January 06, 2017

On being a bore for a good cause

I didn't always agree with the late writer and critic Christopher Hitches, but the guy could sure write. And read. One lesson I took several years ago from his book Letters to a Young Contrarian is that sometimes you may need to become a bore for a good cause.

And to me, preventing some of the human damage that repeal without replacement of the Affordable Care Act is a pretty good cause. In today's Gazette-Mail, there's an article by Natalie Schreyer about the damage that would do to Medicaid patients. This includes the cuts that would happen if the program is block granted.

If that's not enough, the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund released a report about the job impact of repeal without replacement. As FamiliesUSA summes it up, they estimate that it could lead to the loss of 2.6 million jobs, mostly in the private sector. The report also found that:
States will experience a $2.6 trillion reduction in business output
States will see a $1.5 trillion loss of gross state output from 2019 to 2023
State and local government will also lose about $48 billion in tax revenue
The report found that West Virginia alone could lose 16,000 jobs in 2019.

You can find the report here.

January 05, 2017

Good days and bad days

When people ask me what I think about former Governor and now Senator Joe Manchin, I tend to say that while he is extremely personable (a friend once said of him that he won't let you not like him), he has good days and bad days. I have to say that his recent statements on the need to repair and not just repeal the Affordable Care Act would count as one of his better days.

This is from the Gazette-Mail:

Manchin said he will not vote to get rid of the Affordable Care Act unless Republicans come up with a way to make sure the people who gained health insurance under the law can keep it.
“I have said simply, I won’t vote to get rid of it until I see the replacement,” Manchin said.
In the article, Manchin said that repeal without replacement would mean as many as 172,000 West Virginians losing care. Actually, the number is more like 225,000 when you count all aspects of the ACA.

While some repeal supporters are claiming they'll come up with a substitute, it would going to take a huge grassroots effort in WV and all over the country to make sure something like that happens if repeal goes through. Or even to limit the damage done.

West Virginia's senators will be critical to the outcome. And it's representatives should think twice before throwing that many people under the bus.

January 03, 2017

This is what happens...

Sometimes it's hard not to say "No ****!" This might be one of those times. There have been a number of reports about how residents of the coalfields, many of whom supported he-who-must-not-be-named, are now in danger of losing black lung benefits.

Aside from black lung, the depressed areas of Kentucky and West Virginia are among those that have benefited the most from Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Both states have seen huge drops in the number and percent of uninsured.

All that is up for grabs now, and much of it is likely to go down the drain. A major struggle is starting to take place to try to ensure that the ACA is not repealed without being replaced.

I think we may need a new rule: before sticking it to the man, we need to figure out exactly which man we're talking about. This time around, it seems like the man who got stuck is the one who works. The woman too.