Time for another Current Events Write-Up, in which I link to news and opinion pieces and comment on them.
I’d like to use as my starting-point Jason Easley’s article for PoliticusUSA, entitled “Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Replacement Is a Death Sentence for Cancer Patients.”
Paul Ryan had a town-hall meeting, and a cancer patient told him that
Obamacare saved his life. Ryan responded that he, too, believes that
people with pre-existing conditions should be able to receive affordable
care. The problem with Obamacare, Ryan says, is that it drives up
deductibles and premiums for people. Is there a way to give coverage to
people with costly pre-existing conditions, without driving up
deductibles and premiums? Ryan’s solution is to set up high-risk
pools. Jason Easley argues that, under this proposal, “cancer patients
will be given less healthcare and lower odds of survival.”
Easley criticizes Ryan for implying that cancer patients are ruining
health care for others, by driving up their deductibles and premiums.
On online discussions, commenters have expressed similar sentiments. On
the one side, there are cancer patients who fear losing their coverage
under the Affordable Care Act: that would impose insurmountable
financial costs on them, and perhaps even cost them their lives. On the
other side, you have people who are complaining about the Affordable
Care Act on account of the high deductibles and premiums. They wonder
why they should spend hundreds of dollars each month on premiums, for
insurance that they may not even use. Many in the former group are
accusing people in the latter group of being selfish: of wanting to save
bucks and have a more comfortable life at the expense of the cancer
patients’ very existence. Even if people in the latter group never use
their health insurance, the money that they pay into the health
insurance system will cover the treatment of someone else who does need
the health insurance.
I thought back to a conversation that former Governor Ed Rendell had
on Charlie Rose’s show back in 2012. Rendell was referring to
Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry’s proposal for health care
during his 2004 election campaign. Rendell said that Kerry’s plan would
insure that cancer patients are covered, while bringing down premiums
for others. I was curious about the details of this plan, and I found a 2004 New York Times article that summarized it. Here is the relevant section:
“For the vast majority of Americans and most businesses as well, the
chief worry is soaring premiums. Here Mr. Kerry has proposed an
innovative solution. He would have a federally funded ‘reinsurance’
program reimburse employers for 75 percent of all medical bills
exceeding some catastrophic limit — say, for example, $30,000 a year.
That would mean companies and group health plans would no longer have to
shoulder the most costly cases that account for a huge chunk of all
health expenditures. In return, the companies would have to pass the
savings on in reduced premiums, cover all workers and set up disease
management programs. The Kerry camp estimates this might reduce premiums
by 10 percent, mostly by shifting the cost to the taxpayers.”
There are probably strengths and weaknesses to this proposal. Still,
something should be done to ensure that cancer patients receive care,
while also taking into consideration the concerns of people who are
burdened by monthly premiums, and may not fall into that economic niche
that would get them sufficient Obamacare subsidies.
I’ll start with this Vox article defending Jill Stein.
Is Jill Stein against wi-fi? Does she believe that vaccines caused
autism? This article defends her against these charges, while mildly
critiquing her for failing to stick to her guns on certain issues (i.e.,
Benjamin Corey criticizes a statement by Prophet Jeremiah Johnson, which appeared in Charisma Magazine. Johnson said the following:
“I was in a time of prayer several weeks ago when God began to speak
to me concerning the destiny of Donald Trump in America. The Holy Spirit
spoke to me and said, ‘Trump shall become My trumpet to the
American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find
in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow
deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose
darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must
understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to
throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and
tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the
truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have
given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth.
Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I
raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016
election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound
the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy.
Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the
tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor
and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.'”
Corey makes legitimate criticisms of Johnson’s prophecy, especially
when Corey wonders how Johnson’s vision of Trump helping the foreigner
and stranger meshes with Trump’s stance on illegal immigration.
Still, the prophecy resonates with me. I am not saying that I
believe Johnson is expressing the opinions of Almighty God on Trump. I
am just saying that the statement resonates with me, in areas. Trump
does go against the grain. He comes across as fearless. People attack
him, and he keeps on moving forward. And I would like to think that
there is more to him than bluster, pride, and arrogance.
In 2008, I read “prophecies” about Barack Obama, one negative and the other positive. I talk about that in my post here.
The positive prophecy said that Barack Obama is a person who hungers
for righteousness, and that resonated with my understanding of Barack
Obama at the time: I saw him as a decent human being who sincerely
wanted to find common ground with the other side and help find solutions
to the nation’s problems. Eight years later, my response to Obama is
rather “meh.” I don’t think he was a horrible President, or even that
he is a bad human being. But he had to contend with a lot of gridlock,
to the point that he came across as a lame-duck.
There is a part of me that hopes that President Trump will be able to
cut through a lot of crap and accomplish positive reforms. Whether my
optimism is misplaced or not, I cannot yet say.
Mother Jones had an article entitled, “Obama Just Took One Final Step to Fight Global Warming: And There’s Nothing Donald Trump Can Do About It.”
Here is what President Obama did: “On Tuesday, Obama transferred $500
million to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, a key program set up to finance
climate change adaptation and renewable energy projects in developing
Over at Townhall, Terry Paulson has a column, “Is It Time to Defund the UN?”
He leans in the “yes” direction, saying that the UN condemns Israel
while privileging Israel’s radical Islamic enemies, and that the UN
ignores Nigeria’s brutal oppression of secessionists. Interestingly,
Paulson provides a quote that indicates that at least some of those
secessionists are placing their hope in Donald Trump.
I do not know much about this issue, but it would not surprise me if
the UN is inconsistent in applying its principles, as many institutions
are. The same is true of the US.
Will Trump care about Nigeria? I am not too optimistic.
Unfortunately and sadly, I tend to agree with economist Bruce Bartlett
when he said:
“Serious question. If it wasn’t for oil and the Jewish vote, would
anyone care what happens in the Middle East? It would be like Africa,
where thousands of people die all the time and no one gives a rat’s ass.
If it don’t affect us, materially or politically, Americans just don’t
care, at all. That’s an undeniable fact.” Maybe that compassionate
father’s heart that prophet Johnson talked about will influence Trump to
care, but that remains to be seen.
Media Matters has an article entitled, “Reminder to Conservatives: Martin Luther King Jr. Praised Planned Parenthood.”
That does not surprise me. MLK believed a lot of things that would not
resonate with conservatives. Rather than saying that MLK would agree
with them if alive today, perhaps conservatives would do better to argue
that their views, in areas, are closer to the principles that MLK
defended, even if MLK himself did not apply his principles in that
I was reading a book that told the usual story of the Gettysburg
Address: how the person who spoke before Lincoln went on for two hours,
and then Lincoln delivered his short Gettysburg Address. I was curious
about the person who spoke before Lincoln. His name was Edward Everett,
and the goal of his speech was to discuss the significance of the
American Civil War in light of American history and also the history of
Greece. So says Ted Widmer in this NYT blog post. And here is Everett’s speech,
if you want to read it! It looks rather flowery to me, but I may read
it at a later time. It is cool what the Internet provides!
The Devil’s Empathy
3 hours ago