For Senate: Life Begins at 50… Votes

Republicans certainly have a flair for the dramatic. With less than four working days to kill Obamacare, Senate hallways are already empty. With their repeal bill still hanging in the balance, members left town late Tuesday to mark the Jewish holidays — adding even more suspense to next week’s September 30th deadline. Even now, Republican leaders aren’t sure where their party will land on the plan from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Although the push seems to be gaining steam, the results are anything but certain — as Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) reminded everyone the last time around.

One thing’s for sure: it will be an anxious few days for Planned Parenthood. Apart from Barack Obama, Cecile Richards’s group has the most to lose — almost $400 million a year, to be exact. Like the string of reconciliation bills before it, the Graham-Cassidy measure guts 86 percent of the organization’s Medicaid funding, putting a huge dent in the forced partnership between taxpayers and America’s biggest abortion business. That should be a major motivating factor for dozens of pro-life senators, who understand that this is conservatives’ best shot at ending the government’s direct deposit to a scandal-ridden organization.

Even Planned Parenthood admits it performs more abortions (328,348 in 2015 alone) than basic breast exams. That’s not difficult to believe since overall health screenings have dropped by half since 2011. Even contraception counseling, the group’s bread-and-butter, fell by 136,244. So what, exactly, are taxpayers funding? Certainly not the “comprehensive care” Richards advertises. Or even the volume of care, since Planned Parenthood saw 100,000 fewer patients in 2015 than the year before.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to change Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) mind. The Kentucky pro-lifer insists he won’t vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill, despite the thousands of unborn lives it could save. That’s frustrating position for plenty of conservatives to accept. Like a lot of pro-lifers, they think the GOP’s concern for these children should outweigh the repeal’s imperfections. Susan B. Anthony List blasted Paul for his “outright opposition to the bill, and his dismissiveness of the pro-life priorities within it is alarming and damaging.” It is, they argue, an “unacceptable position for a pro-life senator to have.”

On Twitter, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made the case for us, snapping a photo of all of the pro-life language in the bill. “These flags mark all the abortion restrictions in the Republican repeal of Obamacare,” he tweeted. That can only help the GOP’s cause, based on the support from both sides for more limits on Planned Parenthood’s biggest moneymaker.

In a New York Magazine piece this week, liberals try to set the record straight on the real driving force behind the Graham-Cassidy bill. The motivation, Ed Kilgore points out, is:

“…generally assumed to be the potential fury of the GOP’s conservative base if Republicans break their promise to repeal Obamacare. But there’s another thing pushing them toward the abyss: One of the most powerful factions in the GOP and the conservative movement, the anti-abortion lobby, is backing Graham-Cassidy to the hilt. That’s because, like every other GOP repeal-and-replace bill, it temporarily defunds Planned Parenthood” and aims to prevent use of federal insurance-purchasing tax subsidies for polices that include abortion coverage.”

It’s funny. One minute the media says the social conservative movement is dead — the next, it’s complaining we’re too powerful. According to Democrats, it’s the latter. Republicans are “scared to death of a promise they may not keep to the Republican primary base,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said.

Let’s hope so. This is a make or break moment for the GOP, as pollster John McLaughlin’s report makes quite clear. Voters elected Republicans to keep their word on Obamacare — seven years’ worth of words, actually. This week, I am in Arizona speaking to supporters in Tucson and Phoenix, encouraging them to get their senators in line on the partial repeal of Obamacare.

Join them by reaching out to yours — before it’s too late!

For more on the debate, check out Ken Blackwell’s interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Wednesday.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 21 Washington Update:
Lib Teacher Tries to Mx up Kids on Gender

On Adoption, Left Attacks Mich. Again


Previous Washington Update Articles »

This is How You Make Health Care Affordable by Jay Bowen

As the debate continues to rage in Washington, D.C., and around the country regarding the fate of Obamacare, one elegantly simple concept that would have a dramatic impact on healthcare costs is being drowned out by inflammatory rhetoric.

The One Area of Health Care That’s Defying Massive Inflation

Out-of-pocket payment (OPP) by consumers for routine medical care would transform the system from one dominated by third party payers toward a model that would put consumers in charge of their healthcare dollars, and for the first time unleash market disciplines into the equation.

After all, we can all only imagine what our grocery carts would look like, not to mention our restaurant tabs, if a third party was paying for our food. Unfortunately, out-of-pocket payments have steadily trended down over the last 60 years and now account for only 10.5% of healthcare expenditures.

It is both stunning and disconcerting that the myriad of benefits that flow from a competitive, market driven system have never, in any substantial way, penetrated the healthcare and medical services arena. However, one striking exception to this competitive wet blanket is the $15 billion cosmetic surgery industry, the poster child for out of pocket payments, where innovation and price disinflation have been hallmarks for decades. Examples abound.

As Mark Perry has pointed out on his brilliant economic blog, Carpe Diem, over the past 19 years, the 20 most popular cosmetic procedures have increased at a rate 32% below the consumer price index (CPI) and 68% below the rate of medical services inflation.

Thus, the backbone of a productive reform plan must include a move away from third parties and employers controlling health care dollars toward individuals holding sway over their medical purse strings.

Removing Constraints

This would mean that the “employer contribution” that currently is used to fund corporate group policies would transition to an increase in an employee’s compensation, which would be funneled tax-free into a robust health savings account (HSA) that the employee would control for routine medical expenses.

As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute has pointed out, “The employer contribution for health care is part of a worker’s earnings and averages $13,000 per family. Yet the tax code gives control over that money to employers rather than the workers who earned it.”

Importantly, this HSA would be paired with a high-deductible catastrophic policy and also be valid in the individual marketplace. Additionally, this would go a long way in helping to solve the portability issue that some employees face when changing jobs or careers.Essential to making these individual plans more attractive and affordable would be the abolition of both the “community rating” and “essential health benefits” mandates currently embedded in Obamacare policies. These concepts make a mockery of a legitimate, actuarially sound insurance market by shifting costs from older and sicker people to younger and healthier people, thus promoting adverse selection.

Without these constraints, families could focus on basic and affordable policies that would better match their needs and also begin building a “rainy day health fund” via their HSA accounts.

Regarding both Medicaid and pre-existing conditions, a strong dose of old fashioned, Tenth Amendment-oriented federalism is long overdue in dealing with these issues.

In fact, both from a philosophical and practical standpoint, they should never have come under the purview of the federal government and are best left to the individual states where diverse, vibrant, and innovative solutions could be implemented. This could include the establishment of reinsurance programs and high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions, and the phasing out of the open-ended federal entitlement status of Medicaid through a multi-year block grant program.

A Patient-Centered System

The current third party payment/community rating model for delivering healthcare is unsustainable and rapidly headed for the dreaded “death spiral,” which occurs when an escalation of sick people flock to the exchanges for insurance, while an increasing number of healthy people choose to leave the market. In fact, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini has recently acknowledged as much.

Make no mistake, Obamacare was designed to invariably lead to a government-run, single-payer model, with its global budgeting, rationing of care, and long wait times for vital procedures in tow.

Without swift and decisive intervention with a system based on patient-centered choice and market mechanisms, the end result will be a Veterans Affairs (VA)-like model that would combine the worst aspects of government inefficiencies and substandard care.

A quick glance at the dismal state of Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), Canada’s single payer scheme, or our own insolvent Medicare and Medicaid plans provides Americans with an acutely unpleasant hint of what is in store if a single-payer model does indeed transpire.

Jay Bowen

Jay Bowen

Mr. Bowen joined Bowen, Hanes & Company, Inc. in 1986. As the firm’s Chief Investment Officer and economic strategist, Mr. Bowen is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the firm’s economic and investment strategies.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

30%

As much as 30% of the LGBTQ demographic abuse substances, compared to 9% in the heterosexual population.

In most cases, drugs and alcohol are a way for a person to deal with problems in their lives. The fact is – many people within the LGBTQ have to deal with way more problems than the average person. They for one can experience higher levels of stress, social stigmas, and discrimination. Therefore, this leads to much higher substance abuse rates compared to heterosexual people.

The Alarming Statistics Of LGBTQ Substance Abuse

As previously mentioned – substance abuse is a huge problem within the LGBTQ community and is much more common than in any other demographic. In fact, it is thought that around 20-30 percent of the LGBTQ demographic abuse substances, in comparison to about 9 percent that of the regular demographic.

Here are some more addiction statistics regarding the LGBTQ:

Tobacco

  • 200%
  • People within the LGBTQ are 200% more likely to use tobacco than heterosexual and non-transgender people.

Alcohol

  • 25 percent of people identified as LGBTQ abuse alcohol, in comparison to about 5-10 percent of the regular demographic.

Drugs

  • Men that have intercourse with men are over 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana
  • These same men are also 12.2 times more likely to use amphetamines than men who do not have intercourse with men.
  • They are also 9.5 times more likely to use heroin.

From the statistics shown, we can come to grasp that there is an obvious problem within the LGBTQ. From alcohol to drugs the issue is there, but what are we doing about it? If a person needs help for addiction, they usually go to rehab. However, for people within the LGBT, it can be a bit more difficult. Sometimes they’re denied treatment, and sometimes they might feel like an outcast and relapse. Fortunately, there are specific rehabs designed for LGBTQ people.

Why Are LGBTQ People More Likely To Become Addicted To Drugs And Alcohol?

Stress triggers that lead to addiction in LGBTQ people may include any or more of the following:

  • Fear of persecution which leads to living a stressful double life in order to conform
  • Isolation that arises from public ridicule and rejection
  • Emotional trauma caused by abuse by other people especially family members
  • Internalized homophobia, a deep self-loathing, feelings of shame and of being damaged
  • Religious intolerance and inability to join a particular faith
  • Social discrimination that prevents them equal access to healthcare and job opportunities
  • Frustration from an inability to pursue a love interest
  • Feelings of loneliness and lack of intimacy or someone to confide in

A fear of persecution leads to isolation, hiding who you are from all around you is a huge reason for someone to have a substance abuse problem.

Rejection from regular society is a big issue – not everyone is on their side, and discrimination can lead to a lack of chances with job opportunities. Taking the jump if the person on the other side of the table is for or against you can put much pressure on someone, leading again to substance abuse.

It is not always the public that contributes to substance abuse with someone within the LGBTQ community. Self-worth is also a big factor, always judging yourself, self-loathing and even shame of who you are can once again lead to abusing a substance.

Studies have been conducted in this area and their findings are:

  • LGBT youth is up to 300% more likely to succumb to drug addiction
  • A quarter of LGBT people abuse alcohol whereas the fraction is less than a tenth for the general populace
  • A larger percentage of LGBTQ people have experimented with harmful drugs: 63% have experimented with Ecstasy, 63% have experimented with marijuana, 48% have experimented with amyl nitrate and 45% smoke an average of more than 10 cigarettes daily.

Other Problems Caused By Drugs And Alcohol Addiction In The LGBTQ Community

Addiction is not only a problem in and of itself. It is also a cause or escalator of other psychological or health problems. The mental processes of people suffering from addiction are often clouded which leads them to make bad choices. It is also very probable that an addict will mostly interact with fellow addicts making it even more difficult to overcome the addiction as they are constantly surrounded by enablers. Their decision making is usually poor, especially while under the influence. Trying to cope with life’s issues by drug or alcohol use will likely cause even more life issues, and so the self-perpetuating vicious cycle goes on and on.

People who are addicts are often highly susceptible to:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Health risks such as liver cirrhosis or lung cancer
  • HIV contracted by sharing needles
  • Sexual dysfunction

Having a problem with an addiction usually leads to having even more problems. Depression is a big issue in the LGBTQ and can lead to an eating disorder. LGBT men are actually 3 times more likely to have an eating disorder. Not only that, an addiction to certain drugs could even lead to HIV when sharing needles or other drug use equipment.

Helping LGBTQ People Suffering From Addiction

Recognizing issues associated with addiction is quite important, for gay or transgender people getting help is a little different than a regular person suffering from addiction. For one, LGBT individuals can find help in specifically designed rehab centers just for them. There are treatment centers catered to the unique needs of lesbian women, bisexuals and even LGBTQ youth. Overall these individualized treatment options make a big difference in the ability for them to recover from an addiction.

Some issues treated at LGBTQ treatment centers are:

  • Managing discrimination from others
  • Dealing with depression, anxiety, and guilt that stem from sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Handling peer pressure
  • Guidelines for accepting their identity and coming out

The Advantage Of Specialized LGBTQ Rehab Centers

As more and more help centers spring up with more understanding of the specific needs of LGBTQ. Going to such rehabilitation centers will make the patient feel more at home and assist in the recovery process. Being around other people with the same struggles in itself is a great therapy which can tremendously help the patient’s feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. These people need to be cared for in a warm and welcoming environment where they do not feel the alienation that drove them into addiction in the first place. Rehabilitation in these types of places takes into account other disorders, whether they are innate or they have been developed over the years.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

At public library meeting: MassResistance-Texas parents present shocking facts on LGBT & sex-ed agenda in elementary schools. LGBT activists try to disrupt event.

Tech Tycoon Wants to Punish ‘Wicked’ Foes of LGBT Activism

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Trump was left with no middle ground on transgender issue

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AddictionResource.com.

VIDEO: Health Care Is a Mess… But Why? by Seamus Coughlin and Sean Malone

You probably know a couple who both work full time to support their children, but even with their dual incomes, they’re finding it more and more difficult to afford health insurance.

Everyday incidents like sports injuries, asthma, and blood pressure, combined with their anxiety over rising premiums, are turning their American dream into sleepless nights.

Why can’t people catch a break? It wasn’t always this way!

Everyone wants health care, but there’s only so much to go around.

According to the Consumer Price Index and Medical-care price index from 1935 to 2009, the health care spending crisis didn’t start until the mid 1960s, around the same time when Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law, and at the same time that we began requiring doctors to go through all sorts of expensive licensing procedures beyond medical school.

Since then, health care spending has doubled, even adjusted for inflation. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

Everyone wants health care, but there’s only so much to go around. And short supply leads to high prices. Normally what happens in a marketplace is that when prices are high, entrepreneurs try to profit by finding more affordable ways to provide goods and services.

The more people become involved in providing these services, the less scarce they become and the lower the prices drop, so that over time, more and more people can afford them.

This is what happened to televisions, microwaves, computers, cell phones, internet service, delivery services, food, shipping, transportation/air-travel, entertainment, home security, fitness, yoga, massages, and even all the medical technology, like LASIK, that isn’t as heavily regulated or controlled by government.

Can’t government drive down the price of goods and services like the free market?

Let’s look at what happened with Medicare and Medicaid as an example. In 1965, these two single payer health insurance programs were instituted in the US. These programs made the unfortunate less dependant on impartial private charities and more dependant on political institutions and pharmaceutical companies.

On top of that, these programs constantly require tax increases, and because they function more to satisfy the health care industry than the worker, they continually lead to more expensive and wasteful ways of treating patients.

As a result, prices shot up, making it even more difficult for people to afford health insurance. Not only that, but in 1965, government took over the training of new doctors, and in 1997 they limited the number of new doctors they would train at 110,000 per year – and the number hasn’t changed since!

Even worse, our government won’t let migrant doctors from developed western countries practice in the US without undergoing this training. So, not only do experienced doctors from other countries not want to practice medicine here, but the ones who do are taking up 15% of those few 110,000 slots, limiting the supply of doctors even more.

Won’t Obamacare solve these problems?

Unfortunately, Obamacare suffers from similar problems. It eliminated the pricing structure by seriously restricting competition because all providers have to offer the same kinds of plans at the same price. And because that price isn’t really determined by the market, providers can charge the taxpayer way more than they could otherwise. It’s basically just a handout to big insurance companies.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! If we get the government out of health care, more people like those you know will be able to get the care they need.

Seamus Coughlin

Seamus Coughlin

Seamus Coughlin is a comedy writer and animator with a deep interest in politics and morality. A good deal of his work can be found on the FreedomToons YouTube channel.

Sean Malone

Sean Malone

Sean Malone is the Director of Media at FEE. His films have been featured in the mainstream media and throughout the free-market educational community.

A Vision for a Truly American Health Care System

As Obamacare continues to reveal itself as an economic and policy disaster, it strikes me that in undoing this healthcare mess, we are not following the path forged for us by the Framers of the Constitution.

For them, the overarching, driving concern was the protection of the liberties of the nation’s citizens from the intrusions of an excessively powerful government. Translated to health care, this would mean protecting patients and their doctors from government interference in their most private and personal dealings.

The Framers accomplished this by creating a national government of only specific and enumerated powers and prohibited from directly regulating the actions of the American people. This latter authority was retained by the states, and specifically not given to the federal government.

So, under this strategy, what would the nation’s health care system look like?

In a truly American health care system, the responsibility for funding one’s medical care would fall squarely upon the treated individual. In cases where the cost of receiving treatment became excessive, the individual would be aided by his or her family, local churches, and community organizations dedicated to helping those who couldn’t help themselves.

More importantly, healthcare would be delivered in a society where God and worship played a central role in human interaction. And no, not because the government demanded it, but because the people spontaneously shared this unyielding resolve in a state where an environment encouraging public worship existed and the family was viewed as society’s foundational building block. It was a milieu where people were continuously reminded of their direct relationship with God and of His greatest commandment; that each person love God with all his might and that he love his neighbor as he does himself.

If the health care system needed to be more formalized so that hospitals and health care could be regulated or a risk-diverting network could be implemented, then such a structure would be generated and executed by the state, not by the federal government. In fact, if the Constitution were properly interpreted, the courts would hold that the federal government was prohibited from directing the states on creating, implementing, or administering a health care program, nor could it tax the people directly for the purpose of creating a health care insurance company.

Other than Dr. Benjamin Rush who voiced his concern for the potential of healthcare being used as a tool in support of a dictatorial regime, it is likely that the Founders gave little thought to the design of the new nation’s health care system. Not only was it orders beyond their primary concern of building a functional system of government, but they would have clearly maintained that such was not the role of the new federal government.

If asked, the Framers would have undoubtedly agreed that the solution to the nation’s health care challenges lied not in the acts of politicians, but in the moral compass provided to the People by their Creator and in the unyielding pledge that each and every person had instinctively made to his or her neighbor through his or her faith in God. It is within these concepts that the true solutions to our health care woes lie, not in the machinations conceived by politicians or bureaucrats.

Hopefully, we as a nation will recall and apply these self-evident truths before we irreparably tarnish our Great Experiment.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages.

The Catholic Church has given up its ministry to the government

The Catholic Church is in decline. Why? Because it has failed  perform its primary mission to minister to and provide for the sick and needy. It has surrendered to government that role that once was the sole dominion of the church.

Bishop DewaneI recently read a statement by Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Dewane states:

“It is deeply disappointing to many Americans that, in modifying the American Health Care Act to again attempt a vote, proponents of the bill left in place its serious flaws, including unacceptable modifications to Medicaid that will endanger coverage and affordability for millions of people, according to reports,” said Bishop Dewane. “Sadly, some of the recently proposed amendments-especially those designed to give states flexibility-lack apparent safeguards to ensure quality of care. These additions could severely impact many people with pre-existing conditions while risking for others the loss of access to various essential coverages.”

His concern should not be about what the government is doing with healthcare. His concern should be that government should not be dictating to the states nor the people, who should or should not be covered. Particularly people of faith.

Bishop Dewane and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops should not be casting the first stone, for they are not without sin. Government taking over healthcare has harmed the Catholic church, its institutions and is congregations.

Let’s look at the Little Sisters of the Poor. The December 2016 edition of the Atlantic reported:

[T]he Supreme Court decided to tackle the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who believe, along with some priests, a Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and several universities, that the government is compelling them to violate their beliefs. Their claim: The so-called birth-control mandate of the Affordable Care Act places a burden on their religious exercise, even with an accommodation from the government.

[ …]

The Affordable Care Act requires all U.S. insurance plans to cover 20 varieties of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost to patients. This affects employers at both for-profit and non-profit organizations, because they have to provide coverage for contraception in their insurance plans. Immediately following the passage of the law in 2010, a number of organizations objected, saying that some of the approved forms of contraception are the equivalent of abortifacients, or drugs that cause abortion. If they refused to provide the coverage, they would face heavy fines.

Note the words “some priests” and a “Roman Catholic Archdiocese.” This is what happens when the Catholic church fails to stop the government from imposing itself on the lives of the faithful with mandates such as killing the innocent via abortifacients.

Perhaps Bishop Dewane would better serve his Archdiocese and Florida’s Catholics by working to get government totally out of healthcare?

GotQuestions.org notes:

The Roman government taxed the Jews unjustly and many of the tax collectors were thieves. When asked about this dilemma, Jesus took a coin and said, “‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’” (Matthew 22:20-21).

But remember that the Roman Empire fell not because of external pressure but because of internal rot.

EDITORS NOTE: Following oral argument on the Little Sisters of the Poor case, the U.S. Supreme Court requested supplemental briefing from the parties addressing “whether contraceptive coverage could be provided to petitioners’ employees, through petitioners’ insurance companies, without any such notice from petitioners.” Post, p. ___. Both petitioners and the Government now confirm that such an option is feasible. Petitioners have clarified that their religious exercise is not infringed where they “need to do nothing more than contract for a plan that does not include coverage for some or all forms of contraception,” even if their employees receive cost-free contraceptive coverage from the same insurance company. Supplemental Brief for Petitioners 4. The Government has confirmed that the challenged procedures “for employers with insured plans could be modified to operate in the manner posited in the Court’s order while still ensuring that the affected women receive contraceptive coverage seamlessly, together with the rest of their health coverage.” Read more.

Projections of mortality and causes of death, 2015 and 2030

This infographic displays data from the World Health Organization’s “Projections of mortality and causes of death, 2015 and 2030”. The report details all deaths in 2015 by cause and makes predictions for 2030, giving an impression of how global health will develop over the next 14 years. Also featured is data from geoba.se showing how life expectancy will change between now and 2030.

All percentages shown have been calculated relative to projected changes in population growth.

MEDIGO – Mortality and Causes of Death. 2015 and 2030: a comparison

How much longer will we live in 2030?

Life expectancy worldwide has increased since the start of the century and will continue to rise, with areas considered to be ‘developing’ seeing the biggest increases. Despite this there will still be a huge disparity in life expectancy around the world.

MEDIGO – Mortality and Causes of Death. 2015 and 2030: a comparison

Top 10 killing diseases in 2015

Although progress is being made in some areas, there are also reasons for concern. Of the top 10 causes of death in 2015, 7 will cause even more deaths in 2030.

MEDIGO – Mortality and Causes of Death. 2015 and 2030: a comparison

California Sheriff Urges Floridians to Vote No On Amendment 2

In an Op-Ed published in the Pensacola News Journal on Sunday, California Sheriff Sandra Hutchens urged Florida voters not to make the same mistake that California did:

“… yes — California’s medical marijuana law was a joke. Even the coauthor of the law admits it — describing medical marijuana dispensaries as little more “than dope dealers with storefronts.” But it looks like the same joke is being played on Florida, only there would be no hope of fixing the inevitable problems and unintended consequences.”

Read more below:

“… Floridians have the rare opportunity to look into a crystal ball and see precisely what’s in store for them should their own medical marijuana initiative pass. The question is: Will Floridians actually take a look before they pass Amendment 2 and legalize pot in Florida?

[ … ]

“Fortunately, Floridians have every resource at their disposal to see exactly how a law like this will pan out in their state. Just Google “Weedmaps” and take a look at a city, such as San Diego. Perform a YouTube search of real live budtenders — all of whom are also medical marijuana cardholders and look perfectly healthy. Look at a menu from one of California’s “medical” pot shops. They hold products like: Blueberry Crack, Lemon Kush, Ganja Gum, Edipure Sour Sea Creatures.

[ … ]

“With the truth right in front of you, this should be an easy decision.

“Don’t be duped. Vote No on 2.”

To read the full piece click here.

HEALTH ALERT: Three Cases of Active TB in Vermont in the last seven months

And, their treatment expenses are coming out of your wallets! Isn’t diversity beautiful!

See our previous post—-what is Vermont hiding?

TB cdc

This CDC info graphic says even Latent TB cases entering the U.S. must be identified and treated. So what is all this costing us?

More from Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart:

A spokesperson for the Vermont Department of Health confirms to Breitbart News that “three refugees [have been] diagnosed with TB in Vermont over the past seven months.”

One case was diagnosed in December 2015, and the other two cases were diagnosed in 2016.

No one other than a refugee has been diagnosed with active TB in Vermont during the first six months of 2016, the spokesperson adds.

The stunning admission comes after Breitbart News reported that the number of active TB cases in Vermont tripled from two in 2014 to seven in 2015.

More here.

I don’t want to become an expert on refugee health, but you might be interested if you have some connection to the medical field or are in regular close contact with the refugees newly arriving in the US.

Just now I had a look at the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for refugee health screening and what I don’t get is this: refugees are domestically screened between 30 and 90 days of arrival.  How many people have interacted or come in contact with a refugee family and then don’t learn for 30 to 90 days that someone in the family has TB (or HIV or parasites or other transmittable health conditions)?

See our ‘health issues’ category with over 300 previous posts on the topic.

RELATED ARTICLE: Vermont’s Watchdog.org tells us more about VT Health Dept. response to TB in the state

The Chart that Could Undo the Healthcare System: Skyrocketing costs are being driven by bureaucracy

For a larger view click on the image.

This chart looks remarkably similar to a chart that tracks the growth of the administrative class in higher education. And that’s no accident. As the physician who shared the chart writes:

[The chart] outlines the growth of administrators in healthcare compared to physicians over the last forty years. And, it includes an overlay of America’s healthcare spending over that same time. Take a look at the yellow color. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?

You see, when you have that much administration, what you really have is a bunch of meetings. Lots of folks carrying their coffee from place to place. They are meeting about more policies, more protocols to satisfy government-created nonsense. But, this type of thing in healthcare isn’t fixing things. It’s not moving the needle.

What moves things is innovation.

Innovation, indeed. But it’s not easy to innovate in stagnant, hyper-regulated, captured sectors.

In Tyler Cowen’s 2011 book the Great Stagnation, he argued that the areas that were stagnating the most are education, healthcare, and government. Writing about Cowen’s book in his Wall Street Journal blog, Kelly Evans says:

A particular challenge we confront is that our progress as a society — chiefly, in extending and improving lives — is now at a point in which it appears to be undercutting our potential for further advancement. Part of this, Mr. Cowen observes, stems from well-meaning efforts to do more with education, government, and health care that instead seem to have backfired and left us with noncompetitive institutions closer to failing us than to serving us well.

With respect to healthcare, this chart gives us an indication of why these efforts are backfiring: The more an industry becomes like a regulated utility, the more administrators are required to enforce the regulations and administer the programs. And they, as well as the programs they administer, are expensive. All manner of distortions follow, and the costs of healthcare go up proportionally.

There also seems to be perverse incentives associated with subsidy: The more resources you dump in, the more expensive that industry becomes. You might shift the costs around on unsuspecting groups (like taxpayers), but in almost every case we see premium hikes and tuition increases in both of these industries, despite (or rather because of) the truckloads of federal largesse.

But they will have to stop at some point — one way or the other.

The US healthcare system has become something of a Frankenstein monster, with pieces stitched together ad hoc by regulators and special interests. The ACA seems to have ignored most of what really needed fixing and doubled down on the worst aspects of our system. Price transparency, affordability, innovation and competitive entrepreneurship have all gotten worse, not better. And the beast has grown to take over more than 17 percent of GDP.

(And if you think 17 percent is about right, consider that in Singapore healthcare takes up less than 3 percent of GDP.)

The trouble with any further healthcare reform is that a massive coalition of special interests in multiple sectors has formed as a husk around the entire industry — a care-tel, if you will — and they will be very difficult to dislodge.

Max Borders

Max Borders is the editor of the Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

Diet, Gain Weight, Diet, Gain Weight

My Mother taught gourmet cooking, haute cuisine, for three decades in the local adult schools, first just to women and later with courses just for men as they too wanted to learn how to make succulent dishes, delicious sauces, and to bake as well. She also wrote a cookbook, “Cooking with Wine and High Spirits”, as well as one filled with dishes that the colonial Americans enjoyed.

Meanwhile, at home, my Father and I dined daily like royalty and neither of us got fat. Why? Because eating well means listening to your body when it is hungry and not eating when it’s not. What we are never told amidst the hourly deluge of print and broadcast advertising and reports is that we are each quite individual in terms of inherited genetic traits and that our bodies have different needs as we age,

Instead we are told over and over again that we must be “thin” and that our bodies are not what the culture says is “beautiful.” Try watching television for an hour without getting this message. It starts early and, currently, the First Lady is dictating what school children should or should not eat. It’s none of her business, but it is most certainly big business when you calculate the billions earned by physicians giving nutrition advice, pharmaceutical companies, diet companies offering pre-prepared dinners, others saying their foods are healthier, and all the others that have climbed on the multi-billion dollar gravy train.

An excellent book by Harriet Brown, “Body of Truth”, ($25.99, Da Capo Press) should be must-reading for everyone who has spent their life obsessing about every bite of food they eat. Based on extensive research, over twenty pages of notes citing her sources, she says what virtually any physician, nutritionist, or diet-peddler already knows. “Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that dieting makes people neither thinner, nor healthier. Quite the opposite, actually nearly everyone who diets winds up heavier in the long run, and many people’s health suffers rather than improves, especially over time.”

“Each of us thinks our obsession with weight and body image is ours alone,” says Brown. “We blame ourselves for not being thin enough, sexy enough, shaped just the right way. We believe we’re supposed to fit the standards of the day” and it starts very early in life; by as early as three to five years old.

“This is not a personal issue,” says Brown. “This is not about your weakness or my laziness or her lack of self-discipline. This obsession is bigger than all of us. It’s become epidemic, endemic, and pandemic.”

“Weight-loss treatments are cash cows,” says Brown, “in part because they don’t work; there’s always a built-in base of repeat customers.”

In page after page Brown cites facts that too often do not make it into the pages of the newspapers and magazines we read, or on the radio and television we listen to and watch. For example, “The average American is in fact heavier (by about twenty pounds) and taller (by about an inch) than we were in 1960. And dire predictions notwithstanding, the rates of overweight and obesity leveled off around 2000. We’re not actually getting heavier and heavier; our collective weight has pretty much plateaued.”

Moreover, all those psychotropic medications we’re being prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, psychoses, and other mental health conditions “are known to cause weight gain, especially when taken over a period of time.”

We are constantly told that being overweight or even obese takes years off one’s life, but Brown’s research found that neither condition increased a person’s risk of dying prematurely and being mildly obese increases it only slightly. As you might already suspect, it is the lack of physical activity that poses a great health risk.

Brown cites studies that found that being physically unfit was as much or more of a risk factor for heart disease and death as diabetes, obesity, and other weight-based risk factors. Researchers argue that “it’s better to be fit and fat than unfit and thin.

If any of this hits home with you, if you find yourself criticizing a child for their size and weight, looking in the mirror and being displeased with your own, obsessing over everything you eat or serve, then Brown’s words should be embraced when she says “We’d do better for ourselves and our children if, instead of pushing diets and surgeries and medications, we look at real-world strategies for eating more fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, dancing, playing sports, and other joyful physical activities.”

“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should.”

“Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat something because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good.”

Listen to what your body is telling you. The message has been passed down from generation to generation of your ancestors through your genetic code. Eat what you want. Stop dieting. Stay active and fit.

There’s countless, endless messages about your weight and how your body looks. When you decide to feel good about yourself, you will be free to ignore them.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Career Girl Network.

FL Governor Scott Orders Mandatory Health Monitoring for Anyone Returning from Ebola-Affected Areas

Governor Calls on DOH to Determine Risk Level for Returning Citizens, in Absence of CDC Information.

On October 25, 2014 Governor Rick Scott signed an Executive Order mandating twice-daily 21-day health monitoring for people returning from CDC designated Ebola-affected areas.

Governor Scott said, “This executive order will give the Florida Department of Health the authority they need to conduct 21-day health monitoring and risk assessments for all those who have returned or will return to Florida from the CDC designated Ebola-affected areas of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We have asked the CDC to identify the risk levels of all returning individuals from these areas, but they have not provided that information. Therefore, we are moving quickly to require the four individuals who have returned to Florida already – and anyone in the future who will return to Florida from an Ebola area – to take part in twice daily 21-day health evaluations with DOH personnel.

“I want to be clear that we are taking this aggressive action at the state level out of an abundance of caution in the absence of much-needed Ebola risk classification information from the CDC. We are using what information is available to our Department of Health through the CDC’s Epi-X web-based system, which monitors individuals who travel to areas with infectious diseases, including Ebola. Using this system, we know that four individuals have already returned to Florida after traveling to Ebola-affected areas. Following the news of Dr. Craig Spencer testing positive for Ebola in New York, DOH began working to identify anyone who has already returned to Florida after traveling to an Ebola area and is aggressively investigating how much risk these individuals pose for contracting the disease. We will take further action to protect the health of these individuals, and our communities, if we determine any of them are at a ‘high risk’ of contracting the disease. Further action by the Florida Department of Health will include mandatory quarantine of anyone we suspect is at high-risk of testing positive for Ebola due to the type of contact they had with the disease.

“Mandatory twice-daily health monitoring will help us obtain important information that will assist us in caring for the Floridians who are returning to our state and preventing any spread of this deadly disease if one of these individuals ever develops possible Ebola symptoms within 21 days of their return. Again, we are glad we do not have a case of Ebola in Florida, but we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure we never do.”

Governor Scott’s full executive order is available here.

Governor Scott’s mandate to the Florida Department of Health today mirrors the Department of Defense’s post-deployment requirements for military men and women deployed in Ebola-affected areas.

VIDEO: Vote No on 2 campaign releases new TV spot titled ‘It’s Nuts!’

Vote No on 2 Campaign today released its third TV spot, “It’s Nuts,” in the campaign to defeat Amendment 2, the so-called medical marijuana initiative.

The spot features Floridians, including Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, a family physician and president of the Brevard County Medical Society, detailing the frightening realities of Amendment 2, such as the fact that this Amendment won’t require a prescription to get pot, that it’s not just for serious diseases and that the pot Floridians will have access to won’t be FDA approved.

“The message of this ad is simple: Amendment 2 is a trick that isn’t about compassion, it’s about legalizing pot,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the Vote No on 2 Campaign.

“Floridians need to know the facts; and, this ad delivers them – it tells the truth about safety, teen access and the host of other problems this Amendment will bring to the Sunshine State.”

“Most importantly, this ad leaves Floridians with the message that the only way to stop the onslaught of problems this Amendment would bring to our state, is to vote no,” concluded Bascom.

View the TV spot:

The Vote No on 2 Campaign is a grassroots campaign, bringing the truth about Amendment 2 to the voters of Florida.  Its coalition includes members of law enforcement, business leaders, constitutional law attorneys, doctors and other medical professionals, parents and Floridians from all walks of life.  Amendment 2 is simply a guise to legalize pot smoking in Florida and the goal of this campaign is to point out the loopholes and explain why this amendment is bad for Florida.

For more information on the Vote No on 2 Campaign, please visit www.voteno2.org, follow @saynoamendment2 and like FB.com/noonamendment2.

Democrat Governor: Legalizing Pot Was ‘Reckless.’ A New Study Proves Him Right [+Video]

The top Democrat in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper, said Monday during a gubernatorial debate that legalizing marijuana in Colorado was “reckless.” His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, agreed.

According to The Huffington Post, Hickenlooper said, “I think for us to that that [legalize recreational use] without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless.”

Hickenlooper is right and wrong.

He is certainly correct, and gets credit for admitting that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado was reckless. As we have shown hereherehere and here, the negative social costs are proof positive that this radical experiment is not only reckless, but dangerous.

But Hickenlooper is wrong that there is “not enough data.”

As former Obama administration drug policy expert Kevin Sabet has said, the trope that marijuana is harmless and non-addictive is a myth. His book, “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana,” is a must-read for anyone who actually wants “the data.”

But now there’s even more “data.”

pot in bottles

Marijuana and cannabis-infused products are displayed for sale at a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. Source: AP.

A definitive study published this week by the Journal of Addiction by professor Wayne Hall of Kings College London shows that marijuana is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway drug to other illegal dangerous drugs.

Hall’s research, conducted over the past 20 years, confirms what other studies have shown:

  • Regular adolescent marijuana users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers;
  • Those users are more likely to use other illegal drugs;
  • Adolescent use produces intellectual impairment;
  • It doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia;
  • And, not surprisingly, increases the risk of heart attacks in middle-aged adults.

Hickenlooper’s warning to other states should be heeded. Legalizing marijuana is reckless, no matter what the pot pushers say to the contrary.

COMMENTARY BY CULLY STIMSON

Portrait of Cully Stimson

Cully Stimson@cullystimson

Charles “Cully” D. Stimson is a leading expert in criminal law, military law, military commissions and detention policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research.

RELATED VIDEO: What are the physical effects of smoking cannabus/marijuana?

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Obama administration in 2010 scraped CDC airline regulations considered critical to protecting Americans from infectious diseases like Ebola

With a growing concern about the Ebola pandemic we now learn that in 2010 the Obama administration scrapped expanded airline regulations that would have allowed people with various diseases, including Ebola, to be detained and quarantined immediately at U.S. airports. The new regulations would have required airlines report ill passengers to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Air Transport Association (ATA) were against adding the ability of officials quarantining passengers for up to three days if suspected of having infectious diseases such as: pandemic flu, infectious tuberculosis, plague, cholera, SARS, smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria or viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

In 2007, after an Atlanta man with drug-resistant tuberculosis drew international attention to the potential risks posed by infected air travelers, CDC Director Julie Gerberding testified before Congress that the proposed regulations would improve the agency’s ability to identify exposed passengers quickly.

Lt Cmdr Rendi Bacon

Lt. Cmdr. Rendi Murphree Bacon, a quarantine public health officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, poses inside the isolation room at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast, AP.

USA Today’s Alison Young in 2010 reported:

The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.

The regulations, proposed in 2005 during the Bush administration amid fears of avian flu, would have given the federal government additional powers to detain sick airline passengers and those exposed to certain diseases. They also would have expanded requirements for airlines to report ill passengers to the CDC and mandated that airlines collect and maintain contact information for fliers in case they later needed to be traced as part of an investigation into an outbreak.

Airline and civil liberties groups, which had opposed the rules, praised their withdrawal.

The Air Transport Association had decried them as imposing “unprecedented” regulations on airlines at costs they couldn’t afford. “We think that the CDC was right to withdraw the proposed rule,” association spokeswoman Elizabeth Merida said Thursday.

The American Civil Liberties Union had objected to potential passenger privacy rights violations and the proposal’s “provisional quarantine” rule. That rule would have allowed the CDC to detain people involuntarily for three business days if the agency believed they had certain diseases: pandemic flu, infectious tuberculosis, plague, cholera, SARS, smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria or viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

[Emphasis added]

Read more.

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