Republicans in DC: Stop claiming to care about life

As you know, I am from South Carolina, one of the worst states in the union, politically speaking. Occasionally I get really angry about some stupid something people who claim me as a constituent are doing in DC, supposedly on my behalf.

STOP TRYING TO SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT

Sorry. I have spent literally my entire adult life wishing I had access to insurance that would cover my pre-existing conditions, women’s healthcare, and mental healthcare. I am not exaggerating when I say that this has been one of the most important concerns in my life. Because I developed severe allergies and asthma when I was 7, insurance and medical costs have driven so many of my life choices. Other people have had it far worse than I do, I don’t claim any special claim to bad circumstances, but I tell you the fact that, as of January 1, I will have, regardless of my employment situation, access to full healthcare coverage is such a relief that it makes me want to cry.

And *my* representatives are participating in these shame shutdown shenanigans because they want to take that away from me.  That makes me angry.  So I wrote a letter to Joe “You Lie” Wilson, against whom I ran a write-in campaign that may have earned me votes into the double-digits, Lindsey Graham, and Tim Scott.  By the time I got to Tim Scott, I had perhaps over-flourished it all, but you can judge for yourself.

Senator Scott,

I am really struggling with the behavior of Republicans in Washington, DC right now. Shutting down the government in what appears to be an attempt to hurt the poorest of your constituents.

I am a 29 year old woman who works a full-time job, two part-time jobs, and is in school full-time as well. Despite this, the only insurance I have access to currently is individual insurance, which can deny me for my pre-existing asthma. Furthermore, it is impossible to get individual maternity coverage in South Carolina. Unless you are part of a group plan, you cannot get maternity coverage at all in this state. If I get pregnant it is far more economically feasible for me to abort than to have a child, and not because I am not willing to pay for coverage, but because out of pocket a birth can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

If you were honestly pro-life, you’d support women getting access to that care. If you were honestly pro-life, you’d support everyone getting access to healthcare.

This is all changing on January 1 thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Starting then, I will have access to care regardless of my childhood asthma and that care will cover maternity. I have spent my entire life wishing that I’d have access to that some day — and now Republicans are trying to take that away from me. It feels like you’re playing political football with my ability to afford having a family.

I am not some lazy bum and I am not looking for handouts, I just think that I shouldn’t have to work so hard to still face catastrophic bankruptcy if something wonderful like pregnancy should befall me. Offer me an alternate plan, offer me a promise that South Carolina insurance providers will have to offer maternity coverage and coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Or stop claiming to care about life.

Regards, Ashley

I mean, I might have upped the pathos dial a bit much, but goddammit, could you just care about people instead of politics for once?  Also, how infuriating is it that South Carolina is not the only state in which it is literally impossible for a woman to get individual maternity coverage!  HOW MESSED UP IS THAT

Secular Patient Advocacy?

Hey, I don’t know anything about this field, but I thought some of my readership might.  My best friend’s mother is in really bad shape because of cancer and because of delayed diagnosis because of doctors being indifferent to her care.  She sent me the following e-mail:

Can you ask the Secular community what patient advocacy resources are available, and where to demand better, more thoughtful treatment? I think a lot of the shit Mom’s had to deal with has been a combination of medical error and the terrible quality of health care in SC, but I feel like this process has been complicated because, in general, doctors and nurses are rude and dismissive. This is a huge problem because I think it sends people into the arms of quacks on the “alternative medicine” side, and I’d really like there to be some kind of secular answer to that bullshit. I just don’t know where else to start.
Any thoughts you have would be wonderful, and if you don’t know, that’s OK too.  Secular community help me out!

Healthcare win: Obamacare survives SCOTUS

The Supreme Court ruled today on the Obamacare provisions and upheld it almost in its entirety.  I am surprised by this, I was fully expecting to be writing a post right now saying just the opposite.  Even more surprising is that Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority of the opinion and Kennedy wrote the dissent.  If anything could be done to restore some small amount of faith in the judicial branch of the government, this was it.

Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.

The only thing they’ve really changed is that Congress doesn’t have the ability to punish states for non-compliance by taking away Medicaid funding.  Everything else stands based on Congress’ right to impose taxes — the opinion seems to say that the mandate is functionally a tax, and therefore Constitutional.

Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.

I’m still waiting for an online copy. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

On being number 11

I’m working from my phone, just got to South Carolina, haven’t got internet, so forgive any wonky formatting.

I just read a piece by Thomas L. Friedman about a “Newsweek” article that ranks the US as the eleventh best country to live. I wonder sometimes if the rest of the world gets bored of us always trying to be first. Some people would say something like well done america for being so high on the list or that’s impressive considering some of the great other countries in the world.

He argues that the reason america sucks (being eleventh would probably lead us to kill ourselves if we had japan’s sense of honor) is because our students aren’t motivated and everyone wants to get rich quick – he seems to think this is an american problem not a human one, for some reason. And he argues that the greatest generation was better, and they were better because they had a better attitude and wanted to make sacrifices.  Obsession with being the greatest and number one in everything doesn’t make his ranking of things americans do that are bloody stupid for some reason.

According to Newsweek, it looks like we lag further behind on health and quality of life than we do on education, in absolute terms if not in ranking. Five years difference in average healthy life span isn’t small potatoes. And I call bullshit that the greatest generation had better attitudes. They had a very specific set of circumstances to deal with, and we have a much different one, but anyone arguing that they had better quality of life, healthcare, lifespan, or education is just being ridiculous.

Look at the other top countries and tell me how a country that values independence, freedom, diversity and size can compete with little, rich, homogenous countries? I think we should be amazed that a country with so many immigrants from countries that are much lower on the list is even competing at all.

I’m not saying that there aren’t things, particularly within education and healthcare, that need to be fixed, but I think blaming it on the wrong attitude is a completely shallow and curmugeonly way of looking at what is in fact a very complicated problem because of economy, scale, and a varied population. If he’s got a problem with selfish attitudes destroying america, I’d love to see any evidence that that is true.