Dan Besse's blog

Health insurance coverage for a half-million North Carolinians

It's beyond lunacy, but it's in the process of happening. The NC General Assembly (our esteemed legislature), under GOP domination, is about to approve legislation denying health insurance coverage to 500,000 North Carolina citizens.

Not only would NC taxpayers NOT be charged extra for this coverage, but it would bring in a half-BILLION federal dollars to the NC economy in 2014 alone. Hospitals, especially rural ones in the toughest economic status, are desperate for this help.

So: Humanitarianism, check; economic rationality, check. But not Ideologically Correct for the radical right ideologues who currently drive state policy.

Why is this thing legal?

Civilian ownership of tanks is illegal. So is ownership of rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Ditto fully automatic rifles. Why is this damned thing legal? The high-capacity semi-automatic rifle, a.k.a. "assault weapon." It has no legitimate civilian purpose. Its only purpose is to kill large numbers of people quickly, without requiring much skill or thought. It performed that function in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.

Ryan-Romney's Killer Budget

Let's be blunt. Access to health care saves lives. Loss of health care costs lives. The Ryan-Romney budget would cut as many as 30 million Americans off Medicaid--which, by definition, is the health care program available to people who can't afford any other coverage. Analysis of Medicaid coverage's effectiveness in saving lives shows that this would cost about 170,000 lives a year. Put it this way: The Ryan-Romney health care cuts could result in more additional American deaths every year than we've lost in every war since WWII combined.

Shocking? Yes, but you don't have to take my word for it. Here are my sources. Crunch the numbers yourself.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/26/how-to-save-2840-lives/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/13/paul-ryans-biggest-budget-cuts-are-to-m...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war

Monstrously immoral? That's my opinion.

Valone responds with excuses

Mr. Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina responded to my message. The message is based on excuses and a false alleged equivalency between his actions and those of the reporter whose family Mr. Valone has placed at increased risk. Below is the chain of correspondence.

Affordable health care is under assault in Raleigh.

The new state legislative Republican majority is already moving on its effort to undermine health care reform. HB 2, their first bagful of sand in the gears of health care, is laughingly mis-named the “Protect Health Care Freedom” bill.

Protect health care freedom? HB 2 would be more accurately known as the “Protect Freedom from Affordable Health Care” or perhaps “Protect Freedom to Suffer from Lack of Health Care” bill.

Please join me in telling your legislative representatives, and the media, that this is unacceptable—and why. I’ve copied my message to my own legislators below. Please write your own. We cannot stay silent.

Frustration

"My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts."

That seems to be the attitude of far too many of our progressive friends as well as our right-wing adversaries, when it comes to debating politics and public policy alternatives.

A friend of mine persistently voices the same empty platitudes about business, budgets, and efficiency, any time I mention certain topics on a Facebook post. Generally, what gets his knees jerking involves health care, education, or budget cuts. He operates a successful small business, and apparently within his personal experience all problems can be solved by healthy eating, exercise, and frugality.

Who's going to be the next state Democratic party chair?

From everything I can pick up, the question of who will lead the N.C. Democratic Party next year is wide open.

I personally believe it's important that the new chair be prepared to take an aggressive role as Democratic spokesperson in calling out the new Republican legislative majorities on their extreme policy positions. This needs to start immediately, before the incoming GOP regime has an opportunity to define itself under the false mantle of fiscal responsibility.

Civility in political debate

Civility is more than etiquette. Etiquette is just maintaining social conventions as required by tradition or authority.

Civility in the political context is the acknowledgment that our opponents may have a valid contribution or point to make. It's the reflection of an agreement that campaigns are not purely cut-throat competitions to be won by any means available. It's the commitment to the inherent value of the democratic process and the rule of law. It's a statement that what matters in campaigns includes what their results permit us to do through government afterward.

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