Friday, February 22, 2013

"Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another"~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Thank you, Janesville, for your votes for me in the February 19th primary.  Now it's on to the general election.  

I'm running for school board because I am passionate about public education.  I think it improves everything.  You don't go into the biz of teaching if you don't believe in it and I've been at it for 19 years. The potential for the Janesville district is great.  It just needs someone who knows something about how schools operate and how policy affects the classroom  and impacts children and families.  As a teacher, I have a solid grasp on those things and that's why I'm asking for your vote on April 2nd.  

Here's a list of some things (in no particular order) I think need to be tackled based on the conversations I've had at the doors and on the phones:


  1. The SBJ needs to do a better job of communicating with parents and the community.  I know that Dr. Schulte has a blog to address issues and squelch rumors and I think that's a good idea.  But effective communication also involves trust, and trust is fostered in face-to-face conversations.  We need to have more opportunities for the public to talk to the administration and the board, and not just in the public comment period of a meeting, but in more casual environments as well.
  2. The SBJ needs to bring all stakeholders to the table concerning the handbook.  One parent I spoke to said, "working conditions are also educational conditions" and if working conditions are inadequate, then her child's education will be affected.  I know the SBJ feels that teachers should not be concerned about the handbook, but they are.  So they need to meet that concern and include them its development.  It goes back to trust - again.  And trust is developed by inclusion.  If the handbook is nothing to be feared, as the SBJ says, then they should not fear teachers being a part of its creation.
  3. The SBJ needs to hire more counselors.  I talked with a Janesville counselor just last week and was shocked to hear that they have over 800 students on their roster.  Counselors are instrumental in making sure students are passing classes and getting credits toward graduation; they deal with the emotional needs of the students; they guide students through the transition from school to school and then school to work or college.  There is no way that they can meet the needs of that many students.  It's a real problem.
  4. There needs to be opportunities for the para professionals to get more training.  I spoke with a para from the district yesterday who would like to have more opportunities to learn about students with disabilities and other things that affect her job.  There is training available for the staff, but it's not always encouraged for the paras in the district.  These people are involved with some of our more challenging students and difficult learning situations and they want to do their jobs well and be compensated for their training.  If the SBJ is interested in incentives for administrators and faculty, it should be interested in incentives for these folks, too.
  5. The SBJ needs to hire a grant writer/administrator.  This was the suggestion of one of the incumbents who also happens to be a grant writer.  It's a good idea and long overdue. I happened to talk about this very issue with my superintendent in December.  There is a lot of money out there and the SBJ needs to find someone who knows how to write grants to go get it.  Earning grants will help alleviate some of the budget problems of the district and encourage innovation.
Follow this blog for more thoughts coming later.  Feel free to contact me if there's something you want to discuss about me or the SBJ.  Email me at cathymyersforschoolboard@gmail.com, or call at 608-718-0254.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself" ~ John Dewey

I haven't been active on the blog-o-sphere in a couple of months.  It was about the time of my last posting that I decided to run for Janesville school board.  So almost all of my 'down' time is 'up' in front of people in groups, or at people's doors, making my case for their vote.  That hasn't left me with a lot of time for writing.  But it's all good.  I'm having a great time talking to people about  what matters most to them - their kids. I'm a teacher myself with 19 years of experience, so it's the kind of conversation I love to have.

I've found a lot of people have a lot to say about the Janesville School System, some good, some bad.  Most people I've talked to have a lot of respect for their child's teachers.  They know that the teachers care deeply about making sure that their student is learning and successful from that point on.  And that's the way it should be. 

Most people feel their children are safe in Janesville schools.  But, of course, if one student doesn't feel safe, that's one too many.  We've got to foster an atmosphere of respect at all levels and to let kids know that we care if they're bullied and that we're going to do something about it if they are being mistreated.  There's no room for violence and intimidation in a school.  

Some of the issues I've heard as I've been out an about include concerns about how much of the curriculum is directed toward testing.  It appears that Janesville has the testing bug, much like the rest of the country.  I understand the need for accountability; I think it's important.  However, there comes a point when too much time is spent on testing.  Teaching to the test doesn't allow teachers the flexibility to meet individual student needs.  Anyone with more than one child or who has been around two kids at the same time can tell you that they're not wired the same.  Some require a lot of extra care on one subject and then little help on the next.  Too many tests interferes with instruction.  Janesville would do well to listen to its teachers on this point.  We teach kids, not curriculum.  Janesville teachers haven't forgotten the kid in the middle of all of this planning and testing, they just haven't had a chance to focus on them because they're always preparing for the next test cycle.

Another issue that's been brought up is about communication.  I believe great schools are great communities.  This run for office has brought up a lot of memories about my own teaching career.  One in particular was when I was being interviewed for my job at Rockton Hononegah.  There were 4 others in the room asking me all sorts of questions.  At one point someone, I think it was the principal, asked me about how I would go about teaching "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (FYI: I'm an English teacher).  I shared some of my thoughts about the subject and then suddenly the talk grew into a full brainstorming session on all of the cool things that could be done with the selection.  People shared ideas and built on the responses of others.  I left that interview praying I would be offered the job because that's the kind of place I wanted to work.   By some of the comments I'm hearing from people in the district, there's little of that kind of atmosphere.  Teacher say they're afraid to speak out because they're concerned that their comments will be held against them.  We've got to make sure that everyone's heard, even if they're critical. Making sure the school district is good community will also help us attract the best and the brightest.  There are going to be a lot of retirees this year and Janesville is going to have to be the kind of place people want to work if we're going to fill those positions with quality teachers. Open lines of communication will help create that sense of community that is at the heart of a great district.  

I'll have more to say about other issues later. But for now let me leave you with an humble request for your vote in the primary on February 19th and again on April 2nd, and a list of the things I would support and do if I am so honored as to serve on the Janesville School Board:


On the school board I will:

•       Promote programs and policies that encourage best practices in the classroom and benefit kids.  
Work with the administration, the teachers, the staff and the community on efforts to ensure the safety of Janesville’s children.
Encourage additional hires to ensure that students have access to their teachers, counselors and support staff.
Will work with the administration to prioritize the budget in a way that benefits students.
Encourage faculty and administration to work together to develop reasonable methods of assessment and documentation.
Support human relations, anti-bullying, and character education programs that improve the atmosphere in schools.
Work with administration on issues of over-crowding in the classroom and the lunch rooms.
Support negotiating with the teachers and staff in good faith on the next contract.
Support giving teachers, staff and community members input on the development of the handbook.
Expect the district to hold listening sessions to improve communication between the board, the district administration and Janesville residents.
Encourage teachers and administration to present new ideas about staff development and educational initiatives. 



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Ya Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!" ~ Cathy Myers


If you haven’t noticed, I like to use a quote at the top of my blog entries as a way of setting the tone of the essay.  I usually don’t quote myself, but when I woke up one morning recently and heard the news about the Republican candidate from Indiana for U.S. Senate, Richard Mourdock, “Ya gotta be kiddin’ me!”  is what basically what fell out of my mouth.  (I know it's not poetry, but hey, it was 6 a.m.)  In political life terms Mourdock’s statement is ‘old news’ by now, but it has honestly taken me several days to get past “ya gotta be kiddin’ me” to contemplating this social phenomena among Republican candidates.

In case you missed it, in response to a debate question about abortion, Mourdock said he believes  rape, even though terrible, is “God’s will”.  

What is the Republican obsession with rape?  Paul Ryan, who is simultaneously running for Vice President and Congress, called rape ‘a method of conception’.  Talk about understatement.   What happened to the notion, “rape is rape” – a conception doesn’t bless the atrocity.  Why don’t they get it?  

Then there’s the knucklehead from the Show Me State, Todd Akin, who claims that a woman has a way of magically preventing a pregnancy in the event of a ‘legitimate rape’.  Translation - women who get pregnant from a rape really wanted to be raped. 

Top off this pack of yahoos with self-professed OB-GYN, Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, who said that thanks to advances in medicine women simply don’t die from complications from pregnancy anymore and therefore, there is no need for abortion to save the life of the mother.

But wait!  There’s more!!!  Add to this misogynistic mess legislative moves that are in direct conflict with the welfare of women in this country.

The person-hood laws that have been pushed in some states such as Colorado and Mississippi are a profound attack on the rights of women.  At least the voters of those states had the sense to understand the ramifications of such a tactic on a woman’s ability to control her own destiny, to save her life, to not be violated again and again by being forced to assume a responsibility they never asked for.

In some states, like Wisconsin, equal pay for equal work laws which have protected female employees have been repealed or challenged.  Yeah, why not repeal them?  What would a woman do with all that money anyway?  Buy shoes?  Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman suggested that women do not need to be paid as much as men for the same job because they don’t need money as much as men.   As a single mother of two beautiful children who has put a roof over their heads, fed them, taught them, and sent them to music lessons, horse riding  lessons, sports camps, college and so on, I can assure you that I needed money.  

Apparently, in  Grothman’s bubble, paying the bills, providing for a family and putting kids through college is man’s work.  That’s arcane in so many respects.  Women are people, believe it or not, and they want the same opportunities as men with regards to their own destiny.  On top of that, as the middle class has shrunk so has the capability of most men to be a sole provider.  Both genders have been adversely affected by the loss of middle class jobs, but instead of talking about good jobs at living wages for everyone, Republicans would rather suggest that women have somehow prevented men from fulfilling their social obligations.  We’re just in the way, ya know.  

On the Lilly Ledbetter act, which was the first thing President Obama signed upon assuming office, Mitt Romney goes into full avoidance mode.  He sidestepped the question in the second debate, and instead went on a diatribe about “binders full of women”.  That anecdote was not only a dodge, but also false.  He did not seek out a female cabinet member.  The binder was brought to him.  

Romney would also end government support of Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health services, contraception and more to millions of women in this country.  

The only thing I can conclude about this renewed debate about abortion, especially as it’s put into the context of other ‘women’s issues’ is that it is not really about supporting life – it’s about oppressing life.  

If the Republicans ever want to redeem themselves with women (which I honestly don’t see happening) they need to stop thinking of us as women [aka property) and start thinking of us as people (aka self-determined beings).  They should think in terms of what a job is worth and whether it offers a living wage, not ‘who will do the job?’  They should focus on the kind of healthcare people need to stay healthy, not 'what kind of healthcare they will permit women to have?'  And most importantly, they should never assert a claim over a person’s body – ever. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Voter caging and voter ID laws exist to disfranchise voters" ~ Cynthia McKinney


One way to win an election is to prevent everyone who would vote against you from casting a ballot.  That’s exactly what you can expect from some of the opposition leading to and on November 6th. 

If you can’t win - cheat

One Wisconsin Now (OWN) has uncovered a coordinated effort by a Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity and some Republican groups to conduct a program called “voter caging”.  The groups send a mass mailing, wait to see which addresses are returned undelivered and then challenge the ballot of registered voters with that address. Sometimes they match up the voter information with information from other data bases.  If the information does not match, they attempt to block that person from voting. The voter then gets to the polls only to find that their voter registration has been purged.

What this means is that some voters will have to cast ‘provisional’ ballots, 35% of which may not be counted.  The process is designed to create confusion and long lines.  It targets minority communities, students and homeless citizens – those who are most likely to vote Democratic.

This process is not new; it was first implemented by Republicans in the 1950s. Recently, it has seen resurgence.  Between 2004 and 2006 political operatives challenged 77,000 votes. 
 According to The Uppity Wisconsin Blog, a 2008 video obtained by OWN features a Republican claiming this program is “coming all the way from the top Reince Preibus has said, ‘We’re in’”  

Not only is the subject of vote caging despicable, but the coordinated efforts between Tea Party PACs and the Republican National Committee may be illegal. 

We are not surprised by anything anymore.

Voter suppression efforts have been alive and well in Wisconsin for the last several elections.  During the Recall, voters who signed the Recall petition received a Robo-call informing them that if they signed the petition they didn’t have to cast a ballot to oust Scott Walker. Most recently, billboard advertising has been popping up in Wisconsin which threatens voters with a large fine and jail time if they commit voter fraud.  “I think that these billboards are designed to suppress the vote.  That is their intention” says Scott Ross with the Institute for One Wisconsin.  

According to the Brennan Center, in 2006, Wisconsin Attorney General attempted to implement a “No Match, No Vote” policy.  The Government Accountability Board rejected the policy; the Attorney General sued and the court dismissed the case for a lack of standing.  

In other states an organization called “True the Vote”, which has filed papers to be identified as a charity, has sent volunteers out to harass election workers at the polls and voters waiting to cast a ballot.  True the Vote is actually a Tea Party affiliate from Texas.

In some cases, voter suppression groups have told voters that they need an ID in order to vote (not true) and in other cases, robo-calls have been used to misinform voters about the day of the election.  

What’s being done about it? 

Locally  things are being done as well to combat voter suppression and intimidation.  A small army of local attorneys is being recruited to watch for violations of voter rights.  
There are also state and  national organizations working to protect the vote.

If you believe you have witnessed or have been the target of  voter suppression  contact Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, or you can call Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or go to www.866ourvote.org 

However, the best protection against voter suppression is knowledge. Know your rights.  According to the National Voter Registration Act, a voter cannot be removed from a voter list unless:

1) the voter has requested removal
2) state law requires removal by reason of criminal conviction or mental capacity
3) the voter has confirmed in writing that he has moved outside the jurisdiction maintaining the specific voter list, or
4) the voter both (a) has failed to respond to a cancellation notice and (b) has not voted or appeared to vote in the two federal general elections following the date of notice.


Sources: 
Voter Suppression Incidents, 2008”
www.bennancenter.org/content/resource/boter_suppression_incidents
NVRA, www.eac.gov
“Swingstate Billboards Warning Against Voter Fraud Stir Backlash”.  www.npr.org
“Huge Voter Suppression Plot Exposed” www.uppitywis.org

Sunday, September 16, 2012

“Just keep asking yourself: What would Jesus not do?” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, Choke


One of my favorite episodes of South Park involves an election for the school’s mascot and after a run off, the boys are left with the choice of a Giant Douchebag and a Turd Sandwich.  Leave it to Matt Stone and Trey Parker to capture the way an election feels sometimes.  This year, however, there is no such malaise over the choice of candidates.  If there is anything unique about this election it is that there’s choice – all the way down the ticket.

Between President Obama and Mitt Romney there’s the differences in personal experience…the President who pulled himself up and Romney who followed a path set more by his pedigree than his will.  The irony here is that Romney would be more like President Obama if he was the Romney that Massachusetts knew as its governor.  Both can be very centrist. But this Romney 2.0, or whatever it is, is so all over the place that it’s hard to tell what he would do if king…and believe me, he prefers King to President.  Look at the way he bristles every time a reporter asks about something he doesn’t want to answer.  I’m not talking about personal things that he doesn’t want to answer, but questions about flip-flopping on issues and follow ups when reporters see a hole in his logic.  He doesn’t want to back up anything with facts or have to explain any decisions.  He’s so used to being a CEO and the sole shareholder, that he’s dismissive of anyone who would challenge his “authora-tay” (yes, another South Park reference).  

Of course, his reluctance to share details of his plans is also motivated by the fact that his plans don’t help the majority of voters.  Say what you will Romney’s love affair with his peers, the 1%, they’re still only 1% of the electorate and not all of them like him very well.  So he needs us, the lowly less-evolved, the trust fund deficient, the folks who want to hang on to social security because it's the only thing keeping us afloat.  And then there are the working poor and the outright indigent.  He will probably not need them to get elected….so yeah, whatever.  All he’s got to do is throw some punches at the President and duck and weave the questions that are coming his way about his lousy plans and hopefully no one will notice.

President Obama hasn’t been perfect; I’ll be the first to admit that.  But I can’t imagine anyone not seeing the contrast between Obama who has worked for healthcare and has set us on the right path in that respect (Yes, I’m still holding out for single payer),  who added over 4 million jobs, who saved the auto industry, who wrapped up the war in Iraq bringing home the sons and daughters of PWLTF’s (People Who Lack Trust Funds), who increased student loans and restructured the payment plan, who cut waste in the Medicare program,  who insisted on equal pay for women, who pushes for immigration reform that will allow immigrant children to have a shot at what Mitt Romney has, who permits gays and lesbians (even those with trust funds) in the military to serve without fear, who ended no-bid defense contracts, and so on and so forth.  That list is just a sliver of what he’s accomplished and you should note that all of those things are directed at making life better for everyone, especially the PWLTF’s.

Continuing down ticket in my neck of the woods is the race between Rob Zerban and Paul Ryan.  Yes, Ryan can run for two offices simultaneously in Wisconsin.  Even Arizona has better sense than to allow that to happen.  Again it’s a contest between a poor kid who brought himself up with the help of Pell grants and student loans and one who has lived a comfortable existence thanks to family affluence and government assistance.  Let me be perfectly clear.  I do NOT hold it against Paul Ryan that he received social security benefits upon the untimely death of his father, or that he used that money to go to college.  I think that’s the way it should be and I am glad that those benefits were available to him.  What I object to is his getting hoisted into the life boat and pulling the ladder up behind.  That takes some ‘brass’ as President Clinton would say, and not the good kind, either.  Rob Zerban thinks the PWLTF’s will make something of themselves if given the chance.  He’s got good reason to think so – he’s one of them.

Tammy Baldwin is also well aware of who she serves.  She has worked hard for years for healthcare and to preserve Medicare and Social Security.  She, too, was not born into wealth. Her mother was young and single and so Tammy was raised by both her mother and grandparents.  Even though it was difficult, they raised a U.S. Congresswoman and the lead sponsor of the Buffet Rule which insists that the 1% pay their fair share of taxes.  Not bad.  See what happens when you invest in the middle class?  She’s up against former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson who is also a former lobbyist for “Big Pharma” - you know, the part of the 1%  that the rest of the 1% hopes to be someday.  Want to know why a pill in Canada costs a fraction of what it costs here?  Ask Thompson how he finagled a deal to prevent the government from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices.  Price fixers won that day, not the middle class.  It’s so interesting that Republicans get their juices flowing in the hunt for welfare fraud.  It’s just a distraction to allow them to implement another kind of sham on the American people.

And take a moment to look at the ticket for state seats in your area.  Chances are there’s a lot of replication of the situation in Wisconsin.  In my area, Democrats Deb Kolste, Andy Jorgensen, Janice Ringhand and Ryan Schroeder are all running against Scott Walker “Mini-Mes”.  Kolste and Schroeder were motivated to run when the Republican legislators rammed through Act 10, which ripped collective bargaining rights from most state workers – the PWLTFs. Jorgensen and Ringhand were on the floor of the Assembly fighting the good fight against it.  One of the results of Act 10 has been increased class sizes in schools and subjective teacher evaluations. Oh, and Wisconsin is still the weakest state in job creation. 

The American middle class was the backbone of this country.  This Republican Party thinks it is the enemy.  Just a thought for my Republican friends – Jesus loved the poor.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"The Emperor Has No Clothes!" ~ Hans Christian Andersen


For some time now, I have heard people call Paul Ryan, Republican nominee for Vice President, and Tea Party poster boy, an intellectual.  I’ve heard he’s wonkish, policy driven, and has a strong grasp on economics. I just don’t see it.  Smart?  Probably.  But an intellectual?  No.

An intellectual, and this is my own definition of the term, is a person who can think beyond the limits of their experience, who can apply abstract concepts to concrete situations and who can offer an understanding, perhaps even a solution to our problems.  Let me emphasize OUR problems – philosophers focus on the problems of the many, not the few.  Paul Ryan’s ideas, policies and subsequent votes solve the problems of people who have few of them while leaving those with many problems to rot.  Ryan’s plan to gut Medicare and turn it into a voucher system serves only one master. He tries to sell it by saying the vouchers will increase with the cost of living.  When has the rise in cost of living ever matched the rise in the cost of healthcare?  Ryan’s plan has so many failings that I’m inclined to believe that he doesn’t want it to work for too many people.

The Ryan Plan, which the Romney/Ryan ticket may or may not be running on, depending on direction of the political wind, would double out-of-pocket costs for seniors and cut Medicaid. Indeed, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Ryan’s plans would eventually ‘unravel’ Medicare, leaving the poor without any safety net while private companies reap huge profits from insuring only healthy individuals.   If one applies his formula to the problem of the unhealthy, it’s hard to see how making private companies wealthier is a solution.  At the end of the day, those people are still sick, health care costs still rise, families still lose their homes, parents still cannot put food on the table and buy goods.  How is this a solution?  If anything it adds to the list of problems.

Intellectuals and philosophers throughout the ages have tried to solve the problems of the people – all of them.  William James’ writing concerned the impact of egos on the public good.  An individual’s ego can be imperialistic; man will often use it to impose his views and control others in a way that satisfies his own needs and interests.  His ego dictates that others should think as he does; acceptance of other views, cultures, and openness, are not within his realm.  Based on the analysis of his policies, Ryan’s own philosophy guarantees that his culture will thrive at the expense of others.  

True intellectuals study history; they don’t re-write it.  Ryan’s insistence that the President’s stimulus didn’t work in spite of the addition of over 4 million private sector jobs, including some that he sought for his own district and then, in an apparent bout of selective amnesia, forgot, is just such revisionist history.  The stimulus has worked.  If President Obama had been allowed to carry it further, it would have worked better.  Indeed, Ryan and other Republicans have been working feverously against stimulus because Obama’s success puts them at a political disadvantage.  Ryan’s 'philosophy' is based on power, not on fact, not on morality, not on anything but amassing more for himself and his posse.

We don’t like intellectuals.  They don’t make us feel good all the time because they point out the reality.  The truth is it’s going to be a tough road for us; the world is complicated;  the economy can be easily influenced by things we can’t control. But we don’t like to hear those things. The boy who pointed out that the emperor has no clothes pisses us off.  We want to believe that this country has never engaged in slavery, that every war has been justified.  We want to believe that a flat tax is fair, that the homeless are living their dream. We want to believe that the ‘free market’ is always a ‘fair market’ and will take care of us. Just believing makes life momentarily easier.  

Paul Ryan is smart for sure. His votes have benefited him personally. His views on Medicare and taxes benefit his social class.  He talks a good game and with a smile on his face convinces middle and lower class people to help him make the rich richer. His supporters will keep pushing the intellectual thing as long as we let them.  Perhaps it’s time to see Paul Ryan for what he is, not what he projects.  Yes, he’s a smart one, that Paul Ryan…..but not for you and me.

Monday, July 9, 2012

“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” ~ U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan


Shortly after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans co-opted the message on this important piece of legislation.  They called it “Obamacare”, “socialized medicine”, a “government take over”.  They threatened that the government is going to create “death panels” to kill Grandma.  The hyperbole is laughable, but what isn’t funny is the way it affected the debate.  Suddenly, out came a side of America that was really unpleasant. Armed without facts, manipulated by Karl Rove's political action committees, Americans turned on each other.  Some radicals told the ill that they should just die, that they were a burden on everyone else.  And it seemed for a while that Democrats let them.

We didn’t stick up for the ACA, even though we voted for Obama because of it.  Maybe it was the timing.  Politically, Obama could have played it safe by pushing the ACA off for a couple of years, or even into his next term.  Maybe we were unprepared for the outlandish behavior and vitriol spouted by the other side.  Regardless of the reason, we let the message go. It’s a habit we Democrats have to break.

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the ACA, it’s time to reclaim the message.  Republicans want to tell you it’s a tax, but it's not...just as it wasn’t a tax when Mitt Romney passed it in Massachusetts.  They’re counting on you not seeing how illogical that argument is.  Let’s retaliate with something they don’t seem to bother with - the facts.

So, the next time someone tells you the ACA is big government getting in the the way of your health care, let them know that:

FACT: Under the ACA, insurance companies cannot “cancel your policy, deny your child coverage due to a pre-existing condition, or charge women more than men.”  In other words, you will have healthcare because you won't be denied insurance.

FACT: Because of the ACA, over 86 million Americans now have preventative care coverage free of charge.  This includes mammograms and wellness visits for seniors.

FACT:  “6.6 million young adults have been able to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, including 3.1 million young people who are newly insured.”

FACT: Starting in 2014, if you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, the ACA ensures that you have your choice of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans and you will have the same opportunity to get quality affordable care just like everyone else.

FACT: 129 million people with pre-existing conditions will now have access to affordable health coverage.  Starting in 2012, insurance companies will no longer be able to charge you more, deny you certain benefits or coverage altogether. No longer will coverage be denied to those with cancer or diabetes.  Women will not be denied coverage because of chronic femininity. :)  (Hey, they're the ones who tried to make women think being female is a disease.)

The next time someone tries to tell you that ACA will cost too much, you tell them:

FACT: “Nearly 13 million Americans will receive a rebate this summer because their insurance company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.” Wonder why your health insurance is so high?  This is one of many reasons.

FACT:  5.3 million seniors and people with disabilities caught in the ‘donut hole’ in Medicare coverage are now saving on average over $600 on prescription drugs.

FACT: Tax Credits for Middle Class Families and Small Businesses will soon be available.  If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable.  “Many small businesses are already receiving tax credits so they can afford to offer quality health care to their employees.  To date, 360,000 businesses that employ 2 million workers have already benefitted from the small business tax cuts in the law.  And once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, about 18 million individuals and families will get tax credits for health insurance coverage averaging about $4,000 apiece.”

The next time someone tells you that it’s socialized medicine, you say:

FACT: Starting in 2014, if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free.  The Supreme Court’s ruling allows Congress to hold the projected 1% of Americans who will be able to afford health insurance but will choose not to buy it responsible for that choice.

The next time someone says the ACA gets in the way of State’s rights and control, you say: 

FACT: State implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges is underway.  Starting in 2014, each State will take the lead in designing an Exchange, a new marketplace for insurance, that will allow individuals and small businesses to select from a variety of private health plans.  34 States and the District of Columbia currently receive grants that fund 100% of their Exchange program and implementation.

FACT: States can do their own thing.  Through Innovation waivers which begin in 2017, if states can come up with a better way of covering people at the same quality and low cost, they are free to do so.  “The Administration supports bipartisan legislation to allow States to start such Waivers in 2014.”

As the great U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Frankly, the ACA is not perfect, I personally would prefer Universal Healthcare, but it’s a step in the right direction – finally.  We voted for it by voting for Obama in 2008.  Now it’s time to stand up for it.

Source: FACT SHEET: The Affordable Care Act: Secure Health Coverage for the Middle Class  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/28/fact-sheet-affordable-care-act-secure-health-coverage-middle-class#.T_oVfzWog7o.gmail