By Tara Culp-Ressler on April 9, 2014 at 10:21 am
Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three, collapsed and died on a stranger’s floor at the end of March. She was at an appointment to try to sell a vacuum cleaner, one of the three part-time jobs that she worked to try to make ends meet for her family. Her death was a result of a documented heart condition — and it could have been prevented.
Dill was uninsured, and she went years without the care she needed to address her chronic conditions because she couldn’t afford it.
Under the health reform law, which seeks to expand coverage to millions of low-income Americans, Dill wasn’t supposed to lack insurance. She was supposed to have access to a public health plan through the law’s expansion of the Medicaid program. But Dill, a Florida resident, is one of the millions of Americans living in a state that has refused to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion after the Supreme Court ruled this provision to be optional. Those low-income people have been left in a coverage gap, making too much income to qualify for a public Medicaid plan but too little income to qualify for the federal subsidies to buy a plan on Obamacare’s private exchanges.
Florida has one of the highest uninsurance rates in the nation, and is home to a disproportionately large number of residents who struggle to afford health services. Nonetheless, lawmakers have continued to resist accepting generous federal funds to expand Medicaid to an estimated 750,000 low-income Floridians like Dill.
Although Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) initially indicated that he was in favor of accepting the funds for expansion, he’s since walked back that position. Meanwhile, Republicans in the legislature don’t even plan to schedule a vote to address Medicaid expansion during their current session, suggesting that the federal government won’t actually come through with the funding to support the policy.
Dill made about $9,000 annually by babysitting, cleaning houses, and selling vacuum cleaners. As the Orlando Weekly reports, she was optimistic about her coverage options under President Obama’s administration. She tried to sign up for Obamacare using the online calculator on HealthCare.gov, but quickly found out she fell within the coverage gap.
In the absence of health coverage, Dill’s best friend, Kathleen Voss Woolrich, occasionally turned to crowdfunding sites on the internet to raise the money Dill needed to pay for her heart medication. Last month, Woolrich crowdfunded to pay for Dill’s funeral.
In an emotional blog post published on the site Women on the Move at the end of last month, Woolrich blamed Florida politicians for her friend’s early death.
“You see the main argument Republicans use is that it’s some lazy person who needs Medicaid expansion. That those of us living without healthcare or dental care are lazy. But my friend, a single beautiful mother, worked three jobs,” Woolrich wrote. “I am burying my best friend because of the policies of the Republican Party. I am burying my best friend because had Medicaid expanded, her needs would have been met.”
And Dill won’t be the only one. A recent study conducted by Harvard researchers estimated that as many as 17,000 people will die directly as a result of their states refusing to expand Medicaid. In Florida, that translates to about six deaths like Dill’s every single day. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that the low-income residents in states that have resisted Medicaid expansion tend to have more health problems than the residents in other states.
Democratic officials in Florida have responded strongly to Woolrich’s story. Rep. Alan Grayson (D) — who told the Orlando Weekly that his colleaugues’ resistance to Medicaid expansion “has put the GOP’s appalling disregard for human life on full display” — entered Woolrich’s blog post into the Congressional record.
“I memorialized Charlene’s life and death in the Congressional Record, because the Republicans want to pretend that none of this is happening. That Charlene didn’t die as a result of their callous neglect — that no Floridians will die as a result of their willful refusal to expand Medicaid at no cost,” Grayson explained. “But I’m not going to let them forget. I’m not going to let them pretend. This is not a game; this is very real. This is life and death.”
where drooling morans rule…
So. Dakota Bill Protects Teaching Intelligent Design in Schools
by John Timmer / Senior Science Editor / Ars Technica
Once again, state legislatures have been turned into battlegrounds by lawmakers who seem intent on slipping religion into the science classroom. As in years past, most of these bills simply seek to protect teachers who introduce spurious criticisms of evolution into their lesson plans. But South Dakota has the distinction of attempting to specifically protect the teaching of intelligent design, something that has already been determined to be unconstitutional following a bruising court defeat.
As tracked by the National Center for Science Education, four states are considering a total of five bills; Missouri has the honor of having two bills going at once, while Virginia and Oklahoma have one. The Virginia bill is fairly typical of these. It would prevent local school boards and administrations from punishing teachers who help students “analyze, critique, and review” scientific theories in their classrooms. In the past, these bills have singled out evolution as a topic that’s meant to be critiquedone Missouri bill still doesbut lately that’s often been dropped in favor of generic language like “scientific controversies” (see, for example, the Oklahoma bill).
Based on the evolutionary history of these bills, it’s clear that they were originally intended to encourage teachers who wished to introduce spurious criticisms of evolution, many of which have been published by the creationist and intelligent design movements. However, in an attempt to avoid legal scrutiny, the bills’ authors have been turning to increasingly generic language.
That said, this year’s bills include two distinct variations on the theme. One is the second Missouri bill, which would require schools to develop “a mechanism where a parent can choose to remove the student from any part of the district’s or school’s instruction on evolution.” And the second is the South Dakota bill, which would see any teacher that introduced intelligent design into their science classroom protected from disciplinary action, even though that instruction has been declared an unconstitutional imposition of religion. “[This bill] is a recipe for disaster,” said NCSE Executive Director Ann Reid. “If enacted, school districts are going to find themselves caught between a rock and a hard placeand they’ll wind up in court.”
If the long-running battle over evolution interests you, stay tuned to Ars. Next Tuesday, we’ll have two reporters at the Creation Museum to watch its founder debate Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
Climb Aboard Little Wog, Sail Away With Me | TBogg.
By: TBogg Wednesday December 26, 2012 9:18 am
During the holiday break (at least it was my holiday break, maybe not yours) snooty elitist New York magazine published an article by Joe Hagan about his adventures aboard the post-election National Review cruise on the S.S. Brutally Disappointed where he documented passengers – who ranged in color from alabaster to eggshell white as long as they stayed out of the noonday sun – commiserating with each other over
the failure of the Republican party to woo enough of the dusky horde over to their side of the aisle in the previous weeks election.
Some key scenes:
Then, at 3 p.m., the group gathered into the Showroom at Sea, a three-tiered amphitheater decorated in a bright-red Art Deco style, for the first of several sessions deconstructing the loss. Onstage were Reed, now in lime-green pants embroidered with pink swordfish and navy polo shirt with white piping on the collar; and Scott Rasmussen, the pollster who consistently overrated Romney’s chances of winning the election. Rasmussen blasted the assembled Republicans with one crushing statistic after another. The exit poll data, he said, “create a negative brand image of the Republican Party as a party that only cares about white people.”
The audience murmured unhappily.
“And that image is hurting among the youth,” he continued. “It is hurting across the culture. It is something that has to be addressed across the party. It has to be addressed. You can’t just wish it away.”
Reed expanded on the theme. “You can’t run and win a national election in an electorate that is becoming decreasingly white and increasingly minority and lose 80 percent of the minority vote,” he said. “That math just doesn’t add up.”
Rasmussen offered some friendly advice about approaching minorities. “You show them that you really care, you talk to them as grown-ups on a range of issues, you get them involved,” he suggested, “and you accept the fact that it’s a long-term investment. And you accept that you can learn as much from them as you can teach them.”
This was harsh medicine to reluctant patients, and afterward some of them made their discomfort known. “That depressed me!” one woman said. To my right, a man snapped, “That’s bullshit!”
The man was Bing West, former assistant secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, a former Marine and a National Review contributor.
West, mocking Rasmussen, said: “If you stupid Republicans weren’t so goddamn bigoted you would have won the election!”
His wife, Betsy, who bears a resemblance to Nancy Reagan, patted him on the back and apologized on his behalf, saying, “I don’t know why he said that. He’s usually not like that.”
I met a man near the railing who was there as a caregiver for a 70-year-old National Review cruiser from Palm Desert, California. He was gay and seemingly liberal and had come on the cruise only to push his boss around in a wheelchair. As he smoked a cigarette, he recounted a conversation the two had about the ship’s largely Indonesian and Filipino staff.
BOSS: You notice none of the workers are white.
CAREGIVER: Except the managers upstairs.
BOSS: Well, that’s the way it should be. [[More at Link]] Continue reading