Growing as a writer, blogger and thinker: Self-Analysis Post

As you may have guessed- this was my first crack at blogging and it has turned into something I really enjoy. However, I cannot sit here and say that I started off as a blog wizard. So this post will serve as a self- analysis on how I grew as a thinker, writer and blogger.

When first hearing of this project and deciding what topic to choose, I chose Health Care and the Birth Control Mandate because it was something that I felt I could relate to and something I wanted to know more about. The following, was my initial goal when I first began: “The goal of the blog will be to bring unbiased information to the young women of America in order to educate and help readers decide which candidate to vote for. My position stands with the President and his current policies, which do everything possible to protect the health care rights of women across America.” Hmm..did I do that? I would say throughout this experience, I aimed to keep congruent with that goal with a few exceptions and certain expansions and some slip ups.

Starting with my very first post- it was extremely shallow and lacked a real grasp and depth on the severity of our health care crisis. When I was writing it, I had not known what people were referring to when they mentioned this crisis and maybe I didn’t care enough. What I did care about, was doing whatever I could to make sure that women got fair health care coverage and that people knew and understood that issue. That view still stands, but health care as it relates to the the nation as whole is what is more important to me now, as a direct result from this blogging process. My first post also seemed to be very passion- related and not so much information based. Additionally, being unbiased, when your talking about something you feel so strongly about, was not as easy of a task that I’d thought it’d be. I was more concerned with the blog being appealing than being informational, and although my first post was adequate- I believe these minor slip ups show. The way I presented my blog began to change immediately, where in my second blog I began to discuss the political effects from this issue and my third, I still attempted to be appealing, but my arguments began to pick up strength. It wasn’t until the Analysis Post, however, that I truly began to find my stride with this project.

There was no doubt that I could find a plethora of literature on health care issues, but the difficulty was choosing which sources to use and what topics to get specific on. As I learned more, my blog grew into more than just being about women and their reproductive choices. I learned that these laws have an effect on everyone in the US, especially families. That is when I realized that I needed to change my goal from appealing to women, to appealing to all. Another change stemmed from the amount of reading I did on the Affordable Care Act. The more I read about it, the more I agreed with it, and not just the parts pertaining to women, but the whole shebang seemed to make perfect sense to me. It was then that I decided to pull for ObamaCare and tried to bring as much unbiased information to the table, while still acknowledging the opposing viewpoints of Mitt Romney and other Republicans. A prime example of this would be my post on October 29th, titled “ObamaCare: Let’s Make This Simple.” It became a true passion of mine to make my readers understand both viewpoints for a few reasons: 1) Health care would be changed for good in this country as a direct result of this election with either Obama’s plan or Mitt Romney reinstating a new plan. 2) Depending on whether ObamaCare continued or was repealed would have a direct impact on young readers. The ACA grants young people the permission to stay on their families’ health care plans until they’re 26 and if there are any young people with pre-existing conditions, insurance companies no longer have the right to deny them coverage under this Act.

For me, the most important aspects of health care are the preventative services, the costs to Americans, the amount of people insured and how it affects our economy’s growth. From the posts succeeding my Analysis Post, I began to use think tanks and google scholar, which offered more depth and variety of sources for my daily posts regarding these issues.

All in all, I tried to make the blog appealing with fun cartoons, interesting videos and subtle jokes. I would say the overall tone of my blog is casual and I think that it appeals to more young readers this way- which is the demographic I had been aiming for all along. Although it began a little rocky, I believe my blog accomplished all I wanted and more. Not only was it rewarding to inform my peers about a topic I feel so strongly about, but helping to sculpt their opinions on our first chance voting in a Presidential Election, is something I’ll never forget. The stimulating comments I received and constant questions, only furthered my knowledge of the topic and demonstrated to me that I was doing something right by receiving such significant feedback. Most importantly, I feel as if I have become somewhat of an expert on this topic- initially I was just a girl trying to stand up for women’ rights, but now I can say with true passion and conviction that I am a Democratic woman who believes in equal health care of all Americans.

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Like it? Love it? Want some more of it? Extended Reading List

Im sure that many of you are wondering why I think I know so much about Health Care and how it relates to our economy, especially women. Well, here’s how: read the following links if you’re interested in getting the full story on health care in the United States.

Sites for “straight up facts” : well that title basically explains it, but my first few sites are ones that give you the straight up facts from both parties about their opinions and plans when it comes to these issues.

Obama Care– Who better to explain to you what it is then the man who created it? This site is helpful in its interactivity. It prompts you to pick what category you fall into and explains how the Affordable Care Act will serve you. The site is efficient and extremely specific. If you’re curious about how ObamaCare will affect you- I suggest you check it out!

Mitt Romney’s Plan – Although a little less specific, this website, which has a list of all of Romney’s platforms explains what would have been his goals and plan for health care in the US. It does not reflect the opinions of all Republicans, but I can assure you their views are much more similar to Mitt’s than Obama’s.

Timeline of the ACA – When a website is brought to you by the federal government, it is safe to say that it will be representing the unbiased facts. I have used several healthcare.gov links, but this one I believe is the most user friendly and truly helped me to understand the sequence of events that would take place under the ACA.

Think Tanks – Over the course of this project, I have truly learn to love and trust think tanks. There are so many and they can be used as reliable sources for political information. The following link highlights the continual backlash over the birth control mandate. Think tanks are resourceful because they often give you both sides of the argument, thus strengthening your position.

CQ Researcher – This tool is known for its stellar reputation in the political world. There are many links in regards to teen pregnancy, medicare and medicaid, the health crisis, women related vaccines, etc. – so I decided to put up the website rather than put up just one article. The great thing about this e-tool is that in each article there are two sides given and debated, without any bias. Check it out!

Social Insurance – The National Academy of Social Insurance is a non profit, nonpartisan site that offers information about health and social insurance in our world today. The site’s mission is to shed light on the crisis involving the uninsured and those who have difficulties maintaining insurance such as elderly, poor and those with pre-existing conditions.

Interesting sources but LOOK OUT for partisan-to persuade writing! (this is a term I learned in public policy, which is basically a fancy way of saying “biased sources trying to get you to like their side better whether it be blatant or subtle.” )

coMITTed – I like this site because although a little bias, it tries to convey Romneycare in an understandable clear way. Before reading this, it was difficult to understand the similarities and differences between Romneycare and Obamacare- but I think I got it now!

Christian Post – I know, I know- the title makes you think that this site is clearly one sided, but I promise you they offer very interesting points. I think its important to get a view from all sides, even those that are non-political and this is a site and an article that does so.

MSNBC -Last, but not least is the MSNBC website and this article, specifically. Who doesn’t love a good youtube video? It brings you the information quick and instantaneously- in case you don’t feel like staring at a computer screen for an hour. This article discusses the controversy over the birth control mandate, arguing that it should not be regarded as an issue of constitutionality.

Please employ all of these websites for more information on health care issues and the birth control mandate! Enjoy!

Politics 101

In case you’re looking for blogs that reach outside the realm of health care, I encourage you to read my fellow bloggers posts about wide array of political topics. As a young adult, I have been trying to find as much information and as many perspectives as possible to further my knowledge of the politics of our country. With these blogs you’ll learn all you need to and more about immigration, marriage equality and energy conservation! I hope you’ll do the same and I promise you won’t regret it!

Immigration Station – This blog has a way about it of being incredibly informative and academic on the issue of immigration, while still maintaining your attention. The author supplies information about the history of immigration and explains common stereotypes which has a way of opening your eyes to the social and economic issues we face with this issue. The posts have a way of remaining completely unbiased and encourage interaction with its followers, which is always a plus! Enjoy!

Common Sarcasm for the Sensible Age – If you’re looking for an entertaining way to stay informed on marriage equality, then this blog should be your go-to. It is witty and entertaining, but has a knack for pointing out continual falsies that plague our everyday news reels. The most important thing about this blog is its likability: it is fun and light which makes a very complicated topic, one that everyone can relate to. You’ll love it!

Save the Energy – Everything you need to know about energy related issues, could be found here. Before reading this blog, I knew nothing about the efforts to save our energy, nor did I understand them. With topics on hurricane sandy, the keystone pipeline and the debate on “going green”- this blog keeps its posts relevant and informative on a daily basis. There is always a plethora of useful links encompassed in the texts for further reading, which is always helpful. Go green!

For those of you interested in additional readings, there is also a blog roll at the bottom of this page which will lead you to all of my fellow classmates sites!

“Ooops, our bad”: A Post of Implications

This post will serve as a follow up to the previous post of theories on why our country cannot come together to agree on a plan of action to end the health crisis. The implications of a lack of agreement are simple: the health crisis in America will not only continue, but it will get worse, only adding to our country’s deficit and lack of overall health.

Since the 1990s, President Clinton and the federal government has been searching for a way to fix our health epidemic: where over millions of citizens are without health insurance,  people with low or moderate incomes do not receive the same health care as those with higher incomes, people who live in rural areas do not receive the same amount of quality of medical care as those in cities, and the overall the cost of health care continues to rise. These problems have only worsened as time went on and the state of our economy plummeted into recession. Now, with the unemployment rate  at 7.9% there are over 53 million citizens uninsured. If Obamacare is not embraced by the American people and Republicans of Congress, that number will only grow.

Secondly, if this birth control mandate is not accepted by the country, then women will either continue to drown in preventative care debt or stop using birth control and risk having an unplanned pregnancy. Studies have shown that the birth control mandate may even reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies in addition to saving women and families across the country up to $16,000 a year in birth control.

Obamacare has been upheld by the Supreme Court and will be fully enacted by 2014. If we could get most of the country on board by then, we’d be doing ourselves a big favor.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? : A Theory Post

Whenever anyone discusses the issues between Republicans and Democrats the song, “Why can’t we be friends?” plays in my head- over and over…and over. So I’m going to give you all the same problem- you’re welcome! Seriously though, it truly is something to think about- why can’t the people of America agree on health care and the birth control mandate?

Republicans and Democrats disagree on the most fundamental part of government: the size. When you have some with strong convictions that the federal government should play a little role in our daily lives, and then have others who are positive that the Founding Fathers wanted America to have a strong, central government- you are going to run into some problems. So what can we do to fix this issue? Compromise of course! But’s lets try to see how we can do that with health care and the birth control mandate.

In health care one side will win the biggest issue (whether or not the federal government should have the right to force citizens to buy health insurance or pay a tax), but there are other things that we can agree on. For example, Mitt Romney and conservatives from Massachusetts were a staunch supporters of removing obstacles for citizens with pre-existing conditions to getting health care. Romneycare also achieved the goal of insuring almost everyone in Massachusetts, which is what Obamacare is all about, making sure every American has affordable health care. So we all want the same things, we just go about different ways to get it.

As for the birth control mandate. Most Catholics do not believe that it is morally wrong to use birth control and thus it does not have a bearing on whether or not they think employers should be required to insure it. Religious institutions, however, have a problem with this mandate which is why President Obama made an exception for houses of worship- see? COMPROMISE!

All in all, the health care crisis is one that is breathing down our necks and we all agree that something must be done. The simple fact is that RomneyCare (the model for Obamacare) works very well in Massachusetts and was approved by many conservative Republicans. So it is my judgement that Obamacare can work and can get approval of American citizens with a few adjustments: 1) The increase of taxes during economic instability is frightening to people; if Romney did this plan without increasing taxes there must be a way to do that on a national level. 2) Some agreement needs to be reached on what to do with Medicare. Obama puts more money into Obamacare than Medicare which is a problem for some Republicans; if there is a way to insure Republicans that Medicare citizens will be taken care of, we’d be in much better shape.

Inevitably, the Donkeys and Elephants will probably never agree completely- but we can all find a way to be friends.

What will it be America?

A scary thought that might occur to President Obama on the eve of one of the most significant and controversial elections is, “Do the people of America understand the Affordable Care Act enough to make a clear, educated judgement about it?” The answer may not be one he wants to hear. The bottom line is that Obama Care is 2,400 pages worth of legislation and is not that easy to follow. Consequently, two years after it has been enacted, people still cannot follow the big changes and some even falsely believe it has already started to increase their taxes (this is not true, any taxes that will be raise as a result won’t start until 2013). So what do you think?

Here is what most of America is thinking, whether they understand it or not. According to the Kaiser Health TrackingPoll: 47% of Americans approve the Supreme Court ruling of the Act, 43% disapprove and 10% did not know. Additionally, a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos reveals that although some disapprovers disagree with the law as a whole, most back its key provisions. Among the most popular key provisions are: “61 percent of respondents favored allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.72 percent of respondents wish to maintain the requirement that companies with more than 50 workers provide health insurance for their employees.82 percent of respondents favored banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.” My analysis of this information concludes that just like most of the country is split either Republican or Democrat- most people are split amongst this decision. However! The light at the end of the tunnel is that even some opposers agree with the fundamental concepts of Obama Care…so maybe there is light at the middle of the political spectrum.

For those of you wondering what Mitt’s plan is- we have not gotten a specific step by step plan from the Republican nominee, however, here’s the gist: Romney plans on ridding all federal autonomy over health care and handing it back to the states. He wishes for the federal government to act as a source of guidance and to standby in order to ensure competition between the states. The states will be encouraged and given incentives to try new plans in order to see what works best for their state. His model comes from the free market model; he plans on treating health care as a common good so that it will increase competition which he believes will decrease costs in the long run.

So what will it be America, Obama Care or Romney’s Plan?

Obama Care: Let’s Make this Simple.

I want YOU, to watch this VIDEO!

This blog stemmed from support of the ACA’s (Affordable Care Act) birth control mandate. The more research I do, however, the more I support almost every aspect of this bill. I have gotten a lot of comments about how “Obama Care” works: where does funding come from, if taxpayer dollars will rise due to cost, and how the government could “force” Americans to buy health care insurance? This post will serve to clear up a few of the misconceptions running around and hopefully make an extremely complicated bill a bit easier to understand. Here are some concerns from my fellow bloggers:

“Why should I have to pay for other people’s preventative care, birth control, or health care in general?” : The answer is YOU DON’T. The funding for Obama Care, although complicated, does not come from tax payer dollars. The money comes from the premiums that people pay for insurance every month. For those citizens who have low income and cannot afford health care or to pay monthly premiums- these people are on a government funded insurance program called Medicaid. High income earners may experience an increase in taxes which will partially pay for Medicaid, but this is a tax that has been around for quite sometime so nothing is really changing.

“How can the government make everyone get health insurance. Isn’t that socialism?” No. It’s not. Due to the ruling in ACA that prevents insurers from turning people down due to pre-existing conditions, income levels or any other reason AND by preventing insurers from charging people more when they get sick- some citizens would say “In that case- I’m not going to get insurance until I’m sick or injured!” -NOT HAPPENING! To be fair, Obama Care instituted another mandate: all people must have health insurance whether it is through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or through company policies. If you choose not to get insurance, then you must pay a tax; the federal government upholds the right to tax the people of the US- making it completely legally and fair to insurance companies.

“Who’s going to pay for this?” The money will come from many different places. As stated previously, most of the money will come from premiums that the insured pay every month. Government regulators will make sure of this by checking that insurance companies are using the premium dollars for health care costs and less for administrative costs. New taxes on insurers and big businesses that offer high end benefit plans and people who make medical supplies and drugs, along with people who go tanning (depressing, I know) will also contribute to the funding of this expensive program. I am no idiot, I know that this program will cost money- however after many studies the Congressional Budget Office concludes that this health care bill will actually end up saving the US $124 billion over the course of 10 years!

I SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY urge all of you to take a look at this short video that simplifies Obama Care immensely! It really helped me and was so informative and clear. If you have anymore questions, I’d be happy to answer but due to our mess of a health care system today, I can’t see why you wouldn’t at least want to take a look!

Preventative Care: Why do we care?

Today, this blog is going to take a left turn to point out the importance of the preventative care services offered by the Affordable Care Act. This post aims to prove just how much women and men around the country would be gaining if this bill was fully enacted by President Obama remaining in office. So here it goes:

Up to this point- America’s health care system has been one that is based on a “sick system” – this is something I mentioned briefly in my analysis post, but the concept is pretty simple. You get sick, you take care of it. This election season, however, many voters across the country have been fighting for preventative health care reform. Preventative health care reform includes services aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in America and preventing more Americans from getting sick. Not only will these services benefit the country in dollar amounts, but it could save up to 100,000 lives per year.

With the Affordable Care Act, Obama made preventative care for both men and women a priority. If Obama stays in office these policies will be fully effective August 1st 2014. They include the following NO-COST services: well-woman and baby visits, mammograms, pap smears, counseling and testing for STDS, screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence, counseling and supplies for breast feeding, and screening for gestational diabetes. Men get to enjoy the fun, as well! HIV screenings, sexually transmitted infection prevention counseling, and syphilis screenings will be available for men at a NO-COST rate- no exclusion in this policy!

It’s been concluded that 52% of women on average, delay medical care they need because of the cost. Results of this are undetected illnesses and a build of bills that could have been prevented. Contrastingly, 32% of women give up basic needs, such as food and clothing in order to pay for health care expenses. By getting Americans to take care of their health by encouraging these services at a no cost rate, we hope to reduce the amount deaths due to chronic illness and cancer per year. Everyone deserves the right to a healthy life, don’t you think so? The Affordable Care Act does too- therefore it’s imperative to keep it enacted.

Pay Attention Boys, this involves you too!

Up to this point, I have made a couple of things clear. I am a woman, I’m a firm believer in women’s rights, and I think Obamacare (because of its benefits regarding females and families) is the way to go. HOWEVER, it’s time to stress to the opposite sex that this involves them too. Yes, boys- this is your money we’re talking about also because this is NOT just a women’s rights issue, it is an economic issue, as well.

So the 2012 contraception mandate- I have discussed this in detail, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, it is the legislative ruling that all employers, with the exception of churches and houses of worship, must offer insurance plans that cover free birth control coverage to its employees. So how does this relate to the economy? Well, in more ways than one.

1. Family planning is a serious discussion that takes place in households throughout American everyday. The many concerns involved in having a baby often include when and if the mother or father will go back to work or if they will stay home to raise the child, whether maternity/paternity leave is paid for, how parents will pay for the child and if a family can afford the birth control needed to plan their family? Due to the fact that women make up 50% of our workforce and 60% are the breadwinners for their families- it is clear that women play a key role in our economic growth.  Our economy needs women in the workforce, therefore families need contraception to plan their family, responsibly.

2. When teens, single women or families get pregnant without plan and they cannot afford to keep their child- often times the state is what ends up paying for this child. This involves every taxpayer- male and female’s money. If free birth control is offered, more women are likely to use it, reducing the risk of unplanned pregnancy and the cost to take care of these children.

3. When pregnancies are planned responsibly, mother and children are inevitably healthier. This not only reduces individual health care costs, but consequently reduces health care costs for society.

The initial shock of women’s reproductive rights being a big issue in this election and concerns that we should be talking about the economy rather than birth control is a joke. They are all intertwined. Children are expensive, for families and for taxpayers- so think about that when you try to say this issue doesn’t involve you. 😉

Who’s Gonna Pay For Me?