Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Wonkblog" Kicks Ass

Peggy Noonan attacks Obamacare for doing what Peggy Noonan wants Obamacare to do
Ezra Klein, The Washington Post - August 20, 2013

This is an outstanding article that almost entirely clears up the apparent issue I wrote about a few days ago, about how Obamacare may or may not affect parents being paid to provide home care to their sons or daughters with disabilities. In short, the problem originally cited turns out not to be a problem at all, and it's possible that anxiety about the confusion was whipped up on purpose to discredit the Affordable Care Act itself.

Obamacare will extend good coverage of home care to many more people, in states where it is now absent or minimally offered. It will allow family to be paid care providers. At the same time it will require a non-family member to oversee design of the care plan, thereby at least partially solving the potential conflict of interest problem, as well as providing possible troubleshooting should family care take a sour turn.

I can't emphasize strongly enough that anyone interested in how the Affordable Care Act develops should read The Washington Post "Wonkblog" daily. They are providing in-depth, dispassionate, and very readable analysis of every aspect of the law, every step of the way. It's an essential resource.


P.S.: If you want to know how some piece of health care policy will affect people with disabilities, check to see what ADAPT thinks. They know their stuff, and when it comes to partisan politics, they are entirely agnostic ... or to put it more crudely, they don't give two shits about Democrats or Republicans.

That Nasty Letter ...

As suggested by one of my Facebook friends, I'm not going to post a picture of the nasty letter from "one pissed off mother", aimed at parents of a child with autism who lives in her neighborhood. I will link to it, however, so you can read it if you want. Be warned: the letter isn't just insensitive, it is filled with hate and rage, and includes eliminationist language.

Ordinarily, I don't get into news stories and social media memes in which everyone piles tons of fairly obvious scorn upon specific individuals who are especially ignorant or depraved. I'm more of a systems advocacy kind of person, and hating on even very hateful individuals, I think, tends to divert energy away from dealing with institutional problems.

That said, I do think that this is an exceptional case. The letter clearly and specifically progresses from the writer's personal annoyance, directly to some very disturbing life and death ideologies. It's considered bad form to invoke Hitler in a debate, but in this case, the Nazi comparison is quite apt.

I'm not genuinely afraid that this signals some fundamental societal shift in that direction. But it does put the lie to a pretty common fallacy among some of us in the disability community, myself included … that ableism is mostly benign ignorance, and that people don't really "hate" us. "Pissed off mother's" letter is a useful reminder that not too far underneath our veneer of enlightened progressivism, there's still a lizard brain that is disgusted by and afraid of "others". And people who look funny, move funny, act funny, and sound funny are definitely "others."

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the veneer, and I think lots of people don't react negatively at all to people with disabilities, even down in their lizard brains. But we'd be fools to think that a mere 50 or so years of relatively enlightened behavior and policy have entirely undone the impulses that led to forced sterilization, warehousing, freak shows, and the Nazi T4 program.

Midweek Musical Interlude

I'm listening to the new Superchunk album, "I Hate Music", so I figured it would be a good time to post their fantastic cover of The Cure's "In Between Days".