Tag Archive: health insurance

In elections senior citizens rock

Young people in New Jersey have recently been a driving force in politics, advocating for gun legislation, immigration rights, marijuana legislation, taking over Republican held congressional seats, and more. Nonetheless, they have historically voted in much lower numbers than older Americans,…
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Enough. It’s Time to Act To Face Ebola

Okay, enough with the calming down. This is not the beginning of a zombie movie. This is real, and we need to react as a nation, collectively, to meet the Ebola challenge. First, because this morning a nurse at the Dallas hospital which treated the first U.S. Ebola patient has tested positive for the menacing virus, even though she likely took every precaution to prevent transmission. Secondy, the U.S. has sent over 4,000 troops and personnel to the heart of the “Hot Zone” itself in West Africa to tackle the disease head-on.

I do not believe the government is lying to us, or is involved in some sort of elaborate genocidal conspiracy worthy of a Tom Clancy novel. I do believe that the Federal government is comprised of a bunch of people who, like the rest of us, are emotionally and tactically unprepared for the sea-change in attitude required to meet the Ebola problem.

Okay, so what can we do, now?

First and foremost, the President must call Congress into an emergency session to pass “The Emergency Contagion Act.” This Act would create an immediate, multi-billion dollar fund to reimburse hospitals and doctors who treat people with Ebola or with Ebola-like symptoms. The Act would explicitly state that those who seek and use medical care will bear zero fiscal responsibility for their treatment. This is the only way to convince people who show early symptoms of the virus to get the medical care they need – and we need, as a society. The Act would cover every breathing human being – rich people, white people, African-Americans, Latinos, Bavarians, illegal aliens, foreign visitors – everybody. Additionally, the act would cover vet bills for those whose pets are in need of examination and, in the worst case, termination for possible Ebola infection. Yes, dogs might be able to carry it, and they’re the biggest slobberers of all.

Secondly, Congress must pass immediately the “Manhattan Project Act for Ebola,” creating a multibillion-dollar program dedicated to the treatment and, eventually, the cure for this virus. Our medical establishment knows a lot about viruses, especially how to weaken them through a combination of medical ‘cocktails.’ We did this with the AIDS virus decades ago. But nobody ever got AIDS in a hospital setting by coming into contact with an infected person. Not so with Ebola, at least in some stages.

The president must get on TV and address the nation. He must be clear about what is happening in Dallas. He must state straightforwardly that we don’t know, in some cases, how the disease spreads, and that it is obviously more contagious than originally thought.

We can beat this, but we need to act quickly. We need, as a nation, to act boldly and recognize that there are times when “free market approaches” to a crisis are not going to ease or solve a major problem.  

This Was the Week That Was

Governor Christie this week tore asunder a pension bargain, decided to delay the Homestead Rebate, remained mum on the latest gun bill sitting on his desk, and reiterated his pledge (like Bush Senior) “Read my lips. No new taxes,” (although fees of course will be increased.) He raised “the white flag of surrender” and disappointed his right flank by renominating Chief Justice Rabner, but pleased the rest of us. In spite of his failure to create a New Jersey health exchange and to promote enrollment, there is good news. Then as if there was little that merited his attention in New Jersey he went to Florida yesterday to campaign for Gov. Rick Scott.  

Gov. Christie: Going Strong?

He will spend the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend on the boardwalk promoting the summer tourism season with stops today at the Belmar boardwalk at  9:30 a.m., an Asbury Park ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. and a Seaside Heights boardwalk stroll at 3:30 p.m. He ceased using his Sandy recovery “Stronger than the Storm” slogan and is now saying “Going Strong.” This is an opportunity to let him know what you think about his failing and flailing administration.

NJ Democrats push millionaires tax Christie has vetoed

At a rally outside the Statehouse with more than 100 union members and supporters, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto again called on the Republican governor to raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest earners. In spite of Christie’s opposition, this plan is a must. It reduces income inequality, makes a Homestead Rebate more secure, and brings more cash to our treasury which Christie has mismanaged and plundered.

Our current and now future head of the NJ Judiciary

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner gives the keynote address at the grand reopening ceremony for the Passaic County Historic Court House, 10:30 a.m. in Paterson. The independence of our judiciary is now more secure.

After a petition: Hurricane Sandy diaster relief workers get health coverage

Do you think the first responders who came to our aid when Hurricane Sandy hit should have health protection if they get sick or injured taking care of us?

Well, they’re going to get it, thanks to some on line activism;  a Change.org petition posted by Dena Patrick of Wishadoo!, the “Craigslist of Compassion” which connects people in need with people who want to help through a Wishlist posted there. This info comes via ThinkProgress.

Patrick’s petition picked up 112,000 signatures in days. And yesterday, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) responded, reversing a longstanding policy, and finally giving “certain employees who work on intermittent schedules” – like those who came for Sandy – their permanent enrollment in a Federal Employee Health Benefits plan. It applies to thousands of disaster relief workers whose schedules – responding to crises as needed – are part-time or intermittent.

About 70% of the FEMA workforce serves on a part-time basis through the Reservist Program, and they didn’t qualify for employer-based health coverage. That’s despite the dangerous nature of what they do for us, and the long hours of physical work, in sometimes unstable and miserable conditions.

We saw so many of the people who rushed in after the World Trade Center collapse later get sick and struggle to cover their health expenses. That should never happen again. I like that people are looking out for the people who show up to help us out. And I like that OPM, an independent agency of the federal government, can be informed and persuaded by something like an online petition. It’s good news.  

Insurance Industry, 1. Consumers, 0: Dissecting Gov. Christie’s Veto Message on the Health Insuranc

NJPP senior policy analyst Raymond Castro’s reaction to the governor’s veto message. Cross-posted from NJPP.org.

Gov. Christie’s veto of the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act is a major setback for the 1.3 million New Jerseyans who are uninsured and the thousands more who can’t afford what little health coverage they have.

While two states already have an exchange and 12 states have moved ahead with efforts to establish an exchange, the fate of quality affordable health coverage in New Jersey lies in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court overturns the Affordable Care Act, the governor has no plan on how to solve the un-insurance crisis. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, more state leadership is urgently needed, as this crisis is threatening our state’s health and economy.    

Even if the Supreme Court upholds health care reform, Gov. Christie wants to change New Jersey’s exchange in ways that will hurt consumers while benefiting the insurance industry.

New Jersey is already reaping benefits of health-care reform law

Dan Benson is vice chair of the NJ Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. He’s from Hamilton and represents the 14th Legislative District. This is cross-posted with Times of Trenton.

– promoted by Rosi

Access to quality health care for working-class New Jerseyans is a top priority for my Democratic colleagues in the Legislature and me, which is why progress on this issue is good news for hard-working families.

Recently, the Legislature approved a bill implementing health exchanges for our state as required by the federal Affordable Care Act.

This is likely to be the opening salvo in a lengthy discussion in New Jersey about how our state implements federal health-care reform to cover nearly 1 million uninsured residents.

However, I think it’s important to take a look back over the last two years since the federal law was adopted and see how President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is already helping New Jersey families. While there has been much discussion over the requirement that everyone obtain health insurance, the state health exchanges and the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court challenge, many of the very popular provisions of the new health-care reform law took effect immediately and are too often overlooked or forgotten in the debate.

Health Care Reform Matters to Women in New Jersey

Yarrow Willman-Cole is an organizer with New Jersey Citizen Action. Legislation to create the New Jersey health insurance exchange, A2171/S1319, is scheduled for a vote Thursday in the Assembly & Senate. To take action on tomorrow’s exchange bill vote, go here. NJCA operates a Helpline to assist callers in navigating the health care system. It’s 1-888-NJ-GET-WELL.

-promoted by Rosi

Michelle Obama delivered a compelling speech in 2009 about the importance of health insurance reform for women. The first lady, in recounting a story of the Obamas’ daughter Sasha’s meningitis scare, reminded us that health insurance is a personal issue.

Women are often the major decision makers on health issues for their families while facing numerous barriers to health care for themselves such as lack of coverage, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.  Basic health needs for women are more complex than for men, and routine screening and care, such as pap smears and mammograms are crucial in preventing and treating serious illness. This type of preventive care is often not covered by medical insurance policies or there are significant cost barriers.

In the United States, 20% of women between the ages of 18 and 64 are without any type of health insurance.  Even more staggering, 39% of Latina women and 25% of African-American women are uninsured.  Of working women, only half are able to get health coverage through their jobs compared to 57% of men. When insured, many women are at higher risk of losing their insurance, since more women are employed in a part time situation without coverage, or are dependent on their spouse’s insurance. Many women are priced out of coverage on the individual private insurance market since insurance companies are able to gender discriminate and frequently charge more for health care plans for women.  

Democracy Corp Poll shows women turning away from Christie

Hopeful posted yesterday about the Democracy Corp Poll out showing Governor Corzine with a 3 point lead in the race. Perhaps the most jarring statistic for the Christie campaign of this poll is his standing among women:

The poll states, “As he faced a withering assault from Corzine and independent groups over the issue of insurance coverage of mammograms, Christie has lost significant ground with women, especially independent women. He now posts a net favorability rating of – 19 with women, down from – 7 two weeks ago. Among independent women, the drop is even more pronounced: from – 7 two weeks ago to – 34 today, with half the independent women giving him an unfavorable rating. This has clearly benefited Corzine in the vote as the governor now leads among women by 14 points, up from 6 points two weeks ago.”

And that’s why Christie changed his website to remove the word mandate-free and why they’re trying to push back so forecfully. Because their position is very unpopular and causing women to flee. Here is the trend of all the recent polls from Pollster.com, which now shows the race as an average less than 1 point lead for Christie if you put it on the high sensitivity: