Saturday, April 21, 2018

California Leading Nation In Pushing Back Against Trump Administration Health Policies

To everyone in Ca. with a job and any hope of bettering your life and your family's life, . . . . get out while you can still Afford to hire a moving truck.

Kaiser Health News

These days, when the federal government turns in one direction, California veers in the other — and in the case of health care, it’s a sharp swerve.

In the nation’s most populous state, lawmakers and other policymakers seemingly are not content simply to resist Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. They are fighting to expand health coverage with a series of steps they hope will culminate in universal coverage for all Californians — regardless of immigration status and despite potentially monumental price tags.

The Golden State embraced the health care law early and eagerly, and has more to lose than any other state if the ACA is dismantled: About 1.5 million Californians purchase coverage through the state’s Obamacare exchange, Covered California, and 3.8 million have signed up for Medicaid as a result of the program’s expansion under the law.

While other states are making efforts to preserve the ACA and expand coverage, California stands out by virtue of its ambition and size, economic clout, massive immigrant population and liberal bent.

Its health care resistance movement is broad and includes Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has made a sport of suing the Trump administration. He is currently leading a coalition of 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, against a Texas-based lawsuit that seeks to strike down the ACA.

Even Covered California, the ACA marketplace, has jabbed at the feds. During the most recent enrollment period, which ended in January, it preserved its three-month sign-up window while the federal government cut the enrollment period in half for states that rely on the exchange. Covered California also deployed a monster advertising budget of $45 million to encourage enrollment, while the federal government slashed its ad dollars to $10 million.

California’s activism could be contagious, said Linda Blumberg, a fellow at the nonprofit research institution the Urban Institute.

“California has been in the forefront” on a lot of health policy issues, she said. To the extent that it is successful, she said, “that helps not only the state of California itself but other states as well.”

Since last year, the federal government has allowed some states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients; promoted temporary health plans that have fewer consumer protections than Obamacare insurance; and, most recently, adopted a rule allowing states to lower the percentage of premium dollars that insurers are required to spend on medical care.

In response, California lawmakers are debating bills that would prohibit work requirements in Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid; ban the sale of short-term plans in the state; and increase the percentage of insurance premiums that must go toward consumers’ care.

“Look at what we’ve done in women’s issues, climate change, protecting immigrants. … That’s just the kind of thing we do. Health is no different,” said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), the head of the Senate Health Committee and author of several proposals.

Four pending bills in California would provide some consumers with state-funded financial help to supplement federal subsidies created by Obamacare. One such proposal could cost the state about $500 million initially.

“We continue to move forward and push the envelope, now more than ever,” state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) told a room full of physicians recently in Sacramento. Lara, a candidate for state insurance commissioner, is carrying a bill that would offer full Medicaid benefits to a group that’s never been covered before: adults who are in the country illegally.

“We not only play defense, but we want to make sure we’re more proactive,” he said.

California’s efforts to cover unauthorized immigrants under Medi-Cal predate the Trump administration. Achieving it now would represent not only a significant expansion of coverage within the state, but also a direct challenge to the federal government, which has made a point of cracking down on immigrants.

Critics point out that this spirit of defiance does not represent all Californians.

“We have some crazy things happening here,” said Sally Pipes, president of the conservative Pacific Research Institute. “Nobody talks about how to pay for these. Well, you pay for it in increased taxes.”

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, said it’s no secret that President Donald Trump doesn’t like California — and that the feeling is mutual.

While she believes his administration might try to punish the state for its defiance, California will nonetheless persist in its campaign to defend the ACA and expand coverage.

“I’m sure [federal officials] can try to do a million things to make the state’s life miserable,” she said. “They can jerk it around on the federal Medicaid payments. … But I just think this, too, shall pass.”

It’s not clear whether the pending legislative proposals will succeed. Assuming any of the bills make it through the legislature, their fate lies with Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat known for fiscal conservatism.

“If the past is any indication, it seems unlikely that bills with sizable and uncertain ongoing costs will move forward,” said Shannon McConville, a researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California.

California is not alone in resisting health care policies put forth by the Trump administration. Other states, including Maryland and New Jersey, may establish state-based penalties for not having insurance — a response to Congress’ decision to kill the federal Obamacare penalty starting in 2019.

But California’s approach, characteristically, is different.

“Rather than use the stick, use the carrot,” said Hernandez. His bill would target $500 million from the state’s general fund to help some income-eligible Californians pay their premiums or out-of-pocket medical costs. This assistance would supplement the federal financial aid for those on the Covered California exchange.

The Senate Health Committee approved the bill last week.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 4 million people nationwide will become uninsured when the tax penalty for not having insurance goes away. In California, the number would be about 378,000, according to a recent Harvard University study.

Three other bills would offer state-based financial aid to different groups of consumers, including those who make too much money to qualify for federal tax credits but still struggle to pay their premiums.

The biggest potential budget-buster of them all is a proposal to establish a single-payer health system, which was pulled from consideration last year, largely because of its eye-popping price tag: $400 billion annually.

Advocates for universal health care aren’t giving up, though some have shifted their strategy to moving piecemeal toward universal health care in lieu of a massive single-payer bill.

“There are individual steps that we can still take to expand coverage to various populations that are falling through the cracks,” said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

One of those populations, and a large one, is immigrants living without authorization in the country.

Lara is not the only legislator with a proposal to extend full Medi-Cal coverage to income-eligible adult immigrants without legal status. State Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) has introduced a separate bill that would do the same. Arambula’s measure made it through the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, and Lara’s bill passed the Senate Health Committee earlier this month.

Of the nearly 3 million Californians without insurance, about 58 percent are currently ineligible for full Medi-Cal benefits or Covered California insurance because they’re not in the country legally.

California must “lead the nation in bold and inclusive polices” that support the health of all communities, said Arambula, who is an emergency room doctor.

In 2016, the state extended full Medi-Cal benefits to all children, and now more than 200,000 undocumented kids are enrolled. It’s not clear how much it would cost to cover undocumented adults, but last year, the state budgeted $279.5 million for the children. Adults are generally more expensive to cover.

All of these measures, successful or not, add up to a campaign of defiance.

“It’s a signal that California is willing to fight very hard, on multiple fronts … to protect certain values and policies,” McConville said. “This shows we’re not willing to go backwards on that.”

Thank You KHN.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Friday, April 20, 2018

County Declares Sanctuary Status For 2nd Amendment Supporters: OUTRAGE Ensues

Stephanie Hamill
6:45 PM 04/20/2018

An Illinois county recently declared sanctuary status — for gun owners. This is brilliant!

The Effingham County (Illinois) Board passed a resolution this week protecting their county from any laws from the state’s capital that might abridge the Second Amendment.

Leftists and snarky, coffee cup liberal reporters who have probably never shot a gun are melting over the idea. They’re also insulting Americans who support it. Apparently those in favor of Second Amendment sanctuaries are off the rails.

One writer for the Chicago Tribune even said gun loving Americans should pack their bags and head to Effingham. Maybe we will! The Tribune writer even said anti-gun libs like him will “chip in and buy a nice fence to surround the whole county.”

Hey, if they build the fence, maybe the county will build sniper towers. How about we do the same with sanctuary cities for criminal illegals? We’ll just fence them in with all the thugs. I’m sure that would go well for all these unarmed wimps who think they can just hug it out with criminals.

Follow Stephanie Hamill on Twitter
Tags: Sanctuary cities, Sanctuary Gun County, Second Amendment

Thank You Ms Hamill, DC, and Effingham Illinois.

This is indeed brilliant on top of being fall down funny.

Don't believe it?

Don't be a little Davey Hogg. Go look it up.

As for 'Criminals and "The Deranged", . . .

Check the damn sidebar here, please, before harnessing the effect in front of the cause?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recent Cartoons

Since Trump won election the left has become too daffy for even Mel Blanc to do it justice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Rand Paul Flies Off The Top Rope, Clotheslines Mueller, Then Takes A Steel Chair To Chuck Schumer

Figuratively speaking, of course.

NICK GIVAS Media And Politics Reporter
10:38 AM 04/10/2018

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said the FBI crossed the line with its raid of President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen, calling it a “great overstep” Tuesday on “America’s Newsroom.”

“The first question we ought to ask is what does this have to do with Russia,” Paul said. “I thought the special prosecutor was investigating Russian collusion. Going after someone’s personal attorney is a great overstep I think, in the authority of the prosecutor.”

“This is why I have opposed really having special prosecutors for almost anything,” Paul continued. “I think they abuse their authority. I think Mueller has abused his authority. They say. well he asked somebody else, another U.S. Attorney to do it. Yes but this is coming at the behest of Mueller.”

Paul said the investigation has spun out of control and warned Americans that this abuse of power may last well after Trump leaves the White House.

“I think this investigation no longer has much to do with Russia. I would warn people around America who say oh, that don’t like the president, oh, this is just fine because it’s against President Trump. This is an enormous power used against anybody,” Paul said.

“You remember what Chuck Schumer said a couple months ago? He said if you cross the intelligence agencies, they can screw you six ways to Sunday,” Paul concluded. “This is about enormous power, prosecutorial power but also power in the intelligence communities. We have to rein this in or every American citizen is exposed to this kind of abuse of power.”

You can Follow Nick on Twitter and Facebook

Thank You Mr Givas and the DC.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

International Gamers In SF For Convention 'Shell Shocked' By 'Dangerous City'

Let Psychiatry take over a Major City, . . . what else would you expect? They've taken one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities on earth and turned it into this, underneath its coat of human excrement.

Stench and The City: San Francisco's Summer of Urine

Michelle Robertson, SFGATE
Published 12:49 pm, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

More than 28,000 international gaming professionals recently congregated at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, where they tested the latest VR tech and sampled hundreds of indie games.

But some attendees, many of whom traveled thousands of miles for the annual convention, found the city streets outside the Game Developers Conference (GDC) inhospitable, the sights disturbing.

"My GDC feedback was simple: Stop hosting it in SF," wrote Emre Deniz, director of Melbourne-based game company Opaque Space, in a recent viral tweet that received more than 2,500 likes.

San Francisco, Deniz continued, "is a dangerous city and America is not welcome to non western developers."

"The city hates us being there," he wrote. "We are worried being there, move it."

READ ALSO: Showing tourists the prime of SF — along with the grime

GDC started in a San Jose living room in 1988 before moving to San Francisco in the early 2000s. This year marked the 32nd iteration of the ever-expanding conference, touted by organizers as "the world's largest and longest-running" professional game industry event. The gathering routinely draws upwards of 20,000 people from across the globe for a week of lectures, network events, discussions and a sprawling expo.

Continue Reading

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

California Commits Massive Medicaid Fraud

American Spectator
David Catron
April 2, 2018, 12:05 am

California is indeed the Golden State where Medicaid is concerned. The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that, by exploiting Obamacare’s expansion of the program, California has enrolled hundreds of thousands of ineligible adults in Medicaid. Consequently, the state has bilked the federal government out of more than $1 billion in funding to which the state was not entitled. Indeed, these figures probably understate the amount of money that California officials have fraudulently extracted from the taxpayers. The OIG sampled a mere six-month period, from October 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, to arrive at its damning assessment.

If the word “fraud” seems over the top, consider what happens to doctors who filch Medicaid funds to which they aren’t entitled. This case, reported by the Boston Globe, is typical: “A Brookline doctor has been sentenced to 11 months in jail and ordered to pay $9.3 million for running a Medicaid fraud scheme.” Likewise, Michigan CBS affiliate WNEM reports that a Saginaw doctor “was charged with three felony counts of Medicaid fraud.… Each charge is punishable by up to four years in prison and a $50,000 fine.” Such cases are prosecuted every day and the charge pursued by the authorities is “fraud.” So, isn’t the skullduggery described below also fraud?

On the basis of our sample results, we estimated that the State agency made Medicaid payments of $628,838,417 (Federal share) on behalf of 366,078 ineligible beneficiaries and $402,358,529 (Federal share) on behalf of 79,055 potentially ineligible beneficiaries.

Don’t be confused by the vague bureaucratic vernacular used in the above passage. When the OIG says, “the State agency made Medicaid payments (Federal Share),” it means all of the money used to cover these ineligible enrollees was provided by the federal government. For the period of time covered by the OIG audit, the federal Share of the costs for newly eligible, adult enrollees is 100 percent (which isn’t true in the case of low-income beneficiaries for whom the program was originally created). In other words, every dime California ostensibly “paid” for the people described above came straight out of your federal tax bill. As the OIG explains:

Thank You Mr Catron and American Spectator

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Nebraska Lawmakers Pass Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood

4:23 PM 04/03/2018

Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday afternoon to stop funding for government-supported clinics that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood, as part of an $8.8 billion budget deal, Omaha World-Herald reports.

The bill was approved 38–6 and is now being sent to Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who initiated plans to defund the taxpayer-funded abortion clinic as a part of a family-planning portion of Nebraska’s budget package.

There are two Planned Parenthood locations in Nebraska: One in Lincoln and another in Omaha, which will remain open for service despite losing government funding. Nebraska is home to 42 other health clinics that receive Title X funds from the state.

“Senators spent about an hour Tuesday morning rehashing the debate on restrictions to federal family planning dollars known as Title X,” Omaha World-Herald explains. “The bill got hung up twice on the second round of debate when senators could not agree on changes to the language proposed by Ricketts.”

A compromise was made between lawmakers to allow the defunding of Title X facilities that use government money to perform abortions so as long as other family-planning facilities that do not use government money to perform abortions can still receive federal funding for other types of care and procedures.

Although Planned Parenthood will be defunded because of its abortion operations, other Title X clinics in Nebraska will still be able to receive government money for “low-income, uninsured women and men.”

Tags: Abortion, Nebraska

Thank You Ms Conklin and the DC.