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United States

"Healthcare study ranks US last in developed world"



by 116 Jurors

The United States of America (USA or U.S.A.), commonly referred to as the United States (US or U.S.), America, and sometimes the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.71 million square miles (9.62 million km2) and with around 318 million people, the United States is the world's third or fourth-largest country by total area and third-largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Paleo-Indians migrated from Eurasia to what is now the U.S. mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, as the colonies were fighting Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.

Driven by the doctrine of manifest destiny, the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century. This involved displacing native tribes, acquiring new territories, and gradually admitting new states. The American Civil War ended legal slavery in the country. By the end of the 19th century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy was the world's largest. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country with nuclear weapons, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the sole superpower.

The United States is a developed country and has the world's largest national economy, with an estimated GDP in 2013 of $16.8 trillion—23% of global nominal GDP and 19% at purchasing-power parity. The economy is fueled by an abundance of natural resources and high worker productivity, with per capita GDP being the world's sixth-highest in 2010. While the U.S. economy is considered post-industrial, it continues to be one of the world's largest manufacturers. The U.S. has the highest mean and fourth highest median household income in the OECD as well as the highest gross average wage, though it has the fourth most unequal income distribution, with roughly 15% of the population living in poverty as defined by the U.S. Census. The country accounts for 36.6% of global military spending, being the world's foremost economic and military power, a prominent political and cultural force, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovation.

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img Emil Malcolm posted a review

In their study of 11 different national health care models, researchers at the New York-based Commonwealth Fund ranked Australia's mixed public-private system second best.

They concluded the United Kingdom's National Health Service was the best system overall, followed by Australia, then the Netherlands, with Norway and New Zealand sharing fourth place.

Comparing Australia and the other countries to their homeland, the authors said: "The US performs relatively poorly on population health outcomes, such as infant mortality and life expectancy at age 60."

"The US has the highest rate of mortality amenable to health care and has experienced the smallest reduction in that measure during the past decade.

"Despite spending nearly twice as much as several other countries, the country's performance is lacklustre."

The publication of the study's conclusions have come as US President Donald Trump puts pressure on Republican senators to repeal his predecessor Barack Obama's healthcare reforms.

In May, House Republicans narrowly voted through the Obamacare repeal bill, and their counterparts in the Senate are due to vote on the repeal in the next few weeks.

1 week ago

img Lucuas Joe posted a review

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says 19 members of the Group of 20 have reaffirmed the Paris climate accord as “irreversible.”

Merkel said Saturday that the summit’s final statement “takes account” of the U.S. position rejecting the climate deal.

That leaves the United States as the odd one out after President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement. The Paris accord aims to lower emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists say cause global warming.

Merkel called the U.S. position “regrettable.”

Officials did reach a common statement including Trump about the other contentious issue at the summit, trade.

The statement retains the G-20’s longstanding rejection of protectionism. But it also acknowledged that trade must be mutually beneficial and that countries can use “legitimate” trade defenses to protect workers and industries against being taken advantage of by trade partners.

At 2 p.m. local time, President Vladimir Putin said Russia will meet its obligations under the Paris climate agreement.

Speaking at a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Putin said that “we honor the Paris agreement.” He added that Russia has made decisions related to the implementation of the deal and intends to implement them.

Macron hailed Putin’s pledge as “very important.”

Russia, the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was among the 195 countries that signed the 2015 Paris agreement but it delayed its ratification for at least two years.

Russia’s carbon emissions reduction goals are very modest, and it also insisted that it be given the maximum potential credit for carbon adsorbed out of the atmosphere by vast Siberian forests.

3 weeks ago

img Dan Smith posted a review

The Pew Research Center released last week the results of one of its periodic surveys of global views of the United States and its leadership and policies.  More than 40,000 people were polled in 37 countries across six continents, with the polling conducted between February and May.  The most salient finding is a dramatic drop in confidence in the United States and more specifically in the current U.S. leadership.  When asked about “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs,” 22 percent of those surveyed expressed confidence in Donald Trump and 74 percent expressed no confidence.  This is a huge reversal from the last time the same question was asked about Barack Obama late in his presidency, in which 64 percent expressed confidence and 23 percent no confidence.

The rapidity as well as the magnitude of the change is striking.  Trump’s numbers approach those of George W. Bush near the end of his presidency, but in Bush’s case those depths were reached only after a long decline during his two terms.  Trump has managed to bum people out around the world during his first four months in office.

In only two of the 37 countries surveyed was there an increase in confidence in the U.S. president since that last poll taken during Obama’s presidency.  One is Israel, with a modest rise from 49 to 56 percent, although the latter figure is still slightly below the average for all five Pew polls taken during Obama’s tenure.  A bigger rise is in Russia, where the figure of 53 percent having confidence in Trump is higher than any of the results in Russia for either Bush or Obama.  These results are not surprising in view of the deference Trump has shown to the governments of those two countries.  The Pew survey did not include any Gulf Arab countries, but if it had, we perhaps would also have seen a rise in the numbers, for the same reason, in Saudi Arabia.

The overall results are not surprising either, in view of the many other indications of foreign popular sentiment toward Trump and his administration, as well as similar expressions from foreign leaders.  The latter have included, for example, statements from the chancellor of Germany and the Canadian foreign minister reflecting a lack of confidence in Trump’s leadership.

Although not surprising, the importance of what the poll results indicate for the success or failure of U.S. foreign policy and the advance or decline of U.S. interests is insufficiently appreciated within the United States.  The problems are not limited to the chemistry between leaders that seems to get the most press attention at summit meetings, or to Trump’s boorish behavior, which has become a fixture at such meetings.  Nor are they limited to the broader perceptions of Trump personally, as striking as those perceptions are.  As documented by the Pew survey, there is less confidence in Trump to do the right thing than in Xi Jinping of China or Vladimir Putin of Russia.  The three adjectives that respondents most attached to Trump were “arrogant,” “intolerant,” and “dangerous”.

Broader difficulties are suggested by how the Pew results show that the standing of the United States itself has fallen with the advent of Trump.  Compared with the last such poll during Obama’s presidency, favorable views of the United States dropped from 64 to 49 percent and unfavorable views rose from 26 to 39 percent.

The Trumpian slogan of “America first” tends to disguise the larger implications of such results.  Set aside for the moment the falsity of that slogan, given that subcontracting segments of foreign policy to the Israelis or Saudis (or glossing over whatever Russia may be up to) is not putting America first.  The slogan, and the set of attitudes underlying it, implies a nonchalance about foreign attitudes and a belief that Americans need not care what foreigners think.  That belief misses much of how foreign attitudes and perceptions, which influence foreign government policies, can redound, for good or for ill, on U.S. objectives.

Successful foreign policy involves getting other states to act in ways that advance or protect the interests of one’s own state.  To the extent that the people and policymakers in those other states have “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs,” they are more likely to act in the way the U.S. president would like them to act.  Lacking such confidence, they are that much less likely to act in accordance with U.S. wishes.  This principle applies regardless of the content of U.S. policy and grand strategy.  It is the reason the plunge in this kind of confidence from late Obama to early Trump is important.

The survey results also provide perspective on criticisms and standards applied to previous administrations.  Criticisms of Obama about supposedly surrendering U.S. leadership look especially strange now, considering what has come after him. 

3 weeks ago

img Ian Da Silva posted a review

"A U.S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian government warplane after it attacked Washington-backed fighters near ISIS' de facto capital of Raqqa, the U.S.-led coalition said Sunday. "

on June 19, 2017

img John Adams posted a review

As the American Action Forum (AAF) has detailed in the past, regulations impose costs not only on private entities and states, but also on American taxpayers generally. For example, amending student loan repayment plans cost taxpayers more than $15 billion; the expansion of the overtime rule will cost state governments $115 million. Just as there are fiscal costs for new significant rules, there can be savings from repealing old rules through comprehensive regulatory reform. According to AAF, recent regulatory actions, including Congressional Review Act (CRA) votes, could produce more than $86 billion in savings for taxpayers, on top of the potential for $18.8 billion in annual regulatory savings.

Congress has already passed 13 CRA resolutions, repealing more than $1.1 billion (annually) in past regulations from the Obama Administration. In addition, President Trump has formally delayed and signaled an intention to amend several other major rules. Combined, these actions could generate more than $18 billion in annual regulatory savings for businesses, investors, and consumers.

The regulations that Congress and the administration repealed also carried fiscal impositions, in addition to private-sector regulatory costs. For this research, AAF examine the possible spending implications of regulations repealed via the CRA or delayed formally by the administration.

Combined, five regulations would have cost more than $86 billion in federal funds. Easily the largest rule was the Department of Education’s “Accountability and State Plans” final measure, implementing the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” The regulatory burdens were notable ($73 million in costs and 930,000 paperwork burden hours), but the fiscal imposition could have topped $86 billion alone. The largest component, which was not necessarily struck down by the CRA vote, would have spent $59 billion to fund operations at state and local educational agencies. These are known as Title I funds and likely unaffected by the CRA vote. The regulation contained certain conditions for accessing these funds, but they have still been appropriated and authorized. In addition, “Supporting Effective Instruction” would have appropriated an additional $9.3 billion. Combined, appropriations, “over and above what would have been spent,” reached $86.9 billion.

The CRA vote repealed the Accountability and State Plans rule. According to the previous administration, there was no statutory deadline for the regulation, so Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has discretion to reissue a new rule, but under the CRA, “it may not be reissued in substantially the same form.” As AAF has noted, there is no clear definition of the ambiguous term, “same form,” but legislative intent, both during the drafting of the CRA and the debates during the disapproval of the rule will factor into the analysis.

For example, during the disapproval of the state plans measure, Congressman Todd Rokita was explicit, “We wrote a very specific law saying the States are in charge. Here we have a Federal agency inserting itself, not just interpreting law, but actually making law and taking us in the exact opposite direction that all of us intended.” This denunciation of the regulation, however, does not speak to the form of a substitute rule or if the $86 billion in spending will return (which it likely will). Congressman Rokita went on to note many provisions of the law would continue, but the regulation would not: “States are continuing to develop State plans that comply with the law…. The law itself provides enough guidance.”

Does this mean the money from the underlying statute will not be spent? This was never specifically addressed during the debates in the House and the Senate. The Every Student Succeeds Act still exists, but the regulation implementing the state plans does not, although states will still be submitting plans. There might be some debate over how much money repealing the rule will save, but given the vast majority was Title I funds to state and local governments, it is highly unlikely the CRA vote rescinded all of this spending. It is clear the CRA resolution will save taxpayers some money, but likely less than $86 billion.

One regulation that will not likely return is the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” measure, which will impose $400 million in annual costs and more than 2.1 million paperwork hours. In addition to those burdens, regulators also estimated $15 million in year-one government costs and $10.1 million in year-two expenditures. A total of $25 million in total savings is hardly earthshattering, but in concert with the regulatory impact, it provides a notable increase in benefits.

Finally, the formal rescission or revision of the controversial “Waters of the United States” rule could produce up to $16 million in taxpayer savings. According to the regulatory impact analysis, the Army Corps of Engineers will incur $16 million in additional administrative costs because of implementation of the regulation. Although driving this number to $0 after a review seems unlikely, there is little doubt the federal costs will be lower after a significant amendment to the regulation.

Regulatory reform has taken many shapes during the Trump Administration: CRA votes, increased flexibility in compliance, and formal reviews of major rules. As AAF has documented, this has the ability to generate more than $60 billion in cost savings for American businesses, investors, and consumers. These benefits, through just the first few months of an administration, are profound, but the fiscal savings of regulatory reform should not be overlooked. Broad reforms have the ability to generate billions of dollars in taxpayer savings, and millions of fewer paperwork hours.

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on June 17, 2017

img Sohail Ahmed posted a review

America’s pastors – the men and women a majority of Americans look to for help in finding meaning and purpose in their lives – are even more politically divided than the rest of us, according to a new data setrepresenting the largest compilation of American religious leaders ever assembled.
Like their congregants, religious leaders have sharply dividedthemselves along political lines. Leaders and congregants of Unitarian and African Methodist Episcopal churches are overwhelmingly Democratic, as are those of Reform and Conservative Jewish synagogues. Those of several Evangelical and Baptist churches are overwhelmingly Republican. If religious denominations were states, almost all of them would be considered “Safely Democratic” or “Safely Republican,” with relatively few swing states.
Yet pastors are even more politically divided than the congregants in their denomination: Leaders of more liberal denominations tend to be even more likely to be registered as Democrats, and those of more conservative denominations even more likely to be registered as Republicans.
“It's a reflection of the ongoing sorting we have in American life,” said Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University. “Why would we think that religion is immune to that?”

on June 16, 2017

img Simi Rehman posted a review

Shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson 66. Social media accounts that of MAY be his appear to show he is a Bernie Supporter, yet that remains unconfirmed.

on June 16, 2017

img Zainab Zaidi posted a review

No word on staffers condition.

Multiple shots fired at Congressional baseball practice, possible Congressmen and staffers shot. Reports are confirmed.

Practice is for a Congressional baseball game played by R and D Congresspeople for a game tomorrow night, at Nationals Park.

Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA), the House majority whip, has been shot in the hip. Early reports indicate 2 Capitol police members also shot. Scalise was by second base when shot, and shooter was somewhere near third base with a rifle.

Both Capitol Hill officers are ok (unconfirmed).

SCALISE'S INJURIES ARE NOT LIFE THREATENING. Scalise is about to undergo surgery.

Shooter has been shot, is wounded, and taken to hospital. Reports are that up to 50 shots were fired.

Man asked Rep. Densantis while entering his car to leave if there were Republicans or Democrats on the field, around 3-5 mins later shots were fired. Desantis left field at 7:10am.

Rand Paul recounts hearing at least 50 or 60 shots.


"Without Capitol Hill police, without them it would've been a massacre."

"Without capitol police, no one would've survived."


on June 16, 2017

img Zainab Zaidi posted a review

In the early years of our republic, the population size of the U.S. House districts remained close to 30,000 people — in keeping with the promise reaffirmed by the Federalist Papers (as described in Section I).
However, as a result of Congress’s failure to produce a workable “Article the first” (as described in Section II), the degree of representation allowed to we the people was left entirely at the mercy of the ambition of those in power. Consequently, the averageHouse district now contains over 660,000 people; 22 times the Constitutional minimum of 30,000.

In this section, we show that:

In the last two centuries, while the House has only tripled in size, the total population has grown by a factor of 48 and the number of eligible voters has grown by a factor of 208.
Compared to a citizen in 1804, today’s citizen has 6% of the representation (in the House) and less than 2% of the suffrage.

on June 16, 2017

img John Adams posted a review

What's the difference between a dictatorship and a representative democracy? A few hundred people. In a dictatorship, one person makes all the decisions. In a representative democracy, the people have a voice in the decision-making via elected representatives. But how much of a voice do we have?

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, and 100 Senators. That's 535 people representing 325,000,000 people, or about one representative for every 600,000 people. By comparison, a constituency in the U.K. House of Commons is roughly 90,000 people. And the Iraqi government has one representative per 100,000 people. In other words, Iraq's legislature is six times more representative than our federal government.

What's worse, every day that goes by, our voice in government gets smaller and smaller. Before 1929, the House added new representatives as the population grew. But in 1929, congress capped the House at 435 members. So increases in population no longer lead to increases in representation. There is one group of people, however, who benefit greatly from this arrangement. For every new citizen, the power of each congressman grows.

on June 15, 2017
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United States

Healthcare study ranks US last in developed world
Book rating: 42 out of 100 with 116 ratings