Biden Reducing Childcare Costs; Free COVID Shots for Uninsured; Progressives Seek Change in Supreme Court; DACA Immigrants Health Care

Senate Democrats, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Progressives To Seek Much Needed Changes in U.S. Supreme Court

The recently reported multi-million dollars in free transportation, lodging, and meals Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his conservative activist wife Ginni received over the decades from Texas real estate billionaire Harlan Crow as well as what appear to be a large number of politically- motivated rulings has ignited a movement by more than two dozen progressive organizations to demand an overhaul of the U.S. Supreme Court. To be formally announced next week, the coalition will seek to increase the number of justices and also create term limits. “An unaccountable, unethical majority on the Supreme Court is behaving as if the rules don’t apply to them,” campaign organizers said in a prepared statement.  

Uninsured Americans To Receive Free COVID Shots Later This Year

Free Covid-19 shots for an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans should become available later this year. President Biden’s administration is setting aside approximately $1 billion for a new program intended to serve this population after the current Covid-19 emergency declaration ends on May 11. The program will also cover some of the costs of Covid-19 treatments for uninsured people. New reformulated booster shots for adults 65 and older and those with weakened immune systems should also become available in late summer. Costs of the shots are expected to be covered by Medicaid, Medicare and most private health insurance providers. The Network Open Journal of the American Medical Association also published a study about the prevalence of diabetes. Research shows that individuals who had been treated for Covid-19 had a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Marijuana Can Be Addictive, National Survey Says

For thousands of New Orleanians, smoking marijuana is a social activity often enjoyed on a daily basis. According to a 2021 national survey on health and drug abuse, almost 20 percent of Americans 12 years of age and older use cannabis. In addition more than 5 percent of teenagers and adults qualify as having “cannabis abuse disorder, ”shorthand for addiction. Symptoms of the disease (like other related addictions) include loss of control, interpersonal consequences, risky use and physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms can include insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depressed mood and decreased appetite, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. The disease mostly impacts young people and there are no medications available for treatment. Oftentimes psychiatrists can help treat the underlying symptoms.

Transgender Men May Soon Be Admitted to Women’s Prisons in New York State

Male prisoners in New York State who identify as women may soon be able to serve their sentences in women’s prison facilities even if they are incarcerated for sex crimes against women. New York’s legislature is currently debating a bill that would place prisoners in facilities that match their self-attested gender identity. New York’s women’s facilities already house biological women that identify as transgender.

DACA Immigrants Could Receive Expanded Health Care Coverage

Almost 600,000 immigrants who came to America as young children could receive expanded health care benefits under a new federal program. Already protected from deportation, these young people would become eligible for health insurance through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.  If they are poor, dreamers will be able to qualify for Medicaid in most states. Those with more available resources will qualify for subsidies for private coverage in state marketplaces.  

Visits to Untrustworthy Websites Continue To Decrease

Voters are becoming much more sophisticated in the websites they visit, according to a study by Stanford University’s Social Media Lab that was published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. Numerous untrustworthy websites came online created in advance of the 2016 presidential election that provided false narratives. By 2020 the number of Americans visiting their sites vastly decreased due to content labeling and media literacy training. In 2020, nearly 68 million Americans logged onto websites that were not credible including and The January 6, 2021 riots in Washington, D.C. can be traced in part to misinformation about election fraud. Older Americans are more likely than young people to visit misinformation sites.

Same-Sex Marriage Case Up for Debate in India

India’s Supreme Court is hearing arguments brought by a small but committed group of couples who are trying to change the country’s draconian laws that prohibit same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage is outlawed in most Asian countries. LGBTQ rights have improved in India in the last five years. Consensual gay sex is no longer illegal and rights have been granted to India’s previously marginalized transgender community. Privacy is now also a constitutional right of all Indians.

Biden Prioritizes Reducing Child Care Costs

In an effort to actualize an unfulfilled campaign promise in advance of the next presidential campaign, President Biden has ordered federal agencies to identify ways to create more accessible and less expensive child care. “Almost every federal agency will collectively take over 50 actions to provide more peace of mind for families and dignity for case workers,” said Biden at a recent White House ceremony. The expected actions – including the lowering of some co-pays and stretching Medicare and Medicaid funding – will not fulfill Biden’s promise to fully cover child care costs for low-income Americans. Providing an additional $200 billion for universal preschool is also an outstanding issue. Congress has been reluctant to fund both these areas.

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