CBO: New health care bill would reduce coverage for ‘millions’

The Congressional Budget Office has released a partial score of the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare, saying the Graham-Cassidy bill would reduce the budget deficit by at least $133 billion but millions of people would lose comprehensive health insurance.

The non-partisan scoring agency estimates that between 2017 and 2026, “the legislation would reduce the on-budget deficit by at least $133 billion and result in millions fewer people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events.”

The report is not as detailed as previous CBO scores, however.

It does not give a more specific number of how many Americans would lose health care coverage under the health care law sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana nor does it include information on how Graham-Cassidy would affect the cost of premiums throughout the country.

The agency announced weeks ago that it would not have adequate time to release coverage numbers and instead would only be able to release a “preliminary” report.

“CBO will not be able to provide point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums for at least several weeks,” the agency said in a statement about the bill.

The CBO score’s main purpose is to ensure that the legislation meets its saving targets required under reconciliation, the process that allows Senate Republicans to pass the health care bill with 51 votes.

The non-partisan agency’s score is also of the first version of the bill. Changes were made to the legislation over the weekend and released Sunday night. Those tweaks include a recalculation of how much money rural states would receive under Graham Cassidy as well as a further roll back on protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The CBO’s latest score does not include the changes.

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Broward Animal Care executive director resigns after Local 10 report

Broward Animal Care executive director Thomas Adair has resigned his position following a Local 10 News report, showing he and other county employees changed dog and cat death records in a way that made it appear pet owners who requested their animals be adopted had instead asked that they be euthanized.

When questioned by investigative reporter Bob Norman, Adair denied wrongdoing, claiming the altered records were simply part of a “quality control” process.

But the station’s findings immediately prompted the county to begin an investigation and put Adair on paid administrative leave. Adair, who was making in excess of $140,000 a year, resigned just a week after the report aired, still denying he did anything wrong. 

“I did not, have not and would not attempt to improperly alter official records,” Adair wrote in the Sept. 5 email to county official Henry Sniezek. “The decision to leave my position is based in part on my desire to avoid further disruption to the shelter staff and the mission to improve the welfare of animals.”

Local 10 obtained evidence that Adair was going into the county computer system and changing the actual reason for the county shelter to kill dogs and cats — be it for health reasons, aggressiveness, or another factor — to “owner requested.” 

Animals put down at the owner’s request aren’t included in official euthanasia totals, meaning they don’t count against the county’s much-publicized goal of becoming a “no-kill” shelter. 

A well-placed source inside the shelter said there has been a concerted effort starting at the top to bring up the number of the “owner requested” kills. 

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said the county’s investigation, which is looking at animal death records over a period of five years, has already confirmed that death records were changed at the shelter, though she said the motive for doing so has not yet been ascertained. 

“We want to know how long has it been going on, what is the extent of it, why was it being done,” Sharief said. “The county prides itself on transparency and I’m glad [Local 10 did its report]. It sheds some light on some shortcomings we need to fix.”

Perhaps most damning was that records showed that after a public records request was received by the shelter checking up on Animal Care record-keeping procedures, Adair went back into the county computer system and changed the records for a second time — this time back from owner requested to the original reason given.

Animal activist and Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow, who made the request, said she suspects it was a bid to cover the shelter’s tracks.

Local 10 has also obtained an email from one of Adair’s now-former underlings, animal care supervisor Irene Feser, telling Adair she was “uncomfortable” changing records at the shelter, writing that it’s “not a good idea … especially if a records request is involved … to change information on a record.” 

Adair replied that Feser was “reading more into this” than she should be, claiming it was just a “quality control check,” and asking him to come see him in his office. 

“This was somebody who had worked long enough at the county to know that she should not do that,” Lazarow said. 

Sharief said the county’s investigation’s findings will be made public when it is completed. 

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South Miami resident catches driver dumping debris in neighborhood

South Floridians are all desperate for debris left behind by Hurricane Irma to finally get picked up and hauled away from their lawns, but police say there is a group that is cashing in by picking up, but not dropping off.  

Like most of his neighbors, South Miami resident Gary Hebert is still dealing with a huge mess, so when he saw a cleanup truck pull up to his home Monday morning, he couldn’t help but smile.

“This big truck that they use to haul debris is parked by the pile and they’re picking up debris. I’m like ‘Wow. How did they pick this area?'” Hebert said. 

But his happiness shortly turned to anger after he realized that the man driving the truck wasn’t there to help.

“This is what he left us. He left all these big pieces. All this he dumped,” Hebert told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden. 

It turned out that the driver was only there to dump debris, and wasn’t picking anything up.

“Another neighbor saw the same thing and we realized what had just happened. They just scammed the system,” South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard said. 

Stoddard lives a couple doors down from Hebert and was shocked by what happened. He believes this may be going on all over South Florida. 

“They picked it up somewhere else, probably got it certified so they get credit for the load, and instead of taking it all the way up to the disposal point, they just quickly dropped it off here in this neighborhood, so they can get back to work quicker and get another load,” Stoddard said. 

The issue is a huge problem for a city that is already dealing with so much debris. 

Anyone with information about who is dumping debris into people’s neighborhoods is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. 

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