July 28, 2014

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Bill Beard
Obamacare as a political tool PDF Print E-mail

On May 9, I wrote that President Obama showed more interest in domestic policy than foreign affairs. That his hallmark and legacy depended upon “his domestic revolution to create a permanent progressive majority based on an entitlement based economy beholden to him and his successors. He has placed all his eggs in the basket of the Democratic Party becoming the perpetual landing site for immigrants, minorities, women, young people, and older Americans dependent on Social Security and Medicare. I waver about including Medicaid recipients in the permanent Democratic majority stew – hesitant because statistics show they are less likely to trudge to the polls and vote.” I no longer waver. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, is a not so subtle attempt to add this increased constituency to the pot.

 
Is Obamacare the Answer? PDF Print E-mail

As of October 12, the Republican-controlled House has voted 46 times to repeal, defund or dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare), which President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010. Since that date, the House has spent 15 percent of its time on the floor waging war against it. Supporters call it a good start that can be amended later as necessary. Republicans in both houses of Congress continue their unrelenting opposition through legislative tactics aimed to delay or prevent the ACA from being applied, funded, or even revised. However, according to Arnold Relman, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, President Obama may have fatally compromised his so-called legacy legislation by the deals he cut with the “private insurance, hospital, and pharmaceutical industries to get their support, particularly the sacrifice of a ‘public option’ – insurance the government would sell if private companies refused or their plans were seen as excessively expensive. They (liberal critics of ACA) believe it will ultimately fail because it does not basically change our dysfunctional system. It expands and improves private insurance coverage, but provides no effective controls of rising costs and no significant change in the way medical care is delivered. Many of the critics think we need major reform that replaces private insurance and employment-based coverage with a publicly funded single-payer system.”

 
“Making a Home in a Company Town” PDF Print E-mail

At MacMurray College on October 2, Dr. Faranak Miraftab, professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, discussed her new book, to be published next year, about Cargill’s impact on Beardstown. She talked about the economic impact of the company, employing approximately 2,500 workers, via wages, property taxes, new and sustained businesses and increased real estate sales and values. But her central focus concerned the labor force: How “a multinational corporation recruited Hispanic and African workers to a Midwestern rural town that was previously all-white. How do local and global, transnational and trans-local practices and processes shape the global mobility of a migrant labor force?”

 
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