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Social Justice Discussions For The 21st Century

Where America Gets Its Health Coverage


      You know how Trump frequently says, "Most people don't know this...", but da da da? Well, I recently discovered something I suspect most people don't know. In a meeting with the HR Department at my company, I learned that my company is self insured for health insurance. We pay an insurance company to administer our plan, but the cost and risk is born solely by the company. Not the insurance company. The HR manager told me that actually most large companies self insure for healthcare, as it takes the profit motive out of health insurance.

      This is exactly what a universal single payer system does. In fact, my HR manager said the difference between what most large corporations in USA do related to funding healthcare cost and what Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway are launching is that the latter is even taking over the administration function and completely cutting them middle man out of healthcare for their companies.

      Over forty-seven percent of Americans are currently covered by an employer based health care system, all of which are very similar to mini universal single payer plans. These employers pay on average 83% of the cost of health care for their employees. They in turn get to deduct the cost on their income tax returns, so the federal government, in essence kind of subsidizes these mini single payer health care plans.


      The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that in 2016, about 155 million people (or about 57 percent of the population under age 65) got health coverage through their job, or a family member’s job. That’s an awful lot of us.

      Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP covers 39.7% of Americans for health insurance. These programs are covered, of course, almost completely by taxpayers, albeit inadequately funded. Another 9% of Americans are covered by the ACA, which is highly subsidized by taxpayers.

      So when you combine self insured employer based plans that are subsidized by income tax deductions, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP which are funded by taxpayers, and the ACA which is funded by taxpayers, 90% of Americans are currently covered by some form of government subsidized health insurance.

      A universal single payer health care system would be way more efficient than the piecemeal single payer system we currently have. The only thing that prevents us from providing quality affordable health care for all Americans regardless of their level of income, is that republicans/conservatives promote that it would be socialism, which is bad, even though that is what we are currently doing, only in a grossly inefficient manner.

      Although the 10% with no coverage at all is the most at-risk group, even the 40% who are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the ACA are somewhat at risk because those programs are inadequately funded. The 47% who are covered by their employers are the most stable, but the problem there is that if they are laid off or retire before they are eligible for Medicare, they put themselves at risk.

      So WHY is universal single payer not the best way to provide health care coverage for Americans?


      Major sources of healthcare coverage in the U.S. ( )

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      Pundit Post

      It's Time For America To Embrace Guaranteed Income


          I've posted before about a guaranteed minimum income--an idea I'm mostly positive about, though with slight misgivings. Here's another take on it, from Chris Hughes, someone who'd be directly affected:


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              One of the most under-reported, and devastating crimes, is the sex trafficking of children. Girls and boys are stolen from their homes, put up for sale, and repeatedly abused and raped for profit.

              Often, this crime is reported as if it ONLY happens to girl children, and we know that is not only not a fact, but indeed is detrimental to the boys that are used and abused in this most shameful of crimes.

              Sex trafficking is not just a woman's issue - it is a human issue, and must be treated as such if we are to help children who are victims.

              "The International Labour Organization estimated in September that 40.3 million people were held in modern slavery on any given day in 2016. The ILO reported that 25 percent of those human trafficking victims were children."

              Power, control, and money rule sex trafficking - not the gender of the exploited kids.

              From USA Today

              As a child, Tom Jones was raped and sold for sexual exploitation. It wasn’t until he was 15 that the brutality ended.

              But, like many male victims of sex trafficking, he kept the pain inside, carrying his trauma for another 15 years before he opened up about his abuse and two suicide attempts.

              And it’s precisely because sex trafficking is seen as only a women’s issue that male victims find it hard to find help, let alone have someone believe their story. In an ECPAT-USA report, one interviewee noted that law enforcement tends to treat these cases with suspicion. While filing a trafficking report, an officer even asked “Why couldn’t he get away? He’s a boy.”

              USA Today reports that societal perceptions of sex trafficking fuel the stigma attached to male victims:

              “Boys hear that it only happens to girls,” Steven Procopio, clinical director of MaleSurvivor, a network of therapists and survivors, says. “This is seen as a gender-biased, gender-specific issue.”
              “Boys don’t fit the popular script of who is and isn’t a victim of trafficking. Liam Neeson didn’t bust through doors in the Taken movies to rescue his son. Journalists seldom write heartbreaking stories about 15-year-old boys sold on Backpage.
              The reluctance to speak up is understandable, but it carries damaging consequences. Victims feel even more isolated. Government agencies and nonprofits are reluctant to provide services for an invisible population. Police, teachers and others in regular contact with youth don’t receive training in how to identify and help male victims.

              Procopio and others also point to another bias — discrimination against gay males and transgender people — that prevent boys and transgender victims from being seen as victims who deserve help. “There’s a lot of homophobia. But this issue is not about sexual orientation,” Procopio says. “Trafficking is about power and control.”

              Anti-trafficking non-profit Polaris Project explains that gay and transgender youth are more at risk of being trafficked because family conflicts push many to run away from home. On the streets, runaway kids — no matter their gender or sexual orientation — are highly vulnerable to abuse.

              Tom Jones now works to help other men who are survivors of trafficking for sexual exploitation, but he says it hasn’t been easy. Many of the men are still reluctant to speak to counselors and most do not want to talk face to face. “They haven’t told even their families what they’ve been through,” Jones says.

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              Polish Jews Stunned, Scared By Eruption Of Anti-Semitism


                  'Amid Israeli criticism, a prominent Polish right-wing commentator used an offensive slur to refer to Jews. Rather than being punished, he was welcomed on TV programs, including a state television talk show where he and the host made anti-Jewish comments, including jokes about Jews and gas chambers.(One of the cremation pits used to burn the victims of the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau)

                  '"Each time you have an anti-Semitic wave, there are Jewish people who leave," Grynberg said. "It's not just a whim: It's about their fear. Jewish people know what can come after."'


                  'Matylda Jonas-Kowalik has spent most of her 22 years secure in the belief that she would never know the discrimination, persecution or violence that killed or traumatized generations of Polish Jews before her. She once thought the biggest problem that young Jewish Poles like herself faced was finding a Jewish boyfriend or girlfriend in a country dominated by Catholics.

                  'But an eruption of anti-Semitic comments in public debates amid a diplomatic dispute with Israel over a new Holocaust speech law has caused to her to rethink that certainty. Now she and others fear the hostile rhetoric could eventually trigger anti-Semitic violence, and she finds herself thinking constantly about whether she should leave Poland.

                  '"This is my home. I have never lived anywhere else and wanted this to keep being my home," said Jonas-Kowalik, a Jewish studies major at Warsaw University. "But this makes me very anxious. I don't know what to expect."

                  'Poland's Jewish community is the surviving remnant of a vibrant and diverse Polish- and Yiddish-speaking community that numbered 3.3 million on the eve of the Holocaust. Only 10 percent survived the German genocide, while postwar violence and persecution in the first decades of communist rule forced out many of the survivors.

                  'Since communism's collapse in 1989, Jewish life has been re-emerging, with young people feeling safe enough in Poland's democracy to embrace a heritage their parents and grandparents had largely repressed.

                  'Yet anxieties have been creeping in amid a global rise in xenophobia that was also felt in Poland.

                  'A conservative party, Law and Justice, won power in Poland vowing to restore national greatness while also stressing an anti-Muslim, anti-migrant message. Jews — whose presence in Poland goes back centuries — were increasingly the targets of verbal hate on social media.

                  'Matters escalated a few weeks ago when Israeli officials sharply criticized new Polish legislation that criminalizes blaming Poland as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. They accused Poland of seeking to use the law to whitewash the role of the Poles who helped Germans kill Jews during the war.

                  'Polish authorities deny that. They say they just want to protect Poland from being depicted as a collaborator of the Nazis when the country was Adolf Hitler's first victim and resisted the Nazis through nearly six years of war and occupation.

                  'Amid Israeli criticism, a prominent Polish right-wing commentator used an offensive slur to refer to Jews. Rather than being punished, he was welcomed on TV programs, including a state television talk show where he and the host made anti-Jewish comments, including jokes about Jews and gas chambers.'


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                  From Quora (Garrett Murphy--who I Don't Know)


                      From Quora, Garrett Murphy

                      In elementary school, I learned about a document written long ago by a very wise man. That document’s second sentence is one of the most stirring and important ever written:

                      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.[1]

                      Since then, there has been a considerable amount of work done to add footnotes to that sentence. “[A]ll men are created equal” has been significantly perverted. After “unalienable rights” should be the words “if affordable.”

                      Liberals want to remove these footnotes. It’s not even remotely socialism; it’s simply an attempt to remove oligarchic principles from our lives, very similar to what happened in 1776.

                      I’m not sure if you, dear reader, have ever known somebody caught in the hell of a significently bad health event, but I have, and I’ve witnessed people actually debating what’s more important, spending every dime they have and going into massive debt to live a few more years, or dying and saving the family hundreds of thousands of dollars.

                      I realize such scenarios didn’t exist in 1776, but the concepts of “life” and “happiness” are still the same. Our forefathers, many of whom gave their lives to uphold the ideals scribbled upon that parchment, felt very strongly that you have a right to live. It’s the one thing we’re all given upon drawing that first breath…why on earth should our very existence be given preferential treatment based on the amount of money we have?

                      In my eyes, a moderate, the government should be capable, and, in fact, required to provide those absolute bare-minimum items. We already have mechanisms in place to ensure liberty…why not life?

                      We should all have access to water. Not Evian, not Perrier, but dammit, shouldn’t people in Flint, MI be able to get water without worrying about birth defects?

                      We should all have access to food. Not Ramsey’s BLT Steak, not crab legs, but dammit, shouldn’t people have access to a decent, free bowl of soup if they need it?

                      We should all have access to health care. Not breast implants or Viagra, but dammit, shouldn’t people be able to get chemotherapy if they have cancer? Or schizophrenia medication?

                      I’m not saying that we should make everybody in our country happy…the document says “the pursuit”…but people can’t pursue happiness when starving, or raving in an alleyway, or dying.

                      If that makes me a socialist…damn, dude, I’ll wear that badge proudly.


                      [1] The Declaration of Independence


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                      Opinion | Revisiting Jefferson’s History As A Slave Owner


                          Some folks, thinking about human slavery only superficially, mistakenly think that the worst thing about slavery was the few sadistic, malicious "owners" who might do something like beat a slave unjustly. This essay will bring home, if you don't already know it, the essential, inevitable, vicious cruelty and immorality of this institution:


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                          Wall Of Shame For Those Bought And Paid For By The NRA

                              After such horrific gun violence, how can our GOP-run congress remain so cruelly indifferent to our grief and outrage? The NRA has a lot to do with it.
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