living without health insurance would rather have a real car from Obama than the empty promise of a great car from Haslam, maybe, someday.

Brandon Puttbrese is a public relations specialist and former communications director at the Tennessee Democratic Party. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.com

Dodging Obama Lays Bare Haslam’s Unprecedented Secrecy

President Barack Obama will visit Nashville, Tenn. today to echo themes from his State of the Union address — expanding high-quality pre-kindergarten and raising the minimum wage so that people who work hard and and play by the rules can afford to live with dignity and raise a family.

With official White House visits, it’s customary for governors to spend some time with the president. But Bill Haslam’s office says the governor only has time to greet Air Force One. And that’s it.

The rest of Haslam’s day is top secret. From the Nashville Post:

His spokesman Dave Smith said the governor “has ECD meetings out of state,” but did not respond to a request late Wednesday seeking details about where the governor was going and with whom he was meeting.

Details about who the governor meets with have been kept hidden from reporters since the beginning of his term. Requests to review the governor’s calendar have been repeatedly rejected by his administration citing “deliberative process privilege.” Governors in other states have made their schedules available for public inspection.

hidingHaslam’s blatant dodge of President Obama is not surprising, but stonewalls built around routine schedule requests are troublesome.

It would be unremarkable if this were the first time Haslam claimed special privileges to cloak his office’s doings from the public, but it’s not.

Today’s snub to transparency is part of a much larger pattern of secrecy —

The closed-door meetings with old business partners who suddenly win no-bid contracts, the constant special interest dealing and unprecedented secrecy have wholly undermine his credibility with anyone paying attention to his actions.

Transparency and accountability are linked hand in hand. Taxpayers cannot hold politicians accountable when they refuse to be open and transparent on basic issues. And Haslam has refused to be open and honest — even with something as simple as his schedule.

He won’t come clean about his secret relationships with lobbyists, and he still insists on hiding his income tax returns (probably because he pays a lower tax rate than working families in Tennessee).

With Haslam’s track record, it’s clear why Tennesseans don’t trust politicians or believe that they’ll put our families’ interests first.

What Will Willie Say Now?

President Barack Obama has endorsed Rep. Steve Cohen in the race for the 9th.

“Congressman Cohen is a proven leader in the United States Congress and a strong voice for Tennessee. Together, we passed historic health care reform and together we’re continuing the fight to renew our economy and bring jobs back to the American people,” Obama said in a statement.

“I am proud to stand with Steve and support his re-election to Congress.”

I wonder if Willie Herenton will call a press conference.

I’ll get the popcorn if you guys bring the beer.

Southern Beale Is Calling BS

The future is a different color that the greasy darkness of crude oil, so says Southern Beale.

One of the hopiest-changeiest things I’ve seen in the past few years is the surge in renewable energy development. The economy is transitioning away from fossil fuels, not because the government is making us do it or because we’re facing an apocalyptic Mad-Max-style future without “the juice” or because people drank Al Gore’s Kool-Aid but because it makes economic sense. It’s where the money is. Eight years of Bush-Cheney and their oil minions couldn’t stop this train because the reality is that it is too expensive not to move away from the dead energy source that fueled our previous economic growth.

The future is green, not black.

We Must Take Action And Educate

The always insightful Maria Brewer at Decoder Rings reminds us that our work is not done in this country.

And now, our work to reclaim our civic duties as Americans has just begun. It was an election like no other, and now it is an administration, a time of keeping promises like no other. I remember other words of Barack Obama’s, stuck in my head from so many various campaign speeches, that I can only paraphrase them here: “I am going to need your help. I can’t do this alone. When we win the White House, we are going to have to keep working and I am going to turn to you all to do the work.”

This was something new, not a campaign promise of rosy-colored-glasses proportions, but a campaign challenge. It rang out to me like the legacy of the famous JFK quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

The Obama administration wants nothing more than to see America’s political will restored. Civic responsibility placed back in the hands of the people. Do we want health care reform? We must organize and make our will known. Do we want energy policy that will create jobs, new investments, and a bright prosperous future? Then we must take action and educate.

Brewer’s post, which she wrote last year and is reminding herself and us,  is about what we have done and what must be done next, despite all odds.

Yes He Did

At Born Again Hippies, we see what has happened this week dissected from the beginning.

I don’t suppose there’s ever a reason to gloat when common sense wins out over fear and hatred, but right about now might be the proper time to hang out the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Of course, Obama lacks the propaganda machine inside the White House that served George Bush so well. But perhaps it’s time to borrow a page from the GOP playbook and hire an Orwellian “phrase changer” like Frank Luntz, or a ruthless strategian like Karl Rove, only one with morals, and go on the offensive. The one thing the Bush machine understood about the gullibility of the American people is; “He who controls the message, controls reality.” It should be noted that after a year of cajoling, reasoning, and extending so many olive branches that he could plant a vineyard, the President’s Health Care Reform Act did not receive a single Republican vote. Their strategy, to obstruct and mislead for the purpose of regaining power, nearly worked; again.

It’s a long read so grab a beer or a cup of coffee but we are getting a history lesson on what was,  and now what is.

The GOP Didn’t Offer An Alternative

That’s what are friend, CuppaJoe, is writing today.

Thanks to a year or more of empty theatrics (call it No Theatre) against any health care reforms, the Republicans in the U.S. and their leaders continue to steer into a wilderness of their own making.

And consider too, before you read further, that I have not been a total supporter of the legislation just adopted by Congress and signed today by the President. I’ve always considered that the underlying problem in the nation is that receiving medical care is operated as a for-profit business, when it should simply be available to those who are in need of it. That puts me somewhere far outside the realms of current political thought — which does not mean my ideas are wrong, they are just unpopular.

And the real cost to the Republican leadership is they offered nothing – absolute zero – to solving the problems any and all Americans face in accessing good health care. Instead, loud and angry voices simply shouted “NOOOOOOOOO!!”, refused to find common ground, refused to create solutions, refused to respect truthfulness and instead embraced Fear of the unknown as policy.

Rising above the fear was still the message that the president continued to reiterate today. Go read Cup of Joe Powell everyday and you will thank me.

Morning Coffee – It’s A Trap Edition

On this very Friday eve while looking at one eye at what Memphis and Tennessee is talking about, we appear to have some enlightening news, some sage advice with a twist and, of course, Harold Ford Jr who isn’t getting any breaks in New York.

Colonel Reb is gone and although it’s not going to happen, having Admiral Ackbar as a school mascot at Ole Miss would make me a very happy camper indeed.

Wait A Minute …

Southern Beale takes on critics of Pres. Barack Obama using a teleprompter.

Alarmingly, this has been picked up as some kind of inside joke among reporters within the mainstream press, even creating the oft-repeated lie that “he used a teleprompter at a school!” (he didn’t). The hypocrisy is not just that every other politician of the modern era uses a teleprompter. The hypocrisy–and I’m talking to our illustrious mainstream media here–is that for eight years the Bush Administration created all sorts of made-for-prime-time phony media moments, which the MSM gobbled up like a starving man at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

The obvious, most notorious example of this was President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” moment, a staged piece of political theater the media gleefully celebrated, from the manly flight-suit landing to the banner to the speech declaring

“In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”Only months later, when Iraq spiraled into chaos, did the media start to question this stunt, and they saved most of their criticism for the actual banner.

She has a point. The MSM tends to go with the “pseudo-sexy” wedge issues instead of, you know, reporting the news that impacts average citizens.