And a Happy Friday, denizens of the Internet. Hope you are somewhere warm today, as we freeze our tushes off here in NYC. Have to be honest with you, not a whole lot of good news going on in America right now for me to bring to you on Good News Friday this week, or maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places.
Between this ridiculous, painful and wholly unnecessary government shutdown, and other events (poor Andy Murray has to retire from tennis because of injury, that bummed me out Thursday night) there’s a lot of bleakness.
But there’s plenty of goodness, too, which I want to share. First off, let’s start in my home state of New York, where our progressive mayor of NYC, Bill de Blasio, announced a pretty major and drastic program that will ensure that undocumented immigrants and low-income city residents who don’t qualify for insurance will still receive medical treatment.
According to this New York Times story, “New York City already provides health care to the uninsured and the undocumented through its hospital system, a roughly $8 billion behemoth whose history of service to the poor, regardless of an ability to pay, can be traced to the founding of Bellevue Hospital in the 18th century. A person without medical insurance has long been able to go to a city emergency room and get care, free of charge, or to seek a primary-care physician.
But the financially challenged system did not work well to connect patients to doctors, Mr. de Blasio said. He promised a streamlined approach — complete with a hotline and dedicated membership card — and one that would be focused on the primary-care doctor, rather than the emergency room.”
More details here: “The mayor’s proposal is a mix of insurance and direct spending, and Mr. de Blasio said it would take about two years to get it fully running. The city already has a kind of public option for health insurance for low-income New Yorkers, through an insurance plan run by city hospitals known as MetroPlus.
The new proposal would improve that coverage, which already insures some 516,000 people, and aim to reach more of those who are eligible, such as the young and uninsured, and others who qualify but have not applied.
It would also provide additional direct city spending, at least $100 million per year when fully implemented, officials said, for the city’s hospital system to support care for those without insurance. “
This is outstanding. Health care should be a right, not a privilege in this country of so much wealth, and I’m glad New York City, and many other cities and states around the country, are finally starting to realize that.
I’ve been critical, as have many of my fellow liberals, of de Blasio’s, shall we say, less than inspiring five years as mayor. But this is a big step in the right direction.
**Next up today, I thought this was very awesome. Jahmaul Allen, a ramp agent for American Airlines, saw a child crying on the airplane right in front of him last week. So he decided to start dancing to try to cheer the kid up.
Hey, he had me laughing. Very cool little moment. Isn’t life really all about the cool little moments that occur in between what we call “the big stuff?”
To quote Linda Richman from “Saturday Night Live,” “Discuss.”
**And finally today, I love a good “people help out a teacher” story, and this one is definitely a little different. A public school teacher working in inner-city Chicago flew to Florida to visit her parents over the holidays, and had a life-changing trip on her flight.
Bermudez talked to her seatmate, a stranger, about life and funding in inner-city schools, and after a few minutes, the man asked to get her information; the company he works for likes to donate items to schools like hers, he explained. Maybe they could work something out.
The kind gesture already made her flight a heartening one. But then things really took a turn. Bermudez felt a tap on her shoulder.
The man sitting behind her apologized for having eavesdropped on her conversation — then handed her a stack of cash.
The bill on top was $100.
One thing has led to another, and other passengers got involved, and the story went viral, and Bermudez’s school has gotten $4,000 in donations from total strangers.
It’s really a beautiful story; read the rest here.