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04/19/2007


Ugandan Health Minister: Gays Will Still Get Care Despite Harsh Anti-Gay Law

On Wednesday, Uganda’s health minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, told reporters that gays will continue to be eligible for medical services despite the country’s recent passage of a law imposing harsh sentences against gays and those who fail to report them. The AP reports:

RugundaRugunda said that a clause which would have required medical workers to report homosexuals to police was removed from the bill that became law on Monday.

"We are saying that as far as health is concerned, they are at liberty," he said, talking about gays. "They should give full disclosure to their nurses ... We do not discriminate against patients on the basis of sexual orientation. That's why we are encouraging gay Ugandans to take advantage of the health systems."

Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent gay activist in Uganda, said that extreme prejudice against gays who seek health care will continue to be a problem despite Ruganda’s assurances. 

"I once went to a clinic where I stayed in the queue (line) for hours and people who came after me were being served," he said. "You stand in the queue and they ignore you. And you hear them saying, 'That is a gay person. We can't serve him. We shall not serve him.'"

On Tuesday, the country's Red Pepper tabloid published a list of "Uganda's 200 Top Homos" 


Anti-Gay Bigots Die Younger: Study

Young Westboro protesters

Anti-gay bigots die younger. By about 2.5 years, according to a study performed by researchers at Columbia University. The study surveyed over 20,000 heterosexual individuals from the years 1988 to 2008, 4,000 of whom had died by the end of the study, and asked them questions like: 

  • Suppose a man who admits that he is a homosexual wanted to make a speech in your community. Should he be allowed to speak, or not?
  • Do you think that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?

When searching for the connection between anti-gay attitudes and shorter lifespan, the researchers were able to make some educated guesses. One theory suggested that anger was a major factor as anger can contribute to cardiovascular issues such as hypertension and coronary heart disease, while another figured that chronic stress was a factor as stress is detrimental to overall health. In either case, the findings are preliminary and researchers still have to dig further, but in the meantime it would seem that abandoning anti-gay animus could be beneficial to one's life expectancy.


Tony Perkins Angry That Gays Are Signing Up For Obamacare

PerkinsBecause Tony Perkins and his ilk aren't happy unless LGBT citizens are kept sick, oppressed, and alone, the FRC is upset that gays are signing up for Obamacare. Reacting to the Out2Enroll campaign, an independent movement targeting the disproportionately uninsured LGBT community, Tony Perkins launched into a rant about how "a high risk pool fed by even higher risk behavior" would destroy the medical care system due to the increased medical demand. Perhaps it's somewhat comforting to know that it's not just the "cross-dressing men" who he thinks aren't deserving of health care, but everyone who isn't already a young, healthy individual. Perkins said in part:

As taxpayers are about to find out, the system wasn't designed to withstand the volume of elderly, sick, and at-risk patients most likely to enroll. Either the exchanges will buckle under the weight or the government (i.e. taxpayers) will start shouldering even higher costs to compensate for the medical demand.

So in short, anyone who needs health care insurance is a drain on the system for the healthy people who evidently need it more.


Railroad Companies to Offer Health Care Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses of Employees

BNSF trainThe National Railway Labor Conference, which represents the major railroad companies in the U.S., announced last week that they will begin providing health care benefits to same-sex spouses of their employees. The decision came a day after legally married, gay employees in Washington filed a federal lawsuit against the company, alleging violations of the federal Equal Pay Act. ABC News reports:

Same-sex spouses will be eligible for dependent health care coverage starting Jan. 1, the statement said. "While this is not a benefit required by law or under current collective bargaining agreements, the railroads agreed with labor to provide the benefit in light of recent changes allowing same sex couples to access same federal tax benefits provided to other married couples," the conference said.

Cleveland Stockmeyer, lawyer for the gay couples, said that the company's health plan describes eligible dependants as "your husband or wife," without expressly excluding same-sex spouses. He argued that in addition to health care benefits, the couples also need to be compensated for the emotional and financial toll of spending months without benefits while fighting the company to have their spouses added.

"It shouldn't take a federal lawsuit to make a national company do the right thing," Stockmeyer said. "If they tell me or my clients the benefits will be offered, and if they actually do it, we'll believe it. But they still need to account for denying them benefits for one year."


GOP Bot Rep. Renee Ellmers Will Not Accept Obamacare Success: VIDEO

Ellmers

The Affordable Care Act is running into its fair share of problems in terms of its web presence due to a rush-job of a website, but overall the act appears to be succeeding at its intended job of helping American citizens find affordable health care insurance options. CNN interviewed Kentucky governor Steve Beshear about how the program was working in his home state, and evidently it's doing rather well with approximately 1,000 people signing up daily through Kentucky's own program.

When CNN then interviewed North Carolina Representative Renee Ellmers, the facts of Kentucky's success could do nothing to dissuade her from the talking point that Obamacare is "[A] failure at the greatest level and should be an embarassment to the president and his administration."

The only legitimate complaint that Ellmers used was how abominable the Obamacare website actually is. The rest of her arguments were either hopelessly vague, such as having a nameless constituent whose premiums allegedly increased by 400% - though from what to what was not disclosed - or just flat-out nonsensical. Governor Beshear made mention that Medicare took a good two or three years to work out the kinks when it was implemented 50 years ago, which Ellmers somehow twisted into indignant outrage that she is not going to wait 50 years for Obamacare to be functional.

CNN host Carol Costello deserves a fair amount of praise for holding Ellmers feet to the fire and calling out the representative's mealy-mouthed attempts at civility, responding to Ellmers' "I appreciate the governor's remarks," with an emphatic, "You don't!"

The video of the interview between Costello and Ellmers can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "GOP Bot Rep. Renee Ellmers Will Not Accept Obamacare Success: VIDEO" »


Obama Speaks About Health Care Tech Problems, Assists Woman Who Gets Sick During Speech: VIDEO

Speech_obama

President Obama spoke about problems with the website for the Affordable Health Care Act in a speech from the Rose Garden today:

“We did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a Web site. That’s not what this was about,” Mr. Obama told supporters during 25-minute remarks in the Rose Garden.

The president acknowledged that HealthCare.gov had not provided the easy opportunity to sign up for health insurance that White House officials promised for months. But he said that some people had managed to get insurance, and he urged critics of the law to support it.

“It’s time for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hard-working, middle-class families are rooting for its success,” he said.

Near the end of the speech the President came to the assistance of a woman behind him who was clearly getting ready to faint.

"This is what happens when I talk too long," the President said.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama Speaks About Health Care Tech Problems, Assists Woman Who Gets Sick During Speech: VIDEO" »


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