Archive for category Healthcare
Now, as then, the liberty the red states seek is the liberty to let a whole class of citizens suffer.
A powerful article by Jonathan Cohn from TNR. He compares the way the generally more conservative Republican states approach programs of social uplift with the way generally more progressive Democratic states approach programs of social welfare.
Among his observations:
Romney and Ryan would argue that there’s a virtue embedded in the red-state model. Government handouts, they say, cause dependency and discourage people from working. Most scholars would agree that happens sometimes. But they would also argue that the programs need to be fixed, not obliterated. (It’s the difference between adding a work requirement to welfare and simply slashing its funding.) “Public programs have some unintended consequences,” says Luke Shaefer, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan. But the best evidence suggests that the “benefits far exceed the relatively minor negative effects.”
By nearly every measure, people who live in the blue states are healthier, wealthier, and generally better off than people in the red states. It’s impossible to prove that this is the direct result of government spending. But the correlation is hard to dismiss. The four states with the highest poverty rates are all red: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. (The fifth is New Mexico, which has turned blue.) And the five states with the lowest poverty rates are all blue: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii. The numbers on infant mortality, life expectancy, teen pregnancy, and obesity break down in similar ways. A recent study by researchers at the American Institute for Physics evaluated how well-prepared high schoolers were for careers in math and science. Massachusetts was best, followed closely by Minnesota and New Jersey. Mississippi was worst, along with Louisiana and West Virginia. In fact, it is difficult to find any indicator of well-being in which red states consistently do better than blue states.
Restricting access to public assistance and programs obviously isn’t on the same moral plane as denying people the right to vote or holding them as slaves. But these things should weigh on our consciences all the same. Food stamps keep people from going hungry. Unemployment checks prevent people from losing their homes. Health insurance keeps people from suffering and dying. Food, shelter, medicine—these are basic needs to which all people, and certainly all Americans, should be entitled. Over the course of the last century, from the Progressive era through the New Deal and Great Society, the United States slowly but surely moved toward guaranteeing those things. Giving the red states the power to deviate from this course means giving them the right to undo that progress.
The whole thing is worth your time to read.
So, in a move that surprised me, Gov. Herbert vetoed the legislature’s regressive, ignorant, fear based sex education bill.
The issue of sex education – especially abstinence only – is going to come back. The pig-ignorant fool who sponsored the original bill had this to say:
Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, who sponsored HB363, said the issue is not about starting a conversation, but about stopping a movement. He said he is concerned that proponents of teaching contraception in schools are part of a national movement to include standardized sex education as part of the core curriculum.
“National groups are pushing a national core on sex education,” Wright said. “This is not a Utah topic. This is far beyond Utah.” [snip]
Wright said it is “intellectually dishonest” to teach teenagers about contraception at all, because abstinence, not contraception, is the only sure way to prevent STDs or pregnancy before marriage, he said.
“When they are ready to get married, they can be taught how to use contraceptives,” Wright said.
And Madam Secretary brings some reality to the table:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Well, the cost is financial, the cost is in women’s lives, the cost is to undermine what many of the very same opponents claim is their priority, namely to prevent abortions [wry grin] because—you know, we want to stay focused on improving maternal and child health, and there is no doubt at all that family planning services are absolutely essential to improving both maternal and child health.
Working through our government—with other governments, with NGOs with expertise, capacity, proven track records—we have made a big difference in women’s health. You know, global estimates, Senator, indicate that, by helping women space births and avoid unintended pregnancies, family planning has the potential of preventing twenty-five percent of the maternal and child deaths in the developing world.
Family planning is the best way we have to prevent unintended pregnancies and abortion [wry grin] so I—I know that it—it is, um, a very, um, controversial issue [she seems barely able to spit the words out through her disdain and casts her eyes down then lifts them back up as she continues] but numerous studies have shown that the incidence of abortions decreases when women have access to contraception.
And therefore I strongly support what this administration is doing in trying to provide the means to improve the health of women and children around the world.
It is pretty much this simple. The argument is about as basic as it can be. It isn’t a matter of religion, or opinion, or collecting a bunch of white male virgins to testify as to how peachy keen no birth control would be. The case is very, very simple.
1. Women are people
2. They can make their own choices
3. Birth control and family planning make them better off
4. Birth control and family planning make kids better off
5. Birth control and family planning mean less abortions
At this point anyone who is under the mistaken impression the catholic church has any morality in their position at all is simply not aware of the terms of the discussion. If the catholic church had any respect for human life at all they would be campaigning for birth control, not against it.
The Koman for the Cure charity has given up on Planned Parenthood.
The Koman charity says that the primary reason they are leaving Planned Parenthood twisting in the wind is because
a woman hating republican asshole a conservative republican has launched an investigation/audit into Planned Parenthood. Unless you read the official version, which spits out a great deal of useless ink about “evolving” and “changing missions” and “serving women.” As one blogger pointed out, tell me how not supporting breast cancer screenings for people who have no other healthcare access is “best meeting the needs of the women we serve,” because I need a good laugh right now.
(HT to Cliff Lyon, seen on Facebook)
All morning long, watching the talk shows, I’ve listened to Republican leaders decrying the partisanship in Washington and voting along straight party lines, while out the other sides of their mouths declaring that not one Republican will vote for the health care bill today. Since we know some Democats will vote against the bill, we can only assume Republicans concerned with partisanship are, in fact, disgusted with themselves. As they should be – having spawned (with the help of Fox News) one of the most uninformed and hatefilled movements I’ve ever seen in my lifetime – the Tea Bag movement.
From a WaPo Editorial:
Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity.
It is time to stand up against another wrong.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. Read the rest of this entry »
There was a time when I liked George Will. I didn’t consider him to be a great commentator, and I certainly didn’t agree with all of his stances, but I respected that he bucked the party line from time to time. I don’t like him all that much any more, however, and his February 26th column is a good part of the reason why.
Will addresses the liberal claim that filibusters are unconstitutional. I haven’t heard this claim all that much, so much as the claim that it’s foolish, impractical demagoguery to use it on the vast majority of bills. This isn’t the first time this has come up, however; Democrats used the filibuster to block the privatization of Social Security, and to stall the Bush administration’s supreme court nominations. Back in 2005, Will wrote a column reasoning with his fellow conservatives as to why the filibuster should be allowed even in such trying times.
Today, Will accuses both Republicans and Democrats of being “situational ethicists” regarding the filibuster. This appears to be an accurate accusation, considering the history of the filibuster’s use, although it must certainly be taken into account that this assertion is made in the context of truly unprecedented use of the filibuster, which has been used to block 70% of bills in recent years, including 139 bills last year alone. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who has criticized the “chronic inaction” which 41 Senators can impose on the legislative process through the filibuster, has proposed a bill that would diminish the power of the filibuster as the debate progresses.
It can be assumed that George Will would be opposed to any such new rules, considering his consistent approval of the filibuster over the last few years. The question remains, however, whether or not his consistency is also reasonable–and whether or not the Republicans who situationally agree with him today are as well.
According to KSL, Senator Orrin Hatch is calling the present health care bill a “potential disaster”. Of course, our present healthcare system is not a potential disaster. There’s nothing potential about it. It’s a full-on disaster for many people.
The couple in this video made too much money to qualify for assistance with their daughter. After losing their home and suffering a bankruptcy due to medical bills, they finally resorted to divorce in order to get the care needed.
I’d say the current healthcare disaster has fully lived up to its potential, Senator Hatch. This is just wrong.
Utah Legislators Discuss Non-Existent Sex Education Bill – and get fed misinformation and pass a ludicrous motion
The Keystone Kops were a silent film series about a group of bumbling, incompetent police officers who were more likely to blow up the police station than arrest criminals. They were apparently the inspiration for yesterday’s hearing on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake.
Lawmakers spent two hours debating sex education in schools Wednesday despite the fact that they didn’t have a new bill to debate.
Chris Buttars demonstrating his usual insight said on the record he didn’t know the bill was not ready and decided to hold the hearing anyway. Why? Well, he brought in Miriam Grossman – on his own dime – to argue against medically accurate, effective sexuality education.
Grossman spent about a half hour talking about how not enough scientific facts are included in sex education and how the national Planned Parenthood promotes what she considers to be high-risk sexual behavior among teens.
“The primary goals of these organizations is not to fight disease,” Grossman said. “It is to create a society that tolerates, indeed celebrates, any kind of sexual activity.”
Trust me, it gets better:
Ultimately, Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, proposed a motion to urge the legislature “to consider any person or organizations that promotes, recommends or teaches high-risk sexual behavior, Web sites, examples or talks” as not appropriate in public schools.
I have to be honest about my extreme frustration here – it’s not just that our legislators are by all appearances completely uninformed about sexuality education, how it works and what kinds of programs work, but they seem proud of their ignorance and wish to advertise it to the world.
Here’s the thing: abstinence only education programs do not produce behavioral changes in adolescents. Read the rest of this entry »