Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

The Yin and Yang mosaic

The Yin and Yang.

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

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Save My Care Bus tour returning

THE BUS TOUR IS BACK

“Update: The bus tour is going back out on the road for the August Congressional recess. Stay tuned for more details, and for now, check out wrap up of the first tour below.

The Save My Care bus traveled over 15,000 miles to hold 53 events in 23 states so we could hear your stories about why your health care matters. Together, we sent a loud and clear message to Congress: do not repeal the health care we rely on.

Congress is still rushing through a dangerous bill that will destroy our health care, and so our fight continues. Watch our video, then share it on Facebook and Twitter below to spread the word about what’s at stake.

https://www.savemycare.org/tourevents/ (video of previous bus tour from Washington D.C. to 23 states, including Arizona).

Save Our Care is launching a bus tour for August recess, so we will keep posted as we find out cities and dates the bus will be stopping; Phx and Tucson and quite possible Cochise County will be around August 4th-5th. ”

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15,000 Join Women’s March in Tucson (video)

Women's March, Tucson

Women’s March, Tucson

One day after Donald Trump became president of the United States the world saw the largest mass protest ever.

On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew more participants than Trump’s inauguration the day before, and “sister marches” were held in 600 locations around the world. If you are a long-time follower of my blogging, you know that I have attended and videotaped many protests, marches and rallies. This was by far the largest protest march I have seen in my 35 years in Tucson. It was impressive.

The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino,  and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page.  (Video after the jump.)

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SCOTUS remands birth control cases to lower courts

SupremeCourtIn the birth control cases challenging the Affordable Care Act mandate for contraceptives collectively known as  Zubik v. Burwell, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a per curiam decision remanding the cases back to the appellate courts for further consideration based upon the positions taken by the parties at the U.S. Supreme Court. You may recall that the Justices asked for extraordinary additional briefing from the parties after oral argument to urge them to find a consensus on which they could settle the case.

Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUSblog has the opinion Opinion analysis: A compromise, with real impact, on birth control:

Without settling any legal issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate, the Supreme Court on Monday nevertheless cleared the way for the government to promptly provide no-cost access to contraceptives for employees and students of non-profit religious hospitals, charities, and colleges, while barring any penalties on those institutions for failing to provide that access themselves.  Thirteen separate cases were sent back to federal appeals courts for them to issue new rulings on the questions the Justices left undecided.  One immediate issue is how soon the government can work out the technical arrangements to provide actual access to the contraceptive benefits.

The Court largely shifted to six federal appeals courts the task of ruling on the mandate’s legality — the task that the Court had agreed last November to take on itself in seven of the cases.  Five appeals courts had ruled in favor of the mandate, and one had ruled against.  All were ordered to re-think those outcomes in the wake of new positions that the two sides in the controversy had made in recent filings in the pending Supreme Court cases.

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SCOTUS Watch: the ‘Big 6’ will be announced on Thursday, Friday and Monday (Updated)

SupremeCourtThe U.S. Supreme Court today cleared away almost all of the low lying fruit, leaving the “Big 6” decisions to be announced this Thursday or next Monday.

UPDATE: The Court has added Friday as well!

This Court really loves all the drama queen attention.

There is no way to predict which opinions will be announced on which day, or what combination of opinions will be announced on each day. But there will be landmark decisions announced on both Thursday, Friday and Monday. A week from today all the suspense will be over, and the next round of games will begin!

Here are the remaining opinions to be issued (h/t SCOTUSblog.com):

Johnson v. U.S., No. 13-7120

Issue(s): (1) Whether mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun should be treated as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act. (2) Whether the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act is unconstitutionally vague.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, No. 13-1371

Issue(s): Whether disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act.

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I’m taking this one personally, Governor Ducey

im-watching-you

Per AZ Capitol Times (yes, behind a paywall but I pay for my subscription so I get to talk about it):

Gov. Doug Ducey may have just cost more than 200,000 Arizonans a shot at keeping the health insurance they received through the Affordable Care Act, though they won’t know for sure until the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer.
Ducey has signed HB2643, which prohibits Arizona or any of its political subdivisions from using taxpayer dollars or personnel to establish a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Arizona is one of 34 states using a federally run exchange after declining to set up a state-run exchange of its own. Continue reading