…of the more than a million Americans who are infected with HIV (there are fifty thousand new cases a year), many have no decent health care, and nearly a third are not even aware they are infected. Racism, homophobia, and poverty continue to drive much of the epidemic. Minorities have the highest infection levels and are least likely to have access to satisfactory medical attention or drug treatments. Obamacare will help, but how fast or how well, nobody yet knows. This should be repulsive to us all; those people need education immediately, but there is little public funding available to teach young gay African-American men how to have sex with each other safely. That’s the society we seem to have become.
The Affordable Care Act depends on richer people paying higher taxes to finance health insurance for lower-income people…
…Starting this year, a healthcare surtax of 3.8 percent is applied to capital gains and dividend income of individuals earning more than $200,000 and a nine-tenths of 1 percent healthcare tax to wages over $200,000 or couples over $250,000. Together, the two taxes will raise an estimated $317.7 billion over 10 years…the justification is plain: We are becoming a vastly unequal society in which most of the economic gains are going to the top. It’s only just that those with higher incomes bear some responsibility for maintaining the health of Americans who are less fortunate…This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans. But Democrats have failed to make it…
…as Obama is finding, it’s hard for one party to make government work when the other party is determined to make government fail. Yes, the healthcare.gov debacle is manifestly “on us,” as Obama had to concede last week. But it happened in the face of a relentless campaign by the G.O.P. to do everything possible to prevent the law from taking effect, or from working if it did.
Cooking attracts roaches. Nobody realizes that. I’ve spent a lot of hours impaling roach bodies and leaving them out on toothpick pikes to discourage others from entering. It doesn’t work, but is amusing. “Free” only exists for rich people. It’s great that there’s a bowl of condoms at my school, but most poor people will never set foot on a college campus. We don’t belong there. There’s a clinic? Great! There’s still a copay. We’re not going. Besides, all they’ll tell you at the clinic is that you need to see a specialist, which seriously? Might as well be located on Mars for how accessible it is. “Low-cost” and “sliding scale” sounds like “money you have to spend” to me, and they can’t actually help you anyway. I smoke. It’s expensive. It’s also the best option. You see, I am always, always exhausted. It’s a stimulant. When I am too tired to walk one more step, I can smoke and go for another hour. When I am enraged and beaten down and incapable of accomplishing one more thing, I can smoke and I feel a little better, just for a minute. It is the only relaxation I am allowed. It is not a good decision, but it is the only one that I have access to. It is the only thing I have found that keeps me from collapsing or exploding. I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term.
Left out of the thousands of words written about…the [GOP’s] nihilistic willingness to crash the world economy, about Republicans’ laser focus on obliterating the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was the fact that two of the poster boys for this suicide mission were the sons of Cuban exiles whose fears about socialism were willingly and willfully exploited by the radial Right.
'…The nation’s $17 trillion debt remains a problem to be sensibly addressed and solved. But it can no longer be represented as a crisis requiring an immediate decision to deny Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits to Americans who need them. If you listen to President Obama’s critics, especially his Republican adversaries on Capitol Hill, you’d think the economy was wheezing its last gasps. But investors obviously disagree, since the Dow closed Monday at a record high — and has nearly doubled since Obama took office. Put simply, money talks.'
more from Eugene Robinson, at the Washington Post
'There's been much ink and venom spilt on the irony of our “tech president” presiding over a logistical and logical failure, but I sympathize with Obama. I think he did see all these problems coming. He's a smart guy. The biggest big lie he's told about Obamacare is that he actually believes it's a better idea than single-payer.'
'…insurance companies have sent misleading letters to consumers, trying to lock them into the companies' own, sometimes more expensive health insurance plans rather than let them shop for insurance and tax credits on the Obamacare marketplaces—which could lead to people…spending thousands more…than the law intended. In some cases, mentions of the marketplace…are relegated to a mere footnote…The extreme lengths to which some insurance companies are going to hold on to existing customers at higher price, as the Affordable Care Act fundamentally re-orders the individual insurance market, has caught the attention of state insurance regulators. The insurance companies argue that it's simply capitalism at work. But regulators don't see it that way.'
"financial" reasons for [some decisions] were also "political"…driven by GOP sabotage…the very fact that the federal government was tasked with building exchanges for 34 states itself points to the foundational act of sabotage: GOP-led state governments’ determination that "we won’t build that." The websites are for the most part working well in those states that did commit to building their own and making the law work. Next, the whole massive project has had to operate on a shoestring because the GOP House has kept it starved as funds.