The Anti-Health Care Act and that tax cut for the rich

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Photo by 401kcalculator.org, published under Creative Commons license

Both the House and Senate Republican Anti-Health Care proposals give big tax cuts to wealthy Americans and slash even bigger amounts of money from health care for lower and middle-income Americans. Continue reading

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The Anti-Health Care Act: Pay more, get less

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Photo by ccPix.com, used under Creative Commons license

Jessica Valenti had a premature baby. She says the Republican plan to let insurance companies bring back lifetime caps on coverage would be a disaster:

“In September 2010, a new provision of the Affordable Care Act banned health insurance plans from applying lifetime limits on essential care. Layla was born in August. And so it was just sheer luck that our health insurance at the time did not have a lifetime cap. If it had, Layla would have blown through that ceiling in the first weeks of her life—we would have gone bankrupt trying to save her.

“Care for a premature baby can cost literally millions of dollars, and before the ACA, it wasn’t uncommon for families with preemies to end up financially devastated. In the new bill, the text of which was just released today, that lifetime cap comes back. I’ve always wondered how it is that Republicans who call themselves pro-life could support financial ruin for parents who simply want to keep their babies alive.”

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The Anti-Health Care Act and Medicaid

So Republicans want to cut Medicaid? Who cares?

Lots of people, as it turns out. Those hurt by proposed Medicaid cuts include people with disabilities, babies, nursing home residents, women getting primary care through Planned Parenthood clinics, schools, and state governments. Continue reading

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The Anti-Health Care Act and essential benefits

Both the Senate and House Anti-Health Care Acts allow sates to waive the essential benefits provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Vox’s Sarah Kiff explains: “This means that plans in the individual market could once again decide not to cover maternity care — like 88 percent of plans did before the Affordable Care Act passed.” Continue reading

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Philando Castile: Fear and killing and change

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Mr. Phil. That’s what the kids at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul called Philando Castile. A parent  called him “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks.” Will he be remembered as the cafeteria supervisor who gave out hugs and food and love to “his” kids? Or will he be remembered as one more name in the unending litany of black men and women killed by police? Continue reading

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Watch out for TigerSwan: It bites

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“A shadowy international mercenary and security firm” employed by Energy Transfer Partners sent undercover agents to infiltrate protest camps at Standing Rock, harvested information from social media, used aerial surveillance, and eavesdropped on radio communications. TigerSwan, which started life as a U.S. military and State Department contractor, also collaborated closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to target protesters. Continue reading

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Taking down ‘Scaffold’ at the Walker

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Coya Hope’s Twitter post was one of many protesting ‘Scaffold’ in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

A tall gallows structure stands in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, near the iconic Cherry and Spoon, the new Giant Blue Chicken, and the mini-golf course. But not for much longer.  After an outpouring of pain and anger from Minnesota’s Native American community, the Walker has agreed to remove ‘Scaffold.’

Sam Durant, a white Los Angeles artist, first created ‘Scaffold’ in 2012 in Germany, and the sculpture has been exhibited in other cities. The sculpture features gallows from seven hangings. The largest one, which supports all the rest, is a model of the Mankato gallows  on which 38 Native American men were hung on December 26, 1862 in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The Walker planned carefully for the opening of the new sculpture garden, but they failed to consult Minnesota’s Native American communities.  before erecting ‘Scaffold.’

Over and over, the Native Americans denouncing the sculpture repeat: we were not consulted, we were not listened to, our voices are not heard. Rather than adding my voice to the discussion, I want to amplify their voices in this blog post: Continue reading

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Budgets are moral documents – and Trump’s budget is an immoral failure

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it half a century ago: budgets are moral documents. The budget that Trump sent to Congress this week is immoral as well as unworkable. It deliberately overstates the amount of money available, which will lead to even greater deficits.  Then it slashes programs that build for the future, protect clean air and water, and serve our most vulnerable citizens and children.

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Republican funny math on health and human services

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Republicans can be expected to cut every corner when it comes to funding health and human services. This time around, they’re also using funny math to avoid responsibility for their cuts. Continue reading

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Legislating against agriculture and environment

According to Governor Mark Dayton, “Agriculture is not a partisan issue—all Minnesotans want a strong agricultural industry.” That’s far from evident in the agriculture omnibus bill that Republicans in the legislature sent to the governor –which he vetoed last week. Besides restricting spending for the Agriculture Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) program, the bill takes away the Department of Agriculture authority to enforce pesticide regulations. That puts Minnesota in conflict with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Continue reading

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