This Thing is Working


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A Slew Of Good Health Care News Has Conservatives On Their Heels

The evidence continues to pile up that the Affordable Care Act is doing exactly what progressives said it would: providing the peace of mind of high-quality and affordable health coverage to millions of Americans. Despite the initial bumps, the law is actually exceeding expectations when it comes to enrollment. What’s more, Americans are sick of Republicans who have voted over 50 times to repeal the law without even offering an alternative — the law is working better than expected and it is here to stay.

19 Million Americans Covered

With President Obama’s final announcement of enrollment numbers on Thursday, the tally for the total number of Americans getting coverage (so far!) thanks to the Affordable Care Act is in:

  • 8 million people have signed up for health coverage through the state and federal marketplaces.
  • 3 million more have signed up for coverage through Medicaid.
  • 3 million now have coverage by staying on their parents’ plan.
  • 5 million people have signed up for ACA-compliant plans outside the marketplace.

Altogether, a new Gallup survey reveals that 4 percent of all Americans are newly ensured this year.

Exchanges Working And Costs Down

Opponents of the law claimed that insufficient numbers of young and healthy people would enroll in the exchanges, causing premiums to skyrocket next year. These fears also aren’t panning out; in fact, just the opposite is happening.

For one, young people are signing up for health coverage under the law in droves. The White House reported that 28% of enrollees are between the ages of 18 and 35. That’s the same percentage as in Massachusetts, which has run a successful healthcare marketplace since 2007. Gallup echoes this point, writing that “the newly insured are, on average, much younger than the overall population.”

Additionally, worries about dramatic cost increases have also proven to be overblown. New Congressional Budget Office projections for 2016 insurance premiums are 15 percent lower than previous estimates, a reduction that they estimate to save $186 billion (not to say we called it, but…we called it).

The mix of massive enrollment and a young, healthy enrollment pool has insurers who “got their first taste of Obamacare this year [wanting] seconds,” according to Politico. In at least ten states, insurers that didn’t offer coverage through the exchanges this year have said they plan to in 2015. This creates more options for consumers, and signals the strength of the ACA marketplaces.

Conservatives On Defense

As millions of people experience real, and not just theoretical, benefits of the law, Americans are getting more and more tired of the political battles to repeal it. A recent Kaiser survey found that 59 percent of Americans want keep the law in place or improve it, while only 29 percent want get rid of it. Pew reports that even a “majority of ACA opponents – representing 30% of the public overall – want politicians to do what they can to make the law work as well as possible, compared with 19% of the public that wants elected officials to do what they can to make it fail.”

And constituents are showing their frustration with their conservative elected officials’ fixation on repeal. Without any alternative to point to, and an increasingly frustrated public, these politicians have nobody to blame but themselves.

Think Progress videotaped on one such interaction at a town hall for GOP Rep. Dennis Ross (FL):

Constituent: Why do you think it is so good to deny seniors on Part D to make them pay more, about $4,000 more for medicine, and people with pre-existing conditions get denied insurance, have 26-year-olds have a harder time getting insurance because they can’t get on their parents’? Why do you think those are good ideas?

ROSS: I don’t. I think one of the most unfortunate things my party did the last three years was not offer an alternative to health care.

Ross isn’t the only Republican to face criticism recently. Paul Ryan, Scott Brown, and Chris Christie have also had constituents tell them to end their focus on repeal. Meanwhile, states that have refused to expand health care to low-income residents are also starting to face the music: the uninsured rate is dropping three times faster in states that have expanded Medicaid compared to those that have not.

BOTTOM LINE: We think just a look at a few of this week’s health-care related headlines provides the best summary: the ACA is working.

New York Times: Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target for Health Care Act

New Republic: Obamacare Signups Hit 8 Million And both Young And Old Are On Board

National Journal: Obamacare Is On A Winning Streak

Politico: Insurers see brighter Obamacare skies

Washington Post: States embracing Obamacare are doing a better job of covering the uninsured, surveys show

Gallup: Uninsured Rate Drops More in States Embracing Health Law

April 25 is World Malaria Day


Compete to Beat Malaria Header with credit

Are you enjoying March Madness or is your bracket busted like mine? Perhaps you’ve moved on and are looking forward to the Masters Tournament or this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.If you have sports on your mind – or even if you don’t – I have a challenge just for you. Get active this April:Compete to Beat Malaria! April 25 is World Malaria Day, so the entire month of April our supporters across the country are taking sports challenges to help us send 25,000 bed nets to families in Africa.

Compete to Beat Malaria button

 

The United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign has sports in its DNA. Since 2006, hundreds upon hundreds of supporters have leveraged their passions for sports to raise money and send nets while doing what they love.

  • You’ve probably heard about Jordan Freer, who was the youngest girl to swim across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz. She raised enough money to send 300 bed nets to Africa.
  • You may have heard how the Loomis Chaffee varsity soccer team turned their huge rivalry game into a charity event for Nothing But Nets.
  • And did you know that for every three-pointer basketball star Stephen Curry makes during the season, he donates three bed nets to families in need?

Everyone can take a sports challenge with Nothing But Nets. Whether you run, swim, or play basketball, you can help raise critical funds and save lives. No sports challenge is too big or small and we have the tools you need to get started.  Every $10 you raise helps us purchase and distribute life-saving bed nets with our UN partners.

And if sports aren’t your thing, there are tons of other ways to get involved! Take action this month and help us send 25,000 nets to protect families in Africa from malaria.

Together, we can defeat malaria. Get active this April and make World Malaria Day the most exciting yet!

Thanks,
Chris Helfrich
Director, Nothing But Nets

P.S. – Need more inspiration? There are lots of ways to Compete to Beat Malaria while doing what you love most.

My family is in prison in the Middle East


My sister Grace and her husband Matt are in prison in Qatar because they were accused of trafficking their adopted children. Sign my petition asking for US officials to pressure the Qatari government to release them immediately.

In 2012, my sister Grace and her husband Matt moved to Qatar with their three children. What started as an exciting opportunity for Matt’s work has turned into a nightmare. My niece, Gloria, died suddenly last year, and Matt and Grace were completely devastated — as any parents would be.

But then things got much worse. The Qatari government decided that since Matt and Grace’s adopted kids are African and have special needs, Matt and Grace must have adopted them to harvest their organs or do medical experiments. So they took the kids away and threw Matt and Grace in jail.

It is ridiculous and insulting that the Qatari government would assume that Matt and Grace couldn’t be dedicated, loving parents just because their children are adopted. Our family is now caring for Matt and Grace’s other two kids while Matt and Grace are stuck in Qatar sentenced to three years in prison. Their trial was just a show that didn’t even include a conviction. Just a sentence.

I started a petition on Change.org calling on US officials to pressure the Qatari government to release Matt and Grace. Please click here to sign my petition and help me get my sister and brother-in-law home to be with their children.

Matt and Grace are two of the most amazing people I know. When they were adopting their kids, they specifically requested high needs children because they wanted to become parents to the kids who needed parents the most. The fact that the Qatari government could see something sinister in that absolutely turns my stomach.

I take solace in the fact that Qatar is vulnerable to international pressure right now, especially since they’re hosting an upcoming World Cup. US pressure has also been very successful in helping American prisoners get released in the past — I know one man got to come home from being unjustly held Nicaraguan prison after his family started a petition just like this one.

It absolutely kills me that when my nephews ask me when Mommy and Daddy are coming home, there’s nothing I can tell them except “I don’t know.” But I hope they’ll come home soon, because their kids miss them so much. I miss them so much. We need them to come home.

Please sign my petition calling on US officials to pressure the Qatari government to let Matt and Grace Huang come home.

Thank you,

Joanne Chin
Los Angeles, CA

Harrison Ford takes on the Snacks ~~ with Palm Oil


Watch Years of Living Dangerously for FREE right now!
Orangutans

Ran

Have you seen the press around Years of Living Dangerously yet? We’re amazed by what’s happening over at Showtime right now and we think you will be too. Not since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth has this much time, talent and money been put into bringing the dramatic reality of climate change into the mainstream.

We’re at a tipping point in our historic effort to end the devastating effects of Conflict Palm Oil on people and the planet, and this kind of primetime, star-studded exposure on the issue has the potential to become a catalyst for major change. But that can only happen if enough people share this gripping program with everyone they know.

To achieve the huge changes we seek, we need to spread the word beyond the choir who already know climate change is the defining crisis of our time, and this new series provides us with a great tool to do just that.

During filming, I walked with Harrison Ford down the snack food aisle of a local grocery store explaining how Conflict Palm Oil is destroying Indonesia’s forests. It was a truly memorable moment in my work as a forest advocate.

Now, I’m thrilled to share this link with you where you can watch our conversation in the premiere episode of ShowTime’s groundbreaking new series on climate change, Years of Living Dangerously—for free—a week before it will air on cable TV next Sunday, April 13th.

The forest team at Rainforest Action Network has been working closely with the show’s producers for many months and we are confident that it has the potential to be the most important, highest profile story on climate change in a generation. This hard-hitting 9-part series – vetted by a team of respected climate scientists—brings together some of the biggest names in Hollywood and investigative journalism to dramatically tell the biggest story of our time to a larger audience than ever before.

Check it out yourself, then make sure every person you know who is on the fence about climate change gets a chance to see this.

The first two episodes, called “The Last Stand, Part 1 and 2,” include the story of how Conflict Palm Oil is wreaking havoc on Indonesia’s lush rainforests while spewing immense amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And crucially, the story brings the issue home by showing how each of us are connected to this growing crisis and how the actions we take to change corporate behavior can make a real difference.

There could not be a more urgent time for as many people as possible to see this unflinching program and hear the compelling message it contains— help us get this message out to everyone by sharing this video with your friends and family.

 

For the forests,

Lafcadio Cortesi
Forest Program Asia Director

West Africa’s Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine


HumanSinShadow.wordpress.com

W est Africa’s Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine
by Staff Writers
Bouake, Ivory Coast (AFP) April 20, 2014

 

 

West Africa’s first outbreak of Ebola fever is bad news for gourmets in Ivory Coast, but brings respite from the hunter to species sought out for tasty meat but feared to carry the disease.

Late in March, Health Minister Raymonde Goudou Coffie called for her compatriots to stop eating porcupines and agoutis, which look like large river-rats, “until we can be sure there are no risks”.

Bushmeat is known to be a vector of Ebola, the alarming haemorrhagic fever that has claimed at least 122 lives in Guinea, according to a UN World Health Organisation toll on April 17. Liberia, meanwhile, reports 13 deaths.

Hunters and restaurant owners in the central Ivorian town of Bouake are upset that clients have begun to steer clear of the strong taste of…

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