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Holabird Advocate

Providing all the news we see fit to print since 2002!

Friday, June 27, 2003
VOL. II Issue 6O
Former Senator and 1948 presidential candidate Strom Thurmond died at an Edgefield, South Carolina hospital last night. He was 100 years old. Sen. Thurmond served in the Senate for a record 48 years. His 25 hour filibuster was another record that has yet to be broken.
Much has been made of his Dixiecrat segregationalist record, but since is death, politicians and media alike have gone out of their way to say good things about him. Yes, the same media that had a collective cow when Trent Lott paid him tribute are now joining in. It should be noted that Thurmond was a Democrat when he supported segregation. As a Republican, he helped to dismantle it the moment it was no longer the law of the land. Does this mean that Trent Lott will be allowed to take his rightful place in the Majority leadership back? Not likely. For that, all of the hypocrites in the media and the government will pay. Someday they will all pay.
South Dakota Governor mike Rounds called a special session of the Legislators to create a risk pool. The risk pool that Gov. Mike Rounds hopes will protect people with costly medical problems and stop health-insurance companies from leaving South Dakota. The Senate approved of the risk pool in a unanimous vote. The risk pool is one piece of a three-bill package that Rounds called lawmakers into the special session to consider. It requires House approval today to become law. The House also will look at a Senate-passed bill today that funds the risk pool.
The risk pool would provide insurance for some 1,000 South Dakotans who have lost coverage for their expensive medical problems because their insurance carrier stopped doing business in the state, and no other company was willing to pick up the risk. The program includes the following:
• Health insurance companies would fund part of the cost of the risk pool by paying $3 per year for each person they cover.
• Doctors and hospitals would take lower rates, 15 percent above Medicaid levels, to reduce the cost of care for those in the pool.
• Insurance agents would take lower commissions, 3 percent instead of normal charges of as much as 10 percent.
• The state would commit $500,000 in general funds for ongoing support and budget savings to create a $1.5 million reserve fund.
• Those in the pool would pay premiums that averaged 150 percent of the rate for a healthy person of the same classifications.
Governor Rounds opened the special session by telling the lawmakers that without a risk pool for uninsurable citizens, companies that write individual health policies will continue to leave the state, threatening the ability of thousands of other citizens to get coverage and making it all the more difficult for the state to attract new companies and industries.
"It's not the 1,000 people we have to focus on," Rounds said in a session-opening message to a joint House-Senate meeting. "The fact is that if we take care of those 1,000 individuals ... we've assured ourselves that the remaining individuals currently covered by the market will be able to have insurance coverage remaining within the state."
"The publicity on this issue is going to suggest we're opening up a plan for uninsured. This is not the case," he said. "This doesn't solve the whole health-insurance problem in South Dakota. We can take care of the immediate needs today. It's measurable. We believe we've defined the parameters. ... We're going to make it tough to get into this."
Since 1990, 23 individual health insurance companies and 20 group insurance companies have stopped writing policies in South Dakota, the governor said. That leaves seven individual and 13 group companies, he said, and only three of the individual companies are major policy writers.
The goal is to create breathing room, to take some pressure off companies and hold the ones that still write coverage in South Dakota while the state analyzes how well the program works, how many people it serves and what the costs are, Rounds said.
Republican Rep. Claire Konold of Watertown has offered the only alternative to the governor's bills so far. He has proposed taking $5 million from a health trust fund to pay for the risk pool and warned that the cost would be greater than projected. "The risk pool will lose money; it will lose money every year," Konold said. "We have to accept the fact that we have to put money in every year." Konold's alternative plan failed on a 5-8 vote in committee.
Go figure, but the narrow-minded nitpickers at eBay will not let Jerry Hinkle sell either of his kidneys nor any other body parts without a letter from a doctor. Another narrow-minded nitpicker (Jerry's doctor) says that his heart is beating too fast for any surgery to take place.
Jerry does have other funds though. He found $25 in gift certificates to the Runnings store and his niece Brittany gave him two pennies. Just $34.98 to go.

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