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Poll: 62 Percent Of Public Supports Supreme Court Ruling On Obamacare

Poll: 62 Percent Of Public Supports Supreme Court Ruling On Obamacare

(Washington Post) Twice as many Americans support the Supreme Court’s decision last week to uphold a key provision of the health-care law as are opposed, according to a poll released Wednesday.

When told that the court ruled to allow Americans to continue receiving subsidies to afford health insurance in all states, about 6 in 10 surveyed said they approve of the decision while about one-third disapprove, according to the latest tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Although Democrats were more likely to approve of the decision, even among Republicans and those who view the Affordable Care Act unfavorably, about 3 in 10 say they approve of the court’s decision.

Conservative overreach may explain liberal victories in Supreme Court

Conservative overreach may explain liberal victories in Supreme Court

(Los Angeles Times) The Supreme Court term that ended this week will be remembered for the landmark ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, but it will also go down as a year when a fractured conservative bloc resulted in a surprising number of liberal wins.

That doesn’t mean the court has shifted left, as some have suggested. Instead, perhaps the biggest dynamic driving this term was overreaching by the court’s most conservative justices.

Under the court’s rules, the votes of four justices are needed to add a case to the docket, but a decision requires a majority of at least five.

On one case after another, four conservatives are believed to have teed up cases that had the potential to move the law to the right, only to fall short when the time came to vote.

Although liberals won, their victories, except for the marriage case, largely kept the status quo in place.

Serve a safer burger this 4th of July

New posts at Many Years Young 7/2/15

Serve a safer burger this 4th of July

How Walking in Nature Prevents Depression

The Norwegian Town Where the Sun Doesn’t Rise but Depression Rates Are Low

Implantable ‘artificial pancreas’ tracks blood sugar, releases insulin

Plus lots more.

If Islamic State Had Burned Down Four Churches, It Would Have Been Headline News

If Islamic State Had Burned Down Four Churches, It Would Have Been Headline News

(Juan Cole) Seven African-American churches have burned down in the past week and at least four of these southern Black churches were victims of deliberate arson, and possibly six were.

This news is being reported tentatively and in the passive mood.  The churches burned or were burned.  But that arson directed at an African-American church in the South after the Roof murders is likely the work of white supremacists is only hinted at.  The ambiguity of thunderstorms is typically brought in, quoting local authorities.  But there are lots of thunderstorms all the time in the South and churches have lightning rods.  Why would a church that had stood for decades suddenly succumb to a single storm?

Shouldn’t the headline be “Suspected White supremacists burn down at least four African-American churches” ?  Shouldn’t there be an agent, a doer, involved?

Compare how the press handled Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) attacks on Christians and churches.  It was front page news!  And the active voice was used, even though these events happened thousands of miles away amidst a fog of war and there were no Western eyewitnesses.

Punishing those already punished

Economists Krugman and Stiglitz on Why Greeks Should Vote ‘No’ on the Referendum

(Truthdig) Now that Greece has become the first advanced nation to fall into arrears with the International Monetary Fund, the nation has reached a crucial crossroads: Should it concede to the demands of the “troika” — the institutions representing creditor interests—or continue to reject austerity and prepare to ditch the euro?

Amid mass protests, tumbling markets and bank closures, Greece will hold a referendum Sunday to decide.

Recent opinion pieces by Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman maintain that Greece must keep going it alone and vote no.

Stiglitz writes in The Guardian “… the economics behind the programme that the ‘troika’ (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.”…

According to Krugman, “Greece should vote no, and the Greek government should be ready, if necessary, to leave the euro.”

His explanation in The New York Times states:

To understand why I say this, you need to realize that most — not all, but most — of what you’ve heard about Greek profligacy and irresponsibility is false. Yes, the Greek government was spending beyond its means in the late 2000s. But since then it has repeatedly slashed spending and raised taxes.Government employment has fallen more than 25 percent, and pensions (which were indeed much too generous) have been cut sharply. If you add up all the austerity measures, they have been more than enough to eliminate the original deficit and turn it into a large surplus.

So why didn’t this happen? Because the Greek economy collapsed, largely as a result of those very austerity measures, dragging revenues down with it.

One of the comments: “ It’s time for the rich to take a hit. Debt jubilee. It should be considered an alternative to the guillotine.” – Caro

Things about Obamacare that liberals don’t want to discuss

Things about Obamacare that liberals don’t want to discuss

(Undernews) Trudy Lieberman,Harper’s Magazine - It’s bad enough that the A.C.A. is fattening up the health-care industry and hollowing out coverage for the middle class. Even worse, the law is accelerating what I call the Great Cost Shift, which transfers the growing price of medical care to patients themselves through high deductibles, coinsurance (the patient’s share of the cost for a specific service, calculated as a percentage), copayments (a set fee paid for a specific service), and limited provider networks (which sometimes offer so little choice that patients end up seeking out-of-network care and paying on their own). What was once good, comprehensive insurance for a sizable number of Americans is being reduced to coverage for only the most serious, and most expensive, of illnesses. Even fifteen years ago, families paid minimal deductibles of $150 or $200 and copays of $5 or $10, or none at all. Now, a family lucky enough to afford a policy in the first place may face out-of-pocket expenses for coinsurance, deductibles, and copays as high as $13,200 before its insurer kicks in.

Of course, these out-of-pocket caps can be adjusted by the insurer every year, within limits set by the government, and there are no caps at all for out-of-network services, which means that some providers charge whatever the market will bear. In the post-A.C.A. era, you can be insured but have little or no coverage for what you actually need.

The A.C.A.’s greatest legacy may finally be the fulfillment of a conservative vision laid out three decades ago, which sought to transform American health care into a market-driven system.

Texas Attorney General: County clerks may refuse — on religious grounds — to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Texas Attorney General: County clerks may refuse — on religious grounds —  to issue same-sex marriage licenses

(Dallas Morning News) Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican social conservative, offered at least moral support Sunday for county clerks and their employees who feel their religious beliefs dictate that they decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

In a nonbinding legal opinion, Paxton said religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment “may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.”

The clerks who balk at licensing gay marriage “may well face litigation and/or a fine,” Paxton warned.

“Importantly, the strength of any particular religious accommodation claim depends on the particular facts of each case,” he concluded.

“But,” he added in a press release, “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.”

Paxton’s opinion also said justices of the peace and judges similarly may rebuff requests that they officiate at same-sex weddings, especially if their colleagues in their areas are receptive to doing so.

When the attorney general of a state advocates breaking the law, we have a serious situation on our hands.—Caro

Fireworks Bring Exhilaration, Joy, And Pollution

New posts at Many Years Young 7/1/15

Fireworks Bring Exhilaration, Joy, And Pollution

Half of heart disease deaths due to preventable factors

Healthy Diet Linked to Lower Death Rates Among Low-Income Residents in Southeastern USA

Omega-3 Supplements, Antioxidants May Help With Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease

Plus lots more.

Sanders calls for single-payer healthcare

Sanders calls for single-payer healthcare

(Brent Budowsky, The Hill) One of the reasons that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is surging in the polls and beginning to receive the national press attention he deserves is that he has brought ideas of substance to the campaign. As CNN has recently reported, the latest Sanders initiative is that he is pushing a Medicare-for-all healthcare program, similar to programs in most developed democratic nations (often referred to as “single payer”)…

While ObamaCare improved healthcare for millions of Americans, a Medicare-for-all program would improve healthcare for tens of millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions, of Americans…

When the Democratic candidates meet in debates, ideas such as single-payer healthcare will be a major topic during those debates because Sanders is raising them. He is a candidate of ideas. He is a candidate of progressive ideas. He has earned the attention and support he is receiving. All Democrats should join a majority of Americans in supporting single-payer healthcare and Bernie Sanders is performing a major service to the Democrats and the nation by putting this issue at the top of the agenda.

The United States of Corruption

The United States of Corruption

(Political Wire) Gary Hart: “Can anyone seriously doubt that our republic, our government, is corrupt? There have been Teapot Domes and financial scandals of one kind or another throughout our nation’s history. There has never been a time, however, when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals of one kind or another.”

“What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class.”

Pope Francis’s environmental message brings thousands on to streets in Rome

Pope Francis’s environmental message brings thousands on to streets in Rome

(The Guardian) Thousands of campaigners and religious leaders have marched through Rome, backing Pope Francis’s uncompromising environmental message ahead of a Vatican conference on climate change, and urging world leaders to take action.

Holy See officials will this week discuss the environment with activists and scientists at a meeting at which Naomi Klein, a prominent social activist, will take centre stage alongside Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the pontiff’s most senior aides.

Soon after the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, regarded as a landmark intervention in the global climate change debate, campaigners on Sunday travelled to Rome from across the globe to thank the Argentinian pontiff for his papal letter.

In the encyclical, Francis directed sharp criticism at global leaders for their failure to combat climate change. It was greeted with a hugely positive response from environmentalists, who have seized on the pope’s message ahead of a United Nations climate change conference to be held in Paris in December.

The UN summit is aimed at reaching a global deal on climate change, but as the pontiff noted, previous meetings have ended in disappointment, with decision-making paralysed by disagreements.

Sugary drinks linked to 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year

New posts at Many Years Young 6/30/15

Sugary drinks linked to 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year

Neighborhood Environments and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Few people heading toward diabetes know it

Muscadine Grape Seed Oil May Help Reduce Obesity

Plus lots more.

Taking anti-depressants like Prozac in menopause ‘raises risk of broken bones’

New posts at Many Years Young 6/29/15

Taking anti-depressants like Prozac in menopause ‘raises risk of broken bones’

Should you treat chronic pain with opioids?

USDA proposes healthier fare for child, adult day cares

Don’t weaken GMO labeling

Plus lots more.

In historic decision, Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage

Anderson Cooper did a short piece on the history of the gay rights movement in the U.S., in light of the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage everywhere in the U.S., but I think there’s one big reason he, and others, have missed for the acceleration of sympathy for the LGBT cause. I believe that the AIDS epidemic, horrific as it has been, was instrumental in forcing gays out of the closet, and showing millions of Americans that some of the people they were closest to were gay. It’s easier to empathize with those we love than with people we think we don’t know. – Caro

In historic decision, Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage

(SCOTUSblog) Two years ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the Court’s four more liberal Justices to strike down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act defining “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, as a union between a man and a woman.  The Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor meant that, going forward, same-sex couples who were married in states where same-sex marriages were legal received the same treatment under federal law as married opposite-sex couples.

[Yesterday], on the second anniversary of that decision, Justice Kennedy again joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in holding [in Obergefell v. Hodges] both that states must allow same-sex couples to marry and that they must recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Rainbow White House

Republicans secretly cheer Supreme Court Obamacare decision

Republicans secretly cheer Supreme Court Obamacare decision

(David Horsey, Los Angeles Times) Everybody has come out a winner with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Obamacare — at least politically…

As happy as the president is with the result, though, Republicans may be even happier. If the court’s decision had gone the other way, the governors in those 34 states — most of them Republicans — would have had a crisis on their hands, and the GOP-led Congress would have been expected to come up with a very quick remedy or risk facing the wrath of millions of voters suddenly dumped from the healthcare system.

Now, Republicans in the House and Senate can continue to rail against Obamacare, hone their talking points and make vague assertions that they have a better idea without having to do anything — and congressional Republicans have proved pretty convincingly that doing nothing is what they do best.

Republicans Cheer Obamacare Decision

For many black Americans, Confederate flag debate a distraction

For many black Americans, Confederate flag debate a distraction

(Reuters) Across the country, African Americans are applauding a fast-growing movement to remove the Confederate flag from public life after last week’s racially charged massacre of nine black worshipers in a Charleston church. But even many of those who support the effort suspect it will do little to address what they see as fundamental racial injustices – from mass incarceration of black men to a lack of economic and educational opportunities…

“Black folks are still being killed; they are still being undereducated; they still have little access to health care,” said Melina Abdullah, an attorney who has helped organize community response to Ford’s killing. Taking down the Confederate flag, she says, will not solve “institutional racism and a police system that kills black people.”

Streams of statistics underscore those concerns: the average white family had about seven times the wealth of the average black family in 2013, according to the Urban Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington. Since the early 1970s, black unemployment has been consistently more than twice as high as white joblessness, government data show. And more than 27 percent of blacks live below the poverty line, compared to 13 percent of whites.

Uber for Doctors?

New posts at Many Years Young 6/27/15

Uber for Doctors? On-Demand Service Orunje Brings Back the House Call

Compound in Magnolia May Combat Head and Neck Cancers

Stem-Like Progenitor Cell That Exclusively Forms Heart Muscle

CDC Warns of Pool Parasite This Summer

Plus lots more.

The ACA is here to stay

Supreme Court Rules 6-3 to Save Obamacare Tax Subsidies

(Bloomberg) The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a core component of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, backing tax credits used by millions of Americans to buy insurance and preserving the landmark measure that will define his legacy…

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in the majority. They said the 2010 Affordable Care Act allows tax credits in all 50 states, not just the 16 that have authorized their own online insurance exchanges.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote. “If at all possible, we must interpret the act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”…

Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the law was susceptible to only one interpretation…

“We should start calling this law ‘SCOTUScare,’” Scalia wrote. The ruling sends the message that “the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites,” he said.

Just remember how willing Scalia was to put his favorite in the White House in 2000. So take this dissent with a grain of salt. – Caro

Health sector stocks rise on Obamacare ruling

(USA Today) Hospital and health insurance stocks closed higher Thursday after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Health Care Act, the Obama administration’s cornerstone domestic achievement.

Investors sent shares up after the high court rejected a challenge that could have torpedoed state insurance markets created under the landmark program in an effort to extend health coverage to an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans.

Nevertheless, the never-say-die crowd doesn’t plan to give up: “More challenges to Obama healthcare law percolating.” – Caro

These Countries Boast the World’s Highest Share of Thriving Citizens

These Countries Boast the World’s Highest Share of Thriving Citizens

(Bloomberg) Turns out the old saying that money isn’t everything holds true.

The latest Gallup-Healthways well-being ranking puts Panama — a sliver of land with one of the world’s busiest shipping routes — as the place to be, along with its Central American neighbors. There are half as many Panamanians as New Yorkers, but it seems they are better off even when their gross domestic product per capita is $11,036, a fifth that of the U.S.

Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill

Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill

(The Guardian) Using data from the Federal Election Commission, this chart shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate:

  • Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes.
  • The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters.
  • The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors.

The amounts given rise dramatically when looking at how much each senator running for re-election received.

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