Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Themes: Happy Birthday Mr. President

President Obama turns 50 today. He celebrated at a fundraiser in Chicago with his home-town crowd. As for the rest of us, "let them eat cake." Oh, yeah. That was Marie Antoinette. Well, whatever. Here's the news:

Members of Congress are jockeying for position on the new super-committee that will negotiate (or try to) the next phase of debt reduction. There are members of Congress who don't want this "honor" considering that it's likely to be a thankless task. It's unlikely that either party will nominate people who are inclined to compromise. Indeed, the Republicans have vowed not to appoint anybody who would even consider revenue raisers like ending tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations. I expect this committee to get pretty much nowhere. And then the trigger cuts in and decimates domestic programs, including many key aspects of health reform. Although some think the trigger would be better for health programs than the super-committee would. And will the super-committee meet in public? Some GOPers think it should, as do I. What's really amazing about how all of this is playing out is that the GOP has held us all hostage for their positions on the economy while President Obama takes the blame for the results.

Meanwhile, expect your August to be full of the Tea Party at town halls pushing the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it. Really?

Rates continue to drop for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. You still have to go without insurance for 6 months in order to qualify, though.

States are stepping up their scrutiny of health insurance premium rates. About time.

The American Psychological Association has unanimously voted in favor of marriage equality. They cite recent research that shows that gays want stable home and family lives, and that anti-marriage equality campaigns are a great source of stress in LGTB households.

HIV rates continue at even levels despite advances in treatment. It's still concentrated in gay men, and is growing among Black gay men.

A new AARP study found that there's a huge burden on families to cover the long-term care needs of the elderly.

And that's today's news. Have a GREAT day! Jennifer

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