first_imgby Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 27, 2011 In a historic vote on Tuesday, the Vermont Legislature created the enabling legislation for a first-in-the-nation universal health care system. The state Senate approved the visionary plan for a single-payer system in a 21-9 vote after four hours of debate. The split was largely along party lines.Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, campaigned on a promise to create a single-payer system in Vermont that would contain health care costs and give all of the state’s residents universal access to medical care. On Tuesday, Shumlin made good on the first step toward fulfilling that promise, and just five hours after the Senate vote, he marked the legislative victory in an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’Shumlin said in a statement to the Vermont press: ‘Today the Legislature took a huge step toward making Vermont the first state in the first in the nation to control skyrocketing health care costs and remove the burden of providing health care coverage from small business owners. This bill is good for Vermonters and Vermont businesses.Many Vermont businesses, however, believe otherwise. Though small employers have said they will benefit, some larger employers actively lobbied against the bill. Opponents of H.202 argued that the legislation would leave businesses in the lurch during the transition period between 2013 and 2014 when the state is required under federal law to participate in insurance exchanges. The opposition was led by insurance brokers (the Fleischer Jacobs Group, Business Resource Specialists), business associations (Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Grocers Association and Vermont Retailers Association), large employers (Dealer.com, Biotek, Rhino Foods and IBM). The Senate debate on Monday and Tuesday centered on changes to the legislation that would have made it more palatable to these groups.Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R/D-Essex Orleans, who proposed two amendments that would have made the bill more business friendly, said companies are afraid ‘we will end up with a plan most won’t be able to afford.’The legislation sets the state’s health care system on a new trajectory. Instead of continuing to use an insurance model for covering the cost of care, the bill moves the state toward an integrated payment system that would be controlled by a quasi judicial board and administered by a third party entity. The system would be funded through a broad-based tax.The universal health care system would be implemented in 2014, if it clears 10 very high hurdles, including the receipt of a federal waiver. Otherwise it wouldn’t kick in until 2017.Longtime single-payer advocate Dr. Deb Richter was ecstatic about the Senate passage of the bill.‘I’m absolutely thrilled,’ Richter said. ‘It’s one of the best days of my life. I’ve given 400 speeches over the last 10 years and it feels like the work was worth it. We have a ways to go, but this is a step in the right direction.’A universal health care system is the only way to cover everyone and contain costs, Richter said.The passage of H.202 marks the first time any state in the country has attempted to provide universal care and a cost containment system that addresses administrative costs, hospital budgeting and uniform payments to doctors, Richter said.Whether the federal government will give Vermont a waiver to adopt a universal health care system in 2014 is an open question. Richter said the state has a 50-50 chance of getting the exemption from the Affordable Care Act. Even so, she believes Vermont’s attempt to create a single-payer system is worthwhile.‘You go for what you want, not for what you think you might get ‘ that’s what the bill does,’ Richter said.The Senate debate focused on the state’s implementation of the insurance exchanges that are required under federal law. The Affordable Care Act has mandated that states provide an actuarial value for insurance products (the insurance equivalent of a per unit price mechanism that allows consumers to compare the cost of on the shelf grocery items). The federal government has set up very general guidelines for the actuarial levels for insurance products insurers must provide under the exchange. The idea is to create an easy system for comparison between health insurance benefit plans that offer a dizzying array of deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays and premiums. The products, under the federal requirements, range from bronze (60 percent actuarial value) to silver (70 percent), gold (80 percent) and platinum (90 percent). It also puts minimum requirements on the ‘qualifying plans.’ Many of these mandates are already in Vermont law. Insurers, for example, are not allowed to ‘cherry pick’ consumers who are healthy and create pools without a cross-section of the sick and healthy populations.Read this summary of the ACA requirements from Kaiser Foundation.The Affordable Care Act requires individuals without insurance to buy into the exchange or face a $695 fine. Families of four with incomes of less than $88,700 qualify for tax credits. Businesses with more than 50 employees that do not buy insurance face a penalty of $2,000 per worker.The fight between employers and proponents of H.202 was about the potential for mandatory inclusion of businesses that have between 50 and 100 workers in the exchange. Sen. Hinda Miller, D-Chittenden, and Illuzzi argued that requiring companies of that size to participate in the exchange could jeopardize their economic viability. Employers in that range tend not to self-insure and so are not protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.The federal law allows states some flexibility. States can decide what benefit plan levels can be offered, for example. They can also determine the size of the businesses that must be included in the exchange. The Shumlin administration pushed for intent language in the bill that could have led to the inclusion of businesses with 50 to 100 employees into the exchange. Proponents of H.202 have said it’s important to include these 28,000 workers in the state’s insurance exchange in order to build toward a single-payer system.An amendment proposed by Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden, and approved by the Senate struck the intent language. The Green Mountain Care board, which will oversee the health care reform effort including the exchanges, is charged with producing a report that would outline the impact of excluding the 50-100 employee group on the exchange, which the Shumlin administration wants to use as a stepping stone toward the single-payer system.Illuzzi proposed two amendments that would have forced the state to include a broader array of insurance carriers in the exchange would have specifically allowed health savings accounts and high deductible plans under the exchange and would have allowed ‘nonqualified’ plans outside the exchange. H.202 allows for two carriers.‘Let’s not kid ourselves it will be more than one carrier,’ Illuzzi said on the Senate floor. ‘It will likely be Blue Cross Blue Shield. It will be two carriers in name only. Both will be required to offer same (plans). It will be a change without a difference.’Anya Rader Wallack, Shumlin’s special assistant on health care, said she was impressed by the Legislature.‘A lot of people worked very hard educating themselves in a short period of time,’ Wallack said. ‘This isn’t simple stuff. I was impressed with the amount of effort both bodies have put into this.’The Shumlin administration was heavily involved in drafting the bill, H.202, though by the time the legislation reached final passage it had changed somewhat from its original incarnation, which was based in part on recommendations from Professor William Hsiao, the renowned Harvard economist who created a single payer system for Taiwan.Over the next year, the Shumlin administration will hire a director of health care reform and the chair of a quasi-judicial board. The board would be in place by January of 2012 and would begin the arduous task of sorting through the maze of federal laws, waivers, benefits, provider reimbursements, system financing and cost containment options.H.202 will be read in the House Health Care Committee on Wednesday morning. Rep. Mark Larson, D-Burlington, said he expects the bill will go to conference committee in several days. He expects to have no major beefs with the Senate version.‘The core composition of the bill remains identical to what passed in the House,’ Larson said. ‘There are differences between the two bills but they are things we can work out.’Larson said those details include a change in the dynamic of the board. ‘We want to make sure it’s an independent board.’He also referred to the so-called ‘Mullin’ amendment, which set conditions for implementation of Green Mountain Care, the single-payer style system that would be created under H.202. Larson said he thinks the new criteria for the implementation standards need to be more clearly defined.‘It has to be clear what hurdle has to be overcome,’ Larson said.Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more


first_imgU.K. sets new wind generation record FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Strong gusts on Wednesday evening helped Britain’s wind farms to produce a record amount of electricity, trade group Renewable UK said on Friday.Britain aims to increase its renewable output and close its coal-fired power plants by 2025 as part of efforts to meet climate targets. “Britain’s onshore and offshore wind farms hit a new high of 14.9 gigawatts (GW) between 6 and 6.30pm on Wednesday evening,” the industry group said in a statement.Overall on Wednesday wind generated 32.2 percent of the country’s electricity more than any other electricity source. The figure beat the previous record of 14.5 GW set on Nov. 9.The country’s renewable electricity capacity overtook that of fossil fuel generators such as gas and coal for the first time this year. The world’s largest offshore wind farm, Orsted’s Walney Extension, opened off the northwest coast of England in September.More: Britain blows past wind power generation recordlast_img read more


first_imgCipanas district head Oleh Najmudin said the 80-centimeter-deep flood struck at least 96 houses in three villages in the district – Sipayung, Talagahiang and Bintangresmi – at midnight while Muslims were having sahur (predawn meal).Lebak Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) immediately warned residents, especially those living along riverbanks and the foothill of Mount Halimun-Salak, about the risk of landslides due to high-intensity rainfall.“We hope this warning can reduce the risk of fatalities,” BPBD Lebak head Kaprawi said, urging residents to temporarily move to safer places. The agency is gathering volunteers and equipment for search and rescue teams.A child plays with his bicycle at the flooded Gubukan Cibereum village in Lebak, Banten on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Floodwater from the overflowed Cibereum River has inundated the village since Wednesday evening. (Antara/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas) The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) issued a warning of extreme weather in several parts of Indonesia last week. The agency said the rainy season, initially forecasted to end in April, would stretching to May in Jakarta and June in other parts of Java.The BMKG has also warned of extreme weather in other areas, including Aceh, Riau, Riau Islands, Bengkulu, South Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi and several parts of Kalimantan.Read also: BMKG warns of extreme weather in parts of Java as rainy season stretches to May or JuneOvernight torrential rain also caused flooding and a landslide in Bogor regency, West Java, where dozens of houses in Sukamulih village were submerged. Meanwhile, dozens of others in Wangunjaya village were buried in a landslide.Bogor Regent Ade Yasin said the floods had been caused by the overflowing Ciputih River.“I have instructed the local BPBD and district officials to disburse disaster aid and map areas affected by the disasters.”BPBD Bogor reported that at least one Wangunjaya resident had gone missing, presumably buried in the landslide. Four residents were also injured during the disaster.The landslide in Wangunjaya displaced 69 families and damaged 14 houses, two public lavatories and a mosque.Read also: High intensity rain triggers flooding in parts of Aceh, Central KalimantanHeavy rain on Wednesday afternoon also caused a flash flood and landslide in several villages in Central Aceh regency, Aceh. The landslide was triggered by unstable soil conditions at a nearby hill.At least 11 houses were damaged, while water and mud from the flood carried away debris and objects as large as private cars.Joint search and rescue team operates heavy machinery to clean flood materials at Paya Tumpi Baru village in Central Aceh regency, Aceh on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Overnight torrential rain has triggered a flash flood that damages dozens of houses in the village. (Antara/Kurnia Muhadi)“We are waiting for the rapid assessment report from BPBD Central Aceh on the victims and material losses,” said BPBD Aceh head Sunawardi.Idrus Putra, the head of the affected Paya Tumpi Baru village, said 20 families were taking shelter in the village administration office. He went on to say that the village needed generators and clean water.Since late April, flash floods have hit Tuva village in Central Sulawesi, Bireun in Aceh and Cilegon city in Banten. (syk)Topics : Heavy rainfall throughout the week has caused floods and landslides in several provinces, as the rainy season is expected to be last longer than initially forecasted.A downpour lasting from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning led to floods in Lebak regency, Banten, submerging dozens of houses in Cipanas district and destroying a bridge in Lebak Gedong district.“Luckily, no casualties were reported,” Cipanas resident Memed said on Wednesday as quoted by Antara news agency.last_img read more


first_imgGreensburg, IN—Friday, officers with the Greensburg Police Department were dispatched to West Main Street in reference to theft of money. When the officer arrived and began speaking with the victim of the incident, it was learned that a weapon was used.  The officer was advised that the incident allegedly took place near County Road 80 NE and East Central Avenue and determined that the victim was had cash robbed by April Day, 19, of Sunman, while Day was armed with a knife.As the investigation continued, a search warrant was obtained.  That warrant was executed with other Greensburg Officers and Day was taken into custody and transported to the Decatur County Jail where she was processed on charges for allegations of Armed Robbery, Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon, and Obstruction of Justice.last_img read more


first_img Comments Published on February 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm Packed into a musty van in Tampa, Fla., a demoralized Syracuse team sought answers after a blowout loss to South Florida.It was not the opening Alessondra Parra and her veteran teammates envisioned for this season.‘We had a serious talk afterward about everyone taking responsibility for their own match,’ Parra said. ‘We felt like we should have hit the ground running, and we really took those two losses to heart.’With the addition of five freshmen to the SU roster and a tougher schedule, the defeat served as a reality check for the more experienced players like Parra and senior Emily Harman. The Orange (3-3, 2-1 Big East) quickly learned it had plenty to work on, especially the freshman class. And the veterans had to lead by example to help the freshmen gain confidence.SU head coach Luke Jensen said the freshmen will need to adjust and overcome the learning curve to form a competitive team with the already set pieces of Parra, Harman, and sophomores Maddie Kobelt and Aleah Marrow. The young Orange players will need to soak in the knowledge and experience of Jensen and the upperclassmen.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse carried a boatload of confidence into that season opener against the Bulls, but was knocked back by a deeper USF squad. The following weekend, Syracuse struggled against another nationally ranked opponent in Texas Christian. The Horned Frogs dominated nearly every game, and the Orange came out empty-handed with the exception of a lone Harman singles victory.However, Jensen, now in his sixth season at Syracuse, used both of those early losses as constructive criticism for his players. He challenged his team with those two matches, trying to see just how well they could hold up against two competitive opponents before the brunt of Big East play kicked in.And although SU’s vulnerable core of freshmen was battered in the loss, Jensen knew that those bitter feelings of dissatisfaction would be a great learning experience for future development.‘Every time we lose I feel like it’s much easier to coach these girls, especially the younger ones because they feel the sting and setback of defeat,’ Jensen said. ‘When we’re winning, they’re not pushing themselves as hard. And when we lose, it doesn’t leave a good taste in their mouth.’The Orange’s youth who were exposed after only two matches now hope for a strong start to the season quickly turned into sour disappointment.But Harman, who has been at the forefront of this tennis team since her rise as a freshman, followed Jensen’s lead and reminded her youthful teammates that they just needed to work a little harder.Whether it meant practicing with higher intensity or hitting the ball for an extra hour after practice, the senior captain was optimistic that the Orange could learn from its sluggish start.Harman said it was extremely important for the young players to get comfortable with the system under a high level of competition to create a strong dynamic and encourage development.‘As a freshman, I remember playing against Florida International, who was ranked No. 52 at the time,’ Harman said. ‘We didn’t win a single game in that match, but I gained so much because I was playing my heart out against someone who was better than me.’For the first time in their SU careers, five freshmen competed at a level of intensity beyond anything they had experienced in high school. And with the rigors of a tough schedule stacked against them, they were going to have to learn on the fly.The younger players look to Harman as a source of motivation.After opening her freshman season with a loss in the doubles and singles competition against TCU, Komal Safdar’s game was missing a spark. The former Greater Cincinnati Player of the Year wanted to step up and contribute. After being beat handily in her first match, Safdar used her loss as a reminder of what she has yet to accomplish.‘Playing against better competition gives us exposure and much more experience to work with,’ Safdar said. ‘We are still struggling, but that’s part of being young. As the season progresses, playing those quality opponents will give us a really good shot at winning.’Safdar and fellow freshman Amanda Rodgers built upon their mediocre performances by watching team leaders Parra and Harman during practice. The veteran duo hustled around the court to pick up tennis balls in between serves.Those brief moments of observation made the type of intensity and work ethic Jensen expects clear to the freshmen.With Jensen at the helm, the Orange has always been focused on maintaining an up-tempo and aggressive style during each match, something that Jensen said the younger players must do by constantly learning from one another.‘These guys have never been coached in this environment before, where they don’t have their private coach,’ Jensen said. ‘We don’t look too much into individual success. I mean, we each have individual matches, but we all play at the same time whether you’re on the sidelines or playing singles and doubles.‘It’s about everyone learning together and getting better as one unit.’Syracuse has rebounded from its early-season losses with wins in three of its last four matches. And both Rodgers and Safdar emerged in singles and doubles play to help the Orange get back on track.The turnaround all started by playing with a higher intensity level after the constructive talk in the crowded van down in Florida.And if the Orange freshmen want to turn small steps into large strides as the season progresses, they must soak in the competitive spirit of Parra and Harman and treat this year as a golden opportunity to learn and develop as players.‘Both Parra and Harman always come together at the end of practice and tell us how satisfying our accomplishments will feel if we keep playing up to our potential,’ Safdar said. ‘We can’t expect improvement to happen overnight, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t try to make it happen overnight.’awmirmin@syr.edu center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more


first_imgThey battled gallantly to stop the huge fire from taking their homes and destroying their community.And now the people of the West Donegal communities of Annagry and Loughanure are to go into battle once again.Just days after a fire tried to rip the heart out of their community, hundreds of locals are set to take part in a massive clean-up operation. Weather-permitting there will be a massive clean-up on the hills from Loughanure to Kincasslagh this Monday night from 6pm until 9pm.Gloves and bags will be provided to volunteers in a bid to collect many items left behind during the frantic efforts to put out the hundreds of small fires which broke out last weekend.The items include broken spades, discarded water bottles and facemasks.A skip will be left at Caisleain Oir to dispose of all the waste that is collected. People are asked to arrive at 6pm and full co-ordination of the plan will be arranged.Main pic by Brid Sweeney.Massive clean-up planned in wake of West Donegal wildfire was last modified: April 27th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Annagryclean-upLoughanureWest Donegallast_img read more