Friday, June 26, 2015

The Republican War On American Health

OK, yeah blah blah blah from the Republicans, they are going to keep on keepin' on to repeal and replace Obamacare. I'm not going to bother putting any links up to the meaningless drivel that they are spouting. Why read that when you can be reading PAUL KRUGMAN.

Opponents of the law insisted that it would actually reduce coverage; in reality, around 15 million Americans have gained insurance.

What about costs? In 2013 there were dire warnings about a looming “rate shock”; instead, premiums came in well below expectations. In 2014 the usual suspects declared that huge premium increases were looming for 2015; the actual rise was just 2 percent. There was another flurry of scare stories about rate hikes earlier this year, but as more information comes in it looks as if premium increases for 2016 will be bigger than for this year but still modest by historical standards — which means that premiums remain much lower than expected.
And there has also been a sharp slowdown in the growth of overall health spending, which is probably due in part to the cost-control measures, largely aimed at Medicare, that were also an important part of health reform.
What about economic side effects? One of the many, many Republican votes against Obamacare involved passing something called the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, and opponents have consistently warned that helping Americans afford health care would lead to economic doom. But there’s no job-killing in the data: The U.S. economy has added more than 240,000 jobs a month on average since Obamacare went into effect, its biggest gains since the 1990s.
It was sad to see Scalia have a tantrum in full reactionary political mode. He's usually a better justice than that.
Finally, what about claims that health reform would cause the budget deficit to explode? In reality, the deficit has continued to decline, and the Congressional Budget Office recently reaffirmed its conclusion that repealing Obamacare would increase, not reduce, the deficit.
Put all these things together, and what you have is a portrait of policy triumph — a law that, despite everything its opponents have done to undermine it, is achieving its goals, costing less than expected, and making the lives of millions of Americans better and more secure.

But what conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives.

That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Yeah, I don't know why I didn't just copy and paste the whole thing either. But there is much more and it's great, so go read it so I don't get in trouble with the NYTimes. It's bad enough that CSM is the paper of record here. 

But what I really wanted to talk about was how the Republican Party wants us to eat more meat and kill ourselves with it as well as killing the planet.  

The report, which informs the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that are updated every five years, found that “a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet.” This is the first time the sustainability of our dietary choices has been taken into consideration by the DGAC; according to the report, it is “essential to ensure a healthy food supply will be available for future generations.”

This past Wednesday, the House approved two spendingbills that would completely alter the way the government is permitted to adapt the DGAC’s evidence-based recommendations. They do so by raising that standard of evidence: the agencies that form the Dietary Guidelines, they say, can only rely on the very strongest science in these matters. The DGAC rates its evidence on a three-level scale — “strong,” “moderate” and “limited” — and the science supporting a plant-based diet was deemed “moderate”: too low, by the bills’ standards, to be relevant.

And I will recommend two books that occupy places of honor on my bookshelf (at the Crandall Library), Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer and The Modern Savage by James McWilliams. It's not easy to avoid meat in our meat-based society, but it's worth at least cutting back to any extent possible. Think of the poor animals in their cages where they can't move when you eat that bacon burger and chicken fries.

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