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      by Tony Wikrent North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Economist Mariana Mazzucato has demonstrated that the real driver of innovation isn’t lone geniuses but state investment. [Wired, via The Big Picture 10-19-19] ….Mazzucato, an Italian-American economist who had spent decades researching the economics of innovation […]
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Health Care Reform: Women Will Walk

I’ve been trying to keep a low profile on the health care reform bill.  For the record, I am not in the “kill the bill” camp.  I’m in the “fix it now, not later” camp.  I follow my old inorganic chemistry prof’s admonition, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”  Make no mistake, if the bill that gets voted on today isn’t the right one, it will not be changed for a very long time – if ever.  And what we have right now is a bill that locks the vast majority of us into contracts with  insurance companies that are hoping to add a lot of new hostages customers to its profit making business.

As a woman of Obama’s age cohort, divorced, with a respectable but unremarkable income, and with a teenage girl as a dependent who isn’t covered by any other health insurance policy other than the one I receive from my employer, I am particularly ticked at this bill in its presently unfixed state.  I’ll only qualify for an exemption from the excise tax if I’m a family of four and my health care policy is $23000.  Along with feathering my 401K so that the predators of Wall Street can fritter it away in emerging markets, paying for my mortgage and ridiculously high property taxes AND paying the single rate on my income taxes, when exactly am I supposed to save for college for the adolescent?  Would it be OK for the idiots in Congress if I kept some of the money they are planning to charge me for my health insurance coverage so that she doesn’t get saddled with a lifetime of student loan debt?

I’m actually for the mandate, believe it or not.  I think everyone *should* be required to carry health insurance.  But I have caveats.  The insurance has to be affordable, it should be subject to free market forces that encourage competition, like choice and antitrust regulations, and anyone not satisfied with their current carrier should be able to shop around.  If that was what we were getting, I’d gladly pay the tax.  But that’s not what we’re getting.

But the thing that really ticks me off is that American women are about to lose their freedom to worship (or not) as they choose.  To me, one of the most egregious things in this bill is the way that women are treated.  When we are considered at all, our reproductive health seems to be in a special category, one where a bunch of old guys in red beanies and pointy hats, have the final say as to what is or isn’t acceptable.  If the Senate bill passes, it will perfectly acceptable to force women to identify themselves as considering abortion as a healthcare option when they sign up for insurance.  It’s to shame them.  No, no, don’t try to sugar coat this.  That is the intention.  To keep abortion as a shameful procedure.

I can just hear the anti-choice crowd now.  “Why should we pay for something that’s going to offend our consciences?”  Jeez, I dunno.  Why do I have to pay for faith based initiatives?  How about we pass a separate bill that requires all of the religious people out there to write separate checks to cover church based charities that discriminate against the gay community or actively practice discrimination in their church hierarchy?  That kind of crap really frosts my crockies and offends my conscience down to the quick but I still have to pay for it.  There is no little box on the tax return form that says, “Would you like to make a donation to faith based initiatives?  Or war in Iraq?  Or TARP?” No, all of the stupid laws and bills and war resolutions that have passed in the past decade because it was possible to fool enough of the people most of the time have cost me and my cohort and we have had very little choice in the matter.  A Republican dictator president wielded his veto pen like it was a baton and threatened to use it with relish. We just had to go along with it.

But not anymore.

This is a Congress that we elected and it is a president that the deluded foisted upon the rest of us.  We expected them to be different from their immediate predecessors.  Well, we expected some congress members to be different.  The Confluence never expected anything different from Obama but we thought he could be prevailed upon to not veto what Congress passed.  And this Congress is overwhelmingly Democratic.  These are the very same Democrats who scared the deluded into voting for Obama in 2008 because they convinced young women of child bearing age that only he and they could protect the reproductive rights of women.

They made that promise and we will hold them to it.

That is not to say that protecting reproductive rights is anything like guaranteeing equality under the law.  No.  It is not the same.  Young women should not kid themselves into thinking that Roe v. Wade means you’re equal.  Gender equity was not something Democrats promised in 2008.  But they did promise to protect reproductive rights on nearly every blog the Obama trolls invaded.  Isn’t that what the Democrats promised?  Or is it what we *thought* they promised?  What if they didn’t promise anything?  What if all they really did was turn up to 11 the fear of Sarah Palin and her anti-choice crusaders?  What if they had no intention of protecting your rights?

People will say and do anything when they want power.  Power, in my humble opinion, is more important than money.  People accumulate money so they can buy power.  Democrats want power.  They have no idea how to use it when they get it but that’s what they want.  Voters also have power.  Women voters have a lot of power.  And it doesn’t take many of us to throw some cowardly Democrats out of power.  With so many voters hypnotized by Glenn Beck and Fox News, this is not a good time to be pissing off women.

Maybe they didn’t promise us gender equity, but they made enough noise about reproductive rights that women who voted for Democratic Congress members will be righteously indignant if those rights are not preserved and reproductive choice and care is not covered fully in the health care reform bill at a price that does not discriminate against women.  A Congress person who holds firm in their unwavering support for women will get our unwavering support in return.  But the Democratic party as a whole should tread very carefully in this area because if they don’t do health care reform right the first time, women will walk. The Democrats premised their whole party identity on protecting the rights of women.  If they don’t do that, they have no credibilty.  If they don’t stick up for women and working class people in general, their identity as a party is meaningless.

We will turn our backs on the Democrats and walk away.  And as for your power?

Pffftt!

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