January 08, 2015

Another one to watch

It's a long way off for me, but it looks like things are starting to get interesting in Tennessee, where the governor is about to call a special session of the legislature to consider Medicaid expansion. If it happens, that would mean health coverage for over 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans. It would also build momentum for expansion to other Republican-led states.

Gov. Haslam has been in negotiations with the feds over a waiver that would allow the state to design its own program in a two year pilot that would have to be reauthorized While this probably won't be as effective or efficient as regular Medicaid, it would still be a huge positive step.

There have been some interesting allies in this that may prove instructive for advocates in other conservative states. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce reportedly says that the expansion is a top priority. That's not necessarily as strange as it sounds. The Montana Budget and Policy Center has compiled a list of several state and regional chambers that support expansion.

That's largely because it's a good deal and not doing it is not just spiteful and mean but expensive. Last month, the NY Times an advocate for expansion in Tennessee who said that

some of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chains, including Hospital Corporation of America and Community Health Systems, have headquarters in Tennessee and have watched the amount they spend on uncompensated care drop this year in states that expanded Medicaid while it has risen in states like Tennessee. “When they run the numbers, it’s dramatic,” she said.
I hope it happens and keeps on happening.

January 07, 2015

Apropos of nothing...

...the following quote from G.K. Chesterton came to mind today:

 “It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”

SPEAKING OF JOKES, it looks like the WV Board of Education is going to dig itself in deeper after its rather embarrassing antics on climate change. Of course, you actually gain points for digging yourself in deeper on this issue here. It proves your loyalty to the ruling class and the great god coal, which is way more important than anything else.

OH GOOD.  On day one, congressional Republicans starting going after Social Security.

January 06, 2015

Three to get ready

Here's an interesting NY Times piece about how racial bias works, even when people aren't consciously aware of it.

While we're at it, it looks like WV's new Republican legislative majority wants to go after prevailing wages, i.e. lower wages for working West Virginians.  Here's a look at some of the misinformation behind that effort.

On the bright side, everything isn't bad in WV. Apparently, it's getting easier to catch 50 inch muskies in the state's rivers. Y'all can have my share of those.

January 05, 2015

What he said

The Gentle Reader may be aware that Republicans now comprise the majority in the West Virginia legislature for the first time since the elections of 1932. It looks like one of the top items on the agenda will be eliminating state prevailing wage rules, which will mean lowering pay for construction workers. 

In the comment section of a newspaper, a friend of mine had this to say about that.

This sounds like a great idea!
WV is the second poorest in the nation, second only to Mississippi.
If we can pass prevailing wage law in WV and lower salaries for construction workers who have such easy jobs anyway then maybe we can lower the average salary and be the #1 lowest wage state in the country.
After all, low wages for workers equals prosperity right?? I mean drive around WV. We work cheaper than any other state but MS. You see how many fine houses, new cars and beautiful towns we have!
Pass repeal of prevailing wage! Make us #1 for low wages and we'll all be living great!!
(Yes, that was irony.)

Let the race to the bottom begin. God knows we're already pretty close.