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Trump turns farmers into a sacrifice
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Trump turns farmers into a sacrifice

US President Donald Trump is hailing the Republican tax overhaul law during a pitch to rural America at a meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Incomes there are headed for their lowest level since 2006.
And farmers are going deep into debt to keep their heads above water.
President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint would only make things worse for U.S. agriculture.
The budget would do several things that would further hurt the farm economy.
One would cut what used to be called the food stamp program by 30 percent.
The more numerous urban reps would see little value in passing expensive bills serving farm country were it not for the food stamps that help their poor constituents.
The urban Congress won’t support a crop program without food stamps.” Side note to liberals: Please ignore the stupid food box idea cooked up by Trump’s Agriculture Department.
Flinchbaugh considered TPP the most lucrative deal for farmers in his lifetime.
“I’ve been predicting ag policy for 50 years,” Flinchbaugh noted.

Judge rules against insurer that fired adjuster after comp claim
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Judge rules against insurer that fired adjuster after comp claim

A federal judge in Chicago on Tuesday ruled against an insurance company’s summary judgment in a suit filed by a former employee fired after an 11-month, unresolved workers comp claim.
Timothy Buhe worked as a claims adjuster for Lincoln, Rhode Island-based Amica Mutual Insurance Co. when in early 2013 he fell off a roof while investigating a homeowner’s claim, according to court documents in Timothy Buhe v. Amica Mutual Insurance Co., filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois’s Eastern Division.
In discussions with two Amica representatives, Mr. Buhe indicated he needed at least two surgeries and was “confused” by the company policy on disability leave, according to court documents.
Complicating matters, Mr. Buhe ran a mortgage business on the side, one which his employer had known about.
In November, an adjuster with Amica’s workers comp insurer Chubb Ltd. contacted the company to inform them that Mr. Buhe had been surveilled and was working for his own company while collecting workers compensation.
In 2016, Mr. Buhe filed for bankruptcy, failing to disclose his workers compensation claim and subsequently claimed he did not know he was supposed to, according to court documents.
Judge Jorge Alonso ruled in part against the summary judgment, finding merit in both claims related to the ADA and retaliatory termination: “…A disability leave of absence that an employee seeks as a reasonable accommodation ‘is a factual issue well suited to a jury determination,’ ” his ruling stated.
He also found that “a reasonable jury could conclude that the real reason for plaintiff’s termination was not the violation of company policy but the fact that plaintiff had filed a workers compensation claim against defendant.
A jury could reasonably conclude that Amica seized on the pretext of a violation of company policy as soon as it presented itself in order to terminate plaintiff, but that the real reason for the termination was retaliatory animus against plaintiff for pursuing a workers compensation claim.
There is a genuine issue of material fact as to plaintiff’s claim of retaliatory discharge, and defendant’s motion for summary judgment on this claim is denied.” Judge Alonso granted the summary judgment related to the estoppel claim, as Mr. Buhe voluntarily requested to dismiss this part of his suit, according to court records.

Let food stamp recipients eat socialism
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Let food stamp recipients eat socialism

Who knew that President Trump and some in his Cabinet were closet Socialists.
How else to explain their plan to slash a partnership between government and private industry that provides food for the poorest Americans and partially replace it with a program fresh from Cold War Bulgaria.
Since the 1960s, low-income Americans have received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, and used them to buy food at about 260,000 retailers from Wal-Mart to corner groceries to farmers’ markets.
Under Trump’s proposed budget, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would purchase food with its bulk buying power, put in containers called “America’s Harvest Boxes,” and somehow get them to 16.4 million households across the country.
Just how, no one has explained.
That will be a problem for the states.
Never mind that this would require a gigantic bureaucracy to store food, assemble boxes, deliver the boxes to states, let people pick up their boxes or distribute boxes to recipients, keep track of the addresses and moves of millions of Americans, track who get the boxes and who doesn’t, and find a speedy way to replace boxes that are late or stolen so people don’t go hungry.
All this so recipients who now choose what they eat and buy fresh, nutritious food at local stores with what amounts to a debit card can instead get a “Harvest Box” filled with pastas, cereals and other non-perishables.
And there’s this: The boxes would provide only half of the monthly allotment, so the government would still be distributing debit cards.
The SNAP benefit for each person in a single-parent household with children is about $1.40 per meal — not exactly fancy recipe resources.

As Some Got Free Health Care, Gwen Got Squeezed: An Obamacare Dilemma
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As Some Got Free Health Care, Gwen Got Squeezed: An Obamacare Dilemma

Her health insurance company informed her that coverage for her family of three, purchased through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, would cost almost 60 percent more this year — $1,200 a month.
“It seems to me that people who earn nothing and contribute nothing get everything for free,” said Ms. Hurd, 30.
She qualifies for Medicaid — free government health insurance that millions more low-income Americans have gained through an expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act.
President Trump’s attempts to undermine the health law have exacerbated a tension at the heart of it — while it aims to provide health coverage for all, the law is far more generous to the poor and near poor than the middle class.
Many Republican states plan to start requiring many Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or take job-training classes.
Another 29,000 were getting subsidized coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and many of them have seen their out-of-pocket costs drop this year.
She’s been working about 30 hours a week at the outlet mall and a small remodeling firm while looking for a job with good benefits in communications or marketing.
“I’m just kind of finding my way, so the health insurance is so helpful.” For Ms. Hurd, health care has been something to avoid since she and her husband got the marketplace plan shortly after Harry’s birth last year.
The story was about a report that found Medicaid recipients used health care more aggressively than marketplace customers, presumably because their coverage was free.
But research has found that most Medicaid recipients without disabilities, like Ms. DiCola, already work at least part-time.

Trump proposes replacing food stamps with food boxes but anti-hunger advocates not swallowing it
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Trump proposes replacing food stamps with food boxes but anti-hunger advocates not swallowing it

For a time, Dave Miner, who works to end hunger, tried the Blue Apron service at home.
While he liked the recipes, the home-delivered food in a box service was too expensive, so he canceled it.
Under the program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients who receive more than $90 a month would get less discretionary money and instead would receive a box of nonperishable food items each month.
… The best way for people to get the food they want is to purchase it for themselves.” In Indiana the Family and Social Services Administration oversees the SNAP program.
Under the Trump administration’s proposal, the food boxes will not contain healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Giving SNAP beneficiaries choice over what they purchase helps alleviate some of the stigma attached to receiving government assistance, said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.
In addition, the Trump Administration has provided few details for how the plan would work on the ground.
The organization estimates 1 million Hoosiers are food-insecure.
Federal funding could go further if it supported Feeding America regional produce cooperatives, which distribute fresh produce to hundreds of locations across Gleaners’ service area at an average cost of 16.5 cents per pound, Elliott said.
Nor is it clear that there are many places where SNAP can trim costs, said Miner, projects chair for the Indy Hunger Network.

Donald Trump’s food stamp box idea is a solution without a problem
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Donald Trump’s food stamp box idea is a solution without a problem

With the release of its fiscal year 2019 budget, the Trump administration pitched a “bold, innovative approach” to reform food stamps.
The proposal recommends the creation of a program that would ship food packages known as “America’s Harvest Box” to SNAP recipients receiving more than $90 monthly in benefits nationwide, which would encompass 81% of SNAP recipients (16.4 million households).
These new Harvest Boxes would take the place of half of SNAP recipients’ current benefits.
More: How to start fixing democracy with the $1.50-a-week tax cut Paul Ryan gave you More: Sen. Tim Scott: New tax law will spur opportunity in distressed communities SNAP is not a perfect system.
It costs American taxpayers a large amount of money and has not proved effective enough in moving able-bodied benefit recipients towards work.
The odds that a proposal such as this could actually save money, let alone the kind of money that the USDA suggests, are low.
The Harvest Box program would need the ability to deliver food on a monthly basis to households all across America.
Assuming 16.4 million packages sent out 12 months a year, about 197 million Harvest Boxes would have to be sent out annually.
Taxpayers and benefit recipients would benefit from a better defined pathway to work for SNAP recipients and program integrity reforms.
Neither would benefit from an inefficient and expensive system that tells Americans what to eat.

How Dental Inequality Hurts Americans
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How Dental Inequality Hurts Americans

“Without adequate oral health care, patients are far more likely to have medical issues down the road.” There are also clear connections between poor oral health and pain and loss of teeth.
But the problems go beyond health.
About one-third of adults with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty level (low enough to be eligible for Medicaid in states that adopted the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion) report that the appearance of their teeth and mouth affected their ability to interview for a job.
As of January 2018, only 17 state Medicaid programs offered comprehensive adult dental benefits, and only 14 of those did so for the population eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
More typically, states offer only limited dental benefits or none.
But compared with those enrolled in private coverage through an employer or on their own, the population eligible for Medicaid is much more likely to need dental care and much less likely to be able to afford it or coverage for it.
Kentucky offers limited dental benefits to Medicaid enrollees, including those on whom work requirements would be imposed.
Oregon offers dental coverage only for emergencies.
The study found that one year after the lottery, Medicaid coverage meant more people got dental care (largely through emergency department use), and the percentage of people reporting unmet dental needs fell to 47 percent from 61 percent.
Another study, published in the Journal of Health Economics, found that Medicaid dental coverage increased the chances that Medicaid-eligible people had a dental visits by as much as 22 percent.

Almost one-third of people are obese in Franklin County
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Almost one-third of people are obese in Franklin County

Heather Adams has been trying to lose weight for 15 years.
Adams has tried everything to shed pounds, from low-carb diets to simply eating more fruits, vegetables and other healthy alternatives, but just eating healthy can be hard when those foods come with big price tags.
In Franklin County 30 percent of adults fall into the obese category, according to the the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment from Summit Health.
I would like to be able to walk with my husband, but I get worn out too quickly, and I’m so depressed that I really don’t feel like doing anything.” But even though the county is doing better compared to the rest of the nation – and a smaller portion of people in the county were obese in 2015 than in 2008 and 2012 – there are still roughly 35,000 people in the area who are struggling with this health concern.
Her weight is also creating other health problems – only this time it’s mental, not physical.
About half of her budget goes to food, she added, but that number could go up when she was dieting.
To try and encourage locals to exercise more, Summit Health and Healthy Franklin County, a local organization that aims to improve the health of all residents, teamed up this year to create the Stepping into Spring program.
Purdy said this program encourages young women to get moving, while at the same time decreasing obesity.
Heather Adams of Waynesboro reads books to help her create healthier meals.
She then educates them on the importance of diet and exercise, and according to their BMI, gives them goals to help them lose five percent of their body weight in three to six months.

Trump and the GOP are making the Republican brand toxic for a generation
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Trump and the GOP are making the Republican brand toxic for a generation

The only voice of real leadership came from former President Obama, the titular head of the Democratic Party, who reminded us that “we are not powerless” to curtail this violence.
In doing so, he is championing the anti-immigration wing of the party, which has been expanding in strength since the 1990s, resisting any effort, whether from a Republican President like George W. Bush or a Democratic President like Obama, to pass immigration reform that would include a path to citizenship.
President Trump has legitimated these anti-immigrant voices as being the face of Republican Party politics.
Given the strength of immigrant populations throughout the country and the way in which those immigrants are woven into the fabric of suburbs, exurbs, and cities all over America, the Republicans might really be paying the price at the ballot box in years to come.
As the #metoo movement put issues of gender rights front and center on the national landscape, President Trump’s general response has been hesitation or downright opposition.
Indeed, his tin-ear response about the news of White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s history of domestic abuse allegations, was to take a shot at the #metoo movement.
And on gun control, the clear political benefits that the GOP accrues from its 2nd Amendment stance makes it challenging to broaden the coalition into areas of the country, such as blue-state suburbs, where moderate voters are turned off by the idea of doing nothing in the face of mass shootings such as last week’s tragedy in a Florida high school.
Polls consistently show that voters back stricter gun control measures.
As the Republicans blow up the deficit so that they can have massive corporate tax cuts, the White House is helping enable Ryan’s ongoing mission to go after the social safety net.
There have been Republicans who have been consistently skeptical of law enforcement agencies.

Montgomery couple convicted of Social Security, food stamps fraud
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Montgomery couple convicted of Social Security, food stamps fraud

Montgomery Police Department data on criminal offenses in January 2018.
Wochit A Social Security office employee and her husband, both Montgomery residents, were convicted of fraud and witness tampering at the Federal Courthouse in Montgomery on Thursday.
More: The great divide: ‘Redlining’ kept neighborhoods separate, unequal “The trial evidence showed that the Palmers lied about their incomes and living arrangements for the purposes of fraudulently obtaining Social Security benefits on behalf of Nakia Palmer’s minor son,” the release states.
In total, the couple received $25,000 in improper benefits, money that the trial found was spent on a new vehicle.
Nakia Palmer was convicted of mail fraud, theft of government property, Social Security benefit fraud and food stamp fraud.
“Government benefit programs exist to ensure that those in need do not go without the necessities of life,” said United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin.
“The Palmers abused the system not out of need, but to maintain their lifestyles.
In carrying out their greedy scheme, the Palmers apparently thought that they were above the law.
I hope that this verdict sends the message that the theft of taxpayers’ dollars will not go unpunished.” A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The Palmers face fines and maximum sentences of 20 years’ imprisonment.