Five Thoughts for Friday (Oct. 12)

Birth Control

Women’s autonomy depends on our ownership of our own bodies; our very freedom depends on our ability to access to safe, affordable birth control. Choosing if and when to have children directly impacts our economic outlook and is a determining factor in a woman’s ability to emerge from poverty. Increasing access to birth control is also proven to decrease the rate of maternal and infant mortality – not to mention abortion. Birth control is a public health issue – and providing it at no (or low) cost to women benefits everyone except insurance companies.

Unilateral Executive Dismantling of Obamacare

It is fitting that the person who once tweeted (of course) about President Obama’s executive actions now takes it upon himself to unilaterally destroy 1/5 of the nation’s economy. After seven years of the GOP “repeal and replace” mantra, the Republican-controlled Congress was unable to do just that – mostly because they were just lying about actually improving the law, and really wanted to roll it back to give giant tax breaks to million/billionaires.

Now, the Administration is rolling back regulations like no-cost birth control (you’ve already read about why that matters) and threatening to cut off cost-sharing subsidies to insurers. These subsidies, which totaled $7 billion or so this year, help insurers cover the costs of insuring low-income people; already, markets have seen massive rate hikes this year in anticipation of this. The CBO estimates this will cause premiums to rise 20% and a million people to lose their insurance.

Additionally, the President signed an executive order that will allow insurance companies to create low-cost plans that don’t comply with ACA regulations. You can read more here, but the general idea is that young people will be attracted to these plans and leave other markets – meaning those pools will become increasingly older, sicker, and thus more costly in a never-ending cycle of hell for anyone with the audacity to age or catch cancer.

(I promise I tried to keep this to one paragraph. I clearly failed.)

Puerto Rico

In a stunning display of the racism and devastation inherent in 21st-century American colonialism, the Administration has spent the weeks since Puerto Rico was absolutely annihilated by Maria feuding with the mayor of San Juan and not doing a whole lot else. It took them eight days to lift the Jones Act, a century-old law that requires anything shipped between two US ports to be shipped on boats operated by American companies – meaning that foreign ships stocked with food, clean drinking water, and medical supplies sat at anchor while American citizens died. 83% of the island is still without power today, but the waiver has expired and will not be extended. And Trump now is saying FEMA “can’t be there forever.” In comparison, he told Texas we would be with them “every single day” to help rebuild.

Guess it really does make a difference if you’re a white American citizen who lives in Houston – or a brown one who lives on an island in the Caribbean.

The Right to Protest, NFL Edition

Kneeling to protest injustice is your right, no matter the color your skin or the job you work. To equate the protest of injustice to the protest of the flag is to equate injustice with the flag. Those who object to this protest must be thinking of a different flag.

First Amendment

The President, upset that news coverage of the aforementioned issues was… accurate… said that it’s “disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” This should horrify anyone who has a vested interest in, you know, the right to free speech and the Constitution that protects it. He went on to say that the federal government should start challenging the licenses of broadcasters airing “fake news”. One can only imagine that the people determining what is “fake” are those employed by this Administration. The path to state-run media starts with Fox News, folks, and it ends where Donald Trump has the power to dictate what information is available to the public.

 

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