Meanwhile . . .
Healthcare for the poor: 26 states refused to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government would fund it 100% for the first 3 years, 90% after that, and states could opt out if the additional 10% became unaffordable. Millions of the poorest people in the country are going to be denied health insurance. According to the New York Times, two-thirds of the country’s poor—uninsured blacks, single mothers, and half of uninsured low-wage workers live in those 26 states.
Immigration reform. Forgotten in the blare of the present crisis. California has the highest number of undocumented people in the country and we haven’t waited for Congress to act. Seventy-five percent of undocumented workers are in the workforce. They pay taxes, though they can’t receive benefits. Their children receive free K-12 public education, and in-state tuition for college. Families get healthcare through community clinics (They are not eligible for the new Affordable Healthcare). Recent laws allow them to apply for California drivers’ licenses and practice law if they pass the Bar Exam.
Environment, the biggest elephant in the room, ignored or denied by conservatives who claim to be acting for our children and grandchildren. Bill McKibben compares the way our government treats this issue to driving a car 100 mph toward a cliff and waiting until you’re a foot away to say, “OMG, it’s a cliff.”
I’m hoping Obama doesn’t give them the Keystone Pipeline in exchange for a debt ceiling.
My favorite quote of the week comes from Gail Collins’ column:
John Eidelson interviewed Rep. John Culberson of Texas, who waxed wrothful about the whole idea of government intervention into health care, calling Obamacare “a violation of our most sacred right as Americans to be left alone.” Eidelson asked, “What does that mean for Medicare, then?”
“What does that mean for Medicare?” Culberson demanded. “What does that have to do with anything?”