Friday, June 29, 2012

Affordable Care Act - why all the angst?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that most of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) IS constitutional.  That paves the way for major changes in the health care system in this country.  Actually, we don't have a "system" at all; we have a series of band-aids that were implemented to meet the health care needs of specific groups of people ... Medicaid, Medicare, VA, CHIPS, COBRA, etc.  But make no mistake about it: this country does NOT have a health care "system."

The United States is the ONLY industrialized country in the world that does NOT have universal health care!  And we call ourselves a progressive, compassionate country with moral authority?  Hogwash!  

Part of the problem now is that SCOTUS labeled the mandatory insurance provision a tax.  Of course the Republicans on Capitol Hill are now yelling and screaming "TAX, TAX, TAX!"  But let's look at this, shall we?

There is NO massive tax hike! Very few people will ever pay the penalty tax.  If you can afford insurance, you'll have it, therefore ... no tax.  If you can't afford insurance, there won't be a penalty tax at all!  The only way you'll have to pay a penalty tax is if you CAN afford insurance, but don't get it. People who are assessed the tax will pay less than the amount of the payroll tax increase that Republicans nearly allowed to occur. 

In addition, a new report from Families USA shows that 28.6 Americans (most in the middle class) will actually get tax cuts:

"We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines)."

So, what is the big deal?  We have in this "compassionate, progressive" nation over 30 million people who do not have access to health care.  That's shameful!  And here's why including them in the insurance pot is good for everyone:

Uninsured people typically wait to see a health care professional until they are really ill.  By that time, the illness has progressed to the point where it is more serious and requires more involved and more costly treatment and, perhaps, hospitalization.  Who do you think pays for that care now?  WE DO!  If, however, they have access to health care, they will see doctors for checkups, health screenings, and treatment that could be less extensive (and less costly).  They will be in the insurance pool and that makes a huge difference in the overall picture.

It's clear many people only hear the "you'll be forced to get health insurance" argument.  They haven't taken the time to see what the Affordable Care Act really does - and really means to them.  A woman I work with is outraged that she should be forced to get insurance.  Uh ... she's on Medicare right now and that paid for her knee surgery!  Perhaps she doesn't know that the Affordable Care Act has already reduced the amount of money she pays for prescriptions!  Or, maybe she doesn't care ... this law was passed by Democrats and, well, she's not a Democrat.

If you want to see what the Affordable Care Act means for YOU, check out this interactive website:

Affordable Care Act - for YOU

After you check it out, ask yourself if you will benefit in any way from the Affordable Care Act.  If you do, then get on board and support it.  It's time to take politics out of health care!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A step in the right direction - immigration reform

The Obama Administration announced today that it will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives.

Right on, Mr. President!

Details of the plan haven't fully been announced, but here's what we know right now (and this comes from the Huffington Post):  "Undocumented immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed."

Yes, yes, I know ... the GOP will be gnashing its teeth.  And many people will disagree with me when I say this is good for our country!

These young people did NOT make the decision to cross the border illegally, yet they are being punished for it. Many of them graduated from high schools here - honors classes!  Now they can come out of the shadows and become productive, contributing members of our society.  

Several weeks ago, I ended up in a conversation about this with an associate .  I couldn't believe the venom that spewed from her mouth when this topic came up.  She had absolutely no understanding of the issue, only hatred - hatred that she couldn't even explain!  

I agree with her that border security should be enhanced, but we also need to consider the people already here.

I have my flame-retardant undies on, so take your best shot.  Congress could have passed the DREAM Act, but Republicans blocked it.  Now President Obama has made a move that's good for these young people and good for our country:  if these undocumented men and women get an education, work and pay taxes, we all win.  

Yeppers ... I'd say this is a win-win situation.  Won't that be nice for a change?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I remember ...

I read.  I read whatever I get my hands on.  I read news - especially news that affects me as a person living in the United States of America.

And I'm disheartened.

I feel as though the boat has sailed and I'm still standing on the dock.

I grew up in a time when FEMALES took a back seat.  I remember being told in high school that I couldn't be a member of (or take classes) in the FFA - Future Farmers of America.  I could be nominated for FFA Queen, but I couldn't be a part of it ... even though my background was animal science and I was planning on a career in the industry.

I remember meeting with my advisor at Colorado State University the first time.  He told me he "didn't like female vets" and didn't like "female vet students" and told me flat out that he didn't want to ever see me in his office again.  For four years, I forged his signature on registration papers.

I remember being denied admittance to veterinary school because "it would be waste of resources to train a woman who might get married and have children."

I remember watching the total destruction of a family of four when the 12-year-old daughter was denied a legal abortion after being sexually assaulted.  TWELVE years old!  And ... I was in the damn delivery room and watched that child deliver a "thing" that wasn't even close to being a human being.  That girl's body was NOT ready for pregnancy or childbirth.  But there were no options for her - or her parents - before Roe V. Wade.  And because of that ... ALL members of that family were destroyed ... dead or in prison.  I'll tell you the story if you ask.

I remember being told that "women can't be news people on radio because nobody trusts them."  And then I stormed my way through a 22-year career in radio broadcasting.  And it wasn't easy.  I thank Bob Crites for giving me a chance ... and I ended up in the positions of DJ, News Anchor, News Reporter, News Director, Public Affairs Director, Talk Show Host.  And all the way to the end, I was someone who stood out because I was a woman.

I remember being told that I couldn't get a raise ... the same raise as my male counterpart who was doing the SAME job as I was ... because "Joe had a family."  Uh ... what in the hell were my two sons?

I remember the days when contraception was NOT available to all women in the United States.

I remember when male doctors treated female patients as "things."  When I saw my first obstetrician, I started asking questions and he said, "Don't worry your little head about this."  Uh ... WHAT?  This is MY pregnancy, MY baby, MY life!"  I fired him and found a female OB/GYN.

Well ... things have changed ... right?  Uh ... not so much.  Since the Republican Party became the "in crowd" in Congress and state legislatures around the country, women have been shoved to the back of the bus.  What I (and others in my generation) worked so hard for, has been destroyed.  

A doctor in Oklahoma recently denied a rape victim the early emergency contraception medication.  Why?  Because it was against the doctor's "beliefs."

In Virginia, women - even those who are dealing with a life-threatening pregnancy - must undergo an ultrasound and a waiting period before terminating her pregnancy.  How many lives will be lost because of this law?

In Arizona, doctors can now LIE to women about the state of their pregnancy.  Doctors do NOT have to tell women in that state about any medical issues that might warrant an abortion.

In Arizona, women are classified as pregnant two weeks BEFORE they had the sex that could have resulted in a pregnancy!

Congress turned down a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  Why?  Because it included Native-American women, undocumented immigrant women, and gay/lesbian women.  Hmmm ... it's okay to commit violence against a certain group of females?  I find that unacceptable!  Just read the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and see if YOU can excuse the congressional action.

Now do you see why I'm disheartened?  Women's rights have been moved back to the 1950s!  And I don't hear the young women of America fighting back.  They grew up in a time when they didn't have to fight and they don't understand that THEY are now the targets of the people who want to keep them down.

I wish ... oh, how I wish ... that our young women would fight.  FIGHT!  Fight to keep the rights and protections that were won for you!  FIGHT for your dignity and your privacy!  


And I'll fight with you.