May 15, 2014

Not again

As someone from a place that is all too familiar with mine disasters, my heart goes out to those touched by the mine disaster in Turkey, which has claimed nearly 300 lives. My friend Ken Ward had some worthy things to say about the disaster here.

MEANWHILE, BACK IN INDIANA, it looks like another Republican led state is about to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. (Of course, the governor is proposing doing so by extending private coverage, which will probably wind up costing the state more money and having worse coverage than the traditional Medicaid program, but it's still better than doing nothing.)

May 14, 2014

Serious food for thought

This post is designed for people who are OK thinking hard about community organizing, social change and social movements. Here are two pieces, incidentally by two brothers, about the tradition of community organizing as developed by Saul Alinsky and his heirs and alternative models that take a faster track.

This isn't exactly light reading but it's pretty interesting stuff for people who are really into this kind of thing.

May 12, 2014

Which craziness is crazier?

Paul Krugman raised an interesting question in his column today, wherein he compared right wing craziness over the Affordable Care Act with right wing craziness over climate change, any talk of which is apparently "Marxist" according to some folks. The question, which he didn't ask in so many words, was which craziness is crazier.

Based on my WV perspective, I think the two kids of craziness are rather distinct. Health care reform craziness approaches full blown clinical paranoia, as in weird beliefs about death panels, microchips and a takeover of the US system by the World Health Organization. Climate craziness, at least at the highest levels, seems to have a bit more method to the madness: it's about the money.

Actually addressing climate change might cost some corporations a bit in the short run while saving all kinds of grief in the long run. Or, more likely, in the not so long run. The sad thing is, the longer climate change craziness delays meaningful action, the harder it will be to figure out a way to actually help miners and places like WV without cooking our future.


NOTE: I'm traveling this week so posts may be irregular. Not that they aren't anyway.

May 11, 2014

It's working

A showdown is taking place in Virginia, where Democratic Governor Terry McAulliffe is pushing to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to an estimated 400,000 residents of that state. Republicans in the state House are going all out to block any expansion. I guess the rationale is "Let them eat spite."

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, over 117,500 have gained Medicaid coverage since Jan. 1 of this year--not counting those who signed up via the exchange or found out they were eligible for traditional programs.

 And the results are already apparent. As the WV Center on Budget and Policy notes in its blog, the state's largest hospital system, CAMC, reported a 75 percent drop in self-pay patients the first month that the ACA and Medicaid expansion took effect. It has fallen even more since then.

In other words, it's working. I am grateful for the fact that whatever else you can say about WV's Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (and some days there is plenty) he did have the decency to bring health care to many who were doing without. I only wish the leaders in the mean-spirited states have a change of heart.