Health Care Matters #STAYWOKE

The Republicans(RyanCare / TrumpCare) are working on a compromise plan to garner enough votes to repeal & replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This compromise, it seems, would not even leave us with Obamacare Lite, because they are talking about repealing 10 essential elements of the ACA (Obamacare). The list of essential services that they will get rid of can be found here 

Essential Elements of the Affordable Care Act

Governor McCrory And NC Legislators Must Go

Recently, an editorial in The Virginian-Pilot entitled “For cause of N.C. woes, look beyond McCrory” suggested that we need not be overly concerned with voting Governor McCrory out of office. Rather, we should make changes in the NC Legislature, because the legislators are really the source of our problems.

I strongly disagree with this premise mainly because it seems to give Governor McCrory a pass for the ill he has done while in office. It also ignores the power of the executive branch of government, especially the persuasive power of the occupant of The Big House.

The Governor and many legislators need to go. The two (2) high-profile agenda items that the editorial laid at Governor McCrory’s feet include HB2 (the bathroom bill) and the rolling back of  voting rights or voter suppression. First, it is important to note that the HB2 is presented as a trojan horse, drawing attention to who is behind the bathroom stall, while directing your attention away from the real substance of House Bill 2. Easily the most important provision of the HB2 is there “to create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment And Contracting.” In other words,  Part 2 of HB2 regulates wages and hours of employment and sick leave compensation for workers throughout North Carolina.  Since North Carolina is a non-union state or a right to work for whatever the employer wants to pay you state, provisions in HB2 dealing with wages and conditions of employment, seem to me, of greater significance than who is behind bathroom stall #1. While the rest of the country is fighting to raise the minimum wage to a living wage or $15 per hour, Governor McCrory’s HB2 bill says companies in NC can pay workers much, much less. Provisions of HB2, also, make it illegal to file law suits in cases where people think they have been subjected to discrimination in employment opportunity based on race, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, etc. Think Lilly Ledbetter!

So far, everyone is so focused on who can use the bathroom (never mind that there are only a few Caitlyn Jenner’s in the world), that we are missing the bigger picture–wages and hours and equal employment opportunity for 99% of the people in NC are not on track to meet our needs and the needs of our children because of the policies enacted by NC Legislators and Governor McCrory.

The 2nd agenda item laid at Governor McCrory’s feet in The Virginian-Pilot editorial has to do with voter suppression —by limiting when the polls can be open and requiring stricter voter ID. So, if your 88 year-old grandmother does not have a driver’s license because she is no longer able to drive, she could be denied the right to vote.  Recently, the Federal Court of Appeals struck down McCrory’s voter suppression laws in the case of the NAACP v. McCrory.  The court found that voting laws passed by the NC Legislature and signed by Governor McCrory were discriminatory based on race.

Finally, if any part of HB2 is thrown out by, let’s say, the Federal Government, the rest remains in effect. That’s called locking all the doors and windows to keep people impoverished.

Yes, we need to vote out legislators who do not act in our interests. But, we cannot afford to leave Governors, like McCrory, in power because they, not only actively push forward legislation that is harmful to the general welfare; they refuse to use the veto pen.

The Virginian-Pilot editorial rightly noted that environmental protections were rolled back after McCrory assumed the office of governor. The editorial noted that Governor McCrory was formerly employed by Duke Energy, and that the water supply around the Dan River was polluted by a coal ash spill from one of the Duke Energy Facilities.  According to the editorial, Duke Energy did not suffer any grievous penalty (in other words, Duke Energy is still profiting), while I am sure the people around the Dan River are suffering irreparable harm.  The people living near the Dan River are forced to drink bottled water.  The people living near the Dan River cannot just sell their homes and resume their lives elsewhere. Perhaps, the Governor should fight as hard to protect the lives of the residents affected by the polluted Dan River as he is fighting to keep HB2 alive.

So, to my mind, Governor McCrory is a major culprit in harming North Carolinians in fundamental ways: by protecting a company that polluted the water that is necessary for human survival, by putting forth and fighting for a bill that makes it lawful to pay a wage less than a laborer is due for an honest days work thereby making it harder for people to feed their families, and by fighting for a restrictive voting law that would deny all men and women a say in their governance.

I vote that we clean house, including The Big House in North Carolina.

*****Updated 8/12/2016


If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Due to commercial airlines, private jets and military transport, our land has no borders. US citizens fly in and out of other countries, at will, and we would not have it any other way.

Given this fact, the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa is our problem.

Please pray.


Like the kids in the backseat of the SUV in the 2005 “Are We There Yet?” movie, I do want to know that the “Techies” are “there” in terms of fixing the Obamacare Website disaster.  To give credit where credit is due, the “Techies” are responsible for the “disaster,” not the president. But, beyond a healthy curiosity, I am not sitting on the edge of my seat anticipating the news.

Today’s newscasters and pundits would have us buy into their mantra that problems with the Obamacare Website constitute a disaster that will forever define President Obama’s legacy. These commentators and political operatives would have us believe that President Obama’s legacy hangs by a thread, and if there are problems with the Obamacare Website @ today, he will leave office a beaten man, shunned by political candidates in 2014.

I’m not an expert, but if I were a gambling person; I would bet they are wrong. It seems to me that the president’s long term vision and consistent movement to achieve his vision will determine his legacy. And, the sound and fury we are hearing today, will dissolve into nothingness tomorrow.

Although It is true that is an important component of the ACA (Obamacare); it is only one doorway to the Marketplace that has been set up to service the health insurance needs of the millions of Americans who currently have no health insurance, or who are paying exorbitant premiums for health insurance. We need only look at states like California and Kentucky where people are successfully signing up for affordable healthcare insurance to understand that there are other doors to the Marketplace.

I’m reminded that the last great STEM Field innovation in this country, prior to the ACA Website, was space exploration. If you want to talk disasters, just open this door. Inside this door are real disasters — Apollo / Saturn 204 burns, The Challenger explodes, and The Columbia disintegrates. A comparison of these real “disasters” with the Obamacare Website disaster provides perspective.

In 1967, a fire consumed Apollo / Saturn 204, resulting in the death of three astronauts. Apollo / Saturn 204 was to be the first US manned lunar landing. After the fire, Apollo / Saturn 204 was renamed Apollo 1 as an indication, it seems to me, that there would be other Apollos to follow.

The country joined President Johnson in mourning the loss of life in Apollo 1, and waited for a definitive explanation and “fix” from scientists so that the missions could resume. After numerous “fixes”, Apollo 7 was launched and the Apollo mission was fulfilled. President Johnson’s legacy was never linked to the Apollo 1 disaster to my knowledge.

In 1987, The Challenger Spacecraft exploded 73 seconds into its flight, resulting in the loss of seven lives. This disaster was viewed live by millions of people.

Again, the nation joined the president in mourning the loss of life, waited for the experts to provide a definitive explanation for the explosion and to provide a “fix” for future space shuttles. The country was rewarded with success when Discovery was launched in 1988. President Reagan’s legacy was not tarnished by this disaster.

In 2003, as The Columbia Spacecraft began its reentry into earth’s atmosphere we were told it disintegrated. Is that really possible? Could we believe President George W. Bush (2001-2009) when he addressed the nation. After all, W is the son of the president who famously said, “Read my lips; no new taxes.” But we did listen to him as we joined him in mourning the seven souls lost in that disaster. The space program continued. No one called for an end to the space program as a result of any of these real disasters.


Although President Bush’s ratings dropped before he left office and he has not actively campaigned with other politicians; it has never been suggested that the cause was tied to the human error of those hired to “fix” things.

So, yes, today is the deadline to “fix” the Obamacare Website; and, yes, I want to know that we are “there” now. But We Baby Boomers know what a real disaster looks like and a broken Website is not it. Generations X and Y are accustomed to computer glitches. They understand that a glitch is not a disaster.

As long as President Obama keeps moving towards a vision of expanding affordable healthcare to all Americans as a means of promoting the general welfare; the “long view,” as Mrs. Obama says, is that he will not need to worry about his legacy.


President Kennedy on Obamacare

If you think Bill Clinton is an expert “Explainer In Chief,” just listen to JFK explain that the Constitution demands that the POTUS and “We, The People” advance the general welfare by providing healthcare insurance. I think it’s fair to say that President Kennedy would say that the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, does not solve all our problems; but, it’s a start.

President Kennedy Speaks at Madison Square Garden (May 20, 1962).