kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
So "health care reform" passed. Except that this isn't anything to do with actual health care; this is about insurance. And it doesn't really qualify as reform either. Oh, they say it bans insurance companies from refusing to take customers with pre-existing conditions, and that it bans insurance companies from denying coverage when you try to use it (PDF, but a great summary. You should go read it), but some states have bans like that already, and they don't help. Bans are only effective if they have strong enforcement clauses. This has very weak enforcement clauses: companies that deny coverage will be fined ten dollars a day. That's $3,650 a year. Just one specialized medical procedure can cost more than that; surgery can cost a lot more. So insurance companies will find it totally worthwhile to deny coverage, pay $3,650 a year fine, and let people die of kidney failure or whatever.

When you get right down to it, almost the only thing this bill does---besides making it even harder to get an abortion when you need one---is require all of us Americans to pay lots of money to insurance companies, without getting actual health care in exchange. If the money we can pay is not enough, the government will pay even more of our collective tax money to make sure the insurance companies get as much money as they want.

This is, in fact, the third leg of the bailout. Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate got us into economic trouble. Finance and Real Estate have already been bailed out. Now it's Insurance's turn.
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
Here's the thing. We all understand about kyriarchy, right? An elaborate caste system, with many axes on which we're placed higher and lower than other people? And how it's wrong? And how men as a caste outrank women as a caste, even though there are lots of caste divisions within the male population. So women complain about how a man is oppressing them, and the man will say "Hey, I'm oppressed because I'm [poor/disabled/black/etc] and therefore I'm entitled to trample women!" And women say, "No you're not. Nothing excuses trampling people, not even having been trampled yourself."

This applies to slash-fic too. There are a lot of stories purporting to be about men, but portraying 'anal sex' that cannot possibly work. If you call the writers on it, they'll say that not every detail has to be exact. But it is exact. Those stories are exactly realistic portrayals of vaginal sex. They're stories about a het couple, with a search-and-replace done on the pronouns. Kaigou discussed some of the reasons some people write stories that way.

Occasionally a gay man will say that he doesn't like having his name taken in vain, that he wishes straight women wouldn't use gay men's images as a front for female experience. He may point out that it's hard for gay men to tell their stories when all the relevant search terms are drowning in het-disguised-as-slash. He will promptly be jumped on by a bunch of women saying "This is women's space, slash is not about you."

Except I don't think that's fair. It's true that we don't have enough women's spaces or enough stories where women's experience is given central importance. But neither do gay men have enough safe space to tell their stories, and it's not fair for us to project our erotic fantasies onto them, and drown out the reality of gay male experience, any more than it's fair for straight men to project their erotic fantasies onto women and drown out the reality of our experience.
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
This isn't about health care. This is a bailout.

The bill as it seems likely to pass forces individuals to pay lots of money to insurance companies. People who don't pay money to insurance companies will be fined. If that still doesn't produce enough money to satisfy the insurance companies, the government will pay extra money directly to the insurance companies.

The financial industry (banks and investment brokers), the real-estate industry, and the insurance industry, are all so closely intertwined that economists treat them as one sector of the economy. In this current economic crash, we've already seen bailouts for the banking industry and the real-estate industry. This is the third part, bailing out the insurance industry.

Health care is just an excuse. You can tell because anything that might have improved actual health care has been systematically stripped out of the bill: no guaranteed publicly funded care, no publicly-run insurance, no option to just pay a doctor directly, no anything that wouldn't allow private insurance companies to rake off tons of money.

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