Fueling The Bern

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A member of the Webner family who is feeling the Bern went to Sanders HQ here in Columbus to do some campaign work today and snapped a few photos.  Sanders campaign volunteers were busily working the phones, canvasing the city, and generally doing what is necessary for a presidential campaign to do on a primary election day.

Turnout is reported to be good in Columbus.  One concern for Democrats is that lifelong Ds may have decided to vote in the Republican primary to cast a vote against Donald Trump.  (I know at least one person who falls into that category.)  If that kind of backlash vote is happening, what might it mean for the Ohio Democratic primary results?  I don’t know for sure, obviously, but I wonder:  who is more likely to not vote for their candidate and vote against Trump — Clinton voters, who don’t seem terribly enthusiastic about their candidate to begin with, or those fired-up, true believer Sanders backers?

Right now, it feels like it’s anybody’s ballgame.

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Civic Duty, Done

  
I got to our Schiller Park voting place early this morning, shortly after the polls opened at 6:30.  Turnout looked high among the pre-work voting crowd, with long lines curling out the door for many parts of the alphabet.  I cast my ballot for Governor Kasich and proudly donned my voting sticker.  No exit pollsters asked how I exercised my franchise.

Now, we wait.  C’mon, fellow Ohioans — make your voice heard!

Meanwhile, Back At The Issues . . . .

While our easily distracted nation has been preoccupied with political horse races, insults on debate stages, and brawling at campaign rallies, some of the real issues facing the country plod on.  It’s just that no one is paying any attention to them.

Consider the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare.  It’s been up and operational for several years now.  So, how is it doing?

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this photo illustrationIt turns out that Obamacare is facing a number of challenges and is in what a recent Washington Post editorial describes as “an awkward place.”  The problem is that although people are still enrolling, they’re not doing so at the rates that were forecast when the new law’s financial viability was evaluated.  If there are fewer enrollments than were estimated, or the mix of new enrollees doesn’t include as many young and healthy people as was originally projected, then the Affordable Care Act could produce substantial premium price increases rather than what the statute’s name promises.

Another aspect of this complicated law is whether it is offering good insurance choices for people.  The Investor’s Business Daily recently published an article that focused on how the Affordable Care Act is working in Mississippi, which is one of the underinsured places that were a focus of the statute in the first place.  The IBD article found that enrollments of uninsured people in Mississippi were disappointing — just 38% of those eligible for subsidies — that the premium costs for the cheapest “bronze” plans are spiking, and that the increased expense may cause some people to opt for paying the uninsured, individual mandate tax rather than buying insurance as they are supposed to do.  Still other articles, from the New York Times and elsewhere, have reported that many people believe that while subsidies might be holding down premium costs in some states, high deductible amounts, which require the insured person to pay cash out of pocket before the insurance kicks in, are making some plans bought on the exchanges unaffordable and unusable.

The Affordable Care Act was a huge new governmental program, hotly debated and the subject of strong opposition from Republicans.  How is it working, really?  We deserve to know, and un any rational world, candidates of both parties would be debating that very important issue.  In this crazy year, however, the news media and the public have been distracted by the Trump phenomenon and all of its embarrassing nuttiness, so even in Republican debates the Affordable Care Act gets short shrift.  And does anyone really believe that, if Donald Trump somehow becomes the Republican nominee, he’ll work to understand the workings of this complex law, and be able to say anything other than that it is a “disaster” and he’ll “repeal and replace it with something much better”?

Rainy Reflection

IMG_0740German Village is a place of alleys.  On some of the busier streets, convex mirrors have been placed at the intersections with the alleys, to give drivers a better chance to spot oncoming traffic and, hopefully, avoid it.

After a rainstorm passes through, as one did today, the mirrors are pretty cool.  It’s as if, behind the raindrops, they offer a kind of window to a secret world.

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