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Despite all the snafus and glitches, the Affordable Care Act is now, thankfully, taking full effect. As the folks at Think Progress report this morning:

“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. Read More

A new Greensboro News & Record editorial takes state Senator Bob Rucho to task for his tweet/rant of the other day and his subsequent ineffective effort to defend it. You really should check out the entire editorial, but here’s a brief sample:

“Rucho’s rant can’t disguise his incredible lack of historical perspective. World War II cost this country $4.1 trillion in 2011 dollars, the Congressional Research Service calculated then.

That was just to fight and win the war. It did not count the costs of rebuilding Europe and much of East Asia and the Western Pacific or, as noted in the $5 billion-a-year figure above, the continuing cost of veterans benefits.

The human costs of losing more than 400,000 military personnel aren’t included, either. Read More

Alex Kotch(Cross-posted from the website Vocativ.com)

Obamacare is actually good. No, really

By Alex Kotch

I’m a low-income PhD student with a shaky health history and limited earning capacity. The Affordable Care Act should improve my quality of life. But will it?

This isn’t the answer you tend to hear on the news, but yeah, it will. Dramatically.

Here’s my background. I’m a 30-year-old, soon-to-be PhD graduate with an expected income in 2014, the first year of Obamacare, not much above the minimum wage. My $190-a-month student health plan runs out the day Obamacare starts. I’m a nonsmoker, but I have had some serious health issues in the past. In the eyes of health insurers, I’m hardly a solid bet. So Obamacare should, if it’s fit for purpose, help me out of a bind when I go to change my plan. Let’s see if that holds up. Read More

Senator Bob Rucho’s tweet that “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis,Soviets & terrorists combined” (see below) is bringing more unwanted national attention to the Old North State.

Among the outlets covering the absurd and offensive comment:

Seems likely that Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert won’t be gar behind.

Meanwhile, Kevin Rogers of Action NC offers the following as a partial response: Read More

Bob RuchoAs noted in last week’s Weekly Briefing, hyperbole and dramatic overstatements have their place in politics.  That said,  it’s also true that those holding public office should possess some minimal connection to reality and basic human decency. And in these latter two categories, Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County has raised real questions about his fitness for public office with his public statement on Twitter yesterday that:

“Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis,Soviets & terrorists combined.”

As Rabbi Judy Schindler of Charlotte’s Temple Beth El told the Charlotte Observer:

“The systematic murder of 11 million human beings, among them 6 million Jews … and acts of terrorists using explosives to indiscriminately decimate the lives of men, women and children can in no way be compared to legislation aimed at expanding health care accessibility and quality insurance for the poor. Comparing the two is deeply offensive.”

Of course, all who “tweet” have undoubtedly “said” things they’d like to take back. But good grief! State senators ought  to have enough common sense to think about their words before hitting the “Tweet” button. Rucho needs to do much more than “clarify” the intent of his statement; he needs to specifically and unequivocally apologize ASAP.