Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Talk about throwing people under a bus

Let me rephrase that title: Talk about throwing people under a wheelchair. This comes from an interview with Tea Party favorite Rand Paul in Lexington over the weekend. Paul is running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
Paul was asked whether he supports the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark 1990 legislation that established a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. Paul said he advocates local governments to decide whether disabled individuals deserve rights. Requiring businesses to provide access to disabled people, Paul argued, isn’t “fair to the business owner.”
Nope, it's not fair. Business owners should spend their money on political candidates like Paul instead of disabled people just trying to make a living.

Even more bizarrely, Paul believes his suggestion is nothing more than common sense:
PAUL: You know a lot of things on employment ought to be done locally. You know, people finding out right or wrong locally. You know, some of the things, for example we can come up with common sense solutions — like for example if you have a three story building and you have someone apply for a job, you get them a job on the first floor if they’re in a wheelchair as supposed to making the person who owns the business put an elevator in, you know what I mean? So things like that aren’t fair to the business owner. [...]
So, in Paul's opinion, it makes more sense to physically isolate someone in a wheelchair from his/her coworkers on the third floor. He should have been honest and said what he really meant - their desks should be placed in the boiler room or a corner of the janitor's closet where they'll be out of sight of "normal" people.

Honestly, this is one of the more despicable things I've heard from conservatives/teabaggers lately, and there's been a lot of terrible stuff said about immigrants, gays, Muslims, blacks, etc. One would almost think they want to achieve some sort of racial purity.

Update: This article from Bloomberg Businessweek highlights why the disabled need the ADA:
A federal report castigated a Texas company for abusing and underpaying several mentally disabled men who were housed in a ramshackle building while working at an Iowa turkey processing plant.

The report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Henry's Turkey Service underpaid the men at least $1 million over three years, verbally and physically abused them, and committed several major violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Des Moines Register reported Friday.
It all boiled down to greed.
The report found that West Liberty Foods paid Henry's Turkey Service as much as $11,000 per week for the disabled men's labor. Henry's Turkey Service then paid the men a combined total of between $340 and $500 per week, or about 41 cents an hour, The Des Moines Register reported.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

McCotter's Slanted Newsletter On Health Care Costs

From Thad McCotter's latest newsletter comes this ominous news:
On April 22, 2010, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new analysis of President Obama’s government health care plan, confirming our nation’s health care costs will increase rather than decrease and violating a pledge the President made to the nation on September 10, 2009.
McCotter then went on to list many of CMS's negative conclusions without noting the positives, and he also neglected to provide analysis explaining the difference between the CBO's earlier estimate and this one. Fortunately, Ezra Klein provided the facts:
The Congressional Budget Office's estimates look at the deficit. CMS is looking at total national health expenditures. This often confuses people into thinking that there's conflict between the two sets of numbers when there isn't: CBO says that federal spending is going to go up to pay for the coverage expansion, but that savings and revenue will go up by even more, leading to a net reduction in the federal deficit.

CMS is looking only at the spending side. And here's what it finds: In 2019, implementation of the Affordable Care Act will reduce the ranks of the uninsured by 34 million people and increase nation health expenditures by 1 percent.

One percent.

And that 1 percent is actually 1 percent and falling: When the legislation is fully implemented in 2016, the spending increase will be 2 percent. But cost controls kick in over those years and bring it down to 1 percent. Assuming the trend holds, the second decade will see national health expenditures fall below what spending would've been if the bill hadn't passed.
Or, to put it in dollars and cents (emphasis added):
Third Way, the centrist policy outfit, sent over its own analysis of the data. "The fact is that by 2019, national health spending per insured person will be $15,132 compared to $16,812 without the new law," they write. "That’s 10 percent less spending per insured person than it would have been, according to the actuary’s report."
That study suddenly doesn't look so bad. We'll be insuring 34 million people and spending less money than we would have been if nothing had been done. That sounds like a good deal to me.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for Michigan.)