Friday Follies for November 14, 2014

I haven’t used the ‘Follies’ headline for awhile. I do so when there are a number of items appearing on the ‘net but none worthy for a longer post nor discussion.

We won the mid-term ten days ago. We should be celebrating but we’re not. Why? Because we are watching the Washington GOP leadership selling us down the river0—again. The day after the election, McConnell tells a reporter he will not use Congress’ more potent weapon, the power of the purse. “We won’t shut down the government!” he declares meaning he will continue with the stream of CRs and upholding Harry Reid’s plan for funding everything we’re against—Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, open border, and governmental tyranny across the nation.

“Throw the bum out!”  Too late, McConnell has been re-elected as Majority leader. Boehner was re-elected Speaker of the House with only three dissenting votes.

McConnell chosen as next Senate majority leader, Boehner re-elected as House speaker

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell joined House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Thursday at the pinnacle of the congressional and Republican power structures in Washington — two establishment deal-cutters, each on occasion frustrated by the other’s inability to rein in their party’s most zealous ideologues.

The pair, formally selected Thursday to lead their party’s new majority control of Congress, will be charged with guiding Republicans on Capitol Hill for the final two years of President Obama’s presidency. Their success or failure could determine whether the GOP can take back the White House in 2016.

McConnell, 72, is taciturn and rarely cracks a smile. “Why don’t you get a life?” he joked to photographers trying to snap photos of him after he was unanimously chosen by his Senate GOP colleagues Thursday to serve as the new majority leader starting in January.

The article blathers on here, if you’ve the stomach to read it.

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For some good news, Sullivan has been declared the winner in the Alaska Senate race. Begich continues to wallow in his fantasy and has not, as far as I know, conceded the race. No class. A common fault of democrats.

Sullivan brings up the number of GOP Senators to 53. The last race still to be determined is Cassidy vs. Landrieu in Louisiana. Landrieu is pushing the Keystone Pipeline bill in an attempt to gain votes but it doesn’t appears to have helped.

  • Poll commissioned by GOP candidate’s campaign shows massive advantage leading up to Dec. 6 runoff 
  • Win by GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy would bring total Republican pickup to a whopping 10 seats
  • Landrieu is hoping a long-awaited vote on the Keystone XL pipeline will improve her fortunes
  • Poll was leaked in Washington to send a message to energy lobbyists who think she can prevail
  • Survey is an ‘automated’ phone poll that Landrieu’s campaign considers less credible than traditional surveys conducted by voice
  • ‘Her campaign is running on fumes,’ the pollster told MailOnline 

Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is trailing her Republican challenger by a giant 16-point margin in a runoff for one of Louisiana’s two U.S. Senate seats, according to poll results obtained by MailOnline.

The survey, commissioned by GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy’s campaign, was leaked to media in order to fire a shot over the senator’s bow and send a signal to energy lobbyists that her ship is taking on water.

It suggests that Democrats’ worst fears have been realized even though Landrieu edged Cassidy by 1 percentage point on Election Day.

A second Republican candidate, Rob Maness, won 14 per cent of the vote on Nov. 4, enough to deny them both the 50-percent showing required to avoid a December 6 runoff. 

Now Maness has endorsed Cassidy, helping him erase his 1-point deficit with Landrieu and adding far more.

Cassidy is ‘trying to shut K Street down for Mary’ by selectively releasing the polling data, a source close to his campaign in Louisiana told MailOnline.

‘The energy folks, the lobbyists, keep trying to say she has a chance to win. That’s why it was leaked.’

Landrieu has lined up for what Republican Capitol Hill aides are calling the ‘Hail Mary XL,’ a legislative strategy to save her Senate seat by winning a vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 700,000 barrels of oil daily from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Gulf coast.

From the information I’ve been able to gather, Landrieu is toast. Cassidy will bring the total number of GOP Senators to 54. It would be nice if McConnell would use that number as leverage dealing with Obama and the democrats but my expectation for that is…nil.

One question I have…why do we see these breaking news stories in the UK Daily Mail instead of a US news outlet? Our country is in sad shape when we have to use foreign sources for news here in the US.

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I wrote yesterday about the push to expand Missouri’s medicaid using the three-year funding promised as part of Obamacare. What the advocates for that expansion don’t bother to tell you is that the state would be responsible for the added ocsts after that third year. Why is Jackson County and Truman Medical Centers in such dire straits? Increased cost of medical care compounded by the cost of complying with federal regulations.

Those increased cost are having another negative medical impact—rural hospitals.

Rural hospitals in critical condition

Rural hospitals serve many of society’s most vulnerable.

Jayne O’Donnell and Laura Ungar, USA TODAY

RICHLAND, Ga. — Stewart-Webster Hospital had only 25 beds when it still treated patients. The rural hospital served this small town of 1,400 residents and those in the surrounding farms and crossroads for more than six decades.

But since the hospital closed in the spring of last year, many of those in need have to travel up to 40 miles to other hospitals. That’s roughly the same distance it takes to get from Times Square to Greenwich, Conn., or from the White House to Baltimore, or from downtown San Francisco to San Jose.

Those trips would be unthinkable for city residents, but it’s becoming a common way of life for many rural residents in this state, and across the nation.

Since the beginning of 2010, 43 rural hospitals — with a total of more than 1,500 beds — have closed, according to data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The pace of closures has quickened: from 3 in 2010 to 13 in 2013, and 12 already this year. Georgia alone has lost five rural hospitals since 2012, and at least six more are teetering on the brink of collapse. Each of the state’s closed hospitals served about 10,000 people — a lot for remaining area hospitals to absorb.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to improve access to health care for all Americans and will give them another chance at getting health insurance during open enrollment starting this Saturday. But critics say the ACA is also accelerating the demise of rural outposts that cater to many of society’s most vulnerable. These hospitals treat some of the sickest and poorest patients — those least aware of how to stay healthy. Hospital officials contend that the law’s penalties for having to re-admit patients soon after they’re released are impossible to avoid and create a crushing burden.

“The stand-alone, community hospital is going the way of the dinosaur,” says Angela Mattie, chairwoman of the health care management and organizational leadership department at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, known for its public opinion surveys on issues including public health.

The closings threaten to decimate a network of rural hospitals the federal government first established beginning in the late 1940s to ensure that no one would be without health care. It was a theme that resonated during the push for the new health law. But rural hospital officials and others say that federal regulators — along with state governments — are now starving the hospitals they created with policies and reimbursement rates that make it nearly impossible for them to stay afloat.

Low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements hurt these hospitals more than others because it’s how most of their patients are insured, if they are at all. Here in Stewart County, it’s a problem that expanding Medicaid to all of the poorest patients -– which the ACA intended but 23 states including Georgia have not done, according to the federal government — would help, but wouldn’t solve.

“They set the whole rural system up for failure,” says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health, an association representing rural hospitals in Georgia and Alabama, believed to be the next state facing mass closures. “Through entitlements and a mandate to provide service without regard to condition, they got us to (the highest reimbursements), and now they’re pulling the rug out from under us.”

For many rural hospitals, partnering with big health systems is the only hope for survival. Some have resorted to begging large hospitals for mergers or at least money to help them pay their bills. But Douglas Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said these days, “I’m not sure they can get anyone to answer the phone when they call.”

The article continues at the website. Obamacare does not just increase the cost of an individual’s medical care, it also reduces the reimbursement of those services to hospitals and physicians. In the end, we all suffer. The institutions with tighter cash flows are hit first and worse.