Nov 032013
 

If you’ve been paying any attention to the talking heads lately, you know that the latest Republican outrage is the whole “you can keep the policy you have” thing. The editorial board of The New York Times does an excellent job of explaining exactly what is going on. I hope you’ll read it and share it. I’ll start you off here, but you’ll have to click on the title of the editorial to read the whole thing.

Insurance Policies Not Worth Keeping

Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)

But insurers are not allowed to abandon enrollees. They must offer consumers options that do comply with the law, and they are scrambling to retain as many of their customers as possible with new policies that are almost certain to be more comprehensive than their old ones.

Indeed, in all the furor, people forget how terrible many of the soon-to-be-abandoned policies were. Some had deductibles as high as $10,000 or $25,000 and required large co-pays after that, and some didn’t cover hospital care.

This overblown controversy has also obscured the crux of what health care reform is trying to do, which is to guarantee that everyone can buy insurance without being turned away or charged exorbitant rates for pre-existing conditions and that everyone can receive benefits that really protect them against financial or medical disaster, not illusory benefits that prove inadequate when a crisis strikes.

Sunday Reading 05-26-13

 Posted by at 13:45  economy, Politics
May 262013
 

I’ve kind of been slacking off on Sunday Reading. After all, nobody is reading. When I saw this article by William Rivers Pitt, however, I knew I had to post it. I wonder if this is what our Republican friends are talking about when they scream about “income redistribution.”

The End of the Beginning of the End

A report released early this year by the organization Oxfam International revealed that the combined income of the richest 100 people in the world is enough to end global poverty four times over, and that the gap between rich and poor has exploded by some 60% in the last 20 years. Rather than hinder this division, the recent global economic crisis has exacerbated it. Money does not disappear, you see, but tends to be translated up the income ladder in times of financial distress.

According to UNICEF, nearly half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day. One billion children live in poverty, and 22,000 of them die each day because of it. More than one billion people lack access to adequate drinking water, and 400 million of those are children. Almost a billion people go hungry every day.

The incomes of 100 people out of the seven billion on the planet could fix that, and then fix it again, and then fix it again, and then fix it again. The exact total of the wealth of these individuals is actually something of a mystery, thanks to the tax havens they use to hide their fortunes. There are trillions of dollars squirrelled away in those havens – no one knows quite how much – and the subtraction of that money from the global economy has a direct and debilitating effect on the people not fortunate enough to be part of that elite 100.

That’s not the entire article. That’s only three paragraphs culled from the article. To read the entire article, click on the link at the beginning of the quoted section. I hope you do. Let me know what you think.