Yes, Virginia, Medicaid Expansion Will Harm the Poor

Last week, Virginia’s general assembly voted to expand Medicaid under the auspices of Obamacare. The commonwealth’s legislators had wisely resisted doing so for years, but four GOP state senators broke ranks to vote for this bill in exchange for a provision stipulating an anemic work requirement. The “news” media have, of course, touted this betrayal as a victory for the poor. It is however, precisely the reverse. Expansion will consign thousands of truly poor and disabled Virginians to purgatorial Medicaid waiting lists while advancing able-bodied adults with incomes above the federal poverty level (FPL) to the front of the line.

Why would Virginia pursue such an obviously unjust policy? Like all Democratic programs, it’s about power and money. Obamacare incentivizes expansion states to shift Medicaid’s focus to able-bodied adults by paying over 90 percent of their coverage costs, while the federal share of costs for traditional Medicaid patients remains below 60 percent. This does not mean, however, that doctors and hospitals will receive more money. Providers will continue to be paid less by Medicaid than the cost of treatment whether the patients are expansion or traditional enrollees. The extra money will go to political slush funds and insurance companies.

Medicaid expansion doesn’t work like the original program, which was administered by the states as a safety net for poor children, pregnant women, the disabled, and the elderly. Management of Obamacare’s corrupted version of the program is farmed out to insurance companies. A typical example is Wellcare, which accrued over $10.6 billion in 2017 from its coverage of able-bodied adults. The company plans to reinvest $2.5 billion of that revenue in the acquisition of Meridian Health Plans of Illinois and Michigan, which will increase its Medicaid portfolio by 37 percent. Meanwhile, truly poor patients die on waiting lists.

This is not conjecture. A recent study, conducted by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), revealed that at least 21,904 Americans have withered away and died on Medicaid waiting lists in the states that expanded the program under Obamacare. Even worse, the 21,904 figure reported in the study almost certainly understates the true death toll. A number of expansion states were somehow “unable” to provide FGA with death totals, while others implausibly claimed that there were none to report. It is nonetheless clear that Medicaid waiting lists in expansion states constitute a kind of death row for the genuinely poor.

The worst carnage has occurred just north of the Beltway. Maryland is easily the deadliest state for traditional Medicaid applicants, chalking up no fewer than 8,495 deaths among individuals languishing on its waiting list. During the same time period, even as these patients were left to die, the bureaucrats of the Old Line State enrolled very nearly 300,000 able-bodied adults under the aegis of Obamacare. Louisiana took second place in killing its traditional Medicaid patients. The Pelican State reported 5,534 deaths among the unfortunates who wound up on its waiting list, while 451,000 able-bodied adults were enrolled under Obamacare’s expansion.

Additional states whose Medicaid waiting lists have killed a thousand or more people include New Mexico, where 2,031 poor and disabled patients died while the state signed up 259,537 enrollees under Obamacare’s expansion scheme. Michigan left 1,970 of its residents to die while enrolling 665,057 in its new and improved Medicaid program. West Virginia allowed 1,093 patients to die on its waiting list while signing up 181,105 able-bodied enrollees. The remaining expansion states are mere also-rans with death tolls ranging from Iowa’s paltry 989 down to Minnesota, which managed to leave only 15 of its poor and disabled citizens for dead.

This is the august company Virginia’s General Assembly chose to join last week. The Old Dominion will become the 33rd state to take Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion bait, demonstrating that the commonwealth’s politicians have learned little or nothing from the deadly experiences of the previous states that were gaffed by their own greed. Those Medicaid expansion states still have nearly 250,000 poor, disabled, and elderly individuals wasting away on waiting lists. Yet Obamacare advocates in Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska — blissfully unaware of the death tolls quoted above — are working to pass expansion in November via referenda.

Maine activists have already tricked the voters of the Pine Tree State into passing a referendum approving expansion, but the program hasn’t been implemented because Governor Paul Lepage has refused to go forward: “My administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families.” This speaks to one of expansion’s most profound ironies. Even if Washington continues footing most of the bill, herding the able-bodied into Medicaid is a budget buster for the states. It nearly broke Maine the last time they tried it.

Medicaid expansion under Obamacare privileges able-bodied adults with incomes above FPL, states can’t pay for it in the long haul, and it causes the genuinely poor to be dumped onto waiting lists where they quietly die in their thousands. Yet the Old Dominion’s newly-minted Governor, Ralph Northam, will gleefully sign an expansion bill into law this week as the leaders of his party and the media beam benevolently from on high. His name may even be uttered by the Great Mentioner as potential presidential material. For any Democrat, that’s certainly well worth a little inequity, the occasional budget deficit, and a few thousand human sacrifices.

The post Yes, Virginia, Medicaid Expansion Will Harm the Poor appeared first on The American Spectator.

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Reigniting The Meaning Of Citizenship Through National Service

It’s been a long time since a common rite of passage among our nation’s men was to put on a uniform and defend your nation, community, and family. Yet at a time of increasing hyperpolarization in our country, as well as the deteriorating state of our nation’s youth in mind, body, and soul, national military service may be an idea worth considering once again.

National service has been ever-present in our country’s history. From militias in the Revolutionary War era to the wartime drafts in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to peacetime drafts through various parts of our nation’s past.

The legacy from those eras of conscription still remain in the form of the Selective Service system, which many of us remember being notified that we needed to register for upon reaching age 18.

The Selective Service system also has been the subject of debate in recent years, as many persons have considered whether women should register for it as well – such as during the 2016 Presidential election when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called for such.

Among other republics and democracies in the world national service is relatively common, from the nations of Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Asia to South America. Conscription began falling out of favor since the end of the Cold War, as the general state of worry over military conflict faded.

Yet in recent years conscription has made a comeback. French President Macron has been trying to reintroduce military conscription in order to “foster patriotism and heal social divisions.” Norway recently expanded its military conscription in 2016 to include women, as Sweden has now re-introduced conscription as well.

Perhaps the most noted military conscription program is that of Israel, which requires all men and women to serve about two years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with few exceptions. While brought about by military necessity, it has also cultivated an Israeli citizenry that has the character, grit, and sense of duty to keep their nation thriving.

It used to be that way in America, as serving in the military was a relatively common experience. In 1980, veterans totaled 18% of adults in the United States. In contrast, by 2016 that number had fallen to 7%.

At a time when our nation is reeling from divisions along seemingly every line possible, it is worth considering a common and shared experience as national service to reconnect our country together. The benefits are very clear in other nations, as despite often no overt military conflict conscription still provides a variety of security and social benefits to the country.

Undoubtedly the implementation of a conscription program, not seen in our nation for almost half a century, would be difficult initially. Not only have the times and culture changed, but so has the very nature of our armed forces.

Our military nowadays is an extremely high-tech organization and finding how to best utilize the massive manpower from our almost 330 million person nation would require careful delineation.

Furthermore, many of our nation’s youth, estimated currently at 71% of those between the ages of 17 and 24, are grossly unfit for military service. Creating a new conscript category and integrating them usefully into the nation’s military would be challenging, but given how seemingly every other nation is able to do it effectively we undoubtedly can find a way to as well.

The idea of national service would undoubtedly require a significant period of pilot programs and testing. The idea has been proposed frequently in the national discourse throughout the years and particularly during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It is a big, nation-changing policy that certainly, if it gets further traction and consideration, would be a serious national debate.

National service is a very realistic program that could do a lot in solving many of our nation’s otherwise seemingly unsolvable problems, as well as reigniting reflection on the meaning of citizenry in a republic.

I think it is worth considering at our present time, as, although it seems a big change, nonetheless could revive our American spirit and heal our nation in an extraordinary way.

 

The post Reigniting The Meaning Of Citizenship Through National Service appeared first on The American Spectator.

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ZP Group Appoints Two New Board Members

New board members added to support the continued growth and strategic expansion of ZP Group’s operating companies in high-growth cyber markets “Our new board members’ extensive experience in strategy, growth businesses, information security and government sectors will strengthen ZP Group’s ability to scale and increase impact in our core markets,” said Justin Jordan, founder and CEO of ZP Group. ZP Group , a leading provider of premium cybersecurity services and solutions, today announced that it has expanded its Board of Directors by two new members.

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These 5 Navy Men Took The Stage, And The Crowd Exploded As Soon As They Looked Up

Navy service members have a reputation for being tough as rocks. And they need to be resilient people because they are out on the open ocean for long stretches of time. Although Navy service members are often seen as tough and stern, they’re not like that every moment of every day. And every once in a while, they find a few moments to enjoy themselves and have some fun.

But the U.S. Navy Band seems always to be having some fun.

They are the Navy’s dedicated band after all and what could be more fun than playing music to honor the United States military and the people who join and risk their lives to protect American freedom and democracy? So when you see the Navy’s band, the “Sea Chanters” performing before the crowd, a smile will grace your lips. But when you see how talented they are, your jaw will drop. Especially when you recognize the song, they’re about to sing.

The video starts with five uniformed Navy men standing at the front of the stage all bowed forward at the waist.

And as soon as they pop up, the crowd goes wild because they’re singing a favorite song from the hit musical “Jersey Boys.”

According to the Sea Chanters’ website, “The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including sea chanteys and patriotic fare, to opera, Broadway, and contemporary music. Under the leadership of Senior Chief Musician Adam Tyler, the Sea Chanters perform for the public throughout the United States. At home in Washington, they perform for the president, vice president and numerous congressional, military and foreign dignitaries.”

Lt. Harold Fultz was the visionary and music lover who formed the group back in 1956. He recruited the singers for the group from the Navy School of Music. He wanted a group dedicated to singing patriotic songs and chanteys to inspire the members of the government at the State of the Nation dinner.

Later, when the group became a hit, they expanded and began singing more songs than just patriotic verses. And as you’ll see in the performance below, show tunes are some of the most popular songs they perform while out touring the country.

“Throughout their history, the Sea Chanters have remained true to the Navy’s watchwords of pride and professionalism, and they continue to flourish as a vibrant ensemble,” their website added.

The Sea Chanters are not the only Navy music group. They also have other ensembles including Chamber Ensembles, Cruisers, Country Current, Commodores, Ceremonial Band, and the Concert Band. Talk about a division of the military that respects and celebrates with music!

The performance below comes from 2014. It has proved to have lasting popularity. And it occurred during the Concerts on the Avenue series that was hosted at the United States Navy Memorial.

If you’re a patriotic American and a fan of Jersey Boys, this Sea Chanters performance will know your socks off. Press play below to check it out today! to watch the talented service members.

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Researchers discover 900 new methane seeps off the Oregon coast near the Cascadia Subduction Zone

For the past two years, scientists from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have surveyed the Pacific Northwest near-shore region mapping sites where underwater bubble streams signify methane gas is being released from the seafloor. And what they have found is eye-opening. Since the first evidence of underwater methane was discovered in the late 1980s, only about 100 “seep sites” had been identified along the Northwest coast through 2015. They often were discovered by accident, when fishermen would spot anomalies on their fish-finders that turned out to be acoustic reflections of the bubbling methane gas. But over the past two years the scientists-aided by new sonar technology on the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, owned and operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust-have purposefully gone seeking evidence of underwater methane and have expanded the total number of offshore seep emission sites to a whopping 1,000 locations. It is not yet clear whether the methane presents an opportunity for a new source of energy or a potentially serious environmental threat, but for now the researchers want to map the distribution of the sites and conduct research on the composition and sources of the gas. They believe they will discover new methane seeps this summer when they utilize several research vessels to conduct additional mapping off the Northwest coast.

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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Vetoes Constitutional Carry Bill

Second Amendment supporters and gun owners in the state of Oklahoma thought they scored a significant victory when Senate Republicans in the Oklahoma state legislature overwhelmingly passed a constitutional carry bill by a vote of 33-9. Now, Republican Governor Mary Fallin crushed that victory with the stroke of her pen.

The constitutional carry bill would have allowed individuals 21 and older–who had passed a background check–to carry openly, as well as concealed, without a license or permit. Furthermore, individuals serving in the military, as long as they were 18-years-old, would have had the right to constitutional carry. The law still barred criminals under state and federal law from carrying, and, according to the Associated Press, it would not have expanded constitutional carry to areas where carrying a firearm was already prohibited:

The bill excludes anyone prohibited by state or federal law from owning a weapon as well as those convicted of assault and battery, domestic abuse, violating a protective order or drug crimes.

A background check would still be required before a person could purchase a firearm and handguns would remain prohibited in places where they are currently banned, including elementary schools, colleges, universities and government buildings.

However, Gov. Fallin decided to veto the legislation.

From NBC:

Her veto of the gun bill dealt a rare blow to the National Rifle Association in a conservative state. But the proposal to authorize adults to carry firearms without a permit or training was opposed by law enforcement officials, who said it would weaken background checks and hurt public safety.

In a statement announcing her veto, Fallin stressed her support for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms and noted she had signed concealed and open carry measures in the past.

“I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal,” she said.

The National Rifle Association had backed the legislation and encouraged Oklahomans to contact Gov. Fallin telling her they supported the measure. But following the veto, the NRA released a scathing statement regarding the governor’s decision to veto the bill. The Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Chris W. Cox, stated:

“Gov. Fallin vetoed this important piece of self-defense legislation despite the state legislature’s overwhelming approval of the bill and her commitment to NRA members to support constitutional carry when she ran for reelection. Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new, and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor.”

Oklahoma would not have been the first state to pass this kind of legislation, as it would have joined states like North Dakota, West Virginia, Idaho, Main, New Hampshire, among others, which have passed similar laws. In total, 13 states have constitutional carry laws on the books.

As Tom wrote about earlier, Gov. Fallin did sign a different piece of pro-gun legislation that expanded the state’s “Stand Your Ground Laws” by allowing Oklahomans to carry in churches.

However, signing constitutional carry into law would have been another significant win for gun owners and gun rights activists in the state.

The post Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Vetoes Constitutional Carry Bill appeared first on Bearing Arms.

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#MeToo demands of Spotify may end music as we know it

Those of you who use the music service Spotify may already be aware that they instituted a new policy wherein they are automatically removing the music of certain artists accused of sexual harassment or abuse from users’ playlists. These include such performers as R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, both of whom have had more than their fair share of allegations made against them. (Or convictions in some cases.) While this was seen as a step in the right direction by many in the #MeToo movement, a women’s group known as UltraViolet wasn’t satisfied. They generated an additional list of artists to also get the ax and criterion to identify even more. (LA Times)

In response to Spotify’s newly launched Hate Content and Hateful Conduct public policy, women’s advocacy group UltraViolet is calling on the streaming service to widen its net beyond R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, which were the first acts to see their music removed from promotional playlists.

UltraViolet, a national organization working on a range of issues including reproductive rights, healthcare, economic security, violence and racial justice, published an open letter Monday to Spotify head Daniel Ek, applauding a recent decision to pull Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music from playlists and algorithmic recommendations.

However, the group is also imploring that the policy be expanded to give the same treatment to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nelly, Eminem, Don Henley, Steven Tyler, 6ix9ine and Chris Brown — acts that have been accused of abusing or harassing women.

Part of this has to do with allegations of real-world actions by some of these musicians. Others are commenting on inappropriate lyrics which “encourage” violence against women. When it’s the former, this is certainly understandable. If the charges are proven there’s no reason not to hold them accountable. When it’s simply allegations they should be looked into seriously. Some of them seem beyond question, such as the inclusion of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their lead singer was convicted in court of indecent assault back in 1990. I was rather distressed to see Steven Tyler of Aerosmith on the list, not having heard much about allegations against him. And then there was, er… this. (I won’t unfold the details here.)

But how about musicians who perform songs with “questionable content”seen to encourage violence and sexual abuse of women as we measure such things in the Me Too era? Isn’t that the same as blaming video games for rising murder rates? And taking only a few moments to think about it we would probably be wiping out a significant portion of the male music industry with such a ban, including most of the genres. You might be striking a blow for Time’s Up, but you could leave us with nothing on the radio but Justin Bieber. (And maybe The Biebs doesn’t even get a pass.)

If you identify artists with credible claims against them of sexual assault and abuse, by all means feel free to try to chase them off Spotify or any other platforms. But when it comes to questionable lyrics, it’s probably better to educate everyone and let the free market render the verdict.

The post #MeToo demands of Spotify may end music as we know it appeared first on Hot Air.

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Michelle Obama: Presiding Over a Much-Expanded ‘College Signing Day’ – In her ongoing role as cheerleader…

Michelle Obama: Presiding Over a Much-Expanded 'College Signing Day' – In her ongoing role as cheerleader-in-chief for college-access causes, former First Lady Michelle Ob

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