I’m writing for tomorrow and taking a relatively lazy day, after a hard day yesterday. The roast beef dinner turned out just right, and in addition to feeding less fortunate friends, I took a plate to the desk clerk, who had to work the holiday. Shortly, I shall be wrapping myself around some leftovers. On Friday, I hope to finish squaring this place away.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:39 (average 5:35). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From Think Progress: On Wednesday, nearly four years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the major provisions of the health law that serve to expand coverage to millions of Americans officially took effect. Insurers are no longer allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, or charge sick Americans higher prices than their healthier counterparts. And now, the Americans who have enrolled in new plans under Obamacare — either by picking a private plan on the state-level marketplaces, or by qualifying for Medicaid in the states that agreed to expand the program — may start using that coverage.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about six million people signed up for Obamacare’s coverage expansion so far. It’s not yet clear exactly how many of those people gained new insurance on January 1; some of them may not have paid their first premium yet, and ongoing technical problems with the state marketplaces may delay some people’s coverage from kicking in immediately.
Regardless of the official enrollment numbers, however, New Years Eve marked an important milestone for the health insurance industry. “It’s the last day a cancer patient can be told by their insurance company that cancer treatments aren’t covered and it’s the last day people can face limits on their coverage in the future,” White House adviser Phil Schiliro told MSNBC on Tuesday. “That’s just enormous.”
And some of people who woke up to new health insurance options on Wednesday aren’t wasting any time using their new plans.
At long last we will have truly positive examples with which to begin to counter four years of Republican lies.
From NY Times: Bill de Blasio, whose fiery populism propelled his rise from obscure neighborhood official to the 109th mayor of New York, was sworn into office on Wednesday, pledging that his ambition for a more humane and equal metropolis would remain undimmed.
In his inaugural address, Mayor de Blasio described social inequality as a “quiet crisis” on a par with the other urban cataclysms of the city’s last half-century, from fiscal collapse to crime waves to terrorist attacks, and said income disparity was a struggle no less urgent to confront.
“We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love,” he said to about 5,000 people at the ceremony, many beneath blankets on a numbingly cold day.
I wish de Blasio every success, and think he is the best thing to happen to NYC in a generation or more!
From US News: For the 1.3 million Americans who lost long-term unemployment benefits in December, there may be hope.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told The Associated Press he will bring legislation to extend long-term jobless benefits to the floor on Monday, the first day the Senate returns to work in the new year. The inaugural vote may signal the Democrats’ 2014 election strategy: to reduce economic disparity between the wealthy and poor.
This is a positive development, because it gives Republicans the choice of supporting it or exposing themselves in an election year. If it passes the Senate, it can then be used to put House Republicans on display.