In California, Florida and Illinois 50% of all babies are born on Medicaid

Terence P. Jeffrey in his March 24th, 2017 column In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72% writes:

In 24 of the nation’s 50 states at least half of the babies born during the latest year on record had their births paid for by Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

New Mexico led all states with 72 percent of the babies born there in 2015 having their births covered by Medicaid.

[ … ]

In California, Florida and Illinois, for example, 50 percent of all babies were born on Medicaid in the latest year on record.

Read more…

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report Implementing Coverage and Payment Initiatives: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017:

Medicaid has become one of the nation’s most important health care programs, now providing health insurance coverage to more than one in five Americans, and accounting for over one-sixth of all U.S. health care expenditures. [Emphasis added]

The KFF report concludes that, “Medicaid programs now play a significant leadership role in the health care systems in every state.”

Kaiser Family Foundation published a map showing the percentage of babies by state who are born on Medicaid:

babies born medicaid by state

You may view a chart with the details of each states births paid for by Medicaid by clicking here.

american_health_care_actMedicaid reform is much needed and will be part of the next version of the House of Representatives American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA website lists 8 Need-To-Know Facts About the AHCA, one of which addresses Medicaid:

6. Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by transitioning to a “per capita allotment” so states can better serve the patients most in need.

KFF gave this analysis of “per capita allotment” contained in a previous House Republican Healthcare Plan:

The House Republican Plan (“A Better Way”) released on June 22, 2016, includes a proposal to convert federal Medicaid financing from an open-ended entitlement to a per capita allotment or a block grant (based on a state choice).

This proposal is part of a larger package designed to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduce federal spending for health care.  Often tied to deficit reduction, proposals to convert Medicaid’s financing structure to a per capita cap or block grant have been proposed before.

Such changes represent a fundamental change in the financing structure of the program with major implications for beneficiaries, providers, states and localities.

Read more…

There was a time in America when babies were paid for by their families. Perhaps it is time for government to get out of the baby funding business and let families take control?

The Importance of Proper Sleeping Positions: What You Need to Know

Do you find yourself waking up with unbearable aches and pains? Does your stiff neck or sore back prevent you from feeling rejuvenated and truly rested?

For most of us, sleeping positions aren’t something we give a second thought to since they’re habits that we’ve formed early on in life. While we can’t picture ourselves sleeping in any other ways, studies show that the way we sleep can have a significant impact on our general health.

Why is it important to mind how we sleep?

Assuming each of us spends an average of eight hours of sleep a day, then we dedicate one-third of our lives to sleeping. That is a significant amount of time, and if we spend it all on a single position that isn’t healthful can be detrimental to our well-being.

Awkward sleeping positions can stress our neck and spine, instead of providing our body its needed support. Unideal positions can also put pressure on other parts of our body and cause discomfort and adverse effects in the long run.

Through the years, people have linked poor sleeping positions with neck and back pain, muscle cramps, fatigue, impaired circulation, headaches, sleep apnea, digestion problems, premature wrinkles, and heartburn.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from these health problems, then it might be time to reassess the way you sleep at night, so you can enact the changes you need to get better.

woman sleepingAssessing the best positions for sleeping

When experts determine a person’s best position for sleep, they will consider the support the body receives from the kind of mattresses an individual uses in general. They will also identify if any point in the body experiences excess pressure and if the neck and spine are in proper alignment or not.

Different sleep positions

Supine Position

Many people would agree that sleeping on one’s back is the most optimal position for sleeping. That’s because the head all the way to the spine are in a neutral position, which will lessen pressure on the other areas of the body.

Sleeping in a supine position will help prevent neck and back pain, and reduce acid reflux. It will also minimize chances of having premature wrinkles as well as maintain a person’s breast health. However, this position will likely promote the snoring of an individual.

Prone Position

Sleeping on one’s stomach can help ease the intensity of a person’s snoring. However, it is not the best position to sleep in should you want to take care of your overall health.

When you sleep in a prone position, it is unlikely for you to keep your spine and neck properly aligned. Without the proper support, it is possible for you to have back and neck problems. Also, sleeping on your stomach will put unnecessary pressure on some of your muscles and joints, and will likely disrupt your breathing.

baby sleeping with toy bearOn Your Side / Fetal Position

Lying on your side is the most common alternative to the supine position. And by far, most people prefer sleeping on their sides than any other position.

Unlike sleeping on one’s back, side sleeping can help keep a person’s airways open. And so, to an extent, it prevents snoring. However, contracting your body inward will put unnecessary pressure on your diaphragm. And that, in turn, can obstruct your breathing.

Also, side sleeping does not promote the proper alignment of your body’s neck and spine. As a result, it can lead to severe shoulder pain and stiff neck.

So, while side sleeping can reduce snoring and acid reflux, it can also cause shoulder and neck pain, complications in breathing, distortion of breasts, and premature wrinkles, particularly on the side where there is extra pressure.

To avoid the adverse effects one can associate with the fetal position it is best to stretch your body by keeping your legs and neck aligned and relatively straight, instead of pulling them inwards.

Takeaway

If you feel tired or you wake up with your body aching, it might be time to try out a new sleep position. Even small changes like untucking your legs and keeping them aligned with your neck as you sleep on your side can have significant effects on your sleep and health.

And aside from the sleeping position you choose, comfort will also enhance the quality of your sleep. That is why it is also important to have a bed that’s cozy enough to help you have a good night’s sleep.

EXPLAINED: Government Healthcare is not Christian

The latest salvo against Christians who are politically conservative is to charge in the most morally superior of tones that failure to continually expand welfare programs is in direct defiance of biblical teachings.

This is true, of course, as long as you don’t actually read the Bible.

But the lack of truth rarely slows a political assailment, particularly against Christians who are politically conservative.

So this quickly became an attack line against the healthcare reform program Republicans proposed in Congress last week. It wasn’t the substance of the need to stem the bleeding of Obamacare; it wasn’t the skyrocketing insurance costs the program incurred; it wasn’t the all-important personal freedoms at stake that we spelled out previously.

It was this, best represented in a couple of tweets from CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers retweeting one of her followers. Her follower tweeted: “We do not require religious writings to know that it is right for gov to have compassion for the poor.” To which Powers added: “This is true. And it’s sad that so many people demanding scripture citations have such antipathy toward the poor.”

They are probably demanding those citations in relationship to the role of government. And in that, there are none to be found.

Personal experience with this

This is not a new line of attack.

Many years ago, I was at a luncheon function sitting at a large table with others from the newspaper where I worked. As the speaker was walking up to the podium, the editorial page editor — an older, liberal atheist man who knew I was both Christian and politically conservative — turned and said, “Based on Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, I don’t understand why all Christians aren’t liberals.” He then turned away toward the speaker as the program began, allowing no time for a response.

That was purposely timed. I wrote him an extensive explanation. But he never responded, nor could I get him to engage when I saw him, because he did not want a discussion or a better understanding. He wanted to take a cheap shot, feel smugly self-satisfied and move on.

That is a lot of what we are seeing here today. Many of the people saying that any opposition to government-funded or government-run healthcare insurance is un-Christian are themselves not even Christians. (Powers, to be noted, is a Christian.)

It’s a dual purpose political attack line to score points for big-government welfare programs among the uninformed while also taking a whack at RWRN (social media slang for Right Wing Religious Nuts.)

But they have an empty case on multiple levels, and they should be and can be knocked down vigorously.

Christianity and government healthcare

Let’s take the Sermon on the Mount, as this is a favorite for those who skim the Bible, or hear it paraphrased from others who have skimmed it.

The problem with the editorial page editor’s cheap shot is that it suffered from a fatal fallacy. Jesus teaches for three full chapters in Matthew on the deeper Christian life of joy, suffering and generosity toward others. In one portion of one chapter, Jesus says:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Jesus not only is speaking directly to his followers — that is, those who are now called Christians — but he is also telling them to not be generous in ways that call attention to ourselves. Do it quietly, even secretly when possible. In the very passage he is talking about giving to the needy, he exhorts his followers to do it tacitly, humbly.

No place in these three chapters does he mention a role for government in his teachings. This is consistent throughout Scripture. Some argue that just because Jesus did not overtly say this should be done by government does not mean he opposed it.

That is true, but that is not what defenders of big government welfare programs are asserting. They are saying Christians are compelled to support helping the poor through government programs because they are Christians. But Christianity is based on the Bible, and it is clear that is not what the Bible says at all.

Further, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to spell out a Christianized government role when talking to soldiers, centurions, Roman leaders, Pontius Pilate and so on. And he stayed mum.

Given his teachings that were always aimed at the responsibilities of the individual believer and not the government, and his choice to stay mute when given the open opportunity to spell out the role of government, it seems more than likely that he was disinterested in government doing what individual Christians should be doing.

The error of compassionate government

Compassionate government is an impossible combination.

An entity such as a government cannot have compassion. People can have compassion because it is a uniquely human trait. Anthropomorphizing government is a grave error leading to terrible policies — exactly what we’ve seen for decades.

Government as an institution has a critical role, but it has nothing to do with compassion or love or anger or any other human emotions or traits. The American government’s primary role was meant to be the protection of individual human rights. That’s why the very Declaration separating us from a distant tyrant launches with:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Government is meant to secure the rights of the individual, and protect them from intrusion by other individuals and by the government itself. Hence we have a system of checks and balances within the government so as to keep itself in check because by nature it is not compassionate. It was a machine designed to protect us from itself.

Endowing government with human attributes such as compassion and placing upon it the burden of caring for individuals is a doomed proposition. We see it fail again and again and again.

Opposition to government healthcare is not hatred

Kind of an absurd point to have to make, but alas, here we are. Powers used the word “antipathy.”

An American, whether Christian or not, can believe that X should be done and also think that it is wrong for government to do X. We can believe in helping the poor individually, through churches and synagogues and other charitable organizations and oppose the government doing the same. It is not an either/or proposition.

What we’ve seen is that when government fills this space, it displaces charities that would otherwise be doing the work. And it does it inefficiently while creating an entitlement mentality among those receiving it. Instead of gratefulness to an individual or a church or an organization, recipients see the gifts bestowed from government as a virtual right. And if the gifts are not sufficiently large, they are angered and will protest for more.

That alone is a bad sign for the soul.

So we spend about $1.3 trillion every year on various safety net programs and in return we get deep familial dysfunction, enablement of bad behavior, more debt that eventually we will be unable to pay off and, maybe as much as anything, we lock the poor into generational poverty and ingratitude.

Opposing the system doing this is not hatred. In fact, it may actually be more loving and therefor more Christian. But politicians cannot take credit for that system. Only when ladled by their generous hand can they take the credit and secure future votes — accomplished by forcibly taking money from others. There is no love in any of that.

There is nothing virtuous about giving other people’s money to the poor. In fact, if you want to go to Scripture, Jesus has a few harsh things to say about such grandstanding.

We cannot outsource moral obligations

Shifting responsibility to the government is a pathway for us to feel relieved of any personal duty to help those in need. For many, merely advocating for more money to go to the poor proves our compassion and moral superiority.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Conservatives tend to want a system where there is minimal welfare, just enough to help people get back on their feet. The institutional variety we have now breeds ever more welfare and robs people of their self-worth, making them comfortable living in poverty on handouts.

That is not loving and it certainly is not Christian.

So any Biblical case for Christians being required to support government healthcare and other welfare programs is DOA — if we actually read the Scriptures.

RELATED ARTICLES:

In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72%

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

HEALTHCARE REFORM: Freedom Is Its Own Indispensable Goal

The healthcare debate in D.C. is following predictable form: Miles off track with the media hyperfocused on the politics, rather than the substance. The coverage focuses heavily on the daily ins and outs of the political struggle, the D.C. winners and losers.

Will Republicans be able to placate the Freedom Caucus and still keep moderates? Will they put together something that can get through the House and have any life in the Senate? Is Ryan back-peddling? Is Trump? Will McConnell detonate the nuclear option? Is it Trumpcare or Ryancare?

The thing is, most Americans outside of political junkies don’t really care about that.

They do care about whether they will be able to afford health insurance. They do care about whether our country will drowned itself in unsustainable debt. They do care about their children’s future. But those are rarely the story. Because the truth is that in Washington, D.C., Americans are basically pawns to be played in the furtherance of personal agendas.

On the rare occasions when the substance of the proposal is actually explored, it is mostly along the lines of how many people are covered, will be covered, won’t be covered, how much it will cost, how the changes will play out politically for each party, etc. Those are fine in their place, and should be regularly reported on. They are not.

What Washington and the media never, ever talk about is the principle of American freedoms, which is at the heart of this. Virtually no one wants to talk about it.

So, status quo in the swamp. And for Americans.

The Old Liberties for Security Trade

But here is the whittled down nub of the issue: How much personal freedom are we willing to give away to get a little healthcare security? Because the reality of the human condition always and forever is that some people will be irresponsible with their life decisions — from relationships to finances to health.

So there will always be a percentage of Americans who do not want to purchase, or simply will not purchase, health insurance. Here’s the thing: They should be free to not and that point of freedom should be argued strenuously.

Because the only way to stop that dynamic is to give government total authority to force every single person to have health insurance. That was what Obamacare attempted to do, require every American to either buy a product — health insurance — or be fined increasing amounts by the government to financially force them to to buy it.

In an enormously tragic precedence, the Supreme Court made a political calculation and approved the forcible purchase requirements under Obamacare by calling it what it was not, what is authors including President Obama argued it was not, so as the court could rule it “constitutional.” Truly, a constitutional travesty.

Among the many things wrong with Obamacare, this was perhaps the most egregious because it went to undermining fundamental freedoms. It wasn’t just bad policy, or inefficient, or expensive — which are all true. It was a denial of basic liberty, the concept upon which our nation was founded and thrived to be what she is today.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Franklin was looking at the real physical and economic threat of a distant tyrant.

And so are we, though not so distant.

The Real Cost

Obamacare undoubtedly reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans, or more accurately, uncovered Americans. This was accomplished by expanding Medicaid — direct welfare — subsidizing plans in the state exchanges — indirect welfare — and forcing every American to participate — coercion. Even then, the total number of Americans not covered in some fashion, only declined a few percentage points.

Trillions of dollars, catastrophic rises in premiums and deductibles, loss of health care insurance options — often down to one in an entire state — all to pick up a few percentage points. About 9 percent of Americans remain without health insurance.

If Republicans did nothing more than simply repeal the Obamacare mandate, at least 10 million people would no longer have coverage, according to the Office of Management and Budget estimate of the repeal measure. The media reports this as Americans who will “lose” their coverage, but this particular 10 million will actually choose not to have coverage.

Whether that is a good idea or not is debatable. What is not debatable is what it represents: Freedom.

Because unless the government forces people by law to have health insurance, some will not. Freedom calls us to allow them to not and accept the consequences. Otherwise, with this precedent in place, the government could also make the case for regulating what we eat (because eating healthy is good for us) and forcing us to exercise (because exercising is good for us.) It could also require us to buy, say, solar panels and electric cars, because it deems those to be a good thing like health care insurance is a good thing.

You see the problem here. There is really no end to it, which is why it was a line that should never have been crossed.

So yes, Obamacare is costing hundreds of billions of dollars and would continue to until its complete failure. But it’s real cost is the loss of American liberty. And precious few seem to care.

Alas, Republicans fighting on Democrat ground

Republicans however, will not fight this on the grounds of freedom, the high ground and the right ground. They allow Democrats and the media to define the terms and put Republicans on the defensive on bad ground.

Republicans are doing what they always do, and part of it is the swampy D.C. mentality. Republicans end up abandoning conservative principles and going with Democrat-lite. They are willing to expand government, just less so. They are willing to raise taxes, just not as high. They are willing to trade rights for securities, just not as fast. But inexorably this moves in the same direction: More government control, more “free” giveaways, fewer American freedoms.

The health care coverage debate is a perfect example.

Democrats built it on the Democrat ground of heavy-handed government control and giveaways, and dared Republicans to come after it. To boil it down, in Obamacare, Democrats gave more Americans more free stuff that was not their’s and that we cannot afford — at the cost of lost freedoms — and Republicans now want to take some of that free stuff and restore those freedoms.

Meanies.

This of course is rough politics for Republicans, as so many Americans have lost the sense of liberty, self-reliance and personal responsibility. Too many are willing to trade a lot of liberties for a little security. But part of the reason for that is that no one is making the case for this and other issues on the grounds of freedom.

But in reality, Republicans aren’t even making the freedom case — or do so rarely. They want to make sure enough Americans get enough free stuff so they can be re-elected.

Taking away an entitlement once in place is just never done, and Democrats knew that in 2010. A big part of Obamacare is the entitlement portion. But that is only a problem if Republicans fight this on the grounds of coverage and giveaways, and not on the grounds of essential liberties.

Republicans hold every nationally elected office of power and there is one window for fixing the Obamacare debacle. If it does not happen now, Obamacare will be a permanent fixture of our health care system until it totally fails, and sucks the healthcare system into its death swirl.

The final step will be nationalized healthcare.

And the result will be an even greater loss of freedoms, and precious little in the way of securities. The worst of trade-offs.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

GOP Repeal/Replace Bill Cuts Taxes By Nearly a Trillion Dollars

On the White House website one of the key accomplishments of President Trump’s first 50 days in office is:

PUTTING PATIENT HEALTHCARE FIRST: After years of false promises, rising costs, and shrinking accessibility, President Trump is championing reforms to put patients first.

  • President Trump has supported efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare and replace them with the American Health Care Act.
  • President Trump acted on his first day in office to instruct Federal agencies to minimize the burden of Obamacare on Americans.

Katie Pavlich in a Townhall article titled ATR: Obamacare Replacement Cuts Taxes By Nearly a Trillion Dollars reports:

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released its official score for the Obamacare repeal and replacement bill, better known as the American Health Care Act.

Reaction to the scoring, which estimates an additional 21 million Americans will become uninsured by 2020, was mixed. House Speaker Paul Ryan said last night he is “encouraged” by the score. However, the Trump administration is hardly pleased.

“We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out. We believe that our plan will cover more individuals at a lower cost and give them the choices that they want for the coverage that they want for themselves and for their families, not that the government forces them to buy,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said at the White House Monday evening.

But Americans For Tax Reform sees some good news. If passed, the bill will cut taxes by $883 billion. Here’s where the cuts come from:

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs
Flexible Spending Account Tax
Chronic Care Tax
HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike
Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning
Health Insurance Tax
Employer Mandate Tax
Surtax on Investment Income
Payroll Tax Hike
Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
Tax on Prescription Medicine
Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage
$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives

You can read more about the details and specific amounts behind this list of tax repeals here.

As we have said, this bill is out in the open. Now is the time for every citizen to read it and then contact their U.S. Senators and member of Congress and tell them what you think about this bill.

We’ve come a long way to get to this point, we’ve got a long way to go to make sure it gets done right.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

After Paul Ryan Admits Obamacare Plan Needs Changes, Conservatives Hope to Strike Deal Uniting Party

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Which Parts of the Obamacare Replacement Face Trouble in the Senate

Conservative Lawmakers Join Rally Against GOP Health Care Plan

Cut Down on Synthetic Antibiotics and Go Natural With Turmeric

Just like tomatoes can help to maintain a good skin tone and avocados can fight aging, turmeric can be applied on different parts of the body to promote wound healing. You can make a turmeric paste; apply it on the affected area to accelerate healing. We’ll show you how.

How to make turmeric for wound healing

You’ll need two things to make this work for you: some ground turmeric and a bandage. Start by mixing two (2) tablespoons of ground turmeric with water to make a thick paste. Make sure your hands are clean when applying the paste on the affected area. Don’t expect the dough to appear like cream. Once you’ve used the paste on the wound, cover it with your choice of a bandage. Leave it for about 12 hours. You can repeat this process for 3 to 4 days.

How turmeric promotes wound healing

Turmeric has an active phytochemical that is known as curcumin. Curcumin is the responsible ingredient for relieving inflammation and alleviating pain. This potent compound is also known to aid in healing in many different ways. First, it has high antibacterial properties. Any bacteria that are found on the skin can be eliminated when you apply turmeric paste. Turmeric reduces the risks of the wound getting infected and slowing down the healing process.

Secondly, curcumin also helps the blood to clot. It will ensure the wound doesn’t continue bleeding so that it heals faster. Last but not least, curcumin treats the skin around the wounded area. You will experience minimal, if any scarring, after treating the area with turmeric.

Even though you can get all these benefits from chemical-based creams, turmeric offers the benefits of natural ingredients. Introducing chemicals in your skin, especially a wounded area can have adverse side effects. These chemicals may travel to the bloodstream and get to your organs. You can use turmeric as a topical medication and stay away from any of those side effects. These are just some of the benefits of turmeric that you can get.

Extra tip

When turmeric is mixed with coconut oil, as opposed to water, it offers you more anti-bacterial benefits and further accelerates healing. You can even apply the turmeric paste as a face mask or cream if you are suffering from scarring or redness on your skin. Prepare the turmeric paste with coconut oil and leave it in your bathroom. You can use it a few times a week to keep your skin young and healthy.

RELATED ARTICLE: Turmeric and Its 20 Amazing Health Benefits You Didn’t Know About

President Trump’s First 50 Days of Action: Achieving Results for the American People

JUMPSTARTING JOB CREATION: President Donald J. Trump is looking out for the American workers who Washington has left behind.

  • President Trump has worked with the private sector to deliver tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
  • President Trump ordered the United States to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and negotiations.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete its construction.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to help ensure that new pipeline construction and repair work use materials and equipment from the United States.

CUTTING GOVERNMENT RED TAPE: President Trump has quickly taken steps to get the Government out of the way of job creation.

  • President Trump directed each agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to identify costly and unnecessary regulations in need of modification or repeal.
  • President Trump has required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated.
  • President Trump directed the Department of Commerce to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers.
  • President Trump signed legislation, House Joint Resolution 38, to prevent the burdensome “Stream Protection Rule” from causing further harm to the coal industry.
  • President Trump ordered the review of the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States,” known as the WOTUS rule, to evaluate whether it is stifling economic growth or job creation.

REFORMING WASHINGTON: President Trump has taken actions to reform the old Washington way of doing business and to ensure that his entire Administration are working for the American people.

  • President Trump put in place a hiring freeze for Federal civilian employees to stop the further expansion of an already bloated government.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees, putting in place a five-year lobbying ban and a permanent ban on lobbying for foreign governments, so that appointees serve the American people instead of their own interests.

PUTTING PATIENT HEALTHCARE FIRST: After years of false promises, rising costs, and shrinking accessibility, President Trump is championing reforms to put patients first.

  • President Trump has supported efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare and replace them with the American Health Care Act.
  • President Trump acted on his first day in office to instruct Federal agencies to minimize the burden of Obamacare on Americans.

PRIORITIZING AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY: President Trump has taken action to ensure the safety and security of the United States homeland, its borders, and its people.

  • Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of the Treasury sanctioned 25 entities and individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
  • President Trump implemented new protections against foreign terrorists entering our country.
  • President Trump has proposed increasing the military’s budget by $54 billion so that it can begin to rebuild.
  • As a result of a Presidential Memorandum President Trump signed on January 28, he has received a plan to defeat ISIS designed by the Secretary of Defense and other members of his Cabinet.
  • President Trump ordered a review of military readiness and made it the policy of the United States to rebuild the United States’ Armed Forces.
  • President Trump has negotiated to bring down the price of the F-35, saving millions of dollars.

DELIVERING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM: President Trump has made enforcing the Nation’s immigration laws a priority of his Administration.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to start work on a southern border wall.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to enhance the public safety of Americans through enforcement of immigration laws.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to halt funding to jurisdictions in the United States that do not comply with Federal immigration rules.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to begin the removal of illegal immigrants who have committed certain crimes.
  • Following through on President Trump’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security will hire 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents and 5,000 border patrol agents.

RESTORING PUBLIC SAFETY TO AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: President Trump is following through on his promise to restore public safety for all Americans.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who engage in crimes against law enforcement officers.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to establish a task force, led by the Attorney General, to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across America.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order re-focusing the Federal Government’s energy and resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations, such as drug cartels.

HELPING WOMEN AND MINORITIES SUCCEED: President Trump knows the country cannot reach its potential unless every American has a chance to prosper.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order strengthening and repositioning the Historically Black Colleges and Universities initiatives within the White House to foster better opportunities in higher education.
  • President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
  • President Trump signed into law the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act to encourage the National Science Foundation’s entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.
  • President Trump signed into law the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act to encourage women to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation’s space science and exploration efforts.

KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION: President Trump promised a U.S. Supreme Court justice in the mold of late Justice Antonin Scalia selected from his previously announced list of 20 judges

  • President Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court because of his consistent record defending the Constitution.

RELATED ARTICLE: How President Trump Is Performing on His Promises Halfway to First 100 Days

U.S. Senator Rand Paul Introduces Bill to Repeal/Replace Obamacare

The Obamacare Replacement Act (S. 222) introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, M.D. accomplishes the following:

Repealing Obamacare

Effective as of the date of enactment of this bill, the following provisions of Obamacare are repealed:

  • Individual and employer mandates, community rating restrictions, rate review, essential health benefits requirement, medical loss ratio, and other insurance mandates.

Protecting Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions

  • Provides a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed those within the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. Equalize the Tax Treatment of Health Insurance
  • Individuals who receive health insurance through an employer are able to exclude the premium amount from their taxable income. However, this subsidy is unavailable for those that do not receive their insurance through an employer but instead shop for insurance on the individual market.
  • Equalizes the tax treatment of the purchase of health insurance for individuals and employers. By providing a universal deduction on both income and payroll taxes regardless of how an individual obtains their health insurance, Americans will be empowered to purchase insurance independent of employment. Furthermore, this provision does not interfere with employer provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

Expansion of Health Savings Accounts

Tax Credit for HSA Contributions

  • Provides individuals the option of a tax credit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer for contributions to an HSA. If an individual chooses not to accept the tax credit or contributes in excess of $5,000, those contributions are still tax-preferred.

Maximum Contribution Limit to HSA

  • Removes the maximum allowable annual contribution, so that individuals may make unlimited contributions to an HSA.

Eliminates the requirement that a participant in an HSA be enrolled in a high deductible health care plan

  • Currently, in order to be eligible to establish and use an HSA, an individual must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan. This section removes the HSA plan type requirement to allow individuals with all types of insurance to establish and use an HSA. o This would also enable individuals who are eligible for Medicare, VA benefits, TRICARE, IHS, and members of health care sharing ministries to be eligible to establish an HSA.

Allowance of Distributions for Prescription and OTC Drugs

  • Allows prescription and OTC drug costs to be treated as allowable expenses of HSAs.

Purchase of Health Insurance from HSA Account

  • Currently, HSA funds may not be used to purchase insurance or cover the cost of premiums. Allowing the use of HSA funds for insurance premiums will help make health coverage more affordable for American families.

Medical Expenses Incurred Prior to Account Establishment

  • Allows qualified expenses incurred prior to HSA establishment to be reimbursed from an HSA as long as the account is established prior to tax filing. Ø Administrative Error Correction Before Due Date of Return
  • Amends current law by allowing for administrative or clerical error corrections on filings. Ø Allowing HSA Rollover to Child or Parent of Account Holder o Allows an account holder’s HSA to rollover to a child, parent, or grandparent, in addition to a spouse.

Equivalent Bankruptcy Protections for HSAs as Retirement Funds

  • Most tax-exempt retirement accounts are also fully exempt from bankruptcy by federal law. While some states have passed laws that exempt HSA funds from being seized in bankruptcy, there is no federal protection for HSA funds in bankruptcy.

Certain Exercise Equipment and Physical Fitness Programs to be Treated as Medical Care

  • Expands allowable HSA expenses to include equipment for physical exercise or health coaching, including weight loss programs.

Nutritional and Dietary Supplements to be Treated as Medical Care

  • Amends the definition of “medical care” to include dietary and nutritional supplements for the purposes of HSA expenditures.

Certain Providers Fees to be Treated as Medical Care

  • Allows HSA funds to be used for periodic fees paid to medical practitioners for access to medical care.

Capitated Primary Care Payments

  • HSAs can be used for pre-paid physician fees, which includes payments associated with “concierge” or “direct practice” medicine.

Provisions Relating to Medicare o Allows Medicare enrollees to contribute their own money to the Medicare Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs).

Charity Care and Bad Debt Deduction for Physicians

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a physician a tax deduction equal to the amount such physician would otherwise charge for charity medical care or uncompensated care due to bad debt. This deduction is limited to 10% of a physician’s gross income for the taxable year.

Pool Reform for the Individual Market

  • Establishes Independent Health Pools (IHPs) in order to allow individuals to pool together for the purposes of purchasing insurance.
  • Amends the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to allow individuals to pool together to provide for health benefits coverage through Individual Health Pools (IHPs). These can include nonprofit organizations (including churches, alumni associations, trade associations, other civic groups, or entities formed strictly for establishing an IHP) so long as the organization does not condition membership on any health status-related factor.
  • Requires that the IHP will provide insurance through contracts with health insurance issuers in fully insured plans and not assume insurance risk with respect to such coverage. Allows the IHP to provide administrative services to members, including accounting, billings, and enrollment information.

Interstate Market for Health Insurance

Cooperative Governing of Individual Health Insurance Coverage

  • Increases access to individual health coverage by allowing insurers licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state.
  • Exempts issuers from secondary state laws that would prohibit or regulate their operation in the secondary state. However, states may impose requirements such as consumer protections and applicable taxes, among others.
  • Prohibits an issuer from offering, selling, or issuing individual health insurance coverage in a secondary state:
  1. If the state insurance commissioner does not use a risk-based capital formula for the determination of capital and surplus requirements for all issuers.
  2. Unless both the secondary and primary states have legislation or regulations in place establishing an independent review process for individuals who have individual health insurance coverage; or
  3. The issuer provides an acceptable mechanism under which the review is conducted by an independent medical reviewer or panel. Gives sole jurisdiction to the primary state to enforce the primary state’s covered laws in the primary state and any secondary state.
  • Allows the secondary state to notify the primary state if the coverage offered in the secondary state fails to comply with the covered laws in the primary state.

Association Health Plans

  • Association Health Plans (AHPs) allow small businesses to pool together across state lines through their membership in a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their employees and their families. AHPs increase the bargaining power, leverage discounts, and provide administrative efficiencies to small businesses while freeing them from state benefit mandates.
  • While AHPs currently exist, strict Department of Labor standards exist regarding the types of organizations that may qualify as a single large-group health plan under ERISA. The standard stipulates that the association must be a group of employers bound together by a commonality of interest (aside from providing a health plan) with vested control of the association to such an extent that they effectively operate as one employer. This is considered a difficult standard for most associations to meet.
  • Amends ERISA to define AHPs and allow for their treatment as if they were large group single employer health plans. This definition would allow a dues-collecting organization maintained in good faith for a purpose other than providing health insurance to benefit from the insurance regulation exclusions currently afforded to large-group health plans under ERISA.
  • Requires solvency standards to protect patients’ rights and ensure benefits are paid. o Requires AHPs to have an indemnified back-up plan in order to prevent unpaid claims in the event of plan termination.
  • AHPs must undergo independent actuarial certification for financial viability on a regular basis. o Requires AHPs to maintain surplus reserves of at least $500,000 in addition to normal claims reserves, stop loss insurance, or indemnification insurance.

Anti-Trust Reform for Healthcare

  • Provides an exemption from Federal antitrust laws for health care professionals engaged in negotiations with a health plan regarding the terms of a contract under which the professionals provide health care items or services.
  • This section applies only to health care professionals excluded from the National Labor Relations Act. It would also not apply to contracts or care provided under Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, the FEHBP, or the IHS as well as medical and dental care provided to members of the uniformed services and veterans.

Increasing State Flexibility to Conduct Medicaid Waivers

  • Provides new flexibilities to states in their Medicaid plan design, through existing waiver authority in current law.
  • For many years, including under Obamacare, States have had the option to request a waiver from HHS to allow states to test new coverage rules under Medicaid and other programs. This provision would allow states to make changes to their Medicaid plans without interference from Washington.

Self-Insurance Protections

  • Amends the definition of “health insurance coverage” under the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and parallel sections of ERISA and the Tax Code, to clarify that stop-loss insurance is not health insurance.
  • This provision is designed to prevent the federal government from using rule-making to restrict the availability of stop-loss insurance used by self-insured plans.

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Adviser: Trump willing to accept improvements to healthcare proposal

GOP Healthcare Plan Allows Illegal Aliens to get tax credits

Numbers USA has reviewed the American Healthcare Act bill and found that illegal aliens are eligible for tax credits. Here is what Numbers USA published:

Healthcare reform legislation unveiled by GOP Leaders on Monday night would, at best, leave in place a verification system that allowed up to 500,000 illegal aliens to access taxpayer-funded benefits over the last several years. According to a 2016 Senate report, the government issued $750 million of Obamacare subsidies to individuals whose immigration status couldn’t be verified. The GOP plan would leave in place that failed verification process, or worse, eliminate the verification process altogether.

According to the 2016 Senate report, the Obamacare framework gave benefit of the doubt to illegal aliens when they applied for subsidies, but if the alien failed to file the necessary paperwork, the IRS was supposed to retrieve the funds. A lack of cooperation between Health and Human Services and the IRS, however, prevented the money from being recouped.

But according to multiple Hill contacts, GOP Republicans may not even be able to get the failed verification process, which would leave their entire plan open to illegal aliens. Under the plan, subsidies for health insurance would no longer be awarded, but individuals could receive tax credits for purchasing healthcare on the government exchanges.

For more on this, click here.

As we have said, this bill is out in the open. Now is the time for every citizen to read it and then contact their U.S. Senators and member of Congress and tell them what you think about this bill.

We’ve come a long way to get to this point, we’ve got a long way to go to make sure it gets done right.

RELATED VIDEO: Representative Mike Kelly Discusses Process of Repealing Obamacare w/Charles Payne on Fox Business.

Coca-Cola Puts Out Gay Ad: Brother/Sister Fight Over Boy

Coca-Cola Co has launched a gay-friendly ad in a recent campaign that is winning “praise” for diversity and inclusion.

The minute-long ad features a brother and sister vying for the attention of a handsome pool boy and fighting for the right to offer him an ice-cold Coke.

The ad is a part of the company’s global ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign, and features a teenage girl eyeing the hunky pool boy from a downstairs window while her brother lustfully watches the boy from upstairs.

The two then race to the refrigerator in an effort to be the first to offer him a cold Coke.

Despite the best efforts of the brother and sister, Mom gets there first and has first dibs on the pool boy.

In a complicated statement, the Coca-Cola PR agency said:

‘We are managing culturally relevant messages organically within our spots not as the main subject of the story but as sub-text.”

Okay, enough of that gibberish.  Here’s what you really need to know about this ad campaign. And it’s more than you think.

Most older Americans will be perplexed at the purpose of this new Coca-Cola ad.  As well as they should be.

Is this an ad to attract more gays into buying Coca-Cola?  Or an ad to indoctrinate young Americans into accepting the gay lifestyle? No doubt this is part of the objective by Coca-Cola’s advertisement team.  But those reasons are not the complete, or perhaps even the main, answer.

Young adults run ad agencies, nowadays.  And as we all know these young adults have no qualm about using other people’s money (company money) to push their own political/moral beliefs and worldviews on society

But even this is not the compete answer.

Corporations view older Americans as an established, but dying, breed of purchasers.  Even if they are offended, they will remain loyal to the product.  They key word is “loyal.”  That is the objective of ad agencies: to get loyal purchasers.  Once you have a loyal buyer, the reasoning goes, that purchaser will ultimately withstand many offenses down the line.  You may lose some, but not enough to make a significant dent in profits.

Ad agencies, therefore, must focus on young Americans because they are not yet ‘loyal’ to the product.  Being gay-friendly, the reasoning goes, will win over the ‘loyalty’ of the young.  And with that loyalty, they will be Coca-Cola purchasers for decades.

And what about those who HAVE ALREADY BEEN loyal for decades?  Well, Coca-Cola already has their money…which can now be used to promote an immoral lifestyle to gain the acceptance, love and loyalty of an immoral people.

Most major companies don’t sell you on a product any more; they are in the business of selling you on their beliefs.

Perhaps what’s really sad is that people would buy a product, not because “Coke adds life,” but because “Coke adds perversion.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Homecoming at University of Minnesota Bows to ‘Gender Inclusivity’

ANSWERING FACEBOOK: Playing Dodgeball with Abortion Realities

The abortion debate inevitably travels in the same issue-avoiding circles. I was recently on an ABC panel debating the courts blocking Florida’s 24-hour wait period for a woman to get an abortion after receiving counseling, providing time for her to weigh more information into her life-and-death decision.

Naturally enough, it devolved into a debate on abortion — as it always should. I was debating a pro-choice feminist and board member of the ACLU. And a friend. Our debate was feisty but civil — an important goal.

However, the debate continued on Facebook, where it became decidedly less civil. One of the great canards thrown at me all the time is that I cannot have an opinion on this because I am a man. This is so easily cut down and burned that there is never a response to my point. It’s just reiterated that I can’t. I’m male.

What this and so much of the rest of abortion debate dodgeball suggest is that rational thought, morals and, more than ever, science, make the pro-choice position completely indefensible. There is simply no way to defend a woman’s “right” to end the life of another human being for any reason she chooses, at any point in the pregnancy she chooses.

Canards flying everywhere

Hence we have the dodgeball arguments that this is a “choice”; that this is about “reproductive health rights”; that this is about “health care”; that a man cannot have an opinion.

No, the first and central issue is whether that which is in the womb is a human being with rights inherent as a human being. Most people actually see that is the case, at least after a month or two. Science gives us evidence with brain waves, heartbeats and in-womb pictures.

So when I make these points, they are really never refuted head-on. This is demonstrated with painful clarity in the Facebook debate that followed. It’s linked below.

Here is a sampling from Facebook, from both men and women:

“I watched it last night. I still don’t understand why men think they have a say in women’s health.”

“The next segment should be on prostate health. I’m looking forward to (a woman) expressing her opinion on that.”

“A man’s opinion on a women’s health and body issue is just not on equal footing with (a woman’s), no matter how eloquent and reasonable it may be.”

“What if women were up in arms because of men’s selfish refusal to get vasectomies?? What if we tried to FORCE men to get vasectomies for the safety of women?”

“Another man chimes in, lol.”

FYI, the response that men cannot have an opinion on this is astonishingly faulty thinking. Morals are not gender-dependent. Right and wrong is right and wrong. There is not a different set of rights and wrongs based on gender. It is not morally acceptable for a woman to steal from a man because she is a woman, because *stealing* is wrong. It is not morally acceptable for a man to kill a woman, or another man, because *murder* is wrong. Stealing and murder are wrong independent of which gender is doing it and which gender is considering its morality. In the same way, killing an unborn baby is either morally acceptable or not morally acceptable, independent of which gender is doing it or which gender is considering its morality.

Let’s play abortion dodgeball!

All of this is dodgeball. You see how all of the accusations avoid the central point. I’m convinced most know deep down this is the willful taking of an innocent human life. They know that is not defensible on any moral grounds.

So they play dodge the issue.

  • I throw out “Is it a human life in the womb?” They dodge left with “It’s a woman’s choice!”
  • I throw again “Is it a human life in the womb?” They dodge right with “It’s about reproductive rights!”
  • I throw again “Is it a human life in the womb?” They duck with “It’s about healthcare!”
  • I throw again “Is it a human life in the womb?” They spin sideways with “Pro-lifers don’t care about the life outside the womb!”
  • I throw again “Is it a human life in the womb?” They slide down with “If pro-lifers really cared about abortions, they would support better sex education!”
  • I throw again “Is it a human life in the womb?” They spin sideways with “You’re a man!”

I throw one last time “Is it a human life in the womb?” And one may finally answer with “No! It’s a clump of cells. Nothing more than a tumor.”

Finally. Someone admits to being a science-denier. But at least we can get on to debate the core issue with all the scientific evidence that it is indeed a measurable human being within weeks. We measure the death of a human with heartbeat and brainwaves. The baby has both of those in six to eight weeks.

That’s it. Dodge the ball of what abortion really is.

None of these remotely approach a defense for a state policy of allowing the willful killing of a human being with inherent rights by another human being for any reason, or no reason.

RELATED ARTICLE: What 1 Charity Organization Is Doing to Save 1 Million Unborn Babies

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

Citizens can actually read the ‘American Health Care Act’ bill Online! Refreshing

Remember this:

Speaker Paul Ryan in an email to all Americans wrote:

I want you to be the first to know: we just introduced our bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. It is called the American Health Care Act, and it is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance. It protects young adults, patients with pre-existing conditions, and provides a stable transition so that no one has the rug pulled out from under them.

Unlike the Democrats, we are not going to pass legislation to find out what is in it. The American Health Care Act will proceed through a transparent process of regular order in full view of the public.

Visit www.ReadTheBill.gop to download and read the bill.

How refreshing.

Michael A. Needham, Chief Executive Officer Heritage Action for America, in an email writes:

For seven years, Republican lawmakers have campaigned on the promise of full repeal. The American people elected a Republican House, Senate, and White House to ensure this promise was kept. For most people in the individual market, there would be no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the new American Health Care Act proposed by Republicans.

This is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.

If Republicans move forward with this bill, they will be accepting the flawed premises of Obamacare. Instead, they should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to follow through on their seven year promises to create a free market health care system.

Let the negotiations on the proposed American Health Care Act begin.

RELATED INFOGRAPHIC:

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The 6 Most Destructive Myths About Ebola

While fears and concerns mount in the face of the worst Ebola outbreak history, potentially dangerous myths and rumors are also being spread. Ranging from simple misunderstandings to deliberate misinformation.

burning of ebola victims source

Burning of Ebola victims.

The current West African Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 4,000 lives, but recent media coverage has also ignited a firestorm of panic and misinformation regarding the virus. In some cases, the myths surrounding Ebola make it more difficult for health workers to combat and contain it, and even harmless rumors can create unnecessary paranoia. Below are some of the most common and persistent myths about the Ebola virus.

It is Highly Contagious:

Ebola is highly infectious, but it is not very contagious. In humans, the virus spreads through close contact with infected bodily fluids such as sweat, saliva, blood, fecal matter, and semen. Ebola is not considered an airborne virus, since it cannot survive in the open air or travel long distances. Casual contact with an infected person is considered to bear a low risk of infection, which is why the majority of cases are reported amongst health care workers in constant close contact with infected patients. As viruses go, Ebola spreads at a much slower rate than most. Smallpox, which was successfully eliminated by a targeted vaccine program, was more than twice as contagious, while measles is a staggering nine times more contagious than Ebola.

Outside Assistance is Making it Worse:

One of the more dangerous myths about Ebola is that international aid efforts are making the outbreak worse. In some regions, there are even rumors that the virus was introduced by international healthworkers, creating distrust and hindering relief efforts. Some people also worry that sending health workers increases the odds of the disease spreading in other parts of the world, but current evidence suggests that this fear is unfounded.

There is No Hope for a Cure:

While there are currently no cures or vaccines for Ebola, that doesn’t mean that one won’t be developed. There are a number of promising treatments and vaccines that are being tested by the World HealthOrganization to ensure that they are effective and free of harmful side-effects. Many experts predict that a vaccine may even be developed and approved within a matter of months.

All Ebola Victims Die:

While Ebola is undoubtedly a dangerous and often-fatal virus, it is important to understand the data relating to its mortality rate in the proper context. There are several strains of Ebola, each with different reported mortality rates, ranging from 20% to 90%, making it difficult to pin down an accurate figure. Moreover, experts argue that many of the deaths attributed to Ebola could be prevented if patients were treated in facilities with better access to treatment and stricter adherence to safety protocols. With state of the art medical care, the mortality rate of Ebola may even be as low as 10-20%, making it roughly as fatal as SARS.

Travel and Immigration Pose a Serious Risk:

One of the most persistent myths about Ebola is that immigrants and foreign travelers pose a major risk of spreading the virus. The simple fact is that immigrants and travelers from anywhere in the world besides West Africa are not a threat. In countries facing the Ebola epidemic, air travel has become much more restricted, and screening processes have improved for both incoming and outgoing passengers. Since a person who does not display symptoms of the virus is not contagious, it is unlikely, though not impossible, that a serious epidemic could result from air travel.

The U.S. Isn’t Prepared to Deal with Ebola:

Much of the hysteria stemming from this Ebola outbreak is based around the idea that the United States wouldn’t be able to contain the virus. However, it is important to realize that the reason Ebola poses such a threat in West Africa is due to the lack of adequate healthcare in affected countries. Ebola is no more deadly or contagious than many other diseases, but the lack of training, clean medical supplies, and personnel in West African hospitals has created a situation where the disease is able to run rampant. In a country with strong healthcare infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the Ebola virus would be much easier to contain.

Ebola is certainly a major public health priority in West Africa, but the truth is that for most of the world, it is far from the apocalyptic threat that many people claim it to be. The persistent myths and rumors above have fueled widespread paranoia and public fear about the virus, but it is vitally important to understand the facts in order to better facilitate efforts to contain and eliminate the outbreak at its source.

source

A Promise Kept: Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule

On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump signed the repeal of an Obama-era Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that would have resulted in some 75,000 law-abiding beneficiaries losing their Second Amendment rights each year. 

The SSA rulemaking was issued in the waning weeks of Obama’s presidency and targeted those receiving disability insurance or Supplementary Security Income based on SSA’s listed mental disorders and who were appointed a “representative payee” to help them manage their benefits. The agency –for the first time in its history– sought to portray these individuals as “mental defectives” who were prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms under federal law. It had planned to notify them of their prohibited status and to report them to NICS.

Making matters worse, the beneficiaries would have had no ability to argue about their suitability to possess firearms before their rights were lost. Instead, they would have been reduced to filing a petition for “restoration” of their rights, an expensive and bureaucratic process that would have required them to pay for a mental health evaluation and to prove they were not dangerous, a premise the government never established in the first place.

The plan drew fire not just from the NRA, but also from the ACLU and a wide range of mental health advocacy and treatment groups from across the political spectrum. Also opposing the plan was the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. The NCD issued a statement explaining:

Since the action was first proposed in 2013, NCD has consistently taken the position that equating the need for assistance in managing one’s finances with a false presumption of incapacity in other areas of life, including possession of a firearm, unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right and increases the stigma that [affects] those who may need a representative payee. The overly broad classification of “mental disorder,” includes a wide range of limitations and a shifting set of criteria relevant to whether or not one can engage in substantial gainful activity. NCD remains steadfast in our position that this classification remains irrelevant to the question of whether one can be a responsible gun owner.

The SSA received tens of thousands of comments in opposition to the rule. The NRA-ILA’s submission explained in detail how the rule was contrary to the underlying statute, to the U.S. Constitution and would function mainly to stigmatize the SSA beneficiaries and discourage others from seeking treatment and benefits to which they were entitled. It also argued that there was no empirical support for the notion that the rule would promote public safety.

The SSA, however, ignored the comments and issued the rule essentially as proposed. 

It also brazenly brushed aside proffered evidence that the targeted beneficiaries were not at any increased risk for committing violence with firearms. “We are not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence,” the SSA wrote. “Rather, we are complying with our obligations under the NIAA, which require us to provide information from our records when an individual falls within one of the categories identified in 18 U.S.C. 922(g).”

Fortunately, pro-gun majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate acted quickly to disapprove the rule under the Congressional Review Act, a federal statute that allows Congress to use an expedited legislative process to overrule administrative actions passed in the waning days of an outgoing administration.

The efforts to roll back this unjustified and legally unauthorized rule were predictably met with a withering barrage of negative and fake reporting from the anti-gun media, with supposed “news” outlets issuing such ludicrous headlines as “Senate, House hand guns to seriously mentally ill.” All these reports completely ignored the fact that existing restrictions on persons who had been involuntarily committed or adjudicated mentally incompetent remained fully intact. By acting to block the rule, Congress simply disapproved the Obama administration’s attempt to create a new class of prohibited persons by “reinterpreting” a federal gun control statute passed in 1968.

President Trump’s signing of the measure not only served to help repair the damage to the Second Amendment wrought by the Obama administration, it ushered in what many hope will be a new era of respect for the right to keep and bear arms. Just over a month into his presidency, Trump signed a free-standing pro-gun bill into law. 

The NRA, of course, was among the earliest and staunchest supporters of Trump’s presidential bid. We thank him for his quick action on this measure and look forward to working with him and the pro-gun majorities in Congress to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

Longer Life, Healthier Life?

The average human being is living longer than ever before. Nearly every country on the planet has seen an increase in life expectancy since the beginning of the 21st century.

But though we are living longer, not all of us are living healthier.

Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE), or healthy life expectancy, is a metric used by the World Health Organization to measure the number of years a person can expect to live in good health, taking social and economic factors into account alongside disease and disability rates.

When we deduct healthy life expectancy from actual life expectancy, we see the average amount of years someone can expect to live in bad health – or ‘Bad Health Years‘.

This infographic takes a country-by-country look at the change in bad health years since 2000 to see where people are living a longer, healthier life.

Longer Life, Healthier Life?

Europe

Despite having some of the highest life expectancy in the world, the people of Europe live the most years in bad health. The majority of European nations have become even more unhealthy since 2000.
Longer Life, Healthier Life

Africa

It is in Africa where the biggest reductions in bad health years have occurred, with great progress in health and development since the turn of the century.

Longer Life, Healthier Life?

Middle East and Asia

While bad health years in most nations in the Middle East have increased since 2000, outcomes across the rest of Asia are slightly better.

South East Asia and Oceania

Indonesia and the South-East Asian nations are getting healthier, but in Australia and New Zealand bad health years are on the rise.

North and Central America

Mixed outcomes in North and Central America reflect the diverse range of economic and social conditions across the region, with the United States seeing one of the biggest increases in bad health years in the world. ”

South America

Similarly, South America displays a varied set of outcomes. Nations like Bolivia and Ecuador, traditionally considered to be among the continent’s least developed, have achieved the biggest reduction in bad health years.

Life Expectancy changes since 2000

Besides Bad Health Years, we also made some interesting findings regarding life expectancy.

The Price of Conflict

Only two nations did not register an improvement in life expectancy: Iraq and Syria.

Life expectancy in Iraq stagnated, while in Syria it has decreased by 3 years.

Healthier, longer lives

A number of countries have witnessed a startling increase in life expectancy since the year 2000. The top 10 can all be found in Africa.

How has life expectancy changed in Africa since 2000