World AIDS Day …

World AIDS Day - Click to learn more

December 3, 2016 Update

Since posting this, I’ve had people tell me they still have difficulty understanding all the issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Yes, we know that the provisions of the Affordable Care Act have resulted in an estimated 20 million people gaining health insurance coverage between the passage of the law in 2010 and early 2016, including about 6.1 million uninsured young adults ages 19 to 25.

This is an historic reduction in the level of the uninsured. And yet if Obamacare has done so much good, why it is so controversial and unpopular; and what are the real issues surrounding it?

This morning an interview with Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel was published by the online magazine Salon. It’s the best single explanation of everything you need to know about Obamacare and I would strongly encourage you to read it by following this link.

Original December 1, 2016 Post

Today is World AIDS Day. That would certainly be an appropriate occasion to write about under any circumstance, but it’s especially true for those of us who’ve been reading the story I’ve been posting for many months now.

This is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV, for mourning those who have died of the disease, and for encouraging, supporting and helping those living with it.

Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world have been observing this day since December 1, 1988, often through efforts to raise public awareness about AIDS prevention and control.

In that spirit I would like to call attention to the important role the Affordable Care Act plays in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the United States.

I do so today because I may not be able to do this a year from now if Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump follow through on their pledge to kill off what has come to be known as Obamacare.

Won’t be affected if that happens? Don’t think it matters very much?

Think again!

Here are a few of the many ways the Affordable Care Act plays a role in fighting HIV and AIDS. If you’d like to learn more, you can click on that image below or follow this link.

Click on this image to learn more ...

The truth is, if you’re gay or know someone who is and care, you have a stake in what happens to Obamacare in the months ahead. Without guaranteed access to health insurance regardless of any preexisting condition, who will insure those with HIV and AIDS?

Without the Obamacare exchanges and subsidies, who will be able to afford to buy coverage privately? How will those who benefited from Medicaid expansion, including many with HIV and AIDS, fare if that is undone?

I’m not trying to tell you the Affordable Care Act is perfect. Like every great piece of legislation ever put in place, including the Social Security Act and Medicare, it needs fixes and could be made better.

But that assumes a world where human beings actually care about one another; where people come before profits and political posturing.

Sadly, that’s not the world we live in today. Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Republicans more generally, self-proclaimed disciples of Ronald Reagan, another Republican known as a great friend of those with HIV and AIDS, have been demonizing Obamacare for years and soon enough they’ll have the opportunity to kill it off once and for all.

Oh, sure, they’ve talked about repeal and replace at times. But up until now the focus has been almost entirely on repealing Obamacare, not fixing it or putting something better in place. We’ll find out soon enough whether Trump and the Republicans are serious about helping more Americans gain access to health care and health insurance that’s actually affordable.

Don’t hold your breath waiting, however. As opposed to military spending and tax cuts that benefit the rich and powerful, Republicans have never liked spending money on health and now their fondest dreams are about to be realized unless people stand up and say no.

In any decent society universal access to quality healthcare would be a right, not a political issue. But we live in the United States and we’re told America is an exceptional nation.

Let’s see just how exceptional we are when it comes to caring for our fellow citizens, including those living with HIV and AIDS who benefit greatly from legislation now in danger of being tossed on the scrapheap of history.

In any event, as our story comes to its conclusion in the weeks ahead, it will be interesting to contrast how Jimmy, Jeff and the rest of our characters compare to those who claim to be our leaders when it comes to caring about people.

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2 thoughts on “World AIDS Day …

  1. You should have pointed out that intravenous drug users count for some of the cases and gays are over represented in the drug culture. In Canada 13%, Vancouver 19% and the province of Saskatchewan 79% of new AIDS cases are the result of intravenous drug use.

    Check out this site:
    http://www.catie.ca/fact-sheets/epidemiology/injection-drug-use-and-hiv-canada

    I know the stats are not U.S. but I doubt that the finding are much different across that little line.

    Vancouver has a large gay community along with probably one of the nations highest drug problems and opened North Americas first legal Safe Injection Site in 2003. This site is responsible for helping to reduce new cases of AIDS in the drug community and with getting some to quit.
    http://www.vch.ca/your-health/health-topics/supervised-injection/supervised-injection

    Kids like Leo if not removed from the street life within a short period of arriving have a high incidence of getting into the drug culture and often end up injecting. So for the Leo’s they are facing a bleak future if M2M sex does not get him drug use will if not pulled off the streets by caring people such as Mark and Jeff providing the two of them a place to live school for Leo and a descent job for Mark.

    Unfortunately AIDS to many people is still considered a gay and drug related disease and gets little funding. An example of this is for the swine flu epidemic which killed 57 people in B.C. the province allotted $80 million. The fentanyl drug problem which has killed 622 people to date in 2016, B.C. has allotted $5.8 million. I know comparing drug problems to a disease is not the same but what it does point out the disparities in funding. Drugs and queers are not important to many people till it hits their families.

    1. This is very interesting stuff, James, so thank you for sharing it. But it comes from a country where people have access to health care.

      Many in the States do not although the number has been dropping steadily in recent years thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). But repeal Obamacare and the numbers are certain to start rising again as health insurance and access to health care become something only the rich or those fortunate enough to have employers who offer health insurance can afford.

      I can’t overstate how fundamentally different Canada and the United States are when it comes to having access to health care. And, like I said, the differences will only accentuate if Republicans do what they want and repeal Obamacare (perhaps with a replacement to come in some distant future that never actually arrives).

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