Thursday, March 25, 2010

 

 

 

 

Opposition reacts to healthcare reform law
Texas mandated to spend $24 billion to expand Medicaid coverage as result of HR 3590
Monitor Staff Reports

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Texans are howling over the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Sunday, and the President’s signing it into law Tuesday.
H.R. 3590 passed with a 219-212 vote, with all Republican representatives opposing the action.
A few pro-life Democratic opponents, led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, were won over in the final hours of debate after President Barack Obama promised to issue an executive order to “ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services.”
Stupak said the order would “protect the sanctity of life in health care reform.”
Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott wasted no time before announcing his joining with other states in denouncing it. The first state to do so was Idaho.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a law March 17 (before HR 3590’s passage) requiring the state attorney general to file a suit against it.
Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 12 state attorneys general filed legal action challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal health care law.
The legal challenge charges the new law “infringes upon Americans’ constitutionally-protected individual liberties; encroaches upon the states’ constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty; forces states to spend billions of additional dollars on entitlement programs; imposes an unconstitutional tax; and violates the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
“Under the new law, for the first time in the nation’s history, the federal government is attempting to force individual Americans to enter into contracts and purchase services from private companies – in this case, insurance companies – or face a penalty,” Abbott said.
The state attorneys general are challenging this so-called individual mandate requirement, because it exceeds Congress’ authority and violates Americans’ constitutional rights, he added.
Additionally, the states are challenging provisions of the new law that will impose dramatic Medicaid spending increases on the states, including more than $24 billion in mandatory spending increases in the State of Texas, alone, Abbott said.
The suit was filed in Pensacola, with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum leading the lawsuit.
In addition to Texas, he is joined by Republican attorneys general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana (except James Caldwell of Louisiana is a Democrat).
The lawsuit was filed just seven minutes after Obama signed the 10-year $938 billion bill into law.
(However, HR 3590 was immediately amended by a second bill of “fixes” in the form of a companion bill, also approved Sunday by the House, and expected to be passed by the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority next week.)
McCollum charges the bill will cause “substantial harm and financial burden to the states.”
He predicts expanding Florida’s Medicaid rolls will cost the state an additional $150 million in 2014, growing to $1 billion a year by 2019.
“We simply cannot afford to do the things in this bill that we’re mandated to do,” McCollum said at a press conference after filing the suit. He said Medicaid expansion in Florida will cost $1.6 billion.
“The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage,” the lawsuit states.
Tuesday, legislators forming the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) announced that they will file legislation rejecting the bill, due to the impact and costs it will have on the state and its citizens.
“I view this act to be unconstitutional and a power grab by the Pelosi/Reid group. It is devastating to all Texans who have overwhelmingly voiced their concerns and received a ‘slap in the face’ from Congress,” State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) stated in a press release Monday.
Virginia filed its own lawsuit Tuesday and still others may join the multi-state suit.

USCG Auxiliary bestows service awards
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY—The volunteer members of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-4 logged 6,711 hours of service in 2009, including conducting more than 36 search and rescue missions on Cedar Creek Lake. CGAuxiliaryAwards.jpg (161682 bytes)
“No one else does this service,” 2010 Cmdr. Joe Erwin said during the organization’s annual awards dinner Saturday.

Monitor Photo/
Pearl Cantrell
AT RIGHT: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-4 named Auxiliarists of the Year during an award banquet Saturday at Vetoni's in Gun Barrel City. Past-commander Bill Fackler (far left) was recognized for member training, and he was also named Overall Auxiliarist of the Year. Next to him, Jon Raden, Michelle Zeig and Chuck Abbott were also recognized, along with Taylor Golden (not pictured).


For outstanding service and exceeding five criteria, Flotilla 15-4 was one of seven flotillas in Division 5 to receive the Silver Oar award, an award the flotilla has customarily earned annually.
“We had a good year, and we did a good job,” past flotilla commander Giles Farmer said.
This year’s awards included a first-time award. The Meritorious Team Commendation was awarded to 2009 Flotilla Cmdr. Jim Salzmann and his team for their work associated with the July 4, 2009, air show Thunder Over Cedar Creek.
Team members Royce Brimage, Harry Kaufman, Chuck Abbott, Giles Farmer and Jim Salzmann spent 400 hours determining a safety zone, using GPA coordinates and constructing 12 on-water markers, costing $450 paid for by the flotilla.
Team members also absorbed other costs related to the project and provided crowd control to 1,600 vessels on the water for the event, Erwin said.
Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake is the only over water air show in the United States, Erwin said. The team mapped out a safety zone on the lake one mile long and half a mile wide, Erwin added.
For this effort each team member was presented with a meritorious award.
“The team exhibited the pride, dedication and professionalism associated with the highest traditions of the U.S. Coast Guard,” Erwin said.
Salzmann presented the six highest awards for Auxiliarist of the Year in several categories. “These are special awards and stand for many hours of service,” Salzmann said.
The award for Auxiliarist of the Year in the category of operations went to Chuck Abbott. In the vessel examiner category, Taylor Golden got the award. For dealer visits, Jon Raden was named, and in public education, Michelle Zeig was the award winner.
For member training and as overall Auxiliarist of the Year, past flotilla commander Fackler was the award winner.
“Every award earned represents a lot of hours. It is greatly appreciated,” Division 5 vice commander Brian Kennedy said.
Awards for sustained service were also presented. Kaufman was recognized for more than 7,000 hours racked up over 13 years. This was his ninth year to earn the award. In 2009, he served with 175 hours in operations and 752.1 mission hours.
Helga Nicholas earned her first sustained hours award with 750 hours. John Steele was commended for contributing in excess of 60 operational hours.
Salzmann racked up 133.4 operation hours and 839.1 mission hours, while Abbott accumulated 224.3 mission hours. Flotilla vice commander Betty Abbott clocked 100.23 operational hours and Glenna Roodhouse, 106.5. Fackler scored 57.45 instructional hours.
Two retiring members also received special recognition. Roodhouse and Rosemary Farmer were recognized for their many hours of service.
Roodhouse was commended for averaging more than 100 hours on the water every year for the past seven years, and serving on three staff office levels – flotilla, division and district.
Rosemary Farmer was recognized with the 20-year Membership Service Award.
Division 5 Cmdr. Al Hardy announced that the remote- controlled robot boat named “Coastie” has been assigned to Division 5. “I guess that makes me, Coastie’s uncle,” he said of the nifty public educational tool.
“Kids really enjoy Coastie,” he added.
“2010 is going to be especially busy, as we bring Coastie to the North Texas area. Coastie is going to bring a lot of recognition to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary,” Hardy said. “There’s a lot to do, and we’re prepared to do it.”


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