The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Friday, December 4, 2009 Volume XVIII, Number 117

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... The VFW Men’s Auxiliary will hold a turkey shoot every Sunday, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Post at the intersection of 96 & 171 highways. Public Invited, male and female.

Did Ya Know?....Saturday Jam at Red OakII every Sat. from 5 p.m. till 9. All acoustic instruments welcome.

Did Ya Know?...The First United Methodist Church, 7 & Main will hold their annual Holiday Breakfast and cookie walk on Sat. Dec. 12. 8 a.m. to noon. All you can eat breakfast $4 per person

today's laugh

Joe the lawyer died suddenly, at the age of 45. He got to the gates of Heaven, and the angel standing there said, "We’ve been waiting a long time for you."

"What do you mean?" he replied. "I’m only 45, in the prime of my life. Why did I have to die now?"

"45? You’re not 45, you’re 82," replied the angel.

"Wait a minute. If you think I’m 82, then you have the wrong guy. I’m only 45. I can show you my birth certificate."

"Hold on. Let me go check," said the angel and disappeared inside.

After a few minutes the angel returned. "Sorry, but by our records you are 82. I checked all the hours you have billed your clients, and you have to be 82."

A Chronological Record of Events as they have Transpired in the City and County since our last Issue.

Improving a Home.

D.H. Paulding is improving his recently purchased residence at 1128 South Main street. A kitchen is being added in the rear at the southeast corner, two bedrooms are being thrown into one and closets are added. The house is being painted outside and in and plastering and papering is also to be done. Mr. Paulding thinks he will be able to move into the house by the first of the year.

John Perry, a former Jasper county boy, who left here in 1884, came in today and is visiting with his old friend Judge Westly Ralston. Mr. Perry has been working for years in the great copper works at Bisby, Arizona, and has some beautiful specimens of ore from that place. He is surprised and pleased at the great improvement noticeable in Carthage since he was here. He says he will remain here until the first of May visiting friends and looking over the country.

  Today's Feature

Skate Park Battle Continues.

Carthage City Attorney Nate Dally filed a response Wednesday to a change of venue request filed by KAMO Electric Cooperative in the suit involving the City of Carthage and KAMO in regard to the placement of the City skate park. The company has power lines within 50 feet of the new facility. A hearing has been scheduled for January 27 for the change of venue hearing.

KAMO, a rural electric cooperative based in Vinita, Oklahoma, filed suit for an injunction claiming that the City had violated its power line right-of-way when the park was built last summer in the Fair Acres Sports Complex. The company asks the court to either have the City remove the park from within the right-of-way, or allow the cooperative to remove the park with the City paying for costs.

The City Council was aware of KAMO’s claim of right-of-way before it installed equipment on the concrete pad poured for park and discussed it in open session. They voted 9-0 in August to go ahead with the installation of equipment in spite of KAMO’s concerns.


What Health Care Reform Means for: Those Already Insured

by Olga Pierce and Sabrina Shankman, ProPublica

Tracy Bullion, 46

Location: Fort Wayne, Ind. Health Care Status: Happy with her insurance — and worried about the cost of reform. Household Income: $110,000

Her story:

Tracy Bullion and her husband—along with their three kids, ages 11, 14 and 18—are happy with their health insurance, which they get through her husband’s employer. "We’ve got good eye, good dental," she says. "And we’ve worked a long time for it."

The Bullions pay about $350 a month for a premium. The family has enjoyed good health, except for a lump in Bullion’s breast last year, which turned out to be benign. Their payments for tests on the lump amounted to "$50 here, $100 there," she said.

Bullion worries that an expanded government role in health care, including a public option, would negatively impact the coverage she has – and the federal budget.

"I just hope that we see a bill out there that makes sense, that isn’t going to put us in such deep, deep debt to where our children and grandchildren are going to be paying for it for the rest of their lives," she said.

What changes would mean for her:

Neither the House nor Senate bill would require the Bullions to change plans, and the cost of their health insurance probably wouldn’t change much—but lenient penalties might lead some companies to drop their coverage.

Both the House and Senate bills allow people who are happy with their coverage to keep it, unless it is below a minimum standard, in which case they would have to pay a tax penalty. Since Bullion’s coverage meets the minimum coverage standards set out in both bills, she and her family would not be affected.

There are concerns about employers pushing workers off to public programs, and indeed it has happened before.

The House and Senate bills include tax penalties for employers over a certain size that choose not to offer coverage – but the Senate’s penalty would be much smaller.

Under the House plan, most employers – including Mr. Bullion’s – would be required to provide health insurance, or else they would be fined 8 percent of their total payroll. But that might actually cost less than paying for insurance itself, because more than half of employers currently pay 10 percent or more of their payroll for health insurance.

The Senate plan would take an even gentler approach. Large employers wouldn’t have to offer health coverage. But for each employee who qualified for a government subsidy to buy insurance – those making less than four times the federal poverty level—the business would be fined $750 annually. That’s far less than the roughly $4,000 that companies pay on average now for single employee coverage.

Again, employers would have to decide if the benefits of continuing to offer coverage, such as employee morale and avoiding the fine, made it worthwhile. But more businesses might decide that it made sense to end coverage and instead just pay the relatively small fine.

Of course, currently employers can drop insurance benefits with no penalty, and many are doing so as the economy tanks and costs continue to rise.

The reforms being proposed could put some upward pressure on premiums, because both the House and Senate plans would require a comprehensive benefits package. That means all insurance plans would have to offer things like pediatric exams, hospitalization and prescription drugs. In general, the more comprehensive a plan’s coverage, the more it costs. Rules against turning down people with pre-existing conditions are in both bills, and a cap on deductibles in the House bill could also drive up premiums.

On the other hand, proponents of health care reform, including President Barack Obama, have argued that health care providers charge insured people more for health care to recoup the cost of care for the uninsured. Reducing the number of uninsured people could reduce the cost of some kinds of care, potentially reducing premiums. But the evidence of this is somewhat limited.

An analysis of the Senate proposal , by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, did indeed find that the cost of coverage in the individual market would go up about 10 to 13 percent, although that effect would be cancelled out for about half of the people buying insurance on their own because they would receive subsidies.

For people who, like Bullion, purchase insurance through the large group market - an estimated 70 percent of people under the Senate proposal - the CBO found the Senate bill would have a "negligible" effect on the cost of insurance.

The answer to how much the reform proposals would cost taxpayers is nearly as complicated. According to CBO estimates, the Senate plan would include $848 billion in new federal spending over 10 years, and the House plan calls for an eye-popping $1.05 trillion in new spending. Either way, it sounds like a huge drain on the federal budget.

But not so fast.

Both plans would offset the new spending with reductions in other federal health care costs and new sources of revenue.

Under the Senate plan, changes to Medicare, the penalties individuals and businesses would pay for not having insurance, and revenue from taxes on so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans and the health care industry, would generate $859 billion. Taking that into account, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate plan would actually reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the next 10 years.

The House plan would make many of the same changes, except it would impose a 5.4 percent surcharge on adjusted gross incomes of more than $500,000 for singles and $1 million for joint filers instead of the tax on high-cost insurance plans.

Taking that into account the House plan would reduce the federal deficit by an estimated $138 billion over 10 years, according to the CBO.

The decades after 2010-2019 would be more expensive because many of the reform provisions would not kick in until halfway through this decade, but the cost savings and taxes would start much sooner. For 2020-2029, the CBO estimate is that the plans would basically break even, or result in a small decrease of the federal budget deficit.

This all presumes, of course, that the revenue-raising measures, some of which have already drawn ire, actually make it into the final legislation intact. As some longtime observers of health care reform, like Washington Post columnist David Broder, have pointed out, Congress has struggled before to make some of the proposed changes – especially those pertaining to Medicare.

Just Jake Talkin'

You’d think there wasn’t anyone wantin’ a plain old potato chip. Even the corn chip folks are puttin’ out a fancy version of the old standby.

‘Course comin’ up with some new snack food isn’t new, they’ve been addin’ cheese to ever’thing in a sack for some time.

‘Member those little barrel shaped corn snacks with a fillin’? I haven’t seen them for a while. They were supposed ta be the snack of the future.

My favorite weird snack was those "space sticks." Supposed ta have ever’thing ya need to sustain life in space I guess. I think they sent the last package of those on that probe that crashed on Mars. Prob’ly for the best.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’.

Sponsored by Carthage Printing Weekly Columns



ART NOTES from Hyde House

by Sally Armstrong, Director of artCentral

The second weekend of our exhibition "OFFERINGS" featuring work by Theresa Rankin and April Davis has passed, and I am excited that additional work was sold! I hope if you have not seen the beautiful oil paintings by these two fine women artists, you will want to come by this coming weekend, December 4, 5, & 6th, which is the last of the weekends for this exhibition, any time from noon until 5:00. As this is our last show for 2009, I will be removing the work on Monday and doing a bit of patching and cleaning of the walls to prepare for our short

"hibernation" in January, before we return in February of 2010 with our new year’s schedule. If you had been meaning to stop by to purchase any of our prints, cards, or cookbooks, or anything else we have available for gifts for the holidays, you will want to do this before we close for the year. I am still working out the details on some of the eight new gallery shows planned for 2010, and the additional four artist workshops we hope to present to our members and interested adults. Also planned are two parties for adults that we hope will be a lot of fun. My board will be meeting next week for the final meeting of this year as well, and there will be a Christmas party of sorts in addition to the usual luncheon planned. I hope if any of you readers are ever interested in serving on our board you will make me aware of that fact, as we do have vacancies from time to time. Currently there is a nice mix of men and women, artists and non-artists in our nine member group, and the only obligation to being a member of this working board is being able to attend the once monthly board meetings on the second Wednesday at noon which last about an hour. I have a wonderful board now, and am so thankful for them and for their interest as we face the new year. It promises to be a wonderful year as we celebrate 25 years as an organization!

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