Have you ever been sick? I mean, so sick that you really needed help of the professional kind, maybe even a friend to drive you to the hospital? With Obamacare – or, as it’s really called, the Affordable Care Act – passage fading in our rearview mirrors right now, there are a lot of things we need to talk about in moving forward. But what we’re talking about now – namely, the failed Trumpcare plan – is a daunting wisp of comb-over terror. Republicans have seized on this notion that, when squinted at, reads like, “Support big pharma; screw the little guy.” There is nothing to this rhetoric that doesn’t reek of opportunistic capitalism, and there is not a brown pill bottle around to smooth over its side effects. What we’re talking about now – thankfully also in the past tense – is an illegible plan to make health an investment, to make people suffer more.
It may sound a little socialist, and for that I smile, but the health of our nation is certainly the best investment possible from a government. We buy things. Just four years ago, I watched a friend deal with the death of a single mother as she fell apart and fell down while trying to sell vacuum cleaners on the side for extra money. Her condition was treatable. Her bank account was not. Charlene Dill became a symbol of all it is that we are doing wrong in terms of taking care of our citizenry. Charlene Dill is dead.
So, in the past week, there has been much discussion about this so-called alternative to Obamacare – which, surprise, didn’t go over so well with the large insurance companies who were held responsible for the first time in history for their charges and practices – and it’s a tragedy in the making. Initial proposals have failed to roll back the ACA, mind, but further discussions are poisoning the air. What you need to know is that pre-existing conditions, trans-issues, mental health, women’s health and many other platforms upon which our community walks are on the chopping block. We wanted single-payer; we didn’t get it. Instead, we compromised with all of the love in our hearts. I remember the day the ACA passed and it felt like a rebirth; it felt like our nation was New-Dealing our health. Awesome.
Now we’re in a tug-of-war between the Freedom Caucus and a tail-tucked Trump on the issue. The optics are terrible. The players are horrible. This is an unmitigated disaster. Take a bow, Paul Ryan.
And as Republicans near their apex of hate, pushing through some sort of “compromise” to make it all better, the millions of us out here on our own will have to wait and see if we still have any rights to our own bodies and our own collective health. Or death. Sad.
In what promises to be an inspired tantrum, President Donald Trump made news this week by nominating Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green as United States Secretary of the Army. Green would replace Eric Fanning, who was put into the position just last year by President Barack Obama. Fanning made history by being the first gay man to hold the position.
What makes it more alarming is that Green authored Tennessee SB 127, one of dozens of “religious freedom” bills plaguing the country’s dockets right now.
SB 127 reads: “A government entity shall not take discriminatory action against a business entity on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity, including, but not limited to, personnel and employee benefit policies that are in compliance with state law.”
The Human Rights Campaign is actively fighting the bill’s passage.
King of the State
We’re still more than a year out from our release from Gov. Rick Scott, but the potential candidates – especially those on the left of the aisle – are jumping into the rat race with vigor. On the heels of “For the People” person John Morgan, former congresswoman Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (among others), a new face has appeared: businessman Chris King.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, King is a “progressive entrepreneur.” So that means his chocolate is in his peanut butter sometimes.
“I am somebody who believes in the values of equality and justice and care for the neediest among us,” he told the paper, adding, “I believe in financial stewardship and hard work and in discipline. And I think the marriage of those things is going to be unique for a Democratic candidate.”
King also stands against Florida’s decision to expand Medicaid, which would have helped nearly a million people. Things are getting interesting in the Sunshine State.
The Penalty of Virtue
When Florida State Attorney Aramis D. Ayala went publiC with her stance against the death penalty last month, mouths were chomping at the bit about whether it was her right to do so. Ayala refused capital punishment as an option in a case in which a husband murdered his pregnant wife, saying that “[p]unishment is most effective when it happens consistently and swiftly. Neither describe the death penalty in this state.”
Florida’s chairman of the Senate Justice Committee Randolph Bracy went as far as to pen an op-ed for the New York Times on the issue, saying, “Mr. Scott’s executive orders appear to be without precedent in Florida. They are meant to punish the state attorney, Aramis D. Ayala, Florida’s first black elected prosecutor, for announcing she would no longer seek the death penalty because it was not in the best interest of her jurisdiction, which stretches from Orlando to Kissimmee.”
Scott has since reassigned many of Ayala’s cases to other attorneys.