Monday, July 21, 2014

Last Call For The Rainbow Kynect-tion

Nowhere is Obamacare working better than here in Kentucky, and it's making news overseas as the BBC reports on Kentucky's healthcare exchange, Kynect.

Liberty Sizemore leans back in her chair and beams. The 26-year-old filling station cashier has just been told her enrolment in Obamacare is complete. 
Now she can have her first routine doctor's appointment for seven years. 
"I am so happy," says Sizemore as she waits at the Grace Community Health Centre in Clay County, Kentucky, "I've not had insurance since I turned 19." 
But Sizemore is also nervous. She is seriously overweight and was warned in her teens that she was likely to develop diabetes. Without health insurance she has not been able to afford tests or check-ups to see if she has indeed got the disease. 
"I'll go to the hospital only in an emergency," says Sizemore, who is still paying off the $10,000 bill for removing her appendix two years ago. 
"That's what's on my credit card right now," she sighs, "hospital bills."

It's helping people who grudgingly take the assistance.

Hairdresser Sadie Smith has enrolled but, she hopes, only as a temporary measure. Her family's insurance disappeared when her husband lost his job. (Most Americans with health insurance get it through their job, with the employer and the worker sharing the cost.)

As she puts the finishing touches to a customer's hair at her small salon in Manchester, Kentucky, Smith says she is grateful for Obamacare. But she is uneasy. "It scares me. The government wants to control everybody - their finances, their insurance, it all comes back to control."

But she'll stay in the program because it's helping her family.  And Obamacare will help people who flat out dislike President Obama, too.

Benita Adams may be one of the people the Governor has in mind. The 62-year-old grandmother lives on the edge of the rolling Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky. She owns her home but works two jobs as a dental assistant to make ends meet. She did not vote for President Obama
Adams has had no health insurance since her divorce 30 years ago. A recent heart operation left her with a $67,000 bill. Although the hospital waived around half of that, she still pays $50 a month to clear the rest. 
"I used to say, if I get hurt just let me be killed because I can't afford to pay any more hospital bills," she says.

But Adams no longer has to worry. Under Obamacare, she qualifies for a private insurance plan with a hefty government subsidy that covers the monthly payments in full. 
"Everyone was mad over Obamacare but it's just wonderful, it's really helping people," Adams says as she lists the medical appointments she has been to since getting insured. 
Of course, Mr Obama cannot run for the presidency again. But if he could, would Adams vote for him? "I'd sure think about it" she says, "It's the best thing he's done."

People here in Kentucky will remember Obama did this.  And they will remember that Mitch McConnell has vowed to take all this away, to repeal Obamacare "root and branch" if Republicans get control of the Senate.

And maybe some of them will vote Democratic.  But no matter who they voted for, Obamacare can help them get affordable health insurance.

And that's a win for everyone in Kentucky.  Heck, it's a win for 20 million Americans nationwide.  It would be even more if Republicans would stop blocking it in red states.

Weak Knights On The Military Channel

The perpetual war party is upset that we haven't bombed us some pro-Russian Ukranian separatists yet, and they are making their displeasure known.  And yes, this includes both Republicans and Democrats, like Tennessee's Bob Corker, and New Jersey's Bob Menendez.

“Clearly President Putin has created the set of circumstances and has supplied the resources … to the rebels so that this tragedy could take place,” said Menendez, the chairman of the panel, said on the "Fox News Sunday" program. 
“For me, I think the West, including the [United States], has to have a far more significant response than we’ve seen to date,” he said. 
Corker, the committee's top Republican, told Fox's Chris Wallace that the United States is only emboldening Putin by not helping Ukraine. 
“This incident is incredibly tragic, to watch what's happening with these bodies,” he said. “What is also tragic is the response that the West has given up until this point. And in many ways, because of that cautious response, Russia has continued to foment all the problems that they've created in Eastern Ukraine.” 
In addition to being disappointed with the U.S. response, he said that he hoped European governments would also be acting more forcefully.

Only one problem, boys:  the American people don't want anything to do with another war.

Amid deepening violence across Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Americans are recoiling from direct engagement overseas and oppose U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine by large margins, according to a POLITICO poll of 2014 battleground voters. 
The survey provides a unique look at the foreign policy attitudes of voters who will decide the most competitive Senate and House races this fall. It shows an intensely skeptical view of American military intervention:

Asked whether the U.S should do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, just 17 percent answered in the affirmative. Thirty-one percent said the current policy is correct and 34 percent said the U.S. should be less involved. The poll was completed before the downing last week of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the civilian airliner that was apparently attacked over eastern Ukraine.

And I can't imagine the downing of MH17 to move the needle more than a few points.  Our last adventure cost us thousands of troops and trillions of dollars and helped to ruin our economy.  Getting tougher with Putin is not our problem.  Hell, we've got enough of our own to worry about.

A Glass Of California Dry

Meanwhile, the nation's largest state continues to suffer from crippling drought, and there's no relief in sight, meaning that things will get far worse before they get better.

If they get better.

California is probably headed into a deeper drought this summer, making it harder to escape in the future, an expert says.

With more than 80% of the state in an extreme drought, dry conditions will probably continue and won't improve much in the next few months, said climatologist Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska.

The prolonged statewide drought means it will be “harder to break the cycle,” much like some thirsty regions in Oklahoma and the entire state of Texas, which have been struggling with drought since 2010, he said.

A U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed 81% of California in the category of extreme drought or worse, up from 78%. Three months ago, it was 68%.

Drought conditions in parts of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties also have worsened.

The maps created by Fuchs and 10 other climatologists are based on 50 indicators, including weather patterns, soil conditions and water activity.

“The impacts really tell the story,” he said.

 How bad could things get?

With a great portion of California already in extreme drought, Fuchs said some have asked if it is possible to break through the highest level, an event that occurs once in 50 years.

A drought beyond that would have to be an event that happens once every 200 to 300 years, he said.

“It would be a significant event,” Fuchs said.

The worst California drought in the history of the US?  Not out of the question.   But climate change is a vicious myth perpetrated by evil egghead scientists and environmental freaks, right?

I know, let's shelve this and revisit it in 200 to 300 years and see if things improve.  Works for Alabama, after all.


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