Front Page Posts
Mitch McConnell wants to embarrass the moderate women senators who refuse to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan? Okay Mitch. Keep torturing these thoughtful leaders.
The Democratic Party will welcome them with open arms.
Just read in the newspapers that the H2B Visa situation needs tweaking in order to provide labor for businesses on the Cape & Islands because the wealthy class wants cheaper labor and since the “free market” will not meet their needs, they want “the government” to intervene.
Excuse me but…..WHY?
Massachusetts citizens can drop a few hundred grand – or millions – on a vacation home, but can’t afford to pay the citizens of Massachusetts a wage that is bargained for in fairness between working class citizens and the elite of The Commonwealth? Senator John Kerry (D) is selling his old digs on Nantucket for $25 MILLION and buying a place on the Vineyard….but our working class citizens must compete with “shipped in” labor to serve him and his ilk?
Why can’t the wealthy and well-to-do simply PAY a fairly and freely negotiated wage with the labor class of the commonwealth so that our wide and widening wealth disparity can be addressed honestly and in fairly?
And Justice for All?
A major transition: Jeffrey Sanchez has been picked by Speaker DeLeo as the next House Ways and Means chair. Ways and Means could be a stepping stone to the Speakership; that’s where DeLeo was 2005-2009. DeLeo has given no indication that he’s leaving anytime soon.
Does the House tilt somewhat more to the progressive side with Sanchez? Sanchez receives only a B- from ProgressiveMass voting scorecard, compared to DeLeo’s C+.
Most intriguing about Sanchez is that he’s been House Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, and has worked on controlling health care costs. This is a massive part of the budget, of course; and represents the politically-elusive El Dorado of policy.
We’ve watched Congressional Republicans clownishly squeeze the balloon of costs: If you squeeze premiums, deductibles bulge; squeeze risk, coverage losses bulge. The costs don’t magically disappear! And unlike, say, socks, prices in health care are inelastic; people can’t, won’t, and probably shouldn’t “shop around” for the lowest prices. (And Republicans always seem so amazed to find this out: Who knew it was so complicated …)
They’ve avoided tackling the central, real problem of the Affordable Care Act, which is the failure to live up to the word Affordable. There are indeed certain cost controls and attempts at efficiency, but it hasn’t completely remade the health care cost structure, applying the potentially very heavy hand of government to keep prices of services, drugs, and devices down: Price-setting, basically. Even single-payer advocates tend to soft-pedal this approach.
In Massachusetts we’ve had a health care Cost Advisory board since Chapter 58 passed in 2006. But the state is reluctant to confront its prize industry and employer — from PhRMA and devices to docs and hospitals — even as it strains to pay for its Medicaid population. Sanchez’s remarks to the Health Policy Commission in 2016 reflect this tension.
But at least that’s the correct emphasis. Gov. Baker consistently tries to constrain MassHealth eligibility to cut the state’s costs. That this is counter-productive should go without saying. Insuring people of limited means is the whole purpose of the program.
In any event, this might be a sign that Speaker DeLeo is at least looking in the right places for budgetary savings. It’s not the coverage, per se — it’s the costs.
Here’s a microcosm of how hard it is to get new housing approved in many parts of Massachusetts. As the Standard-Times reports, in Mattapoisett one road to just two new houses must present to & get approval from:
- Planning Board
- Conservation Commission
- Police Dept
- Fire Dept
And that’s just the road! The houses are going to have to make it through their own regulatory steeplechase.
Of course, if you tried to build denser housing to accommodate more families at a lower price – townhouses, apartments, etc. – you’d be immediately laughed out of the room altogether.
We don’t explicitly ban new housing for young families, but we try pretty hard, don’t we?
Tonight, TrumpScare lost a humiliating defeat in the Senate as two Republicans — Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) joined Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) — in announcing they could not support a motion to proceed to a vote on the measure.
This loss is a stunning rebuke to Trump and Congressional Republicans on their signature issue for the past 8 years of repealing and replacing Obamacare which remains the law of the land.
Congratulations to all those progressive forces for fighting Trumpism and a special tip of the hat to President Obama for securing healthcare as a sacred birthright of every American.