Politically Speaking, My Views on the Left the Right and Everywhere in Between

Final Call for Healthcare Reform

Posted in Issues, The Left, The Right, U.S political news by politicalily on March 7, 2010

President Obama has once again put out a call for Congress to schedule a final vote on healthcare reform. While passing healthcare reform would provide excellent political capital for President Obama and the Democrats it would also be excellent for the American people. The cost of health insurance is sky-rocketing at an alarming rate.Nearly everyone has seen their premiums increase and neither the American people nor the President have been able to get a straight answer from the insurance companies as to why they are massively raising premiums-by as much as 60% percent in states like Illionois. It seems as the cost of insurance raises the amount of coverage that they provide moves in the opposite direction. Preventive care is often not covered by insurance, the cost of preventive procedures is miniscule compared to the cost, both literally and metaphorically of the operations and procedure that result from preventive action not being taken.Preventive measures not being covered by insurance companies results in people skipping regular screenings and exams only to find themselves falling seriously ill to disease and conditions that could easily of been preventive or spotted and treated before they become severe. The high-cost of medical care paired with the low coverage of insurance leaves millions of Americans vulnerable every year. The other problem in the health insurance industry lies with the lack of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Those who have a history of medical problems or are more likely to fall ill, the people who need insurance the most,  find themselves exposed without insurance or paying astronomically high prices for insurance, while those who are healthy and require little medical assistance are insured. This is a backwards system that takes advantage of this sick and a system like this should not exist in a country like the United States. If we do not pass healthcare and allow those with pre-existing conditions to gain access to insurance we would be abandoning our sick and disabled, something I believe no politician would promote, but by voting against healthcare they would actively be doing . Republicans have said that the Democrats are trying to push something down the throats of Americans that they do not want, the Republicans are clearly mistaken. The American people have seen the problems in our healthcare system and fall victim to greedy insurance companies every day. The mother who can’t afford glasses for her child and watches him and his grades in school suffer everyday, the children who watch their parents grow sick but refuse costly care so their kids can attend college, the husband who watches his ailing wife die because they couldn’t afford a life saving procedure, these Americans are demanding health care reform and so is nearly every other person in the country. People have always said that those in Washington D.C are out of touch with voters and this has never been so true  of any politician than those who vote against reforming our healthcare system.

The whole health insurance system is broken and requires serious fixing. If all members of congress cannot come together and pass reform they are letting their constituents down. By letting healthcare reform die and by letting insurance companies continue to take advantage of hard-working Americans legislatures would be failing those who trusted in them and elected them into office. President Obama has called for a final vote and the American people have called for reform, the only question left is whether our congressmen and women will listen and answer that call.

Awwwwww SNAP!

Posted in Issues, message to readers by politicalily on March 6, 2010

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides millions of American families with what we call food stamps. With the economy in the state that it is in, the number of families that would be eligible for food stamp assistance is increasing at an alarming rate. With this number rising it is time we take a harder look at SNAP and make sure all Americans that need help are getting it. An increase in funding for SNAP is not the answer. Instead what we need to do is reform our system so that it works more efficiently. The problems I am aiming to solve are the poor nutrition of food stamp recipients and the low number of food stamp eligible families that are actually receiving assistance. Food stamp recipients are forced to live on three dollars a day, that is a dollar a meal. Clearly, these people cannot afford to buy healthy food. Instead, they survive on boxed processed food that is generally unhealthy. This unhealthy diet leads to health problems latter on and because food stamp recipients generally live in poverty and are eligible for government assistance tax payers are paying for not only the unhealthy diet that leads to these people’s preventable health problems they are also paying for their health care. At first glance one would think the solution to this problem is to increase SNAP funding but what many U.S taxpayers don’t know is that the money needed to solve this problem is already in the system.
The money is there for 100% of eligible citizens to receive food stamp assistance, but nationally only 65% of eligible people receive food stamps. Food stamp distribution is not the responsibility of the Federal Government. The states get the funding for their SNAP programs from the Federal Government and it is then up to the state to distribute it. In some states as low as 48% of eligible citizens receive food stamps. Because the funding is there for 100% of eligible Americans to receive assistance the low participation rate leads to over 3 billion dollars left in the SNAP program at the end of the year.
The solution that I propose is a law that reforms SNAP. This law would require states to spend 90% of their SNAP funding each year. While some might say that this is impossible or that the Federal government is overstepping their boundaries I believe those few will be spread far and wide. States could increase the amount of money that they spend in one of two ways. The first way would be to increase the number of people that are eligible for food stamps that actually receive them. This would force states to increase their food stamp participation rate and more people would be receiving much needed assistance. The second way that states could spend their money would be to adjust the amount of assistance that each food stamp recipient receives. With a minimum of three dollars a day states would be free to raise the amount of money each participant gets. This would allow people to buy healthier foods and in turn be healthier people. The third and final provision in this law would prevent states form sending government jobs overseas. The state of Florida paid JP Morgan 50 million dollars to administer food stamps distribution and customer service jobs were outsourced to India. These jobs could have been held by food stamps recipients and allowed them to get off of government aid. This law is the best option to fix our broken food stamp program because it does not increase government spending, but instead uses funding that is already there to make our system work more efficiently and reach more people. With healthcare and the economy on the forefront of the American mind it might be challenging to make people see that our food stamp system needs fixing, but I believe if the American people are presented with the facts they will see that we cannot solve for the economy or healthcare until we fix our food stamp program.

If you want to help with the food stamp reform effort or have any comments or questions please contact me at: snap.reform@gmail.com

We will be organizing a letter writing campaign and petition in order to inform our congressmen of this huge and pressing problem and would truly value your participation.