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Sunday, May 13, 2018


Jeremiah 50 King James Version (KJV)

50 The word that the Lord spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.
Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.
In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God.

They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.
All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the Lord, the habitation of justice, even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.
Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.
For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain.
10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the Lord.
11 Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;
12 Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13 Because of the wrath of the Lord it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
18 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the Lord, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.
22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord.
25 The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.
27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.
28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of his temple.
29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord.
31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord God of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.
32 And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.
33 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.
34 Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.
36 A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.
37 A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.
38 A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.
39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.
40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the Lord; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.
41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
42 They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
44 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the Lord, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.
46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.

For some, student loan debt is doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling

  • For some students, what they borrow can end up being a fraction of what they wind up owing.
  • "There are ways these loans are structured that encourage this ballooning," said Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Rick Tallini didn't worry much about the $55,000 in federal student loans he took out for law school in the 1990s. His future seemed bright.
Yet in the decades since he graduated, he's struggled to find employment and pay the bills. His original student loan balance, meanwhile, has soared to well over $300,000.
"They'll tack this thing to my coffin at this point," Tallini, 61, said.
Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has tripled over the last decade, surpassing auto and credit card debt and only second to housing debt, and now stands at almost $1.5 trillion. That's in part because many people are seeing their individual balances spiral out of control.
"Loans doubling, tripling, quadrupling, it really does happen all the time," said Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
"There are ways these loans are structured that encourage this ballooning," Yu said.

Want to postpone repayment? You'll owe more

Many student loan borrowers thought they were paying their way toward student loan forgiveness, only to learn they are not eligible for one technical reason or another.
Emily Rose Bennett | The New York Times
Many student loan borrowers thought they were paying their way toward student loan forgiveness, only to learn they are not eligible for one technical reason or another.
Schools can lose their ability to participate in financial aid programs if too many of their students default on their loans within their first three years of repayment. In 2016, 10 schools were subject to the Education Department's sanctions.
In response, many schools hire consultants to encourage struggling borrowers to put their loans into forbearance — a temporary postponement of their payments, for that three-year window, according to an April report by the Government Accountability Office.
Although forbearance does avoid a default, the solution is temporary, and is sometimes suggested over other, potentially more affordable options for borrowers, such as income-driven repayment plans, the GAO found.
Nearly 70 percent of people who began repaying their student loans in 2013 had their debt in forbearance for at least a period of time.
When student loan borrowers take their loans out of forbearance, they're often startled by the new, higher balance.
Debbie Baker took out $35,000 in federal student loans while at the University of Tulsa in the 1990s, to become a music teacher in Oklahoma's public schools.
"I graduated and I got a bill for $500, but I was only making $27,000 a year," Baker, 55, said.
Her student loan servicer, Navient, previously Sallie Mae and currently one of the biggest loan servicers, encouraged her to put her loans into forbearance, she said.
Her loans stayed that way for three years.
When she had to start making payments on them, her monthly bill had swelled to $700, she said.
"Student loan rehabilitation is one of the cruelest of all tricks being played on the citizens by the Department of Education and its financial partners. "-Alan Collinge, founder of the advocacy group Student Loan Justice
Struggling borrowers can be tempted by the option to hold off payments, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert, but it's always going to mean a higher bill in the end.
"A forbearance is bad because interest continues to accrue and will be capitalized, digging the borrower into a deeper hole," Kantrowitz said.
The Department of Education did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Nikki A. Lavoie, a spokeswoman for Navient, said the majority of customer complaints over student loans are related to federal loan policies, that as a servicer, Navient cannot control.
"As a servicer, we are proud of our track record to assist customers in successfully managing their student loans," Lavoie said.

Attempts to get out of default trigger hefty fees

Rick Tallini
Source: Rick Tallini
Rick Tallini
The biggest reason Tallini's student loan debt increased so much is because of his extended periods of nonpayment, during which his debt was growing at between 8 percent and 9 percent interest. (Tallini provided his student loan records to CNBC, which were analyzed by Kantrowitz).
Back in the 1990s, he said he was told by staff at his law school that he'd pay back his education debt within two years.
"You're looking at your education, and you're not focusing on the money," Tallini said. "All the while, you're being told, 'Don't worry about it. Whatever you borrowed will go away quickly'."
But his job searches never led to a high-paying position, he said. Instead, he ended up working on and off for the government.
Around a decade after he graduated, his loans were in default, a fate expected to claim 40 percent of student loan borrowers by 2023, according to the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.
Tallini was starting his own law practice, and desperate to bring his loans back into good standing.
"I couldn't have that over my head," he said.
"Consolidation" and "rehabilitation" are the ways student loan borrowers can rescue their debt from default — but the processes can come with hefty fees.
Tallini consolidated his federal education debt, and when he saw his new balance he was taken aback. He learned that he now owed the government more than $150,000, more than three times what he'd originally borrowed.

Kantrowitz provided the math of a hypothetical rehabilitation to illustrate how the process leads to a larger debt.
Imagine a person has borrowed $40,000 in federal student loans, at a 7 percent interest rate and with a 25-year repayment period. If she made four years of on-time payments, but then fell into default, interest would accrue at a rate of around $230 a month during her nonpayment.
If the borrower then went through rehabilitation to take her loan out of default, a collection fee of 16 percent would be added to her new loan, increasing her debt to around $50,000.
In other words, even after the four years of on-time payments, her debt would still be $10,000 more than she'd first borrowed.
And more than 40 percent of borrowers who go through rehabilitation will fall back into default within three years, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Student loan rehabilitation is one of the cruelest of all tricks being played on the citizens by the Department of Education and its financial partners," said Alan Collinge, founder of the advocacy group Student Loan Justice.

When loan forgiveness never comes, payments continue 

Debbie Baker
Source: Debbie Baker
Debbie Baker
It wasn't just forebearances that resulted in Baker, the public school teacher, owing more than she had expected.
Baker said she was going to enroll in the standard repayment plan, which comes with higher monthly payments but less interest because the debt is paid off in 10 years.
However, in 2007, she was ecstatic to learn about a new program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows student loan borrowers in government or non-profit public service jobs to wipe out their remaining debt after 10 years of on-time payments.
The program allowed her to be on an income-driven repayment plan, which caps monthly loan bills at a percentage of the borrowers' income. Repayment takes longer and comes with more interest, but Baker didn't worry about that because she believed her debt would be erased after 10 years.
"Year after year I would tell them, 'Now I'm going after Public Service Loan Forgiveness,' and they'd say, 'Okay. Well you can't apply until 2017,'" Baker said, about her conversations with Navient.
"A forbearance is bad because interest continues to accrue and will be capitalized, digging the borrower into a deeper hole. "-Mark Kantrowitz , student loan expert
In July, after she'd made 10 years of payments, she tried to certify her forgiveness, but was told that she didn't qualify because she had the wrong type of federal student loan.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a report last year about how many people believe they're paying their way toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness only to learn they don't actually qualify for one technical reason or another.
"I almost threw up," Baker said. "I've been teaching 18 years and I still don't make $40,000 — and now I have to start all over."
Today, Baker still owes nearly $80,000 in student loans, double what she originally borrowed.

Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds speaks to reporters after receiving a six- month prison sentence for failing to file tax returns for four years after a hearing in Chicago, May 10, 2018. (Associated Press)
A former Democratic congressman from Chicago, heading to prison for the third time, says he has "given up on America" and plans to move to Africa after he serves his latest sentence.
At his sentencing Thursday, Mel Reynolds, 66, got six months in prison for failing to file tax returns on more than $400,000 he received for consulting work.
He also received a scolding from federal Judge Robert Gettleman, who told the Harvard graduate he could recall thinking to himself in the early 1990s that Reynolds had tremendous promise.
"It's a tragedy that you squandered the opportunities you had and the type of person you could have become," Gettleman said.
Reynolds represented Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, serving from January 1993 to October 1995. He was succeeded by Jesse Jackson Jr., who also served time in prison.
Acting as his own attorney, Reynolds argued it was unfair to give too much weight to his prior convictions, from the 1990s, in calculating a sentence for his conviction at a bench trial last year on four misdemeanor counts of not filing tax returns.
Prosecutors say the undeclared income was money made consulting for Chicago businessmen in Zimbabwe, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
In 1995, Reynolds was convicted of statutory rape for having sex with a 16-year-old campaign worker. Later, he was convicted of concealing debts and diverting money meant for voter registration drives into his election campaign.
"The question is, How long does a person have to pay for mistakes?"
- Mel Reynolds, former congressman from Illinois
"The question is, How long does a person have to pay for mistakes?" Reynolds asked about the older crimes.
At other periods in his life, he had been in the military and raised three children, he said.
"I wasn't just living my life as a wheeler-dealer," he added.
Reynolds rose from poverty in Mississippi to become a Rhodes Scholar and then a lawmaker in Washington, D.C.
After Thursday's sentencing, with credit for two months served in jail, the Chicago Democrat will end up serving closer to four months behind bars.
Reynolds had argued he shouldn't be imprisoned at all, saying a year of probation would have been the right sentence.
"To put me in jail serves what purpose?" he asked the judge. "To teach me a lesson? ... I've been taught about this racist society ... every day of my life."
"To put me in jail serves what purpose? To teach me a lesson? ... I've been taught about this racist society ... every day of my life."
- Mel Reynolds, former U.S. congressman from Illinois
Prosecutor Georgia Alexakis had asked for at least two years behind bars, citing what she described as Reynolds' decades-long pattern of flouting the law.
"There are aspects of the defendant's life that are ... laudatory," she said. "But the good doesn't outweigh the bad."
The maximum penalty Reynolds faced was four years in prison.
The judge said he hoped Reynolds would use his time in prison to reassess his life, telling him: "It will give you some time to think where you go from here."
Reynolds, who will report to prison later, told reporters outside court that he already knew where he would go after prison.
"I'm going home to Africa," he said. "I've given up on America because how long do African-Americans put up with this nonsense?"
The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Local and federal authorities are investigating an apparent explosion outside of a church and school campus in Beaumont, Texas.
According to current reports, an explosive device was placed and detonated on the joint campus of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal School between late Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday morning. The components of the device and indications toward motive were not made available by investigators as of Friday.
Parish leaders and a statement released by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas explained the device detonated after evening worship services on Wednesday and prior to the first class bell on Thursday. The Rev. Steven Balke, rector of St. Stephens, announced that no injuries were suffered.
The discovery of the blast outside the office door of the church did not occur until after 9am local time on Thursday, when classes were underway at All Saints. The Rev. Balke reportedly called police, triggering a campus lockdown and evacuation of students thereafter. School leadership commended the student body for following their emergency drill training during the episode.
"The teachers did a fabulous job," said Melanie Hartfield, the schools advancement director, the release added that "not one child was scared."
The lockdown period reportedly lasted 30 minutes before evacuation procedures began.
The diocese explained that structural damage was limited to broken windows, holes in office walls, and displaced shrubbery. Parish leadership expressed confidence that had the office been occupied, injuries or deaths were likely.
Beaumont Police Chief Jim Singletary told the Enterprise that his department received several noise complaints in the vicinity of the joint campus, but would not confirm the times in which they were given. One neighbor told the paper they believe a noise was heard around 2am local time Thursday but could not see what caused the disturbance from their vantage point.
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, took to his Twitter account to share his thanks for the outcome of the incident.
We are thankful that no one was hurt. Our main concern right now is meeting the pastoral care needs of the congregation and school-A few EDOT staff members are currently on their way to Beaumont. Bishops Fisher, Harrison, Monterroso, and I ask for your prayers for all involved.
— C. Andrew Doyle (@TexasBishop) May 10, 2018
The St. Stephen’s bomb marks the second of its kind in Beaumont since April 26 when a small device was discovered outside of a Starbucks store on Dowlen Road, approximately three miles away. The local paper noted that BPD would not comment at this time if the events are linked. In that incident, an un-detonated package was spotted on top of a trash can by an employee before daybreak, according to the local paper.
The Beaumont police are joined with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as the investigation proceeds.

2 Peter 2 King James Version (KJV)

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Sirach 3:30 Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sins.

Isaiah 9:18-20 King James Version (KJV)

18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

James 2 King James Version (KJV)

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Jasher 19:44-45: 44 And the Lord was provoked at this and at all the works of the cities of Sodom, for they had abundance of food, and had tranquility amongst them, and still would not sustain the poor and the needy, and in those days their evil doings and sins became great before the Lord.
45 And the Lord sent for two of the angels that had come to Abraham's house, to destroy Sodom and its cities.

Trump’s Historic Medicaid Shift Goes Beyond Work Requirements

The new requirements likely will cause many Medicaid beneficiaries to be removed from the rolls.
02/16/2018 12:24 pm ET
Huffington Post 

A doctor examines a Medicaid patient at the Heart City Health Center in Elkhart, Indiana. Indiana and other states are seizin

A doctor examines a Medicaid patient at the Heart City Health Center in Elkhart, Indiana. Indiana and other states are seizing on a shift by the Trump administration to enact stricter Medicaid requirements. 

Requiring able-bodied adults to work for their Medicaid is just part of the Trump administration’s drive to remake the decades-old health insurance program for the poor.
The administration signaled late last year that it welcomes state-based ideas to retool Medicaid and “help individuals live up to their highest potential.” At least 10 states have requested waivers that would allow them to impose work requirements and other obligations.
For example: They would require more recipients to contribute small monthly premiums. They would insist on monthly paperwork. They would impose lifetime limits on coverage. And they would kick recipients off Medicaid for a period of time — 30 days, or perhaps six months — for failing to follow the rules.
All the states requesting Medicaid work requirements are led by Republican governors who tout the “it’s a trampoline, not a hammock” approach to the social services safety net.
In the past few weeks, the Trump administration has granted approval to Kentucky and Indiana to begin imposing new requirements for Medicaid recipients that are likely to push some people off the rolls. Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin — all led by Republican governors — also have requested federal permission to adopt new requirements. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, so states need federal approval to make substantial changes.
In Kentucky alone close to 97,000 people will lose Medicaid benefits over the next five years as a result of new changes, one study estimated. In Mississippi, Medicaid enrollment would shrink by 58,995 — 9 percent — in the first year alone, according to the state’s application to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Health Law Program and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center have sued to block implementation of the Medicaid changes in Kentucky. The three civil rights organizations are arguing that the Trump administration has overridden the federal Medicaid law, which only Congress can do, “overturning a half century of administrative practice, and threatening irreparable harm to the health and welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable in our country.”
More Uninsured?
Indiana and Kentucky, as well as Arizona, Arkansas and New Hampshire, all expanded Medicaid eligibility to more low-income adults under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. As a result, all of those states boosted the percentage of their residents with some form of health insurance. (Maine voters last year also approved the expansion, though the state hasn’t implemented it yet.)
But the imposition of new requirements would reverse some of those gains. It also entails a sharp break from the Obama administration’s explicit position that all changes to state Medicaid policies had to “increase and strengthen overall coverage of low-income individuals in the state.”
The Trump administration has removed that language as a criterion for approving changes to state Medicaid policies. Instead, the administration announced a different objective for Medicaid.
“We have a higher purpose than just handing out Medicaid cards,” Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a speech to state Medicaid directors in November. “The Medicaid program is a promise to help individuals live up to their highest potential, leading healthier, more fulfilling, and more independent lives.”
Verma’s speech was a prelude to CMS issuing new guidance in November indicating its openness to state proposals to add work requirements to their Medicaid programs, proposals the Obama administration routinely rejected. Out went increasing access to health care to the poor; in came language about employment leading to better health for enrollees by helping them to “rise out of poverty and attain independence.”
Instead of increasing access to Medicaid, the Trump administration said the changes it is pursuing will modify the behavior of beneficiaries to “promote upward mobility, greater independence and improved quality of life.”
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It’s very much in keeping with longtime Republican orthodoxy that safety net programs should be only temporary ports for the poor. The long-term goal should be self-sufficiency. “Medicaid is a tragic example of the soft bigotry of low expectations consistently espoused by the prior administration,” Verma said.
Many Republican governors have embraced the shift.
“I firmly believe that every human being aspires to earn her own success. For those whose family situation and health allow it, there is nothing quite as beneficial as the sense of accomplishment that comes from work,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said in an email to Stateline. “Medicaid meets the needs of many populations, but that part of Medicaid that is intended to help catch those who have fallen on hard times should do all that it can to assist their efforts to return to gainful employment.”
But the new philosophy has alarmed many who advocate for health care access for the poor. Instead of helping people obtain work, they say the Trump approach will simply deprive people of health care.
“It’s such a wrongheaded punitive policy that won’t achieve the end goal of putting people to work,” said Dee Mahan, director of Medicaid Initiatives at Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for health care for all. “It’s breathtaking.”
‘Lockouts’ and Lifetime Limits
Since 2008, the federal government has given some states, including Indiana, permission to require some Medicaid beneficiaries to pay premiums for their coverage. Thanks to its recent waiver, Kentucky now has the authority to “lock out” beneficiaries for six months unless the person pays past-due premiums and also completes a financial or health literacy course. Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin are seeking the same authority. (The Obama administration had already given Indiana permission to use lockouts as a concession for the state to expand Medicaid in 2015.)
In approving lockouts in Indiana, CMS said that requiring beneficiaries to meet program requirements would “strengthen beneficiary engagement in their personal health care plan” and provide incentives for people to become responsible decision-makers.
But at least one study found that imposing premiums in Medicaid leads to fewer people being covered. In Indiana, more than 46,000 otherwise eligible residents were not enrolled in Medicaid between February 2015 and December 2016 because they didn’t make their first payments on time. About 14,000 lost benefits for not making subsequent payments on time. And nearly 10,000 in that group were locked out of benefits for six months.
The half-dozen states that charge premiums now generally apply them only to Medicaid beneficiaries at higher income levels. But some states, such as Wisconsin and Maine, want to charge premiums to more beneficiaries. Wisconsin seeks to begin charging premiums of $8 a month to households whose income falls below the federal poverty line. For a family of four, that would mean a household income of no more than $25,100 a year.
CMS also gave Kentucky and Indiana the authority to lock out those who fail to renew their Medicaid eligibility on time.
Arizona, Kansas, Utah and Wisconsin also want to impose a lifetime limit on coverage. Wisconsin, for example, proposes a lifetime limit of 48 months. Kansas is shooting for 36 months. Arizona and Utah are hoping for five years, although in Arizona’s case, time that an enrollee worked wouldn’t count against the limit. Once time is up, recipients couldn’t receive Medicaid for the rest of their lives.
Federal officials also granted Kentucky’s request to end the practice of retroactive eligibility, under which people who are eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled are signed up retroactively when they show up for medical services. Maine is seeking permission to end retroactive eligibility as well.
Critics say the Trump administration’s philosophy demonstrates either ignorance about or indifference to the hardships and chaos confronting many who live in poverty. Many work multiple jobs, do contract work or are otherwise in situations where hours and fluctuations in income are hard to predict or to document. They may live in situations in which mail delivery is unreliable. They may not have access to computers.
“Many poor people face challenges that will make it very difficult to meet these requirements,” said Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. “There is low literacy and issues of homelessness, mental illness and addiction. They lack transportation and affordable child care. People will lose coverage because of this, including people who have jobs.”

Jubliees 23
  1. And he placed two fingers of Jacob on his eyes, and he blessed the God of gods, and he covered his face and stretched out his feet and slept the sleep of eternity, and was gathered to his fathers.
  2. And notwithstanding all this Jacob was lying in his bosom, and knew not that Abraham, his father's father, was dead.
  3. And Jacob awoke from his sleep, and behold Abraham was cold as ice, and he said 'Father, father'; but there was none that spake, and he knew that he was dead.
  4. And he arose from his bosom and ran and told Rebecca, his mother; and Rebecca went to Isaac in the night, and told him; and they went together, and Jacob with them, and a lamp was in his hand, and when they had gone in they found Abraham lying dead.
  5. And Isaac fell on the face of his father and wept and kissed him.
  6. And the voices were heard in the house of Abraham, and Ishmael his son arose, and went to Abraham his father, and wept over Abraham his father, he and all the house of Abraham, and they wept with a great weeping.
  7. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the double cave, near Sarah his wife, and they wept for him forty days, all the men of his house, and Isaac and Ishmael, and all their sons, and all the sons of Keturah in their places; and the days of weeping for Abraham were ended.
  8. And he lived three jubilees and four weeks of years, one hundred and seventy-five years, and completed the days of his life, being old and full of days.
  9. For the days of the forefathers, of their life, were nineteen jubilees; and after the Flood they began to grow less than nineteen jubilees, and to decrease in jubilees, and to grow old quickly, and to be full of their days by reason of manifold tribulation and the wickedness of their ways, with the exception of Abraham.
  10. For Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with the Lord, and well-pleasing in righteousness all the days of his life; and behold, he did not complete four jubilees in his life, when he had grown old by reason of the wickedness, and was full of his days.
  11. And all the generations which shall arise from this time until the day of the great judgment shall grow old quickly, before they complete two jubilees, and their knowledge shall forsake them by reason of their old age Land all their know- ledge shall vanish away].
  12. And in those days, if a man live a jubilee and a-half of years, they shall say regarding him: 'He has lived long, and the greater part of his days are pain and sorrow and tribulation, and there is no peace:
  13. For calamity follows on calamity, and wound on wound, and tribulation on tribulation, and evil tidings on evil tidings, and illness on illness, and all evil judgments such as these, one with another, illness and overthrow, and snow and frost and ice, and fever, and chills, and torpor, and famine, and death, and sword, and captivity, and all kinds of calamities and pains.'
  14. And all these shall come on an evil generation, which transgresses on the earth: their works are uncleanness and fornication, and pollution and abominations.
  15. Then they shall say: 'The days of the forefathers were many (even), unto a thousand years, and were good; but behold, the days of our life, if a man has lived many, are three score years and ten, and, if he is strong, four score years, and those evil, and there is no peace in the days of this evil generation.'
  16. And in that generation the sons shall convict their fathers and their elders of sin and unrighteousness, and of the words of their mouth and the great wickednesses which they perpetrate, and concerning their forsaking the covenant which the Lord made between them and Him, that they should observe and do all His commandments and His ordinances and all His laws, without departing either to the right hand or the left.
  17. For all have done evil, and every mouth speaks iniquity and all their works are an uncleanness and an abomination, and all their ways are pollution, uncleanness and destruction.
  18. Behold the earth shall be destroyed on account of all their works, and there shall be no seed of the vine, and no oil; for their works are altogether faithless, and they shall all perish together, beasts and cattle and birds, and all the fish of the sea, on account of the children of men.
  19. And they shall strive one with another, the young with the old, and the old with the young, the poor with the rich, the lowly with the great, and the beggar with the prince, on account of the law and the covenant; for they have forgotten commandment, and covenant, and feasts, and months, and Sabbaths, and jubilees, and all judgments.
  20. And they shall stand <with bows and> swords and war to turn them back into the way; but they shall not return until much blood has been shed on the earth, one by another.
  21. And those who have escaped shall not return from their wickedness to the way of righteousness, but they shall all exalt themselves to deceit and wealth, that they may each take all that is his neighbour's, and they shall name the great name, but not in truth and not in righteousness, and they shall defile the holy of holies with their uncleanness and the corruption of their pollution.
  22. And a great punishment shall befall the deeds of this generation from the Lord, and He will give them over to the sword and to judgment and to captivity, and to be plundered and devoured.
  23. And He will wake up against them the sinners of the Gentiles, who have neither mercy nor compassion, and who shall respect the person of none, neither old nor young, nor any one, for they are more wicked and strong to do evil than all the children of men.And they shall use violence against Israel and transgression against Jacob,
    And much blood shall be shed upon the earth,
    And there shall be none to gather and none to bury.
  24. In those days they shall cry aloud,
    And call and pray that they may be saved from the hand of the sinners, the Gentiles;
    But none shall be saved.
  25. And the heads of the children shall be white with grey hair,
    And a child of three weeks shall appear old like a man of one hundred years,
    And their stature shall be destroyed by tribulation and oppression.
  26. And in those days the children shall begin to study the laws,
    And to seek the commandments,
    And to return to the path of righteousness.
  27. And the days shall begin to grow many and increase amongst those children of men
    Till their days draw nigh to one thousand years.
    And to a greater number of years than (before) was the number of the days.
  28. And there shall be no old man
    Nor one who is <not> satisfied with his days,
    For all shall be (as) children and youths.
  29. And all their days they shall complete and live in peace and in joy,
    And there shall be no Satan nor any evil destroyer;
    For all their days shall be days of blessing and healing.
  30. And at that time the Lord will heal His servants,
    And they shall rise up and see great peace,
    And drive out their adversaries.And the righteous shall see and be thankful,
    And rejoice with joy for ever and ever,
    And shall see all their judgments and all their curses on their enemies.
  31. And their bones shall rest in the earth,
    And their spirits shall have much joy,
    And they shall know that it is the Lord who executes judgment,
    And shows mercy to hundreds and thousands and to all that love Him
  32. And do thou, Moses, write down these words; for thus are they written, and they record (them) on the heavenly tablets for a testimony for the generations for ever.

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