Rural hospitals, beset by financial problems, struggle to survive – The Washington Post


MOUNT VERNON, Tex. — Despite residents’ concerns and a continuing need for services, the 25-bed hospital that served this small East Texas town for more than 25 years closed its doors at the end of 2014, joining the ranks of dozens of other small rural hospitals that have been unable to weather the punishment of a changing national health-care environment.

For the high percentages of elderly and uninsured patients who live in rural areas, closures mean longer trips for treatment and uncertainty during times of crisis. “I came to the emergency room when I had panic attacks,” said George Taylor, 60, a retired federal government employee. “It was very soothing and the staff was great. I can’t imagine Mount Vernon without a hospital.”

The Kansas-based National Rural Health Association, which represents about 2,000 small hospitals across the country and other rural care providers, says that 48 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, the majority in Southern states, and 283 others are in trouble. In Texas alone, 10 have closed.

“If there was one particular policy causing the trouble, it would be easy to understand,” said Mark Holmes, a health economist at the University of North Carolina. “But there are a lot of things going on.”

Experts and practitioners cite declining federal reimbursements for hospitals under the Affordable Care Act as the principal reasons for the recent closures. Besides cutting back on Medicare, the law reduced payments to hospitals for the uninsured, a decision based on the assumption that states would expand their Medicaid programs. However, almost two dozen states have refused to do so. In addition, additional Medicare cuts caused by a budget disagreement in Congress have hurt hospitals’ bottom lines.

via Rural hospitals, beset by financial problems, struggle to survive – The Washington Post.


Standing Ovation: Rand Paul Blows Away Liberal Black Audience with Conservative Message At Bowie State – Breitbart

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

BOWIE, Maryland — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was a hit speaker on the campus of Bowie State University on Friday, earning several rounds of applause and a standing ovation for the conservative message he delivered to a predominantly liberal audience at the historically black university—part of an outreach effort to traditionally non-Republican communities the senator and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate has been engaged in nationwide for the five-plus years he’s been in the U.S. Senate.

Paul wove individual examples of people throughout history and in modern times who have faced unfair consequences as a result of government’s heavy hand, making his case to the room on the basis of the need to defend the full Bill of Rights in the Constitution—a classic Tea Party style of speech—all while citing the Founding Fathers, and making economic and social limited government conservative pitch that seemed to resonate throughout the theater inside the student center.

“Clyde Canard got out of prison the same month that I was born, which was a long time ago, in 1963,” Paul opened his speech with after a couple thank-yous to organizers. “The reason that Clyde Canard went to prison is that, his crime was he was trying to get enrolled in Mississippi Southern. At that time, it was very difficult for a black man or a woman to enroll. The second time he tried to enroll they planted liquor on him—he didn’t drink—and gave him a $600 fine. Can you imagine what $600 was like in 1963 if you were poor in Mississippi? One thing led to another and he declared bankruptcy. He tried to enroll a third time and he was arrested and bullied by police. But when he tried the third time, he’s declared bankruptcy and he goes by his farm to pick up some chicken feed—$25 worth of chicken feed—and you know what happens to him? He’s arrested, and you know what kind of prison term he’s given? Seven years in prison for stealing $25 worth of chicken feed which really was his—it was on his land which the bank was repossessing. People’s lives can spiral out of control from a $600 fine.”

Paul noted that “a lot of things have improved since” 1963, when this particular example happened—specifically the fact that the United States has gotten rid of segregation by law. However, he said, “we still have a problem in our country that’s a lot like segregation but it’s also like there are two systems.”

The major theme of Paul’s speech was a comparison back to the speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, where the Civil Rights icon argued there are “two Americas.” Paul’s argument is due to the criminal justice system, the so-called “educational establishment” in Washington as he called it, and especially due to poverty and economic depravity in certain areas of the country, all symptoms of a larger problem that’s created by an out-of-touch political class that’s not interested in addressing the heart of the matter: there are Americans of all races and creeds who succeed in life and there are Americans of all races and creeds who don’t. And it’s unfair to those who don’t have a chance at success, he argued, because of a system that’s been created and abused by politicians.

“As Martin Luther King said in 1967, there are two Americas,” Paul said. “There’s one America that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But there’s another America that is witness to a daily disgrace, a lack of hope, and despair. Why? Because like Clyde Canard, there are still people in our society who are being hounded by fines, hounded by this and that.”

Read complete article via Standing Ovation: Rand Paul Blows Away Liberal Black Audience with Conservative Message At Bowie State – Breitbart.


Has Boehner taken left turn? |

Who's in charge here?

Who’s in charge here?

A beleaguered House Speaker John Boehner is suddenly relying on Democrats rather than his fellow Republicans.

For the second day in a row, Wednesday, his House leadership team turned to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats to help pass major legislation and overcome determined opposition from dozens of GOP conservatives.

It’s a far cry from January, when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress, and Boehner, R-Ohio, returned to Capitol Hill buoyed by expectations of a fruitful relationship with the new Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

And conservatives fear it will swing the Republican agenda to the left, and push them permanently to the sidelines.

“We were hoping to move everything to the right,”Rep. John Fleming, R-La., told the Washington Examiner after casting a “no” vote on a bill authorizing spending on Amtrak, which passed with overwhelming Democratic support and substantial Republican opposition. “Looks like to me they are moving it to the Left. They’ve given up on us so they are going to the Democrats to get votes.”

The House easily passed the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, which cuts federal funding authorization for Amtrak by 40 percent, but did not go far enough for conservatives. It also, reforms the railway’s accounting system so that the profitable Northeast corridor routes can keep and reinvest more money.

The bill passed 316 to 101, but 184 of the votes to pass it came from Democrats. The legislation, opposed by fiscal hawks at such organizations as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, got 132 GOP votes, but 101 Republicans, including eight committee chairmen, voted against it. Those opponents came mostly from the party’s right wing, and Rep. Tom McClintock of California had earlier in the day tried to amend the bill to end federal subsidies for passenger rail entirely.

The vote came just one day after House Republican leaders pushed through a key bill with the votes of Democrats rather than of their own conference members. Tuesday’s bill funded the Department of Homeland Security until Sept. 30 without curbing President Obama’s executive order shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. In that vote, too, conservatives were sidelined.

The $40 billion Homeland Security measure came to the floor after Boehner allegedly cut a deal with Pelosi, D-Calif., last week.

“Who is really running the floor over here?” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said. “John Boehner has so lost control of the House. He has to call Nancy Pelosi.”

Read complete article via Has Boehner taken left turn? |


Reagan, Like Rudy, Tied Democrats to Communists | The American Spectator

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

It is amusing to watch the furies unleashed in both the White House and the liberal media over former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s citing of the Communist Frank Marshall Davis as an influence on the young Barack Obama. And Giuliani’s insistence that, partly as a direct result of that influence, the president doesn’t “love America the way we do.”

On Sunday, Davis biographer Paul Kengor wrote a terrific piece laying out the history of the Davis-Obama relationship in detail. The full title of Mr. Kengor’s book, notably is The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. As Kengor points out in detail, Rudy was right. But well aside from that is the larger issue of the influence of Communism itself on the modern Democratic Party and its ideas. Far from being the province of supposedly nutty, frothing far-right zealots, this issue was discussed years ago by none other than Ronald Reagan.

So let’s begin with the specifics. As is well recorded, both in the day and ever after in Reagan lore, on October 27, 1964 actor Reagan gave a nationally televised speech at the end of the presidential campaign on behalf of GOP nominee Senator Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was fighting a losing battle against LBJ in a moment that turned out to be the high-tide of American liberalism. The Reagan speech, eventually titled “A Time for Choosing,” pulled no punches on the subject of ties between the Democrats and communism. The speech was a rousing success. Not only did it raise a stunning (in the day and even now) $8 million for Goldwater’s last few campaign days, it not so coincidentally launched Reagan’s own political career as a twice elected California governor and president of the United States — all four victories coming in landslides.

Read complete article via Reagan, Like Rudy, Tied Democrats to Communists | The American Spectator.


Giuliani: Obama influenced by communists since youth | New York Post

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani doubled down on his claims that President Obama doesn’t “love America” in an interview with The Post Friday — claiming the commander-in-chief has been influenced by communists since his youth.

“From the time he was 9 years old, he was influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist,” Giuliani said. The ex-mayor added that Obama’s grandfather introduced him to Davis, a writer and labor activist.

Giuliani also said another bad influence on Obama was Saul Alinsky, a community organizer whom the ex-mayor called a “socialist.”

The man once called “America’s mayor’’ also sharply criticized the president for having been a member of a church led by radical Chicago Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

“He spent 17 years in the church of Jeremiah Wright, and this is the guy who said ‘God damn America, not God bless America,’?’’ Giuliani said.

“Obama never left that church.”

Giuliani said Obama doesn’t measure up to past presidents.

“He doesn’t talk about America the way John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did, about America’s greatness and exceptionalism,” said Giuliani.

“He was educated by people who were critics of the US. And he has not been able to overcome those influences.”

Read complete article via Giuliani: Obama influenced by communists since youth | New York Post.


800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data –


WASHINGTON — About 800,000 taxpayers who enrolled in insurance policies through received erroneous tax information from the government, and were urged on Friday to hold off on filing tax returns until the error could be corrected.

The Obama administration, under heavy pressure from congressional Democrats, also announced that it would give several million people more time to buy health insurance so they could comply with federal law and avoid tax penalties.

The incorrect insurance information is used in computing taxes. Consumers can expect to receive corrected data in the first week of March. With the new data, officials warned, some taxpayers will owe more and some will owe less.

Officials said they did not know why the error had occurred.

Democratic lawmakers pressed hard for the Obama administration to open a “special enrollment period” around tax filing season for Americans who only then realize they face penalties for failing to purchase health insurance last year. Andrew M. Slavitt, the No. 2 official at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the period would last from March 15 to April 30.

Read complete article via 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data –


Justice Thomas objects to court’s signal on gay marriage – Yahoo News

Supreme Court Justics - Clarence Thomas

Supreme Court Justice – Clarence Thomas

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is inappropriately signaling it intends to clear the way for gay marriage across the nation, Justice Clarence Thomas complained Monday in a stinging dissent to the court’s refusal to block the start of same-sex marriages in Alabama.

Bitterly objecting to Monday’s action, Thomas provided a rare insider’s perspective on the widely held view that the court’s embrace of gay marriage is a done deal.

Thomas filed a dissenting opinion after his colleagues rejected Alabama’s plea to put a hold on same-sex marriages in the state until the Supreme Court resolves the issue nationwide in a few months.

He criticized his fellow justices for looking “the other way as yet another federal district judge casts aside state laws,” rather than following the customary course of leaving those laws in place until the court answers an important constitutional question.

“This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution of that question,” Thomas wrote in an opinion that was joined by Justice Antonin Scalia. “This is not the proper way” for the court to carry out its role under the Constitution, he wrote, “and, it is indecorous for this court to pretend that it is.”

Read complete article via Justice Thomas objects to court’s signal on gay marriage – Yahoo News.


Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast – The Washington Post

Who's side is he on?

Who’s side is he on?

President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.

As a new president, he dismissed the idea of American exceptionalism, noting that Greeks think their country is special, too. He labeled the Bush-era interrogation practices, euphemistically called “harsh” for years, as torture. America, he has suggested, has much to answer given its history in Latin America and the Middle East.

His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

Obama’s remarks spoke to his unsparing, sometimes controversial, view of the United States — where triumphalism is often overshadowed by a harsh assessment of where Americans must try harder to live up to their own self-image. Only by admitting these shortcomings, he has argued, can we fix problems and move beyond them.

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith,” he said at the breakfast.

But many critics believe that the president needs to focus more on enemies of the United States.

Read complete article via Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast – The Washington Post.