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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

"Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value."

Joe Biden likes to quote his father.  Yesterday at the Philadelphia event to unveil his 2024 budget, he did it again. "Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value" his father used to say.
 
Yesterday, I detailed some things in his budget here. Let's look at a few more items.

  • Strengthens the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program
    • Allows Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate additional rebates back to Medicaid programs from drug companies and improves purchasing power of the states and Medicaid programs.  Background - Passed in 1990, the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program (MDRP) allows the government to negotiate and lower drug prices.  More on the MDRP at KFF.
    • Who is helped by this budget item - the state Medicaid programs, low income people on Medicaid, pregnant and postpartum women, children on various Medicaid like programs.  Drugs on a typical Medicaid formulary are incredibly inexpensive and frequently free.  This helps Medicaid patients, who are low income avoid the soul-crushing choices between food, rent or medications and healthcare.
  • Lower Medicaid Spending by Expanding Access to Prevention and Treatment Options for HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis C
    • Will lower Medicaid costs by $10 billion by improving access to HIV prevention and care programs, including access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP), among Medicaid beneficiaries.  
    • Who is helped by this budget item - unlike the Tennessee Department of Health, which rejected federal funds for HIV services in January 2023, this budget item will lower the cost of the prevention of HIV and treatment of HIV and Hep C.  As a healthcare professional, I can attest that people can contract HIV and Hep C without having participated in any of the "abnormal" behaviors that the right wing obsesses about.  For instance, someone who had surgery in the 1980s may have contracted HIV or Hep C because medical science did not have the blood bank screening ability that we have today.  Guess how much current Hep C drugs cost ?  A 12 week treatment course (one tab a day) costs approximately $80,000.  
  • Lowers Health Care Costs by making Biden's Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduction of premium costs PERMANENT
    • Biden previously reduced the yearly premium costs of ACA health insurance by $800.  Now he wants to make it permanent.
  •  Reduces Prescription Drug Costs for All Americans
    • Increases Medicare negotiation power to lower drug costs.
    • The Budget also proposes to limit Medicare Part D cost-sharing for high-value generic drugs used for certain chronic conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol to no more than $2.
    • For the commercial market, the Budget includes proposals to curb inflation in prescription drug prices and cap the prices of insulin products at $35 for a monthly prescription. 
    • Who is helped by this budget item - Medicare patients (at least 65 million) and all non-Medicare diabetics who use insulin (5.1 million).
  • Increases Affordable Housing Supply and Reduces Costs for New Homeowners and Expands Access to Homeownership and Expands Access to Affordable Rent
    • The Budget includes $59 billion in mandatory funding and tax incentives aimed at increasing the affordable housing supply.
    • The Budget provides $32.7 billion to maintain services for all currently assisted families and expand assistance to an additional 50,000 households, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence or other forms of gender-based violence.
    • The Budget also includes $10 billion in mandatory funding to incentivize state, local, and regional jurisdictions to make progress in removing barriers to affordable housing developments, such as restrictive zoning.
    • Expands the Housing Choice Vendor program for another 200,000 households.
    • Who is helped by this budget item - Maslow noted that shelter is one of the primary and base  physiological needs of all humans.  Enough said.
There are many more examples in his budget but you probably see a pattern here.  

What are Joe Biden's values ? 

Just look at his budget.





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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII