Arif and Ben talk about their experiences at their respective cities’ Pride parades as well as some of the issues that have made their way into the headlines when it comes to Pride. After that, they talk about the clearly broken Senate health care bill and it’s odds of passing as they see it today.

Use the audio player above or download the episode directly. The audio player is also embedded throughout the article.We’re now on iTunes and Stitcher. Alternatively, you can subscribe using our RSS feed.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter. Arif Hasan is @ArifHasanNFL and Ben Natan @thebennatan, and the show itself is @wideleftpodcast.

Show Notes (Pride)

Heres’ the statement from the Chicago Dyke March about the incident, where they shared their accounting of events, which included input from Jewish allies about the actions of the protesters who were kicked out. Reports from the march are difficult to come by, and this tweet thread paints a more complicated picture of what occurred.

The story from those sources argues that people who were removing the word “Palestine” from their chants in the protest were asked to leave because the protest was about colonialism at large and Palestine was part of it. That they had flags that also had Magen David’s was immaterial, according to the Dyke march—as some who were there also bore that symbol without being asked to leave.

These could easily be after-the-fact justifications, as the event description does not mention Israel, Palestine or colonialism, but does mention anti-racism and anti-violence. Given that the story from the organizers has changed several times, including an incorrect characterization of what the Magen David is, it’s difficult to give the group leeway.

Their freleased statement may have been about the behavior of the removed protesters, but spokespeople initially mentioned the flag itself being perceived as a threat. While there are other corroborations (like this video) about the protesters’ specific behavior, the initial statement about the actual reasons for removing the protesters sticks out. The protesters themselves deny changing the chants.

It is important to note that the protesters who were kicked out include a member of the organization A Wider Bridge, who have been protested by the community before for engaging in “pinkwashing,” an allegation that alleges that Israel or pro-Israeli groups use Israel’s advancements in queer rights as cover for other human rights abuses. Those protests and allegations for A Wider Bridge may not have much basis, as there isn’t much that connects that group to denial of Israeli injustices against Palestinians.

The progressive Jewish community, including queer Jews, have protested in the past this mistreatment of A Wider Bridge. Roberta Kaplan, who was a member of the team that argued United States v. Windsor in front of the Supreme Court—ultimately invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act—was outraged at a prior dismissal of A Wider Bridge.

“The organization ‘A Wider Bridge’ is one of the most progressive voices in all of Israel, both on LGBT issues and Palestinian issues,” she told me. “And regardless of whatever your views on those issues are, by essentially excluding that kind of a speaker from an LGBT event, I think—and I assume this was unintentional—but I think what you’re saying is that no one affiliated with the State of Israel in any way is welcome at our event, and to me that’s a completely unacceptable statement.”

With a group whose history includes being unfairly excluded from LGBT spaces in the past, there’s reason to be skeptical of alternate reports of what happened at the Chicago Dyke March, including some of the after-the-fact reports received by the March itself.

Here’s an excellent post from a scholar in the field, reshared by a friend of mine on Facebook, about how the left engages in anti-Semitic practices under the guise of caring about the plight of Palestinians without interrogating the significant problems facing Palestinians in Arab countries or how a conversation about anti-Semitism can be derailed by questions about Palestine while missing the larger point.

The points about how the left uncritically accepts cases of anti-Muslim bigotry as largely true while litigating accusations anti-Semitic bigotry hits particularly hard—especially as this comes on the heels of 500 words written by me about the incident.

As for the other bit about Pride and the police, that story seems to have largely died down. That’s too bad given how the history of police brutality and the LGBT movement are intertwined. Here’s a post from a well-known local actor on the event.

The list of demands from those protesting TC Pride’s decision is below:

Twin Cities Pride has ignored and silenced marginalized voices such as trans, queer, gender non-conforming, black, indigenous, people of color, muslim, low-income, refugee, and undocumented folk. These list of demands come from transnational radical consciousness, from groups such as Black Lives Matter Toronto, No Justice No Pride, #NoDAPL, and Act Up! We bear witness of the trauma the mentioned communities have faced and strive for queer liberation! We have constructed these list of demands to take back what is ours!!!!! We are taking over these streets, because they are our streets! We refused to be silenced and demand recognition.


We demand that Twin Cities Pride honors the legacy and life of trans women of color and recognize Pride as the byproduct of their resistance of police brutality and repression

We demand Twin Cities Pride combats State violence with the total elimination of police and law enforcement

We demand Twin Cities Pride is accountable for their perpetuation of white supremacy and homonormativity and that they eradicate their normalization of these violent systems

We demand Twin Cities Pride provide an exclusive healing space at future events for indigenous and people of color to process, rest, and restorative justice

We demand Twin Cities Pride divests from all corporations as they promote the marginalization, exploitation, and criminalization of marginalized communities

We demand Twin Cities Pride funds and organizes a Town Hall alongside members from marginalized communities including but not limited to Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Native Lives Matter, and Justice4MarcusGolden

We demand Twin Cities Pride provide radical reparations via redistribution of resources and monetary compensation to grassroots organizations of the coalition’s choice

Two weeks ago, Katelyn Burns and I talked about that history of police brutality and it’s well worth listening to in light of that event.

If the famous Stonewall riots in New York City were the origin of this nation’s gay rights movement, the Tenderloin upheaval three years before was “the transgender community’s debut on the stage of American political history,” according to Stryker. “It was the first known instance of collective militant queer resistance to police harassment in United States history.”

Stonewall is often thought of as an uprising of gay men. In reality, “it was drag queens, Black drag queens, who fought the police at the famous Stonewall Inn rebellion in 1969,” wrote lesbian novelist and playwright Sarah Schulman in a 1985 novel. “Years later, a group of nouveau-respectable gays tried to construct a memorial to Stonewall in the park across from the old bar. The piece consisted of two white clone-like thin gay men and two white, young lesbians with perfect noses. They were made of a plaster-like substance, pasty and white as the people who paid for it.”

Also we, just last week, talked about police brutality against black people in the United States.

Show Notes (BCRA)

There’s not much on the mechanisms of this health care bill that haven’t already been covered in previous episodes from a technical standpoint. We talked about the mischaracterized successes of the flawed ACA in episode two and how it impacted the health care industry that, by-and-large improved access and health outcomes with some gaps in capability. Since that episode, the ACA has become more popular than it’s ever been.

Compare those results with what a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll had to say about Americans’ feelings towards the House bill.

The survey, released Thursday as Senate Republicans unveiled a draft of their own healthcare reform legislation, found that 41 percent of Americans say ObamaCare is a good idea while 38 percent say it is a bad idea.

By comparison, just 16 percent said they see the House GOP plan as a good idea — a 7-point drop from the 23 percent approval it had shortly after it was passed in April.

There are important tidbits from the show notes of episode two that I’ll share here.

Despite data about rising premiums generally, premiums are lower under the ACA than they would have been without it—a better benchmark. Not only that, more people are being covered, with more services being provided—meaning that, effectively, premiums have lowered nationally even if they haven’t in traditional measures—the average cost of plans may go up, but it’s easier for people to acquire coverage.

Which is to say, they have more purchasing power than they did before when it comes to health insurance and health care in general consumes less of their resources.

There’s other good evidence that this is true—states that embraced the ACA in some form, including expanding Medicaid with federal grants, saw a depression in prices. States the refused to expand Medicaid saw rates rise 9.6 points higher, on average.

States that fully accepted the ACA and expanded Medicaid, ran exchanges, and fit themselves on the established timeline saw substantially slower rate increases than that. The states that refused ACA saw their rates double relative to the states that fully embraced the ACA.

Not only that, states that embraced the ACA saw budget savings and more robust economic growth.

We also talked about the nitty gritty of the House bill in episode ten. One bit about health care outcomes and the United States is important to reiterate.

That was drawn upon research done by health care economist Aaron Carroll at the Incidental Economist. It comes from two ten-part series, the introductory piece to the first of which is here. It also is where a lot of the information about spending the most on health care comes from. This chart was perhaps the most useful in terms of describing how the United States spends far more than it needs to after accounting for country wealth:

There’s a lot to digest in the series, however. The second ten-part series deals with quality and health care outcomes, which you can find here.

The Washington Post has a piece on the “three numbers” you need to know with regards to the CBO’s report on the Senate’s health care bill. They are 22 million (the number of people who lose insurance who would otherwise be insured as a result of this bill), 280 percent (the percentage increase in the cost of insurance premiums for 64-year-olds making $26,500 a year) and $321 billion (how much the Senate bill reduces the deficit over the course of a decade.

Watch for why the deficit goes down. The CBO says the government mostly saves money by cutting some $772 billion in federal help for states to pay for Medicaid.

Can we trust the CBO? After all, they got it wrong in 2010, right? That’s not quite the case. The 2010 CBO estimate was incorrect because it projected a version of the bill where all states were required to expand Medicaid, not one where the states were allowed to opt-out of that provision—the version of the law that was actually in effect.

They are generally pretty accurate.

No prediction will ever be perfect, but for the most part, experts who have studied the CBO have found their projections to be largely sound.

For example, the National Tax Journal in 1988 concluded that short-run projections from the CBO do not contain bias. A 2000 report comparing the forecasting of the CBO and the Federal Reserve Board concluded that, “The most accurate forecasting is done by the CBO, with the Fed a close second.”

Even the CBO released its own report in November 2015 that looked at how accurate their predictions have been, as well as what factors have contributed to forecasting errors.

On average, between 1982 and 2014, the CBO overestimated two-year revenue forecasts by 1.1 percent and six-year projections by about 5.3 percent.

The New York Times has a report on the bill’s CBO score and some of the perils of it passing the Senate. Their vote count as of that story paints a bleak picture for Republicans and it’s becoming clearer that it may not be possible to construct a Senate-ready bill that pleases its members. A moderate version of the bill loses not just Rand Paul, but Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson. A conservative version loses Dean Heller, Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Rob Portman.

Senate Democrats may even get some help from the Koch brothers of all people.

There are also a number of processes that the Democrats could engage in that would gum up the works for health care until 2018. That’s well worth watching.

We said something similar about the House bill that suddenly passed, so stay wary.

You can read the bill at Vox, who have also constructed a better graphic than the one Trump tweeted out about Medicaid.

Medicaid is pretty significant; those that are arguing that Medicaid doesn’t help have misinterpreted an Oregon study that generally reports better health outcomes for those with Medicaid coverage over those without when Oregon was forced to use a lottery to determine recipients of a Medicaid expansion. While three indicators—blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar—were untouched after two years, those with health insurance reported far better health outcomes than those without.

The authors of that study found that in longer-ranging studies, Medicaid decreases mortality.

The body of evidence summarized here indicates that coverage expansions significantly increase patients’ access to care and use of preventive care, primary care, chronic illness treatment, medications, and surgery. These increases appear to produce significant, multifaceted, and nuanced benefits to health. Some benefits may manifest in earlier detection of disease, some in better medication adherence and management of chronic conditions, and some in the psychological well-being born of knowing one can afford care when one gets sick.

Such modest but cumulative changes — which one of us has called “the heroism of incremental care” — may not occur for everyone and may not happen quickly. But the evidence suggests that they do occur, and that some of these changes will ultimately help tens of thousands of people live longer lives. Conversely, the data suggest that policies that reduce coverage will produce significant harms to health, particularly among people with lower incomes and chronic conditions.

. . .

One study compared three states implementing large Medicaid expansions in the early 2000s to neighboring states that didn’t expand Medicaid, finding a significant 6% decrease in mortality over 5 years of follow-up. A subsequent analysis showed the largest decreases were for deaths from “health-care–amenable” conditions such as heart disease, infections, and cancer, which are more plausibly affected by access to medical care.

Meanwhile, a study of Massachusetts’ 2006 reform found significant reductions in all-cause mortality and health-care–amenable mortality as compared with mortality in demographically similar counties nationally, particularly those with lower pre-expansion rates of insurance coverage. Overall, the study identified a “number needed to treat” of 830 adults gaining coverage to prevent one death a year. The comparable estimate in a more recent analysis of Medicaid’s mortality effects was one life saved for every 239 to 316 adults gaining coverage.

The health care bill overall kills insurance access for so many people.