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April 2017

Why Does Replacing Obamacare Matter to Seniors?

Washington Watch


President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) applies to about 11.4 million recipients currently but makes little difference to those who get their health insurance through their employer. It also doesn’t mean a lot for many of the 55 million retirees who get their insurance through Medicare.


What matters is that if lawmakers fail to adequately replace the ACA, the health insurance market could collapse, leaving millions struggling to face increasingly high premiums. House Republicans have proposed sweeping changes to both Medicaid and Medicare, which, if approved, could directly affect 125 million people.


While President Trump vowed he would not change Medicare during his campaign, Tom Price, in his new role as HHS Secretary, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have a different agenda. Their view is that repealing Obamacare is only the first step in getting federal spending under control by scaling back entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.


As a member of Congress, Price was insistent that this year’s agenda would include not just Obamacare but Medicare and Medicaid reforms. Privatizing the Medicare program for seniors and the disabled, and turning Medicaid, the program for the poor, back to the states are Price’s top suggestions to get control of unrestrained health spending. Opponents worry that both changes instead shift the financial burden of health care from the federal government to the states and individuals.


In order to get House and Senate approval of repeal and replace measures, lawmakers have been forced to make the moves in separate parts. “There are three phases of this plan,” Price told reporters recently. The House bill is the first step. It would repeal taxes on wealthy Americans, do away with a tax penalty on those who fail to obtain insurance, and adjust the rules governing insurance premiums so, in general, younger, healthy people pay less while older, sicker people pay more.


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The Hindenburg Disaster – Up Close and Personal News

Silver Screen, Golden Years


Long before the era of nightly television broadcast news, let alone round-the-clock cable news coverage, already edited filmed news stories were delivered in the can to movie theaters after the event was over. The Hindenburg disaster of May 6, 1937, was one such event, but the announcer’s panicked, impassioned reporting made this tragedy seem personal, and everyone in the theater felt they were there. The famous film became a flashpoint of history and American popular culture. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the crash of the Hindenburg and the end to the era of dirigibles.


Five newsreel companies sent cameramen to Lakehurst, New Jersey, where the German airship Hindenburg was to land at the Naval Air Station after a two-and-a-half-day Atlantic crossing. The luxury zeppelin was in its second year of service, had made many safe crossings to the U.S. and to South America from Germany, and this particular landing in New Jersey was expected to be routine. Crews from Fox, Hearst, Pathé, Paramount, and Universal studios were on hand to film the news for movie theater audiences, but nobody was prepared for what happened.


Just as the great airship hovered, nearly still, above the airfield, ropes dropping from its nose as the crew prepared to tie down to a mooring mast as it loomed just under 300 feet over the ground, a sudden shocking explosion blew the great elliptical balloon apart. Black smoke streamed from it, and fingers of flame instantly crawled up the metal framework, peeling away the canvas skin. It became one of the most iconic images of the first half of the 20th century


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