Charles Gaba's blog

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The data below comes from the GitHub data repositories of Johns Hopkins University, except for Utah, which comes from the GitHub data of the New York Times due to JHU not breaking the state out by county but by "region" for some reason.

Important:

  • Every county except those in Alaska lists the 2020 Biden/Trump partisan lean; Alaska still uses the 2016 Clinton/Trump results (the 2020 Alaska results are only available by state legislative district, not by county/borough for some reason...if anyone has that info let me know)
  • I define a "Swing District" as one where the difference between Biden & Trump was less than 6.0%. FWIW, there's just 187 swing districts (out of over 3,100 total), with around 33.7 million Americans out of 332 million total, or roughly 10.2% of the U.S. population.
  • For the U.S. territories, Puerto Rico only includes the case breakout, not deaths, which are unavailable by county equivalent for some reason.

With those caveats in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 (click image for high-res version).

  • Blue = Joe Biden won by more than 6 points
  • Orange = Donald Trump won by more than 6 points
  • Yellow = Swing District (Biden or Trump won by less than 6 points)
Access Health CT Logo

Access Health CT has officially announced a new Special Enrollment Period for Connecticut residents to take advantage of the newly-expanded ACA subsidies under the American Rescue Plan:

Access Health CT Announces A Special Enrollment Period Allowing New and Existing Customers To Receive Significantly Greater Financial Help At Virtually Every Income Level

Under the American Rescue Plan, new and existing customers who buy health insurance through the Marketplace will become eligible to receive increased financial help to reduce their monthly payments

President Biden, Vice-President Harris, Speaker Pelosi

As expected, the healthcare section of President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress (technically not a State of the Union, but close enough) included a call for making the subsidies expanded under the American Rescue Plan permanent as part of the American Families Plan.

Also as expected, he did not call for other major healthcare reform priorities to be baked into the #AmFamPlan.

He did, however, spend significant time calling for those other priorities to be passed separately from the AFP...considerably more than he did on the subsidies themselves.

Before I get into the proposed healthcare policies: Early on in the speech, Biden gave a shout-out to his Administration for the success of the current, ongoing COVID Special Enrollment Period:

White House Logo

After weeks of anticipation and jockeying for policy priorities to be included by various advocacy groups, President Biden is set to formally roll out the American Families Plan at a speech to a joint session of Congress this evening...the first such speech of his administration, falling just ahead of his 100th day in office.

The first half of Biden's larger "American Infrastructure Plan" is the "American Jobs Plan" which addresses "hard" infrastructure like road & bridge construction/repairs, green energy investment, broadband access, overhauling our clean water system and so forth.

The #AmFamiliesPlan comprises the second half, and includes the following:

South Dakotans Decide Healthcare

 

Back in January, I. noted that:

...over the past few years, the voters of some of those states have decided to take it upon themselves to force their legislators/governors to expand Medicaid anyway, via statewide ballot initiative campaigns:

Kaiser Family Foundation Logo

With the urgent push by an unusually wide array of Congressional Democrats in both the House and Senate to lower the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 60 (or 55), the Kaiser Family Foundation posted an analysis of what that might look like in real-world terms for the newly-eligible enrollees, and the results, while not surprising, are pretty striking when presented the way they are in the KFF study:

Protect Our Care Logo

This morning, healthcare reform advocacy organization Protect Our Care held a webinar in which they went over the results of a new national survey of 1,200 Americans conducted a couple of weeks ago called, simply enough, "Next Steps on Healthcare: What Voters Want".

For the most part, none of the results are terribly surprising:

  • Lowering the cost of healthcare and expanding affordable health insurance coverage is a top priority for a large majority of voters.
  • There's strong support across the board for three major healthcare proposals:
    • Lowering the cost of health insurance for people who purchase coverage on their own
    • Giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices
    • Giving low-income Americans who are uninsured the opportunity to obtain health insurance at little or no cost

Several of the questions were more about the framing of the issues--that is, which specific types of messaging work best.

Covered California Logo

This just in from Covered California...

  • The American Rescue Plan provides new and expanded financial help that will dramatically lower health care premiums for people who purchase health insurance through Covered California.
  • Nearly 200,000 San Diegans, including the uninsured and people enrolled directly through a health insurance carrier, stand to benefit from the new financial help that is now available.
  • In order to maximize their savings, San Diegans need to enroll before the end of this month so they can begin benefitting from the new law on May 1.
  • Many people will be able to get a high-quality plan for as little as $1 per month, while currently insured consumers could save up to $700 per month on their coverage if they sign up through Covered California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced that San Diegans have until April 30 to sign up for health insurance coverage, and start benefitting from new financial help available through the American Rescue Plan as early as May 1st. The landmark law provides new and increased federal tax credits that will lower health care premiums for an estimated 200,000 people in the region.

Everybody Knows Charlie

 

A couple of years ago I wrote about my friend Rebecca Wood and her adorable daughter Charlie:

Rebecca recently testified in front of Congress on behalf of Medicare for All. Instead of trying to tell her and Charlie's story second-hand, I'm presenting her written testimony verbatim (with her permission). It's a testament to both of their strength and preserverence, but also to how unbelievably screwed up our healthcare system can be.

We may disagree about the the best route forward to achieve it, but our ultimate goal is pretty much the same: Universal, quality, comprehensive healthcare coverage for everyone in the country, without the bureaucratic paperwork nightmare which so many people face in dealing with the system today.

The trailer above is a documentary in progress being made about Rebecca, Charlie and the ongoing fight for universal healthcare coverage:

Covered California Logo

This just in from Covered California...

  • The American Rescue Plan provides new and expanded financial help that will dramatically lower health insurance premiums for people who purchase coverage through Covered California
  • More than 400,000 Asian Americans in California, including the uninsured and people enrolled directly through a health insurance carrier, stand to benefit from the new financial help that is now available.
  • In order to maximize their savings, consumers need to enroll before the end of this month so they can begin benefitting from the new law on May 1.
  • Many Asian Americans will be able to get a high-quality plan for as little as $1 per month, while currently insured consumers could save up to $700 per month on their coverage if they sign up through Covered California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced the state’s Asian American community has until April 30 to sign up for health insurance coverage, and start benefitting from new financial help available through the American Rescue Plan as early as May 1. The landmark law provides new and increased federal tax credits that will lower health care premiums for more than 400,000 Asian Americans in California.

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