Yucca Mountain

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to restart and resurrect the licensing process for the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site project.

The decision gives the go ahead for the “information gathering” stage that will eventually allow the Department of Energy to secure the license to build a nuclear waste facility more than 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Finally.  We need a repository for our accumulating nuclear waste, and the bottom of a salt mine is one of the best places extant: given the easy solubility of salt, the existence of this much salt in one place strongly implies a geologically stable area that’s also stable over geologically long time periods.

Technology Theft

In a piece on American CEOs’ (and Apple’s in particular) cowardice in their dealings with the People’s Republic of China’s government—censor your stuff or you can’t operate in the PRC, give up your technology to or you can’t operate in the PRC, and these worthies meekly comply—comes this reminder on the latter bit:

Just about everybody in the US capital is complaining about how China forces foreign companies to give up technology in return for market access.

In truth, the PRC isn’t alone in this: willing participants are those American CEOs who acquiesce in the name of short-term profit rather than long-term gain.

Gun Control

A bill is making progress in Congress that would allow concealed carry license holders, whose license was issued in one State (their State of residence) to concealed carry their weapons in all States: the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.  The bill also would require such a carrier to abide by the laws of the State they’re visiting, including all of that State’s gun-free zone designations.  In this way, the reciprocity law is similar to drivers license reciprocity, under which it’s legal to drive in any State so long as the driver both is licensed in his home State and obeys the driving laws of the State he’s visiting.

Human Gene-Splicing

Some scientists have successfully spliced some genes into a human embryo to correct a mutation that causes heart disease, proving the possibilities open to us and our health (and potentially eliminating health coverage provision as a Progressive-Democrat tool of welfare entrapment [/snark]).

Experts noted that the newly successful process could cure more than 10,000 genetic diseases, including some types of cancer and early-onset Alzheimer’s, sickle cell anemia, and cystic fibrosis.

“We have to be very delicate with how we use this because it’s very, very powerful,” Alice Benjamin, a clinical nurse specialist said on Fox & Friends.

Collapsing Obamacare

These data are from the Kaiser Family Foundation.  There was such hope by the health care coverage providers at the start; then the realities of the “market” place hit, and hit hard.  Following the early expansion of coverage providers into ObamaMart, the drop-off in companies between 2016 and 2017, and the resulting collapse of choice—in too many counties, even of any availability at all—is stark.  It’s expected to get worse in 2018 and 2019, too.

The State-by-State drop off is presented in the table below, constructed from KFF‘s table at the link.  The average drop-off across all States is nearly 23%.

Rule of Law

The DC Circuit Court stacked by President Barack Obama (D) seems to be iffy on the thing.  In an appeal concerning whether the monies the Federal government pays to health care plan providers as subsidies so the plan providers will hold down premiums and deductibles can actually be paid—the funds never were appropriated by Congress, so the payments aren’t legitimate, ruled the trial court—the Circuit Court ruled in part:

The States have shown a substantial risk that an injunction requiring termination of the payments at issue here…would lead directly and imminently to an increase in insurance prices, which in turn will increase the number of uninsured individuals for whom the States will have to provide health care[.]

A Bit More on Health Care Coverage

Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) is worried about health care plan availability to our poor, which she thinks would be endangered were President Donald Trump to act on his thoughts regarding cutting off the funds the Feds pay to health coverage plan providers to get them to charge (artificially) lower deductibles and copays from the poor.

It really would be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens if those payments were cut off. They’re paid to the insurance companies, but the people that they benefit are people who make between 100% and 250% of the poverty rate.

Obamacare and Choice

There are 3,142 counties and equivalents (Louisiana has parishes, Alaska has boroughs, three States each have an independent city, Virginia has 38 of them, and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations does things entirely differently) in the US.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects that 40 of those counties will have no health care coverage plan providers at all in 2018, and 1,332 of those counties—over 40% of them—will have only one such provider.

Republicans and Obamacare

In a Wall Street Journal editorial about Republican Senators’ timorous attitude toward actual repeal and replace of Obamacare now that what they do matters, the editors had this remark toward the end of their piece:

One vote to watch would repeal ObamaCare with a two-year window to replace it, which is similar to a bill that 51 Senate Republicans voted for in 2015. We’ll see how many have changed their minds.

We’ll see how many have changed their minds.  The rest of that sentence is this: …now that their vote has actual consequences, and they can’t hide behind their virtue signaling.

Questions for Susan Collins

Susan Collins is the Republican Senator from Maine whose refusal to vote for the health care reform bill on offer (and any of the prior efforts) is centered on her insistence that the bill’s cuts to reductions to growth in Medicaid payments to the States—Maine in particular—are too great.  Collins needs to be asked, and required to give straight, substantive answers to, a number of questions.

What is Maine’s government doing to reduce the costs to its citizens of health care and of health coverage?

What is Maine’s government doing to make health care available to its citizens in the absence of health coverage?