Helping Gamers Get Health Care Coverage (An Epic Win)

You heard it from Shaq himself: on Monday, December 12, the White House will host a competitive gaming event to help people sign up for health care coverage at HealthCare.gov. Tune in to twitch.tv/GetCovered to join in!

Millions of Americans participate in eSports (that’s Electronic Sports, or competitive video games) to connect with friends, to challenge themselves, to root for their favorite eSports team, and to be part of a rapidly growing community. In fact, more people now watch major eSports competitions than the number of people who watch the NBA finals or World Series.

As eSports grow in popularity and become increasingly mainstream, gamers are increasing in numbers and diversity. About 77 percent of men between ages 18-29 say that they play games, and so do 57 percent of women in the same age group.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 20 million Americans now know the peace of mind and financial security of having health insurance. Young adults had the highest uninsured rates before the Affordable Care Act and have seen the sharpest drop in uninsured rates since 2010. But millions of millennials remain uninsured, and many of those uninsured young adults could qualify for tax credits on the Health Insurance Marketplace to keep insurance affordable. In fact, most HealthCare.gov consumers can find a plan for under $75 a month, less than their cell phone bill.

Gamers, like everyone, deserve high-quality health care coverage. Engaging the expanding gamer community is part of the Administration’s effort to meet people where they are to help them find a health care plan that’s best for them. That’s why last year, many from the eSports industry, including ESL, Twitch.tv and GEER, helped launch an initiative to encourage more gamers to sign up for health care at HealthCare.gov. And this year, HHS has forged innovative partnerships with digital platforms to help young adults understand that quality, affordable health care is within reach.

I know the power of video games first hand, and how incredible the gaming community can be. In high school, I had severe health challenges that led to hospitalization (and fortunately my care was covered as a dependent under my parent’s plan). During my recovery after the hospital, I helped lead a guild in the popular multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. Playing the game was empowering; it gave me a community where I could be myself, and I met players who became lasting friends, like Aceris the Druid, who’s also a librarian in Boston, or Chyra the Healer, who’s also a Maker in Michigan. 

And we also absolutely rekt (humiliatingly defeated) our opponents in PvP (Player versus Player). The competitions brought us together, helped make our group a family, and made us part of a community. We looked out for each other. Gamers have other gamers’ backs FTW (For the Win).

So join us and members of the gaming community for a live-streamed event at twitch.tv/GetCovered on Monday, December 12, and help your fellow gamers #GetCovered at HealthCare.gov.

Erik Martin is a Policy Advisor for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Continue reading…

 

Harry Reid: Trump ‘Not as Bad as I Thought He Would Be’

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 23:  U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks at a campaign rally with U.S. President Barack Obama for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Cheyenne High School on October 23, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Obama urged Nevadans to vote early one day after a record-breaking start to early voting in the swing state with almost 40,000 people going to the polls ahead of the November 8 general election.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Thursday on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had a different tone on President-elect Donald Trump than he had throughout the presidential campaign. Reid, who is leaving the U.S. Senate, told NPR’s Rachel Martin that Trump wasn’t as “bad” as he thought he would be. “Well, I have to say this — he’s not as bad as I thought he would be,” Reid said. “Some of his cabinet selections I’m not wild about because I’m not going to be able to vote on them. I’ve been very careful in not criticizing them individually.” Reid pointed to what he perceived to be Trump’s softening on repealing current President Barack Obama’s executive order that protects so-called DREAMers against immigration law enforcement action. “[W]e heard from Trump that one of the first things he was going to do is repeal [the DREAMers] executive order. In an interview he had with Time magazine in the last day or two, he said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to do that, you know those young people deserve to stay here.’ He’s not going to prosecute Hillary Clinton criminally, as he said he would do. Obviously he didn’t believe in all of the stuff he said —
Continue reading…

 

Blue State Blues: Trump Isn’t Just Picking a Cabinet, He’s Choosing an Opposition

Blue State Blues (Breitbart)
President-elect Donald Trump pulled off a stunning upset victory on November 8. And now, right under the media’s noses, he is maneuvering for another surprise: he is making sure that conservatives, not Democrats, lead the congressional opposition. In meetings at Trump Tower, Trump is casting a wide net, holding forth olive branches to GOP moderates and even to the Democratic establishment, as represented by leaders like former Vice President Al Gore and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. His prepared speeches have also adopted a more unifying and optimistic tone. The liberal Hollywood blog Deadline.com noted, with some degree of surprise, that Trump’s “thank you” speech in North Carolina on Tuesday was “villain-free.” Yet in his impromptu statements to the cameras, and on Twitter, Trump has goaded the haters into the usual hysterical fits. His tweet about punishing flag-burners, for example, prompted his left-wing critics to reach, panting, for the nearest Constitution (a document whose value they have belatedly discovered). And his threats to Boeing, and to U.S. companies who move jobs offshore, irritated many conservatives, who rose valiantly to defend the “free market” in Department of Defense contracts. Critics on both sides have a good point. The First Amendment exists to protect speech we don’t like. And Trump’s
Continue reading…