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Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Saturday Morning News

Posted by on Sat, Feb 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM

It's Saturday, you guys! Can you believe it?

The Wictims Win: President Obama bows to the American Catholic church by withdrawing the White House's plan to require private employers (including religious organizations, like all those Catholic hospitals) to provide health insurance that covers contraception. Instead, insurance companies will be required to provide that coverage free of charge. The compromise with Catholics may seem like a miracle, considering that Obama is a Muslim. But the red-wing blogs, bloviators, and email alerts were just getting going. It's hard to imagine Obama being able to comfortably skirt this issue while seeking reelection to the White House. Here's the NYT quoting Obama explaining that it was largely a political calculation:

“After the many genuine concerns that have been raised over the last few weeks, as well as, frankly, the more cynical desire on the part of some to make this into a political football, it became clear that spending months hammering out a solution was not going to be an option,” Mr. Obama said on Friday.

My TCW: The religious liberty and conscience argument being raised by the Catholic church, which is ostensibly worried about paying for birth control, (and legislators who are expressing concern about florists and photographers being forced to serve gay couples) has less to do with contraception and gay marriage, and more to do with a clever sleight of hand. No longer is the Catholic Church bullying women and LGBT people, in this framing, they're the victims being forced to forgo their religious convictions. It's a trick and it's working.

Obama Budget: "Raise taxes on the rich and pump nearly $500 billion into new transportation projects over the next decade."

Yup: I'll take the jumper.

In Pressing Media Matters: Five of Murdcoch's people at the Sun tabloid were arrested for allegedly bribing bobbies. And in case you wondered: My worst nightmare is accidentally taking a job that requires me to write this sort of story.

Less Bad: State finds an extra $200 million to shore up $1.5 billion budget shortfall.

WHAT?!!! There is no more news.

I've reached the point in my life where I'm strong enough to say this: I really like Wham!

 

Comments (28) RSS

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COMTE 1
Well, the poor, widdle oppressed Catholic Church may have won the battle, but it's a Pyrrhic victory at best, since their female employees will STILL receive free contraception under the revised plan. The only thing that's changed is that the insurance companies - and not the Church - will be paying for it.

I hope, once it goes into effect, every female employee of the Church who takes advantage of this, makes a point of telling the monsignors how grateful they are to not have to worry about unwanted pregnancies - as loud and as often as they can. Once the clergy realizes roughly 90+% of their female employees are flouting Church doctrine on the matter, maybe THEN they'll STFU with their great, yapping, body-of-Christ-holes.
Posted by COMTE on February 11, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Fnarf 2
These crazy right-wingers are bitterly fighting for a thing they don't even believe in. Catholics? Catholics are more likely to use birth control and more likely to want it paid for than the general population. This is all to appease the lunatic fringe, AND THE LUNATIC FRINGE USES BIRTH CONTROL.

This is pure "whatever Obama wants, I'm against".

And they used to jabber about "Bush Derangement Syndrome". Fuck them. Fucking degenerate morons.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 11, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Vince 3
They keep thundering about "freedom" but what they clearly want is to deny the freedom of others. That's the freedom they want. Sic semper tyrannis.
Posted by Vince on February 11, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
4
Obama played the church on the contraceptives things. I'll bet he had this whole, 'oh, we'll just make the insurers pay' thing in his pocket the whole time.

Put forward a proposal that has pretty decent support, let the other side reveal their true crazy, then put forward a reasonable compromise where you still get everything you want. He's accomplished the goal of making sure every women will have contraceptive coverage and painted his opponents as backwards nutjobs angry about something everyone uses.

That's a win.
Posted by giffy on February 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 5
$500 Billion over a decade really isn't that much when you consider the entire country is at least a generation behind the rest of the developed world in transportation issues. This is an example putting a band aid on cancer and expecting it all to get better.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 11, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Aaron 6
I like Wham! too.
Posted by Aaron on February 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM · Report this
7
This is why the left isn't taken seriously, they spout this shit and then scratch their heads why people are laughing at them.

I'll spell it out: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Just how exactly are the insurance companies going to pay for the "free" coverage.
Posted by delbert on February 11, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Foghorn Leghorn 8
@7 but that's the brilliance of it. The insurance companies will pass on the cost. So the catholic run hospitals, charities, bowling alleys, contraceptive manufacturers, clown colleges and mobile Grape juice and Jeezit taco trucks ("Nothing beats the taste of Our Lord!TM") will ultimately end up with the bill.
Posted by Foghorn Leghorn on February 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Daddy Love 9
There is nothing much to like about Wham! If you like R&B, listen to the real thing. If you must have '80's britpop R&B, listen to the infinitely better The Jam.
Posted by Daddy Love on February 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Daddy Love 10
@delbert - The way they pay for everything, which is exactly the point. Everyone contributes and the Right is minus one issue because the Church is off their team.
Posted by Daddy Love on February 11, 2012 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Free Lunch 11
@7 - At minimum, the cost of a birth, including prenatal care, is $10,000. A cesarian procedure alone costs up to $40,000, and those are becoming more and more common. And then, there's the kid, which will rack up doctor's fees on the parent's insurance for 26 years.

Whereas birth control is $500/yr. Sounds like a free lunch to me.
Posted by Free Lunch on February 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM · Report this
pissy mcslogbot 12
@7: thing is the insurance companies really won't have to pay for this coverage like at all, because contraception and preventative care is far less expensive and easier to deliver & manage than the always costly and at times complicated OB/pre-natal et all care.

more than likey the thing to be really concerned about is just how the insurance companies do end up using that windfall in cost of coverage differences.


Another thing people should remember is that thwse Catholic schools, Hospitals and charities are big, BIG Businesses that receive government grants and employ hundreds of thousands across the country, and that a substantial portion of those empoyees are non-Catholic.
Posted by pissy mcslogbot on February 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Free Lunch 13
So, their plan to retake the White House is to oppose contraception, something which 98% of couples rely on? It must be depressing to be a Republican these days.
Posted by Free Lunch on February 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Aaron 14
@9 Wikipedia says:
This was reflected in their earliest singles which, part-parody, part-social comment, briefly earned Wham! a reputation as a dance protest group.

No such claim can be made for The Jam - how can you not like a band with origins in dance protest?
Posted by Aaron on February 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
15
#9

The Jam and Wham other than sharing a final consonant have nothing to do with each other.

The Jam were the New Wave mods, to the Sex Pistols rockers.

Wham were in the tradition of mid 80s Brit synth pop bands starting with Soft Cell.

And they and Michaels solo had some of the most brilliant hooks, pop melodies and car radio tunes ever created!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
16
There is no shame in Wham. None at all.
Posted by Confluence on February 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
stinky 17
I'm still at a point in my life where I am weak enough to say Wham! is teh suck.
Posted by stinky on February 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
biju 18
"Freedom" and "Edge of Heaven" were some fine tunes
Posted by biju on February 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 19
Delbert: Do you also need help figuring out what the different colors on traffic signals mean?
Posted by Dr_Awesome on February 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
20
Requiring health insurance companies to provide contraceptive care "free of charge" is a face-saving accounting ruse, like pretending tax exemptions for churches aren't economically equivalent to direct government subsidies. Health insurance companies aren't charities and the cost of "free" birth control will be reflected in premiums, including those paid by Catholic institutions. But it was a politically adept maneuver by the Obama administration, which got what it wanted while reminding the public just how reactionary the Catholic Church and its Republican defenders truly are.

And I can't resist repeating that we wouldn't have had to waste time on this unnecessary complication (or on a whole host of others) if Obama hadn't kicked his progressive base to the curb the day after the election and had instead enlisted their support in fighting for single-payer. But since Lawrence O'Donnell has a higher Q score than I do, I'll let him do the talking for me:

How America got into birth control mess
The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell - 8 February 2012
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45755883/vp/…
Posted by PCM on February 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
21
Wham brought us George Michaels. The music was like soft core porn for women, but the output was top notch.
Posted by catballou on February 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
internet_jen 22
Well renowned catholic schools & hospitals already offer BC in their insurance plans because they are competing for the best and the brightest employees.
Posted by internet_jen on February 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
23
I dunno most on the left see this as very good on Obama's part and he get the deal done in a different way. Heck even Goldy agreed with that.
Posted by Democrat1234 on February 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
24
@11 (Free Lunch) and @12 (pissy mcslogbot):

Your point would be well taken if health insurance companies had an intrinsic financial incentive to reduce costs. Under PPACA (ObamaCare), they don't. (And since local oligopolies with preferred or exclusive provider networks will persist under PPACA, competitive pressures to keep costs low will remain weak.)

PPACA establishes minimum "medical loss ratios" (MLRs), meaning a minimum percentage of premium revenue that insurance companies must spend on clinical claims and "health quality" measures. For large-group policies, the minimum MLR is 85%, and for small-group policies it's 80%. Health insurance companies can use the balance of premium revenue for anything else, including administrative costs and profits.

In response to this, health insurance companies have been busy acquiring care providers (to recapture money spent on clinical claims) and lobbying state authorities to classify as many administrative costs as possible as "health quality" costs (to leave more of the balance available for profits). But quite apart from those predictable maneuvers, the MLRs establish what are in effect cost-plus contracts, with a 17.6% [(100-85)/85] markup for the large-group market and a 25% [(100-80)/80] markup for the small-group market. The more the insurance companies spend on clinical claims -- e.g., for prenatal, obstetric, postnatal, and pediatric care -- the bigger the markup, and the more money available for profits.

So no: under PPACA health insurance companies don't have a financial incentive to provide contraceptive care, or any other preventive care for that matter. The way PPACA is set up, preventive care has to be mandated and strictly policed. And (sorry for the repost to those who caught it before) here's how it's working in practice:

Preventive care: It's free, except when it's not
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-12-fr…
More...
Posted by PCM on February 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
JonnoN 25
@24 you make an excellent argument for a single-payer system. Since insurance companies can never be counted on to do the right thing for their customers, it's time to to take them out of the equation and lower the costs for everyone.
Posted by JonnoN http://www.backnine.org/ on February 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
26
About ten years ago I got divorced in Wisconsin and since there were children my wife and I were required to pay $45 each to take a 2 hour class about how to make the divorce positive for the children. In the class they said, "a good divorce is better for children than a bad marriage." - which I agree with. But the class was taught (and the fee accepted) by Catholic Charities under a contract with the State Government. What a bunch of hypocritical scumbags. Especially as the Catholic Church allowed nuns to take birth control if they thought rape was possible. http://books.google.com/books?id=kfoMPgk…
Posted by MikeB on February 11, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
venomlash 27
@15: Actually, they also share a penultimate letter in addition to that last consonant.
Posted by venomlash on February 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 28
If this Obama news surprises you, then you need to come out from under your rock.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on February 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM · Report this

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