Can we call Minnesota Somali Measles outbreak an epidemic yet?

Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart has been doing great work digging in to the Minnesota Somali measles outbreak which we first reported here on April 20th.

Health officials in Minnesota predict it is going to get worse before it gets better and you can bet it is costing the state taxpayers a bundle to track and treat.

Kris Ehresmann is director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division at the Minnesota Department of Health [Pictured right].

Did you know that Measles was considered eradicated in the U.S. in 2000?  I didn’t!

New cases are coming in with the new immigrants, most likely the refugee flow that Trump has not curtailed!

Here is Leahy yesterday:

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced on Friday afternoon that the number of confirmed cases of measles in the state has now increased to 44, three more than had been confirmed 24 hours ago, and ten more than had been confirmed 48 hours ago.

Of the 44 total cases, 41 are in Hennepin County, two are in Ramsey County, and one is in Crow Wing County.

Forty-two are “confirmed to be unvaccinated.” Two “had 2 doses of MMR.”

Forty-three of the cases are “in children ages 0 through 10 years,” while there is “1 case in an adult.”

MDH reports that “38 of the cases are Somali Minnesotan.”

[….]

“Once measles begins to spread in unvaccinated populations, it can be very difficult to stop,” Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease control for MDH, said in the statement.

“We would not be surprised if we saw additional cases in other parts of the state where there are clusters of unvaccinated people before this is over,” Ehresmann added.

[….]

“Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but it is still common in other parts of the world. Ehresmann noted that Europe is currently experiencing a significant measles outbreak. [Gee, I wonder why?—-ed]

Continue reading here.

So where have Trump’s Somalis been placed in Minnesota?

When trying to figure out the source of the initial case of Measles in the state, the first group to be analyzed should be refugees admitted to the US in recent months! 

As we have reported on many occasions, the US State Department and DHS do not weed-out sick refugees.

The Minnesota Department of  Health should find out which Somalis entered the state within the disease’s incubation period.  Of course they will have trouble finding out who is ‘just visiting’ since there is no travel ban in place and as far as I know there is no way to track those who get in as visitors.  And, never forget, Somali, so-called refugees, are traveling back and forth to Africa all the time (so much for fearing persecution!).

For your edification, here (below) is where 193 new Somali refugees were placed in Minnesota since President Trump was inaugurated.

Overall (as of today, May 6th) Trump has welcomed 1,394 Somalis since inauguration day. Minnesota is the number one state, but as we reported here, some placed in other states pack up quickly to get to Minnesota as ‘secondary migrants’ to join their own kind of people and avail themselves of the more generous welfare that they get in MN.

(I am having trouble with screen shots these days, so forgive the lousy shots below).

From Wrapsnet:

For new readers, we have 328 previous posts in our ‘Health Issues’ category, click here to learn more about the many diseases, parasites, and mental health issues involving the refugee flow to America. You will see that TB is an especially big problem in the refugee flow.

RELATED ARTICLE: DHS data: Somalis slow to become naturalized citizens

VIDEO: We Don’t Need Another Obamacare | Senator Rand Paul on Healthcare Plan

Senator Rand Paul talks about the new Obamacare repeal and replacement bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Paul believes it is better than what it was before but it is still a far cry from being a free market bill and will most likely be Obamacare cut in half.

The Every Day American in an email notes:

TODAY’S BIG THING: THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT

WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE?

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

HAVEN’T I HEARD THIS BEFORE?

Yes. About six weeks ago, Republicans came close to voting on the AHCA. Ultimately, the bill was pulled. So, moderate and conservative Republicans spent time working together to improve the legislation.

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?

The updated AHCA is the same bill as before, but with three important changes.

  1. Palmer/Schweikert Amendment: creates a new federal risk-sharing program, a high-risk pool that will lower costs for people with pre-existing conditions, and lower costs for everyone else.

  2. The MacArthur Amendment: allows states to apply for waivers to three of Obamacare’s costliest mandates: essential health benefits; age rating; and community rating, but only if the state has a risk-sharing program to help individuals with pre-existing conditions afford coverage.This new flexibility will allow states to design insurance frameworks that are right for their unique populations, providing superior care and lowering costs for patients.

  3. The Upton-Long Amendment: dedicates $8 billion solely to reducing premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for patients in the individual market with pre-existing conditions who do not maintain continuous coverage and who live in states that receive a waiver to redesign their insurance market.

SO… IS IT LAW?

Not quite. Next it goes to the Senate and then to the White House, where it is signed into law. Don’t worry. We’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

WAIT, IS CONGRESS EXEMPT?

No. Yesterday, Congress also voted on the McSally Bill, which ensures that Members of Congress and their staff live by the same health care rules as everyone else.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Congress has several big projects coming up this year and next, including balancing the budget, funding the military, fixing America’s infrastructure, and overhauling the tax code.

Stay tuned. It’s sure to be an exciting year.

RELATED ARTICLES:

As Senate Mulls Obamacare Repeal, Insurers in 2 States Ask Double-Digit Premium Hikes

Fact Check: It’s a Lie That the GOP Healthcare Bill Abandons People With Pre-Existing Conditions

The Growing Problem of ‘Fake Science’

Medical Pot Laws = 1.1 Million New Adult Users

pot users graphResearchers examined three national surveys spanning 20 years to determine whether illicit marijuana use and disorders increased among adults in states that passed medical marijuana laws compared to states that did not. They found that between 1991 and 2012, an additional 1.1 million adult illicit marijuana users and an additional 500,000 adults with a DSM-IV-diagnosed marijuana use disorder may be attributable to the passage of medical marijuana laws. This represents a serious public health problem, they say.

The 1991-1992 survey found that use was 69 percent higher and disorders were 80 percent higher among California adults compared to other states. California was the first state to legalize pot for medical use in 1996. It showed no increase in use or disorders, likely because these numbers were so high already. In the other early medical marijuana states, however, the laws contributed to higher rates of use and disorders while these measures were declining nationwide. During the later period (2001-2002 to 2012-2013) when more states passed medical marijuana laws, “illicit use increased significantly more in these states than in non-medical marijuana states.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, was accompanied by an editorial which noted that psychiatrists need to understand the impact of marijuana laws for several reasons. 1) People “with mental illness are more likely to use marijuana, and both acute intoxication and chronic use can exacerbate psychiatric symptoms.” 2) Early marijuana use is associated with onset of psychosis and risk for suicide. 3) Marijuana use can interfere with the treatment of mental disorders.

Read Reuters story here. Read JAMA Psychiatry Study here. Read JAMA Psychiatry Editorial here.


Drugged Driving Now Kills More Drivers than Drunk Driving

For the first time, in 2015 (the latest year data is available) more drivers killed in auto crashes tested positive for drugs than alcohol, according to an updated report from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. The former is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of the states, DC, US territories, and Puerto Rico. The latter is a nonprofit leading the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is financed by many alcohol distillers.

Drugs were present in 43 percent of fatally injured drivers with known test results, appearing more frequently than alcohol. Of the 57 percent of fatalities tested, 35.6 percent were positive for marijuana.

Read press release here, where the report can also be downloaded.


Colorado: 56 Contaminated Pot Recalls in a Year and a Half and Counting …

Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use in 2000, for commercial production, processing, distribution, and sales via dispensaries in 2009, and for recreational use in 2012. The state did not require recreational pot to be tested for contaminants until 2014
. . . or marijuana for medical use until 2016.

On September 8, 2015, the City of Denver issued the first recall of contaminated products. Since then, 55 more recalls have taken place despite laws cracking down on the use of pesticides and requiring testing for marijuana potency and the presence of other contaminants.

Read story here.

New Hawaii VA Chief Tied to Falsified Medical Wait Times, 13 Deaths in Arizona

West Hawaii Today reports:

Jennifer Gutowski

Jennifer Gutowski

Hawaii veterans aren’t worried about new Director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System Jennifer Gutowski’s ability to fix whatever problems may already exist inside the system.

They’re fearful she’s going to make those problems worse.

“When it was announced she was coming over here to head the Hawaiian VA, none of us were happy about that because she’s got such a bad record,” said Bill Flynn, chaplain at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12122 in Kona and also the post’s unofficial service officer for the past two years. “We do not want her here at all.”

Gutowski, who will assume the position on May 15, was appointed by the VA Secretary to direct a health system that administers services to almost 130,000 veterans across Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Prior to her appointment in Hawaii, Gutowski spent 18 years with the VA in a variety of capacities and locations. She served most of the last five years as associate director with the Southern Arizona VA, including a stint as acting director from January 2016-March 2017.

Based on misconduct prior to and during her time in Arizona, the branch of the VA she helped oversee became mired in controversy because of long wait times for patient appointments and a variety of allegations brought by whistleblowers as to why access was limited.

The allegations spurred a subsequent investigation by the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG fully substantiated one of four claims it investigated — that managers at the branch violated the VA’s scheduling directive in early 2014, a year and a half after Gutowski was hired, when they “improperly directed scheduling staff to zero out patient wait times.”

Patient wait times are calculated by comparing a patient’s desired date for an appointment against the actual date on which the patient was seen. When calling for an appointment patients are asked to supply schedulers with a desired appointment date, despite being unaware as to “scheduling capacity” and the feasibility of being seen on the date requested.

Schedulers are directed to log the desired date along with the date a patient is actually seen. According to the OIG report, dated Nov. 2016, schedulers were instructed by managers to zero out the two dates — or falsify scheduling records by altering the dates to reflect that the desired appointment date was the same as the scheduled appointment date.

The report found that 76 percent of 5,802 routine appointments it reviewed between December 2013-August 2014 showed the same desired and scheduled dates.

Upon a review of 4,855 routine appointments at the clinic between October 2015-March 2016, the number of coinciding desired and scheduled dates dropped to a rate of 46 percent.

OIG also investigated claims by a former employee that these inappropriate scheduling practices led to the endangerment of some veterans’ health. OIG concluded that was incorrect after reviewing the cases of 13 veterans who waited more than 30 days for each of a combined 15 appointments and died before the appointment dates….

That is when the misconduct was confirmed by investigators, but a former VA administrator named Pat McCoy told KGUN9-TV in Tuscon, Arizona, last November that she brought the issue to Gutowski and the rest of the Southern Arizona VA’s top staff long before then.

“(Gutowski) is the associate director,” McCoy said to KGUN9-TV. “She’s as responsible as (former Director Jonathan Gardner). This whole pentad is responsible for what went on with this data. They’re all responsible. They all knew about it. The chiefs of staff knew about it. I know they did. I told them.”

read … Veterans troubled over newly tapped director of Hawaii VA health system

RELATED ARTICLE: Dysfunction at D.C. Veterans Medical Center Shows Rot in Federal Workforce

Measles outbreak in Somali community; Muslim parents refuse to vaccinate children

This article at Mic Daily makes it sound like it is all about a fear that vaccines cause autism in vaccinated children.  However not mentioned is the Islamic prohibition on the use of vaccines.

Minneapolis Doctor Madlon-Kay

Here is the story at Mic Network Inc.  Golly gee, why can’t we get our message heard, say health officials.

Minnesota’s Hennepin County is in the midst of the state’s largest measles outbreak since 2011. Nine cases have been reported since last week, and officials expect the number to rise.

So far, all of the cases are among unvaccinated children. They have something else in common too: The affected children are all part of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Somali-American community. According to a health department official, Minnesota’s Somali immigrant community has been a particular target of the anti-vaccination movement, colloquially known as “anti-vaxxers.”

“They’re very much engaged with and targeting this community,” Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease division director at the Minnesota Health Department, said in a phone call Wednesday.

According to Ehresmann, anti-vaccine groups began to target the Somali community around 2008, amid concerns about autism among Somali-American children. Anti-vaccine groups started reaching out to the Somali community and showing up at community health meetings, she said, disseminating misinformation linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR.

Since then, the population has seen a “steady decline in MMR vaccine rates.”

[….]

She [Dr. Diane Madlon-Kay, a practicing physician who has studied the low vaccine rates among Minnesota’s Somali community] and other doctors who serve that population have had little luck dispelling myths about autism and vaccines that travel quickly though the community via word-of-mouth, she said.

“We don’t seem to be making any headway with that at all,” Madlon-Kay said.

Despite countless studies indicating there’s no connection between vaccines and autism, Madlon-Kay doesn’t have much hope that science will change the minds of scared parents within the Somali community anytime soon.

Continue reading here.

What about Islam?

Not a word in the story about Islam and vaccines which is likely the bigger reason why health officials can’t educate the Somalis.  In only a few minutes search, here is one of many articles about “religious” prohibitions in Islam.

Islam and Medical Science Must Oppose Vaccination

The case against vaccination is first an Islamic one, based on Islamic ethos regarding the perfection of the natural human body’s immune defence system, empowered by great and prophetic guidance to avoid most infections. The case against vaccination is also a medical and health-related one. Incredible evidence, unbeknownst to most, has emerged in the West regarding the many serious health hazards that affect those who have been vaccinated.

For inquisitive minds, we have hundreds of articles about refugees and health issues (including mental health issues) in our ‘Health Issues’ category, here.  Measles is not the worst illness you will find there.

Yoga at Work: 5 Easy Yoga Poses That You Can Do at Your Desk

The thought of sneaking out of lunchtime for some yoga class may be laughable, especially now that jobs are more demanding than ever.  But wait, this does not mean that you have to stay stagnant for hours and keep facing at your computer all day.

There are yoga moves that you can actually do right at your own desk. This yoga poses help you get a mental breather and makes sure that your arm, neck, wrists, back and hips are in good working order. There’s a better way to utilize your free time other than chatting with your workmates in the lounge after lunch.

Try these simple moves that ease back and neck strain and let you slip in quick toning.

1.The Scale Pose

First, look for a sturdy piece of chair (one that can fully support your weight). Sit the edge of the chair, press both of your hands on both sides of your hips then raise your legs and butt off the seat.

Engage your abdominal muscle and keep the upper portion of your shoulders down. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths. Lower your body again and repeat the same process at least two times.

2.High Altar Pose

Sit on the chair erectly. Inhale and raise your arms together. Clasp your hands and invert your palms. Next, lean to your left. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths then switch to a different side.

3.Twist

First turn to your left and use your left hand on the back of the chair to deepen the twist. Keep in this pose for 5 to 8 breaths.Release and switch to the other side.

4.Cow Face Arms

Stretch your left arm across your back, and right arm behind your head. Clasp your fingers together. Make sure that you exert a little tension to both arms. Stay in this pose for 5 to 8 breathing then switch sides.

5.Ankle To Knee

Lift your left foot and place it over your right knee then drop open your left knee. Learn forward to stretch deeper (keep your back straight while doing this). Hold on for 5 to 8 breaths then switch sides.

Takeaway

Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are entitled to give yourself a break.  Doing the simple yoga poses might just be what you need to refuel your productivity at work. Do it now (breaktime or lunchtime I mean). All you need to have is a single chair and a few minutes. So, no more excuses.

Author Bio:

Alyssa Mason Prout loves traveling to different cities around the world to look for the latest trend in fashion, lifestyle and health. Aside from traveling, she also enjoys writing, and it has been her greatest passion since childhood. Whatever she learns in her journey, she writes it and shares it with her readers.

Limit the number of Marijuana Dispensaries in Pinellas County

On Tuesday, April 25th, the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners will consider an ordinance to regulate marijuana cultivation sites and dispensaries. We have analyzed the ordinance and are concerned with the number of dispensaries it would allow.

The proposed ordinance says that it would allow each approved licensee with the state to have 2 dispensaries in unincorporated Pinellas County; this would mean 14 to 16 shops initially with more to come as additional licenses are granted by the state.

The Marijuana Policy Group research paper suggests the optimal number of dispensaries depends upon the number of patients likely to register, the local area population, and the required scale of operation for dispensaries to remain profitable. The average resident ratio among similar states (with laws similar to Amendment 2) is one dispensary per 67,222 residents (1:67,222). This ratio is found to be “optimal” by the MPG for cities an d counties in Florida.

Approximately 280,848 reside within unincorporated Pinellas County. Going by the numbers suggested by the industry, 4 dispensaries in unincorporated Pinellas would be preferred. Other counties in Florida have adopted one dispensary per 100,000 residents.

We respectfully suggest that the commission amend the ordinance to reflect language used by other Florida municipalities to reduce the number of allowed marijuana dispensaries and urge you to

Please click on the Action Alert button below and send a letter to the commissioners supporting a reduced number of dispensaries.

action alert

Since legalization export of Colorado marijuana increased by 1,700%

The latest Marijuana Report states:

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area just released a supplement to its 2016 report titled The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 4, September 2016.

The supplement includes several metrics, including seizures of Colorado marijuana the US Postal Inspection Service has made since 2009, when the state first allowed a commercial medical marijuana industry to emerge.

Then, no marijuana was mailed out of state. But by the time Colorado voters passed full legalization in 2013, almost 500 pounds that people tried to send to other states were seized. Three years after recreational legalization, that number tripled.

The report updates information about impaired driving, youth and adult marijuana use, emergency department and hospital marijuana-related admissions, and marijuana exposures reported to poison control centers.

Click here to read the SUPPLEMENT to: “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,Volume 4, September 2016.” 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Study: Women in the U.S. Are Increasingly Using Pot During Pregnancy

Cartels are Growing Marijuana Illegally in California – and There’s a War Brewing

Legalizing Weed is Not the Answer

Why Is Trump Waging War on the Freedom Caucus? by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Why is Trump attacking the House Freedom Caucus? He has tweeted that “we must fight them.”

My first thought: this is inevitable. Destiny is unfolding before our eyes!

There is the obvious fact that the Freedom Caucus was the reason the GOP’s so-called replacement for Obamacare went down to defeat. They fought it for a solid reason: it would not have reduced premiums or deductibles, and it would not have increased access to a greater degree of choice in the health-insurance market.

These people knew this. How? Because there was not one word of that bill that enabled the health care industry to become more competitive. Competition is the standard by which reform must be judged. The core problem of Obamacare (among many) was that it froze the market in an artificial form and insulated it from competitive forces.At minimum, any reform must unfreeze the market. The proposed reform did not do that.

Bad Reform

That means the reform would not have been good for the American people. It would not have been good for the Republican Party. And then the chance for real reform – long promised by many people in the party – would have been gone.

Trump latched on to the proposal without understanding it. Or, other theories: he doesn’t care, he actually does favor universal coverage even if it is terrible, or he just wanted some pyrrhic victory even if it did nothing to improve the access.

The Freedom Caucus killed it. And I’m trying to think back in political history here, is there another time since World War Two that a pro-freedom faction of the Republican Party killed a bill pushed by the majority that pertained to such a large sector and dealt with such a hugely important program?

I can’t think of one.

What this signifies is extremely important. We might be seeing the emergence of a classically liberal faction within the GOP, one that is self consciously driven by an agenda that is centered on a clear goal: getting us closer to an ideal of a free society. The Caucus isn’t fully formed yet in an ideological sense, but its agenda is becoming less blurry by the day. (And please don’t call them the “hard right wing.”)The old GOP coalition included nationalists, militarists, free enterprisers, and social conservatives. The Trump takeover has strained it to the breaking point. Now the genuine believers in freedom are gaining a better understanding of themselves and what they must do.

For the first times in our lives! Even in our parents’ and grandparents’ lives!

The Larger Picture

Trump is obviously not a student of history or political philosophy, but he does embody a strain of thinking with a history that traces back in time. I discussed this in some detail here, here, and here, among many other places. The tradition of thought he inhabits stands in radical opposition to the liberal tradition. It always has. We just remain rather ignorant of this fact because the fascist tradition of thought has been dormant for many decades, and so is strangely unfamiliar to this generation of political observers.

So let us be clear: this manner of thinking that celebrates the nation-state, believes in great collectives on the move, panics about the demographic genocide of a race, rails against the “other” invading our shores, puts all hope in a powerful executive, and otherwise believes not in freedom but rather in compliance, loyalty, and hero worship – this manner of thinking has always and everywhere included liberals (or libertarians) as part of the enemy to be destroyed.

And why is this? Liberalism to them represents “rootless cosmopolitanism,” in the old Nazi phrase. They are willing to do business with anyone, move anywhere, and imagine that the good life of peace and prosperity is more than enough to aspire to in order to achieve the best of all possible worlds. They don’t believe that war is ennobling and heroic, but rather bloody and destructive. They are in awe of the creation of wealth out of simple exchanges and small innovations. They are champions of the old bourgeois spirit.To the liberal mind, the goal of life is to live well in peace and experience social and financial gain, with ever more alleviation of life’s pains and sufferings. Here is magic. Here is beauty. Here is true heroism.

The alt-right mind will have none of this. They want the clash, the war, the struggle against the enemy, big theaters of epic battles that pit great collectives against each other. If you want a hilarious caricature of this life outlook, no one does it better than Roderick Spode.

Natural Enemies

This is why these two groups can never get along politically. They desire different things. It has always and everywhere been true that when the strongmen of the right-Hegelian mindset gain control, they target the liberals for destruction. Liberals become the enemy that must be crushed.

And so it is that a mere few months into the presidency of this odd figure that the Freedom Caucus has emerged as a leading opposition. They will back him where they can but will otherwise adhere to the great principle of freedom. When their interests diverge, the Freedom Caucus will go the other way. It is not loyalty but freedom that drives them. It is not party but principle that makes them do what they do.To any aspiring despot, such views are intolerable, as bad as the reliable left-wing opposition.

Listen, I’m all for working with anyone to achieve freedom. When Trump is right (as he is on environmental regulation, capital gains taxes, and some other issues), he deserves to be backed. When he is wrong, he deserves to be opposed. This is not about partisanship. It is about obtaining freer lives.

But let us not languish in naïvete. The mindset of the right-wing Hegelian is not at all the same as a descendant of the legacy of Adam Smith. They know it. We need to know it too.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Repeal Bill Left Too Much of Washington Power Grab in Place

AHCA was NOT Obamacare Repeal or Replacement by Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

The following was contained in an email from Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX District 1)to his constituents:

Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare for seven years now. Some of us have proposed bills that had good provisions that would repeal Obamacare. In fact, we voted on a bill that would have been more of a repeal than this one through the House and Senate last year and put it on then-President Obama’s desk for signature. He vetoed the bill. But let’s be clear: the bill last week was NOT a repeal. It was NOT a replacement. It was an Obamacare tweak giving additional power to the federal government in hopes that our Republican Health and Human Services Secretary could make good changes.

Most east Texans are not in favor of giving the federal government MORE power to solve the problem of the federal government having too much power over our health care. If a true history of the rise and demise of the greatest, freest country in history is written, a chapter will detail how decade after decade, good ol’ go along folks kept providing more and more authority to the federal government rather than reining it in. But we still have a window to stem the tide and get back on track.

In closed meetings we were assured, if we will just give my friend Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price this extra power, he can weaken Obamacare substantially, though he could not repeal it administratively. However, no one could give an adequate answer regarding all that additional power in the hands of the next liberal Democrat who will one day take the reins at that behemoth department. The answer is obvious: the next liberal Secretary of HHS would bring back Obamacare with gusto, never to be repealed until it does its job—to hand over full control of your health care decisions to the government, paid for by crushing tax burdens.

There were a myriad of reasons to vote against Speaker Ryan’s rejected bill. It would hit people between the ages of 50-64 with additional costs for premiums and deductibles—in addition to what Obamacare does now. In addition to the original $716 Billion that Obamacare cut from Medicare, this bill was going to hit our seniors yet again.

Most troublesome to me was that in our own Republican meetings we heard from experts who believed that this bill would not bring premiums, deductibles or co-pays down at all and they would most likely be increasing for the next two years, though there was hope costs MIGHT come down 10% three years from now.

From what I hear from my constituents in east Texas, they are really overwhelmed with health insurance and healthcare costs. They need help, and they cannot afford to wait three years. They need help now.

Some of us were exceeding concerned about a new “tax credit” entitlement scheme that did not require proof of citizenship, not even legality, before the U.S. Treasury sends a check.  This entitlement was another transfer of wealth from those who work hard and pay taxes to those not legally present in this country.

The bill also assured that nearly 1% of your hard-earned money would be paid for a Medicare tax to be sucked out of your paycheck that already has a tax of 2.9%, half paid by you and half by your employer.

To help east Texans with the higher premiums this bill would bring, my Freedom Caucus friends and I twice agreed to vote FOR the bad bill, if the Speaker would take out a few of the requirements that were going to increase premiums. We were convinced by knowledgeable analysts that removing these provisions would drive premiums down.

Please understand, we agreed to let the “pre-existing condition” provision in Obamacare remain, though some falsely reported that we refused. We agreed to let children stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, though I would agree to a higher age or no age limit if you are still living with your parents.

There were numerous other provisions that caused some heartburn, such as giving authority to HHA to create, for the first time ever, FEDERAL high risk insurance pools at the cost of billions of new dollars. We were told not to be alarmed, and that the hope was to eventually devolve that responsibility back to the states. As President Reagan warned, however, the closest thing to eternal life in this world is a new federal program.

Even though I was called an uncompromising “purist,” I was willing to compromise significantly if we could just get the premium costs down for my constituents.

People should also be aware that if the vote had been taken, there would have been as many moderate Republicans voting “No,” which some believe is why the vote was pulled in the first place. Republican leaders would not have been able to lay blame unfairly on conservatives when it was clear within our conference that at least as many moderates were concerned about the bill as conservatives.

The House Freedom Caucus reached an agreement to vote for the bill twice with President Trump, only to have Reince Priebus or Speaker Ryan notify us that such a compromise could not be put in the bill because, they told us, it would risk violating the budget reconciliation rules in the Senate and kill the bill.

Repeatedly we were told by our Republican leadership that the Senate Parliamentarian could not tell us in advance how she would “rule” on whether we could include our requested language in the bill without killing the bill. Late last week, we learned that the reason they could not find out was because they simply had not asked her, as Senator Mike Lee reported.

Yet the whole truth of the matter is that the Parliamentarian never “rules” on anything. She or he may only whisper a recommendation into the ear of the Senate President, either Vice-President Mike Pence or a designee of the Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who sits in the chair with the gavel on the Senate floor. It is the President of the Senate who “rules” on admissibility, not the Parliamentarian. And if 51 Republican Senators support the ruling of the presiding officer, his or her ruling stands untouchable.

This letter offers just a glimpse of the many reasons that the last two weeks played out as they did. It is very disappointing that despite the several compromises that were offered by conservative members, we still were not near fulfillment of our promise to truly and completely repeal Obamacare. That is a promise I did not make lightly, and I will continue the fight to honor my pledge to my constituents and the American people by working aggressively to make sure we get a good bill, get it passed, and signed into law.

Faithfully Yours,

Congressman Louie Gohmert
First District of Texas

RELATED VIDEOS: Gohmert: ‘I Can’t Support a Bill That Does More Damage Than Good’

Gohmert on AHCA: For My Constituents – a 10% Drop Will Not Be a Help

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Freedom Caucus Is an Ally, Not an Enemy in Draining the Swamp

After Trump Threatens to ‘Fight’ Freedom Caucus, Conservatives Vow to ‘Keep Promises’

Three-Pronged Approach to Repeal and Replace Obamacare | whitehouse.gov

Promising Advice on Car Injury Claims

When a person makes a car injury claim, two things come up to mind: settle or go to court?

Many people do not know that settling can be the more viable option. Settling is even a good choice even if the possibility of going to court has yet to surface.

Settling can be a good option, but what if the insurance company ignores you? Or the terms presented to you might be considered too small? How about when you strongly feel that you are a victim of injustice? Going to court might be the wisest option you can have.

In this article, we weigh in the advantages of both Settling and Going to court.

Settlement

As mentioned above, settlement can be the most viable option there is. If you find that the company that you are suing presents you with fair and appropriate solutions, settling may not be such a bad idea.

Here are some advantages of settling:

You can get compensation much faster

You’ll be able to get a quicker settlement because the terms between you and the company you are suing, are usually settled off the court. Therefore you can avoid those long hearing schedules which could delay you much more in the long run.

Avoiding Expensive Attorney’s fees

Depending on your agreement with your attorney, you might have to incur expensive costs. These charges are sometimes too expensive to the point that the whole settlement and compensation you make out of this lawsuit can be just for the payment fees.

Make it a point to your lawyer to talk about his fees and always consider some lawyers who do pro bono services that may greatly be beneficial for you.

Cost Efficient

Hearing schedules are what you need to endure should you decide to go to court. When you do go to court, hearings are not given automatically, instead they are scheduled. The wait for your time in court may reach a few weeks, months and even worse, some cases even take years.

Avoiding an Unpredictable Decision From the Jury

Panel members significantly affect the outcome of your trial. If you don’t understand how a jury makes its decisions, then settle to avoid any unpredictability when it comes to your trial.

Even if the trial or hearing has started, you can reach the company you are suing to agree on settling. It is always safe to say to try and talk at any point in the case to come to an agreement.

The central question that we should ask ourselves is, how much risk is there in losing the trial? If you are confident and feel good about the outcome of the case, ask for guidance from a good lawyer and proceed to court.

Going to Court

Proceeding to a hearing should be the last thing you consider. If all conditions do point towards it, then you must be prepared with the work that comes with it.

Here are some advantages of going to court:

Receiving full compensation

If a settlement is out of the question or if you feel that the compensation is unfair, then going to court can help you in claiming what is rightly yours. A court decision can legally enforce your rights for you, making the company liable for paying for the damages wrongfully done to you.

Gratification

Sometimes, companies can also refuse a re-negotiation. Compelling the defendant through the court’s powers can reverse that. If you do win in a court, gratification can sometimes be even a much greater thing than the compensation itself.

People at times feel that they have been wronged too much and be victims of injustice that they feel the whole process of going to court is the only way to alleviate their feelings. Compensation, as they say, can be the “icing on top.”

Takeaway

Settlement and going to court is a coin toss. Either you win the case, or you lose it. To avoid this situation, you have to carefully weigh your arguments and claims to make sure that no facts can disprove it. Knowing the advantages and the risks that come with it is hugely beneficial because it can make or break you when the time finally comes.

TAKE ACTION: Vimeo removes Christian ministry videos, closes account

If Jesus has changed your life and set you free from homosexual practice, your testimony is not welcome on Vimeo – not now, not ever. And if you see homosexuality as another aspect of sexual brokenness, something for which Jesus died and something from which you can be healed, your opinion is not welcome on Vimeo. Case closed, door shut, end of subject.

Pure Passion Ministries is a much respected friend of AFA and many other national ministries. Their videos have helped countless sexual abuse victims, people who have been sex trafficked, those who are addicted or in any other condition that causes them distress.

Sign the Petition to Vimeo!

us-appletv-1-pure-passion-tvOn March 24, Vimeo removed all 850 Pure Passion videos and closed its account.

Why? As Vimeo explained to Dr. David Kyle Foster, director of Pure Passion Ministries and himself a former homosexual,

To put it plainly, we don’t believe that homosexuality requires a cure and we don’t allow videos on our platform that espouse this point of view…We also consider this basic viewpoint to display a demeaning attitude toward a specific group, which is something that we do not allow.”

Did you catch that? Vimeo is guilty of the very same intolerance they claim Pure Passion has. Read the entire exchange between Pure Life and Vimeo here.

But Foster’s ministry is not the first to be unfairly censured by Vimeo. In 2015, Vimeo unpublished an announcement for an upcoming “Hope Conference.” The conference was sponsored by Restored Hope Network, which is an association of ministries that help people deal with unwanted same-sex attractions. Early last year, Vimeo shut down Restored Hope’s entire account. Every single video. Gone.

Vimeo also shut down the account of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which is an association of psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists who have had the temerity to stand up to the PC establishment and who refuse to celebrate LGBT activism.

You can see why Foster described Vimeo’s move as “pure religious bigotry and censorship.”

Vimeo takes a hostile view towards groups and videos that espouse the Bible when it comes to human sin and brokenness.

Vimeo takes a callous approach towards groups and videos that preach the gospel of transformation when it comes to homosexuality.

TAKE ACTION

This is an outrage, and it needs to be addressed. Here’s what you can do today:

  • Sign our petition to Vimeo asking them to restore immediately the account of Dr. David Kyle Foster and Pure Passion, stating politely that this is tantamount to religious censorship and bigotry.
  • Share this information with family, friends and on social media.
  • Pray that the message of freedom and liberty in Jesus – from ALL brokenness and sin – would be proclaimed even more loudly and powerfully in the days ahead. Pray that Vimeo’s efforts to silence a powerful ministry (along with other excellent ministries and organizations) result in the amplifying of this ministry’s message.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

EDITORS NOTE: If AFA’s mission resonates with you, please consider supporting their work financially with a tax-deductible donation. The easiest way to do that is through online giving. It is easy to use, and most of all, it is secure.

#MAGA Questions Requiring Immediate Answers

By Wallace Bruschweiler & William Palumbo…

Last week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to pass the one thing they have consistently preached since 2010: a repeal of Obamacare.  It was the latest (and most severe) setback since President Trump took office just two months ago.

MAGAThe fallout of this failure is a fiasco for Republicans and, in particular, President Trump.  Before another Republican failure finds itself on the doorsteps of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, below are some questions for your, and the administration’s, serious consideration.  To the following questions we offer no answers.  It is the job of those in official positions to have solutions, and act on them urgently.

  • What exactly have Paul Ryan and the Congressional Republicans been doing for the last seven years, if not figuring out a viable replacement for the monstrosity of Obamacare? Really, what were they doing there?
  • Who additionally in Congress, besides Ryan, thought that a complex (in 3 separate parts, no less!), non-free market health care bill would have conservative support and ultimately succeed? Let’s be serious.
  • Why were Senator Rand Paul’s ideas and suggestions utterly disregarded and ignored?
  • What are we paying Congress for, if not to write legislation to benefit the American people?
  • Were the Republicans in Congress expecting to lose the Presidential election, and therefore were totally unprepared to govern when Donald Trump actually won?
  • Who really supports Ryan, the leader of the RINO faction who seemingly can’t count votes, in his position as Speaker of the House (second in presidential succession after the Vice President)? Again, let’s be serious.
  • Republicans control Congress, the White House, and will soon add an additional conservative to the Supreme Court – why then, with Trump having won the election and delivered them power, is Congress unable, unprepared, and/or unwilling to legislate?
  • Why did the Trump White House not immediately consider the firing of all political appointees, wherever they are in the federal bureaucracy, a top priority? They represent and operate today as a well-oiled, prepared fifth column.
  • When will the inner circle surrounding President Trump attain the level of “firmness” required to neutralize and eliminate the proliferating, and up until now successful, fifth column?
  • When will the Trump administration finally identify the leakers and abusers of classified information (i.e., unmasking of U.S. citizens)? When will these criminals be brought to justice?
  • What finally caused the pundits to begin calling for Speaker Ryan’s replacement? He opposed Trump through the election – why the change of heart now?  What happened that they finally saw the light?

There is one more question, one to conclude the story if you will, and one for which we will hazard a guess: Who is right now laughing most at Trump and the so-called and hapless Republican Party?

The answer is a complex yet simple one: George Soros, Barack Hussein Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and Hillary Clinton.

Why Single-Payer Health Care Delivers Poor Quality at High Cost by Daniel J. Mitchell

I shared last year a matrix to illustrate Milton Friedman’s great insight about the superior results achieved by markets compared to government.

Incentives explain why markets work best. When you spend your own money on yourself (box 1), you try to maximize quality while minimizing cost. And that drives the businesses that are competing for your money to constantly seek more efficient ways of producing better products at better prices.

This system generates creative destruction, which sometimes can be painful, but the long-term result is that we are vastly richer.

Governments, by contrast, don’t worry about efficiency or cost (box 4).

Today, though, let’s use Friedman’s matrix to understand the shortcomings of the US health care system. Way back in 2009, I opined that the most important chart in health care was the one showing that American consumers directly paid for less than 12 percent of health expenditures.

For all intents and purposes, instead of buying health care with their own money, they use other people’s money (box 2), a phenomenon known as third-party payer. And because most of their health expenses are financed by either government (thanks to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc) or insurance companies (thanks to the tax code’s health care exclusion), consumers focus only on quality and don’t care much about cost.

That 2009 column was written before Obamacare’s enactment, so let’s see if anything has changed.

Well, we know health care has become more expensive. But do we know why?

The answer, at least in part, is that consumers are directly financing an even smaller percentage of their health care expenses. In other words, the distortions caused by third-party payer have become worse.

Here’s the most-recent data from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (specifically the National Health Expenditures by type of service and source of funds, CY 1960-2015). Consumers are now paying only 10.5 percent of health care costs.

Now let’s consider the issue of efficiency.

Are we getting better health care for all the money that’s being spent?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s another chart from the archives. It compares per-capita health spending in various nations with average life expectancy.

As you can see, the United States is not getting more bang for the buck. And I very much doubt an updated version of those numbers would show anything different.

Heck, we even have more government spending on health care, per capita, than many nations with fully nationalized systems.

So if we’re not buying better health outcomes with all this money, what are we getting?

The blunt answer is bureaucracy and inefficiency. Here are some excerpts I shared years ago from a column by Robert Samuelson.

There are 9 times more clerical workers in health care than there are physicians, and twice as many clerical workers as registered nurses. This investment has not paid off in superior outcomes or better customer service, however. …Every analysis of medical care that has been done highlights the significant waste of resources in providing care. Consider a few examples: one study found that physicians spent on average of 142 hours annually interacting with health plans, at an estimated cost to practices of $68,274 per physician (Casalino et al., 2009). Another study found that 35 percent of nurses’ time in medical/surgical units of hospitals was spent on documentation (Hendrich et al., 2008).

Let’s close with a chart from a left-wing group that wants a single-payer system.

And this chart clearly makes a compelling case that the current approach in the United States is very wasteful.

For what it’s worth, I’m slightly skeptical about the veracity of the numbers. Why, for instance, would there be a sudden explosion of administrators starting about 1990?

But even if the data is overstated, I’m sure the numbers are still bad. We see the same thing in other areas of our economy where government-instigated third-party payer enables waste and featherbedding. Higher education is an especially shocking example.

The real issue is how to solve the problem. Our leftist friends think a single-payer health care system would solve the problem, but that would be akin to nationalizing grocery stores to deal with the inefficiencies created by food stamps and agriculture subsidies.

The real answer, as Julie Borowski explains in this video, is unraveling all the government interventions that caused the problem in the first place.

And if you want another video on the topic, here’s a Dutch expert making similar points. I also recommend this clever cartoon video that explains third-party payer. And this Reason video on how costs are lower when actual markets operate.

And if aren’t already numbed by lots of data, Mark Perry and Devon Herrick have more evidence of lower costs when third-party payer is reduced.

Republished from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Defeat. Conservative Victory.

Real vs Fake Health Care Reform, and How to Tell the Difference by Jeffrey A. Tucker

You want to know why the “freedom caucus” has balked at passing the Trump-backed Ryancare health care proposal?

Because the package does not address the core problem of the existing system. They are leaning – correctly – on a brilliant insight from F.A. Hayek.

Let’s think this through.

What was the most fundamental problem with Obamacare? It attempted to set up an artificial market that lacked the most salient feature of markets: genuine competition. Real competition. I don’t mean teams struggling for control. I mean an institutional setting in which producers can innovate. They face free entry and exit. Their well-being depends on serving the consumer.Obamacare has flopped because it disabled what remained of the competitive system with defined benefits packages, mandates that everyone be covered, requirements that everyone must purchase, and geographic limits on service provision. All these together took health care out of the realm of markets and made it a form of central planning.

And so: Obamacare resulted in soaring premiums, soaring deductibles, shoddy access, and ever-increasing bureaucracy. It became untenable. Objecting to it doesn’t have to be a matter of ideology. The contraption just didn’t work.

The core insight of the “freedom caucus” comes from Hayek and his fascinating piece “The Meaning of Competition”:

It is only through competition that we can assume that these possible savings of cost will be achieved. Even if in each instance prices were only just low enough to keep out producers which do not enjoy these or other equivalent advantages, so that each commodity were produced as cheaply as possible, though many may be sold at prices considerably above costs, this would probably be a result which could not be achieved by any other method than that of letting competition operate …

Yet the current tendency in discussion is to be intolerant about the imperfections and to be silent about the prevention of competition. We can probably still learn more about the real significance of competition by studying the results which regularly occur where competition is deliberately suppressed than by concentrating on the shortcomings of actual competition compared with an ideal which is irrelevant for the given facts.

I say advisedly “where competition is deliberately suppressed” and not merely “where it is absent,” because its main effects are usually operating, even if more slowly, so long as it is not outright suppressed with the assistance or the tolerance of the state.

The evils which experience has shown to be the regular consequence of a suppression of competition are on a different plane from those which the imperfections of competition may cause. Much more serious than the fact that prices may not correspond to marginal cost is the fact that, with an entrenched monopoly, costs are likely to be much higher than is necessary …

Competition is essentially a process of the formation of opinion: by spreading information, it creates that unity and coherence of the economic system which we presuppose when we think of it as one market. It creates the views people have about what is best and cheapest, and it is because of it that people know at least as much about possibilities and opportunities as they in fact do. It is thus a process which involves a continuous change in the data and whose significance must therefore be completely missed by any theory which treats these data as constant.

Let me paraphrase and apply: no, there will not be a perfect world. Total freedom is not a political option right now. So what’s the priority for any reform? The most crucial institutions in any society are the signaling systems of prices that reflect existing knowledge and possibilities.

When those are malfunctioning, nothing else works. Costs go up, quality goes down, innovation stops, and the sector starts to atrophy.

Competition Restoration Means Health Care Restoration

The first priority is that competition must be restored through some measure of deregulation. The mandates must go. The pre-set benefits packages must die. Insurers must gain control over their business affairs and customers have to be able to shop and choose.

We must regain flexibility to inspire innovation and achieve profitability. This must happen or else premiums will keep going up. This is a requirement. Obamacare failed because it disabled the market. Any reform must restore that market. This is more important than any other feature of reform.Trumpcare or Ryancare or whatever you want to call it does not do that. It replaces a mandate to buy with a tax incentive to buy. Otherwise it leaves the problem of the absence of genuine competition in place. True, the alternative doesn’t do anything about the transfer of payments, but, if you follow Hayek, you know that these are less important to eliminate than are the barriers to competition.

The restoration of competition will discover for us things we do not know about service provision: treatments, plans, new institutional arrangements, new forms of insurance, new methods for serving the public. Competition will grow the market and make profitability the test of success or failure.

If that does not happen, premiums will keep increasing, quality will go down, access will continue to shrink, and public anger will grow as a result.

Now is the time. Again, it is not about ideology. It is about a system of health care insurance that actually works to serve the common good.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare? – POLITICO Magazine

RELATED VIDEO: Senator Rand Paul Doesn’t Want the GOP to Fail at Obamacare Replacement Plan.

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