Darts and laurels
Dart to attempts to suppress consumer information about the Affordable Care Act as implementation dates draw near. With the enrollment period for coverage through state exchanges set to begin next month, individuals seeking health insurance need information about options and costs, not obfuscation and obstructionism. Yet in some Republican-led states, including North Carolina, some GOP lawmakers appear in denial that the ACA exists. Worse, there’s an effort afoot to hinder the work of non-profits and other groups that are offering information and assistance to those interested in signing up through the exchanges coming online on Oct. 1. In a recent example, Florida health officials ordered county health departments across the state to ban counselors trained to help sign people up for health insurance from conducting outreach on their property. The ACA has withstood judicial review and more than 40 votes in Congress to repeal or de-fund the measure. Having failed in those attempts, Republican opponents are now trying to reduce participation, since the reform’s success hinges on drawing a large pool of participants across all age groups. Inevitably, any attempt to depress participation will hurt those who need help the most.
Laurels to those who participated in services observing the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As a letter to the Post lamented, turnout at some of these events has dwindled over the years. That’s more likely a function of too-busy lives than indifference toward those who perished in the attacks or lack of appreciation for the public-safety workers who stand ready to respond in future disasters. Still, let’s all resolve to do better next year. Meanwhile, you can still take part in today’s annual Remembrance Day at the Price of Freedom Museum, located at Weaver and Patterson roads in China Grove. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dart to news that more children are trying electronic cigarettes. In a recent national study, 7 percent of middle and high school students said they’d tried e-cigarettes, up from 3 percent in 2011. You might think that’s not a bad thing, since the vapor-producing e-cigarettes avoid the carcinogenic chemicals found in tobacco-burning cigarettes. But the electronic non-smokes do deliver a hit of nicotine, and some health experts are concerned they might entice more youngsters to take up smoking. Meanwhile, the study supports N.C. lawmakers’ action this year to join more than 20 other states that ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.