Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Massacre in Manchester

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A hidden cost of the lack of guaranteed health-care coverage

Some years ago, I read John Callahan's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, in which the author writes about his life as a recovering alcoholic and a quadriplegic.  One of the things that I still remember, years later, is that he deliberately underpriced the cartoons that he drew for a living because he had to keep his income low enough to qualify for welfare--without it, he couldn't have afforded to pay for the personal care assistant who came every day to bathe, dress, and feed him and to help him with his toileting needs.

Some things haven't changed since the 1990's--thousands of Americans still need Medicaid to pay for their personal care assistants and their health insurance.  There must be thousands who, like Callahan, deliberately remain unemployed or underemployed because they can't afford to pay for their own care.  Seriously, if your treatment and/or medication(s) and/or personal care assistant cost you $1,000 per month or more, how much money would you have to earn in order to be able to pay for all that plus food, clothing, and shelter?  You literally couldn't afford to take any part-time, seasonal, irregular and/or unpredictable job(s).  Unless you could get a reliable full-time job with terrific health-care benefits, the U.S. health-care non-system would condemn you to a life of dependence on the public dole and/or charity and/or family just to survive.

Which brings me to the point of this post:  How much do the federal, state, and local governments lose in tax revenue from people who would be both able and delighted to work at least part-time and pay taxes if they had guaranteed, government-financed, tax-subsidized health-care coverage?  Wouldn't it make sense to have a system that enabled them to help support themselves and pay taxes toward their own health care costs, rather than trapping them, against their wills and against the best interests of their country, in a lifetime of dependency?  Why isn't anyone talking about this?

Sunday, May 07, 2017

A pre-existing condition, and other health-care catastrophies

[Tired of my political posts?  You might want to read my latest Acharei Mot-Kedoshim post, not to mention my recent Tazria-Metzora posts, instead.]

If you haven't seen Jimmy Kimmel's true story, told to his audience, about his newborn son's near-death from a heart condition, I can't recommend it strongly enough:  Watch it here.

I also recommend that you read Without Obamacare, what happened to kids like Jimmy Kimmel's son?

Here's a little clarification regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions under the Republican health care plan just passed by the House of Representatives.

If the Senate passes this new health-care so-called insurance plan, there goes my nursing-home funding, not to mention mental-health-facility funding and home health care funding.

Did I mention how the Republican health care plan would affect women's health coverage specifically?

Did I also mention that people who find themselves without health insurance for any reason, such as being between jobs or otherwise too broke to pay for it, will find their premiums going sky-high when they apply for new insurance?  I contend that this is a classic case of blaming the victim, since no one in his or her right mind would go without health insurance if they could afford to pay for it.

Other targets of the blame-the-victim approach to health coverage will be those 50 or older, but too young for Medicare, who will be charged hefty premiums for the crime of getting older instead of dying young--here's AARP's report from last month about that.  This will hurt our son, our friends' children, our younger relatives and their children, and our younger friends and colleagues and their children.  Nor will those with pre-existing conditions be spared--heaven help Jimmy Kimmel's now-baby boy, because the government probably won't.

Some journalists/news commentators at the MSNBC television station asked why the Republicans were in such a hurry to pass a health plan that they didn't even wait to see the Congressional Budget Office's estimates of the plan's effects on the budget and the people.   The journalists' conclusion was that a reduction in health care costs is necessary to enable Congress to cut taxes.  [See The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/4/17 telecast, "GOP uses health care as means to tax cuts for the wealthy."] In other words, those of us who are not rich will be paying, through reduced and/or much-more-expensive health-care coverage, for tax cuts that will largely benefit the rich.

Related:  It's about profit.

Monday, May 8, 2017 update:  The senators currently working on the health-care bill are all white males.  Women (even if they're among the five Republican female senators) and minority members need not apply, since what we would have to say about our own health care is, apparently, of no concern to the Senate.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 update:  Trumpcare: Tax cuts for the super rich on the backs of the disabled

Friday, May 12, 2017 update that I should have posted last Sunday:  Multibillionaire Warren Buffett rails against the Republican health-care plan, saying that "it is a huge tax cut for guys like me," he said. "And when there's a tax cut, either the deficit goes up or they get the taxes from somebody else."

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, 5777/2017 thoughts

As I said here:
  • Parshat Acharei Mot: In Leviticus chapter 18, verses 6-21, the enumeration of anti-incest laws, there's no mention whatsoever of the most obvious form of incest--there's no directly-stated prohibition against a father having sex with his daughter. Sure, it's common sense and common decency to avoid such a heinous act, but so are all the other enumerated "forbidden relationships."
It occurred to me that this omission is probably "covered" by one of Rabbi Yishmael's rules of interpretation:  Mi-binyan av mi-katuv echad, u-mi-binyan av mi-shnei k'tuvim (A general principle derived from one text or two related texts).    In this case, the general principle is "None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness (Leviticus 18:6)."  This general principle would certainly apply to one's own child.

But an Israeli-American of our acquaintance told us that the Israeli rabbinate still permits the marriage of an uncle and his niece.  How, exactly, can that be mutar (permissible), given the fact that having sex with one's niece is a clear-cut case of "uncovering one's brother's nakedness"?

Monday, May 01, 2017

Anti-Contraception Activist To Oversee Family Planning Program

See here.

Yet again, President Trump has chosen, as the head of a Federal program, someone who opposes the goal of that program.  After all, the whole point of family planning is that one is supposed to be able to plan for a family, not simply have one's family grow every time one has sex.

But a person who is both anti-contraception and anti-abortion, as Teresa Manning is, believes that the life of a fertile female is worthless if her life, or any aspect of her life, interferes with the survival of a clump of cells.
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