The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared this
year's Nobel Peace Prize with Al
Gore, recently released a
report detailing the negative environmental changes that will result from
climate change, including higher temperatures leading to increased deaths
from more severe heat waves, increased incidence of infectious
diseases, and severe damage to ecosystems. The IPCC report
warned that there were only eight years left to act to prevent the
worst effects of global warming.
I am unapologetically biased towards the consumer perspective. We
are not and should not be here to do what insurance companies or
pharmaceutical companies want. They have had their way. Now our day is
session, the Iowa legislature broke a long standing stalemate
and added sexual orientation to its civil rights laws.
427 makes it illegal to discriminate in employment, public
accomodation, credit, housing and education based on a person's sexual
orientation or gender identity. In passing the bill, the Iowa
legislature simply extended the protections they offer to everyone else to gay
and transgender citizens. As House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy
"This was not some sort of liberal social agenda. This is just saying
that under housing and employment, people shouldn't be discriminated against
because of their real or perceived sexual orientation."
Despite real progress over the last generation in overcoming discrimination in our society, the reality is that Americans are still regularly refused employment, housing or equal treatment under the law because of their nationality or the color of their skin. The numbers highlighting this racial discrimination are stark:
We spend more than twice on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet we don't have universal access and our outcomes are worse. The reason we don't have universal access to quality health care is that too much of our health care spending -- our premiums, co-pays, prescriptions -- is wasted on profits, CEO bonuses and inefficient health care.
With debt collection for medical bills a lead cause of bankruptcy for families
without health insurance, Families USA, in a
brief, highlight a range of policies states have enacted in recent years
to protect the uninsured and underinsured.
This week, an Arkansas bill to ban gay adoption
collapsed in the
House, after passing the state Senate earlier this month. In New
Hampshire, the state House
passed a bill affirming the right of gay couples to jointly adopt
children. Earlier this month, the Colorado House
approved a similar
adoption" bill in a bipartisan vote.