Senator Merkley – GOP Senate health plan damage aimed squarely at children

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Jul 052017
 

Sen. Jeff Merkley
D-Oregon
U.S. Senate taking aim at children.

By Jeff Merkley and Tonia Hunt

We’ve been hearing a lot about winners and losers these days. Yet, even as our kids on the baseball or soccer fields may be winning trophies, they are in imminent danger of losing something much more important.

Children in Oregon and across the country risk losing health care coverage through Medicaid, and all of the benefits that accompany it, due to the Senate’s so-called “Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

The GOP plan provides huge tax breaks to the top 1 percent richest Americans, enough to actually raise their incomes by 2 percent.

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That’s more money for the already wealthy but but, in turn, it cuts financial aid that families need to obtain coverage. It cuts the average federal contribution over the next seven years to 57 percent of the actual cost of Medicaid, leaving states to pick up the tab or deny medical coverage. It allows radical cuts to which health services can be covered. In short, these drastic cuts to Medicaid and health services, along with huge financial benefits to the wealthy and cost-shifts to states, will result in millions of Americans — millions of children — losing coverage.

Here are five ways children could lose in the Senate’s plan:

First, as children account for 43 percent of all Medicaid enrollees, attacking the Medicaid expansion risks health coverage for more than 30 million children across the country who depend on it. In Oregon, more than 400,000 children receive their health care coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Gains made since 2008 in children’s health care coverage will be lost even though expanded eligibility and coverage has led to more children receiving the health care they so desperately need.

Dr. Anne McEachern
Dr. of Audiology
Sea Towne Shopping Center, Newport
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Second, rural children will be disproportionately affected by Medicaid cuts because poverty rates are higher in rural Oregon. The agriculture and small business jobs in these communities are less likely to offer insurance through employment. In fact, more than 9,000 children in Eastern Oregon’s Second Congressional District rely on Medicaid and CHIP for their coverage, which protects their families from financial risk. Children in both urban and rural areas thrive when they have primary and preventive care.

Third, children with pre-existing conditions will suffer. Although companies can’t charge sick children more for their coverage, they can cut which health conditions they cover. There will be no guarantee of mental health, dental, drug and addiction services, or even maternity care. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that maternity and mental health coverage will be dropped from many policies in many states, making them much more expensive for those who need them. That lack of accessibility would disproportionally harm those least able to afford them.

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Fourth, kids with severe disabilities will have fewer choices and less access to care when Medicaid is capped. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of all children with special health needs receive health insurance through Medicaid, CHIP or public coverage. Low-income families with disabled children rely on early screening, diagnosis and treatment. The Republicans’ plan slashes funding to pediatricians and children’s hospitals providing those services.

Fifth, caps on Medicaid are a calamitous cost-shift to Oregon, which is already overburdened financially. Make no mistake: Caps are cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the “caps” amount to $772 billion in cuts. The Senate’s plan passes the buck to states and risks damaging kids, now and into the future. More than 50 years of data show that kids with Medicaid coverage have better health, fewer adolescent deaths, lower high school drop-out rates, higher college graduation rates and greater wealth and income. Gutting Medicaid will never bring Oregon the results its children deserve.

Don’t be fooled by the promises of legislators who want a “win” with this plan. Oregon’s kids will lose when Senate Republicans cap Medicaid and end essential benefits, leaving the most vulnerable Americans to pick up the tab, which they can’t.

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Weather or Not: DIY

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Jul 052017
 

News Lincoln County’s weatherman is off for a couple of days, so use the links below for do-it-yourself forecasts, observations and conditions. Our daily ‘Weather or Not’ reports resume Saturday morning.

wxon-twitterNOTE: Weather or Not’s Twitter feed will still keep you posted on any major changes in conditions, and you’ll get updated travel info and an abbreviated forecast each morning tailored to the Central Coast. Just follow @chrisburnswx.

Summary: Observations

Forecast: Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats

Travel: ODOT TripCheck, Activity Planner, Coast Range, Cascades

Marine: Local Waters, Bar Reports

Tides: Tide Tables

Stewart Curry – Cause of death – Self-hanging

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Jul 052017
 

Stewart Curry, 61
School Special Ed’n Specialist
Charged with sexual abuse of children.
Found dead in his jail cell .

When Lincoln County jailers found accused sex criminal Stewart Curry in his jail cell at the Lincoln County Jail July 4th, he was lifeless – he had hung himself. And he did it sometime in the hour right after a routine jail cell inspection by jailers.

An autopsy confirmed the self-hanging by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Curry, a former employee of the Lincoln County School District, was arrested after an investigation revealed that he had likely molested children over a number of years. Charges filed against him included rape, sodomy, sexual abuse with underage minors.

Curry was 61 had been a special education worker for the Lincoln County School
District.

Surface Rescue

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Sen. Merkley Blasts Drive to Increase Offshore Oil Drilling

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Jul 052017
 

Sen. Jeff Merkley
D-Oregon


Oil Drilling Platform
Commons photo

Merkley Blasts Reopening of Offshore Drilling Plan

Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced its intention to reopen and possibly reverse parts of the Interior Department’s 2017-2022 offshore drilling plan, which protects the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from offshore drilling:

“Today’s news is the clearest signal yet that this administration is determined to do the bidding of the oil and gas industry, regardless of whether their preferred policies have any benefit for the American people.

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“Reopening offshore drilling in the Arctic would be the height of irresponsibility. In the Arctic’s remote and dangerous conditions, responding effectively to a drilling accident or oil spill is extremely difficult, if not downright impossible. There is no reason to put lives and entire ecosystems at risk just to extract oil that will intensify climate disruption.”

“Further, this decision threatens the way of life for countless communities along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, including those in Oregon. These communities spoke loud and clear during the development of the initial plan: They don’t want offshore drilling that will diminish tourism, harm commercial fishing operations, and burden them with the risk of a potential oil spill.

“With climate disruption continuing to accelerate, it’s time for the Trump Administration to stop listening to special interests, and start listening to the millions of Americans who are calling on us to act on climate and keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Merkley is the author of the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, legislation that would permanently protect the Arctic from offshore drilling, and the Keep It in the Ground Act, landmark legislation that would end new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters.

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HEALTHY COOKING FOR YOU !!

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Jul 052017
 

Newport 60+ Activity Center


The Newport 60+ Activity Center will host a healthy cooking class on Saturday, July 15, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Ted Bofferding, chef at Oceanview Senior Living, will lead this easy cooking class. Taste the delights from his healthy creations and take home the recipes!

July’s creations will include a healthy salad topped with Ted’s homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Call the 60+ Activity Center @541-265-9617 or stop by the office @ 20 SW 2nd Street in Newport to sign up. For a complete listing of trips, events, presentations and classes go to: click here.

A good ole “La De Da” to you too….July 4th Parade in Yachats

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Jul 052017
 

We must be in Yachats on the 4th!
Ken Gagne photos


Precision Umbrella Drill Team


HEY! Who said I have little hands??!!!


“I did because I had the liberty to say so, ya Grump!”


“Booty Queens”


“Grandma? Why am I here? Who are these people?”

La de da de da de da….


Thus ends another very revealing La De Da Parade…


“Keep it mystical folks…it’s the only way to cope!”

Unemployment benefits increased this week…

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Jul 052017
 

Unemployment benefits rose this week for new filers.

The amount paid to people filing for unemployment insurance benefits has increased. The maximum weekly benefit amount someone can receive will increase from $590 to $604, while the minimum amount will increase from $138 to $141.

The change affects new unemployment insurance claims filed on or after July 2nd. Those with existing unemployment claims will continue to receive the same weekly amount they have been receiving.

Oregon’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program provides temporary, partial wage replacement for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. The income provided to unemployed workers partially stabilizes the economy in local communities experiencing high unemployment during economic downturns. The UI program also promotes reemployment and the continuation of a trained, local workforce for businesses during economic downturns.

Under Oregon law, each year the Oregon Employment Department recalculates the maximum and minimum amounts of unemployment insurance benefits people can receive each week. The amounts are set as percentages of the average weekly wage earned by Oregonians. The minimum benefit amount is 15% of average weekly wage, and the maximum amount is 64%. Both dollar amounts are rounded down to the nearest dollar as required by law.

Higher wage growth in 2016 resulted in a 2.2% increase to the minimum weekly benefit and a 2.4% increase in the maximum weekly benefit compared to a year ago.