Health Care

Stop Doing Nothing

When my children were young and playing together, I would hear a strange sound or I would not hear anything for quite some time; and I would say, “What are you doing?”

“Nothing.”

“Stop doing nothing.” It worked. Either I did not hear any strange sounds for a while, or I heard enough noise to make me comfortable. In any event, I never had to take my children to the pediatrician or hospital after using that phrase.

To Senate Republicans working on health care who are either completely silent or making the occasional strange noise, I want to ask, “What are you doing?”

I envision them saying, “Nothing.” That would be a lie because what Republicans are doing is much worse than nothing.

If they were doing nothing, they would keep our current health care system, colloquially known as Obamacare, with all its imperfections. In spite of Obamacare’s imperfections, it has made our health care system better. It has enabled people without health insurance to get coverage, and as a consequence, some of these people were able to get life-saving care.

If the Senate proposes anything similar to House’s bill, it would make the situation worse than before Obamacare. As of March 2017 about 28 million people lacked health insurance. The most recent version of the House’s American Health Care Act or Trumpcare would cause another 23 million people to become uninsured. This would bring the total number of uninsured to 51 million. About 46 million people were uninsured in 2009.

It is time for the Senate Republicans to stop doing nothing. Otherwise they are going to cause grave damage to the citizens of this country.

Congressman Admits Trumpcare Is Corporate Welfare

Some Republicans are claiming that the Trumpcare bill passed by the House of Representatives is about lowering premiums and giving states flexibility. However, the congressman given credit for reviving Trumpcare, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), admitted that the purpose of the bill is to protect the profits of insurance companies by shifting the costs of pre-existing conditions onto the taxpayers.

On the May 5th MSNBC show “For the Record with Greta,” MacArthur had this to say [emphasis mine]:

MacArthur: The reason premiums have skyrocketed over the last seven years is because pre-existing conditions are being borne by all the policyholders and millions, 23 million haven’t bought insurance so you have this, you have this less than optimal group paying for all these pre-existing conditions.

Greta: So who will be paying for all the pre-existing conditions?

MacArthur: Well we moved it from the policyholder to the much broader shoulders of the taxpayer, and that will allow everyone’s premiums to drop. That’s what I believe will happen.

Continue reading

High-Risk Pools

Back when one of my daughters was 8 or 9, she said something that was an alternative fact. I asked, “Where did you hear that?” My daughter responded with a comment that would cement her argument, at least in her mind, “I read it on the internet.”

Needless to say, that did not go over well with my wife or me. First I explained to my daughter why her original statement was not true and then went into a short talk about how you need to know who wrote an article and what their biases might be. My daughter took at least one part to heart. She never used “I read in on the internet” as an authoritative argument in front of her parents again.

Now, as I listen to all the alternative facts by President Trump and Republicans about how Trumpcare is better than the Obamacare, and how high-risk pools can be used to protect the chronically ill while lowering costs for everybody else, I am reminded of my daughter’s statement, “I read it on the internet.” There is one difference. There is a decent chance that you can read something that is true on the internet. When Trump and Republicans talk about how they will “improve” health care, you can be sure that they are lying.

Continue reading

Investing in America

When my three children were toddlers and in the early grades of elementary school, my wife and I would read to them before bedtime. My middle child was three years younger than her older sister and one year older than my youngest, so this was no small task. My wife would generally read to the oldest, or the oldest would read to her, depending on the difficulty of the story. I would read to the two youngest, and then say good night to my eldest daughter.

Eventually, my youngest daughters started reading to me.

I was investing in my children’s future. The nighttime reading ritual is considered one of the most important actions you can do help your children learn to read.

My disappointment with Republican policies keeps escalating as per Pres. Trump’s skinny budget; they fail to invest in America’s future. At first I thought it was that they keep ignoring facts and science. Climate change is happening, and they continue to deny it. If you want to decrease abortions, then start teaching comprehensive sex education. Some Republicans still insist on abstinence-only sex education even though it has been proven that comprehensive sex education reduces unplanned teen-pregnancy rates.

When Republicans refuse to invest in America, it is as if they are failing to read to their kids at night.

Continue reading

Get Vaccinated

About two months after my first child was born, there was an outbreak of measles in St. Louis. My daughter was too young to be vaccinated, so she was at risk for becoming infected. Our pediatrician advised us to avoid public places as much as possible.

My daughter was put at risk because some people refused to get their children vaccinated.

People refuse to vaccinate their children for at least two reasons. First, people have forgotten how deadly measles and other contagious diseases can be. Vaccines have been too successful. Before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, there were hundreds-of-thousands cases per year and hundreds of people died as a result. Since 2010, we have had at most a few hundred cases per year with almost no deaths. One death occurred in 2015. Cases in this country are often caused by unvaccinated people who travel to other countries and bring the disease back here infecting themselves and others.

Continue reading