With Few Watching, Republicans Have Put in Place New Poll Tax to Disenfranchise Voters

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Preventing people from voting because they owe legal fees or court fines muzzle low-income Americans at a time in our nation’s history when the rich have more political power than ever.

More from Robert Reich at Common Dreams

Posted by Libergirl

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Senator McCain: “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal”

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Image: Quartz

 

Once again, senator John McCain is thwarting the Republican party’s effort to repeal Obamacare. A new proposal was advanced this week by senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. While the bill hasn’t yet been analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), preliminary studies estimate that it would cause 21 million Americans to lose insurance, and would cut funding (paywall) for 34 states. The bill would also allow insurers to hike premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, despite its sponsors’ repeated claims that it wouldn’t.

via Senator McCain: “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal” — Quartz

Posted by Libergirl

Yep, Medicaid expansion is working, where it’s allowed

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors carry signs as they demonstrate against proposed cuts to Medical and Medicare outside San Francisco city hall on September 21, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of disabled people staged a protest aga

Image: Daily Kos

It’s not a big secret that Obamacare is working to reduce the uninsured in the states that fully embraced the law, particularly those that expanded Medicaid. That’s still true, according to two new studies which show that low-income patients have better access to care and hospitals are doing better financially in those states.

Fewer low-income residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, two poor states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, reported problems paying medical bills after the coverage expansions, especially compared with residents of Texas, which has rejected the health law.

More from The Daily Kos

Posted by Libergirl

17 States Where You’re More Likely To Die From Guns Than Car Crashes

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Image: Alternet

In one-third of America, you are more likely to be killed by a gun than in a car crash, a new Violence Policy Center (VPC) analysis has found.

“Firearm-related fatalities exceeded motor vehicle fatalities in 17 states and the District of Columbia in 2013,” VPC’s report said, citing the most recent federal data. “That year, gun deaths (including gun suicide, homicide, and fatal unintentional shootings) outpaced motor vehicle deaths in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.”

In those 17 states, there were 12,730 gun deaths, compared to 11,256 car-related fatalities. The states with the most gun deaths were Alaska, Louisiana, Wyoming, Tennessee and Missouri, where the death rate was 50 percent higher—or more—than the national average of 10.64 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

More from Alternet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

Justices decide gay marriage by not deciding

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The Supreme Court faced one of the biggest issues in its history Monday and turned its back.

Rather than decide the issue of same-sex marriage, as virtually everyone involved in the debate expected, the justices simply let stand lower-court rulings striking down bans in five states. Within hours, marriages were set to take place.

Image: AP

And the justices knew their decision to stay out of the grand national debate would have further repercussions: Within days or weeks, gay marriage could be legal in 30 states representing 60% of the U.S. population. Nine more states in the Midwest and West could be added very soon if appeals courts there join the juggernaut.

More including video from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl

Supreme Court: States Can Ban Affirmative Action Policies

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Posted by Libergirl

TIME

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states can ban affirmative action policies without violating the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling, in a 6-2 decision, upholds a voter-approved amendment to Michigan’s state constitution that prohibits race-based college admissions decisions, effectively banning affirmative action in the state. The Supreme Court reversed a lower court opinion that the ban was discriminatory. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined for a dissenting decision. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.

Seven other states—Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington—have similar bans, and the ruling paves the way for others to vote.

The ruling follows a long-term trend of eroding support in the courts for affirmative action policies across the country, echoing a statement from former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor following a high court ruling in 2003 that upheld the constitutionality of colleges considering race as a factor in college admissions. O’Connor said that…

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Report: US prisons hold 10 times more mentally ill people than state hospitals

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Image: Forbes

More than 356,000 people with mental illnesses are incarcerated in the United States, as opposed to around 35,000 receiving treatment in state hospitals, a new study found, highlighting the dire state of the nation’s mental health care system.

The lead author of the report, conducted by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association, said the ten-to-one ratio of patients in prison versus those receiving qualified care is on par with the US mental health system of the 1830s.

“We’ve basically gone back to where we were 170 years ago,” Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, told Kaiser Health News. “We are doing an abysmal job of treating people with serious mental illnesses in this country. It is both inhumane and shocking the way we have dumped them into the state prisons and the local jails.”

The report found 44 states and the District of Columbia have at least one jail that holds more people coping with a mental illness than the largest state psychiatric hospital in the US does.

As states have drastically cut funding for mental health services in the last several years, the number of available beds in psychiatric hospitals has plunged to the lowest level since 1850.

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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