Make Your Voice Heard

In the political world you must work to have your voice heard. The path to representation is clear but is often fraught with the missteps of miscommunication. The video below encourages you to find your representative and speak to them about issues that you hold dear. You can email, call, text, message over social media, or protest your elected officials. The only thing you can’t do is refuse to participate. Our lives are political from the pillows you wake up from, to your mode of transportation, to your healthcare when you are ill, to the family you leave behind in death are all regulated by your elected officials. Let them know what you feel about certain issues so that you can make your voice heard. The video below will help you to accomplish these objectives.

Who Cares What Bathroom You Use?

2015-11-28-1448716369-3428731-Beatup-thumb

There is not a single, reasonable assertion that should stop individuals who are transgender from using the bathroom of their choice. To do so, is discriminatory and wrongful as a human being. Every single person in the U.S. (unless they have portable restroom that only they use everywhere they go) has at one point used a bathroom that a person of a different gender identity has also used. The bathrooms in our homes are gender neutral, single person restrooms at rest areas, businesses and schools are also gender neutral; just because we don’t label them as such, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There are co-ed bathrooms in colleges across the nation, and I have used the opposite gender’s bathroom when the one that corresponds with my identity is too busy. The assumption of violence and threat from such people is a harmful stereotype asserted by fear, and it makes the Trump administration’s ruling a severe miscarriage of justice.
On Feb 22, 2017, the Trump administration decided to rescind the Obama administration’s memos regarding transgender student rights.

The Obama era memos said that restricting a transgender student from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws. The U.S. Department of Education notes that under Title 9, schools who receive federal funds may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.

The decision to revoke these justified distinctions was made due to apparent “legal confusion”. There are a variety of arguments for and against the decision by the Trump administration. In some states, the revoked measure wont do anything. In Colorado, state lawmakers passed legislation in 2008 that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

imrs.php

For some the ruling is more personal. Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old boy in Virginia, sued his school board for the right to use the male restroom, after a policy was passed requiring students to use facilities that corresponded with their “biological sex”. Up to that point, he had been using the male restroom without notable incidents.
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming all introduced Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills in the 2017 legislative session.

There has been some backlash to these measures. When North Carolina passed similar legislation in 2016, companies like PayPal refused to build and artists Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas pulled concerts out of the state. When we refuse to contribute economically to discriminatory measures, then we send a message that these decisions are not justified.

Visit The National Center for Transgender Equality
to help fight against such legislation both locally and nationally.

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

BE021512

The infamous phrase that posited women’s rights are human rights was uttered by Hillary Clinton at the United Nation’s Fourth World conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995. Yet 22 years later, we are still introducing policy that demeans and demoralizes women’s choices at home in the U.S. and abroad. We must fight for women to be recognized as human beings in this administration and forever.

The race to repeal the ACA would threaten pregnancy and maternity as part of the 10 essential health benefit categories. Prior to ACA plans could overcharge women because of their gender and exclude maternity coverage. For a party that is suppose to be Pro-Life, it would appear that consideration is not about the woman carrying the child, or even after the child is born. See: Cutting of Afterschool Programs

Please consider volunteering at your local Planned Parenthood. Clinics around the country need support in various ways, and we all can provide them with the help they aren’t receiving from the government.

On International Women’s Day, House Republicans reignited legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Trump as vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that works for women’s reproductive health, especially low cost care for poor women. In December 2016, The Verge noted that 55 million women have access to birth control right now without a co-pay, thanks to the ACA.

-As a note, women already face extreme circumstances if they want to get an abortion. There are many women who have to travel to different states, where those localities may require counseling or an ultrasound prior to the procedure taking place. There are logistical and financial burdens that await any woman’s right to choose.

Only two days after the Women around the world protested and marched on behalf of Women’s Rights, Trump reinstated the global gag rule (The Mexico City policy) that blocks U.S. federal funding to any non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counselling, referrals, for the expansion of abortion services or advocate to decriminalize abortion.

– Marie Stopes International, an international nonprofit reproductive health group said they will not follow the order, which will result in the loss of USAID funding. They note this loss of funding will result in in 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths in Africa and Asia.

US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY-TRADE-ASIA-TPP

Look at all these white men deciding what women need…….

It’s a Bird? No, it’s a Plane? It’s a new Healthcare Plan?!

On March 24, 2017 Paul Ryan decided to pull the repeal Obamacare vote from the floor that afternoon. The repeal bill was combined with the AHCA, or the republican’s version of healthcare reform. Ryan told reporters “We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

While Democrats rejoiced and made back handed comments about Trump’s so called failure at the art of the deal. Conservatives on the hill aren’t done yet. Only a few days later, after pressure form conservative activists, House Republican Leaders and the White House said they would begin negotiations about repealing ACA again.

payn_c14967820170328120100aria_c14971620170329120100

Last week Stephen Bannon with far right groups the Freedom Caucus and Tuesday Group have started meetings about repealing ACA. The problem is that they aren’t just talking about repealing the current healthcare system we have, they want to replace in the same bill. Which means these far right groups who found the AHCA to be just shy of the ACA, means the healthcare reform likely to come from these meeting will make Americans worse off than they are now.

Yet, there isn’t much time to offer a replacement as April 7th begins another two week recess for congressional legislators. Also a budget proposal must be passed by April 28th in order for the government to stay funded.

Here is what we know of the bill so far with updates coming in the next 24 hours

  • States would be allowed to charge higher rates to sick people.
  • A waiver system that would allow States to opt-out of some of ACA’s requirements. There would be non-negotiable requirements such as the ban on excluding coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
    • These waivers would make states prove that they could provide equal or more coverage with less costs.

193526_600

There isn’t much known about the current Plan B for healthcare reform from the GOP candidates, but the White House has been reported saying that the bill needs to be in this week. We shall see what will happen in the meantime with our taxes.

tmdsu17032820170329115747

AHCA v. ACA Which Healthcare plan will be the best for you?

healthcare-mechanism-concept_resized

Healthcare is a difficult subject and one we don’t always comprehend. The United States is one of two countries that doesn’t provide universal healthcare to its citizens and former President Barack Obama has worked significantly to change that. However, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA aka ObamaCare) has been largely controversial but overall effective. Yet, the U.S. Congress in 2017, in collaboration with President Trump, have released the American Health Care Act (ACHA aka TrumpCare). The republican healthcare plan says that it will lower premiums and increase patient health but will actually hurt many Americans especially the oldest and poorest in the country. The AHCA is a tax cut for the rich while pricing many older Americans out of the market all together. This plan fails to address how it will be paid for, as the ACA forced people into the market in order to subsidize coverage in the US, AHCA repeals these payments without offering a replacement for them. Let’s dive into both of these plans to determine what it means for you and me.

healthcare22

What is ACA

The Affordable Care Act is the current operating healthcare system in the United States.
– Employers provide health insurance, because the ACA required companies to provide affordable insurance or face penalties.
– Ideally, the ACA makes insurance more affordable by reducing premium and out-of-pocket costs for individuals who have been priced out of coverage in the past. In 2013 over 15% of Americans were without insurance despite the goals of the ACA
– The risk is spread equally to reduce discrimination.
– A new competitive health insurance marketplace that didn’t exist before.
– There is a cap on insurance company non-medical, administrative expenditures
– You can no longer be charged more money based on health status, gender, or salary

What is AHCA

The Republican plan, named the American Health Care Act AHCA
is the current insight into how Republicans are are going to tackle healthcare, however as of March 26, the plan has been pulled from the floor of both houses by the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, as he felt he didn’t have the votes

AHCA Offers:

o tax credits based on age for people earning a specific kind of income or less, this replaces the subsidies that ACA provided.
o you the ability save twice as much money (from previous years) a year, tax-free, in a health savings account — up to $13,100 starting in 2018.
o The individual mandate (that everyone must have healthcare or face penalties) is gone under this Plan
.

ACHA: Repeals/Disadvantages

o The mandate that employers have to provide healthcare for employees are pay a fine
o Repeals the ACA subsidies
Subsidies are payments from the government that act as stimulus
o Puts in place a plan of continuous coverage
Continuous Coverage is the idea that if you always maintain health insurance (or don’t exceed a gap of 30 days) you will never have to pay more than an average amount for insurance in your area.
o Charges older, sick people more

Similarities between ACA and AHCA

– Adult children can stay in a family plan until age 26
– Insurers can not deny coverage to an already sick person/a pre-existing condition
– You can not charge a person more based on their gender.
– Basic benefits are still required by insurers but Medicaid would no longer offer these  benefits under ACHA
– Insurers would be barred from imposing annual or lifetime limits

Differences between the two plans

– A 28-year-old could get $2,000 toward your insurance premium under the republican plan. However, if you are at a higher paying job and get laid off and you need to find insurance quickly, because you can be penalized for a gap in coverage, being charged 30% more, for up to a year, compared with someone who never had a coverage lapse.
– The ACA lets insurance companies charge 64-year-old customers only three times as much as the youngest customers. But the ACHA would allow insurers to charge you five times the price for young adults.
ACA was paid for in large part by a tax increase on the wealthy, ACHA will give a large tax cut to the wealthy. Those making over a million dollars a year will get an average of $50,000 in tax cuts. Those in the .01% of Americans would get an average cut of more than $195,000.
-If you are living in Idaho earning $45,000 a year and your 10-year-old has cerebral palsy and gets insurance through Medicaid then, Medicaid helps your son out a lot by picking up a lot of the bills but Idaho didn’t expand Medicaid under ACA. Luckily, he qualifies for provisions as a “persons with disabilities”. However, ACHA changes this, in 2020 the federal government would scale back Medicaid by providing fixed sums to states to pay a set percentage of your son’s medical bills. If costs increase faster than the federal fixed sum, then Idaho could significantly scale back the the Medicaid subsides they provide.