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McClaughry: A state health insurance purchase mandate?

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first_imgby John McClaughry The House and Senate health care committee chairs in Montpelier are pondering new adventures in health care policy for 2018. High on their list is a Vermont individual insurance mandate. The mandate to purchase government-approved insurance has had a four year run in Washington. It was made a cornerstone of Obamacare because older people are sicker than young people.  If health insurance premiums are set according to an age group’s risk of incurring medical expenses, the premiums for sixty-year olds will be as much as five times the premiums for twenty-year olds. But when the small business and individual insurance pool is community rated (as Vermont’s has been since 1993), all policy holders must be charged the same premium for the same coverage regardless of age. Thus young, healthy people will be made to pay far above their age group’s expected medical expenses. Their (under 65) grandparents will pay far less than their age group’s expenses.Faced with far higher premium costs, many young healthy people simply “go bare” without insurance. Without the young, healthy people in the pool, the increasingly older (and sicker) pool will require ever rising premiums. This leads to the “death spiral”. To prevent this, the government has to use compulsion to keep the young and healthy in and paying. That’s the individual mandate.Starting in 2019, Congress’s repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate will relieve young healthy Vermonters of the threat of a tax of $695, or 2.5% of income, for not buying a Federal government-approved health plan.Senator Claire Ayer and Rep. William Lippert do not want those people to drop their insurance. They are seriously considering shutting off this exit ramp for the young and healthy by creating a Vermont individual mandate to buy state-approved insurance. Then the young and healthy would continue subsidizing the premiums of the older and sicker.This is “Robin Hood in Reverse”. The State requires young people starting off in life, at the bottom rung of their lifetime income ladder, paying off education loans, planning to raise a family and buy a home, to subsidize people forty years older, at the top of their lifetime earnings, their children grown and gone, and their mortgage paid off.Whenever a proposal for a state purchase mandate raises its head, the first question one should ask is, “Or else what?”Will the State levy a tax on you for not buying health insurance, like the now repealed ObamaCare provision? Will it take away an income tax exemption? Will it confiscate your income tax refund? Will it garnish your wages? Will it suspend your professional or business license? Your hunting and fishing license? Your driver’s license?Lippert notes that Massachusetts has had a state insurance mandate since 2007. The enforcement mechanism there is a denial of the personal income tax exemption. However the new Federal tax bill abolishes the personal exemptions used in computing Federal taxable income, which is used for Vermont income tax purposes. To deny those exemptions would require Vermont to create them, which would require major changes in how Vermont taxes income.There is, however, a far better way than invoking state power to mandate that all Vermonters purchase insurance. It is to hold uninsured persons personally responsible for paying the medical bills they incur. We have long done this for “deadbeat dads” who won’t make court-ordered child support payments.Since 1994 the Ethan Allen Institute has advocated “income tax-based recapture for unpaid medical bills run up by persons who choose to spend their resources on things other than adequate health insurance. Mandating that people buy health insurance of the state’s choice is an invasion of their freedom, but on the other hand, there is plenty of justification for dunning people who run up medical costs and expect others to cover them through higher premiums.”Under the personal responsibility alternative, the uninsured patient would be required to pay down an unpaid balance through income-tax payments year after year until it is retired.This says to the person who prefers not to obtain insurance: “Your government will not fine you for failing to buy health insurance. But if you are unlucky enough to run up a big medical bill that you can’t pay from your assets, you will be paying a piece of it off every year at tax time, possibly for the rest of your life. Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer to protect against that by investing in a high-deductible insurance policy with limited mandates, with a cap on out-of-pocket payments, and with your own tax-free Health Savings Account?”A state insurance purchase mandate is a repugnant to individual liberty. Holding people responsible for the medical expenses they incur is not an invasion of liberty. The choice couldn’t be more clear.John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org(link is external)).last_img read more

Westwood View, Highlands, Santa Fe Trail among 10 SMSD elementaries to get Apple technology this year

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first_imgHighlands is one of the schools that will get Apple technology this year.Highlands and Westwood View, which feed to SM East, are among the 10 elementary schools whose students will receive an iPad next year when school starts. From the SM North attendance area, Santa Fe Trail and Crestview students will be part of the technology launch.Register to continuelast_img

Wide-Faced Men: Good Guys or Bad?

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first_imgTIME: Think of the stereotypical tough guy: broad-faced, square-jawed, uber-macho. Research even bears out this convention, linking wider, more masculine faces with characteristics like dishonesty, lack of cooperation and perceived lack of warmth.But a new study challenges the notion that wide-faced men are always the bad guys, finding that in certain situations, they’re actually the most self-sacrificing of the bunch.For the study, researchers from the Perception Lab at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland gave 54 male students money to play a game in groups. Each man was given £3 to play with — they could either keep the endowment to themselves, or invest as much as they wished in the group. The participants were told that if the group as a whole invested more than £12, then each member would lose his initial investment, but receive a £5 return. If the group failed to meet the £12 minimum, then each man could lose his investment without any return.Read the whole story: TIMElast_img read more

H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Pandemic vaccine, Tamiflu resistance, Santa’s risk factors, cutting sermons

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first_imgNov 18, 2009British patients skeptical about H1N1 vaccineLess than half of British patients who have been offered the pandemic vaccine accepted it, Reuters reported today. The findings were based on a poll of 107 family doctors conducted by Pulse magazine. Reasons included fear of side effects and views that the virus is mild. The doctors reported even less acceptance among pregnant women, a high-risk group. The UK government said it’s too early to speculate on vaccine uptake rates.http://www.reuters.com/article/healthcareSector/idUSLI10514020091118Nov 18 Reuters storyCanada reports few serious reactions to vaccineWith 6.6 million doses of H1N1 vaccine given so far, Canada has seen only 36 serious adverse reactions, according to Dr. David Butler-Jones, the country’s chief public health officer. He said one person died of an anaphylactic reaction, but it was not yet certain if the vaccine caused it, CTV News reported. Serious events have also included fevers and convulsions. Butler-Jones said 20% of Canada’s 31 million people have been vaccinated, which he called the highest proportion of any country.http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20091117/adverse_091117/20091117Nov 17 CTV News reportGlobal Tamiflu-resistant cases detailedIn a review of the global cases of oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-resistant H1N1 reported thus far, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the patients have been geographically dispersed and not linked and the viruses were all susceptible to the other common antiviral, zanamivir (Relenza). Of the 32 cases detailed, two factors may have played a role: reduced immunity and preventive antiviral therapy (prophylaxis). Three cases had no known history of exposure to oseltamivir.http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/activities/sciadvice/Lists/ECDC%20Reviews/ECDC_DispForm.aspx?List=512ff74f-77d4-4ad8-b6d6-bf0f23083f30&ID=683Nov 18 ECDC reviewSanta groups air pandemic flu concernsSanta workers and volunteers are seeking ways to prevent novel H1N1 infection during the holiday season, the Associated Press (AP) reported. One trade group urged its members to use hand sanitizer and take vitamins and the public to keep sick children home. The president of another group asked state lawmaker to consider prioritizing Santa for H1N1 vaccine, given that many are exposed to sick children and are obese, which has been identified as a high-risk condition.Shortening sermons to fight fluSaudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs has told Muslim preachers to keep their sermons short because of concern that the H1N1 virus may spread in crowded mosques, Deutsche Presse-Argentur (DPA) reported today. The ministry also instructed imams to use sermons to dispel rumors about how the virus spreads and to urge the faithful to observe good hygiene to prevent infection.http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/health/news/article_1514053.phpNov 18 DPA reportlast_img read more

Carlyle Group, Colmore Plaza and the credit crunch

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first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Havyard Hired for Work on Celebrity Cruises’ Ships

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first_imgSaint-Nazaire-based shipbuilder STX France has hired Polish Havyard Production & Service (HPR) to carry out electrical work in two out of seven zones in a series of cruise ships being built for Celebrity Cruises, a brand of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Under the contract related to the Edge series cruise ships, worth around NOK 80 million (USD 9.3 million), HPR is scheduled to start work on the first newbuild in April and conclude the contract in 2022.Under construction at STX France’s Saint Nazaire shipyard, each of the Edge series ships has a capacity of 2.900 passengers, with a length of 300 metres and 117.000 gross tonnage.In November 2016, the first piece of steel for the Celebrity Cruises’ first vessel under the Edge class, the Celebrity Edge, was cut at the STX France shipyard.Celebrity Edge is expected to join the company’s fleet in fall 2018, while its sister ship, to be named Celebrity Beyond, is scheduled for delivery in spring 2020.The third and fourth Edge class ships would be delivered in fall 2021 and fall 2022, respectively.“The new ships will be on the cutting edge of innovation and the leading edge of design, so the ship names are spot on and offer a sense of how Celebrity Cruises is looking into the future,” Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, earlier said.last_img read more

Welton ships tanks by the dozen

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first_imgThe tanks, which were destined for the state’s oldest brewery, were manufactured by Chinese Lehui Group. Each measures 55 ft (16.8 m) in length and 20 ft (6.1 m) in diameter, weigh 50,000 pounds (22.7 tonnes), and have a capacity of 2,000 barrels, the equivalent of 63,000 gallons (286,403 litres) of beer. As the tanks were too large to ship from Waterford via rail or highway, Welton seized the opportunity to pair a 200-year transportation highway with the modernisation of New York state’s oldest brewery, which is undergoing redevelopment costing USD49 million (GBP38 million). Welton’s vice president, Henry Hui scrutinised the route for over a year, deciding that using barges chartered from Coeymans Carver Company along the Erie Canal offered a cost-effective solution. The alternative – bringing the tanks to Rochester in pieces to assemble on site, was deemed a too expensive process that could not guarantee the same quality that can be achieved in the factory.  Following their manufacture in China, the tanks were transported directly from Shanghai to the Port of Albany on Chipolbrok’s multipurpose vessel, Wladyslaw Orkan. On discharge from the barge in Rochester, the tanks still needed to be trucked another five miles (8 km) from the canal quayside to the brewery itself and Welton used heavy haulage vehicles supplied by Triple R Transportation for the final leg of the journey. Hui added: “There were not many laydown areas around Rochester that could handle these consignments but we brought in a 600-tonne capacity crane from Clark Rigging to move the tanks from the barges to the trucks at Al’s Maintenance yard in Rochester.” A further 12 small and medium tanks were also discharged to Port of Albany, and could be transported to the brewery by road as the loads were under 16 ft (4.8 m) high. Welton Shipping is an independent, USA-based transportation and integrated logistics provider. www.weltongroup.comwww.carverstone.com www.triplertransportation.comwww.clarkrigging.comwww.chipolbrok.com.plwww.portofalbany.uslast_img read more

Portable wheel lathe launched

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first_imgA PORTABLE wheel lathe designed for emergency field repairs to wheel damage on freight wagons was officially launched by Swedish maintenance specialist EuroMaint Rail AB at the Nordic Rail exhibition in Jönköping on last month.EuroMaint Rail’s PWL can be transported by van to a remote location and assembled by a two-person crew. Hydraulic and electric power is provided from a 50 kVA diesel generator in the service truck. The unit and support beams can be assembled in both left and right-handed positions to treat both wheels.The rail vehicle is lifted slightly to relieve the load on the defective wheelset, which is turned by four hydraulic motors through profiled steel wheels on the wheel flanges. The wheel is first assessed with a portable measuring head to determine the diameter, out-of-roundness and the rectification work required. This data is fed into the CNC controls, and the measuring head exchanged for a cutter. Typically, each wheel is turned twice to remove the defects and produce a new profile according to given UIC standards. A 5 mm deep radial cut can be turned at each pass. The second wheel is then treated in the same way, the whole process taking between 1 h and 2 h. Turning both wheels can generate up to 10 kg of swarf, and EuroMaint has designed the cutting process to produce small shavings rather than long spirals. A protective mat is laid under the vehicle before work starts to collect the waste and prevent any environmental damage.The maintenance crew uses EuroMaint’s portable brake testing equipment to verify the vehicle’s braking performance, both to detect any fault which could have caused the wheel flat and to confirm that the rectified vehicle is fit to continue its journey. All data from both systems is transferred by GSM or GSM-R to the customer for record-keeping purposes and subsequent analysis.According to EuroMaint’s Head of Engineering Thomas Robertsson, the prototype PWL has been tested for around a year and has proved very successful, mainly in the north of Sweden where wheel flats are a common problem during the long Nordic winter. Turning the wheels in situ avoids the need to use lifting cranes when changing the wheelsets, which can be a major problem under 15 kV catenary. It also avoids the requirement to dismantle the brakes or unload the wagon, minimising handling damage and any delays to the shipment.A second unit is due to start work in the spring of 2008, expanding the geographical coverage of EuroMaint’s support service. Robertsson expects that EuroMaint Rail’s PWL will be available commercially from 2009.EuroMaint Rail AB, Swedenlast_img read more

T&T and China sign cooperation agreements

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first_imgTrinidad and Tobago has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative with China, according to an official statement issued on Monday.Rowley on official visit to China The statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who is on an official visit to Beijing signed the MOU without giving details.However, the Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future,” while critics call it a push by China to take a larger role in global affairs with a China-centered trading network.The initiative was unveiled by President Xi Jinping in late 2013, and the initial focus has been infrastructure investment, education, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel.Committed to deepen tiesThe statement said that Prime Minister Rowley, who arrived in Beijing Monday, held talks with Premier  Keqiang, with both leaders lauding “their long-standing relationship and reiterated their commitment to deepen ties.”The statement said that the two countries also signed three other MOUs strengthening cooperation in the field of medicine and health; human resource development and on economic and technical cooperation.The statement said that Rowley and his delegation attended a State banquet held at the Great Hall of the People.last_img read more

Douglas Charles Airport closed due to inclement weather

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first_img Tweet Sharing is caring! Share Share LocalNews Douglas Charles Airport closed due to inclement weather by: – March 11, 2017center_img Share 234 Views   no discussions Heavy rainfall associated with a frontal boundary has forced the closure of Douglas Charles Airport at Marigot.The Ministry of Public Works and Ports advised of its closure in a press release issued at 10AM on Saturday 11 March 2017.“The Ministry has also been advised that there are currently two landslides on the Nicholas Liverpool Highway that are affecting vehicular traffic flow in that area. Therefore, the general public is asked to use the Castle Bruce/Kalinago Territory road to access areas beyond Belles.The Ministry of Public Works and Ports is making every effort to bring the road situation back to normalcy and will advise further once the Highway and Airport are reopened,” the release notes.– / 5last_img read more