Monday, June 06, 2011

Do Central Florida Voters Know What Sandy Adams Gave Them When She Rubber Stamped Paul Ryan's Budget?


The congressional election in central Florida's 24th congressional district could be one of the most interesting to watch in the country. So far the race pits a right-wing zombie and notorious healthcare hypocrite, freshman teabagger Sandy Adams, against one of the Democrats' most cutting edge progressives, publisher and educator Nick Ruiz. The district will be subject to considerable redrawing and is likely to shed many of its Orlando suburban areas in Orange and Seminole counties-- including the Adams family home-- and consolidate in Brevard and Volusia counties along the Atlantic coast. The district was originally drawn by state legislator Tom Feeney for his own congressional race, which he won.

In 2008 Feeney's sleaze finally caught up with him and washed out his political career. Unfortunately worthless quasi-Democrat Suzanne Kosmas grabbed the seat, winning all 4 counties. She proceeded to vote with the Republicans on key issues-- like healthcare-- and distinguished herself in the Financial Services Committee with her lack of participation, spending committee meetings out on the town with lobbyists. And she did outraise her opponent 3-1. But it didn't help. This time she lost all 4 counties, Democrats and left-leaning independents simply staying away from the polls in droves, unable to distinguish between two anti-family conservatives, Republican Sandy Adams and Democrat Suzanne Kosmas. Steve Israel would like to see Kosmas run again. I'm sure Sandy Adams would as well. But she's been on a serious bender since her defeat and isn't likely to run again. Nick Ruiz is the first candidate for Congress Blue America endorsed this cycle.

Nick has been successfully presenting Florida voters a tapestry of Republican ideas-- a tapestry another Nick, this one in the NY Times Saturday, showed to point to the U.S. turning into Pakistan. And key to Nick Ruiz' thesis is the Republican attitude-- and specifically Sandy Adams' attitude-- towards health care. Short version, they're against it for anyone who isn't wealthy. Adams voted to repeal healthcare reform and she voted to turn Medicare into an inadequate voucher program that would be a virtual death sentence for hundreds of thousands of Florida seniors. Nick has a very different way of looking at it, a perspective that presumes healthcare is a right of every American citizen, something antithetical to the Ayn Rand/Law of the Jungle approach of the GOP. Nick:
We must decide, once and for all, what sort of society defines America. We have already decided that law enforcement (i.e. the police department) is a guaranteed service for all, regardless of social or economic status. We have also decided that the fire department is a guaranteed service. Our society, rightfully so, honors both of these public features. They are freely available to all, regardless of the size of one's wallet.

Why should healthcare be any different?

Social justice in a lawful commonwealth of society demands that when a person is attacked or threatened by crime or fire, the public will come to his or her aid. And when a person is attacked or threatened by disease, should the public not do the same?

We already employ an integral non-profit, for profit and single payer scaffolding to provide healthcare services. There is no reason to believe that all of these systems may not continue to work side by side in a free society. However, it is difficult to imagine that we can continue to allow profiteering to masquerade as uncontrollable healthcare costs that must consume such a large piece of our national income. Costs will have to be controlled through regulation. What is most important now is to take that final step and declare universal access to comprehensive healthcare as a standard public service, in the same way that fire and police services are a social norm everywhere. When will America realize that it is her ethical, logical, common sense and spiritual duty to provide universal healthcare services to her people?

America must no longer accept the false narrative of scarcity and withholding when it comes to healthcare. Social justice demands that all of our people receive universal access to all of these vital basic services. It is no great nation that denies these basic human services to people. In fact, anything less is uncivilized.

Adams, like most of the zombie Republicans have tried to claim that they didn't vote to kill Medicare, just to fix it. This morning, Paul Krugman examined that lie in the NY Times and concludes that Republicans "don’t want to make Medicare sustainable, they want to destroy it under the guise of saving it... in voting for the House budget plan, Republicans voted to end Medicare."

Last week Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce put out a report that shows very specifically what the impact of Sandy Adam's vote to kill Medicare would be on the residents of Volusia, Orange, Brevard and Seminole counties that are part of FL-24. It's a chilling picture and it shows what happens when a mindless partisan like Adams just follows along with the herd. She believed Paul Ryan's and John Boehner's lies about how their budget would be "good" for Medicare. But the Ryan budget "raises costs for seniors and individuals with disabilities enrolled in Medicare, reduces their benefits, and puts private insurance companies in charge of the program. For current beneficiaries, important benefits – such as closing the hole in Medicare’s drug coverage – would be immediately eliminated. For individuals age 54 and under, Medicare’s guarantee of comprehensive coverage would be replaced with a “voucher” or “premium support” to buy private health insurance. By design, this federal contribution does not keep pace with medical costs, shifting thousands of dollars in costs onto the individual." This is what Sandy Adams decided to do to her own constituents. This is what she voted for on April 15th; her idea of what's "good" for Medicare would
• Increase prescription drug costs for 8,800 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $87 million for drugs over the next decade.

• Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 122,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.

The Republican proposal would have even greater impacts on individuals in the district age 54 and younger who are not currently enrolled in Medicare. It would:

• Deny 570,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the district access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.

• Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 127,000 individuals in the district who are between the ages of 44 and 54.

• Require the 127,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $29.7 billion for their retirement-- an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual – to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs.

• Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 72,000 individuals in the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 438,000 individuals in the district who are age 43 or younger.

No one knows for sure what the new 24th CD will look like. Rumors are flying that Republican powers in Tallahassee want Adams out and that hey plan to create a district she won't rake in a GOP primary. Replacing her with another Republican rubber stamp isn't the answer though. Replacing her with a tough, savvy progressive, Nick Ruiz, is exactly the answer. If you can, please consider contributing to his campaign at the Blue America page. Below is the ad Blue America has been running in the district:

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