Poverty News Round Up

With the Gospel in one hand and a newspaper in the other:

The Newspaper:

1. The Affordable Care Act is now enrolling people for coverage, but it’s being overwhelmed with applicants:

The White House says that most of the delays have been a product of overwhelming traffic. The main Web site for the federal marketplace, HealthCare.Gov, has tallied more than 4.7 million visits in the first 24 hours of open enrollment.

2. Although traffic is causing some of the ACA’s problems, it also appears to have some real flaws:

Yes, the overwhelming crush of traffic is behind many of the Web site’s failures. But the Web site was clearly far, far from prepared for traffic at anywhere near these levels. That’s a planning flaw: The Obama administration badly underestimated the level of interest. The fact that the traffic is good news for the law doesn’t obviate the fact that the site’s inability to absorb that traffic is bad news for the law.

3. In Kentucky, which set up it’s own health care exchange, the response has been very positive.

“And the initial traffic was so heavy at Kentucky’s website where people can shop online for affordable health coverage, it crashed the system for the first several hours. By yesterday afternoon, the Kynect site was going gangbusters, reporting more than 1 million page views in just the second day of operation.

Early returns are in and it appears people are voting overwhelmingly in favor of the plan that will allow them to get decent, affordable health coverage.”

4. The latest numbers from Kentucky are overwhelming. From Gov. Beshear’s twitter account:

“New #kynect stats: 15K applications, 130K unique web visitors; 2.1 million page views, Have you checked http://kynect.ky.gov  yet?”

5. Unfortunately, not everyone is covered, because some states refuse to expand Medicaid Coverage:

“A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help.”

The Bible:

This week, we get Habukkuk’s prayer in the midst of turmoil. It’s a fitting prayer that looks out at the reality of the world and finds it full of injustice and suffering:

1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
1:3 Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
1:4 So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous– therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
2:1 I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.
2:3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.
2:4 Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

In the midst of a government shutdown caused by a battle over expanding health insurance to millions of the poor and near-poor  who need it, it is a good week to cry with Habukkuk, “How long?”

And yet, the righteous live by faith.  We have not lost the vision of the beloved community. Surely, it is coming. Amen.

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