Archive for Health Care

Divert Political Anger With All-Dem DC

Independents and self-described Conservatives are pissed. Number one is Congress does nothing. That’s hard to argue with but easy to fix.

Let’s consider for a moment the odious Donald Trump’s “What do you have to lose?” That’s jive from the con artist. Yet that question haunts.

If all the angry voters, or even most of them, get real on November 8th, the fix is before them. Elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Senate. Then watch and wonder. The obstructionism we all despise will vanish. The do-nothing Congress will become a do-it-all legislature.

Four or eight years of a healthier, richer, more righteous America await.

Each and all of us tend to love our memes and clichés, even the most irrational and unsupported ones. Beware those who orate and proclaim of their statements, “It’s only common sense.” Nearly always that means, “I got nothing here. Just don’t question or challenge me.”

I grew up hearing what I still do about U.S. civics. A recurring theme is that you need to divide government to keep it in check. At its worst, as i the past eight years, we have seen check become checkmate. The do-nothing Congress, both GOP-led houses, dragged our economic recovery, stymied expanded health care and on and on.

The “common sense” types pretend that Dems are monolithic and wildly leftists, instead of the wishy-washy moderates nearly all are. The likes of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two lighthouses in an unmoving sea of blah.

Electing a Dec-controlled Senate and ideally matching it was a Dem House could mean only what they right wingers and angry voters of all stripe have screamed for — a Congress that accomplishes the necessary, passes legislation and moves America forward.

Liberal/Conservative SCOTUS leanings and votes here.

One of many economists’ papers showing how much better the U.S. economy does with a Democratic POTUS. Reasons are debatable; results are not.

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MA AG on Changing Opioid Culture

Maura Healey, the MA Attorney General, joined me for a quick show on her efforts to reverse the addition and deaths of opioids. She reminded me that she promised this as a priority two years ago when she was running for office. She’s on it.

Last week, I covered the new prescription drug law. You can hear that here.

Listen in as she talks about her office’s multifaceted approach of education and enforcement. This is serious stuff with daily deaths and addition everywhere in the commonwealth. She looks at the US having 5% of the world’s population consuming 80% of the opioids. She has plans and policies to change that.

icon for podpress  MA AG on opioids [16:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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O’Connor Ives Podcast

Three-term Newburyport Councilor Kathleen O’Connor Ives joined us to talk about her run for the open MA Senate seat in 1st Essex. She acknowledged it’s a tough field. She wants to beat out two other Democrats in next week’s primary. There are also two unenrolled and two Republicans after the spot.

As her website details, she has staked out specific proposals across a spectrum of issues from the environment to economic redevelopment to public safety to women’s rights to campaign-finance reform. She bristled only once with us, at the mention that one of her opponents likes to portray himself as the progressive in the race. She pointed out that her positions gives her as much right.

Listen in as she speaks to her policies and planks. We covered a wide range of topics, as well as her collaborative style by which she expects to pass legislation. She also differentiated herself from her fellow Dems in the race. For example, she said they stress their executive experience, which she says is not all that useful for a job that would entail understanding policy, parsing proposed legislation and researching. As an environmental lawyer, she thinks she has a leg up here.

Listen in as she presents herself as “not a Pollyanna.” Yet she is relentlessly hopeful and has a clear sense of direction.

icon for podpress  Kathleen O'Connor Ives [31:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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David Kravitz on ACA Podcast

How ’bout that Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. health reform or in the vernacular ObamaCare)? Our particularly savvy guest today was David Kravitz. He is a founder of the BlueMassGroup — as a disclaimer, Ryan, Lynne and Mike have all participated there for many years. Vocationally, he is an accomplished and knowledgeable attorney. Avocationally and coincidentally, he is an opera singer.

We had a few questions, which led David into both background and speculation, in both of which he was comfortable. He walked us through the history and contrasts with the Massachusetts version of health reform. He jumped right into his thoughts first on why the SCOTUS could use Congressional taxing powers to justify the ACA and second why it chose not to (although it could have) used its interstate-commerce authority. Listen in if you had questions about the reasoning.

He dealt with the individual mandate in detail. He spoke to the part of the ACA ruling that muddled the Medicaid expansion…including his thoughts on whether the currently blustering set of conservative governors will really turn down the many federal millions when push comes to shove.

Click below to listen in to his insights on why the SCOTUS rules and what the divisions this term may mean for their collegiality. He also expressed views on what’s next for health care reform and how November’s election will affect that.

icon for podpress  Kravitz on ACA [34:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Double Week: Kravitz on ACA and Dolan on 3rd Middlesex

Check us twice at 2:30 Eastern this week. We have a lawyerly, operatic analysis on the Affordable Care Act on Monday and Mara Dolan updating her run for 3rd Middlesex District of the MA Senate.

Catch David Kravitz on Monday, July 16th, analyzing the recent SCOTUS ruling on health care. While this founder of the BlueMassGroupDavid Kravitz is a highly trained, professional opera singer, he earns his way as an attorney and is known for his political commentary at BMG.

We’ll try to educe both the constitutionality/commerce/tax angles as well as discuss the future of this nascent health reform. If you can join us live, get the show then here.

The next afternoon at the same 2:30, Mara DolanMara Dolan will discuss how her campaign and the race in general are going. She promises to discuss strategy and the other contenders. This is an exciting race for an open seat. We’ll surely have other candidates on again. Meanwhile check our archives for all five Democratic candidates.

If you can listen live to Mara’s show Tuesday, catch it here.

Of course, both shows will be available after showtime back here, at BlogTalkRadio and on our iTunes channnel.

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Joe Kearns Goodwin Podcast

In the crowded (5 Dems and 2 GOP sorts) for MA Senate 3rd Middlesex to replace Susan Fargo, Joe Kearns Goodwin says he has the consensus-building and problem-identifying/solving background to lead in the job. He joined us today to describe his personality, abilities, and aims.

Click below to listen in as he he hits his positions on health care, higher education, job growth, taxes and more. You can also get a rudimentary sense of him at his campaign site. He noted though that it is new and about to be enhanced with a fleshed out platform and more very soon.

We touched first on his well known parents as well as his unusual post-Ivy service on two war fronts following 9/11. He also spoke of how much working for U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, who taught him how you can accomplish much in public office while saying what you really think and not compromising on fundamental beliefs.

Listen in as he describes his ideas for increasing employment in MA, reducing health-care costs, supporting businesses, seeing that our workers have the skills for jobs here.

icon for podpress  Joe Kearns Goodwin [31:52m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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King Who Would Be Senator Podcast

Dropping note: OK, boys and girls, word at MassLive is that King decided to drop out of the race the day after our show with him. I hope it wasn’t something we said. Enjoy the commentary in that context.

Jim King does not accept being an afterthought candidate in the race for the Dem nomination to challenge US Sen. Scott Brown this fall. He figures his platform is the best, he’ll have enough money to compete, and he’ll get the 10,000 signatures and 15% of party delegates for the June convention. He intends to get on the September ballot, at the very least.

He takes strong positions, which he tends to back up with detailed historical and economic reasoning. Some, like energy independence and employment, he has particular passions for as well.

He told us plainly why he was in the race. “Number one is to beat Scott Brown,” he said. He believes the incumbent’s victory in the special election following Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death was an anomaly. He feels Kennedy “gave us a tremendous legacy,” one Brown has not done well by. He added that this position may not be Kennedy’s seat, “but he showed us how to use it.”

Click below to listen to King’s positions including:

  • Jobs — we need WPA/TVA-style public works projects as well as developing and expanding high-tech here
  • Casinos — no economic panacea
  • Corporate taxes — eliminate outdated subsidies like petroleum depletion and exploration credits, and make U.S. companies pay taxes on foreign holdings
  • Immigration — For non-violent/non-drug crime illegal immigrants, have them pay fines, make them follow the path to citizenship, and forget expensive, counterproductive long jail terms or deportation
  • Regressive politics — Brown among other GOP legislators are too often atavistic in promoting states-rights positions on health-care and more

King also believes that there is enough money to fund important development, like tidal power plants and wind turbines, without tapping the military budget. He acknowledges that self-interested Congress members might prefer to send money to pet projects, but he says, “Then let’s have a fight about it.”

His website has a clear, detailed section for each of his position.

icon for podpress  Jim King [32:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Khazei Calling for People to Rise Up

Alan Khazei somehow manages to be simultaneously smart, politically experienced and optimistic. Speaking with us today of the dreadful economic and employment problems as well as awful political forces, he still is confident we’ll get through it as a nation and thrive.

Doing so will require both strong governmental action and popular uprising to correct the problems. Click the player below to hear him describe the problems and solutions.

The highly accomplished social entrepreneur is not about to relax after withdrawing from the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate seat nomination. He proposed the widest ranging and most specific platform of issues with sub-issues in the race. Many of these are progressive goals he has worked for over the past several decades. He intends to find ways to accomplish them.

In case there is any doubt, he does not see the incumbent Sen. Scott Brown as a possible champion of what’s necessary for the nation. Toward the end of our half hour, he notes that Brown came in with a perfect opportunity to form a bipartisan caucus. “He could have done anything,” Khazei said. Instead, Brown has not been the game-changing leader people need and expected.

He spoke to us of the travesties of the Citizens United decision and the codification of corporations as people and money as free speech. Instead of these and such regressive moves as states requiring voter ID and otherwise limiting election participation, he wants same-day registration and other moves to open the process to more Americans. The greater the number of voters with access determines who’s elected and the quality of government, he said. To fix the dysfunctional political system requires people to rise up and demand it.

For the economic and employment side, he sees the need for state and national government to do all possible to get more Americans back to work. In the process, that can mean modern equivalents of the NRA, WPA and CCC. With that could come repairing the nation’s infrastructure and modern benefits like retrofitting green building features. The larger process would put more of us to work and more money and growth in the economy. Listen in as he describes the role national service and similar efforts can play.

Again and again, he returned to the point that “ultimately, it’s going to take a citizen movement” to implement these actions. In that vein, he said early on that far too many politicians and bureaucrats in Washington are “stuck in the Beltway.” Many are not aware that “there are a lot of great answers” beyond.

By the bye, he did not endorse anyone for the Senate race, but did say that he would campaign for the eventual nominee if asked.

icon for podpress  Alan Khazei [34:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Pressley Home Stretch Podcast

Ayanna PressleyIt’s near impossible to mention Boston At-Large Councilor Ayanna Pressley without the epithet, first woman of color in the body’s 101 years. That’s true enough and important in that she leads on underplayed issues like domestic violence, advancement of women and girls, and protection of children.

As she made plain in today’s podcast, she wants voters to make her gender one factor, her race one factor, but to concentrate on her record and future aims. She also thinks making voters aware of how many micro and macro issues affecting their lives that the Council has a hand in will get people involved.

She admitted that many still see municipal government as the bottom rung of power. Instead, “it the form of government closest to the community,” she said. “The issues we’re working on are things they pray about in math, curse about watching the evening news, and shake their heads about when reading the newspaper.” (By the bye, she advocates a return to civics classes in the BPS to aid awareness.)

After getting about 42,000 votes to win her first term in a large turnout election, including a mayoral race, she expects and is working for getting her supporters out on Nov. 8th. She figures to stay in office if her base — progressives, women, voters of color and her home community — turns out. As Mayor Tom Menino said in her support at a recent Hyde Park visit, she’s only been in office one term and has not built up a machine. She said she is working hard to make sure her people hit the polls.

She had the grace to be our guest despite laryngitis scratching up her voice.

We talked about her joint campaigning with at-large Councilor John Connolly (long-term friend with shared interests, whose greatest benefits are providing an entry by appearing together, not by sharing funds, which have to be matched dollar for dollar). She spoke of her adjustment to the reality that Councilors on two-year terms had to raise money and campaign every day. We got into the issue of identity politics, such as erstwhile and hopeful at-large Councilor Michael Flaherty, trying to mine South Boston’s votes. Pressley noted that Districts 2, 3 and 7 all have contested races, which she expects to bump up the predictions of dismal turnout this time.

She described her sense of accomplishment in getting right to work from the beginning on big areas and granular ones. She is wont to say she doesn’t want to be an historical footnote (as in first woman of color on the Council), rather she wants her record to shine.

On the way, she has found out that unlike when she worked for U.S. Congressmen, “the expectation for a City Councilor is that you are at everything.” She hits as many events and public appearances as she can while still doing her job at City Hall, but there’s “always one place you are not.” She called this expectation “the blessing and the beauty and power of it, but it’s also the burden of it.”

icon for podpress  Ayanna Pressley [30:57m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Warren: Elite Hick Podcast

With a charming blend of confidence and self-effacement, U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren handled all the three of us could throw her way in a half hour. Listen with the player below or download and play for the whole show.

We tried to cover some areas we had not seen her run through in her many recent appearances on news shows and debate-like events. We did concentrate on economic issues and her seven priorities for rebuilding the American middle class.

She can be colorful and trotted out a few metaphors she uses in stump speeches. “The house is on fire,” she said of the U.S. economy and its effect on the lower and middle classes. She presented a variety of solutions. That is a clear distinction between her and other Dem and GOP candidates for next year’s election. She defines herself as “a straight-up-the-middle gal,” and makes strong proposals.

Listen in as she answers in the affirmative when asked whether we needed an NRA/WPA-style effort to restart the economy. She explained how setting unemployed American, both in construction and the education and municipal sectors, to work immediately can create cash flow to inspire business rebulding and expansion, as well as repairing our crumbling infrastructure.

Asked bluntly whether she saw herself as a new version of the lion of the Senate as the driven Edward Kennedy was, she almost repliled yes. She spoke of meeting Ted meaningfully for the first time and getting a commitment from him to propel major legislation, on top of his already massive commitments. She said that was an inspiration for her and she tries to live it.

She was never short of humor either. For one example, asked about being derided by opponents for being from Oklahoma and on the other hand spending the past 17 years teaching at Harvard, she said, “I’m a new category, an elite hick.”

Warren sees possibities for important legislation passing, even with the existing filibuster potential and GOP blocking. Listen in as she defines how she got her consumer finance legislation enacted over dire predictions of failure. She describes being clear on the message, describing the issues, and getting a lot of people to go with it. “When people get engaged, yes, the Senate can move,” she told us.

Short-term, she also sees tough challenges as well as such potential. For one, she describes he current effort to roll back health-care gains passed recently. That would include overturning prohibitions on pre-existing conditions and coverage for students under 26 on parents’ plan and annual wellness checks (physicals) for seniors.

Warren was plain that her deciding to run was not for the glory or power of being in the Senate. “I’m running because there are things I want to change.”

icon for podpress  Elizabeth Warren [40:17m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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