For most of this past year, the Supreme Court has been playing a combination Calvinball–Kabuki Theatre kind of political game with the Obama Administration over healthcare policy in regards to birth control, basically moving the goalposts every so often while telling everyone that things would be okay if the executive branch would simply come up with different standards…well, this week, the Obama Administration called the High Court out on it:
For most of the last year, the Supreme Court has forced the Obama Administration into an elaborate dance, where the Court hands down orders casting doubt upon the administration’s efforts to ensure that all women have access to affordable birth control — while simultaneously implying that everything would be fine if the administration just designed their birth control policy a different way. Friday, the administration is expected to announce a new policy that appears designed to end this dance and force the justices to rule definitively on whether employers with religious objections to birth control effectively have the power to restrict their employees’ access to birth control coverage, no matter how the government structures its regulations.(Think Progress)
In essence, what the administration appears to be doing is pretty much what, in my opinion, they should’ve done to start with: craft an across-the-board standard that treats all businesses, whether large or small, public or private, the same for purposes of healthcare reform. Had they done so to start, we wouldn’t be having this political theatre that I mentioned at the outset and healthcare reform would be that much further along.
I don’t know what’s worse here, that (a)Rep. Mark Meadows (Jackass-NC) actually had the stones to ask what he did and (b)that he’s currently the representative for the congressional district I live in at present?
A lawmaker from North Carolina spent several minutes badgering a pregnant doctor about why Obamacare requires plans to cover maternity services, telling her it’s a service that people like him will never use, during a House committee hearing this week.(Think Progress)
Yeah, he went there…here’s my question: if you want the ACA to not cover maternity services, I think it also shouldn’t cover Viagra and other such items, but what do I know? I’m just an American who believes health care’s a right, not a privilege.
You know, the more I read stories such as Ron Fournier’s over at National Journal, the more I’m beginning to agree with Booman Tribune’s view of Mr. Fournier (i.e. that Mr. Fournier is a wanker)…quoting National Journal:
It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.
For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.
Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.
The win-at-all-cost mentality helped create a culture in which a partisan-line vote was deemed sufficient for passing transcendent legislation. It spurred advisers to develop a dishonest talking point—“If you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep your health plan.” And political expediency led Obama to repeat the line, over and over and over again, when he knew, or should have known, it was false.(National Journal)
Now, before my fellow liberals and progressives start reaching for their pitchforks, here me out…like many Americans, I’m getting a little tired and frustrated with all the delays that the administration has used to keep the ACA from falling to pieces. Yes, I supported the ACA during its’ long slog through Congress and though, I’d loved to have seen “medicare-for-all” (a/k/a single payer) implemented instead of what eventually became ObamaCare, this is a good law in my opinion…
Why do I know that? Because for the first time since 2010, I have decent, quality health insurance; even though having been on disability since mid-to-late 2010 has qualified me for Medicare coverage, it feels damn good to have a health-insurance policy that I can fall back on if need be. Yes, the law’s has its’ faults; yes, the administration screwed up royally with that statement above in Fournier’s piece and yes, I wish the administration would just quit delaying the various mandates; all it does is (a)prolong the law’s final implementation and (b)give opponents more ammunition to use in the mid-term elections.
My question to Mr. Fournier: even given all this, the Affordable Care Act is a damn sight better that what had passed for health insurance (in both legal and practical terms), so why the hell are you giving Pres. Obama’s opponents fuel to use against him? Could ya’ answer that, wanker?
…some actually see things in a different light. Take Joshua Pittman, a 31yo Rand Paul-style Republican from Alabama who voted for Ron Paul for 2012 and believes Rand Paul will be the torch-bearer for the GOP. Like a good chunk of the GOP, Pittman was deeply opposed to the President’s signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, and pretty much saw the President as, to quote Pittman, “an abject failure”.
This week, though…well, to quote Think Progress:
But on Tuesday morning, Pittman logged on to HealthCare.gov and after some initial glitches and delays, successfully enrolled in a Bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan. “It took me all day, really,” he says with a laugh. “It kicked me out and told me you have to try again, but I knew what I was getting into with so many people exploring it.”
Though he initially supported repealing the law, Pittman became curious about Obamacare in the days and weeks before it launched. For years, he had gone uninsured, thinking he’d be able to “get over anything with a bandaid and a six pack of beer.” But a lead poisoning incident earlier this year shook his confidence and bank account, leading him with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. “I was a healthy person and it really depleted me financially, so it made me look at things in a different way than I would before. I understood the importance of people being insured.”(Think Progress)
One thing I’ve noticed over the past year looking back is the growing number of disconnects between conservative philosophy and life’s realities..that is, how, for instance, people who I know are conservative will talk about individual responsibility yet are the very ones who’ll benefit from the ACA’s individual mandate. As Pittman puts it:
Asked what he liked about Obamacare, Pittman highlighted its prohibition against denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, noting that he wouldn’t be able to find coverage without it, and said that the policies offered in the marketplace seemed more affordable and comprehensive than those available to him on the individual market. “You may pay $18 a month [for a cheaper plan] and you’re missing a level of coverage. It’s not as easy as you’re going to pay this much a month,” he says.(Think Progress)
Given this seeming “Road to Damascus” moment for Mr. Pittman, someone really should ask him hwy, given the above, he still went ahead and voted for Ron Paul in 2012, especially after the crowd cheered the elder Paul’s response. To quote Booman Tribune’s take on this:
When confronted with reality, don’t you think that Mr. Pittman would find the arguments of Ron Paul and his supporters to be callous, inconsistent, and even illogical?
One can only that it’s sunk in to Mr. Pittman (and to other conservatives) that not everything about government is bad and that sometimes, government does actually do good things..
Maybe now can we kindly tell the anti-vaccination crowd to shut the hell up!
This year is on track to be the worst for measles in more than a decade, according to new numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And people who refuse to vaccinate their children are behind the increasing number of outbreaks, health officials say.
There were 159 cases of measles in the United States from January 1 through August 24, according to the CDC. If that trend continues, there will be more cases in 2013 than in any year since 1996, when some 500 cases were reported. The number would also surpass that of 2011, when there were 222 cases.
Measles cases in the United States numbered in the hundreds of thousands before the advent of vaccination, and dropped dramatically throughout the 1960s. The disease was thought to have been eradicated in 2000, but the numbers have recently crept back up, largely because of visitors from countries where measles is common and because of vaccine objectors within the United States. Nearly two-thirds of the reported cases happened in three outbreaks in communities where many people don’t vaccinate their children for religious or philosophical reasons.(CNN Health)
If true, then this could definitely bring an end to one of the great scourges of mankind…quoting:
U.S. researchers reported a breakthrough Thursday in the search for a vaccine for malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that sickens millions worldwide.
More than three dozen volunteers received multiple, intravenous doses of a vaccine produced with a weakened form of the disease, scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the Navy, Army and other organizations reported Thursday.
Though the results were promising, more extensive field testing will be required, the researchers wrote. Nevertheless, the it marks the first time any vaccine trial has shown 100% success in protecting subjects from the mosquito-borne tropical disease, which sickens more than 200 million a year and killed about 660,000 in 2010.
Dr. William Schaffner, head of the preventive medicine department at Vanderbilt University’s medical school, called the results “a scientific advance” — but cautioned that it’s “not ready yet for prime time.”(CNN)
Considering that about a million people die from malaria every year and another 200 million are sickened at some point by it during the year, this has to be considered great news, not just for medicine in general but for mankind on the whole.
Don’t Republicans have better things to do than harangue professional sports leagues in Washington….
Senate Republican leaders have sent letters warning six professional sports leagues not to provide the Obama administration any assistance in promoting Obamacare.
The letters, dated June 27, warn the chiefs of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and NASCAR that partnering with the administration to publicize the benefits of the health care law would damage their reputations.
“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of this bill, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).(Talking Points Memo)
For what it’s worth, I’d love to see Roger Goodell, David Stern, Bud Selig, Brian France and company all tell the Republicans in D.C. to shove it…then again, why are we still paying them any attention?