Tag Archive: health care

Transgender people: GSE is looking for your healthcare stories

Are you transgender?

Garden State Equality, as it continues efforts to help LGBT people find the best available healthcare in New Jersey, wants to know if you’ve been denied insurance coverage for any treatment – transition-related or otherwise.

You probably know that GSE’s director is a transgender woman; Andy Bowen. Here’s what she has to say:

Did you know that in New Jersey, most health insurance policies specifically deny transgender people coverage for any transition-related health care, like hormones and different surgeries?

And why is it important for health insurance to cover transition-related care? I’ll tell you about myself. Before I went on hormones, before I lived as a woman, I felt like I was disintegrating. I felt like my soul was shriveling: I had this intense knowledge that I was a woman, and every moment that I couldn’t express that was a moment that I felt my personality melt a little bit. And then I started taking hormones. And then I started looking more and more like a woman. And then I changed my identity documents to read “Andrea Bowen,” with a nice little “F” written under the label “sex.”

That was awesome. That made me feel whole.

GSE is looking to know what happens when you go for medical services, so they can tell lawmakers, and get people’s needs met. Reach Andy here: Bowen@GardenStateEquality.org. We’re interested if people have had trouble with this too. If you’re interested in telling your story to Blue Jersey, under your name or anonymously, let us know: Contact@BlueJersey.com.


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.  

The Path Toward Reducing Inequality in NJ – Part IV

Part IV of this series of articles provides recommendations on what we can do to reduce income inequality in our state. The goal is to create a more even playing field so that others can share the wealth of our state.

A Guardian article summarizes what economist Thomas Piketty has made apparent in his extraordinary work Capitalism in the 21st Century. “The American dream does not, and maybe cannot, deliver on its promises because economic growth will always be smaller than the profits from any money that is invested. Economic growth is what we all benefit from, but profits from invested money accrue to the rich.” The consequences of this are clear: those who have family fortunes or get super-sized compensation packages will foster inequality while the other 90% struggle to accumulate much smaller wealth.

Paul Krugman comments on Piketty’s work:“Even if the underlying economic conditions point toward extreme inequality, what Piketty calls ‘a drift toward oligarchy’ can be halted and even reversed if the body politic so chooses. So progressive taxation can be a powerful force limiting inequality.

Spoiler Alert: The steps proposed below the fold are incredibly difficult to enact. They will be fought “tooth and nail” by entrenched interests – the wealthy individuals who have the monies to lobby and donate against such proposals. The changes nonetheless should seem detrimental only to the wealthiest 1 to 10%, while benefiting the rest of us. Ultimately the question comes down to: Shouldn’t the 90% have a strong say in the matter? If we don’t insist on balancing the scale there is no hope for reducing inequality.

Republican Governors Association Chair “Proud” To Have Obamacare in His State

promoted by Rosi

Today the chair of the Republican Governors Association touted the success of Obamacare in his annual budget speech.  Of course, Christie didn’t actually mention “Obamacare” or  “Affordable Care Act” by name, but he did applaud it.

I am proud to have made the decision to expand Medicaid and provide greater access to healthcare for New Jerseyans in need.

But greater access necessitates larger reforms as well.

This year, New Jersey will spend over $12 billion in federal and state funds on Medicaid and Family Care to cover 1.4 million people in the state – children, senior citizens, those with disabilities, and some newly eligible adults.

By opting for Medicaid expansion, New Jersey will receive more than $100 million in additional federal funding, while at the same time, beginning to reform Medicaid to make it possible for more individuals to live in their communities.

Beyond Obamacare

Healthcare.gov will be fixed. People will sign up and reap the benefits of universal health coverage starting in January. So what’s next?

No doubt, the Republicans will continue their quest to reverse the limited progress made to date. They will try to deny coverage to many, eliminate the cap on “administrative” costs to insurance carriers, and cut preventative care, which saves lives and money.

Democrats are counting on the projected ubiquity and success of Obamacare after January to lock it in and to shut down the GOP’s incessant and futile efforts to repeal. They’re wrong. Just take a look at other successful programs like Food Stamps. The Republicans are not hesitant to take food from children and veterans in the name of fiscal responsibility. They’re not even hesitant to shut down the government in the name of fiscal responsibility either, knowing that their shutdown cost tens of billions of dollars. And some Democrats are complicit, confusing “blackmail” with “compromise.”

But for now, let’s assume Obamacare survives the wounds being inflicted by the mean-spirited GOP. Like Medicare and Social Security, the Affordable Care Act will be meshed within the fabric of society while still being constantly attacked. So what’s next?

Mark Alexander joins Ready for Hillary PAC to promote Obamacare

When I look at her at night, I think there are a lot worse things that could happen to you in life than than to get caught redhanded trying to give health care to 40 million Americans that don’t have it.

Bill Clinton, 1995, about Hillary Clinton, following harsh criticism by Republicans after she spearheaded the failed Clinton task force to reform health care access

Mark Alexander is joining the superPAC promoting Hillary Clinton for President, urging Ready for Hillary PAC supporters to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act, and sign up at the new the health exchanges if they don’t now have insurance. His letter, released by the Washington Post, also sheds harsh light on the federal government shutdown congressional Republicans forced in their failed efforts to derail what they call ‘Obamacare’.

Alexander, the Seton Hall Law professor who was an advisor to Barack Obama as early as 2007 when he was a first-term Senator, served as policy director and senior advisor for his 2008 White House win, and has advised him as President. Earlier this year, the Montclair resident unsuccessfully challenged Nia Gill in New Jersey’s 34th Legislative District Democratic primary. The Clintons have been supportive of the Obama White House health initiative.

Read the letter supporting ACA sent by Mark Alexander, below the fold.