The Longest Journey

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Here's A handy, if rudimentary, FAQ for people who haven't been following this stuff. Also, here's an old, but helpful, post by Ezra on the exchanges. One reason why it's very hard for me to get with the "kill the bill" sentiment is this:

Federal subsidies are meant to make health insurance affordable for lower-income Americans who cannot now afford to pay premiums. So under the Senate bill, individuals and families who earn less than four times the federal poverty level and do not have access to employer-sponsored insurance will receive tax credits to subsidize health insurance.

Using the 2009 federal poverty level, that works out to any individual earning below $43,320, a couple below $58,280, a family of three below $72,240 or a family of four earning less than $88,200.

Anyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $14,079 for an individual or $28,665 for a family of four) would be eligible to enroll in Medicaid.
And then this chart which looks at families up to 400 percent of the poverty line. Two things here: first, while I don't want need Obama or his people going around saying this, the fact is that this is going to help a lot of people in Harlem. I hate the phrase "wine track," but Ron Brownstein's race/class critique of the "Kill The Bill" crowd makes a good point.

Second, a look at African-American history shows that the legal fight--from the banning of the slave trade to affirmative action--was long and plagued with missteps. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in the Union--but if you were in, or made your way to, occupied territory it was a godsend. For most of its existence, the Fourteenth Amendment was effectively flouted by half the country. But it was also the basis for Brown v. Board.

The war is long. When you've outlasted Strom Thurmond, Joe Lieberman is cake.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2009/12/the-longest-journey/32447/