Opioid Crisis Data for the NY23rd, by Counties

 

opioidsThe Finger Lakes Times (Monday, September 18) published an article on the Finger Lakes  Area Counceling & Recovering Agency (FLACRA) recent $1.4 million in federal funds to combat the Opioid crisis.  The article starts, “Sixteen counties in New York have been called the most severely affected in the state when it comes to the heroin and opioid crisis, Unfortunately, Yates and Ontario counties are on that list.”

The chart below is one set of data from the New York State  County Opioid Quarterly Report (July 2017).  The report has two pages of data for each county in NYS dealing with our heroin and opioid crisis, including hospitalizations and deaths. This chart shows the number of overdoses for the past two years, and what it would be if there were 100,000 people in each county.

The data raises many questions. Why would Yates County has a rating of 87.8 overdoses per 100,000 people when neighboring Schuyler County has less than half of that? Why would Cattaraugus and neigboring Chautauqua couinties have such  different 2016 ratings? Why did number of Cattaraugus overdose rating jump from 46/100,000 to 70/100,000 in one year? Notice that Tompkins County’s overdoses doubled i a year!

This data should be driving the direction that County Legislature (including the Sheriff Departments) steer their policies.

The grant came from the Opioid State Targeted Response-Centers of Treatment Innovation Initiative, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. My understanding is that funding for heroin and opioid was going to be cut in the first two TrumpCare proposals that failed to become law. I have to assume the newest proposal will not be friendly to this problem. If the newest last-ditch proposal passes in the Senate, it will need go to the House for approval. Now is the time to contact Rep. Tom Reed to let him know that our district needs more funding to “care” for our residents, not less.

Reed’s Office Phone Numbers

  • Washington (202) 225-3161
  • Corning (607) 654-7566
  • Geneva (315)-759-5229
  • Ithaca (607) 222-2027
  • Jamestown (716)-708-6369
  • Olean (716)-379-8434
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Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations

problems-3Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) writes:

This week the House resumed consideration of the FY 2018 appropriations bills with H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018. You may recall that in July the House passed H.R. 3219 which included the Defense, Legislative Branch, Energy and Water, and Military-Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills. None of them were considered under regular legislative order and the House still has not passed a budget resolution.

H.R. 3354 includes the following appropriations bills: Interior-Environment; Agriculture; Commerce-Justice-Science; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; State and Foreign Operations, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. H.R. 3354 is just as bad as H.R. 3219. Taken together, both bills come in higher than allowed under the Budget Control Act (BCA), which remains in effect. This means that every department and program covered could be cut by 13% because it has to adhere to the numbers agreed to in the BCA. If not, then the domestic programs would have to be cut even more dramatically in order to offset the higher than allowed spending in the military budgets.

H.R. 3354 cuts funding for far too many important programs. The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Economic Development Administration are all cut. Funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program is eliminated and Juvenile Justice programing also suffers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) comes in at almost $710 million less than last fiscal year. Recent events suggest we should be paying close attention to both oceans and atmosphere.

This legislation also underfunds important cybersecurity and homeland security initiatives, including research and development designed to combat threats. It eliminates the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grant program, prohibits administrators from using funds for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and eliminates federal reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for preventive health care.

It doesn’t spare education funding either – reducing resources for afterschool and summer programming, initiatives that seek to reduce socioeconomic and racial disparities in academic achievement. The legislation eliminates teacher development and literacy grants as well as federal funding for the Special Olympics. In a world no one believes is getting safer, H.R. 3354 cuts State Department funding by 17%. This will have serious consequences for everything from embassy security to international disaster assistance. It also eliminates the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant which helps communities afford large infrastructure projects such as Ruggles Station, which is being improved thanks to a TIGER grant. Public housing, community development block grants, and Amtrak all lose out too. I could go on and on but I think you now know what to expect.

Despite all these cuts, H.R. 3354 does increase funding for immigration enforcement, which is sadly not a surprise given the Administration’s approach so far. H.R. 3354 also ignores the President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint when it comes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That budget proposal cut FEMA by $71 million.

Now that the House has passed H.R. 3354 it will be combined with H.R. 3219 and sent to the Senate.

H.R. 3354 passed 211-198; only seven more Republican NO votes would have defeated it. Rep. Reed voted AYE.

The House considered an amendment offered by Mr. Gohmert, numbered 195 printed in House Report 115-297 to reduce the Internal Revenue Service’s Operations Support account by $165,300.00 and apply the savings to the spending reduction account.” For whatever reason, Tom Reed voted NO, and this amendment was defeated. Tom occasionally does right, and we should take notice.

On passage:

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll528.xml

On the Gohmert amendment:

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll519.xml

 

 

Posted in Reed's Views | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t be a Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown Football

Tonight’s Reed Headlines:

Collins, Reed push for bill to help “Dreamers”

Buffalo News

“It’s recognizing that the children that have come here that have good moral character, that have not demonstrated any kind of national security threat or engaged in any kind of criminal activity, that they be given an opportunity to stay here with a permanent legal status,” Reed said of the legislation. “To me that’s a first step in the conversation and a very reasonable step, and that’s why we supported it.”

Problem Solvers join with governors Kasich, Hickenlooper for bipartisan healthcare solutions

Finger Lakes Times

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan effort to shore up critical issues connected to the Affordable Care Act has the support of Congressman Tom Reed, R-23 of Corning, and other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

House GOP Rips Mnunchin on Sales Pitch for Debt Limit Deal

ExpressNewsline

“I think any speaker is going to have a very hard time in this environment”, said Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y.

DACA? Fixing the ACA Train Wreck? Voting for the 3-month Debt Limit? I don’t trust him. Don’t be like Charlie Brown.

 

Posted in Reed's Views, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Glucose testing

test stripsAsk your doctor if ???? is right for you.–heard all too often on TV

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks R-Indiana) writes:

Remember the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act that Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Rep. Tom Reed, and I introduced on Monday? Yesterday that bill was included in a House Committee on Energy and Commerce where we discussed ways to strengthen and improve Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries across the country and in IN-05 who live with the daily challenges associated with need access to test strips that work best with their bodies to monitor their glucose levels. This bill will help  access supplies that allow them to best control their diabetes. 

It is astonishing that Rep. Brooks talks about strengthening Medicare at the same time that Medicare funding is under attack.
  • Politicians often advocate consumer choice–shop for insurance that meets your needs, ask your doctor for this product or that, search for low cost drugs and services. However, most consumers lack the time and expertise to make wise choices.
  • Consumers are unlikely to know which test strips work with their meter. Inferior, low-cost strips are a danger.
  • There is a black market in test strips. Insurers warn that black market test strips may be inappropriate. Selling test strips on the black market is illegal and drives up the cost of insurance.
  • Manufactures suggest using only those test strips made to work with specific meters. This sounds self-serving, but following the meter manufacturer’s recommendation is no doubt the safest plan. Meters with similar names may require different strips; read the labels carefully.

The text of H.R. 3271 is incomprehensible to anyone but experts. Here is the CRS summary:

Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act of 2017

This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to modify provisions relating to Medicare’s competitive acquisition program (through which rates are set through a competitive bidding program rather than by an established fee schedule) with respect to diabetic testing strips. Specifically, the bill requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to:

  • use specified data to determine whether a bid satisfies certain requirements related to volume of coverage with respect to such products,
  • reject a bid if the bidder does not demonstrate its ability to furnish such products in a manner consistent with its bid, and
  • establish a process to monitor the extent to which an entity continues to cover the product types included in its bid.

The CMS may terminate a contract if it determines that an entity, for reasons other than product discontinuation or market-wide shortage, fails to maintain ready access to such products included its bid.

In addition, the bill specifies that an entity furnishing such products to beneficiaries under the program: (1) must furnish to each beneficiary a brand of strips that is compatible with the beneficiary’s home blood glucose monitor, (2) may not attempt to influence or incentivize a beneficiary to switch the brand of either type of product, and (3) must contact and receive a request from a beneficiary no more than 14 days prior to dispensing a refill to the beneficiary.

From the CRS Summary, one can infer:

  1. This bill is the work of a manufactures’ lobby.
  2. Low cost manufacturers have captured business with unrealistic low bids.
  3. Insurers have preferred low cost providers over more costly brands.
  4. Insurers must authorize requests for refills in a timely manner.

Competition is often held to be important in keeping costs down, so the prohibition against influencing a beneficiary to change brands is surprising–it goes against the practice of preferring generic drugs. Once my insurer did require me to change to a new glucose meter. I had no objection: the insurer paid for the new meter, and I have no reason to prefer one to another. This would evidently be prohibited if H.R. 3271 became law.

Whatever its merits, with Congress preoccupied with larger healthcare issues, and with insurers presumably lobbying against it, H.R. 3271 is likely to die in committee.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3271

https://susanwbrooks.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/bipartisan-bill-protects-diabetic-medicare-beneficiaries-access-to

https://reed.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/bipartisan-bill-protects-diabetic-medicare-beneficiaries-access-needed

 

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2018 Primary Voters: Be Aware of Friday the 13th (of October)

This article is a recap and update of an earlier NY23rd article, “Make sure you can vote in the June 2018 Primary Elections“, posted in June. The information should be past along to others.

 

vote_imageWe can assume that there will be a Democratic Primary in June 2018. Presently there are 6 officially announced Democratic candidates (and two who are exploring) running in a June 2018 Primary for the right to oppose Rep. Tom Reed in November. To vote in that Primary you have to be a registered Democrat no later than Friday, October 13, 2017—Yes, 9 months before the Primary! Remember the confusion people had in the 2016 Presidential Primaries last April? Many who were not registered Republicans nor Democrats wanted to vote, but could not. They either didn’t realize they were in a different party, or they thought they thought that they could register to vote on election day. That might be true in other states, but not New York.

Everyone can check to confirm which party they are a member of by following this link.

If they want to change parties, they need to fill out another voter registration form and get it to the County Board of Election by closing time of Friday, October 13. You can get a form  at your County’s Board Of Elections, fill it out there and hand it back to them on it the same day.   Or you can download a form, or,  request one to be mailed to you, You can mailed it or take it to your Board of Elections. When they receive your filed out form, it is placed into a locked box which will be opened a week after the November 7 General Election. The Board of Election staff will then process the form and change your party! It is easy, and it is quick.

Then the hard part comes: deciding which candidate to support. Follow them on Social Media, their Website, newspaper/video interviews and listen to them in person. Contact your County Democratic Committee to find out when they will be in your county.

Spread the word  that to vote in the June 2018 primary they will need to registered democrat by Friday, October 13. Then make sure you decide on which candidate you support.

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Income Tax: cut rates or deductions?

tax reformOn the personal side, we have protected the three big deductions — charitable, mortgage and retirement saving. We want to raise the standard deduction caps and get rid of many of the other personal deductions. —Gary Cohn

Income Tax: cut rates or deductions, which is best for the taxpayer? It depends.

If deductions are small relative to income, rate cuts are better. The savings are proportional to the rate–a one percent in rate gives a one percent reduction in tax due. The dollars saved depends on income–for a hundred thousand income a one percent rate cut saves a thousand; for a million dollar income a one percent rate cut saves ten thousand. Thus wealthy taxpayers generally benefit from rate cuts especially when marginal rates for the wealthy are high.

Taxpayers for whom deductions are significant benefit less than others from rate cuts–loss of deductions hurts. Low income taxpayers don’t qualify for many deductions and enjoy relatively low rates in any case. High income taxpayers who manage to offset most of their income with tax shelters may prefer high rates to loss of deductions; in extreme cases when taxable income is near zero due to tax avoidance, rates are unimportant.

Republicans generally favor rate cuts since they are the “party of the rich.”

What about specific deductions:

  • Charitable
  • Home mortgage interest
  • Retirement savings
  • Property, sales and/or income taxes

Charitable and Home mortgage interest are most useful to those who can afford expensive homes and generous gifts. Tax free retirement savings are useful to those who wish to shield income from taxes during working years. Property, sales and/or income taxes, which have been slated to be eliminated, may be at risk.

The problem with Property, sales and/or income tax deductions is that they benefit those in high tax blue states such as New York and California. Eliminating the property, sales and/or income tax deduction would hurt those states, but raise considerable revenue.

To protect NYS taxpayers, Tom Reed has proposed converting the current state income and/or sales tax deduction into a credit. The tax foundation suggests the credit might be 15 percent. This would be a win for taxpayers who enjoy a lower effective rate and a loss for those who currently pay more than 15 percent. While the tax foundation isn’t necessarily unbiased, the analysis of this proposal cited is interesting and useful.

Tom Reed’s proposal, while welcome, contrasts starkly with earlier proposals to embarrass NYS politicians by compelling a change in the way NYS funds medicaid. One might wonder which proposal better reflects Tom’s attitude toward his home state. Both proposals might perversely appeal to tax resisters.

https://taxfoundation.org/converting-state-local-tax-deduction-credit/

https://reed.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/reed-leads-county-medicaid-amendment

https://reed.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/reed-works-lessen-local-property-tax-burden

Posted in Congress, Political, Reed's Views, Taxes | 14 Comments

Is Tom Reed compassionate?

reed ovidI feel compassion for DREAMers who face uncertain futures due to choices not their own. We in Congress should take this opportunity to reform our legal immigration system, not only to find a permanent solution to the plight of these individuals but also to ensure that immigrants can contribute to our society and economy. We must develop policies that create both opportunity and long-term stability for our country as a whole.  — Tom Reed

Is Tom Reed Compassionate? Let’s review his record.

  • He voted against keeping the government open in 2013 potentially putting many out of work.
  • He voted against SNAP funding.
  • He voted for higher student loan interest rates.
  • He voted for a health care bill which would have deprived many of his constituents of affordable health care.

Reed is compassionate in a pig’s eye. His feigned compassion for “dreamers” is a transparent political ploy.

https://newny23rd.com/2013/10/24/rep-reeds-shutdowndebt-ceiling-vote-wont-go-away/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/06/30/the-proposed-snap-program-that-rep-reed-voted-for/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/07/30/reed-lacks-vision-on-student-loans/

https://newny23rd.com/2017/03/10/reed-buys-ahca-without-looking-at-the-cost/

https://newny23rd.com/2014/11/22/tom-reed-on-immigration-reform/

 

 

 

Posted in Congress, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged | 6 Comments