* STARTING OFF WITH A TWO-PARTER... (Part 1 of 2)http://www.wsj.com/articles/medicaid-expansion-is-proving-to-be-a-bad-bargain-for-states-1446852197Recall that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was designed to essentially bribe states to expand their Medicaid programs: The feds offered to pay 100% of additional costs through 2016, dropping to 90% by 2020. This “free money” prompted 30 states and the District of Columbia to take the deal. Democratic activists have joined with state hospital lobbies to pressure lawmakers in the remaining 20 state capitals to follow.* IDIOTS...(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)That was certainly the case this year in Utah and Florida, where we live. This spring the Utah state Senate passed a Medicaid expansion bill backed by Gov. Gary Herbert, who espoused the “free money” argument during his January State of the State address. “We can either watch our hard-earned tax dollars remain on the table in Washington, D.C.,” he said, “or we can bring back a significant amount of our own money to be spent on Utahans.” The more conservative House, which noted the proposal’s $328 million price tag over 10 years, never passed the bill out of committee.* THANK GOD FOR SMALL FAVORS!In September Mr. Herbert and five other state leaders — colloquially, the “Gang of Six” — came back with a revised, and even worse, offer. The proposal would create 16 new taxes on health-care providers, amounting to roughly $50 million annually by 2021. Starting in 2017, this would cost each hospital about $4.5 million a year, and each doctor roughly $800. Taxes would also have been levied on ambulances, podiatrists, opticians, chiropractors and even nurses. House Republicans rejected it 56-7 in an October caucus vote, effectively killing Medicaid expansion for the rest of this year.* THANK YOU, REPUBLICANS!A more heated fight consumed Florida this spring, when Senate leaders tried to fold Medicaid expansion into the state’s annual budget. According to the Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations, it would cost state taxpayers $96.6 million in the first two years, and a yet-to-be-determined amount when the state assumed its full 10% share in 2020.* AND THERE LIES THE PROBLEM: FEDERAL "GRANTS." WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS DEVOLVE AUTHORITY - AND RESPONSIBILITY - BACK TO THE STATES AND LOCALITIES. STOP THIS ENDLESS "RECYCLING" OF TAX DOLLARS - WITH ALL THE WASTE AND DYSFUNCTION ASSOCIATED WITH SAME!* TO BE CONTINUED...
* CONCLUDING... (Part 2 of 2)The Florida House, concerned over the unknown future liabilities, refused to pass the plan. This led to a budget standoff, forcing a 20-day special session in June. After almost seven hours of debate, the chamber rejected the Senate’s proposal 72-41.(*THUMBS UP*)Florida and Utah taxpayers will thank their legislators in the years to come. Consider the experience of the states that did expand Medicaid. “At least 14 states have seen new enrollments exceed their original projections, causing at least seven to increase their cost estimates for 2017,” the Associated Press reported in July.The AP says that California expected 800,000 new enrollees after the state’s 2013 Medicaid expansion, but wound up with 2.3 million. Enrollment outstripped estimates in New Mexico by 44%, Oregon by 73%, and Washington state by more than 100%.* IS IT TOO EARLY FOR A STIFF DRINK?This has blown holes in state budgets. Illinois once projected that its Medicaid expansion would cost the state $573 million for 2017 through 2020. Yet 200,000 more people have enrolled than were expected, and the state has increased its estimated cost for covering each. The new price tag? About $2 billion, according to the Chicago Tribune.Enrollment overruns in Kentucky forced officials to more than double the anticipated cost of the state’s Medicaid expansion for 2017, the AP reports, to $74 million from $33 million. That figure could rise to $363 million a year by 2021.In Rhode Island, where one-quarter of the state’s population is now on Medicaid, the program consumes roughly 30% of all state spending, the Providence Journal reports. To plug this growing hole, Rhode Island has levied a 3.5% tax on insurance policies sold through the state’s ObamaCare exchange.(*SNORT*)Even Ohio, whose Republican Gov. John Kasich is running for president on a platform of fiscal responsibility, finds itself in a Medicaid bind. State spending on the program has grown by $5.8 billion since 2011. The Ohio Department of Medicaid projects that by 2017 spending will total $28.2 billion — a 59% increase during Mr. Kasich’s tenure.* FRIGGIN' IDIOT...(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)Unlike the federal government, most states have strict balanced-budget requirements. As Medicaid costs spiral, lawmakers must cut spending from vital priorities like education and infrastructure, raise taxes or do both.* WELL... I DON'T KNOW ABOUT "VITAL"... BUT THE MATH IS INDEED THE MATH.Which is to say that expanding Medicaid under the pretense that it represents “free money” from the federal government is the epitome of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/426709/seattle-pacific-university-pledge-allegiance-veteransThe Evangelical Seattle Pacific University has decided to omit the Pledge of Allegiance from its Veterans’ Day chapel service because a few people complained that that kind of patriotism made them “uncomfortable.” The ceremony’s “presentation of the colors,” in which a color guard retires or presents a — trigger warning! — American flag, will also be omitted. Now, the service is optional, so you would think that those who felt “uncomfortable” with patriotism could just choose to go literally anywhere else but an event intended to honor patriotism without any institutional action being necessary. But you’d be wrong. Chaplain Bo Lim stated in an e-mail that was obtained by the College Fix that “some people mentioned to [him] that they would be uncomfortable [saying the Pledge of Allegiance] within a Christian worship service.” “For many, the focus of the service would turn into whether we ought or ought not to have the pledge in a Christian worship service,” Lim wrote. “I imagine our community is probably split on this one so I could lean in either direction, but I’ve finally decided to pull it.” Again: This is not just a “Christian worship service,” but a Veterans’ Day Christian worship service. Veterans’ Day, as in the one damn day in which you would think that the increasingly considered-offensive sentiment of patriotism would be considered at least acceptable. Lim explained that the point of the ceremony was “to help our community support military persons within our midst,” and that “including the pledge it would be a distraction from this cause.” (Yes — Lim is actually saying that the pledge of the United States of America would be a “distraction” from the cause of honoring those who have served the United States of America.)
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