Friday, March 9, 2018

International Women’s Day, The Polasek Museum, and Serendipity


International Women's Day
International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. 
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on March, 8th. The observance was first held on February 28, 1909 in New York. It was organized by the Socialist Party of America.

In 2017, the IWD had ten partners—a very interesting mix of mainstream businesses including Avon, Pepisco and bp. (“You’ve come a long way baby.”)

There was even a theme: #BeBoldForChange. And a color: Red. The day was celebrated worldwide with marches and workers’ strikes.

Women were asked to not go into work and to not spend any money in order to demonstrate women’s economic power. I’m not in favor of this aspect of it. Unfortunately, most women can’t afford to take off from work and not spending money may actually hurt workers.

But I was happy to wear a bright red blouse as I headed off for a visit to the Alvin Polasek Museum in Winter Park (adjacent to Orlando) in Florida. It was a tour that had been planned months ago—a group of senior citizens and a group of students from nearby Rollins College were to take the tour together as part of an inter-generational program.

I was sad to see that only one other person (a female student) was wearing red. We were apparently the only two people out of about a group of 30 who wanted to celebrate and show solidarity with IWD.

The Polasek Museum is treasure. The main building is the actual house and workshop of Albin Polasek (1879-1965), a well-known and widely acclaimed sculptor and artist. He was born in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic) and immigrated to the United States in 1901. So visiting this museum was also a way of celebrating the contributions of immigrants to the united States.

After touring the house, the group went out to the garden—three acres overlooking Lake Osceola. The walk allowed us to see dozens of magnificent sculptures and statues surrounded by lush landscaping. (It was almost like a botanical garden.) Many of these statues were in this garden when Polasek was alive.

Towards the end of the tour, we came upon a beautiful bronze statue of a woman done in 1925. It is named “Unfettered.” It shows a woman poised and confident with one arm gracefully extended to the heavens.

Unfettered by Alvin Polasek
"Unfettered" is a sculpture by Alvin Polasek.
At the base of the statue, there is a representation of clouds. According to contemporary art critic Dorothy Grafly this symbolized woman “at last breaking through the clouds of ignorance and super­sti­tion into the full light of free­dom.”

The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which gave women the right to vote was ratified in 1920. This statue was done to honor women’s suffrage.

This piece was done as a companion piece to his 1907 sculpture “Man Carving His Own Destiny” (Polasek did 53 different variations of this sculpture over his lifetime. The one on display elsewhere in the garden was done in 1961.) Both pieces are done in the classical tradition which celebrates the nude form.

"Man Carving His Own Destiny"  by Alvin Polasek
Which brings me to serendipity part of this essay. The definition of this word is the phenomenon of accidentay finding just the right thing. How wonderful that I should stumble upon this magnificent statue celebrating women and their rise from suppression on International Women’s Day.

Note:
The Polasek Museum is located in Winter Park, Florida. Be sure to spend a few hours there if you are in the Orlando area.


© Catherine Giordano 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Women Are on the March

Women's March 2017
Women marched in protest.
On the first anniversary of the hugely successful Women's March that took place the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, women (and also men) once again marched in protest. The first year of the Trump presidency has been even worse than most of use imagined. Once again women (and also men) took to the streets in many cities in the United States and around the world in huge numbers. 

I wrote the following brief essay last year. I am republishing it now because the need for protest is greater than ever. 

Please remember the most important march will take place in November when we march to the polls and reclaim the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives. 


The Worldwide Woman’s March on January 21, 2017—Why I Marched


On Saturday January 22, 2017, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, millions of people all over the world participated in the Women’s March. In the United States, the main demonstration was in Washington D.C. It attracted over one million people.

(In contrast, the Trump inauguration held the day before had only 650,000 in attendance. This also compares unfavorably with the 1.8 million people who attended Obama’s inauguration in 2009.)

The women (and many men too) marched to support a variety of issues that affect women and to support equality for all people. The primary focus was on issues of sexism, racism, xenophobia, gender equality, and other forms of oppression. There was also some protesting the new president.

Many women wore pink knitted “kitten hats,” as a sign of protest against the notorious remark that was caught on tape about how the president liked to grab women by their private parts.

In Orlando Florida, it was a sunny 80 degrees-- too hot for pink knitted caps. We wore sun-hats.

Over 3,000 people congregated at the band shell in Lake Eola Park. The rally began with speeches given by women—some were elected officials, some were leaders of various organizations, and some were just ordinary people with a story to tell. The speakers urged us to take action, including running for elected office.

We were entertained by two amazing acapella choral groups and a dynamite poet who forcefully portrayed the plight of women who are told “girls don’t do these things.”

After the speeches concluded, we marched around Lake Eola—a march that was a little under a mile. There were so many people marching that when the first marchers completed the circuit around the lake, there were still others in the band shell area waiting to begin.

Gricel Fernandez, co-organizer of the Orlando march, said why she and her co-organizer Autumn Garick did it. “"We want people who come to realize democracy is something you take part in every single day. It's not just every four years. If an issue matters to you, it should matter to you every day.... Even though you may just be one person, one voice, it doesn't matter. I am one person and I made one phone call, and now all these people are here."

Why did I do it? I didn’t do it because I thought that my participation was going to be the thing that made a difference. I did it because I needed to do it. I did it for myself.

There was a sign carried by one of the women that read: “I will not go quietly back to the 1950s.” Maybe that is why I did it.


© Catherine Giordano 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Is Donald Trump the Most Dangerous Man in the World?

Donald-Trump-Dangerous-Crazy
Is Donald Trump the Most Dangerous Man in the World
 because his psyche is a "witches brew" of craziness?

Donald Trump is the most powerful man in the world. And, that makes Donald Trump the most dangerous man in the world. Donald Trump is dangerous because he is the president of the United States and he is not in his right mind. His personality is a crazy “witches brew” of malignant personality disorders.

About six months ago, I wrote an article about this, titled: “How Many Kinds of Crazy is Donald Trump?” 

Donald-Trump-Crazy
How Many Kinds of Crazy is Donald Trump?

It turns out I am not the only person who thinks Donald Trump has a lot of what can euphemistically be called “mental issues”. A whole book has now been written about his “issues.” This book is:



Donald-Trump-Dangerous-Case
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

The book is edited by Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div., an Assistant Clinical Professor in Law and Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. She maintains that psychiatrists have a “duty to warn” that supersedes any ethical qualms about "diagnosing at a distance."

Trump is literally making millions of people crazy. The second section of the above book was devoted to what some call "Trump Anxiety Disorder" or "Trump-Induced Anxiety Disorder."  You can red the details in this essay.  Trump Anxiety Disorder: Is Trump Literally Making Us Sick?

Trump Anxiety Disorder
Trump Anxiety Disorder

Back to the book: There are 27 chapters, each written by a psychiatrist or mental health expert, with each zeroing in on a particular danger. The raison d’etre of the book might be summed up with the title to just one of the chapters in the book, “He’s Got the World in His Hands and His Finger on the Trigger.”

In my article about Trump’s personality disorders, I said that I thought the stress of being president was making his craziness worse. Again, it turns out that I am not the only one who thinks so. Some of the people who have known Trump for many years are saying he’s gotten much worse since becoming president. In the prologue to The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Dr. Judith Lewis Herman wrote: “Fostered by the flattery of underlings and the chants of crowds, a political leader’s grandiosity may morph into grotesque delusions of grandeur.”

No one doubts that Donald Trump is a narcissist. Some may even make the case that a little bit of narcissism is a good thing in a leader. But psychiatrists think that Trump’s narcissism has crossed the line into “malignant narcissism.”  Erich Fromm, a renowned psychiatrist,  thought that “malignant narcissism”  was the most severe pathology of all. He wrote that it was,“the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity.” (Quoted from Fromm’s book, The Heart of Man, 1964)

In an interview, Robert Jay Lifton, one of the contributors to the book, questioned Donald Trump’s grip on reality. He said Donald Trump creates his own reality, a reality that allows opposing beliefs to be held as true at the same time, a reality that allows lies to be perceived as truth. Speaking about Donald Trump, Lifton said “…the only reality he’s capable of embracing has to do with his own self and the perception by and protection of his own self. And for a president to be so bound in this isolated solipsistic reality could not be more dangerous for the country and for the world.”

Some of the other chapter titles will give you a sense of the books concerns.
  •  "Unbridled and Extreme Present Hedonism"
  •  "Pathological Narcissism and Politics: A Lethal Mix"
  •  "Sociopathy; Donald Trump: Is (A) Bad, (B) Mad, (C) All of the Above)"
  •  "Why 'Crazy Like a Fox' versus 'Crazy Like a Crazy' Really Matters”
  •  “Cognitive Impairment, Dementia and POTUS"
This is a book that you won’t be able to put down. It is a thoughtful book by thoughtful professionals in the field of mental health with useful insights to share. It deals with serious issues, but it is written for the general public and it does not scorn a bit of levity here and there. It is an important book that every American needs to read.

I'll end this book review with the only question remaining: “What can we do about it?"



© Catherine Giordano 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Was Hillary Too Good for America?






Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton may have lost because
she was too good for America.
Hillary Clinton was best qualified candidate for president of the United States ever. Did she lose because she was “Miss Goody Two Shoes?” 
The phrase “Miss Goody Two Shoes” comes from a children’s story published in London in 1765, The History of Miss Goody Two Shoes. . A poor girl—so poor she only has one shoe—is a very good and kindhearted person. Her her goodness is eventually rewarded with a  second shoe and a rich husband.
 
Hillary Clinto
Hillary Clinton may have been the best qualified person
 ever to run for president. 

Hillary’s mistake was overestimating the goodness of the American electorate. I too felt that the American people were good people, and they would never vote for a narcissistic greedy bully like Donald Trump. Both she and I were wrong. 


Hillary is honest, ethical, and hardworking. Almost all of the negative stuff you heard about it was bogus. Minor things were blown way out of proportion in order to create "scandals." She ran an ethical campaign--no mud-slinging and no promising what she could not deliver.

Being a good person herself, Hillary trusted in the goodness of the American people. It was inconceivable to her that Americans would vote for a vulgar, lying, thieving, conman and bully to hold the highest office in the land. 

Hillary was punished for her goodness. 

Miss Goody Two Shoes is only rewarded in fairy tales.

I have written about this in detail in another longer essay.  Please see: Was Hillary Too Good for America?  

You can read Hillary Clinton's new book, What Happened, for more about Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president. 


Hillary Clinton's memoir, "What Happened"
Hillary Clinton's memoir, "What Happened" 



If you want to know more about Republican dirty tricks that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency read this new book by Joshua Green, Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the PresidencyHe is a reporter who was there from the start. He gives us his compelling inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. It is the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right and the hidden forces behind the greatest upset in American political history.

Joshua Green "Devil's Bargain"
Joshua Green "Devil's Bargain"

Just a note: You can show your support for my posts by using the above link when you purchase this or any other book. I thank you in advance.


© Catherine Giordano 2017




Saturday, July 15, 2017

If the Porch Needs Fixing, You Don't Burn the House Down

If the porch needs fixing, you fix the porch. You don’t burn the house down. When it comes to the ACA (ObamaCare), it seems the Republicans want to burn the house down. 
Porch-House-Burn
The ACA needs a few minor fixes--amend it, don't end it. 
The Republican Health Care is an attempt to bring down the The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and pretend that they were not the ones who lit the match. They'll try to claim that it was spontaneous combustion.   

It is like burning the house down because the porch has a few damaged planks. The ACA does have some problems—some inherent in the law itself, but many caused by Republican efforts to stymie the plan in every way they can in order to cause it to fail. (The truth is Republicans oppose all social programs; they will be coming for Medicare and Social Security next.)
A single payer or public option plan would be the best way to fix the problems with health care in America, but the insurance lobby is too powerful. A few minor fixes here and there could help the plan work better. As the Democrats say: “Amend it, don’t end it.”
On May 4, 2017, the GOP House finally passed a "repeal and replace" bill. The Republicans had a little party at the White House laughing and cheering about taking away your healthcare.(Also doing a lot of lying--pre-existing conditions are not protected. The bill is a massive tax cut for the wealthy disguised as a health care bill.)
This celebration made me think of GWB on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner. This Rose Garden party will come back to bite them in the ass.
In the Senate, the bill was  dead on arrival. They did their own bill. It was such a bad bill they couldn't get even Republican support for it. SWon now3 they are coming back with the "new and revised" bill. It does not look likely that they can get it passed, but there will be some powerful arm-twisting going on in smoke-filled rooms. For the time being, the ACA is still the law of the land.
If a "repeal and replace bill ever does get signed into law, the ACA will be burned to the ground.  The Republican "fixes" are designed to cause the ACA to fail. And when it does, there will be no going back.
We should not jump from the frying pan to the fire. The Trump-Ryan plan, cobbled together in a rush and pushed through Congress with the speed of a wild-fire, is not the answer. The Senate plan devised behind closed doors is not the answer. A plan that requires the removal of the “pre-existing condition” exclusion, but does not require the expansion of the risk-pool through universal coverage (the mandate) will force premiums sky-high until eventually the whole system collapses.
Maybe that will be a good thing. With the insurance industry in shambles, America might be able to get a single payer plan, similar to the plans every other Western democracy has. In these nations, health care is less costly and the health outcomes are much better.
I’d like to say, "Let them burn the house down," but I can’t because tens of millions of people will suffer, and many will die, if they do. You can’t play with fire.
© Catherine Giordano 2017
P.S.: Too many people are unaware of all the ways that the ACA is benefiting them. It’s true some people benefit more than others, but everybody benefits in some way. Please read this: How Does the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) Benefit Every American 
TrumpCare turned out to be just a wastebasket fire. It was put out on March 24. Plan B will be worse. It is like the smoldering embers that eventually flare into a raging forest fire. You don't see it coming. TrumpCarePlan B for ObamaCare: Destroy It. 
© 2017 Catherine Giordano

Here's what Bill Maher had to say about the bill passed in the House of Representatives. 






CLICK HERE

The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, Emanuel gives us the history of the American health care system. In Part II, he reports on the efforts to reform the system., In Part III, he tries to predict the future for this bill. (The book was written in 2015.) Some of his predictions were right on, but others missed the mark. Crystal-ball gazing is always hazardous.

Just a note: You can show your support for my posts by using the above link when you purchase this or any other book. I thank you in advance.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

TrumpCare Plan B for ObamaCare: “Explode It”

TrumpCare, ObamaCare, ACA
Trump and Ryan have a Plan B for the ACA: Explode It. 

October 12, 2017 Update: Here is info on the latest attempts to destroy ObamaCare.


July 28 Update

This post was written before the House manged to pass a so-called "repeal and replace" bill and Senate took up their own bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).The Senate ignored the House bill and put three different bills of their own to a vote. All of the bills failed to pass. The last one failed by just one vote when three Republicans--John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski voted no. 

But Republicans have a Plan B. They will subvert the law. despite their oaths to "faithfully execute" the law. Here is what Trump wrote in a tweet: " As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"

Not much has changed since the first bill failed in the House. What follows is the original post. Please be sure to read the "next steps" section. 

“It was never repeal and place; it was bait and switch.”

Bill Maher, on his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher summed up the whole Republican, Donald Trump, and Paul Ryan plan for health care with the above quip.

The bill that would have stripped millions of health insurance, the bill that made a mockery of health insurance, may be dead, but the plan to destroy the ACA (ObamaCare) is far from dead. 

Trump Announces the Republican “Repeal and Replace” Bill Has Failed

At 3:31 pm (ET) on Friday, March 24, 2017 Trump called a reporter, Robert Costa from the Washington Post. Trump told him that he had pulled the bill for the Republican “American Health Care Act" (AHCA).There would be no vote in the House of Representatives. The ACA would remain the law of the land.

Trump then video-taped an announcement which was aired on TV. He spoke in his usual rambling style. I was struck by how he repeated over and over that he was going to wait for the ACA to explode. I was laughing at Trump’s poor choice of words. The right word was implode, which means to collapse. I soon realized that Trump was actually using the right word to convey his intentions. He was saying that he wants to explode, blow-up, the ACA.

How Republicans Plan to “Explode” the ACA
Republicans have already been quietly undermining the ACA. As Nichol Kristoff said in a TV interview, they would “step on the oxygen hose.”  

Trump began this in his first week as president. He told every agency to stop all financial outlays that they could within the bounds of the law. They could cut-off funds or delay them, all with the goal of preventing the smooth operation of this program. .

Why are insurance agencies withdrawing from the ACA market? It is because Republicans passed a bill that withdrew the subsidies that were supposed to protect insurance companies from the risk they would incur by the sudden influx of people with pre-existing conditions. These subsidies were supposed to last ten years to allow the market to stabilize as more healthy people entered the pool of insured.

More laws and action to explode the ACA are sure to be coming. The Democrats and the media have failed to keep the American public aware of this.

How Republicans Dodged a Bullet 

Paul Ryan cancelled the vote in the House of Representatives to avoid the humiliation of having it fail, bigly (as Trump would say). According to news reports, about 30 to 40 Republicans were going to vote “No.”  If they held a vote, even more Republicans might have voted against it because they would not want to be on record voting for a failed bill.

Since there is no record of votes, no Republican has to face the voters with an on-the- record vote on this highly unpopular bill. Only 17% of Americans were in favor of this bill. I can’t think of any bill with lower public support.

This bill was put together in a slapdash fashion in just a few weeks. There were no hearings to allow for testimony from stakeholders like insurance companies, doctors and hospitals, and patients. 

As the bill started to look doomed, panic set in--Ryan kept making the bill worse and worse as he tried to appease the Freedom Caucus. (Maher called them “the artist formerly known at the Tea Party.”) However when he appeased the extreme right wing of the Republican Party, he then had to add sweeteners for the more moderate Republicans from swing districts who feared losing their elections in 2018 if they voted for this draconian bill.      

  
HealthCare Services
The 10 Essential Services Insurance Companies Would No Longer Have to Provide If Republicans Succeed in Passing a "Repeal and Replace" Bill.

Trump Tried to Put the Blame on Democrats
In his rambling speech, Trump repeatedly said that no Democrats were willing to vote for the bill. I nearly fell off my couch laughing. 

Here's why the claim is laughabloe.

  • When the ACA was passed, not a single Republican voted for it.
  • The Democrats were never asked to support the bill.
  • The Republicans have a 44 person majority in the House of Representatives. They surely didn’t need votes from Democrats. Even with this large majority they could not get enough votes.

  
Trump and Ryan Lied About the “Death Spiral”
Republicans constantly say that the ACA is in a “death spiral.” This is not true, despite the Republican efforts to kill it.  Ahe ACA is not imploding.

  • There were 12.4 million new sign-ups for 2017.
  • The CBO reports that the program is stable.  
  • Politifacts rates Ryan’s claim about the ACA failing as “mostly false” saying “health care costs have risen more slowly since the law took effect and the law has met its major goal of getting more people insured -- an estimated 20 million. That’s not a failure.”

The Art of No-Deal
Trump is very fond of telling everyone that he is a great deal-maker.  Yet, he failed miserably 

Trump is nothing but a con-man.  I am amazed that the people who supported him could not see this. His ridiculous pie-in-the-sky promises were never backed up with any actual explanation of how he would accomplish them

Just look at the bill that just failed.

  • Trump promised everybody would be covered—this bill would have meant that 24 million people would lose their insurance. 
  • He said his plan would cost much less. This bill would have raised premiums. 
  • He said the plan would be fantastic. This bill would have provided fewer benefits.


Maher said, “Trump is worse than a used-car salesman, because with a used car salesman at least you get a car.” Trump supporters are getting nothing.


  • ·Repeal and Replace: Failed
  •  The Muslim Ban: The courts have blocked it. Twice.
  •  The Wall, Tax Cuts (for the middle class) , and Jobs: We can wait and see, but so far  there is no evidence that he will accomplish any of this.


Trump Con-Man

The failure of Trump’s first bill does not bode well for future success.

Republicans have learned that they can oppose Trump and win. They need have no fear of him or his “mean tweets.”

Democrats have learned that if they stay unified, they can win.  

Next Steps for Democrats
Trump (in the midst of blaming Democrats for his failure) sort of indicated that he was open to working with Democrats. They should call his bluff on this. Come to Trump with a bill that will undo Republican sabotage and fix some of the problems with the ACA.

Democrats should push for a single payer—Medicare-For- Allplan. 

Before there was Obama Care, there was RomneyCare in the state of Massachusetts. It worked so well that it was the model for the ACA. States like New York and California should start their own plan.

You can use a bot to send a fax to senators and representatives. Text the word RESIST to 50409. Follow instructions and a fax will be sent. I tried it. I wanted to fax Marco Rubio, and I did. But I think the same fax went to others. Next time I will write my message in more generic terms. For instance "Stop efforts to destroy ACA" works for both Dems and Republicans. 

***

Do you know how ObamaCare benefits every American?  ObamaCare (ACA) Benefits You Even if You Don't Know It

When Donald Trump took office, he swore "to faithfully uphold  the laws". Now, he hinting that he will subvert them by withholding funds for the subsidies. Read about it here. Donald Trump Dangles 



CLICK HERE

The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, Emanuel gives us the history of the American health care system. In Part II, he reports on the efforts to reform the system., In Part III, he tries to predict the future for this bill. (The book was written in 2015.) Some of his predictions were right on, but others missed the mark. Crystal-ball gazing is always hazardous.

Just a note: You can show your support for my posts by using the above link when you purchase this or any other book. I thank you in advance.


© Catherine Giordano 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

ObamaCare Benefits You (Even If You Don't Know It)

ObamaCare
Many people are unaware of all the benefits of ObamaCare.
The Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or ObamaCare) benefits everyone, not just the 20 million people who have bought their insurance on an exchange or the millions who were able to qualify for Medicaid. Its repeal will hurt everyone in one way or another.

It is not a perfect program, but neither was Social Security and Medicare when they first started. The ACA, like these other programs, may need a few tweaks.  

The individual aspects of the ACA are mostly popular. The part people don’t like is the mandate that says everyone must have insurance coverage or pay a fine when they file their income tax return.

Unfortunately, without the mandate, the whole system falls apart. Take away the mandate, and all of their ACA-provided benefits—and they are many—will become untenable.

BENEFITS

Young People Benefit

Young people get to stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26 instead of being cut loose when they turn 19. This is a great benefit since many young people are in college and don’t have jobs that would provide insurance.

Medicare Enrollees Benefit

Are you on Medicare? If so, the ACA is providing you with many benefits. he ACA made many changes to Medicare that benefit enrollees.

Dismantling ACA would likely mean higher premiums and higher deductibles or the 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans enrolled in the program. The typical Medicare beneficiary is paying about $700 less in premiums and cost sharing this year because of slower growth in costs.

The ACA slowed the growth of payment rates to hospitals and other providers. Repealing the ACA would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over 10 years, according to estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Obviously, these increased costs would mean higher premiums for enrollees or for taxpayers in general.

People who are on Medicare are also getting lower-cost prescription drugs. Additionally, the “donut hole” in prescription coverage is shrinking and will end by 2020.

The infamous “donut hole” meant that prescription drugs were covered up to a certain amount and then the person had to pay 100% of prescription costs. Since the ACA was enacted .in 2010, more than 11 million people have saved an average of more than $2,100 a person on prescription drugs. The donut hole would return if Obamacare were repealed.

Under the ACA, Medicare enrollees receive free preventative benefits, such as screenings for breast and colorectal cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This provision would be gone if the ACA was repealed.

Slower Cost Increases

The health reform law has slowed the growth of payment rates to hospitals and other providers.

Of course, there is still some increase in the cost of premiums and co-pays each year. That was happening before the ACA also. The important thing is that the rise in costs has been slowed.

No More “Pre-Existing Condition” Exclusions

Formerly anyone who was sick or who had previously been sick with a serious disease (like cancer or heart disease) would be refused healthcare insurance. Now they must be treated like everyone else

The ACA mandates that insurance companies spend 80% of the money they get from premiums on care. Some people get refund checks from their insurance company for excess payment. This keeps costs down because insurance companies can't spend the money they get from premiums on big bonuses and other wasteful "overhead" costs.


No Annual or Life Time Caps

Previously insurers would only pay up to a certain amount. If you had a very serious disease you could be forced into bankruptcy because you could not pay the high costs of the care needed.

The law also capped the amount of out of pocket expense, Right now after you reach a certain amount in annual expenses, your insurance pays 100%


Free Contraceptives and Medical Tests

Many people are getting free contraceptives, mammograms, colonoscopies and cholesterol tests.

Free contraceptives help keep costs down because pregnancy is expensive.

The free tests help keep medical costs down and save lives because disease can be discovered at an early stage when it is more easily cured.

Women Are Treated Equally

Previously women were charged higher premiums than men. Now women and men pay the same premium.

Older People Are Not Forced to Pay Super-High Premiums

Older people can be asked to pay higher premiums than younger people. However, the amount is capped at three times the cost paid by younger people.

Mental Illness is Treated the Same as Any Other Illness

Previously insurers could refuse to cover mental illness or they would charge higher co-pays. Now all illnesses are treated the same.

Small Businesses Save on Premiums

A small business which provided insurance can no longer be slapped with super-high premiums if their workers are older or sicker.

Also small businesses who could not afford to provide health insurance can now receive subsidies for proving health insurance.

Small businesses can better compete with larger companies for employees because they can offer health insurance.

Small Business Start-Ups

Previously, someone who wanted to leave a corporate job and start his or her own business could not do so because they could not afford to give up the health insurance benefit provided by their employer.

Your Employer Must Provide You with Insurance

The ACA said an employer with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance to its workers. You benefit from the group rate so your premiums are likely lower.

Without the ACA, you might not be able to find affordable insurance on your own, especially if you had a pre-existing condition.

Many of the benefits of ACA, like no annual or lifetime caps on benefits, apply to employer-provided group plans. 

Medicaid Expansion for Low Income People

Before the ACA, for the most part, only low-income children, pregnant women, parents, the disabled, and the elderly could be covered by Medicaid. The health reform law opened up the program to all low-income adults with incomes of up to 138% of the poverty line

Since Medicaid is a state program, states had to opt in. The District of Columbia and 31 states opted into the program. It is very good for the state’s budget because the federal government covered the total cost for the first three years and 90% of costs thereafter.

Subsidies to Low and Moderate Income People

The ACA set up health insurance exchanges to allow Americans to shop for individual policies and created federal subsidies so people with low or moderate incomes could buy policies for less than 10% of their income.

Another set of subsidies limit the deductibles and co-payments for lower-income policyholders.

Higher Income People Also Benefit

If your income is too high to qualify for a subsidy, you still receive all of the other benefits. 

NEGATIVE IMPACTS


Yes, Some People are Negatively Impacted

People who were uninsured may resent being forced to have insurance. If they have a serious illness, they will change their mind in a hurry.

People who had “junk policies” now have to buy policies that meet certain standards, and this policy may cost more than what they had before. If you had one of these junk policies, you thought you were insured, but if you had gotten sick, you would have quickly found out that your out-of-pocket costs would have been very high.

Some employers who were not providing health insurance now have to provide it. 


THE MANDATE


Unfortunately, without the mandate, the whole system falls apart. Take away the mandate, and everyone will lose all of their ACA-provided benefits.

Insurance is often mandated by the government. If you own an automobile you must have auto insurance. If you have a mortgage loan, your bank insists that you have homeowners insurance. Why should heath insurance be different?

Without a mandate, some people might just wait until they got sick to buy insurance.  (Without the premiums from healthy people and with the added costs of more sick people, insurance companies would collapse.)

Young people especially might feel that they don’t need insurance. It is true that they are less likely to get sick than older people, but if they were one of the unlucky ones, they could be forced into bankruptcy. If they were too sick to work, they could be fired and lose their employer-provided insurance.

The mandate helps keep insurance costs and medical costs down. When patients are insured, providers are sure they will be paid. Previously, the losses incurred because of freeloaders had to be made up by charging everyone else more.  

CONCLUSION


I think nearly every American is getting some benefits from the ACA.  I think people are taking these benefits for granted or they are unaware that they are getting them.

Dismantling the ACA would affect the entire economy in a negative way. The health care industry would suffer the most, but the ripple effects would hurt every aspect of the economy.

Republicans offered replacement plans. They can be called “The Twice the Cost, Half the Benefits Plan.” Plus millions will lose their health insurance entirely. Truth is, if there were a better way to do this, someone would have put forth the plan by now.  All that needs to be done is a few fixes to make the ACA work better.

Even some Republicans in Congress don't like these new plans.

Tell Congress: NO REPEAL! NO REPLACE! 

Here is where you can find the phone number for members of Congress. Click this link. 

Call Your Senator: Phone Numbers for Every Office of Every Senator



More Information

Here is some information about how Republicans are sabotaging the ACA to force it into failure. Click the link to read the article.

How Republicans quietly sabotaged Obamacare long before Trump came into office

Democrats had a victory when the TrumpCare bill went down in flames. Now Republicans will attempt to destroy it with Plan B. Trumpcare Plan B for ObamaCare: Destroy It

If you want to know more about the ACA, the best book to read is Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve Our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System by Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and bioethicist.  

CLICK HERE

The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, Emanuel gives us the history of the American health care system. In Part II, he reports on the efforts to reform the system., In Part III, he tries to predict the future for this bill. (The book was written in 2015.) Some of his predictions were right on, but others missed the mark. Crystal-ball gazing is always hazardous.   


Just a note: You can show your support for my posts by using the above link when you purchase this or any other book. I thank you in advance.   

© Catherine Giordano 2017