Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

Activist Whiplash

June 26, 2013

Yesterday the Voting Rights Act was gutted, which will cause who knows how many people to be disenfranchised.

Yesterday Obama gave a speech about global warming where he appropriately likened global warming denialists to flat earthers.

From yesterday through this morning Wendy Davis- and her supporters in the crowd- filibustered a bill which would have closed most of the abortion clinics in Texas and (further) compromised bodily autonomy for women.

Today, DOMA was ruled unconstitutional and Prop 8 was deemed a state matter. Which means that marriage is no longer being “defended” from consenting adults who wish to be married, and that my state is belatedly on the right side of this issue.

To say I have strong feelings about these things would be an understatement.

I will attempt to blog about each of them over the next week or so, along with writing about the SF Pride Parade – I will be marching with the atheist contingent – but first I just feel the need to breathe. Maybe after petting Sokka or having a cup of tea I will be able to write about all of this.

Republican House- Abort! Abort!

June 19, 2013

Republicans in the House of Representatives are once again voting to give the government – which Republicans often argue can’t do anything as well as private parties – more control over women’s bodies.

Republicans often display contempt of the government and push for privatization in such matters as social security, schools, Food and Drug oversight, mass public transportation

Considering this, the contempt Republicans must have for women while turning over their private decisions to the government is staggering to contemplate.

Okay, obviously that was disingenuous: it isn’t just contempt. It is a religiously motivated attempt to punish women for sex, to “hold them accountable for their actions.” To slut shame not just for now, but for a lifetime.

Here’s the thing: sex is not wrong. Non-consensual sex is wrong. Pregnancies are sometimes wrong. Whether because carrying your rapist’s baby is an emotional trauma, or because pregnancy is dangerous, or because you simply aren’t ready financially or emotionally to support and nurture a child or… for whatever other reason is personally the most important to you.

If you aren’t ready to be a parent, you are a better judge of that than anybody else. If you think you are ready to be a parent, that is where Dunning–Kruger effect might be coming into play.

I suggest adding an amendment that requires the Republican Party to pay 100% of the costs that would result (if this measure actually had a chance of going into effect) which are associated with prenatal care, medical appointments, medication (including pain killers) labor, and then child rearing (including finding approx. 15,000 good homes per year) and treating women for postpartum depression and health complications.

Somehow I think Republicans’ enthusiasm for sexual control over others would dry up if we held Republicans accountable for their actions.

Atheism Plus Social Activism

August 19, 2012

Atheism Plus logo suggestions by Jadehawk

First, if you haven’t read Jen’s call to action, go read it and the follow up. I have to say: this is the movement I thought I had joined.

My reason for becoming an atheist- the reason I started losing my faith and questioning religion- was because of biblical passages that were anti women, anti homosexual, pro slavery and pro disproportionate response. Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in god, but that is just the definition. I didn’t question the existence of god first. I questioned the morality of god:

I asked how could God kill children with bears just because they called someone baldy? Couldn’t the prophet have used a beneficial miracle or just good works to show that other things are more important than outward appearances? How could it be deemed appropriate by an omnibenevolent and omniscient being to create homosexuals and then declare homosexuality to deserve death by stoning? If it was a sin, why would God make some people have the urge and others without? And how could two adults being in love ever be a sinful thing?

I asked how God could make women the property of their fathers, to be bought for marriage. How could God decide that war and slavery was correct and that virgin women captured in battle were prizes for warriors? I asked how God could flood the whole world and kill everybody for being sinful when he made them to be sinful in the first place.

And the sick thing was, I wasn’t asking “how crazy is this god?” I was asking “how sinful am I that I can’t even begin to understand God’s Perfect Morality?” I was questioning God’s morality to understand it: and thought that it was evidence of my sinful state that I failed to understand.

But it wasn’t understandable as morality because it wasn’t morality. Even when I realized that, I didn’t stop believing in God. At first I simply decided that the bible didn’t properly record His morality. It took me a long time of exploration and questioning before I finally rejected the god hypothesis. But it was the immorality of the Christian Bible that started me questioning.

And it is my humanism that makes me blog as an atheist. My atheism itself might be just a conclusion about rejecting a premise because of insufficient evidence, but pointing out that lack of evidence is a means to an end: that of freeing minds from the shackles of religion, and undoing the social harms done in its name.

If you think that humans deserve equal rights, that women and men are equal, if you think that death sentences by stoning or otherwise deliberately carried out slowly are barbaric, and that love between consenting adults is something to be celebrated rather than to be opposed, if you think that distinctions in pigmentation are trivial and the social differences that result are profoundly terrible and that slavery and rape can never be justified, then you should oppose religion. But you shouldn’t stop at religion.

These wrongs exist outside of religion as well: religion is merely a transmission device that causes the ideas within to be more resistant to change. But we need to oppose misogyny and racism, homophobia  ableism and xenophobia wherever they may be. And while we are at it, we should fight the undervaluing of labor and the overvaluing of capital. Opposing these things helps everybody, whether you are privileged or oppressed on any particular question doesn’t change that: as a white person, it is in my interest to oppose racism just as it is in the interest of a straight person to oppose homophobia.

This especially goes for the situation of social movements focused on achieving progress in one facet of human rights: ignoring the other facets doesn’t work. You can’t claim to be working for human rights, and then say “Yes, but not for those people.” Just as the gay rights movement had to reform to include lesbians, the atheist community has to embrace women, the LGBTIQ community, people of color and has to embrace their issues as well. This should be a natural fit – as I pointed out, those issues are our issues – but I know we are going to have to work to make up for those activists who only care if an issue effects white straight males.

Food, Education and Race.

August 14, 2012


At the same time as the CDC reports that obesity is increasing across the nation…

a study shows that school nutrition laws have a substantial correlation with reduced weight gain.

Also, studies show a persistent gap in health and longevity between people of different education levels and races.

If we were to make education through college- and quality school lunches in K-12- economically available to all Americans, perhaps we could substantially increase the health of America, and reduce health care costs as part of the deal.

Health care: The Supreme Court and possible industry changes

July 7, 2012

Now that moderates and liberals have pushed through a conservative plan to insure everyone, we are in the clear, right? Not so.

First, the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of PPACA’s medicaid expansion, which means that a great many people could find themselves without Medicaid who were covered until that ruling- subject to the will of their state governments. Something will need to be altered to cover those who won’t be covered under Medicaid.

Second, industry is now lobbying federal officials to amend the PPACA to favor them, which is likely an even greater threat to health care coverage.

When are we going to get industry money out of politics? The conflict of interest is apparent to anyone with even the slightest familiarity with politics.

Health care: The debate

July 7, 2012

Conservatives in our country are losing their minds over a moderate adopting their individual mandate:

And now they are calling it socialist, despite it being a mechanism by which people are required to pay for their own insurance, and the government is just regulating the cost of that insurance.

So, what is their non socialist alternative to their original non socialist plan?

Jonathan Chait says it well:

If Republicans really wanted to replace Obamacare with some more “market-friendly” alternative, then there’s a simple way they could go about it. They could promise to repeal the law only if they packaged the repeal with a replacement that did not increase the number of uninsured. But they’ll never do that, because the magic, cheaper free-market alternative does not exist, and the GOP has no interest in diverting resources to cover the poor and sick.

Comic found through Political Irony. Jonathan Chait’s article found through Wonk Wire.

ObamaCare Explained So Everyone Can Understand It

July 2, 2012

What is Obamacare and what did it change?

Because although I’m not a fan of the individual mandate (I prefer single-payer) I also hate the nonsense being spouted about it and the rest of the PPACA.

Found through Political Irony.

Patriotism vs. Nationalism

July 2, 2012

With an eye on the 4th of July, I feel I should honor the revolutionary spirit which created the United States and which drives us to create a more perfect union.

The revolution was not merely a trade of one authority for another, but rather a hostile response to the very concept of an absolute authority.

We did not trade one king for another: we said “Good riddance” to monarchy and created a system of checks and balances which was meant to ensure that no unopposable authority would arise.

We did not trade one state religion for another: we said good riddance to religious authorities having direct governmental power.

If we were Tories, we would not have done these things. We would have questioned the patriotism of those who did, and we would have trumpeted our own patriotism while clinging to the status quo.

But I say that despite becoming rebels, the founders were truer patriots. They strove to do what was best for their country. They tried to appeal to their Parliament and reform before they came to the conclusion that the best thing for their land and people was to become a new nation.

And so, I argue against nationalism which says that our country is perfect as it is. It is a mask which pretends patriotism and tries to reap the benefits of such a reputation. But patriotism is hard: it requires hard work and sacrifice.
It is not replaced by the smug complaisancy of nationalism.

We must keep our eyes open and unclouded. We must see the defects in our system and correct them. We must defeat the control of our country by an oligarchy of corporations and the rich, and we must rid our system of its inequalities. We must commit to the education of our citizenry, for without an educated citizenry our democracy is flawed at its core.

We must do this in order to have government of the People, by the People, for the People. We must do this to make a more perfect union.

Romney on the individual mandate

July 1, 2012

So I read this quote about the individual mandate by a prominent conservative politician:

“No more ‘free riding,’ if you will, where an individual says: ‘I’m not going to pay, even though I can afford it. I’m not going to get insurance, even though I can afford it.’ It’s the ultimate conservative idea, which is that people have responsibility for their own care, and they don’t look to government to take care of them if they can afford to take care of themselves.”

That politician was Mitt Romney, and it made me wonder about his more recent public opposition to the individual mandate. Is it true that he likes the individual mandate for Massachusetts but not for the nation?

Apparently not, because he recommended that Obama use the individual mandate for the Affordable Care Act in an Op-ed at USA Today in 2009. (Redstate was not happy about that)

If he agrees with Obama on the issue, why doesn’t he just avoid talking about it, or better still, admit that so we can move on to some other issue?

Is he really so dishonest that he is willing to lie about his own personal beliefs on the matter of his proudest accomplishment just so he can attack Obama on something conservatives are angry about?

My opinion? Because it is red meat to the conservative base, and yes.

Thanks to Political Irony.

Edited to add: Republicans can’t tell the two apart on this issue.

Okay, on health care: breathe, and stop losing your minds.

June 29, 2012

The Affordable Care Act is not a tax-raising, deficit increasing, liberal takeover of healthcare, designed to kill people through death panels.

First, it doesn’t raise taxes or increase the deficit. It lowers taxes, and cuts costs through increased efficiency. This will lower the deficit.

Second, it isn’t liberal. It was designed by the conservative Heritage Foundation and their plan was tweaked by Romney more recently. If we were looking at a liberal plan we would not be talking about a mandate, we’d be talking about single-payer. Which I’d prefer, but still- well done, conservatives. Too bad it took a moderate to get it done.

Third, it isn’t a takeover of healthcare. It is insurance regulation. It regulates health insurance, not health care. Your doctor’s private practice remains a private practice, not a government office.

Fourth, death panels? Really? I just have no words for the depths of stupidity and fear which this reveals. The same people who use “Bleeding Heart Liberal” as an insult think we want to kill the elderly and infirm? And no contradiction is seen here?