Oh, NOW we get a Surgeon General

Today, the Senate finally approved Obama’s Surgeon General candidate who had been held up because he had the audacity to say that maybe shooting people isn’t good for their health.  That made the NRA say no, and as we all know, the NRA takes precedence over logic and reason any day.la-apphoto-obama-surgeon-general-jpg-20140204

Might have been nice to have him back when there was the Ebola scare, huh?  Back when Republicans were arguing that Obama had no one in charge while simultaneously stopping him from having someone in charge?  Fortunately, the election ended and Ebola disappeared because Fox News and the Republicans didn’t need to scare anyone any more.  Hooray!  Everyone was saved!

Well, they finally approved him, because there was really no reason not to.  The guy is very qualified.

So here’s to your health.


If only we had a Surgeon General!

Why isn’t the Surgeon General doing something about this whole ebola mess?  Fox News wants to know!

Oh, right — the Republicans have been refusing to confirm Obama’s nominee for half a year or so now, because he had the nerve to say that maybe we should have background checks for guns and then we might not have as many people dying from gunshot wounds.

How dare he!  Why would we want someone as Surgeon General who wants to protect people from dying?  la-apphoto-obama-surgeon-general-jpg-20140204

Why, do you realize how radical such a view is?  It’s a view only shared by the vast majority of Americans and the majority of NRA members, and which mirrors positions taken by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

As we all know from our basic government classes, the Surgeon General has supreme power over our country, and can write laws to take away everyone’s guns and enforce these laws with his leagues of stethoscope-wearing minions.

So Republicans (who also cut the budget for the Center for Disease Control) are now whining that the government they keep trying to kill is unable to do anything, because we should always be mad at a corpse for not accomplishing anything.



Obamacare not an issue in the election

The last few elections saw Republicans attacking Obamacare, saying how awful it was and how it would ruin the economy and make people die and cause the earth to leave its orbit and careen into the sun.  “It’s the worst thing to happen to America since slavery,” they actually said.  doctor-obama

Here’s the funny thing:  None of the bad stuff they predicted would happen actually happened.  I know, right?  Who would have thought that the Republicans had lied and exaggerated?  Shocking.

The uninsured rate keeps dropping.  Approval of Obamacare is at its highest.    Insurance cost increases have even gone down.  (Yeah, they’re still rising — they were doing that before Obamacare, you know, by huge numbers — but percentage-wise, they are not rising as fast as they were, and in some places they’ve even gone down.)

And the GOP knows this.  That’s why they’ve finally stopped scheduling “repeal Obamacare” votes and why you don’t hear them talking about it any more.

I mean, it’s not like they had a real reason to be against it.  Obamacare was, after all, originally a Republican plan.  They liked the idea of keeping the insurance companies happy.  It was called “Romneycare” at first, you know.  They only opposed it because Obama supported it, because all that party knows how to do these days is to oppose anything the Democrats favor.

But that’s all in the past.  Conservatives have always been against social progress, and they’ll scream and yell as they’re being dragged into the present but eventually they’ll shut up.  They did the same thing with worker’s safety, minimum wage, child labor laws, racial integration, medicare, medicaid, environmental protection, voting rights, women’s rights, gay rights … (need I go on?)


Sex, love, and cigarettes

A friend recently complained about how hard it was to find a good man as she stood on the sidewalk enjoying her cigarette break from work.

I didn’t say anything out loud, but my inner voice said, “Maybe you should stop smoking.”  no_smoking

As a non-smoker, I find smoking to be an absolute turn-off.  I kissed a girl once (in High School) who smoked.  Once.  And then we stopped, and she got upset when I told her why.  “You taste like an ash tray.”

I’ll admit that for many hormone-induced high school boys, nothing would stop them from kissing a willing girl.  But hopefully, you’re trying to attract men who are a bit less desperate.

Only 18% of the American population smokes, which is the lowest level ever.  So if you’re looking for a partner, you may be excluding as much as 82% of the available suitors.

To make matters worse, smoking in America is becoming sharply divided by class:

  • 24.7% of adults with 12 or less years of education (no diploma)
  • 41.9% of adults with a GED diploma
  • 23.1% of adults with a high school diploma
  •   9.1% of adults with an undergraduate college degree
  •   5.9% of adults with a postgraduate college degree

Ironically, the people who can least afford cigarettes are the ones who smoke.  The average person spends $3000 year on the habit.  That doesn’t include side costs of smoking, such as dental and medical bills.  If you’re trying to attract educated people who statistically have  a much higher income, smoking works against you.

Now, mind you, my friend may agree completely with everything I’ve said here.  She may have been trying to quit smoking for years.  Most smokers do want to quit, after all.  They know perfectly well how much it is costing them in many ways.  Smokers these days deserve our help and not our criticism.

Insurance companies, under oath, tell the truth

It must be terribly frustrating to be an anti-Obamacare congressman these days.  doctor-obama

Why, just take the Republicans who held a hearing this week about how terrible Obamacare is and how much it is failing.   They subpoenaed insurance company executives who would testify about how less than half of those who had signed up had actually paid, how the bureaucracy was restricting care, how rates were going up, and how the entire program was terrible (because that was what Fox News kept reporting, and they’re never wrong).

Sadly, none of that came to be.  The executives, evil as they are, realized they were under oath and reported that in actuality, things were going quite well.   More people had signed up than predicted.  The vast majority (80% – 90%) were up to date on their payments.  Insurance company stock had increased and business was doing great, and because of all that, rates would not be going up.

Republicans at the hearing just couldn’t accept this, and complained that the executives weren’t being forthcoming.  Clearly, Obama’s goons had gotten to them!  Why, the goons were even able to somehow change all the statistical data in every single one of the insurance companies to make it seem that Obamacare was working.  The fiends!

Obamacare kills again

And yet another place shuts down because of Obamacare.doctor-obama

A free clinic administering to the poor, with volunteer doctors. Yep, you guessed it — Obamacre is making them shut down.

Because they are no longer needed.

“Because people are qualifying for insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, our free medical clinic will not be needed anymore,” Stacey Bowser RN, 9th Street Ministries Clinic Director, stated. “We’ve gone from seeing around 300 people a month on a regular basis, but as people were enrolling in Obamacare, the numbers we were seeing have dropped. We were down to 80 people that came through the medical clinic in February, all the way down to three people at the medical clinic in March. Our services won’t be needed anymore, and this will conclude our mission.”

Can’t we celebrate some good news?

Look, the plan the Republicans originally wanted is in, and it’s successful.    More than 7.1 million have signed up for health insurance coverage so far, which exceeds expectations.  The uninsured rate has dropped, which helps all of us who no longer have to cover people who use the emergency room for their health care because it was free (“personal responsibility,” you know, is another good thing).   NYorker

The vast majority of those who are using Obamacare are paying less than before (although you’d never know it from the Fox news coverage of the minority who are paying more, mostly because their previous plans were crappy and worthless).

More and more Americans are supportive of the Affordable Care Act (a majority, in fact) and that number keeps going up.

Most importantly, people are getting covered so that perhaps we will no longer have families going into bankruptcy because of medical bills.

Seriously, why is this a bad thing?  The “free marketplace” is what caused all the problems Obamacare was designed to fix, so don’t go telling me that we should have let the market decide.  We did, and it was terrible.

While in the short term Obamacare may hurt the Democrats (largely because of all the lies being spread about it by the Republicans), in the long run, this will be seen as a large step forward and supported by almost everyone, in the same way Medicare and Social Security have become.