monday pretty big linked list: call about health care!, drug overdoses, VW is tricky

Health care stuff

– Sorry to keep beating this drum, but: Senate GOP won’t release draft health care bill – they don’t want people to read it because it is presumably terrible for people with preexisting conditions, etc. Please call your senators – here’s how! Ask them not to support a bill that would leave tens of millions of Americans who currently have health insurance without it.

How Alaska fixed Obamacare – an interesting look at how reinsurance stopped a possible “death spiral” in Alaska.

Maps Show A Dramatic Rise In Health Insurance Coverage Under ACA – Obamacare isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what we had. (also: hey Texas, maybe you should expand Medicaid?)

Nevada’s legislature just passed a radical plan to let anybody sign up for Medicaid – looks like the governor hasn’t decided whether to sign it or not, but: neat!

Other stuff

You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic? – spoiler alert: it is very bad.
  – Related: I used to support legalizing all drugs. Then the opioid epidemic happened. is an interesting point.

Inside VW’s Campaign of Trickery – yikes, that is damning evidence.

Here’s a Very Powerful Study That Bolsters the Lead-Crime Hypothesis – interesting stuff!

Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem

The Last Person You’d Expect to Die in Childbirth – super depressing story here. The US has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and I was expecting this to be because of funding or taxes or abortion (somehow), but it sounds like it’s not really any of these. Which is good because it means we can fix it! (right?) (thanks Jessica!)

Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove – check out USAFacts! If I had more time and could think of a good angle, I would make an app using this data, and then no one would download it.

These days in baseball, every batter is trying to find an angle – neat visualization of launch angles in baseball

7 reasons why today’s left should be optimistic – hooray!

For an Inclusive Culture, Try Working Less – this is a good point…

Texans: call Senators Cornyn and Cruz to save healthcare!

A few weeks ago, the House passed the AHCA (aka TrumpCare, aka the American Health Care Act), which is terrible for reasons I’ve gone into before. (why it’s bad, why essential health benefits are good) The CBO scored the bill and estimated that 23 million people will lose their health care if the bill passes, and people with preexisting conditions may have to pay higher premiums (like, way higher). It is bad!

The Senate is now working on a health care bill – they say they’re going to “start from scratch”, so who knows what they’ll come up with. Also:

Senators Cornyn and Cruz are both involved in this effort (per item 2 here) – let them know what you think!

I had a hard time thinking about what to say since it’s not as straightforward as “vote/don’t vote for this bill”, but the suggested text from that item is good:

“Hello, my name is [NAME] from [TOWN]. I know the Senator is on the working group of the new healthcare bill. The House’s plan is a disaster. The ACA isn’t perfect, but it has expanded access to coverage to millions of Americans. Does the Senator pledge that the new bill will allow those millions to keep their insurance, and will contain no loopholes for insurers to charge more for pre-existing conditions?”

Senator Cornyn’s numbers are: (512)469-6034 (Austin office) and (202)224-2934 (DC office)
Senator Cruz’s numbers are: (512)916-5834 (Austin office) and (202)224-5922 (DC office)

The Senate is in recess this week so call today!

We’re building a house in Pflugerville!

So…yeah! It was a surprisingly long process (we started in early March and just signed a week and a half ago), and we got pretty far through three different floor plans for reasons that weren’t really our fault.

We’re going through the options process, aka “pick out everything about the interior of your house even the stuff you don’t care about!” which is half fun and half overwhelming.

Our main impetus to move was having more space for Vanessa and a park/pool in walking distance of the house. I think I’m going to be pretty happy with what we end up with.

One of my big obstacles for moving was being farther away from work/moving out of Austin proper. And…well, I’m still coming to terms with that. But it’s really not that far away from work, I’ve just gotten a bit spoiled from being so close. (~10 minute drive most days)

Anyway, hopefully before the end of the year we’ll have a new house! And then get to move! And fix up and sell our current house! Wait that all sounds like a lot of work!