At the end of last year, the FDA announced that it would replace its policy banning men who have had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood with a policy that allows MSM to give blood if they have not had sex with another man in the past year. In December, I wrote a blog post commenting that this new policy still raises questions about judicious, equal treatment for MSM in this particular situation. Recent news, however, illustrates that this isn’t just an issue that impacts men who have sex with men—it’s an issue that impacts all trans individuals.
Just days after it was announced that 11.4 million Americans signed up for private health insurance through the marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act, news broke that approximately 800,000 Americans who enrolled in insurance policies through the federally-facilitated Marketplace received the wrong tax information. Despite this significant short-term problem, the long-term goal of the Affordable Care Act is being met: more Americans than ever before are acquiring health insurance.
As people of faith, our Jewish values encourage us to advocate for systems that can lift people out of poverty. Jewish history also provides us with an example for helping the needy. During Talmudic times, much of tzedakah (justice) was done though tax-financed, community-run programs that helped those in needed, paralleling the social safety net that we continue to fight for today. Coming from the President, his proposed federal budget is a list of priorities for how funding should be spent in the year to come. Our budget is a moral document that can create the platform for addressing these and other injustices.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has estimated that the President’s budget would slightly reduce the debt as a share of GDP (gross domestic product) over the first ten years and would then stabilize it through 2040. This finding signifies how the budget President Obama has proposed is one that is responsible while also continuing to fund many important human needs programs. Read more…
With five days until open enrollement for the health insurance marketplaces ends, an estimated 10 million people are expected to have enrolled through federal and state marketplaces by February 15. This large number and the decreasing number of uninsured Americans—the uninsured rate has decreased by 4.2 percentage since the Affordable Care Act‘s (ACA’s) requirement that all Americans have health insurance went into effect one year ago—both point to the success of the ACA in reducing the uninsured rate. However, recent events could threaten millions of peoples’ health insurance coverage.
Yesterday, in the State of the Union, President Obama stated that approximately ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage in the past year. While this number should be lauded, even more people would gain health coverage if all fifty states expanded Medicaid. As state legislatures begin their new sessions throughout the country, here’s a look at the state of Medicaid Expansion:
On Wednesday, Gallup reported that the uninsured rate among adults in the fourth quarter of 2014 averaged 12.9 percent, down from 13.4% in the third quarter of 2014. This past quarter’s uninsured rate is a 4.2 percentage point decrease since the Affordable Care Act‘s requirement that all Americans have health insurance went into effect one year ago. While these numbers illustrate a significant improvement in the percentage of Americans with health insurance, we must not lose sight of the importance of ensuring that all Americans are insured.
Following a recent vote by the Department of Health and Human Services panel, which recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reverse its policy banning men who have had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood, the FDA announced yesterday that it will be replacing its current indefinite deferral policy with a policy that allows MSM to give blood if they have not had sex with another man in the past year. While this change will allow some MSM who were ineligible to donate blood in the past to donate blood, this new policy still raises questions about judicious, equal treatment for MSM in this particular situation.
Today marks World AIDS Day, a day devoted to raising awareness of the AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) epidemic. Despite many advances in the treatment for AIDS since the AIDS epidemic first began in the 1980s and increased knowledge on how to prevent the spread of HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus), 1.5 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2013 alone.
And, AIDS continues to be a serious issue around the world. Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of bikur cholim, pikuach nefesh and gemulit chasidim—caring for the sick, saving lives and deeds of loving kindness—and these are the values that spur us to take action to educate others about HIV/AIDS in order to empower them to take control of their own health and advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention.