Song in my head: Love is all around, no need to waste it...You can have a town, why don't you take it (already)....Gun-point freedom and democracy without polls......You're gonna make it a hell hole....The Talking Dog
~Billionaires for Bush~
Battle over pot about to get hot
Defying the White House, activists want medical marijuana expanded
SALEM — Ailing people who legally use medical marijuana could possess more of it under a measure that activists are promoting for Oregon's fall ballot.
The proposed ballot measure contains other changes in the Oregon law as well — all intended to make it easier for sick people who qualify for the drug to get it. Sponsors hope to turn in enough petition signatures to place it on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot.
The measure is opposed by the Bush administration, which calls it a backdoor attempt to legalize drugs. "No family, no community, no city and no state is better off when it makes drugs more available to its young people with these ridiculous propositions," said Andrea Barthwell, the White House deputy drug czar.
But national organizations that support medical marijuana say the Oregon proposal would be a big step forward for the country by making it possible for more ailing people to legally use marijuana to ease their suffering.|Link|
Low-income people brace for more cuts to health plan
Rejection of tax hike leads to slashing of services for 53,000
Irene Saxon had been covered by the Oregon Health Plan since 1994, the year it began. In April, she was dropped because she couldn't pay the $15 monthly premium on time.
A 26-year-old single woman, Saxon said she no longer can work because of her disabilities — post-traumatic stress syndrome from abuse as a child, among them. She's selling possessions and begging from friends to pay rent for her trailer house in Portland.
Her troubles got worse when she was dropped from the Oregon Health Plan.
After failing to pay the Health Plan premium on time, she was taken off in April for six months. She's trying a last-ditch appeal, but otherwise she's off the plan for the long term under cuts taking effect later this week.
That's unless lawmakers find a way to patch holes in the once-vaunted Oregon Health Plan.
Enrollment in the so-called standard part of the plan — now covering about 53,000 people — will be cut off on Thursday.
Saxon said that without medical assistance, "it will mean more emergency room visits because I can't afford drugs for asthma and my mental health."
If attrition doesn't pare the rolls to about 24,000, even more low-income people may lose coverage, state officials say.
"We're going to watch it for a few months and see what it does," said Jim Edge, assistant administrator of the state Medicaid program.
The moves result from cuts triggered by voters' rejection in February of an $800 million tax increase.
Lawmakers said because the almost $1 billion health plan consumes a large share of the state budget, it had to take a sizable share of the cuts.
The state cuts likely will put more pressure on private social aid groups for help.
"We're in for a year of real crisis," said Ronda Walker, who works in Newport with a nonprofit program aiding people in Lincoln County in getting plan coverage.
She said a $6,000 grant from the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, for example, has helped people around 50 people each month pay health plan premiums. The tribes operate a Lincoln City casino.
The "standard" part of the Health Plan is the state's expanded version of Medicaid. That added coverage is for people whose income is below federal poverty levels but who don't qualify for traditional Medicaid.
Current poverty lines are $9,130 annual income for one person, for example, and $12,490 for a household of two.
The cuts don't affect 300,000 low-income Oregonians getting traditional Medicaid — the elderly, blind and disabled adults, pregnant women and children. Federal Medicaid law requires the state to serve those groups. |Link|
Supreme Court will hear challenge to pot ban for patients
The Supreme Court said Monday it will consider whether sick people who smoke pot on a doctor's orders are subject to a federal ban on marijuana.
The court agreed to hear the Bush administration's appeal of a case it lost last year involving two California women who say marijuana is the only drug that helps alleviate their chronic pain and other medical problems.
The high court will hear the case sometime next winter. It was among eight new cases the court added to its calendar for the coming term. The current term is expected to end this week.
The marijuana case came to the Supreme Court after the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that a federal law outlawing marijuana does not apply to California patients whose doctors have prescribed the drug. |Link|
Ready, Aim, Fire!
Moore to turn guns on US health system
Micahel Moore, whose controversial awarding-winning attack on the Bush regime, Fahrenheit 9/11, opens in Britain on 9 July, has revealed that he is to turn his camera on healthcare in the United States.
The director and author will attempt to save as many lives as he can by simply intervening with his camera crew during the course of 90 minutes of filming. He hopes to embarrass health insurance companies and hospitals into continuing to care for patients with no cover - highlighting holes in the American system. |Link|