Millions Still Without Medical Insurance
Over the past few months, we have written, emailed, faxed, and phoned our Members of Congress (MoC) repeatedly, asking them to save the Affordable Care Act, to resist President Trump’s efforts to repeal it. We have endured anxiety-ridden days as we learned of the Republican’s attempts to deny coverage for birth control, abortion, pre-existing conditions, to eliminate insurance altogether for millions of people. All in service of cutting their own taxes by a pittance.
Meanwhile, there are already at least twenty-nine million people in this country with no coverage at all.
The group Remote Area Medical promises to “Stop the Suffering” by providing free pop-up clinics around the country and overseas. They’ve treated 700,000 patients since 1985. Recently, The Remote Area Medical Expedition, held at a county fairground in Appalachia over three days ending Sunday, drew more than 2,000 people who endured high heat and long waits for basic health services. There were sufferers who had waited months for dental care. Diabetics who had run out of supplies and whose blood sugar was out of control. You can read about the expedition in a New York Times article.
Our Transgender Service Members
Transgender service members deserve better treatment than our loose cannon of a president gives. Recently, President Trump tweeted that transgender members of the military were “disruptive” and should be denied health benefits as they were causing “tremendous medical costs.” He claimed he was banning transgendered people from the military. The pushback was immediate, and came from all quarters. Even Senator Orrin Hatch resisted.
Sheri Swokowski is a retired Army colonel who served as the human resources director for the Wisconsin National Guard and the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. Forest Service. She served the US Army for thirty-four years. Her story is compelling and one we all need to hear.
Fight the Hate
Support transgendered people in all areas of our lives. Be a good ally. Here are some tips on how to do so.
The Military is Burning Weapons in our Backyards
The Department of Defense and its contractors struggle to deal with hazardous byproducts from weapons manufacturing and huge stockpiles of aging munitions. For years, defense-related firms have burned this waste at their own facilities, stubbornly clinging to the practice even as it has been outlawed in parts of Europe and Canada. But the permits to do so have become harder to get, the terms less flexible, and, increasingly, the pollution unacceptable to surrounding communities. They have created Clean Harbors, which offers a legal way to get rid of dangerous materials from a wide range of sites that can’t or don’t want to handle them on their own.
In 2015 alone, 700,000 pounds of military-related munitions and explosives were trucked to Colfax Louisiana, where both Clean Harbors and the military have so far been able to outmaneuver a community with abundant concerns but little money, and even less political influence, to fight back.
Read about “Kaboom Town” here.
Read and donate to ProPublica. They are running a series called Bombs in our Backyard. See what’s happening in your own neighborhood.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.