Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 5th, 2017

More indications of our direction from Radley Balko

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Afternoon links:

Written by LeisureGuy

5 May 2017 at 9:37 pm

The Field Study Handbook

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This sounds fascinating, and I bet if you couldn’t use it, you probably know someone who could.

It’s up on kickstarter, so it’s still in the idea stage. I think it would go through some iterations as things are tried: a kind of Whole-Earth-Catalog approach.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 May 2017 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Education

In the health care debate over pre-existing conditions, who’s lying?

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Tony Pugh reports for McClatchy:

Someone must be lying about health care coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.

Republicans, including President Donald Trump, are trying to drown out the chorus of doctor, patient and hospital groups that say people with chronic medical conditions could be priced out of coverage under the Republican health plan that narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the 216 House Republicans who voted for the bill say it protects these folks. They includes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“Let me state it one more time: We will replace (Obamacare) with a system that protects pre-existing conditions,” McCarthy said on the House floor before Thursday’s vote.

So who’s telling the truth? It all depends on what you call a lie.

People with pre-existing conditions who could be priced out of coverage under the GOP legislation could ultimately get insurance through high-risk pools for the medically uninsurable. But such coverage pools have a long history of high costs, poor funding and limited benefits.

“Virtually every health care analyst that you talk to will tell you that these things just don’t work very well,” Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said during an online discussion this week with Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

Slavitt, who served under President Barack Obama, said Republicans were using the risk pools to falsely claim they were protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

“As long as we can throw someone with a pre-existing condition into a high-risk pool, we can say that they’re covered,” Slavitt said. “Even if we can charge them tens of thousands of dollars more. Even if we can give them something that doesn’t give them access to care. And even if we don’t fund it well enough. And that’s what I call a ‘high-five and a wink.’

“ ‘Hey, we got this deal done. Hey, we can say we didn’t take away pre-existing conditions,’ ” Slavitt said of congressional Republicans, “ ‘but we’re going to give the (insurers) the opportunity to charge people whatever they want.’ ”

In an editorial in Friday’s Washington Post, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, said high-risk pools and other programs to reimburse medical costs for sick plan members “have been successful in the past.” She defended the GOP health care proposal.

“Our plan establishes a program to provide federal resources for states to create high-risk pools, reduce out-of-pocket costs or promote better access to services,” McMorris Rodgers wrote.

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, individual health coverage must be offered to people with pre-existing conditions, which can be anything from asthma, acne and obesity to cancer, heart disease and AIDS.

Insurers couldn’t charge these folks more for coverage either, because the health law’s “community rating” provision bars insurers from varying premium rates based on health status or medical history under a process known as medical underwriting, which was discontinued under Obamacare.

Instead, the ACA requires everyone in the statewide coverage pool to pay the same rates, spreading the higher cost of sicker enrollees among all plan members. That was considered a crucial piece of the overhaul of the nation’s health care system that came to be known as Obamacare.

The GOP’s 2017 health care bill allows . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 May 2017 at 6:39 pm

The Greatest King Walk in History of Chess: Short vs Timman 1991

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Written by LeisureGuy

5 May 2017 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Chess, Video

Another Trump U-turn into letting down the people who voted for him

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Jennifer Rubin reports in the Washington Post:

President Trump has brought Republicans and Democrats together — in opposition to what is surely among the most misguided budget decisions of his presidency. CBS News reports:

The Trump administration is looking to slash the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) budget by nearly 95 percent, according to a memo obtained by CBS News.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has proposed major ONDCP budget cuts for fiscal year 2018 that would cut 33 employees, nearly half the office staff, along with intelligence, research and budget functions at the agency, as well as the Model State Drug Laws and Drug Court grant programs.

The cuts were outlined in OMB’s “passback” document, a part of the budget process where the Office instructs federal agencies to draw up preliminary budgets that are subject to Congressional approval. It was uploaded to MAX Collect, the OMB’s budget database.

Trump’s crocodile tears about opioid abuse and professed concern for rural Americans who are in the throes of the drug epidemic mean nothing if he is unwilling to put resources into the ONDCP.

Democrats were furious. The Democratic National Committee put out a statement:

This is a cruel betrayal by Trump. Throughout the campaign, Trump promised communities ravaged by opioid addiction that he would come to their aid. That was a lie. Not only does Trump’s health bill jeopardize services for people in need of opioid treatment and once again allow companies to deny care by labeling addiction as a pre-existing condition, today he announced that he wants to cut nearly 95% of the funds for the main office in charge of fighting the opioid epidemic.

Coming the day after passage of the GOP health-care plan that provides huge tax relief for the very rich, the decision to virtually obliterate the ONDCP highlights the administration’s misplaced priorities.

Republicans were unhappy as well. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who co-authored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, released a statement:

I’ve known and worked with our drug czars for more than 20 years and this agency is critical to our efforts to combat drug abuse in general, and this opioid epidemic, in particular. This office supports the Drug Free Communities Act, legislation I authored in 1997 which has provided more than $1 billion to community drug coalitions around the country over the last 20 years as well as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which has helped states like Ohio that are ground zero for this problem. We have a heroin and prescription drug crisis in this country and we should be supporting efforts to reverse this tide, not proposing drastic cuts to those who serve on the front lines of this epidemic.

It seems just weeks ago that Trump was meeting with addicts, pledging to take on the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse. On March 29, he held a “listening session” with former addicts and anti-drug activists and officials. He insisted that “we want to help those who have become so badly addicted. Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States. … This is a total epidemic, and I think it’s probably almost untalked about compared to the severity that we’re witnessing.” He continued, “Today, we’re bringing together leaders from inside our government and outside of our government, and courageous people who have been affected — and really affected — by this terrible affliction. In a joint campaign, we want to battle drug addiction and combat opioid, and we have to do it — a crisis.” So much for that.

This issue reflects a more fundamental problem. While the president is insistent on a huge tax cut for the rich, increases in defense spending and no reform of our entitlement programs, worthwhile functions such as this are going to be slashed or eliminated. If permitted, it will amount to a huge transfer of wealth and abandonment of much of the safety net. The populist hero is turning out to be the enemy of the most vulnerable members of our society. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 May 2017 at 1:41 pm

Omega 20102, Mickey Lee’s Drunken Goat, the Baili BR171, and Lenthéric’s Tweed

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The Omega 20102 shown is well broken in at this point and is a very nice brush, smaller than the Omega Pro 48 (10048) but the knot still ample in size. It worked up a fine lather from Mickey Lee Soapworks Drunken Goat, which has a better beer fragrance than Meißner Tremonia’s Black Beer No. 1, in which the rosemary and lemongrass move it somewhat off the beer mark. The Drunken Goat’s fragrance is described as “A deep rich aroma, often described as a Stout infused cookie. The Drunken Goat captures notes of chocolate, oats, molasses and chestnut.” The ingredients:

Stearic Acid, Tallow,Guinness Extra Stout, Goat Milk, Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Kokum Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Lanolin, Shea Butter, Avocado Oil, Fragrance and Essential Oils

The lather was really excellent this morning, and I have to say that the Baili BR171 is a keeper. Amazing that it costs just $7 (from Italian Barber, where it’s sold as the RazoRock DE1). It can also be found on eBay and from other vendors and may have different names—Baili itself calls it the Victor—but the model number will identify it. (The gold version is BR173.)

A little splash of Lenthéric Tweed, and the weekend is in sight.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 May 2017 at 8:31 am

Posted in Shaving

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