November 12, 2009

Support these troops

Fall view from the ridge.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. No doubt many speeches were given extolling veterans for their service, which is only right. I wonder though if many of them dealt with problems such as this:

A research team at Harvard Medical School estimates 2,266 U.S. military veterans under the age of 65 died last year because they lacked health insurance and thus had reduced access to care. That figure is more than 14 times the number of deaths (155) suffered by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2008, and more than twice as many as have died (911 as of Oct. 31) since the war began in 2001...

The Harvard group analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2009 Current Population Survey, which surveyed Americans about their insurance coverage and veteran status, and found that 1,461,615 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured in 2008. Veterans were only classified as uninsured if they neither had health insurance nor received ongoing care at Veterans Health Administration (VA) hospitals or clinics.

Typically, veterans in this situation, like millions of other Americans, are too poor to buy private insurance and too "rich" to qualify for public programs such as Medicaid. One good thing about proposed health care reform in Congress is a massive expansion of the Medicaid program and subsidies to help people buy insurance, although that would still leave some people out.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE. Here's more on the scarring effects of the recession on children.

STATE AID. This paper by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calls on Congress to extend fiscal aid to states to avert major cuts in jobs and services.

SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE but not so much in El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, according to a study that ranks several states using different criteria.

WORLD POVERTY. According to the United Nations, 2.7 billion people around the world survive on less than two dollars a day, while one billion live on less than a dollar a day. Here's more from Democracy Now.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH, DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU SAY. Here's a Gazette op-ed about how thuggery is suppressing free speech in coal controversies.



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