With only three official cases, Africa’s low coronavirus rate puzzles health experts

To date, only three cases of infection have been officially recorded in Africa, one in Egypt, one in Algeria and one in Nigeria, with no deaths.

This is a remarkably small number for a continent with nearly 1.3 billion inhabitants, and barely a drop in the ocean of more than 86,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths recorded in some 60 countries worldwide.

Shortly after the virus appeared, specialists warned of the risks of its spreading in Africa, because of the continent’s close commercial links with Beijing and the fragility of its medical services.

“Our biggest concern continues to be the potential for Covid-19 to spread in countries with weaker health systems,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, told African Union health ministers gathered in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on February 22.

In a study published in The Lancet medical journal on the preparedness and vulnerability of African countries against the importation of Covid-19, an international team of scientists identified Algeria, Egypt and South Africa as the most likely to import new coronavirus cases into Africa, though they also have the best prepared health systems in the continent and are the least vulnerable.

‘Nobody knows’

As to why the epidemic is not more widespread in the continent, “nobody knows”, said Professor Thumbi Ndung’u, from the African Institute for Health Research in Durban, South Africa. “Perhaps there is simply not that much travel between Africa and China.”

But Ethiopian Airlines, the largest African airline, never suspended its flights to China since the epidemic began, and China Southern on Wednesday resumed its flights to Kenya. And, of course, people carrying coronavirus could enter the country from any of the other 60-odd countries with known cases.

Favourable climate factors have also been raised as a possibility.

“Perhaps the virus doesn’t spread in the African ecosystem, we don’t know,” said Professor Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious diseases department at Bichat hospital in Paris.

This hypothesis was rejected by Professor Rodney Adam, who heads the infection control task force at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. “There is no current evidence to indicate that climate affects transmission,” he said. “While it is true that for certain infections there may be genetic differences in susceptibility…there is no current evidence to that effect for Covid-19.”

Nigeria well-equipped

The study in The Lancet found that Nigeria, a country at moderate risk of contamination, is also one of the best-equipped in the continent to handle such an epidemic.

But the scientists had not anticipated that the first case recorded in sub-Saharan Africa would be an Italian working in the country.

Little more than a week ago, “our model was based on an epidemic concentrated in China, but since then the situation has completely changed, and the virus can now come from anywhere,” Mathias Altmann, an epidemiologist at the University of Bordeaux and one of the co-authors of the report, told FRANCE 24 on Friday. The short shelf-life of studies testify to the speed of the epidemic’s spread.

The Italian who tested positive for the coronavirus in Lagos had arrived from Milan on February 24 but had no symptoms when his plane landed. He was quarantined four days later at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba. Several people from the company where he works have been contacted and officials are trying to trace other people with whom he might have had contact.

For Altmann, an expert in infectious diseases in developing countries, the fact that coronavirus appears to have entered sub-Saharan Africa through Nigeria is “actually good news”, because the country appears to be relatively well prepared for confronting the situation.

In a continent that “has had its share of epidemics and whose countries, therefore, have a huge knowledge of the field and real competence to react to this kind of situation”, Nigeria is in a very good position to confront the arrival of Covid-19, Altmann said.

“The CDC [Center for Disease Control] responsible for the entire region of West and Central Africa is located in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, which means that their organisational standard in health matters is very high,” he added.

The country was already renowned for “succeeding to pretty quickly contain the Ebola epidemic in 2014,” Altmann points out. It took the Nigerian authorities only three months to eradicate Ebola in the country. The World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control at the time congratulated Nigeria for its reactivity and “world-class epidemiological detective work”.

But despite Nigeria’s strengths, the coronavirus pathogen represents a particular challenge, in that it is hard to detect. The virus may be present in an individual who has few or no symptoms, allowing it to spread quietly in a country where, like everywhere in Africa, there is “a shortage of equipment compared to Western countries, especially in diagnostic tools”, Altmann said.

Neighbouring countries like Chad or Niger have “less functional capacity to handle an epidemic,” Altmann said. But they also have an advantage: these are agricultural regions where people are outdoors more, “and viruses like this one prefer closed spaces and are less likely to spread in a rural setting,” he added.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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This content was originally published here.

10 Things You Should Make Yourself Instead of Buying (Your Wallet and Health Will Thank You!)

Being part of the do-it-yourself movement is a fantastically empowering thing. Not only do you save a lot of money by making your own stuff, but also you protect yourself from toxins big industry likes to stuff into the things we buy. And, my personal favorite is the new sense of ability — the I-can-do-this factor — of making your own anything. It’s completely contagious.

Don’t for a second think it’s too time-consuming or difficult! Most of the following DIY projects involve less than five ingredients, many of which are commonplace. They take little time and effort but rather just a change of habit. They often work better, have less negative environmental impact and are healthier alternatives to the status quo.

Here’s the even better part, while this article promises a mere ten things, by following the provided links below, you actually get access to twenty-plus things you can (and should) easily make yourself instead of buy.

Cleaning Products

From window washing to drain unclogging, it is easy to make your own green cleaning products. You can still disinfect. You can still smell the lemon-y fragrance you’re accustomed to. But, you’ll be saving lots of cash and providing a healthier environment for yourself and those around you. Learn How to Tackle 10 Home Cleaning Tasks With Just 5 Green Ingredients.

Hygiene Products

None of us like to have smelly pits, rotten teeth or oily hair, but that doesn’t mean we have to use evil industry products that test on animals, use secretly dangerous chemicals (fluoride!) or commercial monopolies. Make your own hygiene products with only a few ingredients. Make your own After-Shave Cream or Whipped Body Butter.

Spaghetti Sauce

Forget buying those pricey jars of spaghetti sauce. In the end, they take just as long to heat up, are full of additives and lack the kick of fresh veggies and herbs. Do it raw. Throw fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, peppers and a little olive oil in the blender. Simple and healthy! Try this Fresh Marinara Sauce and this Vegan Vodka Cream Sauce.

Who doesn’t like the convenience of one shaker cooking? That’s why we buy those seasoning and spice mixes. Unfortunately, they often have ingredients that are neither seasonings nor spices. So, make your own. Once you get a good pantry, it’s just measuring and combining. Try making your own seasoning mixes instead and try some DIY fajita seasoning.

For sure, all gardeners should compost all organic materials. It is a big deal because it provides you with the good soil for free and it decreases the amount of waste you send to the landfill. As for mulching, just use what’s in the yard: grass clippings, leaves and twigs. There’s no need to buy something wrapped in a plastic bag and labeled mulch.

Insect Repellant

Mosquitoes are a rough one. It’s tough to handle to the bites and annoying to live with itching. Not to mention thus buggers are far too insistent on buzzing in and around the ear area. But, DEET can’t be the answer. Try a little natural mixture and avoid the poisons. 

Fresh salsa taste way better than the jarred versions. Plus, they don’t have all that sodium, don’t have all the chemicals and are ridiculously easy to make. It’s tomatoes, spicy peppers and onions in a blender. Get fancy and add some roasted garlic or cilantro or whatever. But, why not make on the spot? You could even make your own black bean and corn chips to dip.

For more Life, Animal, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter!

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This content was originally published here.

Florida Baker Act: 6-year-old girl sent to mental health facility after school incident – CBS News

A 6-year-old girl in Florida is “traumatized” after being sent to a mental health facility following an incident at her Jacksonville elementary school, her mother said. Nadia Falk was allegedly “out of control,” but her mom says she has special needs and is questioning the state law that allowed her to be committed to the facility.

According to a sheriff’s report, a social worker who responded to Nadia’s tantrum at Love Grove Elementary School stated the girl was a “threat to herself and others,” “destroying school property” and “attacking staff.”

She was removed from school and committed to a behavioral health center for a psychiatric evaluation under the Baker Act, which allows authorities to force such an evaluation on anyone considered to be a danger to themselves or others.

Nadia’s mother, Martina Falk, said her daughter has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a mood disorder.

“I specifically placed my daughter at this school back in August 2019 because I was told they had specifically trained staff to handle special needs children,” she said.

Surrounded by her legal team, Martina said the nearly two-day mandatory stay at the mental health center, away from her mother, did more harm than good.

“She’s traumatized. She is not herself anymore. I don’t know what the long-term effects are,” she told CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez.

Duval County Public Schools told CBS News the decision to admit a student under the Baker Act is made by a third-party licensed mental health care professional and said, “We’ve reviewed the school’s handling of this situation and find it to be compliant both with law and the best interest of this student and all other students at the school.”

But critics ask if the Baker Act being overused, especially when it comes to school kids.

In 2018 in Cocoa, Florida, a 12-year-old boy with autism was taken to a facility in a police cruiser. It was the boy’s first day in middle school and during a meltdown, he scratched himself and then made a suicidal reference.

The boy’s mom, Staci Plonsky, said the school should have called her before enforcing the Baker Act.

“The behavior plan outlined what to do if he makes verbal threats,” she said. “They only had to follow the plan.”

The number of children involuntarily transported to a mental health center in Florida has more than doubled in the last 15 years, to about 36,000, according to a 2019 report by the Baker Act Reporting Center.

“I absolutely think that the Baker Act is being overused,” said state lawmaker Jennifer Webb.

Webb’s bill to reform the nearly 50-year-old law is being debated at the state House. It would require better training for school officials and resource officers and establish more consistent rules on exactly when a parent should be notified that their child might be committed.
 
“It should only be used as a last resort, and Baker Acting 6-year-olds just seems excessive to me,” she said.

Webb believes funds allotted for schools after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland in 2018 can be used for better training.

Martina is now looking for a different school for Nadia.

This content was originally published here.

Medicare for All Helps Unions by Taking Health Care Off the Bargaining Table

On February 11, the Nevada Culinary Workers Union publicly criticized Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan ahead of the state’s Democratic presidential caucus. On February 12, Sanders responded, “Many, many unions throughout this country — including some in Unite Here, and the Culinary Union is part of Unite Here — absolutely understand that we’ve got to move to Medicare for All.”

Sanders continued, “When everybody in America has comprehensive health care, and when we join the rest of the industrialized world by guaranteeing health care to all people, unions can then negotiate for higher wages, better working conditions, better pensions. So, I think the future for unions is through Medicare for All.”

After Sanders’s statement, the Culinary Union’s Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline denounced Sanders and his supporters, stating, “It’s disappointing Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union & working families in NV simply because we provided facts on proposals that might takeaway what we have built over 8 decades.” The Culinary Union was joined in denouncing the Sanders camp by fellow Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. On February 13, Pete Buttigieg joined with Klobuchar, Warren and the Culinary Union in promoting condemnations of the Democratic front-runner and Medicare for All.

Ironically Warren’s campaign staff repeatedly crossed the Culinary Union’s picket line in March 2019.

Flashback to September 17, 2019: General Motors confirmed to the press that it had ceased payment for the health care coverage of striking United Auto Workers (UAW). On the same day, presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed members of the AFL-CIO on his health plan, stating, “I have a significant health care plan. But guess what? Under mine, you can keep your health insurance you’ve bargained for if you like it.” For the striking UAW members, the choice of keeping private health insurance that was bargained for wasn’t an option.

Talking points touting “choice” have frustrated advocates of Medicare for All and sympathetic union members this election cycle. Biden, Warren and Klobuchar aren’t the only candidates this primary season to promote the “choice” argument: Former Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Tim Ryan and John Delaney have parroted similar statements in promotion of their proposed health plans.

Earlier on February 12, Buttigieg joined Biden and company in echoing familiar “choice”-focused talking points, tweeting, “There are 14 million union workers in America who have fought hard for strong, employer-provided health benefits. Medicare for All Who Want It protects their plans and union members’ freedom to choose the coverage that’s best for them.”

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), fired back, “This is offensive and dangerous. Stop perpetuating this gross myth. Not every union member has union healthcare plans that protect them. Those that do have it, have to fight like hell to keep it. If you believe in Labor then you’d understand an injury to one is an injury to all.”

Nelson later joined the Culinary Union leadership in denouncing “attacks” from Sanders supporters, rather criticisms of union management not directed at the rank and file. But Nelson has been a consistent advocate of Medicare for All and the AFA has stood with Sanders since 2016.

To paraphrase Nelson and her advocacy, Medicare for All is popular among organized workers. The 150,000 members of National Nurses United (NNU), the U.S.’s largest union of registered nurses, have organized the charge on behalf of patients and fellow workers. NNU and AFA aren’t alone: Over 600 locals, 22 national unions, 44 State AFL-CIOs and 158 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations have endorsed the single-payer legislation. Even with strong support from many rank and file members, some union leaders have shied away from Medicare for All in order to adjust their sails to the political winds at a moment’s notice.

Talking points and political triangulation aside, Biden, Buttigieg and others aren’t wrong for stating that unions have fought tooth-and-nail for health benefits. They have certainly done so, and at great expense to wage increases and membership organizing. But Biden and Buttigieg missed a point in their “choice”-centered pitch — the public option plan that they, along with Warren and Klobuchar, are running on will leave health care on the negotiating table for organized workers.

Through a single-payer system and Medicare for All legislation, health care can finally be lifted from the bargaining table. Single-payer will allow more freedom for unions and replaces a system that keeps workers and patients at the mercy of executives and private insurers with one that recognizes the urgency to treat health care as a right, not a bargaining tool for bosses to hold over workers’ heads.

Removing Health Care From Bargaining

The benefits of organized labor backing Medicare for All over the public option are immense. Unions won’t have to waste negotiating capital fighting to merely preserve health benefits. Under a single-payer model, unions can use resources otherwise spent on retention of health benefits to instead organize new workplaces, fight for higher wages, fight for protections and safer working conditions. A single-payer system frees up organized labor to leverage their resources and membership in favor of gaining even more for their members.

If single-payer is realized, then union members will no longer be bound to tedious network-based health plans like Health Maintenance Organizations or Preferred Provider Organizations. Private insurance and the network “innovations” the market has created have significantly complicated the system and also limits choices for patients. With Medicare for All, patients, whether they be unionized or non-union, will be able to choose their provider and no longer be confined to networks, which a public option framework would maintain.

Under the public option, union members are tied to the benefits of their plan, which sometimes doesn’t cover necessary services. In other words, some union plans have coverage gaps where services like mental health care or long-term care aren’t covered. Medicare for All expands these services to everyone and eliminates the coverage gaps imposed by private insurance. Union members will receive more comprehensive benefits under Medicare for All than under their current private health insurance plans.

Single-payer systems also famously have improved outcomes compared to the American model of private employer-sponsored mixed insurance with an underfunded public insurer. Metrics in terms of quality, cost and access in the American health system have historically lagged behind nations with single-payer models. Under Medicare for All, union members can expect to receive health services that exceed or are at the same quality as the plans they fought for with more health services covered.

Unions also will no longer have to worry if an employer wants to change insurers. Under single-payer, union representatives at the bargaining table can be at ease knowing that their members will have guaranteed, comprehensive health coverage through Medicare for All. The single-payer model throws in the added benefit of eliminating the laborious process of switching health insurance carriers for union workers.

For public sector unions, single-payer will eliminate cost sharing, which is how the business-minded Republican and Democrat governments have passed the cost along to public employees. Cost sharing has forced public union workers to increasingly take a larger personal share of the expense for health coverage. With Medicare for All, unionized public employees can be assured that their hard-earned paychecks stay in their pockets and are not increasingly spent on health costs.

Medicare for All is also more than just getting health care off the bargaining table for unions, it’s about harnessing the energy of movement politics to create a new labor movement. Wages have stagnated since the ‘80s, workers are toiling for longer hours, wealth that has been created by workers is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. Labor has been under attack by business-friendly lawmakers and judges on all levels of government for decades. In an era of popular political movements, unions finally have the political climate to fight back.

Medicare for All can revitalize and invigorate a labor movement that has largely been on the defensive. In nations where health care is guaranteed as a human right through single-payer, unions are leading the way in combating pension “reforms” and uniting with non-organized labor against undignified working conditions. Countries with single-payer models have proven that when health care is removed from bargaining, unions thrive and are leaders against the features of an economic system designed to benefit the few.

The transition to a single-payer system is an opportunity for unions to join together to secure health care as a right for all workers, benefits that are the same quality or better, and expand choices and services for their members. All while leveraging the energy that could build working-class power and usher in a new dawn for the labor movement.

Union members have built an enormous amount of wealth for all. The people who got all of us the weekend and the eight-hour work day deserve better than a health system that holds their health care second to employers’ bargaining tactics and the profits of private insurers.

The “choice” arguments pushed by the defenders of private insurance are misleading on Medicare for All. Single-payer will save workers money, expand their freedoms and end the absurdity of toying with workers’ health care by executives to pad balance sheets. It’s crucial for labor to keep in mind management’s callous bargaining tactics like the striking auto workers faced: when employers stop paying for workers’ health benefits, there is no “choice.”

Medicare for All is the path forward for unions. The public option model doesn’t deliver in providing organized workers much needed relief in getting health care off the negotiation table. Getting health care away from the grips of employers and adding Medicare for All to the list of political must-dos is a top priority for organized labor.

This content was originally published here.

Buttigieg wants to give illegal immigrants health insurance – and he wants you to pay for it

Pete Buttigieg…reparations for slavery, decriminalize all drugs, and now this?If a Democrat is elected to the presidency in November, it is going to cost you a lot of money. Tons.

On Sunday, Buttigieg told an illegal immigrant that if he was elected president, they would have taxpayer-funded health care.

Ooh boy!

“As you know the Affordable Care Act, one of the many missing pieces that it has is that the exchanges are not available to the undocumented,” he said. “I would change that and that would be a change that would come with the ‘Medicare-for-All-Who-Want-It’ plan that I am proposing.”

Buttigieg was speaking at a political exchange with Planned Parenthood in Nevada.

While speaking to an illegal immigrant, Buttigieg told her that he viewed her as an American despite her illegal status. What a tool.

A DACA recipient asks Buttigieg how he’d fix access to health care for the undocumented like her- he tells her “first of all, this should go w/o saying but it’s important to say out loud, that I regard you and all DACA recipients as American as I am or anybody else in this room.” pic.twitter.com/iV2BI9uFJX

— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) February 16, 2020

“So, first of all, this should go without saying but it’s important to say out loud that I regard you and all DACA recipients as American as I am or anybody else is in this room,” he said.

Absolutely sickening. As the child of immigrants who came here LEGALLY, the dumbing down of the term “American” is repulsive.

Last December, Buttigieg also said that he wanted to open up taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegals during a conversation with a voter in Spanish. 

“So the most important thing for me is that we offer the opportunity for health care to all in our country, and this includes the opportunity to buy this plan of Medicare-for-All-who-want-it,” he said based on a translation of his remarks.

“This is our solution. And this opportunity to buy this plan is for everyone regardless of their immigration status,” he continued.

At the time, Republican National Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel responded to Buttigieg’s comments.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Just because Pete Buttigieg is from Indiana does not make him a moderate.”

Buttigieg had said as far back as last June that he thought people in the country illegally should be allowed to obtain government healthcare.

“That needs to be available to everyone, there needs to be a way for people of any immigration status to participate,” he said. Buttigieg was speaking at the “We Decide” forum hosted by Planned Parenthood’s political arm.

Govt. healthcare for illegal aliens?

PETE BUTTIGIEG: “That needs to be available to everyone, (government healthcare) there needs to be a way for people of any immigration status to participate,”

We Decide” forum hosted by Planned Parenthood’s political arm – 06-22-19

— Nicholas Jones (@voyager4truth) August 9, 2019

They are still receiving taxpayer funding why???

According to the Cato Institute, Buttigieg’s rhetoric that he wants to turn Medicare into a “public option” where all Americans would have the choice of participating in the program without being forced to do so rings hollow.

Buttigieg makes the claim that, “I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Not my way or the highway.”

He basically ides the fact that his plan would essentially create a single-payer health program, and would reduce Americans’ healthcare choices.

The Cato Foundation says that while Buttigieg implies his program would be “optional”, that is not the case. They state:

  • He would automatically enroll uninsured Americans in Medicare and it would cost them up to $7,000—whether they want it or not.
  • He would force Americans to pony up an additional $1.7 trillion in taxes==more than all the on-budget tax increases in Obamacare combined—whether they want to pay those taxes or not.

A public option is not about expanding choice, but rather eliminating any choice. According to Prof. Jacob Hacker, the purpose of the “public option” is to eliminate private insurance and create a government run single payer health system.

Buttigieg can call his plan whatever he wants, however it is not “Medicare for All Who Want It.” It is single payer, “Medicare for All.” Period.

And Buttigieg wants US to pay for illegal aliens to ostensibly get “free” health insurance. What a deal.

As we reported last week, when Pete Buttigieg isn’t spouting ideals of decriminalizing drug possession charges on the campaign trail, he’s effectively plagiarizing immigration stances and rebranding them as his own.

During a townhall in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Buttigieg suggested that small-town America should welcome increased waves of legal immigrants to drive up… population growth.

Apparently, the idea is that there’s potential economic benefits to inundating rural communities with more people – which is possible. Yet, like a coin toss, there’s also the possibility of economic downfalls when a traditionally smaller city has a sudden population boom.

During the townhall, Buttigieg stated:

“I’m proposing what we call “Community Renewal Visas” that when a community that is very much in need of growing its population, recognizes that, and makes a choice to welcome more than its share of new Americans that we create a fast-track, if they apply for an allotment of visas, that goes to those who are willing to be in those areas that maybe are hurting for population but have great potential.”

SOME of What “MODERATE” Buttigieg actually ADMITS to
♦️All drugs including Meth & Cocaine decriminalized
♦️Late term Infanticide
♦️Felons voting
♦️Scrap electoral college
♦️Implement New Green deal
♦️Name & Shame “white” Hate
♦️Nationwide gun control
♦️Fast track immigration

— 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐡 🇺🇸🎸🌴 (@LeahR77) February 10, 2020

His idea sounds nearly identical to one that was published back in April 2019, which called this type of initiative “Heartland Visas”.  

The “Heartland Visas” study tactfully found ways to explain things like when more people move into rural areas, more houses get built and get more expensive – which higher priced houses are good for the economy.

Yeah, higher-priced homes are lucrative for developers and Wall Street personas, not people trying to buy homes.

If President, @PeteButtigieg will decide if a community is “very much in need of growing its population” and he will make sure to send many more immigrants there on “fast-track” visas. https://t.co/ckpfnTQrSR

— NumbersUSA (@NumbersUSA) February 12, 2020

Then again, the leadership behind the Economic Innovation Group, who published the study, happens to host quite a bit of the investor types.

You’ve got Sean Parker, the co-founder of Facebook and Napster – who has a net worth somewhere around $7 billion.

You’ve got Chris Slevin, former legislative director for Senator Cory Booker. Their leadership section even proudly says that they’re composed of “policy experts, start-up founders, investors, and academics”.

You should always be critical of economics papers that are backed by these types of personas – and question where the loyalties lie. Mass immigration is usually lobbied by big business, and what’s not to love as the owner of behemoth companies?

You get the benefit of flooded labor markets, driving labor costs down. You also get an instant consumer boost, depending on what your company peddles. And of course, there’s big government right around the corner to get a few extra bucks in taxes.

Everyone wins – well, except the middle class and those lower on the economic totem pole.

Not surprisingly, most Americans don’t want to see an increase in immigration year over year.

Currently, the United States population is around 327 million, but if immigration policies weren’t changed throughout the years we’d likely have a population of about 251 million people. Since 1965, the United States has accepted over 75 million people to date via immigration.

Throughout the years, we’ve gone from accepting 250,000 immigrants annually, to then 500,000 a year, and by 1990 Congress decided a million or more annually is a good number.

If we keep that trend going just as is, we’ll have a population nationally to the tune of 404 million people by 2060.

Is there anything genuinely wrong about legal immigration – no, far from. But there has to be a point where someone looks at the numbers and says “We’ve got to take care of our own first”.

Buttigieg has flirted with the idea of increasing H-1B visas going out as well, which takes skilled jobs off the market for legal citizens. Bringing in too many medium-to-high skilled immigrants drives down those labor costs, much like how overflowing with low-skilled immigrants hurts low-skilled labor costs.

Good work by @CBedfordDC refuting the myth that Pete Buttigieg is some kind of moderate. “From health care and abortion to guns and immigration, and from the Supreme Court to the Electoral College, the man is decidedly a radical.” https://t.co/4phL3pNNJj

— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) February 4, 2020

Overall, the idea of just creating an influx of immigrant populations in rural communities to improve economic conditions just doesn’t make sense at all. And it seems that only a select few stand to benefit greatly from it.  

LET has a private home for those who support emergency responders and vets called LET Unity.  We reinvest the proceeds into sharing untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Click to check it out.

As alluded to earlier, Presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg intends to take prison out of the equation for people convicted of possession of drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine.

In an interview that was held on Fox News Sunday, he believes that treatment is the only route that should be taken with those hemmed up on possession charges.

Buttigieg jumped into his rationale with a portion of his version of criminal justice reform with Chris Wallace recently, and the topic of prosecuting possession of drugs came up.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor indicated that if he were to become president, possession charges would no longer land someone in prison. While claiming that the “war on drugs” has failed, Buttigieg said the only remedy at this point is delivering treatment to those who are in possession of all sorts of narcotics.

Wallace asked the mayor the following:

“You not only want to decriminalize marijuana, you want to decriminalize all drug possession. You say that the better answer … is rather treatment, not incarceration.

But isn’t the fact that it’s illegal to have, possess meth and heroin, doesn’t that in some way — the fact that it’s illegal — act as a deterrent to actually trying it in the first place?”

Buttigeig responded with:

“Well, I think the main thing that we should focus on is distribution and the harm that’s done there. Yes, of course it’s important that it remain illegal.”

The back and forth continued briefly, as the host was confused at Buttigieg claiming that drug possession should remain illegal.

Wallace addressed the confusion by telling Buttigieg that his own website claims that he would “decriminalize” drug possession completely. When the bluff was called on the mayor, he responded with citing how everything else just hasn’t worked up to this point.

When he acknowledged that his campaign website did mention decriminalizing possession charges, he stated:

The point is, not the legal niceties, the point is we have learned through 40 years of a failed war on drugs that criminalizing addiction doesn’t work. Not only that, the incarceration does more harm than the offense it’s intended to deal with.”

There’s so many issues and questions that could be levied at Buttigieg’s idea on addressing drug crime. What about criminal cases where someone is initially charged with higher crimes, and then signs a plea bargain that only lists “possession”?

Furthermore, what data suggests that delivered treatment programs are more successful than incarceration of drug possession offenders?

According to his own plan online, he aims to enact the following if elected:

“On the federal level, eliminate incarceration for drug possession, reduce sentences for other drug offenses and apply these reductions retroactively, and expunge past convictions.

Research shows that incarceration for drug offenses has no effect on drug misuse, drug arrests, or overdose deaths. In fact, some studies show that incarceration actually increases the rate of overdose deaths. We cannot incarcerate ourselves out of this public health problem.”

So, there’s truth to the mayor’s notion that there’s some studies that show jail or prison hasn’t been stellar in dealing with drug crime and offenses.

Yet, according to the American Addiction Centers, no one has been able to quantify if any rehab programs genuinely works in the long run either.

In fact, the AAC says that any touted success rates of rehab programs can’t be trusted at all:

“Since many treatment centers do not follow up with their patients, the “100 percent” success rate some cite only applies to those who complete the length of their stay.

Even those who boast a more modest “30 percent success rate” only draw that figure from the immediate sobriety rates after treatment, not from six months or three years down the road.”

Considering that many rehab facilities claim that they’re a success by only having someone complete their program – what exactly is the average program length for any given addiction?

According to Advanced Recovery Systems, you could be a success story anywhere from 4 days to a little over 4 months of treatment.

ARS showed that detox programs are on average only 4 days, whereas residential style treatment is around 16 days. Some of the longer programs like expanded residential treatment averages out at 90 days and outpatient treatment is typically 130 days.

Despite rehab programs originating in 1864, when they were called “sober houses”, we still can’t say if that works either or would be even better than jail or prison-time for drug offenders.

Not to mention, where there’s drug possession – there’s usually other crime too. The DOJ has been quite hip to that fact since the well-crafted study published in 1994 showed that where there’s drugs, there’s all sorts of other crimes being committed.

Case in point, while finding the magic cure for addiction would be great – keeping people off the street who use drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine keeps drug fueled crimes from affecting the population. Clearly, Buttigieg hasn’t thought this one out very well.

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Body camera video: Florida girl forced to go to mental health facility asked officer if she was going to jail – CBS News

A police officer who was transporting the 6-year-old Florida girl who was forced to go to a mental health facility after an incident at school is heard calling her “pleasant” on body camera footage. She also openly questions why the girl is being taken away.

Nadia King was removed from school under the Baker Act, a law allowing authorities to force a psychiatric evaluation on anyone considered to be a danger to themselves or others. According to a sheriff’s report, a social worker who responded to the incident at Love Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville said Nadia was “destroying school property” and “attacking staff.”

But, the police body camera video shows a Duval County sheriff’s deputy leading a seemingly calm Nadia out of school on February 4. Nadia is heard asking the officer, “Am I going to jail?”

“No, you’re not going to jail,” the officer says.

Inside the police car, Nadia asks the officer if she has snacks. “No, I don’t have any snacks. I wish I did. I’m sorry,” the officer says.

The deputy is also heard talking to another officer about Nadia’s behavior while she is in custody.

“She’s been actually very pleasant. Right? Very pleasant,” the officer says.

“I think it’s more of them just not knowing how to deal with it,” the other officer says.

At one point, it appears Nadia, who has ADHD and a mood disorder, did not understand where she was going. 

“It’s a field trip?” she asks.

“Well I call it a field trip, anything away from school is a field trip, right?” an officer replies. 

Nadia was held in a mental health facility, away from her mother, for 48 hours. Her mother, Martina Falk, broke down while watching the body camera video.

“I can’t comment,” she said.

Falk’s attorney, Reganel Reeves, said, “She’s mortified. She’s horrified. Angry.”

They argue Nadia should have never been taken to the mental health center.

“If you can’t deal with a 50-pound child, 6-year-old, then you shouldn’t be in education,” Reeves said.  

Officials with Duval County Public Schools said student privacy laws prevent them from discussing details of the case. They did not respond to the body camera video, but said in an earlier statement that an initial review showed the school’s handing was “compliant both with law and the best interest of this student and all other students at the school.”

The family now plans to file a lawsuit.

“She’s going on a field trip to hell. That’s where she was going, and her life has forever changed,” Reeves said.

This content was originally published here.

Trump’s new budget slashes food stamps, student loans, and health care

The proposal would also fail to eliminate the deficit over 10 years.

Donald Trump is offering a $4.8 trillion election-year budget plan that recycles previously rejected cuts to domestic programs to promise a balanced budget in 15 years — all while boosting the military and leaving Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched.

Trump’s fiscal 2021 plan, to be released Monday, promises the government’s deficit will crest above $1 trillion only for the current budget year before steadily decreasing to more manageable levels.

The plan has virtually no chance, even before Trump’s impeachment scorched Washington. Its cuts to food stamps, farm subsidies, Medicaid, and student loans couldn’t pass when Republicans controlled Congress, much less now with liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi setting the agenda.

Pelosi (D-CA) said Sunday night that “once again the president is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security and well-being of hard-working American families.”

“Year after year, President Trump’s budgets have sought to inflict devastating cuts to critical lifelines that millions of Americans rely on,” she said in a statement. “Americans’ quality, affordable health care will never be safe with President Trump.”

Trump’s budget would also shred last year’s hard-won budget deal between the White House and Pelosi by imposing an immediate 5% cut to non-defense agency budgets passed by Congress. Slashing cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and taking $700 billion out of Medicaid over a decade are also nonstarters on Capitol Hill, but both the White House and Democrats are hopeful of progress this spring on prescription drug prices.

The Trump budget is a blueprint written as if he could enact it without congressional approval. It relies on rosy economic projections of 2.8% economic growth this year and 3% over the long term — in addition to fanciful claims of future cuts to domestic programs — to show that it is possible to bend the deficit curve in the right direction.

That sleight of hand enables Trump to promise to whittle down a $1.08 trillion budget deficit for the ongoing budget year and a $966 billion deficit gap in the 2021 fiscal year starting Oct. 1 to $261 billion in 2030, according to summary tables obtained by The Associated Press. Balance would come in 15 years.

The reality is that no one — Trump, the Democratic-controlled House or the GOP-held Senate — has any interest in tackling a chronic budget gap that forces the government to borrow 22 cents of every dollar it spends. The White House plan proposes $4.4 trillion in spending cuts over the coming decade

Trump’s reelection campaign, meanwhile, is focused on the economy and the historically low jobless rate while ignoring the government’s budget.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats controlling the House have seen their number of deficit-conscious “Blue Dogs” shrink while the roster of lawmakers favoring costly “Medicare for All” and “Green New Deal” proposals has swelled. Tea party Republicans have largely abandoned the cause that defined, at least in part, their successful takeover of the House a decade ago.

Trump has also signed two broader budget deals worked out by Democrats and Republicans to get rid of spending cuts left over from a failed 2011 budget accord. The result has been eye-popping spending levels for defense — to about $750 billion this year — and significant gains for domestic programs favored by Democrats.

The White House hasn’t done much to draw attention to this year’s budget release, though Trump has revealed initiatives of interest to key 2020 battleground states, such as an increase to $250 million to restore Florida’s Everglades and a move to finally abandon a multibillion-dollar, never-used nuclear waste dump that’s political poison in Nevada. The White House also leaked word of a $25 billion proposal for “Revitalizing Rural America” with grants for broadband Internet access and other traditional infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges.

The Trump budget also promises a $3 billion increase — to $25 billion — for NASA in hopes of returning astronauts to the moon and on to Mars. It contains a beefed-up, 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, a modest parental leave plan, and a 10-year, $130 billion set-aside for tackling the high cost of prescription drugs this year.

Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall would receive a $2 billion appropriation, more than provided by Congress but less than the $8 billion requested last year. Trump has enough wall money on hand to build 1,000 miles of wall, a senior administration official said, most of it obtained by exploiting his budget transfer powers. The official requested anonymity to discuss the budget before it is made public.

Trump has proposed modest adjustments to eligibility for Social Security disability benefits and he’s proposed cuts to Medicare providers such as hospitals, but the real cost driver of Medicare and Social Security is the ongoing retirement surge of the baby boom-generation and health care costs that continue to outpace inflation.

With Medicare and Social Security largely off the table, Trump has instead focused on Medicaid, which provides care to more than 70 million poor people and those with disabilities. President Barack Obama successfully expanded Medicaid when passing the Affordable Care Act a decade ago, but Trump has endorsed GOP plans — they failed spectacularly in the Senate two years ago — to dramatically curb the program.

Trump’s latest Medicaid proposal, the administration official said, would allow states that want more flexibility in Medicaid to accept their federal share as a lump sum; for states staying in traditional Medicaid, a 3% cap on cost growth would apply. Trump would also revive a plan, rejected by lawmakers in the past, to cut food stamp costs by providing much of the benefit as food shipments instead of cash.

The post Trump’s new budget slashes food stamps, student loans, and health care appeared first on The American Independent.

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Spanish socialist govt moves to let doctors kill sick patients as health care costs rise

MADRID, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A majority in the lower chamber of Spain’s Congress has voted to consider a bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in case of “clearly debilitating diseases without a cure, without a solution and which cause significant suffering.”

Spanish daily El País reported that the 350-member Congress of Deputies passed a measure on Tuesday by a vote of 201 to 140, with two abstentions. Following debate in committee, the bill would go to the Senate for a final vote. In its current form, if passed, the law would allow voluntary euthanasia as well as assisted suicide. This is the third time the bill has emerged in Congress, where its proponents hope it will be approved in June.

Assisted suicide means that a doctor prescribes lethal drugs to a patient, who then self-administers the drugs. Voluntary euthanasia can be defined as when a physician or medical professional kills a patient at the patient’s request. Both forms of killing are legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and in the state of Victoria in Australia. Switzerland and some states in the U.S. allow assisted suicide.

Both forms of dealing death would be legalized by the Spanish legislation, which would allow doctors to object on the basis of conscience but require them to refer patients to doctors willing to assist in death. The bill also requires that patients not have to wait more than a month after making a request for either assisted suicide or euthanasia. After two doctors consider an initial request, patients would then make an additional request for approval by a government committee.

The Catholic Church, as well as the Popular Party and Vox Party, has expressed vehement opposition to the bill. From the floor of Congress, Deputy José Ignacio Echániz of the Popular Party accused Spain’s socialist government on Tuesday of seeking to “save money” on care for “people who are expensive at the end of their lives.” He said, “For the Socialist Party, euthanasia is cost-saving measure.”

Euthanasia as cost-saving measure

Echániz said the socialist government is having trouble paying for its welfare policies: “Every time one of these people with these characteristics disappears, there also disappears an economic and financial problem for the government. For each one of these people who is pushed toward death by euthanasia, the government is saving a great deal. Behind this is a leftist philosophy to avoid the social cost of an aging population in our country.”

While offering legislation to improve palliative care, Echániz said it is “curious” that despite Spain’s excellent medical care, socialists are calling for euthanasia rather than “defending life until the last moment.”

Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida and city chief executive Isabel Díaz Ayuso, both of whom represent the Popular Party, also denounced the bill. In an interview with Antena 3 radio, Díaz Ayuso reproached the socialists for their reasoning, saying, “Death is not dignity; it is death,” and added, “Life is dignity.” The euthanasia bill, she argued, is a “red herring” being offered by her opponents to distract from their failings.

Speaking for the pro-life Vox Party, Rocio Monasterio said in a news conference on Tuesday that Vox will mount strong opposition the bill. “We believe in the dignity of the person,” she said while calling for more resources for palliative care. Vox, she said, defends the dignity of people from conception to natural death, unlike the leftists, who “want to eliminate all those whose lives, according to the Socialist Party, are no longer useful.”

Vox Deputy Lourdes Méndez took to the floor on Tuesday, warning Congress that they had embarked on legislation that resembled Nazi law of the 1930s with which the German Third Reich could legally murder mentally and physically handicapped people who had been judged “unfit.”

Méndez said, “The weakest and most vulnerable would be pressured by the system and would come to feel that they are a burden.” While she also proposed a bill for palliative care, she said, “In the face of suffering, we propose to offer companionship; we propose a culture of care and propose to relieve pain. You propose in the face of suffering to eliminate the sick; you propose death.” Speaking directly to the socialists, she said, “May God forgive you!”

The Spanish bishops’ conference has condemned euthanasia, issuing a document titled “Sowers of Peace” in December, saying that the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church “have been constant in stressing the dignity and sacredness of every human life” and its opposition to legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Church, the document reads, offers various ways of accompanying the sick and suffering, “shaping the many charisms that have inspired many institutions and congregations dedicated to their care.” This is based on the words of Jesus Christ, who said, “I was sick, and you visited me” (Matt. 25:36), and in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25–37).

Critics of the leftist euthanasia bill point out that both euthanasia and assisted suicide are beyond the scope of medicine and also violate the Hippocratic Oath, well enshrined in the medical profession, which states: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

In a statement, the Catholic bishops said there is a flawed belief that assisted suicide and euthanasia are acts of autonomy, saying: “[I]t is not possible to understand euthanasia and assisted suicide as something that refers exclusively to the autonomy of the individual, since such actions involve the participation of others, in this case, of health personnel.” Instead of promoting death, Spain should instead embrace palliative care that can ease suffering, they said.

Fr. Pedro Trevijano Etcheverria, a Spanish theologian and columnist, reacted to the vote that came on the day Catholics commemorate the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes to a simple peasant girl, Bernadette, in 1800s France. The shrine at Lourdes, which is known all over the world for its healing waters, has drawn millions of ailing visitors and their companions for more than a century. Tuesday is also known among Catholics also as the International Day of the Sic, Trevijano Etcheverria mused, pointing out that while the irony of advancing a bill to kill sick people on that day might have been lost on Spain’s leftists, it would be easily recognized by Satan.

This content was originally published here.

Bloomberg: We Can No Longer Provide Health Care to the Elderly

Another video of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has resurfaced. Back in 2011, the billionaire paid his respects to the Segal family for the passing of Rabbi Moshe Segal of Flatbush. During that time, Jewish families undergo Shiva, a 7-day mourning period. Bloomberg stopped by to issue his condolences to the family.

Interestingly enough, the then-mayor used the opportunity to talk about overcrowding in emergency rooms, Obamacare and a range of other issues, The Yeshiva World reported at the time. One of those topics included denying health care to the elderly.

“They’ll fix what they can right away. If you’re bleeding, they’ll stop the bleeding. If you need an x-ray, you’re gonna have to wait,” Bloomberg said. “All of these costs keep going up. Nobody wants to pay any more money and, at the rate we’re going, health care is going to bankrupt us.”

But don’t worry. He believes he has a way of addressing cost concerns.

“Not only do we have a problem but we gotta sit here and say which things we’re gonna do and which things we’re not. No one wants to do that,” he said. “If you show up with prostate cancer, you’re 95-years-olds, we should say, ‘Go and enjoy. Have nice– live a long life.’ There’s no cure and there’s nothing we can do. If you’re a young person, we should do something about it. Society’s not willing to do that, yet. So they’re gonna bankrupt us.”

Who is Michael Bloomberg to decide who should and should not receive health care treatments? He has a ton of money and we know he’d do everything in his power to get the best doctors and treatment available if he or his loved ones became ill. They wouldn’t be told they’re too old or too broke, would they?

And who would be impacted by this decision? At what point is someone too old to treat? 60? 75? 80? What’s the arbitrary number, Mike? Whatever random number you decide on?

What about those who have chronic illnesses, like diabetes or multiple sclerosis? Do they suddenly stop receiving treatment once they hit a certain age, because they’re no longer deemed worthy?

And here I thought Democrats were supposed to want to take care of anybody and everybody. Guess not.

Bloomberg explaining how healthcare will “bankrupt us,” unless we deny care to the elderly.

“If you show up with cancer & you’re 95 years old, we should say…there’s no cure, we can’t do anything.

A young person, we should do something. Society’s not willing to do that, yet.” pic.twitter.com/7E5UFHXLue

— Samuel D. Finkelstein II (@CANCEL_SAM)

This content was originally published here.

American health care system costs four times more than Canada’s single-payer system | Salon.com

The cost of administering health care in the United States costs four times as much as it does in Canada, which has had a single-payer system for nearly 60 years, according to a new study.

The average American pays a whopping $2,497 per year in administrative costs — which fund insurer overhead and salaries of administrative workers as well as executive pay packages and growing profits — compared to $551 per person per year in Canada, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last month. The study estimated that cutting administrative costs to Canadian levels could save more than $600 billion per year.

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The data contradicts claims by opponents of single-payer health care systems, who have argued that private programs are more efficient than government-run health care. The debate over the feasibility of a single-payer health care has dominated the Democratic presidential race, where candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., advocate for a system similar to Canada’s while moderates like former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg have warned against scrapping private health care plans entirely.

Canada had administrative costs similar to those in the United States before it switched to a single-payer system in 1962, according to the study’s authors, who are researchers at Harvard Medical School, the City University of New York at Hunter College, and the University of Ottawa. But by 1999, administrative costs accounted for 31% of American health care expenses, compared to less than 17% in Canada.

The costs have continued to increase since 1999. The study found that American insurers and care providers spent a total of $812 billion on administrative costs in 2017, more than 34% of all health care costs that year. The largest contributor to the massive price tag was insurance overhead costs, which totaled more than $275 billion in 2017.

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“The U.S.-Canada disparity in administration is clearly large and growing,” the study’s authors wrote. “Discussions of health reform in the United States should consider whether $812 billion devoted annually to health administration is money well spent.”

The increase in costs was driven in large part due to private insurers’ growing role in administering publicly-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs. More than 50% of private insurers’ revenue comes from Medicare and Medicaid recipients, according to the study. Roughly 12% of premiums for private Medicare Advantage plans are spent on overhead, compared to just 2% in traditional Medicare programs. Medicaid programs also showed a wide disparity in costs in states that shifted many of their Medicaid recipients into private managed care, where administrative costs are twice as high. There was little increase in states that have full control over their Medicaid programs.

As a result, Americans pay far more for the same care.

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The average American spent $933 in hospital administration costs, compared to $196 in Canada, according to the research. Americans paid an average of $844 on insurance companies’ overhead, compared to $146 in Canada. Americans spent an average of $465 for physicians’ insurance-related costs, compared to $87 in Canada.

“The gap in health administrative spending between the United States and Canada is large and widening, and it apparently reflects the inefficiencies of the U.S. private insurance-based, multipayer system,” the authors wrote. “The prices that U.S. medical providers charge incorporate a hidden surcharge to cover their costly administrative burden.”

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Despite the massive difference in administrative costs, a 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Canada’s health authority found that the overall health of residents in both countries is very similar, though the US actually trails in life expectancy, infant mortality, and fitness.

Many of the additional administrative costs in the US go toward compensation packages for insurance executives, some of whom pocket more than $20 million per year, and billions in profits collected by insurers.

“Americans spend twice as much per person as Canadians on health care. But instead of buying better care, that extra spending buys us sky-high profits and useless paperwork,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and a distinguished professor at Hunter College. “Before their single-payer reform, Canadians died younger than Americans, and their infant mortality rate was higher than ours. Now Canadians live three years longer and their infant mortality rate is 22% lower than ours. Under Medicare for All, Americans could cut out the red tape and afford a Rolls Royce version of Canada’s system.”

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Himmelstein later told Time that the difference in administrative costs between the two countries would “not only cover all the uninsured but also eliminate all the copayments and deductibles.”

“And, frankly, have money left over,” he added.

Democrats like Biden and Buttigieg have argued that it would be a mistake to switch to a single-payer system because many people have private insurance plans they like. Both have proposed a public option, which would allow people to buy into a government-run health care program but would not do away with private plans.

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But study senior author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, at Hunter College and lecturer at Harvard Medical School, argued that a public option would make things worse, not better, because they would leave profit-seeking private insurance in place.

“Medicare for All could save more than $600 billion each year on bureaucracy, and repurpose that money to cover America’s 30 million uninsured and eliminate copayments and deductibles for everyone,” she said. “Reforms like a public option that leave private insurers in place can’t deliver big administrative savings. As a result, public option reform would cost much more and cover much less than Medicare for All.”

This content was originally published here.