Posts Tagged ‘health care’

by Julia

After months of tea partying, Stupak (“baby killer!!”), death panels, and “bipartisanship,” Congress passed legislation late Sunday night designed to greatly expand health care coverage and combat the tyranny of medical insurance companies. Despite my reservations about the bill, I am confident that this step is significant for millions of Americans in a similar way that Civil rights legislation was to previous generations under Johnson in 1964. President Obama and Congressional Democrats weighed reelection and popularity with the plight of the under-insured – particularly the lower classes – and thankfully, their ideological beliefs trumped potential losses in the 2010 and 2012 cycles. George Packer at the New Yorker writes:

“Civil rights brought an oppressed minority of Americans closer to equality, and—as Johnson knew—was so hated across the South that it was bound to cost the Democrats the region. Health-care reform, if it does what its supporters claim, will humanize a system in which the vast majority of Americans feel trapped. It will redress social and economic, not racial, injustices. Its breadth and potential effect will resemble those of Social Security and Medicare far more than civil rights—programs that became prime instances of popular activist government and tied substantial segments of the electorate to the Democratic Party for decades.”

The reform purportedly will cost $940 billion over 10 years. Not too shabby, recalling that the US budgets $700 billion annually for the military. The real test, of course, is whether the legislation actual delivers on the glossy prediction of increased equality. Among other things, the legislation:

  • Expands coverage to 32 million currently uninsured Americans
  • Bans denial of coverage or higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions (phased in by 2014)
  • Bans higher premiums for women
  • Creates an exchange market in which small business owners can shop for insurance coverage for their employees
  • Taxes households making over $250,000 in order to pay for the expanded coverage to the lower classes
  • Allows young adults to stay on their parents insurance through age 26 regardless of college enrollment
  • Requires everyone to have insurance, either under Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance (those without insurance coverage will pay a $695 annual fine. No word on who exactly enforces this clause…)
  • Closes the Medicare prescription drug donut hole
  • Consolidates all student loans under the government starting in July and greatly increases Pell Grant funds
  • Places a 10% tax on tanning salons (sorry, Jersey Shore)

The bad news:

  • Abortion – a legal medical procedure – is still not covered by federal funds (though, without a public option, this basically maintains the status quo of Hyde.) Jos over at Feministing fears that the incredible silence on the part of pro-choice organizations will lead to a further marginalization of women’s rights, and she’s right.
  • Women insured by private companies will be forced, by the Nelson “compromise,” to pay separately for abortion coverage and the rest of their health insurance. Political scientists predict that this clause will ultimately lead to the elimination of abortion coverage by all private insurance companies. Stellar.
  • The bill lacks a public option. We are very much still at the mercy of insurance and Big Pharma, and anyone who tells you otherwise is greatly deluded.
  • It prevents undocumented immigrants from purchasing insurance through the exchange.

The conversation is far from over. Major props to Ezra Klein for his start-to-finish coverage of the process of health care reform, and to the Tea Party for providing plenty of comic relief. Lest we forget: underneath all of the bantering from both sides about the faults of government-run health care, there are millions of uninsured Americans declaring bankruptcy and in some cases dying for lack of health care. This is unacceptable in any society, and it is about time that the United States takes care of its citizens. Is the legislation perfect? Not at all, especially because it lacks a public option. But passing legislation which begins to establish equality in access to a necessity for survival is something I can and should support. Here’s hoping for continued reform and expansion (and abortion coverage).

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by Elizabeth

This week marked my return to The Working World– for the remainder of winter break, I’ll be temping in the corporate legal department where I interned for two summers. Frankly, the adjustment to a 9-5 schedule filled with patent applications and international contracts has been pretty (pathetically) challenging for this college student. Thus, I owe you a lot of posts.

To get it started, here’s what I’m looking forward to reading after work:

Still Single After All These Weeks: Neenah Pickett’s plan to find a husband in a year didn’t work — but it shouldn’t be called a failure

USO Sends Female Soldiers Makeup, Cosmo:  and Nancy Pelosi and Jill Biden stuffed their (pink camo) goody bags

One Reason to Celebrate Healthcare Reform if You Support Reproductive Rights: I sort of do need one.

Democrats Aren’t Dead Yet: As a student in CT who will be interning at the General Assembly,  I’m curious about what to make of Dodd’s retirement.

Google Nexus One Review Roundup: I love Google. I want a smart phone. Nexus One, please don’t let me down.

Why Do Gropers Grope?: Do tell, Amanda Hess.

Consuming: a very large travel mug of coffee and a sampling of coworkers’ leftover holiday gift baskets

Listening to: “Working 9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, obviously.

Happy Hump Day!

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by Julia and Elizabeth

We apologize for the lack of posting in the last few days; Julia spent a lot of time in the car as she made her return from retirement (aka family vacation in Florida) and Elizabeth has been, well, enjoying winter break in true college student fashion by catching up on sleep.  However, your favorite feminist Gaga-loving duo is reunited for the New Year and bringing you this tab dump:

A Career and a Movement, Summed up in One Word Ellen Goodman’s farewell to her Boston Globe column. Women: how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go.

Ticklish Toad Just watch.

I Have One Question for You There are a lot of other feminist issues in the HCB beyond Stupak.

White Whine Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can?

Deconstruct Your Progressive Convictions Food for thought.

Listening to Hey Muscles, I Love You

Consuming truckloads of champagne

Peace out, 2009. It’s been… interesting. Look for lots of updates next week (it’s our New Year’s resolution) and cheers to a happy and healthy 2010!


J. and E.

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by Julia

Fun with the Target Catalog from Sociological Images. I love the last one.

The AP couldn’t find 10 human female athletes, so they chose 2 horses for a top 10 list. really. Love Kate’s speciesist mention (and see Elizabeth’s post on the topic here!)

The link (politically) between narcotics and sexual pleasure (and corporal freedom).

If the “bo-tax” is sexist, shouldn’t tampons be untaxed too? interesting stuff, from Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon.

Stereotyping people by their favorite indie bands.

Merry Happy, to all.

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Tab Dump

by Julia

Carrie Bradshaw: Feminist Icon? Tracy Clark-Flory breaks down the arguments of Naomi Wolf and Camilla Long, and deems SATC more positive than negative. (guilty pleasure, nonetheless).

Cooking the Books: The Statistical Game behind off-label prescription drug use interesting stuff regarding off-label prescription drug use and how drug corps not-so-secretly encourage it.

Testing, Testing: The New Yorker’s Atul Gawande on the positive side of an incomplete health care plan.

Gender and Math Feminist Philosophers on parental underestimates of their daughter’s math abilities as predictive of less female prevalence in quantitative fields later in life.

listening to: The Replacements’s Let it Be album and Lady GaGa, obvi.

consuming: pineapple and seltzer water

swooning over: my new purchase!! eee!

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