Trump and his team fight for health consumers, starting with drug price transparency
A few weeks ago I picked up my beat-up old car from the shop, only to discover from the itemized bill I received that my mechanic had charged me for an inspection I’d already had a month before. When I produced the original receipt he was very apologetic because he knew there was an equally good repair shop down the road. Price transparency and competition at work!
The same day, my nut-allergic son unknowingly ate a piece of key lime pie for dessert that included a hidden almond paste. The restaurant’s lack of ingredient transparency led to a severe allergic reaction and an emergency room visit where my son received two Mylan EpiPens, intravenous steroids and anti-histamines. His expensive overnight stay was billed to our insurance but I only knew about the $100 copay. The EpiPens alone must have cost several hundreds of dollars, but I was insulated from sticker shock.
The Trump administration is working to change the health care delivery system so it is more like my repair shop and less like the camouflaged restaurant or hospital. I applaud these efforts. It is especially important that increased transparency be accompanied by more choices. Competition will then help to drive down prices. Approval of new generic drugs by the Food and Drug Administration is proceeding at a record pace, with 971 likely this year alone, compared to 937 last year.
Price transparency is an FDA priority
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told me that the focus at FDA has been to create more product competition both through “more efficient routes for generics to enter the market” as well as among branded medications. Paving the way for innovation brings more novel medications to market “so that patients can have a choice of more than one drug.”
“By also advancing policies that promote price transparency and market based competition, this new product competition can have its maximal benefit in advancing consumer access and helping patients save money on their medical care,” Gottlieb said.
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The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, sponsored by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and signed by President Donald Trump this month, says insurers and pharmacy benefit managers cannot stop pharmacies from alerting me and others to less pricey alternatives that my health insurance may not cover.
One of the generics approved by the FDA and set to come on the market is a generic version of EpiPen by Teva Pharmaceuticals. In other words, a pharmacy will now be able to point me towards the cheaper Teva EpiPen generic for my son, even if it isn’t covered under my current health insurance plan.
The same protections are being extended to Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage another new law, the Know the Lowest Price Act. This move accompanies the expanded drug dashboards for Medicare and Medicaid, unveiled earlier this year, where a patient gets to know the list prices of essential medications as well as which drug companies are the worst price gougers. This is especially important when you consider that insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have typically passed price increases to the consumer through higher co-pays.
Trump free-market policies help consumers
Speaking of automobiles, I want to tell you how happy I am that I don’t have to pay the same insurance premium for my banged up jalopy that a Ferrari owner pays for his sleek high powered car with full collision coverage. This used to be true for health insurance as well, and it is becoming true again. Now that the Obamacare individual mandate is gone, slimmer plans and association plans targeted to an individual’s needs and providing basic coverage can attract young healthy people who would otherwise have chosen to pay the tax penalty.
As with car insurance, basic coverage for all should be the goal, rather than bloated expensive big insurance coverage for all. We can cover pre-existing conditions without insisting that everyone pay the same exorbitant price for the same benefits so that only the Aetnas or Blue Crosses or Anthems or United Health Cares can afford to provide policies. Insurers, like all businesses, will take all comers as long as they can turn a profit, and health insurers are turning healthy profits.
When it comes to health care, price transparency, competition and choice are free market forces that are being restored under the Trump administration. They should help bring prices down and drive quality up.
Marc Siegel, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and a Fox News medical correspondent, is a clinical professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center. Follow him on Twitter: @DrMarcSiegel.
Is Hurricane Florence Over ? Complete Story Behind Scene
Hurricane Florence Explained By Wikipedia
According to wikipedia, Hurricane Florence was a powerful and long-lived Cape Verde hurricane that caused severe and extensive damage in the Carolinas in September 2018, primarily as a result of freshwater flooding. The sixth named storm, third hurricane, and the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
Florence originated from a strong tropical wave that emerged off the west coast of Africa on August 30, 2018. Steady organization resulted in the formation of a tropical depression on the next day near Cape Verde.
Progressing along a steady west-northwest trajectory, the system acquired tropical storm strength on September 1, and fluctuated in strength for several days over open ocean.
An unexpected bout of rapid intensification ensued on September 4–5, culminating with Florence becoming a Category 4 major hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale with estimated maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 km/h).
The National Weather Service Report
AmericanGist Gathered that The National Weather Service reported that the overwhelming amount of rain from Hurricane Florence over three days was a “1,000-year” event. But these once-rare events are poised to become more common as the climate changes.
Torrential downpours dropped upward of 50 inches of rain in some areas of the Carolinas as the storm made landfall and weakened. Across North Carolina, Florence dumped about 8 trillion gallons of rain, enough to fill more than 12 million Olympic swimming pools.
The resulting floods broke records and sent animal waste and toxic coal ash spilling out of containment structures and into surrounding waters.
Such massive rainfall events have (until lately) been uncommon, and all the talk of 100-year and 500-year events can be a bit confusing. As Vox’s Dara Lind explained last year, when scientists invoke the X-year classification, they’re talking not about history but about probability. (Hydrologists actually prefer the term “recurrence interval.”)
Hurricane Florence On The News
Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 mph winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, splintering buildings and trapping hundreds of people in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.
In its 6 a.m. update Friday, the National Hurricane Center said Florence is about 10 miles east of Wilmington and about 80 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Florence’s maximum sustained winds early Friday are at about 90 mph.
By early afternoon, Florence’s winds had weakened to 75 mph, just barely a hurricane, but the storm itself had slowed to a crawl as it traced the North Carolina-South Carolina shoreline, punishing coastal communities for hours on end. The town of Oriental had gotten more than 18 inches of rain just a few hours into the deluge, while Surf City had 14 inches and it was still coming down.
Hurricane Florence makes landfall
How Hurricane Florence Was Monitored By Space Agencies
Satellites also continue to monitor Hurricane Florence as it passes over North Carolina to help meteorologists make more accurate predictions of how the storm will impact people living in the region.
Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over South Carolina, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week.
Question And Answer On Hurricane Florence
Where is Florence now?
Ashore. Florence made landfall at 7:15 a.m. EST near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. As of 11 a.m., Florence was 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina.
How much will it rain?
A lot. And for days. In a video briefing, NWS meteorologist Brandon Locklear said North Carolina could see the equivalent of eight monthsof rain in the span of two or three days.
What’s the biggest concern?
It’s the storm surge, or the rising of the sea level, that pushes water ashore and leads to flooding. The forecast for Florence includes storm surge up to 11 feet in some areas. During CNN’s live coverage Thursday night, storm chaser Mike Scantlin said, “Water kills more people than every other weather phenomenon – combined.”
How strong are the winds?
Florence had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph when it made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. According to the latest Friday forecast, the storm is now packing winds of 80 mph.
How many people are without power?
Extreme winds mean power outages. More than 475,000 customers were without power, mostly in North Carolina, as the eye of Hurricane Florence went ashore near Wilmington and began its slow trek inland and along the coast. For updates, go online to www.ncdps.gov/florence.
Is Hurricane Florence Over ?
It will not be easy drying out, fixing up and rethinking whole ways of life in a region drenched and deeply shaken by more than eight trillion gallons of rain.
But that is the challenge facing the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence and a wearying week of heroic rescues, hard choices, potential environmental crises — including a dam breach on Friday that allowed coal ash to seep into a river — and a vast response that is still unfolding.
The storm and its subsequent flooding have already killed at least 42 people. The threats have not abated, particularly here in South Carolina’s low-lying coastal plain, where the Waccamaw River set a record on Friday and will keep rising into the new week, threatening neighborhoods, infrastructure and lives anew.
Already, the emergency and recovery response is staggering in its scope, with more than 6,000 National Guard soldiers and thousands more federal disaster-response workers spread across the region. They have six million emergency meals to hand out, four million liters of water, 700,000 blankets and 6,000 cots. Along with state and local governments, federal officials will also have to manage a daunting bureaucratic challenge as they attempt to rebuild and revive a vast area that covers hard-hit mega-farms, tourist zones and pockets of deep rural poverty.
Ramadan 2018 : Starting Date, Origin Of Fasting & US Reactions.
Brief History Of Ramadan Fasting By Muslims
The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fard(obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating. Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha’ban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina. Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca, but the more commonly accepted opinion is that Muslims in those areas should follow the timetable of the closest country to them in which night can be distinguished from day, All according to Wikipedia.
When is 2018 Ramadan Starting Date
US Reactions To 2018 Ramadan
On behalf of the United States Department of State, I offer best wishes to Muslims around the world for a peaceful and blessed Ramadan. “For those observing this month, it is a time of reverence, generosity and spiritual introspection. “Ramadan is also a cherished time of community, often spent reconnecting with family and friends,’’ Pompeo said. According to him, Ramadan is a period when Muslims come together to give charitably to the less fortunate.
“Muslims in the United States and around the world make valuable contributions to their societies every day, and millions will honour this month in a special way with acts of service and giving back to their neighbours. “In recognition of this, every year many of our embassies and consulates around the world host Ramadan activities bringing together Muslims and people of other faiths, who are committed to our shared goal of fostering peace, stability, and prosperity.
He said these conversations and collaborations were some of the core strengths of U.S. diplomacy, paving the way for stronger communities through partnerships and respect for diversity.
teacherspayteachers.com : Register, Login & Escape Low Teaching Income
Teachers Pay Teachers (www.teacherspayteachers.com) is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials. Schools in all 50 states and around the world are using TpT for Schools to solve real challenges. Hear stories from administrators about how they use TpT for Schools to equip their teachers with engaging, standards-aligned materials that help fill instructional gaps.
US States With Highest Teachers Pay Rate
Alaska has the highest average annual salary for teachers in the U.S. at $85,420. That’s over twice the amount their colleagues make in lowest-ranked Oklahoma where the annual pay packet averages just $41,880.
Pay is generally lowest across the south of the country with Louisiana ($50,700), Alabama ($49,790) and Mississippi ($46,370) all joining Oklahoma in the bottom-10. Interestingly, in some cases, there are pay differences of more than $25,000 between neighbouring states.
California and Arizona are good examples where high school teachers take home an average of $77,390 and $48,050 respectively. The poor salaries and funding in Oklahoma resulted in nine-day teacher strikes last month, with educators demanding a $10,000 pay rise over three years
Why are Preschool Teachers Paid Less ?
Teachers who are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and in some districts a master’s degree, too—also frequently earn less than peers with similar education levels, according to a measure designed by the Urban Institute. The dark blue bars in the chart below show what teachers might expect to earn in each U.S. state based on how well other bachelor’s degree holders get paid in that state. The light blue bars show what teachers actually earn.
Even as investment in early-childhood education soars, teachers like Kelly continue to earn as little as $28,500 a year on average, a valuation that puts them on par with file clerks and switchboard operators, but well below K-12 teachers, who, according to the most recent national survey, earn roughly $53,100 a year.
According to a recent briefing from the Economic Policy Institute, a majority of preschool teachers are low-income women of color with no more than a high-school diploma. Only 15 percent of them receive employer-sponsored health insurance, and depending on which state they are in, nearly half belong to families that rely on public assistance.
“Teaching preschoolers is every bit as complicated and important as teaching any of the K-12 grades, if not more so,” says Marcy Whitebook, a director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. “But we still treat preschool teachers like babysitters. We want them to ameliorate poverty even as they live in it themselves.”
Arizona as a case Study
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a budget bill May 3 that gives teachers a 20 percent pay raise over three years. The plan will cost the state more than $600 million a year, and lawmakers don’t yet have a plan to pay for it all. Here’s how they agreed to pay for some of it:
A new $18 car registration fee that is expected to raise $149 million a year. Such a fee is, of course, regressive — it will cost low-income families more than higher-income families because such a fee represents a larger chunk of the former’s income.A change in how the state desegregates public schools that should free up about $18 million a year in state money. Most of that cost will be shifted to homeowners, via higher property taxes in low-income school districts.
These two changes will not be enough to generate the more than $600 million needed to cover the teacher raises and new funding for schools included in the bill passed last week. Ducey is counting on optimistic economic growth projections to bring in more revenue to pay for some of it — something Republicans love to promise but have little control over.
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If you’re passionate about supporting teachers and you believe technology is a great enabler of change and growth, come see if there’s a position that’s right for you. We’re using technology to innovate solutions for millions of educators and classrooms across the globe. Click here to contact teacherspayteachers.com
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