The number of Americans forced to go without health insurance skyrocketed during the recession.
According to a new report released this week, 9 million Americans who lost their jobs in 2008, 2009 and the first half of 2010 either couldn't afford or couldn't get replacement coverage. That pushed the number of uninsured Americans past 50 million.
The analysis of those left completely uninsured in the recession is based on findings from the 2010 Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey.
In the report - which advocates for universal coverage under national health reform - the research organization said 60 percent of those left uninsured during the recession couldn't find a replacement plan they could afford and 35 percent were turned down for coverage by insurers.
The report said health coverage provided through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act - COBRA - was a good solution for some jobless Americans until the federal subsidy provided through the 2009 recovery act expired.
That subsidy, which covered 65 percent of COBRA premiums, has not been extended to laid-off workers since 2010.
Maureen Reintjes has seen Kansas City, Mo.-area job hunters struggle with the health care issue.
The convener of a job loss support group and administrator of an online job hunters' network, Reintjes said she knows that coverage options are unobtainable or too expensive for the long-term unemployed.
Most unemployed people "are trying to get by without insurance and hoping nothing happens," Reintjes said. "Some were able to go on COBRA, but that's too expensive for most."
In 2005, we Jackson County, Missourians put the question "what kind of people are we?" to a vote, and the results of that vote speak highly of us. We voted to voluntarily raise our property taxes when we passed a health levy to fund the Truman Medical Centers public hospital system. No one in Jackson County need go without care, and lacking health insurance is no impediment to that. Care is delivered to anyone in the county on a sliding scale that is based on income and ability to pay. Hardly anyone who lacks insurance pays full cost for procedures, medications, and preventive care.
There was a heavy emphasis on preventive care when the levy was passed, and in the six short years since, our city is demonstrably healthier. Still, as the recession grinds on, it is taking it's toll on our TMC/UMKC public health delivery system. Shne Kovacs, a spokesman for the hospital, told McClatchy that costs in uncompensated care have skyrocketed, from $84 million in 2009 to $108 million in 2010.
A lot of that uncompensated care will, once the ACA kicks in, be compensated. That is because people who are currently unable to afford insurance, either COBRA payments or private policies, will be brought into the system in 2014 and they will be able to either receive Medicaid benefits or buy subsidized insurance from the exchanges that are currently being set up in many states that individuals who excede the Medicaid threshold will be able to purchase coverage through.
I am just bowled over by ideologues who look at the reality of their neighbors going without medication and doctor's visits -- this will certainly compromise quality of life and lead to premature deaths -- and yet the only problem they see is that the KenyanMuslimFascistCommunistTerroristUsurper passed a law that will expand access to needed care.
If you need me, I'll be over here with my dog. But I warn you, I'm not much into my fellow human beings right now...
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Find out why Roger Ailes from "Fixed" News is WORSE, Gov. Jan Brewer from Arizona is WORSER, and Tea Party chair Sherry Lanford Smith is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for August 23, 2011. [...]
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By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/
The rising cost of higher education is one of the main ailments affecting America. The earnings differential between those with college degrees and those without has become greater during this recession. This [...]
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In May of this year, thousands of people gathered at the White House to spontaneously celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden. The Park Police did not ask them for a permit, did not ask them to disperse, and there were no paddy wagons called to haul them[...]
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Hurricane IRENE looks to rough-up the East Coast this week.
Stay up to speed at the National Hurricane Center.
Here is Wisconsin, it's difficult to even imagine Hurricane-force winds, wind speed greater than 74 Miles Per Hour.
We get two inches of rain in an hour and 50 MPH winds; it's time to call the girlfriend and give her a heads-up not to risk our lives on the Beltline.
Letter from Steve Jobs announcing resignation as CEO of Apple.After the jump ...To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I[...]
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News flash just came across wire.Here's the press release:CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apple's Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple's Chief[...]
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Yesterday Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is in charge of the 50 state settlement negotiations between banks, the administration and all 50 state attorneys general summarily kicked New York AG Eric Schneiderman off of the Executive Committee, which had been steering the negotiations.
Schneiderman, who doesn?t want a settlement to bar further investigations of mortgage practices by individual states, was removed from the executive committee of state officials working on the deal, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said yesterday in a statement.We will see if Miller removes Delaware's Beau Biden, who's right there with Schneiderman pushing for real investigations and a narrow settlement, or Illinois' Lisa Madigan, who has also cast doubt on the scope of settlement being too broad. David Dayen has a strong response from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement:
?New York has actively worked to undermine the very same multistate group that it had spent the previous nine months working very closely with,? said Miller, who is leading the state group. For a member of the executive committee, that ?simply doesn?t make sense, is unprecedented and is unacceptable,? Miller said.
?Miller threw Schneiderman under the bus and as a result we?re likely to see a significantly weaker settlement,? said CCI member Judy Lonning from Des Moines. ?We?re extremely disappointed. Tom has really let us down.?Harsh words for Miller, coming from a group that has fought hard to make sure the settlement looks out for struggling homeowners who have suffered abuse at the hands of greedy banks.
?Scheiderman was the first AG to say that he wasn?t going to back down on the big banks, and he was the first AG kicked out of the investigation,? Lonning said, ?There?s no question who this decision favors. It?s all about making life better for the big banks, and we expected Tom Miller to do better than this.?
While much about the future of post-Qaddafi Libya remains murky, some things are already quite clear. For starters, Republican leaders and GOP White House hopefuls simply cannot bring themselves to credit President Obama in any way for the apparent success of the rebellion. Unsurprisingly, the same conservative echo chamber which cheered as the United States spent over $1 trillion, losing 4,500 American soldiers and wounding 30,000 in Iraq is furious over the $900 million price tag for the operation in Libya. And now, the right-wing's supposed democracy promoters are denouncing the role of sharia law in the draft Libya constitution. As for the virtually identical place of Islam in the Iraqi constitution the U.S. helped craft under George W. Bush? Not so much.
On Monday, the Heritage Foundation was quick to sound the alarm about sharia in the early draft of a new Libyan Constitution.
Much of the document describes political institutions that will sound familiar to citizens of Western liberal democracies, including rule of law, freedom of speech and religious practice, and a multi-party electoral system.
But despite the Lockean tenor of much of the constitution, the inescapable clause lies right in Part 1, Article 1: "Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal (sic) source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)." Under this constitution, in other words, Islam is law. That makes other phrases such as "there shall be no crime or penalty except by virtue of the law" and "Judges shall be independent, subject to no other authority but law and conscience" a bit more ominous.
If this verbiage all sounds familiar, it should. After all, the language is strikingly similar to the Iraqi Constitution the U.S. helped birth in October 2005. As it turns out, Tripoli's new Article 1 bears an uncanny resemblance to Baghdad's Article 2:
First: Islam is the official religion of the State [of Iraq] and it is a fundamental source of legislation:
A. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.
B. No law that contradicts the principles of democracy may be established.
C. No law that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution may be established.
Second: This Constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice such as Christians, Yazedis, and Mandi Sabeans.
NYU professor Noah Feldman, who advised the drafters of the Iraqi document, acknowledged the tensions inherent in Article 2 but concluded that "many increasingly believe that Islam and democracy are wholly compatible with one another." As he explained in an August 2005 interview with Madeleine Brand of NPR:
BRAND: A lot of people were worried that this constitution would make Shariah or Islamic law dominant. Is that what, indeed, happened?
Prof. FELDMAN: Islamic law is central to the document. The constitution says that Islam is the official religion. It says that Shariah is a main source of legislation or, you might translate as, a principal (sic) source of legislation. It also says that no law passed by the new government shall contradict the principles of Islam. And yet, at the same time, it's also a democratic constitution, guaranteeing equality and stating that no law shall contradict the principles of democracy or the basic freedoms that are guaranteed in the constitution. So what we're seeing is an experiment in a new kind of democratic government, what you might call Islamic democratic government. It wants to be truly Islamic in a very thoroughgoing way, but simultaneously true to the principles of democracy. And that's a very great challenge for Iraq to take on. On the other hand, it's a very significant historical fact that they're trying that.
For his part, President Bush crowed, "We're watching an amazing event unfold, and that is the writing of a constitution which guarantees minority rights, women's rights, freedom to worship in a part of the world that had only--in a country that only new dictatorship." As it turns out, he had a lot of company among the ideologues of the right. Among them was torture enthusiast David Rivkin, who used the Heritage Foundation's web site on September 15, 2005 to praise Iraq's new constitution:
Although the Iraqi constitution references Islam and establishes it as the state religion, the document's guarantees of democracy and religious freedoms are treated with equal dignity. On that basis, both Iraqis and the larger global community can expect-at least until there is good and sufficient proof to the contrary-that religious pluralism will be taken seriously and respected under the new constitution...
It is doubtful whether or not an aggressively secular democracy can succeed in Iraq, given the religious convictions of most Iraqis. Moreover, a secular democracy will certainly not serve as an appealing example of reform to the greater Islamic world or help to undermine the ideological appeal of Islamist teachings. Rather, it would be dismissed by many Muslims-both in Iraq and abroad-as a foreign, imperialist interposition. Only a regime that combines Islam with the fundamentals of representative democracy and the rule of law can serve this critical purpose. The proposed Iraqi constitution, at least on paper, creates the first genuine Muslim democracy.
But with Barack Hussein Obama sitting in the Oval Office, promoting democracy in the Middle East has been replaced for right-wingers by fear of Sharia Law at home and abroad. (John McCain's attempts to reassure the gang at Fox News may have limited impact, given his assurances to the Qaddafi regime two years ago that he would help it secure U.S. weapons.) Six years after waving their purple fingers and cheering the new constitution in Iraq, the conservative noise machine is warning about Islamist forces intent on "hijacking Libya's future" and who will "bring Muslim law." Back in 2005, that role was played by George W. Bush and the United States of America.
The news, via Wired, that NASA is partnering with Tor-Forge on a series of novels is intriguing. The arrangement will pair NASA employees with expertise in engineering, math, science and technology with writers in the Tor stable with the goal of creating stories that will engage young readers on those topics. Projects like this always run the risk of producing spinach rather than dessert with nutrition value, but another project Wired points out, the stories Intel commissioned from a group of writers to explore how science and technology might shape the future, actually provide a pretty good template for how to make the Tor-NASA collaborations engaging rather than dull.
The Intel stories are collected in a volume called The Morrow project, and while a couple of the stories feel like failures, at least one is an unqualified success. “The Mercy Dash,” about a couple racing to provide a blood transfusion for the young woman’s mother while quibbling over the fact that the man’s made his artificial intelligence sound a little too much like his girlfriend, gets lost in gee-whiz descriptions of the technology that lets you do things like convince cops not to give you a speeding ticket because you can show them how much damage has been done to your mother’s spine. “The Last Day of Work” takes a cooler overall concept ? a world where increasingly sophisticated robotics have eliminated scarcity and the need for work, as seen from the perspective of the last man with a job on his last day at the office ? and again spends too much time explaining how it happened instead of playing with what it means. It’s the kind of thing I’d love to see fleshed out in longer form.
But “The Drop,” by Scarlett Thomas, who I hadn’t known about before but I will look out for now, is just fantastic. Set in a world where everyone lifecasts and makes money off it, where less successful lifecasters have to produce supplemental electricity, and where gameplay’s become a key mode of commerce, the story follows a couple of days in the life of a 33-year-old as she trains for a race and, spurred on by a message from a mysterious man, learns to use a new communications technology she’s been resisting. The story isn’t heavy on scientific explanation ? it shows us the implications of new technologies, not their design schema, and we learn about tools along with the character, rather than having the characters stop the action to give us lectures. And it’s set at a moment when the world is different from the one we live in, but not unrecognizable from it. You can see the bridge from now to then. And if you want to get readers engaged in the fields that are involved in a story, that seems critical ? they should be inspired to build their way to that world, or to build alternatives to it.