Daily Archive : Thursday August 31, 2017

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    Trump Administration Whacks Millions From Budget Used To Push Obamacare

    President Donald Trump has insisted for months that “Obamacare is already dead.” His administration matched its harsh words with damaging action on Thursday - slashing millions of dollars from the government’s budget to promote the health law’s annual open enrollment season beginning in two months. The move is likely to translate into reduced marketing and fewer navigators - trained representatives deployed by nonprofit groups that receive federal grants to help people understand health insurance options and purchase a plan. The effect could cause more confusion for consumers in an abbreviated enrollment period that is 45 days shorter than last year - running from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. Grants to the nonprofits that supply navigators will fall by 40 percent to $36.8 million this year and advertising will drop by 90 percent to $10 million, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said. The money will be spent in 38 states that use the government’s healthcare.gov exchange. Administration officials said that five years into the Affordable Care Act, most people know they need to sign up and what their options are, and that there is no evidence that more advertising leads to higher enrollment. Last year’s $100 million advertising budget was double that of 2015’s. The administration’s announcement was denounced by prominent Democrats, former Obama administration officials and navigator organizations. “The Trump administration is deliberately trying to sabotage our health care system,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “I can’t think what the justification is for doing this” because experience has shown people need help getting through the enrollment process, said Jodi Ray, who leads the University of South Florida’s navigator program. It has won the largest navigator award in the country for the past several years, about $5.9 million. Ray doesn’t know what USF will get this year. Grant amounts to navigators have not been announced yet. “It’s going to be a really big challenge and doing a lot of extra work with fewer people on the ground and doing the work in half the time,” she said. Shelli Quenga, director of programs for the Palmetto Project in Charleston and Columbia, S.C., fears her group will have to reduce its workforce and events. Palmetto received $1 million last year. “We will face massive cuts to our budget,” Quenga said. “I am very worried for the fate of South Carolinians who need access to impartial and unbiased information.” Funding for 98 navigator organizations will be tied to how each performed last year relative to the enrollment goals they set for themselves. Those that didn’t meet their goals - 78 percent did not, according to CMS - will get less money this year. If an organization hit only 30 percent of its goal last year, it will receive 30 percent of last year’s funding. That formula has some flaws, said Lori Lodes, who directed CMS’ outreach efforts in 2014 and 2015 under the Obama administration. For one, navigators don’t get credit for every enrollment they help produce. Sometimes, consumers consult navigators about their choices and then complete their enrollment in private at home, said Lodes, who now directs the Families USA campaign called Protect Our Care. Another problem with the formula, she said, is that it fails to recognize the large amounts of time that navigators sometimes invest in helping people who are not native English speakers or have disabilities and need more help finding suitable health plans. That could contribute to groups signing up fewer people than anticipated. “The people that really need help come from more vulnerable populations,” Lodes said. “More vulnerable populations are not going to get the care they need.”

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    FILE - This Monday, May 16, 2016, file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app, in Detroit. On Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, Lyft announced that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 U.S. states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    Lyft extends service throughout 32 states

    Lyft extends service throughout 32 states, bringing full-state coverage to 40 states in bid to raise ridership

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    Ohio plastics company taking over closed Indiana factory

    A plastics molding company is taking over a closed northeastern Indiana factory, with plans to have 100 people working there by the end of this year

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    People launch boats from an overpass into floodwaters in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Kountze, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Impact of Houston's economy is felt well beyond its area

    Houston's powerful economic engine sputters after Hurricane Harvey shuts down business

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    Kurt D. Dykstra

    Providence Bank names new director
    Trinity Christian College President Kurt D. Dykstra has been appointed to Providence Bank & Trust’s board of directors.

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    Sikich named to Inc. 5000 list for fifth consecutive year
    Professional services firm Sikich LLP was recently named to the 2017 Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

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    Camping World Holdings declares regular, special dividends

    Camping World Holdings’ Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of 15.32 cents per share on the company’s Class A Common Stock and a cash distribution of 8 cents per common unit on CWGS Enterprises, LLC’s common units.

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    In this Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, photo, a flyer advertises job openings with Big 5 Sporting Goods during a job fair in San Jose, Calif. On Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits a week earlier. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    5 key figures to look for in Friday's jobs report for August

    Pay, worker participation and hours worked among things to look for in Friday's unemployment data

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    ATHENA awards to honor outstanding women leaders
    The Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce will honor outstanding local women leaders at the 2017 ATHENA Awards Luncheon.

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    Baxter International and MATTER, a Chicago-based health care incubator and innovation community, announced a new collaboration to drive forward innovation focused on improving the value and quality of health care.

    Baxter, health care incubator partner on innovation
    Baxter International and MATTER, a Chicago-based health care incubator and innovation community, announced a new collaboration to drive forward innovation focused on improving the value and quality of health care.

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    Aurora U.seminar focuses on ‘why’ to boost sales
    ”Knowing the Why for Sales Success” will be explored by Naperville executive, author and small-business coach Marla Tabaka at Aurora University Sept. 19.

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    Campbell expects sales drop as people shun packaged food

    Campbell Soup Co. said Thursday that it expects sales to continue to fall over the next year as more people skip its canned soups and bottled juices in favor of fresher foods.

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    Indiana-based AM General awarded $2.2B contract for Humvees

    Indiana-based AM General says it has received a $2.2 billion contract from the U.S. Army to build Humvees for foreign military sales

Life & Entertainment

Discuss

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    The Maine Township supervisor created a new position to help boost fundraising for the food pantry and, without posting the job or looking at other candidates, hired a political ally to fill it.

    Editorial: Creating job and hiring ally fuels skepticism about township government
    When the Maine Township supervisor creates a part-time job and then fills it with a political ally, it adds more fuel to the argument that townships are just all about the politics, a Daily Herald editorial says.

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    Slusher: Eclipse, Hurricane Harvey show our better nature

    Columnist Jim Slusher: Last week started with the a solar eclipse. It ended with a devastating hurricane that was historic even by hurricane standards. It’s easy to see why primitive societies looked for messages from the divine in disruptions of nature.

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    Trump vs. The filibuster

    Columnist Byron York: President Trump brings an outsider’s perspective to the long debate over the Senate filibuster.He doesn’t have a prayer of winning. But he’s not entirely wrong.

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    Rauner put safety first by signing TRUST Act
    A Lake County letter to the editor: After 30 years in law enforcement, I understand how state policy influences our officers and their communities every day.

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    Death by a thousand cuts
    A Barrington Hills letter to the editor: The defense of the District 59 budget is very familiar to citizens of the Northwest Suburbs; i.e., if the bonds pass, a taxpayer in a $250,000 home would only pay $15 more in property taxes

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    Obama should have said ‘Muslim terrorists’
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: I will fault President Trump for not mentioning the KKK and White Supremacists by name when ex-President Obama is taken to task by the news media for not using the word Muslim terrorists.

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    Still time to do what’s right, Mr. President
    A Downers Grove letter to the editor: Dear President Trump, My name is Elizabeth Chaplin. As a DuPage County Board member, I represent approximately 90,000 people.

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    Today’s Opinion Page editorial cartoon
    Today’s Daily Herald Opinion page editorial cartoon

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