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GOP Rep. John Culberson Gets An Earful From Angry Voters

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) faced a hostile audience at a town hall meeting in his home district on Saturday and was even booed by constituents when the topic of health care came up. 

A clip shared online showed members of the Houston-area audience chanting “Fix it!” at the congressman.

“The only way to fix it is to replace it,” Culberson said, causing the voters in the room to erupt in jeers. 

At other times, the crowd chanted, “Do your job!” CBS affiliate KHOU reported.

Culberson was booed several times, including when he spoke about President Donald Trump, the Texas Tribune reported.

However, Culberson also told the crowd he was opposed to Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Arts and vowed to use “aggressive oversight” to ensure immigration enforcement “focused on felons and dangerous criminals.” 

Angry voters have been turning up at town halls held by GOP lawmakers in recent months. Some politicians have blamed “paid protesters” while others have stopped holding the events altogether. 

On Twitter, Culberson said he “enjoyed hearing the thoughts and concerns” of his constituents. The expressions on some of the faces in the audience suggest the feeling may not have been entirely mutual: 

While Culberson easily won re-election to a ninth term in 2016, Hillary Clinton actually beat Trump by a narrow margin in his district, and some voters said their representative needs to reflect the will of a changing demographic if he hopes to keep his job.

The ideology amongst the constituents is changing, and he’s still very hard-line Republican,” Abraham Espinosa, 26, told the Houston Chronicle.

Espinosa was among the audience of 700 people, with another 500 who couldn’t get into the town hall due to space. He became a citizen in November and warned that he’ll be voting soon. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Politics – The Huffington Post
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Here’s How Trump Could Make Obamacare Better – Or Worse

It’s President Donald Trump’s health care system now. The question is: What’s he going to do with it?

After the collapse of the GOP effort to repeal the Barack Obama administrations’s Affordable Care Act and enact a different set of reforms to the health care system Friday, Trump inherited programs that aren’t going anywhere and that serve tens of millions of Americans.

Trump reacted to his defeat by practically threatening to stand aside and do nothing to address the shortcomings of the law, like rising premiums and declining choices of insurers in some states. “The best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” he said at the White House Friday. He made a similar statement on Twitter the next day.

Despite claims by Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that the Affordable Care Act is unfixable, the Trump administration has tools at its disposal it could use to make the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges more attractive to health insurers and potentially less costly for consumers. Or Trump could go in the other direction and undermine the law to bolster their case for “replacing” it later.

“I’m quite confident that unless the administration decides to not steward the exchanges because they have some draconian negotiating strategy that the exchanges will be fine next year,” said Andy Slavitt, who oversaw the exchanges as acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama.

“If they choose to screw with them, they control all the branches of government and I think they’ll be judged very harshly,” Slavitt said.

The White House and Department of Health and Human Services so far have sent mixed messages to the industry and consumers about what to expect.

The program doesn’t work for consumers if there are no insurers participating.
Larry Levitt, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Trump issued an executive order on his inauguration day directing federal agencies to relax Affordable Care Act rules, and the IRS responded by announcing it wouldn’t reject tax returns that failed to include information about health coverage under the law’s individual mandate, for example.

But the administration also has taken some steps to quiet anxiety among health insurers that the exchanges next year won’t function properly and that losses some have suffered ― and that drove some insurance companies out of the market entirely ― will continue. Insurers have until late June to decide whether to sell policies on the exchanges next year.

And the key to shoring up the health insurance exchanges right now is catering to the carriers, even if those same changes make the law less consumer-friendly.

“The program doesn’t work for consumers if there are no insurers participating,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

There are limits to how much improvement, or damage, Trump could make to the health insurance exchanges, but there are several key actions that will go a long way to determining whether his administration wants to make the markets work better or worse.

How To Make It Better

Pay the subsidies

In addition to the tax credits the Affordable Care Act offers to low- and middle-income households to reduce their monthly health insurance premiums, the law provides extra subsidies to the poorest enrollees that cut their out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.

These subsidies are paid to health insurance companies directly, and the law requires them to reduce eligible customers’ cost-sharing whether the federal government makes the payments or not. And nonpayment isn’t a theoretical problem; it’s a real one.

House Republicans sued the Obama administration in 2014 to halt these payments, arguing the funding needs congressional approval it didn’t receive. A federal judge sided with House Republicans last year, prompting an appeal from Obama’s Justice Department. When Trump took office, his administration became the defendant, so he and congressional leaders got the court’s permission to delay the proceedings.

What they do next is crucial. If House Republicans drop the lawsuit or appropriate the money to keep the subsidies flowing, it not only would make sure low-income families keep their benefits, but it would quell a major source of worry for insurance companies.

Enforce the mandate

The individual mandate (and the fines taxpayers owe if they aren’t covered and don’t qualify for an exemption) is the least popular part of the Affordable Care Act, especially among Republicans. But it’s also vital for keeping the exchanges operating, because it pushes people with less medical need into the insurance pool, where their premiums offset the costs of treating sicker people.

The IRS announcement earlier this year made insurers nervous, but a strong signal now from the administration that it will make people comply with the law could alleviate that. “It’s insurer perceptions that matter here. If they’re not confident that this market is going to work, then they’re going to run for the exits or raise premiums,” Levitt said.

Work with the states

Alaska and Minnesota already are taking matters into their own hands to improve the health insurance markets in their states. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has invited states to apply for “waivers” the Affordable Care Act created that could give them flexibility to redesign the exchanges themselves.

“That gets states more engaged,” Slavitt said. “It creates different solutions and, as far as I’m concerned, so long as you’re meeting the core requirement of covering more people with high-quality benefits, let the states experiment.”

One form that could take, Levitt explained, is helping states set up “reinsurance” funds like the one in Alaska. These compensate insurers that experience higher-than-expected costs, which allows them to charge lower premiums. And lower premiums mean less federal spending on tax credits, so these programs can actually save the federal government money, Levitt said.

Sign up more people

Enrollment on the health insurance exchanges dipped this year, partly because the Trump administration halted some outreach and advertising the Obama administration planned for the end of the 2017 sign-up period.

They could choose a different path for the coming enrollment campaign and work to sign up more customers, especially younger, healthier ones, which would strengthen the market for everybody, Levitt said.

“It’s potentially the most stabilizing thing the Trump administration could do,” Levitt said.

Be flexible with insurers

Not all consumers would like this, but Price has some leeway to allow health insurance companies to offer policies with fewer benefits, which would lower premiums in exchange for less coverage.

The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover 10 “essential health benefits,” like hospitalizations and prescription drugs, but gives the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to specify how that works.

Price would, for example, allow insurers to sell policies that only cover generic prescription drugs or that set limits on how many rehabilitation service visits a patient could have in a year, Levitt said.

“There are tradeoffs and consequences in all these changes,” Levitt said. “There’s a big difference between taking administrative steps to sabotage the law and moving it in a more conservative direction,” he said.

They control all the branches of government and I think they’ll be judged very harshly.
Andy Slavitt, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

How To Make It Worse

Cut off the subsidies

If Trump gives in on the House Republican lawsuit or if Congress refuses to fund the cost-sharing reductions, it could blow up the insurance exchanges quickly. Health insurance companies might be able to leave the markets right away, tossing millions off their plans to prevent facing billions of dollars in losses. And they wouldn’t come back.

“If they wanted to destroy the insurance market immediately, then the easiest thing they could do would be to stop paying,” said Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University Law School.

Ignore the mandate

Trump could continue along the path the IRS started by making clear to the public that his administration won’t penalize people who don’t get health coverage.

“Weakening the individual mandate could very well sabotage the individual insurance market,” Levitt said.

“Insurers would perceive weakening the individual mandate as a sign that the administration is trying to sabotage the law,” he said. Fear that healthier consumers would opt out without the threat of a fine would spook insurers into avoiding the exchanges, he said.

Let enrollment stagnate

The next sign-up period for the health insurance exchanges begins Nov. 1. The administration could choose to pick up where Obama’s team left off and engage in a nationwide campaign to publicize health insurance enrollment and help people apply for coverage.

Or they could scale back this work, as they did early this year, and leave enrollees to their own devices, which would result in lower enrollment overall and likely make the insurance pool sicker, because those with the greatest health care needs would be the most prone to sign up without help or reminders. 

“It will be Secretary Price’s legacy forever if he acts in ways that are destructive to the American people. And he knows that people will die if they lose their coverage,” Slavitt said.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Democrats Introduce ‘Mar-A-Lago Act’ To Bare Secret Trump Meetings

Senate and House Democrats have introduced the “Mar-a-Lago Act” demanding that President Trump provide visitor logs to provide the names of people streaming to the pricey golf resort that he refers to as his “Winter White House.”

The difference with the actual White House is that visitors’ logs are supposed to be maintained there so the public can track visits by and possible presidential meetings with people such as lobbyists, foreign representatives — including Russians — and corporate heads.

The bill — awkwardly named the Make Access Records Available to Lead American Government Open Act so its acronym is Mar-a-Lago — would require that the Trump administration publish visitor logs at the White House or at any other other place where the president “regularly conducts official business.” Both the House Senate introduced their versions of the measure on Friday.

So far, the Trump administration hasn’t yet provided visitor logs at the White House, reports NBC.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said of the bill in a statement: “It’s simple: the American people have a right to know who has access to the president and who has leverage over this administration.”

Senate bill co-author Sen. Tome Carper (D.-Del.) noted that the “business of the president of the United States is the business of the people of the United States. Americans have long had the right to know who has access and influence in the White House, and this tradition of sunlight on inner workings of the executive branch must continue.”

Senate Democrats sent a letter early this month requesting that the administration make Mar-a-Lago visitor logs available, but received no response.

The Obama administration began keeping visitor logs at the White House in 2009 — noting the names of 6 million visitors — after a lawsuit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The Mar-a-Lago bill has little chance of passage in a Republican-controlled legislature, but it serves to underscore to the public the secretive nature of Trump’s meetings within the walls of the private gold resort he owns where memberships cost $ 200,000

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Bernie Sanders, Top Progressives Announce New Medicare-For-All Push

WASHINGTON ― In the wake of the Republican failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday, leading figures in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are rallying behind a single-payer health insurance and a raft of other bold reforms.

These lawmakers and grassroots leaders have long believed that the problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are rooted in the original health care law’s attempt to accommodate, rather than gradually replace, the private, for-profit health insurance system.

Now that efforts to eliminate the law wholesale are effectively dead, they are again arguing that the best way to improve the country’s health care system is to confront the power of corporate health care provider more directly.

“We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies and move forward toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” on Friday night. “And I’ll be introducing legislation shortly to do that.”

Even before the Republicans withdrew their Obamacare repeal bill, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee and a close Sanders ally, previewed this message at a rally in defense of Obamacare on Thursday.

“Don’t just be satisfied with defeating Trumpcare ― set your sights on creating real Medicare for all!” he told a cheering crowd of hundreds of activists.

Representatives of several major progressive organizations ― the Working Families Party, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee, Credo, Social Security Works and the National Nurses United ― all echoed this push in conversations with The Huffington Post on Friday and Saturday.

“The problem is the insurance companies, Big Pharma ― they’re gonna come back and use the chaos to their advantage,” predicted Social Security Works executive director Alex Lawson. “If Democrats go with a half-a-loaf policy, Republicans are going to blame them for the failures of Big Pharma. They have to immediately pivot to expanding Medicare.”

Notwithstanding the support of the influential groups for the proposal and ― according to a May 2016 Gallup poll ― even a majority of the American people, Medicare-for-all legislation is a non-starter in the current Congress. Single-payer health insurance still lacks support from many, if not most, Democrats, let alone from the Republican lawmakers who control both chambers.

But the proactive strategy speaks to increasing confidence among progressives that if they stick to their ideals and build a grassroots movement around them, they will ultimately move the political spectrum in their direction.

“It does take time for social change,” said Chuck Idelson, communications director of the National Nurses United, a 150,000-person labor union that has long advocated for a single-payer health insurance system. “We didn’t end slavery overnight. It took from Seneca Falls in 1848 ’til 1920 until women won the right to vote. But they only won it by building a movement.”

In the meantime, a potential benefit of this ambitious approach is what’s known as shifting the “Overton Window,” a political science term for the narrow range of acceptable political views at a given moment in time.

By adopting a position that is considered extreme by contemporary standards, politicians and activists can make more attainable policy goals start to seem reasonable by comparison.

That phenomenon already seems to be working in progressives’ favor.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the only one of Sanders’ Senate colleagues to endorse his presidential bid, discussed the possibility of lowering the Medicare eligibility age or empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices in his statement on the Republican bill’s collapse.

“There are plenty of ideas already on the table that would make health care more affordable for working families, from a public option, to prescription drug negotiations, to offering older Americans the chance to buy into Medicare,” Merkley said on Friday. “I’m happy to work with anyone, from either side of the aisle, to explore these or any other ideas that would improve health care for working Americans.”

Lowering the Medicare eligibility age from its current level of 65 is a “very interesting” idea, because of the positive financial effect it would have on the Obamacare insurance exchanges, said Austin Frakt, a health economist for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

By allowing the oldest exchange participants to enroll in Medicare, lowering the Medicare age would relieve the health insurance marketplaces of some of their costliest customers, said Frakt, who also has academic posts at Boston University and Harvard.

“It would reduce the premiums in those markets,” he predicted. (Frakt noted, however, that absent measures to offset the cost of the additional beneficiaries, the change would increase Medicare’s financial burden.)

Social Security Works’ Lawson praised the idea as an incremental step toward Medicare-for-all. 

“Start by lowering the age to 62 and get it down to zero,” he said.

If Democrats go with a half-a-loaf policy, Republicans are going to blame them for the failures of Big Pharma.
Alex Lawson, Social Security Works

Another progressive policy gaining mainstream traction is legislation permitting the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where the existing single-payer system keeps prices lower. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was one of several Democratic senators to endure heavy criticism in January for helping block a resolution supporting drug importation. In late February, Booker became a co-sponsor of legislation Sanders introduced that would legalize prescription drug importation from Canada and other countries.

President Donald Trump talked about getting tough with pharmaceutical companies over the price of prescription drugs as recently as early January.

But he has remained silent on the matter since inauguration, including the 17-day period when he was trying to pass House Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill. What’s more, the ordeal cast serious doubt on his willingness to take on the GOP’s ultraconservatives, who no doubt oppose any form of government intervention to reduce drug prices.

Trump now claims he is counting on Democrats to negotiate over Obamacare on his terms, since, in his telling, the law is on the brink of collapse.

Obamacare’s insurance exchange markets have major problems in some states and regions, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office characterized them as stable overall.

Still, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested in a CNN interview on Friday night that Democrats would be open to working with Trump and congressional Republicans on reforming the law.

“We’re not gloating that they failed. We’re sad that they won’t work with us to improve Obamacare,” he said.

Murshed Zaheed, political director of Credo, warned Democratic leaders that any Democratic efforts to work with Republicans would not get any help from grassroots groups like his.

“If Democrats want to push their version of so-called moderate proposals ― good luck to them,” Zaheed said. “I don’t think anybody should be under any illusion that Schumer or [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi will get anything from collaborating with the right-wing extremists that control Congress.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Trucker Donald Trump Goes ‘Back To The Future’ In Hilarious Mashup

Great Scott!!!

President Donald Trump is transported “Back to the Future” for a drag race with Marty McFly in this glorious mashup.

YouTube user Todd Dracula edited footage of Trump gleefully messing around in a giant truck at the White House on Thursday into a scene from the franchise’s third and final movie. It’s something to behold!

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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U.S. Agents Seize 40,000 Counterfeit Condoms In Puerto Rico

U.S. federal agents have confiscated 40,000 items that consumers hope are never fake: condoms. The counterfeits were seized in San Juan, Puerto Rico, officials said.

The condoms were manufactured in China, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement Thursday.

They were seized over a period of five days by Food and Drug Administration and Homeland Security officials and Immigration and customs agents.

Federal officials warned that counterfeit condoms will likely not protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and the materials they are made with can also cause health problems.

“Counterfeit condoms, as well as cosmetics and beauty products, unlike legitimate brands, are not subject to strict quality controls and may contain substances that could lead to long-term health problems,” said the statement from customs. “In the past, seized cosmetics have been found to contain hazardous substances including cyanide, arsenic, mercury, lead, urine and rat droppings.”

Ricardo Mayoral, a special agent who oversees Homeland Security investigations throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S., added, “The trafficking of counterfeit goods is simply illegal, and in some cases, as this, it becomes a problem of public health.”

In 2013  a massive international underground ring of counterfeit condom manufacturers was shut down in China after almost 5 million condoms with fake brand names were found as they were about to be shipped out of China, reported ABC News. 

That same year, 110 million counterfeit condoms shipped to Ghana from China were confiscated.

At least 1 million had been delivered to Ghana’s health agency to distribute, The Guardian reported.

“When we tested those condoms, we found that they are poor quality, can burst in the course of sexual activity, and have holes which expose the users to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease,” a Ghana official told The Guardian.

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— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Trump’s Military Buildup Promises Little For The Working Grunts

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. ― The USS Gerald R. Ford, the new aircraft carrier President Donald Trump praised recently, is costing some $ 13 billion to build. That doesn’t count the airplanes. It’s the most expensive naval vessel in history, and it will fit easily into the “massive” military buildup Trump has demanded.

But at Camp Lejeune, the sprawling Marine Corps base where the working-class military lives, trains and deploys, there’s not enough money for Cpl. Edward L. Kiser, an anti-tank gunner, to train properly. Kiser, a 20-year-old from Butler, Pennsylvania, needs to be proficient at firing TOW missiles in the desperate heat of battle to kill enemy tanks about to overrun his position. “I’ve been in the Marine Corps two years, and I’ve only shot the thing one time,” said Kiser.

The U.S. soldiers and Marines confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are facing so-called “rag-tag” fighters equipped with tiny surveillance and attack drones, which let those forces hunt down Americans and kill them from the sky.

Americans have neither. Again, no money for that.

Trump, who positions himself as the champion of the working class, has promised to pump billions more into the military. Yet the initial numbers suggest those who really benefit will be the ones who always benefit: the big defense contractors and their enablers at the Pentagon and Congress. The last people to see that flood of spending will be the ones most likely to fight and die: the grunts. 

Only the outlines of Trump’s proposal to lavish money on the military have been drawn up. There’s a request for Congress to add $ 30 billion to this year’s defense budget and a vague plan to add $ 54 billion to next year’s spending.

Not included in those plans: money for the best infantry weapons, the safest troop-lift helicopters, the most protective lightweight body armor. Instead, grunts will have to settle for budget leftovers with antiquated rifles, helicopters built for their grandfathers during the Vietnam War and communications gear that is overweight and unreliable.

Much of the money will be hoovered up for gold-plated weapon systems like the USS Ford, F-35 fighters ($ 95 million each), nuclear weapons ($ 40 billion a year) and Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines ($ 5 billion apiece). None of these weapon systems get nearly as much direct combat exposure ― if any ― as the soldiers and Marines under fire today in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. But the stuff they need just isn’t as dramatic as an F-35 fighter, doesn’t provide the thousands of home-district jobs that politicians love and fails to offer the high profits that drive defense contractors.

In the request that Trump just sent up to Capitol Hill, for instance, he asked for $ 5.8 billion extra for Navy and Air Force fighter jets, but only $ 750 million more for Army weapons and heavy combat vehicles. Military personnel accounts are slated for just $ 977 million more, mostly for a 2.1 percent pay increase signed into law by President Barack Obama in December. Accounts that cover new family housing got nothing.

None of this is particularly new. “Four out of five of those killed in our wars are infantry, but they get 1 percent of our national resources,” said Robert H. Scales, a combat-decorated Army major general now retired.

Either I don’t have them, or I do have them and they’re broken. So when we go to train, the optic falls off when you shoot.
Marine Lt. Caleb Rich, referring to sights for grenade launchers

Marines at Camp Lejeune are proud of their warfighting capabilities. But when pressed, they’ll talk about weapons that don’t work, trucks that are broken down, combat exercises canceled for lack of money.

Lt. Caleb Rich, executive officer of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, is responsible for ensuring all the Marines in his company meet training requirements. “I can’t achieve all the tasks I have to do with the ammo I’ve been given,” he said. “One training event will eat up 90 percent of my ammo.”

The optical sights for his M203 grenade launchers, needed for accuracy against distant targets, are another problem. “Either I don’t have them, or I do have them and they’re broken,” said Rich, a 30-year-old from Columbus, Ohio. “So when we go to train, the optic falls off when you shoot.”

Night vision goggles (NVGs), which enable grunts to outfight the enemy at night? “The ones I have don’t work or they’re outdated, and that limits me on night training,” Rich said. “We like to say we own the night. Well, we don’t own the night if we don’t have NVGs.”

The equipment that fighting men and women need “is not all that glamorous,” said Paul Scharre, director of the Future of Warfare Initiative at the Center for a New American Security. Consider boots.

Scharre is a former Army Ranger who served multiple tours on special operations missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he got to the Ranger Regiment in 2001, he said he was handed a pair of Vietnam-era jungle boots made 40 years earlier. “It was crazy ― we walk around a lot,” he said.

But there is no line item in the defense budget for boots, so these inexpensive yet critical items are often overlooked. “It’s the big-ticket items that get priority by the services, the Pentagon leadership and Congress,” Scharre said.

This disheartening disparity between the defense upper class and its working class is starkly clear in the case of the USS Ford.

Retired Navy Adm. Thomas Fargo is chairman of the board of Huntington Ingalls Industries, which is building that aircraft carrier through its Newport News Shipbuilding subsidiary in Virginia. Fargo earns some $ 450,000 a year in pay and stock awards, according to the most recent corporate proxy statement.

On his watch, the USS Ford has gone three years over schedule and more than $ 1 billion over promised cost. Its arresting gear alone ― which stops the planes when they land on the deck ― has been in development for 10 years and is half a billion dollars over budget. The ship’s multiple technical glitches and malfunctions mean there is “significant risk to [its] use in combat,” according to the most recent Pentagon assessment.

In contrast, a typical grunt sergeant, married with two children, pulls down $ 34,279.20 in base pay. He or she may be a squad leader, responsible for the lives of 12 soldiers or Marines, their training and their gear. Housing and other allowances can bring the sergeant’s pay up to $ 57,634.68.

Needless to say, a Marine sergeant responsible for a program wildly over budget and schedule would be hauled before an angry commander ― not receiving his pay and bonuses. Fargo, through a spokesperson, declined to be interviewed. 

You have to have money first.
Marine Lt. Col. Noah Spataro

An immediate, lifesaving issue that could also be resolved with more money: the provision of small personal infantry drones. In the 16 years of fighting in Afghanistan, 84 percent of Americans killed have lost their lives while simply trying to find the enemy ― and then suddenly running into him, according to Scales.

Tiny surveillance drones could pinpoint the enemy before the first shot is fired. For under $ 40, a grunt could have his or her own spy drone today. They could (if authorized) buy them in stores, like ISIS does. If they’d had the money to do that years ago, they might have found the enemy before walking into an ambush or driving over an explosive device, and some of those lost lives could have been saved.

The Marine Corps, after years of experimenting with small drones, is now scrambling to get them into the hands of its fighting forces. By this summer, 11 battalions that are deployed or scheduled to deploy will have access to InstantEye or PD-100 “Black Hornet” drones.

Of course, these are more sophisticated and battle-ready devices than those available at Walmart, hardened against dust and rain and encrypted against cyberattack. As Lt. Col. Noah Spataro, who oversees the Marine drone program, explained, it would be no good if a Marine carried a Walmart drone all the way to Iraq only to find it broke in transit.

But the Marines have been experimenting with these drones since 2013. Why couldn’t the corps move faster and get a drone to every 12-man Marine squad?

“You have to have money first,” Spataro said.

Grunts might like more money for personal gear from a Trump budget. For instance, the Pentagon has spent billions on miniaturizing the components in high-tech aircraft like the F-22 and F-35, whose pilots ride in air-conditioned cockpits. But the infantry carry an increasingly heavy combat load that could be significantly eased by more lightweight gear and by having drones resupply food, water and ammo so the grunts don’t have to haul multiple days’ worth of supplies. “We have the most overburdened force in history,” said Scharre. “I was on a mission where I was carrying 160 pounds!”

Marines and soldiers also go into battle with a rifle designed in the 1960s, the venerable M16, and its newer modification, the M4. Some swear by their reliability and accuracy, but there are newer weapons that are far more accurate and can even fire around corners. The TrackingPoint infantry weapont infantry weapon, for instance, has an optical tracking and fire-control system that enables anyone to hit a target to within half an inch at a distance of half a mile. The XM-25 grenade launcher locates a person hiding behind a wall or around a corner, and then directs a grenade just past the corner or wall before it detonates with deadly shrapnel.

The Army has been struggling since 1994 to find a replacement for the M16 family of rifles, but the effort has crashed and burned because of bureaucratic fumbling and lack of sustained funding.

While taxpayers are shelling out for the USS Ford and its corporate overseers, Lt. Col. Randall K. Jones commands a logistics battalion at Camp Lejeune. “Readiness is in the toilet,” he said. “I have four wreckers and they’re all down because we don’t have the mechanics or the spare parts. So, reality check.”

Stuff that breaks down or is simply missing, weapons that are inferior to the enemy’s, money that’s siphoned off to executives in plush offices: it’s all just one more thing that generations of grunts have had to overcome.

That attitude “is what makes the Marine Corps one of the best services,” Lt. Rich said. “We are not completely reliant on gear. If our GPS fails, we use compass and map. If my antenna breaks, I know how to make a field-expedient antenna.”

Still, he added wistfully, “It’d be better if I had all my equipment …”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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He Treated The Very First Ebola Cases 40 Years Ago. Then He Watched The World Forget.

This article is part of HuffPost’s Project Zero campaign, a yearlong series on neglected tropical diseases and efforts to fight them.

KINSHASA, Congo ― In early 2014, few people worried that the Ebola virus, which is up to 90 percent fatal, would pose a global threat. So the World Health Organization sent shockwaves around the world when it announced that Ebola was spreading out of control in West Africa.

Before the epidemic was over two years later, it had killed thousands of people. They died in terrifying and painful ways, often passing the disease on to family members before and even after death. Doctors and aid workers died, people who should have been able to stay safe while offering care.

But not everyone who is exposed to the Ebola virus, which spreads through contact with blood or other bodily fluids, falls ill. Such is the case of Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, who in 1976 became the first scientist to come into contact with Ebola and survive.

The Congolese virologist, now 74, placed himself square in the path of the disease as he worked in harrowing and hazardous conditions to identify what was killing some of its earliest victims.

“I am like Johnnie Walker,” he quipped, referencing the well-known Scotch whisky slogan, “Born 1820 ― Still going strong.” Muyembe giggled as he strode around his office imitating the brand’s iconic “Striding Man.”

It’s a joke in service of a very serious message from a doctor who has spent years battling the worst viruses. Don’t make the same mistake, he warns, that the world made with Ebola when it first arose. Don’t ignore the threat because it seems far away.

Muyembe, who now leads the Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Institute for Biomedical Research, had been home from studying in Europe just a few years when he received a phone call in 1976 that would change his life forever.

“The minister of health rang and said, ‘There’s a mysterious disease that’s killing people at the Catholic mission in Yambuku in Equateur province. I’m going to send you there to find out the cause.’ I was the country’s only virologist,” Muyembe recalled.

The mission hospital was more than 600 miles northeast of the capital city of Kinshasa, deep in thick forest. Muyembe set off overland in a jeep with a military colonel who was also an epidemiologist. It was “a real adventure,” he said. All they were told was that there was a suspected outbreak of yellow or typhoid fever.

But when they arrived in Yambuku, the hospital was deserted. They went to sleep at the mission and woke to a very different scene.

Three nurses and one woman had died at home overnight, and the hospital was now full of patients ― some pushed there on bicycles, many feverish ― after word had gone round that doctors had arrived from Kinshasa.

Muyembe examined and drew blood from the sick and dissected the dead to take tissue samples ― all with bare hands. Later, he would shudder at the thought of how much contact he’d had with feverish patients, many of whom didn’t stop bleeding after he withdrew the needle or scalpel.

“The blood would pour out all day. My hands were covered in blood. I didn’t have gloves,” he said.

Muyembe thinks that what saved him from death that day, and the many others when he handled infected samples with no protection, was his speedy request for soap and water. But luck must have played a role too.

The blood would pour out all day. My hands were covered in blood. I didn’t have gloves.
Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum

When a nun fell ill ― with fever and red marks on her body ― Muyembe and his colleague told the mother superior that they wanted to take the samples they’d collected and the sick nun back to Kinshasa. The nun initially refused to go ― she didn’t want the community to think she was running away ― but she relented after Muyembe insisted. Another sister accompanied her on the journey to Kinshasa, so they were a group of four squeezing together in various planes and cars.

“I was always next to her,” Muyembe remembered, still looking relieved decades later at the thought of his close brush with death.

The samples from Yambuku, including the nun’s, were sent from Kinshasa to a lab in Belgium, where scientists initially thought they showed the Marburg virus, which causes another hemorrhagic fever found in Congo and neighboring Uganda.

Meanwhile, when the nun, her traveling companion and a nurse who had treated her in Kinshasa all died from the same sickness, and the epidemiologist who had gone with him to Yambuku developed a fever, Muyembe panicked. He quarantined himself in the garage at his home so as not to infect his wife and children. He couldn’t stop thinking about the test tubes full of blood samples that he had brought home briefly after returning from Yambuku.

“It was terrible because the assistant medic who had come with me sent me a message saying, ‘Ah, I am sick,’ and then poof! He was dead. The nun we brought with us had died and had contaminated another nun and a nurse. I was very afraid,” Muyembe said.

He finally got a call from Belgium that the virus wasn’t Marburg but a previously unknown hemorrhagic fever. Researchers later named it Ebola, for the river that runs through Yambuku. It was after this call ― and the death of his fellow scientist ― that Muyembe destroyed the lab samples, terrified of further contamination.

Nearly 40 years later, when Ebola hit West Africa, Muyembe was surprised by the lack of research into the virus and the poorly coordinated global and local response.

“It really was chaos,” he said. “People thought it was just something that affected East and Central Africa, so they hadn’t even studied it and weren’t prepared.”

Muyembe had worked on research into a possible vaccine nearly two decades earlier, but it was only when Ebola briefly touched Europe and the United States in 2014 that he finally saw scientists start to take this killer seriously.

During Congo’s third Ebola outbreak in 1995, the experienced virologist had transfused blood from people who had recovered from Ebola to a group of patients infected with the virus. Of the eight patients who received the transfusions, seven survived ― a result that Muyembe quickly passed on to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S.

“We kept saying, ‘Antibodies do protect.’ But for 20 years, this virus, and its treatment, was neglected,” he said. In late 2016, an experimental vaccine – developed principally in response to fears of Ebola being used as a bioterrorism agent – was shown to provide 100 percent protection against the virus. It arrived too late for the 11,000 people who died in the 2014 outbreak.

More recently, Muyembe has watched scientists scramble to stop the Zika virus once it began affecting wealthier countries. The virus is named for a forest in Uganda, where it was first found in 1947.

“Because it was an African disease, we neglected it. But with climate change and modern transport, the insects will travel to Brazil, to Europe,” he said.

There are other diseases that could devastate whole cities, countries or regions of the world, Muyembe warns.

I wish I could say that onchocerciasis would make everyone in the world blind, because then we’d have a vaccine.
Dr. Muyembe

So-called neglected tropical diseases affect over 1 billion people worldwide, mainly in poor parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some of these diseases ― echinococcosis, dengue and Chagas, for example ― have already infected people in the U.S. in small numbers. But they attract very little attention in Western media and garner limited research funding.

“I wish I could say that onchocerciasis would make everyone in the world blind, because then we’d have a vaccine,” said Muyembe of a disease otherwise known as river blindness, which threatens up to 14 million people in Congo.

“We call them neglected diseases because they come from underdeveloped countries,” he said. “But these neglected diseases can become a threat to developed countries. With travel and everything we have now, the world has become a village.”

Our world needs better research and monitoring aimed at African countries, Muyembe warned, because that’s where many diseases start. And if they’re allowed to develop, “they will be like Ebola, which came from Central Africa, went to West Africa and then suddenly was threatening the U.S. and Europe.”

Muyembe is also determined to raise up the next generation of Congolese researchers to continue his legacy. “We must train the young people,” he said, slapping two young researchers on the back. Like him, they earned their Ph.D.s in Europe and then returned home to help.

Despite cheating one of the world’s most deadly diseases and plenty of other rare illnesses since, he too plans to keep fighting. “The most important thing in dealing with a lot of these diseases is washing your hands,” he said with a fatalistic shrug.

What frightens the doctor more than staring death in the face is retiring and dying of boredom.

“I must continue working,” Muyembe said, straightening his white coat and rushing off to his next appointment at the lab.

This series is supported, in part, by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All content is editorially independent, with no influence or input from the foundation.

If you’d like to contribute a post to the series, send an email to ProjectZero@huffingtonpost.com. And follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ProjectZero.

More stories like this:

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Trump’s Links To Convicted Felon Who Stabbed A Man With A Margarita Glass Just Got Weirder

NEW YORK ― Felix Sater has stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass, run a $ 40 million mob-linked stock scam out of a storage unit, and been an FBI informant.

Sater’s name has also come up repeatedly in connection to President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and willingness to take funding from unsavory partners. The Huffington Post has found previously unreported connections between Sater and the Trump family through a company called Global Habitat Solutions. GHS claimed to manufacture a proprietary homebuilding material, but in fact took its photos of its purported product directly from Titan Atlas, a twice-defunct venture that Donald Trump Jr. co-founded and invested in.

HuffPost found that GHS, along with two other Sater-owned entities, United Biofuels Company LLC and Sands Point Partners GP LLC, are dormant shelf corporations that sell no products and have no customers.

Sater has a long-running association with the Trumps. He has worked in Trump’s towers on Fifth Avenue and Wall Street, and carried a Trump Organization business card identifying himself as a senior adviser to Trump. He financed Trump properties while working at Bayrock, a company with ties to an alleged money laundering scheme. He has even boasted about searching for new Trump-branded ventures in Russia with Ivanka and Donald Jr., and worked with Trump’s personal lawyer to backchannel a Russian-backed Ukraine peace plan to the White House.

Despite these numerous connections, Trump said in 2013 that if Sater “were sitting in the room right now, I wouldn’t know what he looked like.” Trump Organization lawyer Allen Garten told the Financial Times last year that he “had no reason to question” where Bayrock got its money.

Sater also came up at Monday’s House Select Intelligence Committee hearing, in which FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau is “investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) asked if he was aware of Sater’s relationship with Trump and his involvement in stock fraud. Comey declined to answer.

These so-called shelf corporations highlight the opaque business endeavors and personal relationships that have thrust Sater into two of the overlapping scandals plaguing Trump.

After The Huffington Post asked Sater about these companies and several other items on his resume, he took many of his 21 social networking profiles and personal websites down “for maintenance” or made them private. Sater said that he no longer held the advisory roles at two Turkish construction companies, an oil company in Turkmenistan, a real estate company whose chief executive is awaiting trial on fraud charges in Russia, and the Trump Organization that had been listed on his resume as continuing to the present.

Before it was taken down, GHS’s website was full of mockups of houses, supposedly built with its proprietary material, that were identical to those on Titan Atlas’ site. Until it shuttered in 2014, Titan Atlas made concrete building panels using a license from EVG, an Austrian company.   

A rendering of a Titan Atlas home next to the same design on GHS’s site.

GHS’s website had boasted that it “is currently manufacturing the panels out of a production line in Charleston, South Carolina.” (Titan Atlas’ plant was in North Charleston, South Carolina.) The GHS site also showed numerous computerized rendering of panels, home exteriors and floor plans that were identical to images on Titan Atlas’ website.

An image of the cross-section of Titan Atlas’ building panels next to an image from GHS’s site.

Sater told HuffPost he used the images and product descriptions with the permission of Jeremy Blackburn, Titan Atlas’ co-founder, who gave him a disk containing the company’s promotional materials. Trump Jr. introduced him to Blackburn, Sater said, but Sater is not sure if Trump Jr. was aware of GHS’s connection to Titan Atlas.

Garten, the Trump Organization lawyer, told HuffPost that Titan Atlas “has nothing to do with the Trump Organization,” and that Trump Jr. was “simply an investor in Titan with no involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company.”

An entity controlled by the Trump Organization, which Trump Jr. now runs, is now the owner of the title to Titan Atlas’ property after taking over a $ 3.65 million loan guaranteed by Trump Jr., Blackburn and a third investor in the company. Blackburn has a checkered financial history and has declared personal bankruptcy, the Charleston Post and Courier’s David Slade reported in 2014.

Sater described his relationship with Titan Atlas as “like being a reseller” for its products. “I was looking to promote modular housing and they had a good program for modular housing,” Sater said. “If I had gotten an order, I would have bought from them [Titan Atlas].”

But GHS never got an order for the homebuilding products, never bought any products from Titan Atlas, and ― despite having a website that described an active company with a manufacturing operation ― GHS has done “no business in six years,” Sater said. The address on GHS’s website was a co-working space in New York on the 21st floor of 590 Madison Avenue, which Sater and the landlord both said he no longer occupies.

590 Madison Avenue is connected to Trump Tower through an atrium, a benefit that another Trump associate with connections to Russia, Carter Page, has extolled.

Page, Trump’s former Russia adviser who took a campaign-approved trip to Moscow last year, has an office in the same co-working space on the 21st floor of 590 Madison Avenue. In a response to a Senate inquiry, Page detailed how he took advantage of his proximity to Trump Tower. “I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Café, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year,” he wrote.

Page told HuffPost he has never heard of Sater or GHS. Sater said he had never heard of Page’s company, Global Energy Capital, and only knew of Page through news reports.

GHS, however, is not registered in New York state filings to this posh-seeming Manhattan address. Its offices are listed as 130 Shore Road, Suite 200, in Port Washington. When a Huffington Post reporter visited the address, it was a UPS store with P.O. boxes but no office suites.

Sater said he had simply failed to update GHS’s website. “I’ll fix it up,” he said. “I would not want to give anyone the wrong impression anyway.” A few hours after HuffPost spoke to Sater on Monday afternoon, GHS’s formerly public website was password-protected.

The GHS website at least tried to create the impression of being an active business; the website for another Sater project, the Sands Point Partners GP LLC, looks like a hastily incomplete copy of a Dreamweaver template. The 16 photos ostensibly showing the company’s real estate portfolio are pictures of buildings that Sands Point doesn’t own, labeled “Test Portfolio Item 1,” “Test Portfolio Item 2,” and so on. Similarly, the headshots of Sands Point’s executives show executives at a Boston-based software company who have never worked for Sands Point, labeled “Team Member 1,” “Team Member 2” and so on for all eight fictional members of the executive team.

The only press release on Sands Point’s site is plagiarized from another real estate brokerage firm. The address and phone number listed on Sands Point’s site are a former address and current phone number of a Florida real estate financing company that has an entity called Sands Point Partners LLC. Representatives for these companies say their information was taken without authorization and that they have no relationship with Sater or Sands Point Partners GP LLC. 

A press release announcing a Sands Point deal that never happened next to a legitimate press release from another company describing a real transaction.

Sater said the site was just a placeholder and blamed a web developer for lifting its content. He even suggested that the site was not his, and that he had not seen it before. Internet domain records, however, show Sands Point’s site was registered to Felix Sater using his personal gmail address, under the name of his other company, GHS, and GHS’s address at P.O. Box 200 at the UPS Store on 130 Shore Road.

Sater told HuffPost that he’s “working on cancer research now.” He says has only one active business entity right now: a real estate advisory firm called Regency Capital Associates LLC.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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FDA Links Breast Implants To Deaths From Rare Type Of Cancer

Nine women have died of a rare type of lymphoma that Food and Drug Administration officials now say may be caused by breast implants. 

This form of cancer, called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), has occurred more often in women with implants that are textured rather than smooth, the FDA said Tuesday

As of Feb. 1, the FDA said it had received reports of 359 cases of the implant-related cancer, including the nine deaths. Of those reports, 231 contained information about the surface of the implants. Among this group, textured implants made up 203 of the cases and smooth implants accounted for 28. It’s unclear why. 

“All of the information to date suggests that women with breast implants have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL compared to women who do not have breast implants,” the FDA announcement said. 

Imperfect medical record-keeping complicates the task of knowing the full scope of the problem, according to the FDA. 

In 2016, surgeons performed 290,467 breast augmentations, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Though not a type of breast cancer, the malignancy develops in scar tissue around the implant, The New York Times reported. It can take 10 years for the cancer to develop after an implant, NBC News reported. Symptoms often include pain, lumps and swelling. 

Women with implants do not need immediate medical attention because of the link, the FDA said. 

“Breast implant removal in patients without symptoms or other abnormality is not recommended,” the FDA said. “If you have breast implants, there is no need to change your routine medical care and follow-up.”

Several developments in medical research contributed to the FDA’s conclusion. The World Health Organization, for instance, last year issued a report about the increased chance of lymphoma developing in women who’d received breast implants. There was also an Australian government report on ALCL in women with implants. The 46 confirmed cases of ALCL there all occurred in women with textured implants. 

The FDA first looked at the relationship between implants and ALCL in 2011 but held off from reaching concluding that a heightened risk existed. The relative low number of cases made it tough to investigate the risk, the FDA said. 

In the new report, the FDA placed less emphasis on the material filling the implant than on the texture. Silicone implants made up 186 of the 359 cases and saline implants showed up in 126 cases. 

“It is important to note that details on breast implant surface and fill type are limited,” the FDA said on its website. “Over time, we may gather more information about a report and thus the numbers listed above may change.”

Patients considering breast implants for aesthetic or reconstructive reasons should ask their doctors about the benefits and risks of textured and smooth implants, the FDA said. 

Doctors should likewise inform their patients about the possible risk. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Pastor Claims Anointed Cake Stopped A Guy From Being Gay

A conservative preacher and vocal supporter of President Donald Trump shared claims an “anointed” cake “saved” a gay bartender. 

Lance Wallnau was answering a question via a Periscope session from a viewer who wanted to stop her son from being gay, according to a video that Right Wing Watch posted online. 

In response, he shared the story of “hookers” who got “saved” and wanted to help a bar owner “who was gay and very adamantly anti-Christian.”

So they baked him a cake and prayed over it, he said.

“It was an anointed cake,” Wallnau said. “The power of God hit him while he was eating the cake.” 

Wallnau claimed the bar owner felt “the presence of God” while eating the cake and underwent some kind of transformation and was eventually baptized.

“The spirit that was working him got broken off,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s a story.”

He’s not sure if a magical cake will “save” others, he added. He also did not mention the flavor of the cake. 

Wallnau has made several bizarre claims before, including a belief that the media uses “mind control and witchcraft” to increase opposition to Trump, and that the Women’s March in January and other protests is the work of “the people of the devil.”

 

(H/T Joe My God)

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Burger King Vows To Stop Buying Chickens From Animal Abusers

Next up on Burger King’s menu: humanely raised chickens.

The company said Tuesday it will stop purchasing chickens from farms that abuse animals, falling in line with restaurant chains that have enacted similar standards, including Chipotle and Starbucks.

The fast-food giant’s owner, Restaurant Brands International, said that by 2024, all its U.S. and Canadian locations will only buy chickens from farms that follow strict standards of Global Animal Partnership, or GAP, a group that includes animal welfare organizations and corporate interests. Burger King will use third-party auditors to ensure compliance.

The conditions include allowing chickens more room, quality litter, access to light and clean living conditions. The birds must be rendered unconscious before they’re slaughtered to minimize pain.

Those standards may seem basic, but they conflict with practices used by suppliers to many restaurants and food retailers. 

Mercy for Animals, a group advocating humane treatment for farm animals that has partnered with Burger King on the new standards, said chickens raised for meat, known as broilers, are “among the most abused animals on the planet.” The birds are engineered to grow quickly, often causing them to cripple under their own weight and leaving them in constant leg pain, the group said in a release.

“Continual contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens’ bodies and feet. Even breathing can be painful, as the air around the birds is acrid with ammonia from the stench of excrement,” Mercy for Animals said.

Mercy for Animals said chickens typically are fully conscious when they are slaughtered by slitting their throats while being held upside down.

Brent Cox, the group’s vice president of corporate outreach, said Burger King’s commitment “will reduce the suffering of millions of chickens each year.”

“It should inspire other leading quick-serve restaurant chains to implement identical commonsense welfare improvements,” Cox said in a statement.

Other companies implementing GAP’s standards include fast-food chains Chipotle, Quiznos, Red Robin, Panera Bread, and Starbucks; supermarket Whole Foods; food vendors Compass Group USA and Aramark; and meat suppliers Applegate, Wellshire and Thompson Farms.

Burger King competitor McDonald’s has its own animal welfare guidelines for chickens, which include stunning the birds before death so they don’t feel pain, according to the company’s website.

Mercy for Animals specifically criticized Wendy’s. An online petition accuses the burger chain of using chicken suppliers that raise birds in near-darkness and grow them to crippling weights.

Requests for comment from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and GAP were not immediately returned.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Power Pressure Cooker XL Cookbook: The Quick And Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook – Simple, Quick And Healthy Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes (Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook)

Power Pressure Cooker XL Cookbook: The Quick And Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook – Simple, Quick And Healthy Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes (Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook)

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Elmo From ‘Sesame Street’ Learns He’s Fired Because Of Donald Trump’s Budget Cuts

Elmo… laid off??? 

A new parody video from What’s Trending shows what could happen if President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts reached “Sesame Street.”

Since the show isn’t directly funded by the corporation and has a contract with HBO, Elmo is probably safe… at least for now. 

But some children may no longer be able to watch the show as the cuts could force some PBS stations to shut down, especially in rural areas.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Teen With Down Syndrome Got Asked To Prom In The Sweetest Way

Sure, it’s a little cheesy but this just might be the most thoughtful prom proposal ever.

On Sunday, the Facebook page Love What Matters posted a heart-meltingly cute video of 18-year-old Shaedon Wedel asking his best friend’s little sister to the prom. 

Carlie Wittman, 15, has Down syndrome and her favorite chips are Doritos. Naturally, Shaedon tried to work some nacho cheese-inspired comedy into his prom invite.

“I decided on the Doritos theme because I have known her for seven years and there has not been a day that I have not seen her eat Doritos,” the high school senior told The Huffington Post. “She absolutely loves them!”

Here’s the truly inspired shirt he made:

“I know I’m NACHO typical Dorito,” the shirt reads. “But I’m going to be CHEESY and ask: WILL YOU GO TO PROM WITH ME?”

It’s fair to say Carlie was thrilled about the punny proposal. Just look at her reaction: 

The pair are scheduled to go to the senior prom on April 22. The sweet moment has garnered more than 108,000 “likes” and 32,000 shares on Facebook ― and that number keeps climbing. 

“We taped it because she loves to be on the camera; we didn’t expect this to go so viral,” Shaedon said. “It has been a very neat and exciting experience.”

Initially, Shaedon, Carlie, and Carlie’s brother Carson ― Shaedon’s best friend ― were going to go to prom as a group. But after Carson met his girlfriend during the school year, Shaedon moved forward with his plans to ask Carlie.

“She says she wants to be a princess like Cinderella and it would mean everything to make her feel that way,” he told HuffPost. “The Whitmans are basically my second family and have been so kind and nurturing to me. My main goal is to make Carlie’s prom as special as possible.”

Nacho about you, but we’d say Shaedon is well on his way to doing just that.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Greek Mountain Tea

Greek Mountain Tea

  • Rich in iron. An aid to digestion, the immune system, and the circulatory system
  • High in antioxidants, flavanoids, and essential oils.

Also known as Sideritis or Ironwort, this ancient herb is used as a therapeutic and beneficial tea with many health benefits. Try it with Greek honey and lemon. 40 gram package.

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John Oliver Tries To Make Sense Of ‘Toddler Psychopath’ Donald Trump’s Budget

John Oliver is trying to figure out how President Donald Trump’s staff came up with the widely criticized budget proposal released last week.

He found a hint: Office of Budget and Management director Mick Mulvaney gave an interview where he said they wrote the budget by reading Trump’s speeches and interviews. 

“We took those words, those policies, and turned them into numbers,” Mulvaney said on “CBS This Morning.” 

“Yeah, basically Mulvaney treated Trump’s past statements the way Trump treats women,” Oliver said on Sunday’s broadcast of “Last Week Tonight.” “Randomly singling out a few of them, and then reducing them down to numbers.”

But as Oliver noted, “translating the noises that come out of Trump’s face into hard policy prescriptions is almost impossible.” 

Impossible, yet Oliver tried to do it anyway. He played a series of Trump statements, then attempted to turn them into budget items.

Eventually, he gave up.

“I don’t speak fluent toddler psychopath,” Oliver said. 

Check out the full segment above.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Hero Cat Pounds On Door, Saves Owners From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A fluffy brown tabby cat is being hailed as a hero after she alerted her human family to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in their home last month.

Annette Shanahan of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, told Madison.com this week that around 1 a.m. on Feb. 4, she felt weak, ill and disoriented and wandered out of bed, collapsing into a chair in the bedroom.

Her husband, Kevin, said he would have slept through it if it weren’t for the family cat, Gracie.

”All of the sudden Gracie, I heard she was pounding, knocking, knocking, knocking at the door,” he told local news channel WREG. “And so I got out of bed and to stop her from pounding at the door, and I looked to my left and Annette was there in the chair.”

Gracie doesn’t usually try to get into the bedroom, so the pounding was out of the ordinary for her, the couple said.

They were barely able to call 911 to tell them they couldn’t breathe. When help arrived, firefighters discovered deadly carbon monoxide levels in their home, which was later attributed to a hot water heater malfunction.

They both credit Gracie with saving their lives.

“Without her obviously we wouldn’t be here,” Annette Shanahan told Madison.com.

Katy Nelson, a veterinarian who hosts The Pet Show with Dr. Katy, told HuffPost that carbon monoxide will affect a cat much faster than a larger human. That means that Gracie was likely in a better ventilated spot, or in a room with better air quality, when the incident happened.

“The symptoms of [carbon monoxide] poisoning in animals is similar to that of people, and as small as the kitty is, she should’ve definitely been affected by it sooner, so I have to believe she was somewhere with better ventilated air,” Nelson said in an email.

Luckily, Gracie — as well as the Shanahans’ other two cats — also survived the carbon monoxide leak unharmed.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer (Chipotle)

Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer (Chipotle)

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Driver Detained At White House After Alleged Car Bomb Threat

One man is in custody after he reportedly drove up to a White House security checkpoint and claimed to have a bomb in his vehicle on Saturday night, law enforcement officials told CNN.

A statement from the Secret Service confirmed that an individual drove his vehicle to the checkpoint at 11:05 p.m. After contact with uniformed agents, the Secret Service detained the individual and “declared his vehicle suspicious.”

The statement said a criminal investigation was ongoing, but did not mention any explosive devices.

Ryan Nobles, a CNN reporter who was on the scene, said that a robot and bomb squad member was inspecting the trunk of suspect’s car “almost three hours” after the incident began.

Shortly after midnight, Nobles tweeted that suspect’s car was still running and parked at the checkpoint .

This was the second security incident to occur at the White House that day.

On Saturday afternoon, Secret Service agents arrested an individual who reportedly jumped over a bike rack in an attempt to reach the White House, CBS News reported. The individual was apprehended before reaching the White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Donald Trump was in Florida at the time of both incidents.

Last week, a man identified as Jonathan T. Tran was arrested after he climbed over a fence and reached the exterior of the White House carrying two cans of Mace and a letter for President Trump, according to the Washington Post.

Tran reportedly spent 15 minutes on White House grounds before he was apprehended. 

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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10 Habits That Will Dramatically Improve Your Life

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Red Shoes, a young girl longs for a pair of pretty red shoes. She ultimately tricks the blind woman who cares for her into buying her a pair. Her love for the red shoes causes her to give them priority over the more important things in her life, and, as often happens in fables, karma is not on her side. The shoes become firmly stuck to her feet and force her to dance non-stop, to the point where she almost dies from exhaustion and starvation.

We can scoff at the little girl’s foolishness, but, in real life, we often do the same thing—we chase after the things that we think will make us happy and don’t realize that we’re heading down a dangerous path.

One study found that the people who experience the greatest job satisfaction aren’t the ones in the big, fancy offices; they’re the ones who approach their work as a calling, even when that work involves menial labor.

Another study found that simply seeing fast-food logos makes people impatient. It’s not that there’s some intrinsic characteristic of fast food that makes people impatient; it’s the habits we’ve come to associate with fast food, such as always being on the run, eating on the go, and never slowing down enough to enjoy a healthy meal, that bring out our impatience.

We have to be very careful in choosing our pursuits, because our habits make us. Cultivating the habits that follow will send you in the right direction. They’ll help you to lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life, whereby you cultivate the best within yourself.

1. Stay away from people who erode your quality of life. If merely seeing a logo for a fast-food company can make you feel impatient, just think how much more impact a toxic person can have on your life. They might be unhappy about your decision to stay away from them, and they might tell you very loudly just how unhappy they are, but isn’t avoiding them worth the cumulative effects of years of their negative influence? There are always going to be toxic people who have a way of getting under your skin and staying there. Each time you find yourself thinking about a coworker or person who makes your blood boil, practice being grateful for someone else in your life instead. There are plenty of people out there who deserve your attention, and the last thing you want to do is think about the people who don’t matter.

2. No more phone, tablet, or computer in bed. This is a big one, which most people don’t even realize harms their sleep and productivity. Short-wavelength blue light plays an important role in determining your mood, energy level, and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly, it halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel alert. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and this starts making you sleepy. By the evening, your brain doesn’t expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it. Most of our favorite evening devices—laptops, tablets, and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light brightly and right in your face. This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep, as well as with the quality of your sleep once you do nod off. As we’ve all experienced, poor nights’ sleep has disastrous effects. The best thing you can do is to avoid these devices after dinner (television is OK for most people, as long as they sit far enough away from the set). 

3. Appreciate the here and now. Gratitude is fundamental to peace and happiness—not wealth, glamour, adventure, or fast cars, but simple appreciation for what you have. Just because you can’t afford champagne and caviar doesn’t mean that you never enjoy a meal. Hot dogs and beer on the back deck with your friends taste just as good. So, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need something that you don’t currently have in order to be happy, because the truth is that if you can’t appreciate what you have now, you won’t be able to appreciate the “good life” if you ever get it.

4. Realize that things aren’t always as you perceive them to be. This goes along with appreciating the here and now. That person you envy because they seem to have the perfect life might be dealing with all kinds of problems behind closed doors. That “perfection” could be a total mirage. Your employer’s decision to move the office might seem like a huge hassle when you first hear about it, but it could end up being one of the best things that ever happens to you. You’re not omniscient and you’re not a fortune-teller, so be open to the possibility that life might have some surprises in store, because what you see is not always what you get.

5. Get started, even though you might fail. Most writers spend countless hours brainstorming their characters and plots, and they even write page after page that they know they’ll never include in the books. They do this because they know that ideas need time to develop. We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and that what we produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve? Author Jodi Picoult summarized the importance of avoiding perfectionism perfectly: “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.”

6. Get organized. People joke about new ideas being in short supply, but I think that the one resource that’s really scarce is spare time. Do you know anybody who has some? Yet we waste so much of it by not being organized. We touch things two or three times before we do something with them (like tossing the mail down on the counter then moving it to the table so we can cook dinner) and once we’ve put them away, we spend even more time looking for them. Have a place for all of those little things you need to take care of when you get a minute, whether it’s your child’s permission slip for a field trip or an overdue bill, and then get to them in a timely manner; otherwise you’ll be searching through a huge stack of stuff for the one thing you need.

7. Start a collection of the things that truly resonate with you. Have you ever come across a quote or a meme that so perfectly summed up your feelings that you wanted to keep it forever? You know that it’s in one of those coats you wore five winters ago, and you really hope it’s not the one you gave to Goodwill. When you come across something that resonates with you—whether it’s something that expresses who you are or who you want to be—have a central place to keep those gems. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a spiral notebook, a leather binder, or a folder on Evernote, have a place to collect the things that matter so that you can revisit them regularly.

8. Do something that reminds you who you are. We all joke about having “me” time, but what is that, really? It’s making time for those activities that we feel most authentically ourselves doing, when all the masks are off and we can just be. Whether it’s going for a run or dancing around with your 80s favorites blaring at top volume, make time for those moments. They’re incredibly rejuvenating.

9. Say no. Research conducted at the University of California in Berkeley shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment. 

10. Stick to realistic goals. How many people start January by proclaiming, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds by March!”? Big, scary, crazy goals can be incredibly inspiring—until you fall short, and then, instead of inspiration, you’re left with disappointment and guilt. I’m certainly not suggesting that you stop setting goals that push and challenge you, just that you try to stick within the bounds of reality.

Bringing It All Together

Your character is determined by your attitude and how you spend your time, and so is happiness. Stop chasing the things that you think will make you happy, and start realizing that your peace and happiness are entirely up to you.

Ever tried any of these habits? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

If you’d like to learn more on this topic, consider my book Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Update International (S39-30BK) “No Food Or Drink” Sign

Update International (S39-30BK) “No Food Or Drink” Sign

  • No Food or Drink sign board
  • Its “No Food or Drink “sign is clearly states that no outside food or beverages may be brought into the establishment
  • Sign mount easily with self adhesive backing
  • Available in white on black color
  • Measures 9-inch width by 3-inch height

This sign board is a wall sign board. Its “No Food or Drink “sign board is clearly states that no outside food or beverages may be brought into the establishment. This sign board is printed on english language. Sign board mount easily with self adhesive backing. Available in white on black color. Measures 9-inch width by 3-inch height.

List Price: $ 5.57

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Stephen Colbert Hilariously Imagines Donald Trump’s Other ‘Irish’ Proverbs

Stephen Colbert gave Donald Trump a helping hand with his proverbs on Friday.

After the president hailed America’s Irish heritage by quoting what probably wasn’t actually an Irish saying, the “Late Show” host suggested a bunch of other (fake) Irish phrases for the commander in chief to use in future.

Who knew that “You better call Becky with the good hair” originally emanated from the Emerald Isle?

Check out the full segment above.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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U.N. Expert: Biodiversity Is Essential To Human Rights

WASHINGTON — For the first time, a United Nations report has recognized biodiversity and healthy ecosystems as essential to human rights.

The report, authored by U.N. Special Rapporteur John Knox, a human rights expert and professor of international law at Wake Forest University, comes amid a biodiversity crisis that many scientists have pegged as the beginning of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.

“Biodiversity is really necessary for the full enjoyment of rights to food, water, health — the right to live a full and happy life,” Knox told The Huffington Post on Thursday. “Without the services that healthy ecosystems provide across the board, we really can’t enjoy a whole range of human rights. And healthy ecosystems really depend on biodiversity.”

The assessment, which Knox presented to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council at a meeting this month in Geneva, Switzerland, concludes that, “in order to protect human rights, states have a general obligation to protect ecosystems and biodiversity.”

The U.N. has not taken a formal position on the matter. The Human Rights Council is considering whether to adopt a resolution recognizing the relationship of biodiversity and human rights. Knox said a decision is expected by the end of the month.

In many ways, the rate of species extinction — which humankind has sped up roughly 1,000 times, according to a 2005 assessment — is as much of a crisis as climate change, Knox says. Yet it gets far less attention. As he notes in the report, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity found in 2010 that nations have failed miserably in meeting adopted targets to reduce biodiversity loss.

Had the international community met its goals, Knox told HuffPost, it would have gone a long way toward protecting the variety of life on Earth.

“I’m not saying I’m the great expert on what needs to happen on biodiversity,” he said. “I’m saying that the people who are the experts have spoken and states have agreed with them on what needs to happen on biodiversity, and [they’re] not living up to that commitment.”

Ultimately, biodiversity loss has “grave and far-reaching implications for human well-being,” Knox writes. Those implications include reduced fishery and agriculture yields, depleted sources of medicine, and increased infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. Most vulnerable are the indigenous communities that directly depend on healthy ecosystems for food, water and even culture.

Knox calls on nations to minimize damage to ecosystems and biodiversity, both from private entities and government agencies, as well as recognize and protect those most vulnerable, including indigenous populations.

Inger Andersen, director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, was among those who praised the report. 

“People have the right to benefit from nature for their livelihoods and for rewarding and dignified lives,” Andersen said during a human rights panel event last week. “This includes, for example, the right to food for all, for present and future generations; the right to water; the right to housing; the right to health and many other social, economic and cultural rights. All of these depend on functioning ecosystems and biodiversity.”

Knox said he has a hard time understanding how this issue, with all of its effects on human health, doesn’t get more attention. And he finds the conversation taking place in the U.S. troubling. 

President Donald Trump has proposed deep budget cuts across the executive branch, including slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by 31 percent and the Interior Department’s by 12 percent. Trump has also repeatedly called climate change a “hoax” and promised to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement.

“We should really be ramping up our support for greater protection of biodiversity, not stepping back from it,” Knox said. “Climate change is making the biodiversity crisis much much worse. As the Trump administration seems to be pulling back from commitments to deal with climate change, among the other serious problems with that for the environment, it’s also going to have really disastrous effects to biodiversity.”

Late last year, a report by the World Wildlife Fund warned that up to 67 percent of Earth’s wildlife could vanish by 2020. 

Read Knox’s full report here.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Gavottes – Crispy Lace Crepes From France Covered in Dark Chocolate 2 Packs 2×18 Crepes 2×3.2oz (2 PACK)

Gavottes – Crispy Lace Crepes From France Covered in Dark Chocolate 2 Packs 2×18 Crepes 2×3.2oz (2 PACK)

  • Imported straight from France
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The Gavottes crispy lace crepes by Loc Maria are a fine crispy biscuit that has been made following a French traditional recipe handed down since 1920. These crepes are covered in a fine layer of gourmet dark chocolate. Gavottes are light and golden french cookies and, like the dance from Brittany that lends them their name, are composed of fine crusty layers and rolled up. The unique manufacturing process is a closely kept secret, but the pleasure of eating them is passed around the world! Ga

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Don Lemon On Sean Spicer: Everyone ‘Is Dumber For Having Listened To That’

Don Lemon didn’t mince words in his reaction to White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s news conference Thursday.

Spicer defended President Donald Trump’s unproven claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election. Spicer said the president didn’t really mean wiretapping because he put the word “wiretapping” in quotes.

After playing the clip, the CNN host quoted an Adam Sandler film in which a character calls him out for saying something “insanely idiotic.”  

“Did anyone see ‘Billy Madison’? The game show scene?” Lemon asked viewers. “‘Everyone in this room is dumber for having listened to that.’ I hope that you’re not dumber and I hope we are providing you some information.”

Check it out in the clip above.

(H/T Mediaite

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Wal-Mart Supplier Recalls Frozen Pizzas In 11 States Over Possible Listeria Contamination

A Wal-Mart Stores Inc supplier has recalled frozen pizzas available in 11 U.S. states due to concerns about possible listeria contamination, according to the retailer and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About 6,700 pizzas sold under Wal-Mart’s Marketside brand were affected by the recall, a representative of the supplier said on Thursday.

RBR Meat Company recalled about 21,220 pounds of Marketside Extra Large Supreme Pizza that were shipped to retail distribution centers in California, Nevada, Utah and Washington, the USDA said on Wednesday. The product carries the code 20547.

Wal-Mart and the USDA said they were unaware of illnesses linked to the pizzas.

The retailer said it started removing the products from its shelves and inventory as soon as it received notice of the recall from Rose & Shore, a food company affiliated with Vernon, California-based RBR.

The pizzas were available in California, Colorado, Nevada, Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii, Wal-Mart said. Sam’s Club was not affected.

People should not eat the pizzas, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. It said RBR discovered the possible listeria contamination during routine sampling.

Listeriosis is a serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with listeria bacterium, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and babies, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems.

An estimated 1,600 people contract listeriosis each year and about 260 die, according to the CDC.

In an unrelated case, the CDC is investigating a multistate outbreak of listeriosis linked to the consumption of soft raw milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery that has led to two deaths.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Choose Your Foods: Food Lists for Diabetes

Choose Your Foods: Food Lists for Diabetes

The standard for diabetes meal planning for over 60 years, this edition features updated carbohydrate, protein, and fat information for a wide variety of foods and beverages and replaces exchange terminology with choices. Includes tips on exercise, reading food labels, and a glossary of diabetes related terms.

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Trump Budget Makes It Official: You’re Paying For The Wall, Not Mexico

One of the central themes of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was to not only build a border wall, but to make Mexico pay for it. The claim didn’t just become an applause line for Trump on the campaign trail, it was a call-and-response rallying cry.

But the Trump budget proposals revealed late Wednesday include $ 4.1 billion for the wall. Reuters reported that Trump was asking for $ 1.5 billion for the current fiscal year and another $ 2.6 billion for the 2018 budget year, which begins Oct. 1.

The money will come from U.S. taxpayers and not Mexico, which has made it clear that it’s not paying for the wall. 

Earlier this year, Trump backed off his campaign promise and admitted that Americans would end up footing the bill, but claimed Mexico would “reimburse us for the cost of the wall.” 

A report from the Department of Homeland Security estimated that the cost of the wall would be far higher than what Trump had promised on the campaign trail. Trump has said the wall would cost $ 12 billion, but Homeland Security estimated it would cost $ 21.6 billion and take three years to construct. 

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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#LetThemDie: ‘Heartless’ Donald Trump Blasted For Killing Meals On Wheels Funds

President Donald Trump is coming under fire for proposing a budget that includes the complete elimination of federal funding for Meals on Wheels programs.

Meals on Wheels provides food to the elderly, poor, veterans, disabled and others who often can’t leave their homes.

However, under the proposed budget, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s entire $ 3 billion Community Development Block Grant program would be eliminated, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The grants fund services for low-income Americans ― including grants for Meals on Wheels programs.

Since most Meals on Wheels programs use funding from several sources, it’s unlikely the cuts would end the services. However, they could force many to reduce the number of people they are able to serve.

And many people criticized the proposed cuts on Twitter: 

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Meal Prep Containers 24 Pack with Lids | 28oz BPA-Free Food Storage and Portion Control by Prep Naturals

Meal Prep Containers 24 Pack with Lids | 28oz BPA-Free Food Storage and Portion Control by Prep Naturals

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White House Set To Scrap EPA Assessment Of Fuel Efficiency Standards

President Donald Trump will unveil plans on Wednesday to toss out the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest assessment of new fuel efficiency standards for the auto industry. 

At an event with auto executives in a Detroit suburb, Trump plans to announce his administration’s decision to restart a review of the cost of rules that would require nearly double today’s average vehicle fuel efficiency, to 54.5 miles per gallon, by 2025. The Obama administration moved to lock in the rules in January by issuing the EPA’s assessment of the costs and feasibility of the regulations more than a year early.

“The auto industry rightly cried foul because we were supposed to do [the assessment] in 2018,” a senior White House official told reporters Tuesday night ahead of the planned announcement.

Trump’s announcement will not affect the waiver granted to California under the Clean Air Act to set fuel efficiency above the federal standard.

“When 2018 comes around, we have to work with California to figure it out,” the official said, adding that withdrawing the waiver was not under consideration “right now.”

The chief executives of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are scheduled to attend the event, along with officials from several Japanese and German automakers. Trump has put intense pressure on automakers to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Reassessing a rule that has long nettled the industry is part of that push. 

In 2012, automakers agreed to the first major overhaul of fuel efficiency standards since the 1970s ― on the condition that, by April 2018, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would perform a thorough review of rules and tweak them if they were too expensive or impossible to meet. In a move to block incoming EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, an oil-industry ally who rejects the scientific consensus on manmade global warming, from undoing the rules, the EPA announced its findings ahead of schedule.

NHTSA, which is under the Department of Transportation, traditionally oversees fuel efficiency standards. But the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA requires the agency to set global warming pollution standards for vehicles under the Clean Air Act. The Trump administration plans to give NHTSA more weight in next year’s assessment, essentially downgrading the priority given to environmental and climate concerns in the regulatory process. Unlike the EPA, the Department of Transportation ― overseen by Elaine Chao, a longtime coal industry backer and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ― does not have an explicit mission to keep toxic pollution out of the air.

The move appears to be in line with what Pruitt described as his philosophical approach to his new job: that “regulations exist to give certainty to those they regulate.” But environmentalists fear that an assessment in 2018 will result in scrapping the new standards.

“This is no time to shift cleaner car standards into reverse,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president for government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. “These commonsense clean cars standards are already doing their job to protect consumers, protect our health and climate, and reduce our oil consumption.”

The White House would not necessarily give deference to auto manufacturers when the full review is conducted next year, the official said. But he pointed reporters to an assessment by an industry-funded group that challenged the feasibility of Obama’s more stringent standards.

“Go read the Auto Alliance assessment,” he said. “It’s a pretty comprehensive assessment.”

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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These 9 Beautiful (And Healthy!) Instagram Snaps Will Make You A Breakfast Person

Whether you dream of being the next big food blogger or you are just looking for new breakfast recipe ideas, Instagram is the go-to spot for inspiration. There, you’ll find enough healthy and scrumptious photos to send you into a marathon, double-tapping frenzy.

We’ve partnered with Tropicana to introduce you to a few ‘grammers you just have to follow. From self-proclaimed foodies to everyday parents, these guys have got a knack for slicing, dicing, brewing and snapping some drool-worthy dishes. Here, nine ridiculously yummy breakfasts to beautify your feed. Our oatmeal pots runneth over!

Integration Statement: Whether you’re crafting a five-star morning meal or going for a simple bowl of cereal, bring out your best you by starting the day with a refreshing glass of Tropicana. It’s the perfect complement to your Intsa-worthy breakfast.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Stephen Colbert Mocks Kellyanne Conway’s Microwave Gaffe

Stephen Colbert tore into President Donald Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway on Monday for suggesting that microwaves could turn into cameras that spy on people. 

Conway made the claim on Sunday during an interview with the Bergen County Record as she attempted to defend Trump’s baseless allegation that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower before the 2016 presidential election.

Colbert then reached out to Obama via his own microwave oven.

Check out the segment above.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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GOP Health Bill Could Let Companies Pressure Workers To Give Genetic Test Results

WASHINGTON ― Imagine your employer wants you to submit to genetic testing as part of a “workplace wellness” program. The testing is completely voluntary, your employer says. If you’re concerned about your privacy, no one can force you to take part.

There’s just one catch: Declining to provide genetic testing results will cost you thousands of dollars each year in higher health insurance premiums. In that case, how voluntary would the program feel?

Such a futuristic-seeming scenario may not be far off if a proposal moving through the GOP-controlled House becomes law. A Republican bill that made it out of committee last week would enable companies to withhold financial benefits from employees who don’t take part in genetic testing as part of a workplace wellness program.

The committee measure passed, 22-17, on a party-line vote with all Democrats opposed. There is no equivalent bill yet in the Republican-controlled Senate, but such a proposal could become part of the health care overhaul now consuming Capitol Hill as Republicans try to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act.

If it finds its way into health care reform, the measure would provide employers with a carve-out from nondiscrimination and privacy laws when it comes to workplace wellness programs. Under current law, genetic testing can be part of a wellness program, but an employer can’t make it a condition of benefits.

The GOP measure would allow that. It doesn’t mean your employer could force you to undergo such testing and share the results ― but your employer could essentially withhold money if you don’t. 

Dozens of health and privacy advocacy groups have come out against the bill.

The risk of disclosure can extend beyond the worker’s health. In one case cited by the Labor Department, a job candidate was rejected after disclosing screening results that showed he carried a single genetic mutation for Gaucher’s disease, which meant only that he could pass the mutation on to a son. 

A spokeswoman for Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said the bill would not change the fact that employees could choose whether or not to participate in such a program.

“Those who are opposed to the bill are spreading false information in a desperate attempt to deny employees the choice to participate in a voluntary program that can reduce health insurance costs and encourage healthy lifestyle choices,” she said. “We believe working families should be empowered with that choice, and so did the Obama administration. It is another sad reminder of just how extreme the Democrat Party and their liberal allies are becoming.”

As The Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn has reported, workplace wellness programs have become a popular way for companies to try to save money on employee health care costs. In a typical program, a worker might provide her employer with a basic health screening ― cholesterol level, body-mass index ― as well as a rundown of her habits ― how much she exercises, whether she smokes, etc. In some cases, an employee might even agree to losing a certain amount of weight or hitting a blood pressure target.

The idea behind those programs is to nudge employees toward a healthier lifestyle and prevent them from getting sick; that, in turn, would keep employers’ insurance costs down. In return for taking part, the employee gets anything from a small gift card to thousands of dollars in health care savings a year. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 83 percent of large employers offered wellness programs last year, and 42 percent of them came with financial incentives. Most programs had a maximum reward of a few hundred bucks.  

Setting aside whether or not these programs actually work, the money at stake raises the question of how voluntary they are. So far, the law has come clearly down on the side of businesses. Under President Barack Obama, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission set rules allowing companies to dangle incentives worth 30 percent of a worker’s insurance premium, deeming such arrangements voluntary.

The implications of the bill were first reported by Stat reporter Sharon Begley. Jennifer Mathis, director of policy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C., told Begley that the bill would “completely take away the protections of existing laws” ― namely, the genetic information protections in the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

The language of the new bill states that workplace wellness programs “shall be considered to be in compliance” with the relevant provisions of those laws.

“While the information returned to employers would not include workers’ names,” Begley noted, “it’s not difficult, especially in a small company, to match a genetic profile with the individual.” Such arrangements would also put test results in the hands of the third-party firms that operate the wellness programs.

House Republicans said the change would give employers “the legal certainty they need” to implement workplace wellness programs. They have dubbed the bill the “Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act.”

Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, the committee’s ranking Democrat, told HuffPost in a statement that the Republican bill would “coerce” workers into forking over sensitive medical and genetic information to their employers, “undermining key workplace civil rights.”

“This is yet another policy proposal that will disproportionately harm sicker and older people, as well as those who have disabilities that may not be readily noticeable,” Scott said. “Information disclosed in these programs could also result in discrimination in employment.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

HDIS – $5 off $75 Reassure

$ 5 off $ 75 Reassure branded products on www.hdis.com with coupon code X67BW2.
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Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen Vinyl Wall Decals Quotes Sayings Words Art Decor Lettering Vinyl Wall Art Inspirational Uplifting

Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen Vinyl Wall Decals Quotes Sayings Words Art Decor Lettering Vinyl Wall Art Inspirational Uplifting

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Texas Rep. Jessica Farrar Trolls GOP By Proposing $100 Fine For Men Who Masturbate

A Democratic lawmaker in Texas has proposed legislation that would fine men $ 100 for masturbating and require rectal exams before they get a vasectomy, a colonoscopy or a Viagra prescription. 

State Rep. Jessica Farrar, of Houston, called her bill “satirical,” but said it was meant to highlight the struggles women faced while accessing health care under the restrictive reproductive laws pushed by the state’s GOP-led legislature. 

Her bill promotes similarly invasive restrictions on men, including the fine for “emissions outside a woman’s vagina” which “will be considered an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.” The bill, filed Friday, also requires storage of the “emissions” for future conception. 

In addition, HB 4260 imposes a 24-hour waiting period on vasectomies, colonoscopies and Viagra prescriptions along with the “medically unnecessary” rectal exams. 

Farrar said on Facebook that while some might find her proposal funny, “women are not laughing at state-imposed regulations and obstacles that interfere with their ability to legally access safe health care, and subject them to fake science and medically unnecessary procedures.” 

Even the title of her proposal, “A Man’s Right To Know,” was a play on a contentious state-mandated booklet, “A Woman’s Right to Know,” which was part of a required process for women seeking abortions in Texas. 

Farrar told the Texas Tribune: 

What I would like to see is this make people stop and think. Maybe my colleagues aren’t capable of that, but the people who voted for them, or the people that didn’t vote at all, I hope that it changes their mind and helps them to decide what the priorities are.”

Republicans are not amused.

“I’m embarrassed for Representative Farrar,” Rep. Tony Tinderholt, from Arlington, told the Tribune. “Her attempt to compare [HB 4260] to the abortion issue shows a lack of a basic understanding of human biology. I would recommend that she consider taking a high school biology class from a local public or charter school before filing another bill on the matter.”

But Farrar said her bill is based on exactly what the GOP has offered.

”Texans deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect when making healthcare decisions, regardless of their gender,” she wrote on Facebook.

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Politics – The Huffington Post
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The House Health Plan: Here’s How The Numbers Don’t Add Up For The Poor

By Megan Foster Friedman, University of Michigan

House Republicans introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare). The Conversation

At a press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan called this bill “an act of mercy.” For the most vulnerable, that characterization is ironic at best.

Yes, there are winners in this bill. But those who benefit would be predominantly young, healthy and less likely to need insurance or older, well off and more likely to be able to afford insurance.

The potential effects of this bill on certain segments of the population are clear: For the millions of Americans with multiple chronic conditions, and for nearly 100 million Americans who earn less than U.S. $ 40,000 a year, AHCA would bring less coverage and higher costs than under the ACA.

A quick review

First, it’s important to understand how much the ACA has helped Americans afford health insurance coverage. In 2009, 15.1 percent of Americans were uninsured. By 2015, that number had fallen to 9.4 percent.

Those who gained coverage did so primarily through the expansion of Medicaid and through the ACA’s health insurance marketplace. These coverage expansions have provided crucial assistance to low-income Americans, many of whom were unable to afford coverage before the ACA.

Today, adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $ 16,394 in 2017, are eligible to enroll in Medicaid in the 32 states, including the District of Columbia, that expanded the program.

The law had originally intended for all states to expand their Medicaid programs; a 2012 Supreme Court ruling made the expansion a state option. People with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $ 47,520 in 2017, can get financial assistance to purchase coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

In 2016, nearly 9.4 million people – 85 percent of Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees – received tax credits to help pay for premiums.

In addition, under the ACA, individuals with incomes less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or $ 29,700 in 2017, receive cost-sharing reduction subsidies to help pay for copays and deductibles.

Almost 6.4 million people – 57 percent of 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees – received these subsidies to help lower their out-of-pocket costs. The cost-sharing subsidies helped people to afford health care as well as insurance coverage.

Presidential promises for insurance for everyone – and cheaper

Over the past several months, President Trump has promised an ACA replacement plan that will provide “insurance for everybody” that is “much less expensive and much better” with “much lower deductibles.”

Those promises are good benchmarks to help us evaluate the impact of the American Health Care Act.

In its current form, the AHCA simply does not accomplish any of those goals for people with low incomes, people over 60, or people who live in areas where health care costs are high, such as rural areas. Indeed, the AHCA may end up putting health coverage out of reach for many of those who gained it under the ACA.

The AHCA replaces the ACA’s income-based premium tax credits with age-adjusted tax credits (with an income limit of $ 115,000). Under the AHCA, adults in their 20’s would receive a $ 2,000 annual tax credit to help purchase individual market coverage, with tax credits increasing up to $ 4,000 for a 60-year-old.

These proposed tax credits do not take into account an individual’s income or the price of health insurance in their area, as the ACA did. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premium tax credit in 2017 under the ACA for a 60-year-old making $ 20,000 a year was $ 9,874.

Under the AHCA, that same 60-year-old would receive less than half that amount, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In many areas of the United States, particularly rural areas, older Americans would receive significantly less financial assistance to help pay for premiums than they currently receive.

Under the ACA, the premium tax credit amount that enrollees may receive is based on two key factors: the local benchmark premium cost and the enrollee’s household income. Under the AHCA, premium tax credits would be based only on age and would not be tailored to local costs.

The AHCA would also repeal the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies in 2020, putting care even further out of reach for many.

The AHCA would expand those age bands so that older adults could now be charged up to five times higher premiums than their younger counterparts. Older adults could not only see a decrease in financial assistance to pay for premiums, but their premiums could increase as well.

More to the problem than Medicaid loss

For the 12 million people who are now covered through Medicaid expansion, the outlook is equally gloomy. The AHCA would freeze Medicaid expansion beginning in 2020. States that had already expanded the program would continue to receive enhanced federal funding for current enrollees who remain on the program.

But states would receive far less federal funding to cover any new enrollees or any existing enrollee who experiences a lapse in coverage longer than one month. Many states would find it difficult to continue Medicaid expansion under these circumstances.

In addition, beginning in 2020, the bill would shift Medicaid to a per-capita cap. This would be a fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program, affecting over 70 million people.

Unlike today, where the federal government guarantees it will match states’ costs to provide care to Medicaid beneficiaries, a per-capita cap would give states a fixed amount of money per enrollee. The state would be responsible for any expenses beyond that amount.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the AHCA’s proposed Medicaid changes would shift $ 370 billion in costs to states over 10 years. As a result, states would try to contain costs by curtailing benefits or limiting enrollment in their Medicaid programs – not just in the expansion population, but across the board.

While House Republicans claim these changes will grant more flexibility to states to make innovations in their Medicaid programs, the proposed structure would likely end up cutting benefits for millions of adults and children as states scramble to fill the shortfall from fewer federal Medicaid dollars.

Perhaps the AHCA can improve coverage and lower costs, but the real question is: For whom?

For the young, healthy, and high-income earners, quite possibly. But for lower-income individuals, older adults, people living in rural areas and people who gained Medicaid coverage under the ACA, it seems unlikely that the AHCA is anything but a bad deal.

Megan Foster Friedman, Health Policy Analyst, University of Michigan

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Scarlett Johansson’s Dog Is A Trump Supporter On ‘SNL’

Finally, “Saturday Night Live” featured a lovable Donald Trump supporter.

In a new skit that aired Saturday, Scarlett Johansson plays a scientist who has invented a device that turns animals’ thoughts into words. To impress their financial backers, Johansson straps the device to her dog Max.

“Hi, I’m Max,” the pug says. “I like park and leash. And I like Trump. He’s my man.”

Yes, to horror of the “SNL” cast, ScarJo’s dog is a fan of President Donald Trump.

When Johansson suggests there must be some kind of glitch, Max reaffirms his support for The Donald.

“There’s no glitch. Donald Trump is our president,” the dog says. “He carried the electoral college fair and square.”

Baffled at the dog’s political leanings, the scientists try to scold him for liking Trump but Max just keeps listing off reasons the president is great.

“I know he has issues, but one big change is better than business as usual,” Max says, adding that the Dow is up 2,700 points since election day. “What’s not to like?” he asks the humans in the room.

Shocked by the dog’s reasoning, Cecily Strong, a corporate type funding the invention, tells Johansson: “Your dog is a monster.”

Johansson tries to fix the embarrassing situation by telling Max that he’s just a dog who doesn’t know what he’s saying. But that pushes Max over the edge.

“Excuse me Helen, but yes I do,” he says sternly. “It’s that condescending attitude that made people want to vote for Trump in the first place.”

Johansson reasons with Max by calling Trump a racist and pointing out his unfair policies but Max does not back down.

“You just assume that because I’m a Trump supporter that I’m a xenophobic racist,” Max says. Then, when Johansson points out that Max’s best friend is a Chihuahua and Trump wants to deport Mexicans, Max shoots back: “If Aquino was born here, he has nothing to worry about. This is a nation of laws.”

Strong eventually pulls out a gun to shoot the dog, who responds by calling everyone in the room “liberal snowflakes.”

That’s when Johansson ends the demonstration.

“It’s OK Max, I love you no matter what,” she reassured her dog as she put a pink pussy hat over his head. “We just have to learn how to respect each other’s point of view, I guess.”

The Trump-loving dog felt like a new voice for a show that repeatedly (and hilariously) mocks the president and his administration ― and it had some “SNL” fans thinking.

But, for the most part, people are now just worried that their dogs are secret Trump supporters too.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Donald Trump And The GOP Are Facing A Jimmy Carter Problem

WASHINGTON ― With the election of President Donald Trump and their long-awaited attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act finally at hand, Republicans find themselves facing peril of historic proportions.

Let’s call it their Jimmy Carter problem.

After the outsider peanut farmer-turned-politician from Georgia won the White House in 1976’s post-Watergate election, he took office with near historic majorities in both chambers of Congress ― 61 Democrats in the Senate and a 292 to 143 edge in the House.

Democrats had high hopes for the optimistic, famously toothy embodiment of the New South. What they got was underwhelming ― a leader who feuded with Congress, and scored some foreign policy successes, but never managed to pull off anything especially ambitious.

“He got some stuff through, but it was certainly not another Great Society,” said Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer, referring to achievements of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who also presided over one-party government. “I think Democrats feel he wasted an opportunity that existed, and that helped open the door to the right.”

There were certainly economic and international crises beyond Carter’s control, but his failure to achieve big-ticket success paved the way for former President Ronald Reagan’s revolution from which liberals still haven’t entirely recovered.

Now, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his fellow Republicans can see the historic writing on the wall with their own outsider reality-TV-star-turned-politician occupying the White House. It’s the first time since former President George W. Bush’s second election that the Republicans are starting a fresh four-year presidential term with unified control of government.

And they’ve got something big they want to do. Or, more accurately, that they want to undo. Their signature promise for the last six years has been to repeal Obamacare.

Even as the GOP proposal to deliver on that promise got “Ishtar” level pans from the left, right and experts, Ryan and many of his colleagues made clear this past week how vital they think it is to propel their deconstructive blueprint into law.

Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act should come first, before the GOP can pursue any other cherished goals. He offered an especially stark explanation in a radio interview Friday with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

“I do agree that this is momentum-killing,” the speaker said. “If we don’t do this and reduce or get rid of the trillion-dollar tax increases in Obamacare, that just puts tax reform a trillion dollars further out of our reach. So there’s a lot that rides on this, not to mention just the schedule.”

While Ryan cast it in practical terms, other Republicans were blunter, and recognized a global importance to their and Trump’s agenda in revoking former President Barack Obama’s signature achievement.

“This is so basic to what we have promised over the last few elections,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the second ranking Republican in the Senate. “I think if we fail to keep this promise then I think it makes the rest of our work much, much more difficult to accomplish.”

Failing to accomplish goals has electoral consequences. Historian Zelizer points to former President Bill Clinton’s first term, when he managed to boost taxes but failed utterly at health care reform, and the country answered with the Republican revolution of Newt Gingrich, who was speaker from 1995 to 1999.

A similar tale was told when Bush won his second term in 2004.

“His big push was for privatizing Social Security,” Zelizer said. “That falls apart, he gets nowhere on immigration reform and he, too, is not able to really capitalize on united government, and, in that case re-election, which is in some ways even a better situation.”

The wave election that that hit the nation in 2006 washed away the GOP majorities.

Republicans aren’t eager to entertain the possibility that they could fail to repeal and replace Obamacare, but they do see electoral doom in failure.

They are not willing to acknowledge that Americans might grow angry at the GOP for even pursuing a plan that, as it stands now, would cut health care for millions and dramatically raise costs for millions more if it passes.

But they are highly cognizant of how the more zealous portions of their electoral base will react.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) sees the need to satisfy that contingent as so important that his side would be best off simply repealing Obamacare and worrying about the replacement later.

“We have to repeal it, and if we don’t repeal it, we’re going to split with our base,” he said. “That’s a dangerous political thing to do.”

“Republicans have been talking for six years that we’re going to repeal and replace, and that’s got to be the top category ’cause we may only get one chance,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

In the House, where conservatives make up an even more powerful block, some lawmakers believe passing a hard-right health care plan is so pressing a requirement that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should take the extraordinary step of rewriting Senate rules to end the filibuster.

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R) told The Huffington Post he doesn’t especially like the House replacement plan, but he was inclined to support it because he’s sure a more conservative alternative cannot get through a filibuster by Democrats.

The current GOP plan is being advanced as a budgetary measure under a process known as reconciliation. Such measures cannot be filibustered. But they are meant to deal only with budgetary matters. While the GOP has tried to craft their reconciliation plan as broadly as possible, there are still policy issues that cannot be addressed with a budget bill.

Franks said that leaves the House leaders in the terrible position of trying to satisfy a potentially furious GOP base and Senate rules that actually grant the Democratic minority power. “This is like trying to walk a tightrope in an earthquake. It’s just an untenable circumstance for them,” he said.

Failure ― even if Senate Democrats cause it playing by the rules ― could doom his party, Franks added.

“I think that Senate rule has the potential of putting both houses in the hands of Democrats next time,” he said, referring to the 2018 elections.

Franks argued the consequences make it essential for the GOP to do whatever it can.

“It just means whether or not Republicans are going to take this last best hope they’ve had in a long time, and at least give the American people a snapshot of what Republican policy looks like,” he said.  “Or if we’re going to become victims of our own traditions and send the Republican ideals down the corridors of history.” 

It’s not just the Republican representatives and senators who would suffer under such failure.

Trump would also find himself in a precarious spot, even if his voters heap blame on Congress. Because members of Congress will blame Trump if he can’t use the bully pulpit to help them succeed with legislation.

“I think a lot of Republicans figured he was just going to blitz them with lots of legislation, and he hasn’t. And it’s not even clear the White House is working on it,” Zelizer said. “I think they’re comfortable using executive action and causing a lot of chaos.”

But that is not what the GOP lawmakers need. They need success, not some Trump-concocted blend of rhetorical and executive mayhem.

“If nothing happens on ACA, if it’s just one big disaster, this whole effort in the next few weeks, it will soften or weaken Republican support on Capitol Hill for the president,” Zelizer said.

If Republicans cannot count on Trump, the president may no longer be able to rely on the people who are holding back Democratic demands for probes of everything from his still ill-understood ties to Russia to his many and conflicted business entanglements.

“This president could start entering a danger zone where members of his own party are willing to go after him,” Zelizer said.

Just imagine an election in 2018 where Republicans have angered their base by failing to pass an Obamacare replacement, and their president is facing bipartisan investigations on multiple fronts.

Republicans certainly can, and the result doesn’t leave them and their man remembered in history at all like previous titans of unified government ― an LBJ, JFK or FDR.

Instead, it’s more like JEC, and who even knows Jimmy Carter’s middle name? 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Stephen Colbert Does The Real Math On Donald Trump’s Promised Border Wall

President Donald Trump has promised so many things of his controversial southern border wall.

On the 2016 presidential election campaign trail, Trump vowed that his proposed U.S./Mexico barrier would be “big, “powerful,” “impenetrable,” “physical” and “beautiful.”

With the due date for contractors to submit prototypes falling Friday, “Late Show host” Stephen Colbert talked to construction experts to find out just what it would take to build the barrier ― if all Trump’s promises were to be met.

Find out how much Colbert estimates the wall would cost and how long it would take to build in the segment above.

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Your Employer-Provided Health Care Could End With The GOP’s Plan

If the GOP’s proposed American Health Care Act were to pass, companies with 50 or more employees will no longer have to offer health insurance ― the most common source of coverage for people under age 65.

Even if this iteration of a so-called replacement for Obamacare goes nowhere in Congress, the employer health care provision could creep back into a final version. This has barely been mentioned so far in the heated conversation about the Republican plan. But it’s worth examining, because it could cause a sea change in how the nation’s health care delivery system operates, according to industry experts. 

Companies began providing workers with health insurance voluntarily after World War II because of the tax advantages. By the mid-1960s, employer-provided health insurance was pretty much universal. It was an affordable benefit for companies, and a valuable recruitment tool. But as health care costs increased and employees began to switch jobs more regularly, the system eroded. Obamacare put a mandate on the practice, requiring companies with 50 or more full-time workers to offer health care to avoid a tax. 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that in 2016, about 155 million people (or about 57 percent of the population under age 65) got health coverage through their job, or a family member’s job. That’s an awful lot of us.

Most people just assume that companies don’t need to be told to give their workers health insurance ― they are motivated by tax incentives and a desire to attract the best talent. And, as many point out, employers were offering health benefits voluntarily long before Obamacare made it a mandate. Why would they change just because Republicans remove the requirement?

Because it costs too much.

Those who study corporate benefits say that health insurance as an employee perk has been on the decline for years, with companies shifting more of the cost onto workers. This trend could accelerate by removing Obamacare’s mandate. The underlying cause is that health care costs have been rising. With higher costs come higher insurance premiums. 

The share of Fortune’s top companies that still pay for 100 percent of their employee health care dropped to 9 percent in 2016 from 34 percent in 2001. In most cases, employees are covering more of their health insurance premiums than in previous years. Workers with employer-sponsored health plans now contribute an average of 18 percent of the premium for single coverage, and 29 percent for family coverage, according to a study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Like most things involving the government’s efforts to shape health insurance, there’s more than one way to look at employer-sponsored health care. Eliminating the mandate may herald the end of work-based health coverage. Or not. And even if companies opt against providing insurance, that may turn out to be great for workers, if employers replace it with a tax-free stipend that employees can use to shop for benefits on their own. 

Here are two ways to look at the future of employer-sponsored health insurance:

1. Employer-sponsored health benefits are already on the decline, and employees might be better off shopping for themselves in the open market.

Removing the mandate is a very big deal, said Rick Lindquist, co-author of The End of Employer-Provided Health Insurance and CEO of Zane Benefits, which assists small companies in providing benefits packages to employees. No longer requiring companies to provide insurance would be the beginning of the end of health coverage tethered to our jobs, he told HuffPost.  

Lindquist predicted that by 2025, 90 percent of the nation’s employers will no longer offer workers health insurance. And telling those companies that they don’t have to offer this benefit is where it begins.

Before the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory in 2014, employer-sponsored insurance coverage had been declining anyway, according to the Urban Institute. From 2000 to 2012, coverage rates fell 11 percent, to 69 percent.

Smaller companies that aren’t required by the ACA to offer insurance ― those with fewer than 50 employees ― have also stopped offering health coverage. Coverage rates fell 17 percent, to 52.4 percent during the same period. It’s just too expensive, they say. Lindquist said he expects larger companies to follow suit as health care costs continue rising. 

Even if the mandate remained, employers find it increasingly enticing to ignore. It’s cheaper to pay the fine for not providing coverage than it is to follow the law and provide health benefits, Lindquist said. 

He said he envisions a future where employers might provide a fixed amount of tax-free reimbursement for health insurance, and let employees find a plan that best suits them. As long as there are safeguards, like no exclusions for pre-existing conditions or age, workers may end up liking such a system better than what exists now, Lindquist said. Some employees would rather have their compensation be more flexible, and would prefer a raise to comprehensive health coverage, he said. 

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, an architect of the Affordable Care Act, shares the view that employer-provided health coverage is doomed. Emanuel, an oncologist, medical ethicist and academic, was a health policy adviser to the Obama administration. He predicted a few years ago that by 2025, “fewer than 20 percent of workers in the private sector will receive traditional employer-sponsored health insurance.” 

Lindquist sees no downside to shifting health insurance away from our jobs. The big losers under such a plan, he said, would be the middlemen ― insurance brokers who arrange plans for companies.

“They don’t like it,” he said.

The National Association of Health Underwriters ― the group that represents those brokers ― notes on its website that the employer-based system is “highly efficient at providing American workers and their families with affordable coverage options through group purchasing.” Without it, the group says, workers would likely lose a powerful advocate ― their employer ― in coverage disputes.

2. Workers like their job-based health care, and who better to negotiate for good coverage and the lowest costs than a big company?

The Kaiser Family Foundation says employer-sponsored coverage grew to its current dominance because of the tax advantages employers get for providing these plans. That makes providing health coverage cheaper for the company than increasing wages. Plus, a strong health care package is an enticement in recruiting and retaining talent.

But even greater affection for the practice may come from employees. Mercer’s Inside Employees’ Minds Survey in 2015 found that 89 percent of employees regarded health coverage as important as a salary, said Joe Kra, partner and senior health consultant for the global consulting firm. 

“Employers will continue to respond to cost pressures and look for creative approaches to control cost,” Kra said.

That means companies probably will continue to shift more costs onto workers. Even though the Obamacare penalty for not providing coverage was less than the cost of providing it, only 15 percent of employers with up to 499 employees, and just 2 percent of employers with 500 or more workers, said in 2016 that they were likely to terminate coverage within the next five years. 

So, if the mandate goes away, Kra said he’s not really concerned that employer-provided coverage will end. 

Nor is Lydia Frank, vice president at PayScale, a compensation data and software company. She told HuffPost that top companies understand that they “need to pay with purpose” if they want to keep top-performing employees. Providing health benefits is an important component of the overall package, she said. 

With the GOP plan under fire and revisions likely, it behooves those who get health coverage from their jobs to pay attention to what could be waiting for them: a boon or a boogeyman.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Stephen Colbert Takes Aim At Ted Cruz’s Dinner Date With Donald Trump

Stephen Colbert has torn into Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for having dinner with President Donald Trump at the White House.

On Thursday’s broadcast of the “Late Show,” the host recalled how the two GOP presidential candidates had repeatedly crossed swords during the 2016 nomination campaign.

Trump repeatedly called his opponent “Lyin’ Ted” and retweeted an unfavorable photograph of the Texan senator’s wife, Heidi Cruz. He also insinuated that his father, Rafael Cruz, was linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

Cruz, meanwhile, called Trump a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral” and a “serial philanderer.”

But the pair now appear to be getting on well enough for Trump to ask Cruz and his daughters over for food, and it doesn’t sit well with Colbert.

To make his point, Colbert created a fake invitation on behalf of the Trumps. “You and your wife (who is a 3 at best) are invited to dinner,” it read. “Cocktail attire, please check your spine at the door.”

Check out the full segment above.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex Therapy (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

Ever wonder what exactly happens when couples and individuals visit sex therapists?

We went straight to the source and asked. Below, sex therapists from around the country answer the most common questions people have about sex therapy.

What happens during sex therapy, honestly? 

Get your mind out of the gutter: Having sex is not part of a therapy session, said Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles, California. 

“Some of my clients are surprised ― dare I say, disappointed ― when they discover my office is not decorated with dildos, vibrators and butt plugs.”

As Resnick Anderson explained, sex therapy is a legitimate form of traditional psychotherapy (talk therapy) with a focus on sexual feelings, attitudes, behaviors and education. 

“I use a client’s sexual and developmental history as a backdrop to interpret current sexual function, expectations and satisfaction,” she said. “Sure, provocative material may be discussed ― and intimate topics may be explored ― but sex therapy with a licensed mental health professional never includes any sexual contact.” 

What kinds of people consult with a sex therapist ― and can I go alone? 

People of all stripes make appointments with sex therapists ― and yes, solo visits are cool, said Megan Fleming, a psychologist and sex therapist in New York City.

“I see singles and couples of all different ages, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religions,” she told us. “When it comes to sex and relationships, we are all equally at risk of having challenges because for most of us, no one really teaches us about either.” 

But isn’t opening up to a stranger about sex super awkward? 

The thought of discussing your sex life (or lack thereof) with someone you just met may make you a little uneasy, but most people initially feel that way, said Keeley Rankin, a sex therapist in San Francisco, California.

“When people show up in my office looking for help, we first work towards just getting comfortable talking about whatever issue is bringing them in,” she said. “Sex in itself is a taboo topic and most people carry a heavy load of shame around their sexuality. We first work toward just getting comfortable talking about whatever issue is bringing them in.” 

And to be honest, isn’t it better to get advice on your spouse’s erectile dysfunction from a qualified professional than your considerably less qualified bestie?

What are some common issues people talk about during sex therapy? 

Different people come in for different problems but there are some garden variety issues, said Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and the author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman.

Like what? Low libido, desire discrepancy with their partner, erectile disorder, premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation in men and arousal, orgasm and sexual pain issues in women. 

“And it’s also not uncommon to go to see a sex therapist to deal with a problematic behavior such as excessive porn watching or a relationship problem such as resuming sex after infidelity,” he said.

Will there be homework in between sessions?

Yup. Your work isn’t done once you step out of the office; your therapist will give you some bedroom assignments and they may refer you to another medical professional to rule out a medical reason for your symptoms, said Gracie Landes, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in New York City.

“Once a sex therapist has an understanding of what is happening with you they may suggest something for you to read, try or do,” she said. “You should expect therapy that focuses on getting results and for your therapist to be checking in with you about your progress.” 

Who is best qualified to give sex therapy? And where do I find a therapist?

Anyone can give sex advice but if you want a professional opinion, make sure you’re consulting someone who is certified. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) has a very handy directory of certified sex therapists on their website. Enter your zip code and it will draw up a list of qualified professionals in your area. 

Sex therapy can be worthwhile. 

Most patients feel a sense of relief after their first visit, said Stephanie Buehler, a psychologist and sex therapist who runs The Buehler Institute.

“The sex therapist may need more than one session to figure out a treatment plan, but after the first session, you should leave with a sense of hope and maybe some relief,” she said. 

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Samantha Bee Rips Media For Gushing Whenever Donald Trump Sounds Even Semi-Presidential

Samantha Bee took aim at the media for the way it’s been reporting on President Donald Trump.

The “Full Frontal” host was furious with some of the press for raining “golden compliments down” on Trump following his more measured first major speech to Congress last week.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” asked Bee on Wednesday’s show. “If pundits set the bar for President Trump any lower, even Jeff Sessions won’t be able to walk under it without bumping his head.”

Bee also reminded the media that it didn’t have to “gush like he’s a toddler who just made a boom boom on the big boy potty” every time he did something considered even semi-presidential.

Check out the full segment above.

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Gabourey Sidibe Opens Up About Undergoing Weight-Loss Surgery

For Gabourey Sidibe, weight-loss surgery wasn’t about taking the easy way out.

The “Empire” star writes about dealing with depression, anxiety and bulimia before she underwent laproscopic bariatric surgery in May 2016 in her new memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare

The actress struggled with her weight for more than a decade before she decided to go under the knife and writes she knew the surgery would mean making real changes to her life. 

“My surgeon said they’d cut my stomach in half. This would limit my hunger and capacity to eat. My brain chemistry would change and I’d want to eat healthier. I’ll take it! My lifelong relationship with food had to change,” she writes in her memoir, due out May 1. 

In an interview with People, the 33-year-old further opened up about her decision to undergo surgery, which she said was tied to the fact that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“I just didn’t want to worry. I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes. I genuinely [would] worry all the time about losing my toes,” she told the magazine. 

While the surgery was motivated by health concerns, Sidibe is no stranger to body-image issues. She told People she’s learned to embrace her body, no matter what size she may be.

“There’s nothing ugly about me. Anyone trying to convince me that I am — and it’s usually me — is wasting her time,” she told People. “I was in a war with my body for a long time. If I’d started treating it better sooner, I wouldn’t have spent so many years hating myself. But I love my body now.”

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Mark Hamill Returns As Donald Trump The Joker To Read Wiretap Tweets

Actor Mark Hamill has made Donald Trump’s weekend wiretap tweets sound even more unhinged.

In a new audio clip, the “Star Wars” star read the president’s baseless claims that former President Barack Obama had ordered wiretaps on Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. Hamill performed the tweets in the style of the Caped Crusader’s arch-enemy “The Joker.”

It’s the character that Hamill himself voiced in the animated Batman series.

Hamill previously used his “Trumpster” alter-ego to mock the president’s New Year’s Day message and his tweets about “over-rated” Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep after she criticized him at the Golden Globes.

Check out Hamill’s portrayal of Trump in the clip above, and find out why he’s doing the impersonations here.

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What Every Person Who Loves A Vegetarian Should Know

I have been a vegetarian for my entire life – well, almost. When I was two years old, my mom (also a vegetarian) claims she let me try turkey and I spit it out. From that day on, she decided that I must also, conveniently, be a vegetarian.

Of course there were times I was curious about the taste of meat throughout my childhood. There was that time at camp my friend dared me to eat prime rib. Or when I tried a tiny piece of bacon at a Fourth of July camping trip (yes, I admit, it smelled pretty amazing). But whether I’ve tried chicken or fish or red meat over the years, the taste and texture just haven’t appealed to me.

Now 28 years later, I still don’t eat meat. And to answer the questions I get way too often: No, I don’t only eat salad. Yes, I get enough nutrients. No, I’m not offended by people who do eat meat. And yes, it’s possible for a vegetarian and meat eater to be in a relationship.

This one goes out to anyone who loves a vegetarian: here are nine things every vegetarian wants their partner to know.

1. The moment we reveal we’re vegetarians is more stressful than you might think.

I’ve seen a variety of reactions. Some look sad that I’ve never experienced a Happy Meal. Others try to coax me to eat “just one tiny bite.” And then there are those who look absolutely horrified and just can’t fathom how someone could survive without meat. When I told my boyfriend, he nonchalantly said, “Oh ya, my mom is a vegetarian.” And that was it ― no questions asked.

2. You may not understand the trauma we feel when we accidentally eat meat. 

A couple weeks ago, I ordered vegetarian chili. When I tried the first spoonful, I noticed the texture was odd. I looked down and noticed some unidentified meat floating in the chili. I immediately called my boyfriend at work to tell him I found something like “crushed chicken bones” hiding in my chili. And that I was never going back to that restaurant EVER AGAIN. He may have thought I was overreacting. Just a tad.

3. It may take awhile for us to truly get that “fake meat” just isn’t the same for you as the real thing.

When we first started dating, I wanted to impress my boyfriend by making him breakfast. I cooked him eggs, toast and veggie bacon. When he tried to eat the “bacon,” he looked like he was chewing a piece of paper. I asked if he liked it, and he said it was like eating cardboard. And that was the last time I ever cooked him fake bacon.

 4. Even though we have different diets, we can still cook together.

My boyfriend and I are experts at making vegetarian meals that can be transformed into the meat version by simply adding one ingredient. Pasta primavera? Just add grilled chicken. Bean and cheese tacos? Mix in some ground beef. Veggie pizza? Sprinkle pepperoni on half.

5. We’ve accepted that we may have a ridiculous amount of leftovers when we go out to eat together. 

So what do we do when we want different appetizers? Or when we’re at a family-style restaurant and can’t agree on an entrée? We compromise, of course. And by compromise, I mean we each order our own dishes and have leftovers for days.

6. Steak houses aren’t actually so bad for us.

I am a vegetarian and I like steakhouses. Why? Because they actually have some of the best vegetarian sides, from the cooked veggies and salad bar to mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

7. We’re cheap dates (and proud of it).

Well, it’s true. I’ve noticed even the most expensive vegetarian entrée is often cheaper than the least expensive meat option.

8. We understand you might be confused about what we can and can’t eat (it’s not always so straightforward).

For example, I don’t eat “vegetarian” dishes that contain fish oil or chicken broth. And I just recently learned that even foods like gummy bears, marshmallows and non-dairy creamer may have gelatin, which is made from animal skin and bones.

9. We don’t judge you because you eat meat.

And I know it doesn’t really matter to my boyfriend what I choose to eat – we understand each other’s differences. Plus, he gets to keep all the meat leftovers for himself. And I don’t mind eating all the veggie sides off his plate. The good news is, he doesn’t mind either! 

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

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Do you use food to comfort yourself during stressful times? The Intuitive Eating Workbook offers a comprehensive, evidence-based program to help you develop a healthy relationship with food, pay attention to cues of hunger and satisfaction, and cultivate a profound connection with your mind and body.Have you tried fad diet after fad diet, only to gain weight back? Maybe you’ve tried the protein diet only to move on to vegetables only? Raw almonds and coconut water every forty-five minutes inst

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Stephen Colbert Savages Donald Trump’s Wiretap Tweets

Stephen Colbert picked apart President Donald Trump’s baseless wiretap claims on Monday night.

After Trump tweeted claims ― without evidence ― that former President Barack Obama had ordered wiretaps on Trump Tower in the run up to the 2016 election, the “Late Show” host lamented how it had forced the White House to set its “Twitter freakout” calendar back to zero.

“Who wakes up that angry?” Colbert asked, before urging someone to get Trump a Xanax.

Check out the full clip above.

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These Numbers Prove It’s A Kind World After All

It has been a turbulent few years, with monumental changes all over the world. If you think the last several years have been disappointing for humanity, you’re not alone: only 6 percent of Americans believe our society is improving. The good news? The facts tell a different story.

This constant attention to fault and flaw overlooks just how much goodness truly exists in the world. That’s why we’ve partnered with Dignity Health to highlight 15 ways humanity is only getting better, proving our world has never looked so good.

More than a century of experience and years of scientific research have shown that medicine is more effective when delivered with humankindness. Dignity Health believes that humankindness holds the power to heal the mind, body, and spirit.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2017: Pocket-Size Edition

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Congressman Apologizes To Kellyanne Conway For ‘Couchgate’ Joke

Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) has apologized to Kellyanne Conway for a joke about “Couchgate” that was criticized for being crude and sexually suggestive.

The Congressional Black Caucus chairman quipped at a Washington Press Club Foundation dinner last week about the widely circulated photo showing the White House aide perched on a sofa with her legs tucked under her in the Oval Office, surrounded by leaders of historically black universities who were meeting with Donald Trump. 

“I really just want to know what was going on there, because, you know, I won’t tell anybody,” Richmond said at the dinner, the Times-Picayune reported. “You can just explain to me that circumstance — because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there … and I don’t want you to refer back to the 1990s.” He appeared to be referring to the scandal involving former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. The ‘90s reference was first made at the dinner by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C), before Richmond spoke. Scott said things “a whole lot worse” had happened on the couch then.

Conway, Chelsea Clinton and Republicans immediately lambasted the comments.

Richmond insisted he didn’t intend the comments to be sexually suggestive, and said he used the word “familiar” to mean that Conway was a bit too comfortable, given the situation. 

But he followed up with a statement Sunday, saying: ”After a discussion with people I know and trust, I understand the way my remarks have been received by many. I have consistently been a champion for women and women’s issues, and … the last thing I would want to ever do is utter words that would hurt or demean them. I apologize to Kellyanne Conway and everyone who has found my comment to be offensive.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) refrained from criticizing Richmond on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, saying she hadn’t seen a video of his remarks. She did resurrect Donald Trump’s recorded boast from 2005 about grabbing women by the genitals against their will as “gross and crude.” She added: “He wouldn’t even be allowed in a frat house, and he’s in the White House.”

The bizarre, coquettish photo of Conway on the couch has become a viral meme. Conway has said she was simply trying to get a good position so she could take a group shot.

Conway’s post even made a few appearances on the latest episode of “Saturday Night Live.” In once scene, cast member Kate McKinnon, playing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, holds up the photo of “my best good friend,” and adds: “You ain’t got no legs, Kellyanne.”

No word Sunday if Richmond’s apology had been accepted.

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6 Counterintuitive Sleep Solutions To Try Tonight

Tossing. Turning. Desperately counting sheep. Any of this sound familiar? A full 45 percent of Americans report having trouble falling and staying asleep, and these sleep issues can cause major problems, from low work productivity to seriously scary health issues.

If the majority of your sack time is spent staring at your alarm clock and obsessively calculating the hours of sleep you’d get if you passed out at that exact moment, you’ve probably tried every trick in the book to catch some peaceful Zs. Warm milk before bed? Amateur hour. No screen time after 8 p.m.? Been there, done that.

To help the experienced insomniacs among us, we’ve ditched the bedtime rulebook and partnered with Sleep Number to uncover six seemingly counterintuitive sleep solutions that’ll have you snoozing in no time.

1. Ban Extra Bedding

If you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night, try sleeping without that pile of blankets to weigh you down. Though wrapping yourself up like a comatose burrito might be comfy in the short term, sleep experts say the optimal temperature for a solid night’s sleep is on the cooler side, around 60 to 67 degrees.

That might sound chilly, but your body temperature naturally decreases as you fall asleep, so keeping your bedroom at a crisp 65 degrees can speed up this wind-down process. Try swapping that heavy down comforter for a light cotton sheet, or investing in temperature-balancing bedding, and you’ll be on your way to dreamland in no time.

2. Early Morning Riser

When you’re a restless sleeper, the last thing you want to do is set an early alarm and head to the gym. But studies show that exercise first thing in the morning can help reduce blood pressure and promote restful sleep. In fact, those who work out at 7 a.m. tend to have longer, deeper sleep cycles than those who work out later in the day.

But, don’t let the research deceive you ― any amount of exercise, regardless of time of day, is good for your brain and body. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can improve the quality of your shut-eye. Our one bit of advice? Avoid high-intensity workouts just before bedtime and instead opt for anxiety-reducing activities like yoga.

3. Comfort ≠ Quality

You might think that when it comes to pillows, comfort is king, but you need comfort and support in a pillow. But those fluffy, lofted feather pillows could actually be hurting your neck and robbing you of a full night’s sleep. In fact, pillows without sturdy neck support are shown to impede sleep, particularly for side sleepers. Instead, opt for more supportive pillows that fill in the gap between your neck and shoulders to help with proper spinal alignment.

4. Caf Up To Wind Down

Avoiding caffeine is default rule No. 1 for those hoping to improve their sleep habits. But don’t hide your French press just yet. Dr. Sara Mednick, sleep expert at the University of California, Riverside, says that the conventional wisdom is all wrong when it comes to power naps. “Drink some caffeine, then take a nap,” she says. “The caffeine will take effect in 20 to 30 minutes, and [you will naturally] wake you up before you fall into a deep sleep, which prevents grogginess.”

“Drink some caffeine, then take a nap.
Dr. Sara Mednick, sleep expert, University of California, Riverside

Because it all boils down to biology, caffeine naps are a buzzworthy way of snagging some quick and dirty afternoon Zs. The competing effects of caffeine and adenosine, a sleepytime chemical, cause you to sleep soundly for the 20 to 30 minutes it takes for the caffeine to kick in and do its job. If you find yourself nodding off during the day, slurp down a cup of coffee or black tea, head to the nearest couch, and wait for biology to do its thing.

5. Night Owl

You might think hitting the sheets earlier is your best bet for snagging snagging quality shut-eye, but sleep experts disagree. Shift your mindset from quantity of sleep to quality of sleep, suggests psychologist Helen Odessky.

Instead of tossing and turning in bed for hours before finally falling asleep, calculate the amount of sleep you get on an average night and hit the sheets with enough time to snag those hours. You’ll spend your bedtime hours in sound sleep rather than semi-restful sleep. Plus, you can use the extra evening hours to read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, or practicing sleep-inducing yoga stretches. More “you” time is never a bad thing!

6. Namaste In Bed

Surveys show that 55 percent of people who recently began practicing yoga report sleeping better. That’s because yoga reduces stress, empties the mind, and is great exercise to boot. If running isn’t your thing, try waking up early (see tip No. 2) and start your day with a light half-hour of yoga first thing. The best part? You don’t even have to leave your bed to get a good morning yoga workout in. Win-win!

Just like diet and exercise, sleep is unique to each person and important for optimal health. Sleep Number® beds adjust to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support — your Sleep Number® setting. Plus, exclusive Sleep Number® pillows are designed to support your individual size, shape and sleeping position for the highest quality Zzzs.

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Orgain Organic Superfoods, Berry, 0.62 Pound, 1 Count Reviews

Orgain Organic Superfoods, Berry, 0.62 Pound, 1 Count

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‘SNL’ Mocks Trump Brothers Again, This Time Over Pop’s Ethics Tangle

”Saturday Night Live” cast members Mikey Day and Alex Moffat showed up again to play Donald Trump’s adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, to attempt to address some of the ethics matters of the White House — and, ah, maturity issues.

“The Trump organization is entirely in our hands,” Donald Jr. insisted on the Weekend Update skit as he mentioned the opening of new Trump projects in Vancouver and Dubai. The president is maintaining ownership of his businesses, raising serious conflict of interest concerns, but insists he has nothing to do with management, which he says he has turned over to his sons.

“Bottom line is, the only people making decisions regarding the Trump organization are Eric and myself,” Donald Jr. declared in the skit.

“And dad,” Eric piped in.

“No, no, remember, Eric,” said his big brother. “Dad does not tell us what to do anymore.”

“Yeah he does,” Eric responded.

Then Donald Jr. offered Eric his phone.

“You want to play on my phone, Bud?” he asked. “Eric’s a little jokester. What he meant to say was the only people calling the shots at the Trump organization are myself and this guy.”

“I’m tired,” Eric said.

“Yeah, he’s gonna get cranky,” explained big bro. “We gotta get him home. So it’s quick bath, jammies, then bed.”

Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che took on Trump himself, mocking him for the way he uses Twitter. He ripped Trump for accusing former president Obama — without offering any evidence — of tapping Trump’s phones before the election. Trump also tweeted: “Is it legal for a sitting president to be wire tapping a race for president prior to an election?”

“Dude, you’re the president of the United States and you’re seeking legal advice on Twitter?” asked Che.

Co-anchor Colin Jost mocked praise for Trump’s speech to Congress last week. “He was able to speak like a human president for over an hour,” he noted, pointing out that the bar was set at “reads words good.”

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Artist Channels Her Anxiety And Depression Into Hilarious Comics

Dealing with a mental health condition is no laughing matter.

But British illustrator Gemma Correll is channeling her depression and anxiety into her art — and the results are hilarious.

“I hope that those who can relate to them can find some light relief,” Correll told the Huffington Post. “Mental illness is horrible to live with but I believe in art as a form of self-care. Whether it’s making art or looking at it.”

To check out 10 of Correll’s most poignant pictures, just scroll down:

 

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Every Friday, HuffPost’s Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Sign up here.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Opavia Zlate Venecky 2-pack 2x180g/2×6.3oz

Opavia Zlate Venecky 2-pack 2x180g/2×6.3oz

  • Delicious butter cookies.
  • Great with a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Imported from the Czech Republic.

Venecky are delicious cookies made according to a traditional recipe.

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Bill Maher Calls For Return Of The Liberal Bad Boys To Take On Donald Trump

Bill Maher says it’s time for the Democrats to unleash their own “loudmouth” candidate to take on President Donald Trump.

“We don’t have the luxury any more to mess around with milk toast Democratic politicians who don’t move people,” he said on Friday’s broadcast of “Real Time.” “As ridiculous as Trump is, he does come off as an alpha — that’s why he paints his face the color of a baboon’s ass.”

Maher then suggested three people who may be politically rehabilitated for the role: Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner and John Edwards.

Check out his reasons for putting forward each of the trio in the clip above.

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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Could Cause 1,200 More Premature Deaths

In September 2015, Volkswagen Group admitted to fitting 11 million vehicles worldwide with software to cheat on government tests for diesel pollution. A month later, a team of scientists estimated that excess emissions from 482,000 of those cars sold in the United States would cause about 60 premature deaths across the country.

Now, those same researchers project the death toll from 2.6 million affected cars sold in Germany between 2008 and 2015 to be 20 times higher, with at least 1,200 lives cut up to a decade short, according to a study published Friday in Environmental Research Letters. That number would have ballooned to 2,700 if German authorities hadn’t ordered the world’s biggest automaker to recall and repair every automobile. The affected vehicles ― sold under the Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen Group brands Audi, Skoda and Seat, as well as VW ― drove roughly 220 billion miles between 2008 and 2015, spewing 240,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, the source of smog and acid rain, into the air.

Most of the people killed early won’t be Germans, according to the researchers. Emissions swept over the border by winds could cause 700 early deaths, the study estimated, including 160 in Poland, 84 in France and 72 in the Czech Republic. Even the United Kingdom could suffer 30 casualties.

“It’s entirely because of transboundary air pollution,” Steven Barrett, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics who co-authored the study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told The Huffington Post by phone. “We didn’t even account for German vehicles driving outside Germany.”

The team, composed of researchers from MIT and Harvard University, buttressed data used to study public health effects of the Volkswagen scandal with new information collected by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority. The scientists determined their findings by applying widely accepted epidemiological techniques, gleaned from decades-long studies tracking the effects of exposure to pollution on large populations over time. The original data set came from the West Virginia University study that first uncovered Volkswagen cheating on U.S. tests, with emissions 20 times above the legal limit. In Germany, the vehicles exceeded the legal limit by a factor of five.

The new research widens the fallout of an affair so widely condemned it became known as “Dieselgate.” Unlike other incidents of corporate malfeasance in the auto industry, at least one former employee blamed for designing the so-called “defeat devices” to cheat on emissions tests faces jail time. In January, Volkswagen agreed to pay $ 4.3 billion to U.S. regulators, a settlement negotiated down from $ 17.5 billion. The company set aside an additional $ 19.2 billion to deal with the issue.

Volkswagen said it has completed repairs on more than 3 million vehicles in Europe, including 1.5 million in Germany, at a weekly rate of 250,000 automobiles.

“We do not have a comment on this study,” Jeannine Ginivan, a Volkswagen spokeswoman, wrote in an email to HuffPost. “Volkswagen is committed to resolving the diesel matter as quickly as possible.”

The problem isn’t Volkswagen’s alone. In the wake of the scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency vowed to step up its compliance testing. In January, the agency said it nailed a violator when it accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of using software to manipulate diesel emissions tests in about 104,000 vehicles. Barrett said he expects more companies to be implicated in the future.

“Volkswagen were found out, but many diesel vehicles will be emitting above what people thought they’d emit, so it’s going to be a much wider-spread problem,” he said. “There may not be other ‘defeat devices’ in the same way, but very likely other manufacturers emit much higher on the road than when being certified.”

In Germany, lawmakers began pushing for higher standards on emissions tests soon after the scandal broke. In the U.S., where tests are already more stringent, preventing future incidents may require stricter enforcement, Barrett said.

That could be an issue. President Donald Trump proposed slashing one-quarter off the EPA’s budget and laying off 1 in 5 employees, virtually crippling the already hamstrung agency’s enforcement. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, has said he wants to overhaul the agency to focus on strict interpretation of regulations, vowing to rein in what he saw as federal overreach by his predecessor.

As the costs of getting caught add up for Volkswagen, that could be welcome news to rivals.

This article was updated with Volkswagen’s comment. 

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Food Landscapes 2017 Wall Calendar

Food Landscapes 2017 Wall Calendar

  • Brand new officially licensed calendar
  • Keep track of time in style all year long
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Carl Warner creates incredibly realistic and whimsical vistas using fresh veggies, fruits, bread, fish, and deli meats. These 12 foodscape images will fascinate, while inviting you to spend time scrutinizing just how Warner works his food magic. This large format, 18-month wall calendar features daily grids providing ample room for jotting appointments, birthdays and personal reminders. Also included are six bonus months of July through December 2016 as well as moon phases, U.S. and internationa

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Activists, Doctors Join Forces To Stop One Of The Country’s Most Restrictive Abortion Bans

WASHINGTON ― Lawmakers in Pennsylvania could pass one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion bills this month, banning most abortions after 20 weeks and criminalizing a medically accepted method of terminating a pregnancy. 

The Republican-backed legislation has inspired a groundswell of activism, with reproductive rights activists and medical professionals organizing rallies at the state Capitol in Harrisburg and personally lobbying state lawmakers.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, has repeatedly pledged to veto the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk ― but it’s possible Republicans in the state legislature could override that veto. 

Recent history indicates the bill might pass, although the margin could be small. When the state Senate sent the bill to the House in February, it passed with just two votes short of the veto-proof majority — one Democrat voted for it and three Republicans voted against it. And the House introduced a similar bill last week, a version of which stalled in the Senate after they passed it last June.

Wolf has taken a personal role in advocating against the legislation, holding events with activists, doctors and women who have had late-term abortions that would be restricted if the bill becomes law.

“We’ve got to keep politics out of the doctor’s office,” he told The Huffington Post.

In addition to restricting women’s health care choices, Wolf thinks the bill goes against the state’s values.

“We were founded by William Penn, on the basis of freedom of conscience, and from his time on, we attracted people from all over the world, based on the idea that they came here, and they could make their own, most personal decisions,” he said.

“Making sure that women continue to have the right to make their own decisions, I think, is right in line with that tradition. It’s a rich tradition,” Wolf said. “When people are choosing where to go to school or begin their professional lives or where to start their business or family, Pennsylvania has got to show that it’s open to them. This bill just says the reverse, that you can’t make your own decisions here, this is not a place where we value freedom of conscience.”

Almost 20 states have passed laws banning late-term abortions. Pennsylvania’s bill goes further by taking a step that reproductive rights groups and medical professionals say is unprecedented: restricting a medically accepted abortion method called “dilation and evacuation.”

The provision is similar to lawmakers “specifying which medical tools can be used in a surgical procedure,” said Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the political arm of the family-planning organization.

“There is no other field of medicine where it would be appropriate for 253 predominantly white male legislators to say, ‘This is how you practice medicine,’” Stevens said. “We haven’t seen any bills with the combination of these two prohibitions before, and we believe both to be unconstitutional, and remarkably so when combined together. It’s not only an unconstitutional ban. It goes farther than many bans we’ve seen in the country, if not most.”

Lisa Perriera, an OB/GYN and abortion provider at the Philadelphia Women’s Center, said she believes the bill restricts doctors’ abilities provide the best care for their patients.

“It is a safe medical procedure that I know how to do,” she said. “If a woman is asking me to have a procedure, and that’s the right choice for her, who is a legislator to tell me that she shouldn’t be able to have that safe medical procedure?”

This bill just says … that you can’t make your own decisions here, this is not a place where we value freedom of conscience.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

The legislation’s supporters argue that certain abortion procedures are “inhumane” and unsafe. They also say fetuses can feel pain by the 20-week mark, although medical research disputes that assertion.

Perriera, who also does advocacy work as a board member of the Women’s Law Project, a Pennsylvania-based women’s rights group, dismissed the logic of conservative lawmakers trying to justify abortion restrictions.

“These laws are always couched in the way that they are there to make things safer for women, and that is just malarkey,” she said.

Opponents of the bill have protested that lawmakers did not allow public testimony on the legislation, meaning medical professionals couldn’t provide their input. Many doctors and medical organizations across the state ― including the state’s branch of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Pennsylvania Medical Society ― have warned against passing the bill.

“[It] sets a dangerous precedent by legislating specific treatment protocols and would significantly jeopardize the open dialogue within the physician/patient relationship,” the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s president wrote in a letter last year.

“It just seems like the facts are irrelevant, and this is just, you know, the die is cast, this bill is going to be passed, and the medical community’s input is just irrelevant to them,” Stevens said, describing the lack of transparency on the bill as “incredibly shady.”

Wolf said he is “pretty confident that my veto would be sustained.” But given the close margins in the Senate, activists are focusing their attention on state representatives who might swing the vote.

A number of groups are planning to rally at the state Capitol when lawmakers return to session on March 13, said Perriera, adding that she and other doctors intend to personally lobby legislators.

“Even though they don’t want to hear what our medical opinion about this law is, we’re going to make sure they hear it,” she said.

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Pompe Drug Lauded By Trump Costs $300,000 A Year

President Donald Trump told Congress on Tuesday that more needs to be done to bring down “artificially high” prices for prescription drugs, while at the same time praising a drug that turns out to cost $ 300,000 per year.

During the televised address, Trump acknowledged in the audience Megan Crowley, a college student who has Pompe disease – a rare muscle disorder that can be treated with an expensive enzyme replacement therapy.

“But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved Megan’s life, from reaching those in need,” the president said. “If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our Government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles like Megan.”

Trump has in the past excoriated drugmakers for charging “astronomical” prices, while acknowledging how “complicated” the nation’s healthcare system is.

Representatives of the Trump administration could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday on whether the president believes the treatment price for Pompe disease is fair.

Trump’s comments on Tuesday night highlight an issue central to the industry and investors – the potential for deregulation of the FDA, the agency charged with approving pharmaceutical products.

“I think Trump used this example somewhat cynically as a way of trying to advance the deregulatory agenda,” said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a researcher at Harvard Medical School. “The FDA’s standards actually promote innovation because patients don’t want just any old drug – they want drugs that work.”

Megan’s father, John Crowley, now chief executive at Amicus Therapeutics Inc, started a biotech company in 1998 to seek a treatment for Pompe disease.

In 2006, the FDA – after a nine-month review – approved infused enzyme replacement therapy Myozyme for patients born with the condition. A similar drug, Lumizyme, was approved in 2010 for late-onset Pompe disease and is now used regardless of a patient’s age.

The average annual cost of treatment is $ 298,000, according to Paris-based Sanofi SA, which now owns the drugs.

Under the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, drugs for rare diseases – defined as those that treat fewer than 200,000 patients – are given a range of incentives including seven years of marketing exclusivity. “Pharmaceutical companies know they get a free pass for very expensive drugs for orphan diseases, whereas they don’t for mainstream diseases,” said Joel Hay, professor of pharmaceutical economics and policy at the University of Southern California.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) applauded Trump’s recognition, but disagreed with the idea that the regulatory process needs an overhaul.

“Our patients deserve the same quality therapies as everyone else, and to weaken the standards will only threaten our population with unsafe, ineffective therapies,” NORD said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pompe disease, affecting 5,000 to 10,000 people worldwide, prevents the body from making enough of an enzyme used by heart and muscle cells to convert a form of sugar called glycogen into energy. When glycogen builds up in these cells it can lead to disability and death.

NORD estimates that around 30 million Americans suffer from 7,000 rare diseases. 

(Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Chilean Gourmet Seafood Abalone (locos),15 Ounces, 3 Per Case Reviews

Chilean Gourmet Seafood Abalone (locos),15 Ounces, 3 Per Case

  • Save Money With Pack Sizes
  • Wild Caught in the Pure Cold Pacific Waters of Chile
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Chilean abalone, also called locos, is a special seafood product particularly suited for the gourmet chef. It is harvested along the famed clean and unpolluted Chilean Pacific coast. Processed using the highest of international standards for quality control and the latest technology. They are also captured and produced under strict environmental standards in support of environmental sustainability and species protection.

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Patrick Stewart And Stephen Colbert Rip Donald Trump’s Obamacare Repeal In ‘Waiting For Godot’ Spoof

Patrick Stewart and Stephen Colbert gave Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” a Trumpian twist on Wednesday’s broadcast of the “Late Show.”

Channeling characters Vladimir and Estragon, the duo speculated as to if and when President Donald Trump’s promised replacement for Obamacare would arrive.

“Why hasn’t it come already?” asked Colbert.

“He said it was more complicated than anyone thought,” Stewart replied, in a dig at Trump’s ridiculed comments on the complexities of the health care system.

Luckily, the actor used his “Star Trek” powers to extricate himself and Colbert from their precarious position.

Check out the full clip above.

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Photos Showing ‘Shameful’ Scenes At VA Hospital Prompt Investigation

Photos taken inside a North Carolina veterans hospital that show a veteran lying on the floor and another slouched in a wheelchair while writhing in pain are drawing outcry online and an internal investigation.

“It was the worst thing to ever happen in my life,” Vietnam War veteran Jesse Lee, 63, who identified himself as the man photographed in the wheelchair, said as he described his agony to The Huffington Post on Wednesday.

Lee, who lost his leg to diabetes, said he was among several people waiting at the Durham VA Center on Feb. 24 after experiencing severe phantom leg pain.

Another veteran’s wife snapped the waiting room photos and posted them on Facebook on Saturday. They’ve since gone viral, catching the attention of Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) and Sen. John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, who called the scene “shameful.”

Lee, who said he has been a patient at the hospital for 16 years, said it’s not uncommon to wait about three hours to see someone. But last week’s visit was one for the books.

“It was really, really bad,” he said while recalling his pain. “I waited about two hours and went up to the nurse’s desk to find out if there was something they could do because I could no longer stand the pain, it was making me sick in my stomach. But they told me to go sit back down in the waiting room. Then after about an hour I asked if there was something they could do.”

In the end, Lee said, “I sat there for five hours in this pain.” 

Hanna McMenamin, who told HuffPost that she snapped the photos during a visit with her Marine husband, Stephen McMenamin, backed Lee’s description.

In her Facebook post, she described seeing Lee “yelling in pain” and “borderline convulsing and almost falling out of his chair he was in so much pain.”

Sharonda Pearson, a public affairs officer at the medical center, told HuffPost Wednesday that it expects to have an investigation of the situation completed by March 10 (reviews typically require 10 business days). She added that the photos were taken on “one of the busiest days” in its emergency department and that 100 to 130 people came through the facility that day.

“All of the allegations will be investigated,” she said. 

One incident involved a patient who ended up on the floor reportedly after his request for somewhere to lie down was dismissed.

“He could barely walk, sit up, or breathe,” McMenamin said in her post.

Lee recalled seeing the same thing.

“Eventually the man laid down on the floor and they went in there and picked him up and set him back in the chair,” Lee told HuffPost. “He said, ‘I can’t wait in the chair. I’m too weak. I need to lie down.’ They said, ‘You can sit in that chair and wait.’ Eventually, this young man who was sitting in a little area there, he was sitting in a recliner, and he offered him the recliner.”

Eventually, the man laid down on the floor and they went in there and picked him up and set him back in the chair.
Hanna McMenamin

McMenamin said that the man who offered his recliner was her husband, who was provided the chair by the staff because of his lower back pain.

The relief was short-lived, however.

“This man sat in the chair for probably about 15 minutes before he was told he had to get up immediately,” McMenamin said.

When McMenamin’s husband asked the nurse why the man couldn’t have his reclining chair, she said, the nurse “stormed off” without an explanation.

Lee said that after seeing the man being placed in a regular chair by security, the man went back onto the floor. Soon, he said, security returned and took the man to see a doctor. 

Durham Medical Center Director DeAnne Seekins called it a “regrettable incident” but one she said she’s thankful was brought to the center’s attention, she said in a statement Tuesday.

“Our mission is to provide the highest level of health care to Veteran, so upon learning of the incident, I took swift action. The employee was immediately removed from patient care pending the results of an internal review,” she stated, referring to the nurse on duty.

McMenamin has since said that the medical center has asked her to remove the photos, which do not include the patients’ faces because some of the veterans don’t want to be identified. She has refused.

Lee, when asked by HuffPost how he feels about his photo being shown, replied: “I’m fine with it. People need to know.”

Asked what he’d like to see changed, he answered: “If somebody is in that much pain, I think they should notice it or take better care of the person. I wouldn’t think that nobody would be there faking pain.”

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Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
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