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Thousands of Kids in Florida Lost Medicaid Coverage on Easter – Nearly Half a Million Last Year

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Nearly half-a-million children in Florida have lost Medicaid coverage over the past year, after the DeSantis administration and Florida Republican lawmakers chose to not extend Medicaid coverage as the COVID pandemic was declared officially over. Florida reportedly is the only state in the nation to not adopt the Biden administration’s strategies to “minimize terminations for procedural reasons.”

Thousands of children on Easter Sunday lost coverage, NBC6 reported.

“Florida has dropped over 1.3 million people, including 460,000 children, from its state Medicaid program since April 1, 2023, after the end of a pandemic-era policy that banned states from removing ineligible participants from the health insurance program for disabled and low-income people,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The reasons for Florida dropping 1.3 million from Medicaid are varied, including improvement in economic status, or just “red tape.”

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra has issued strong criticism of Florida’s actions.

“Children in Florida have ‘without a doubt’ lost coverage due to paperwork snafus,” Secretary Becerra told the Sentinel. “Becerra previously sent a letter to DeSantis and eight other governors expressing concern about the large number of children who had lost coverage due to red tape.”

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“It continues to not just disturb but confound, I think, a lot of folks that some states have chosen not to address the loss of health care by so many children,” Becerra also said. “… Denying that child those services is not just unconscionable, it’s a nightmare for the family.”

In January the Tallahassee Democrat reported, “the Sunshine State, with 2.5 million uninsured, also has one of the nation’s highest shares of residents without health coverage.”

“In turning back a program that could bring health coverage to roughly 1 million Floridians, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate also are rejecting about $5.6 billion in federal aid which would come in the first two years of expansion, and about $4.4 billion annually after that.”

Last year HuffPost‘s Jonathan Cohn reported Florida’s uninsured amounts to “about 12% of its population, which is well above the national average of 8.6%. It’s also more than all but four other states,” Cohn added. “Floridians without insurance suffer because when they can’t pay for their medical care, they end up in debt or go without needed treatment or both. The state suffers, too, because it ends up with a sicker, less productive workforce as well as a higher charity care load for its hospitals, clinics and other pieces of the medical safety net. DeSantis could do something about this. He has refused.”

Meanwhile. The Florida Policy Institute reported last month, “Florida is the only state that has not opted to utilize policy flexibilities offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the number of children losing coverage due to system error or red tape.”

Florida has its own children’s health care alternative to Medicaid, Florida’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, or KidCare, which “offers free, subsidized and full-pay insurance for kids whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid,” according to the Sentinel.

But coverage differs from Medicaid, as a report from WFLA shows. The DeSantis administration is suing to try to force the Biden administration to drop a federal policy that requires children to be allowed to stay on the state’s plan even if their parents miss payments.

Dropping 1.3 million people in Florida exacerbates an existing health care problem.

Late last month the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported, “More than 1,300 babies a year, about four a day, die in Florida.” That report, the first in a series of three is titled, “Born to die: Florida’s infant mortality crisis.”

“Health experts say the losses of new life will continue unless the state rethinks how it fails mothers before and during pregnancy,” the paper observed. “The biggest risk to an infant’s health is always the mother’s health. When mothers have preexisting conditions, like diabetes, obesity or heart disease, their babies face a higher risk of death. Everything from Florida’s impenetrable insurance structure to its ineffective investment in maternal and prenatal health contributes to the high rate of babies who die within their first year of life, sometimes within their first minutes.”

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“Compared to a decade ago, pregnant women in Florida are older, less healthy and have more complications during birth, according to Florida Department of Health maternal health records. They also are living in a state where access to insurance — or the right insurance — is a barrier to primary and prenatal care.”

The Sun Sentinel also offered these statistics:

“Six of every 1,000 babies born in Florida die before their first birthday, a rate that exceeds the national average of 5.6. Florida babies die mostly from birth defects that affect eating or breathing, infections prevalent in preterm and low birthweight babies, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Most infants in Florida who die under the age of 1 die within their very first month. Black babies in Florida die twice as often as white non-Hispanic and Hispanic babies.”

The paper says insurance is a major factor.

“One-fifth of Florida women ages 19 to 44 have no health insurance, which is worse than 46 other states,” while “Florida is one of only 10 states where the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid for low-income adults has not been implemented. That means thousands of women of child-bearing age can’t get Medicaid health insurance for primary care who would have coverage in expansion states like Virginia or New York.”

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OPINION

‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was strongly criticized by two Democratic Congressmen after the Georgia Republican’s remarks about “Ukrainian Nazis” and her attempts to paint Ukrainians as Nazis.

“Stop bringing up Nazis and Hitler,” U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) urged, after Greene’s remarks suggesting there is a large Nazi problem in Ukraine, during a House Oversight Committee hearing. “The only people who know about Nazis and Hitler are the 10 million people and their families who lost their loved ones, generations of people who were wiped out. It is enough of this disgusting behavior, using Nazis as propaganda. You want to talk about Nazis, get yourself over to the Holocaust Museum. You go see what Nazis did. It’s despicable that we use that and we allow it and we sit here like somehow it’s regular.”

Moskowitz began by telling the Committee his “grandparents escaped the Holocaust.”

“So my grandmother was part of the Kindertransport out of Germany. Her parents were killed in Auschwitz. My grandfather, her husband escaped Poland, from the pogroms,” he continued.

READ MORE: ‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

“There are no concentration camps in Ukraine. They’re not taking babies and shooting them in the air ’cause they’re Jewish. There’s no gas chambers. There’s no ovens. They’re not railing people in, they’re not ripping gold out of people’s mouth. They’re not taking stuff out of their home. They’re not trying to erase a people. They’re Ukrainians.”

Greene’s remarks over the weekend had caused anger.

“It’s antisemitic to make Israeli aid contingent on funding Ukrainian Nazis,” Congresswoman Greene declared Sunday from her official government social media account, as legislation to support Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan moved to the top of Speaker Mike Johnson’s priority list in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel. Her implication appeared to be Ukrainians are Nazis – a Putin talking point.

Greene on Wednesday spent several minutes again implying there are many Nazis in Ukraine, as she was refuted by a top scholar, Yale professor of history Timothy Snyder. Dr. Snyder is the author of a dozen books, including two on Nazis and the Holocaust, and is an expert on the Holocaust, Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.

Responding to Greene’s remarks, Snyder told the lawmakers, “no far-right party has ever crossed three percent” in a Ukrainian election.

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Greene was also criticized by U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), who called her out for her “hypocrisy” and reminded her that in 2022 she “spoke at event led by white supremacists.”

That event was hosted by white supremacist Nick Fuentes:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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OPINION

‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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The media’s ability to shape public opinion is well-documented, and by the end of the second day of the first criminal trial in history of a former U.S. president critics are slamming the content, framing, and focus of mainstream media organizations. The biggest concerns: refusing to cover the former president’s apparent inability to stay awake in court, too much identifying information of potential and chosen jurors, and even subtle descriptions that can be used to feed into false perceptions the trial is “unfair” or, as the ex-president likes to say, a “scam.”

Overnight, CNN’s Oliver Darcy’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter blasted mainstream media outlets that “strangely show little interest in reporting on Donald Trump’s courtroom naps.”

“Imagine, for a moment, if President Joe Biden were to be caught openly sleeping at an important hearing,” Darcy posits. Trump was caught “nodding” off repeatedly several times over the first two days of trial (there is not trial Wednesdays). “Then imagine it were to occur at another important hearing the next day. Not only would right-wing media outlets like Fox News run wild with coverage questioning his fitness for office, mainstream news organizations would no doubt also treat the snooze fest as a serious news story. But, for some unknown reason, Donald Trump falling asleep at his historic criminal trial in New York (as he apparently did, again, on Tuesday) has been met with a rather muted response.”

READ MORE: SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

Noting, “It’s important,” Darcy asks, “why has much of the press fallen asleep at the wheel?” and serves up some examples – or lack thereof.

“ABC News and NBC News didn’t even bother mentioning it on their evening newscasts and many major outlets haven’t even filed straight stories on it. To be frank, if not for The NYT’s Maggie Haberman reporting on the matter Tuesday, it’s unclear whether the public — which is relying on news organizations to be its eyes and ears in the courtroom, given cameras are barred — would know about it.”

“It’s all the more bizarre given that Trump has made attacking ‘sleepy Joe’ a central tenet of his campaign, framing the president as lacking the stamina to serve in the nation’s highest office. Which is to say, the fact that Trump is the one apparently unable to stay awake in his own criminal trial isn’t a trivial story.”

Jennifer Schulze, a media critic who was a Chicago Sun-Times executive producer, WGN news director, and adjunct college professor of journalism, pointing to Darcy’s criticism, calls it “a big journalism fail.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

The ex-president is facing 34 felony counts for falsification of business records when he paid hush money to an adult film actress then allegedly tried to cover it up, which some say is election interference.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan is overseeing the Trump trial, and ordered the identities of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain anonymous. Trump has a proven track record of alleged attempts to intimidate witnesses, judges, prosecutors, and others involved in his trials.

Some are concerned the media went too far in posting and publishing some possibly identifying information internet sleuths could use to piece together their names.

“There is seriously far, far too much identifying information about prospective jurors, several of whom are now empaneled, coming out in the press,” warned attorney and author Luppe B. Luppen.

Here’s how Fox News host Jesse Watters used that information to target one empaneled juror, while attempting to discredit the trial.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity went after “Juror Number One,” who is the foreperson.

It is not just Fox News targeting jurors.

Even The New York Times’ coverage of jurors drew the ire of critics.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

Here’s how The Times’ Jonah Bromwich reported on the jury foreperson:

“The foreperson who was just selected — that’s juror one, the de facto leader of the group who will likely help steer deliberations — works in sales and enjoys the outdoors. He is originally from Ireland, but will help decide the former American president’s fate.”

University of Wisconsin—Madison professor of political science, who has a Ph.D. in Government, criticized the Times’ reporting.

“100% certain if the foreperson were native born, they would not have written this sentence and used the formulation of ‘former president’ subtly implying the foreperson from Ireland is somehow not a real American.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

 

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OPINION

SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

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Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared skeptical of a law used to prosecute over 300 January 6 defendants, and Donald Trump, as they heard oral arguments Tuesday.

“A decision rejecting the government’s interpretation of the law could not only disrupt those prosecutions but also eliminate two of the federal charges against former President Donald J. Trump in the case accusing him of plotting to subvert the 2020 election,” The New York Times reports.

“January 6 insurrectionists had a great day in the Supreme Court today,” Vox‘s Ian Millhiser reported. “Most of the justices seem to want to make it harder to prosecute January 6 rioters.”

Millhiser on social media put it this way: “On Monday, the Supreme Court effectively eliminated the right to hold a Black Lives Matter protest in three US states. On Tuesday, the same justices were very, very afraid that January 6 insurrectionists are being treated unfairly.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Right-wing justices on the Supreme Court suggested the law, which makes it a crime to obstruct an official proceeding, could be used too broadly.

“Would a sit-in that disrupts a trial or access to a federal courthouse qualify?” Justice Neil Gorsuch asked, as NBC News reported. “Would a heckler in today’s audience qualify, or at the State of the Union address? Would pulling a fire alarm before a vote, qualify for 20 years in federal prison?”

Some legal experts appeared stunned and disappointed by the right-wing justices’ remarks.

“In oral argument today, Justice [Clarence] Thomas is minimizing the severity of the 1/6 insurrection at the Capitol. Perhaps that’s because his wife was part of the conspiracy. What a disgrace that he’s sitting on this case,” attorney and frequent CNN guest Jeffrey Toobin commented.

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“The text of the obstruction law the Supreme Court is considering today pretty clearly applies to January 6 defendants. Will the purportedly textualist conservative majority, as in Trump v. Anderson, once again bypass text to avoid accountability for Trump and his supporters?” asked former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is now president of the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

“Supreme Court expressed concern that Jan 6 prosecutions could chill violent insurrections against democracy,” wrote Scott Shapiro, a Yale Law School professor of law and professor of philosophy.

Elie Mystal, The Nation’s justice correspondent, did not hold back.

“The six conservative justices are absolutely trying to figure out how to throw out the obstruction charges against their cousins and wives and pledge brothers who attacked the Capitol on January 6,” he wrote.

Similar to Millhiser’s comparison, Mystal remarked, “If you think that trash you just heard from the Supreme Court about protecting J6 rioters will *ever* be applied to peaceful Black protesters, think again.”

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Image via Shutterstock

 

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