Montana ranchers won’t saddle up for farm bill fight

BILLINGS – Watty Taylor isn’t shy about pointing out the difference between farmers and ranchers. Farmers receive federally subsidized crop insurance. Ranchers don’t, which is why as the nation’s farm groups rush to Washington D.C., to push for a …

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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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California Punishing Hospitals That Provide Too Much Health Care: ObamaCare Rationing Setting In

Rationing is for wartime, and for communism. And it’s also for patients under Obamacare.

Big changes are coming to the Obamacare marketplace for California, as hospitals are being punished for providing the ‘wrong’ kind of care.

According to Dr. Lance Lang of Covered California, the stat’s health insurance marketplace under Obamacare,

“We’re saying ‘time’s up.’ We’ve told health plans that by the end of 2019, we want networks to only include hospitals that have achieved this target.”

According to WBUR news,

“Here’s how hospitals will be measured: They must perform fewer unnecessary cesarean sections, prescribe fewer opioids, and cut back on the use of imaging (X-rays, MRIs and CT scans) to diagnose and treat back pain.”

I can already hear the uproar from women over the definition of an “unnecessary c-section.”

Essentially, hospitals will now we judged by a few key targets.

Let’s take c-sections for example. The target for hospitals is now to deliver more babies vaginally while ignoring the reason for c-sections. With fewer c-sections, women are less in control of their own health outcomes, unless they work with their doctor to lie on their paperwork to change the need for a c-section to one that’s approved by the marketplace.

According to Lang, California hospitals are using c-sections for 40% of births in the state. One hospital in particular delivers by c-section in 78% of cases.

“That means that when a woman goes to a hospital, it’s the culture of the hospital that really determines whether or not she gets a cesarean section, not so much her own health.”

I get the feeling that Lang has never spoken to a pregnant lady before.

So why focus on c-sections? It’s because payments for hospitals are higher for c-sections than for vaginal deliveries. According to Health Care Journalism,

“You’ve got to align payment incentives with the quality goal that you’re seeking… if you’re paying more to just have episodic c-sections, then all the money is going there instead of where it needs to be.”

That is, c-sections are raking in too much money, and they must be stopped. Sorry ladies, your own preferences don’t matter.

And with opioids. Instead of tracking usage, and using the data to figure out if the use of opioids is causing harm by feeding addiction, or if opioid usage is related to patients not getting treatment for their pain, the only goal is less opioids.

It’s similar to the 1990s craze of low fat. Nutrition guidelines pushed for lower fat content, in foods, which instead drove up the amount of sugar and the number of calories, making people fatter than before. In other words, it’s impossible to control one factor without seeing change elsewhere.

Other Goals: Fewer Scans For Back Pain

From the perspective of patients, back pain is notoriously hard to diagnose, and we all know several people who spent years struggling to have their pain recognized and treated.

By limiting the number of x-rays, MRIs and CT scans to find the source of back pain, Dr. Lang says that it’s actually a “quality improvement project” because it has a “deadline.”

According to The Spectator,

“Much of the “research” upon which the initiative is based was provided by the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF)… a think tank that does a lot of… well… thinking for bureaucrats like Dr. Lang. It is the primary source for his talking points on C-sections as well as the cutbacks on diagnostic tests for back pain. The latter has long been the goal of CHCF, which deems such tests unnecessary.”

Here’s a snippet from a report published by the CHCF specifically on addressing the ‘overuse’ of MRIs:

“Focusing on reducing wasteful spending, most supported stricter rules for coverage of MRIs for the first few weeks of acute low back pain. Since other treatments (e.g., physical therapy) can help patients, these stricter rules seemed reasonable.”

Maybe they’re making sure there’s enough money to deal with the onslaught of STDs including HIV that have been hitting the state of late, after Moonbeam Jerry Brown decriminalized forgetting to tell a sexual partner that you have AIDS.

Recently, we highlighted some of the bonkers new laws that were rolling out on the left coast, including bans on plastic bags and banning state visits to neighbors who aren’t cool with tranny bathrooms.

“Before we get started: California’s government is currently $1.3 trillion in debt. Instead of working on their economy or even the ridiculous traffic snarls, they’re prioritizing these insane laws.”

What a nice state.

Sources: WBUR, Spectator, Health Care Journalism

The post California Punishing Hospitals That Provide Too Much Health Care: ObamaCare Rationing Setting In appeared first on Joe For America.

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A.M. Best Withdraws Ratings of The Fuji Fire & Marine Insurance Company, Limited and AIU Insurance Company, Ltd.

HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the issuer credit ratings of “a” of The Fuji Fire & Marine Insurance Company, Limited (Fuji Fire) (Japan) and AIU Insurance Company, Ltd. (AIU Japan …

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Missouri Supreme Court reverses Doe Run ruling in case stemming from Peru smelter

Tuesday’s decision caps five years of litigation between Doe Run and one of its insurers, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, over a pollution exclusion within the company’s insurance policy. The Supreme Court reversed a St. Louis County …

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Do you like your name? – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” So said Dale Carnegie in his 1936 self-improvement classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” That is probably true for a majority of the population — 79 percent like their names, according to a 2013 survey of 1,844 respondents.

Unfortunately, I am in the other 21 percent. I cringe a little whenever I hear someone say my name, and have ever since I was a child. One of my earliest memories is of a lady in a department store asking me my name and bursting out laughing when I said, “Arthur.”

Before you judge that lady, let’s acknowledge that it is actually pretty amusing to meet a little kid with an old man’s name. According to the Social Security Administration, “Arthur” maxed out in popularity back in the ’90s. That is, the 1890s. It has fallen like a rock in popularity since then. I was named after my grandfather, and even he complained that his name made him sound old. Currently, “Arthur” doesn’t even crack the top 200 boys’ names. Since 2013, it has been beaten in popularity by “Maximus” (No. 200 last year) and “Maverick” (No. 85).

One thing I constantly hear from people I meet for the first time is, “I imagined you as being much older.” I don’t take this as flattery, because at 54, I’m really not that young. What they are saying is that they imagined someone about 100 years old. Why? Because people actually tend to look like their names.

In a study last year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers placed images of unfamiliar faces in front of participants and asked them to guess the person’s name from a list of four plausible-seeming names. The participants should have guessed correctly 25 percent of the time. Instead, they got it right 38 percent of the time. The researchers found similar results across eight studies.

In case you are wondering, this fact and others make up part of an entire field called “onomastics.” Onomasticians, who are trained in various scholarly subdisciplines, study proper names, and many of their results are fascinating. One of my favorite onomastic studies comes from the economist David Figlio, who found that boys with more feminine-sounding names tend to misbehave disproportionately upon entry to middle school compared with boys with more traditionally masculine names. So if your son is in trouble after beating up another kid, it’s probably your own fault for naming him “Robin.” (His victim is probably named “Arthur,” by the way.)

Another finding of note, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002, is that people gravitate toward places of residence and occupations that resemble their own names. So, the researchers assert, a higher proportion of men named Louis live in St. Louis than would occur at random, and a lot of people named Dennis or Denise become dentists. It had never occurred to me that there were dark forces at work making me into Arthur the author. It all makes sense now.

One way to attenuate the impact of a name you don’t like is to marry someone with a name that somehow offsets yours — in my case, someone with a name that is a little more up-to-date. But I did the opposite: I married Ester. This was a pretty common name in her native Barcelona in the 1960s, but here in America it mostly predates World War I. To make matters worse, after we married, our first home was Boca Raton, Fla. We were aggressively pursued by telemarketers for burial plots and Medigap insurance.

I once heard that to have an aversion to a name is a condition called “nomomisia.” I suppose you would say I suffer from autonomomisia. Yes, I am an autonomomisist.

Still, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Like everything else in life, it could be a lot worse. Years ago, my mother and I were talking about all this. I asked her about her second choice for my name. How about David? “David Brooks” has a nice ring to it. After all, “David” was the second most popular boys’ name the decade I was born and was also my beloved father’s name. She thought about it for a minute and said, “Well, we thought about naming you Chester.”

You know, on second thought, Arthur’s not so bad.

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Insurance policies approved by school board –

Dr. Myra Cox, far right, superintendent, recognizes students who completed the inaugural Freshmen Leadership Academy Those students included Caeson Baker, Adam Chu, Andrew Copeland, Kimberly Cruz, Emma Henstock, Audrey Jennings, Alexandra Kakouras, Breanna Laws, Coleman Mathis, Madeline Morphis, Sophie Reinhardt, Reanna Rice, Bethany Roberts, Brady Shugart, Jaclyn Simmons, Patrick Soos, Hugh Turner, Eryn Brown, Isabella Brumfield and Grace Gambill. North Carolina 1A individual tennis champion, Ryan Macy, a senior, was recognized by Elkin High School Principal Joel Hoyle.

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