President Obama offered to pay for Vice President Biden’s son’s cancer treatment after finding out Biden was considering selling his house to pay for it. That’s really kind but… holy shit. If the *Vice President* has to *sell his house* to pay for healthcare, what chance do regular Americans have? How is anyone still alive in that country?? Australia, do not do anything to creep in the direction of America’s healthcare system. Keep Medicare free. Including frikking pap smears.

Americans pay way, way, way more for health care than anyone else

If the health-care system were to break off from the United States and become its own economy, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world. “It would be bigger than the United Kingdom or France and only behind the United States, China, Japan, and Germany,” says David Blumenthal, executive director of the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund.

(read the full post »here)

It’s unbelievable to me how expensive top surgeries are… Which is why it’s also such a shame that there are so many guys who aren’t lucky enough to have money or good insurance and may never even see the procedure. I can’t imagine the struggle…I see it all the time in Jordan, it kills me…. Thankfully with this Medicare ban lifted it should be possible for him to get his surgery.. I can only hope that others will one day be able to see the dream.

The reality for someone in my situation is that retirement usually isn’t an option. You work until you die, literally. A friend of mine is a perfect example. It’s almost creepy the similarities in our life. Both of us had a spinal cord injury at 16. Both of us were injured wrestling. Both of us are policy analysts. He’s a really good guy. He’s 63 years old. He started working for the state many years ago. Yet because of the odd rules around Medicaid eligibility and the differential treatment of earned and unearned income, he literally cannot retire. He knows he has to work until he’s dead or until some rules change. As soon as he starts to draw unearned income (retirement), he’s not going to be eligible for health-care programs or he’ll have to spend down to essentially $710 a month. He could no longer afford his house. He could no longer afford even the taxes on the house.

You work until you die:’ Inside America’s fragmented safety net for the disabled

This interview with Joe Entwisle (@wheelieboy) is great. It’s a personal interview, but it’s incredibly informative about Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, SSDI, and other US government assistance for people with disabilities (including changes under Obamacare, attempts at other changes in the past, and hopes for future changes).
Breaking News: Medicare can no longer deny coverage of transition-related care for transgender individuals

BREAKING NEWS: Today, an independent review panel in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruled that Medicare cannot categorically exclude treatment for gender dysphoria, including transition-related care. This decision eliminates the nationwide rule that transition-related surgeries cannot be covered by Medicare. Learn more here:

What is “Neoliberalism”?

Neoliberalism is the ideology that government should be small and business should be big. That is, governments should leave healthcare, education and all other services to the private sector because they’re much more efficient. 

The problem with neoliberalism? It doesn’t work. Neolibs, to fulfil their vision, cut government services (Medicare, pensions, women’s shelters etc harming the poor and vulnerable), deregulate business (loosen environmental/worker/customer protections) and privatise government assets (which gets the government $ in the short-term but we know loses $ long-term. We’d be ultimately richer if those assets - eg. water suppliers, energy suppliers - stayed government-owned).

The United States embrace neoliberalism more than anyone for over 30 years. It’s why their healthcare is in shambles, their government is owned by Big Business interests, why inequality has increased, the middle-class has shrunk, why uni student debts are bonkers and more.

Neoliberalism is at the root of so much bad stuff - the GFC, Brexit, Trump’s rise, government corruption, climate inaction - we need to talk about it more.

You know, I’m sure there are people reading this and saying to themselves, “What do you mean, ban on funding trans healthcare? There was a ban?”

Yes, there was a ban. In 1980, based upon the information presented by one woman, Janice Raymond, author of the recently published at that time anti-trans screed, “The Transsexual Empire”, the National Center for Healthcare Technology blocked all funding for transition-related surgeries, which caused a cascading effect throughout the healthcare and health insurance industries, until no transition-related care whatsoever would be covered.

Think about that. Based on the known-biased opinion of one person, the federal government changed course, cutting off millions of trans people for accessing life-saving healthcare for the next 34 years. And you probably didn’t even know about it.

Where would the acceptance of trans women be today in 2014, if for the past 34 years, we had been able to access the the care we needed? Where would medical technology have progressed? How many trans people would not have committed suicide? We know that trans people attempt suicide at a rate over 25 times that of the general population. And those are only the ones we can count because they didn’t succeed. How many trans women would not have been murdered?

Today, we finally saw that ban rescinded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the descendent of the NCHCT, at least in part, but it is the removal of that blanket ban which is the crack which will ultimately cause the dykes to burst under the pressure of the tide of conscience.

Today, the arc of history at long last bent toward justice for all women, not just some. Beginning today, we will speak not of justice delayed, not of justice denied, but of justice fulfilled, of justice upheld.

I can not even begin to express my thanks that Janice Raymond lived to see this day, so that one day, she will go to her grave knowing that despite her best efforts to destroy us, in the end she lost. Upon her soul lie the countless numbers of women whose lives she could have saved, but instead extinguished, in the name of feminism.

A new day has dawned in America. We have moved that much closer to the promise of freedom for all that was made to us 238 years ago, and again 149 years ago, and again 50 years ago. The tide has turned, and now we can truly say that the day will soon come when all trans women, all trans people, will receive the care they need in the moment when the need is discovered, to the best of our abilities.

—  Gemma Seymour, 31 May 2014