And I like NPR and BBC.
I'd say these lean the least bit one way or another. True, you can hear a tinge of the left in them, but they're publicly funded. Still, I feel less biased from both of these.
In midterm elections, we seem to mostly place our focus on the house and the senate. A person in Texas may not care who wins the governor's seat in Ohio, but maybe they would if they were reminded about redistricting and the power of a governor's veto.
Midterm elections such as this one are the most important, because the state politicians elected this year, will be in office in 2021, which is when the next round of redistricting begins, and neither party will get a chance to lock these pivotal offices in after the elections.
For instance, this year, if the Democrats win key governor elections, as well as state seats, they could undo all of the work the Republicans put in to give themselves the advantage in the House of Representatives. Democrats could roll back Republican gerrymandering in major states such as Ohio, and Michigan. Here's a good example just from this year how pivotal it is for a party to win a governors election. A good quote from a vox editorial I read:
"So, even if faced with one or two Republican state legislature chamber majorities, a Democratic governor’s veto could either force a bipartisan compromise or create gridlock and throw the matter to the courts. Either would likely be a dramatic improvement over the Republican-only maps crafted last time."
It goes without saying, that winning a governor's seat is huge for a party. It could tip the scale in what party has the majority in the House of Representatives, as well as who ends up in the oval office. What states do you think it matters the most in, election after election? Are there states where you think it doesn't?
I really wonder if everyone eligible to vote in the country did, 100%, how divided would we really be?
Well, if that were to happen and there was unshakable proof that everyone did, we'd finally put to bed the age-old argument on if voting really matters. Thomas Jefferson supposedly said "We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate."
Good question. Found a good tracker
by CBS on the top races to watch, broken down across the U.S. map. One area I find particularly interesting is what is happening in the blue collar districts. Seems like the Dems have been bolstering their reputation with the working class since Trump was elected. It'll be interesting to see what happens there. I think it's important from the perspective of the individual party. It's simple, they have the majority, they call the shots. I'll add another question to the conversation. How important do you think majority control is to the individual voter?
I guess I missed this in the news. I thought it was interesting to bring to the forefront. When I hear the words mental health and drug industry in the same sentence, I tend to cringe a bit. Mostly I do because what we as American citizens do know is how little the medical community and the drug industry do not know about mental health. This is why I provided two sources for this thread. One is the "butter-side-up" perspective, and the other is sort of the "butter-side-down" perspective.
Mainstream genetic testing has only recently scratched the surface of popularity. I myself had mine done a few years ago. Not only will these tests tell you if you're actually Native American or not, but some provide medical information, essentially what health issues you may be susceptible to. While that information may be good, we are only receiving the tip of the iceberg at best. What I have found sounds promising for future application in the medical world. Perhaps doctors will use genetic testing in the future to help with the diagnosis of a patient.
I came across an article from Genesight. Their argument is that genetic testing has shown improvement in the medication selection process for patients suffering from depression. Such as they claim that patients were 50% more likely to achieve remission and 30% more likely to respond to treatment when their medication was guided by their "Genesight Psychotropic" test. Now, I agree the article is self serving, and I found another article that pulls the facts out, as well as the stretched truth. They seem to think that the percentages are a bit off, especially because the data wasn't a result of a gold standard controlled test.
But what we do know, and one of the main points of this thread is that the testing is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. What this indicates to me is the possible future of coverage going forward. Perhaps once they work more bugs out of genetic testing, it will become more of a standard practice not only for mental health but everything else in the world of medicine. So what do you think? Is it all just smoke and mirrors? Or, is it a possible perk for the future?
What do you think of the changes? I have a problem with trying to fix a welfare spending problem by making states spend more money on job training programs. In one way, maybe that could stimulate the economy and effect people's lives positively. And I see that. But on the flip side, it's just spending money a different way. And it might end up costing the taxpayer more. Not to mention it will take years for states to implement the changes, while in the meantime, many will go hungry in the process.
Hmm, yeah, I'd have to agree. It's just spending money in a different way. Pretty much it's putting more monetary burden on the state level, which essentially only changes the location of the spending. Plus, no telling how long it will take for the state programs to get up to 100%. Changes like these are frustrating because by the time the infrastructure is set, the budgets get cut and the bills change because Capital Hill didn't see any effectual change. And that's because they never give the programs enough time in the first place.
I'd say take the money and run. One of the reasons the government keeps bumping the age requirement up is that they are not only trying to deal with the heavy influx of the boomers retiring at the moment, but also to discourage those who want to take it early. Like the quote says, money earned today is worth more than earned in the future. If you think about it, you're quite literally gambling with money owed to you. What says you'll reach 90. Even with social security, the whole idea about "being in the present" might actually apply now.
Like many government programs, Medicare can be difficult to understand. Even if you do have a burning question, just googling it sometimes doesn't suffice. Sometimes going to a government website will only toss you into a sea of legal jargon and obscure sentences. It can be hard not to get discouraged, especially when you needed the answers yesterday. I found a USA Today article that might help answer some or hopefully all questions pertaining to Medicare.
1. When can I get Medicare benefits?
Unless you're disabled, the answer is 65 years old. A common misconception among Americans is that you can get Medicare as soon as you claim Social Security benefits, which can be as early as age 62. Unfortunately, even if you retire early and claim your Social Security benefit early, you'll have to wait until 65 before you'll be covered for Medicare.
2. How do I apply for Medicare?
You may not have to. If you're already receiving Social Security retirement benefits when you turn 65, you'll be enrolled in Medicare automatically. If this is the case, you'll be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare (more on the parts in a bit), and you can expect to receive your Medicare benefits card about three months before you turn 65.
If you aren't receiving your Social Security retirement benefit when you turn 65, you'll have to apply for Medicare, which you can do quite easily on the Social Security Administration's website. Your initial enrollment period begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and extends for three months after.
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3. What are the "parts" of Medicare?
There are four "parts" of Medicare. Here's a quick rundown, along with links to learn more about each part:
Part A is Hospital Insurance, or HI. This primarily covers hospital stays and some stays in skilled nursing facilities.
Part B is Medical Insurance. This covers doctors' visits, lab tests, and outpatient procedures, just to name a few.
Part C is Medicare Advantage. These are plans offered by private companies to provide Medicare benefits.
Part D is Prescription Drug Coverage. This is optional for beneficiaries.
Parts A and B are collectively referred to as "Original Medicare," and are generally what's being referred to when I use the term Medicare.
4. How much does Medicare cost?
Medicare Part A is free for the vast majority of American seniors, but has a deductible of $1,340 per benefit period, as well as coinsurance requirements if your hospital stay lasts more than 60 days or if your skilled nursing stay extends beyond 20 days.
Medicare Part B has a monthly premium. For 2018, the standard monthly premium is $134, but high-income seniors pay significantly more than this. At the high end, seniors with incomes over $320,000 (joint tax return) or $160,000 (individual) have to pay $428.60 per month. In addition, Medicare Part B has an annual deductible of $183 for 2018.
Part D, prescription drug coverage plans, come with an average monthly premium of $35.
5. What does Medicare not cover?
One of the most important things for seniors to know is what Medicare doesn't cover. While this isn't an exhaustive list, Medicare doesn't cover long-term care, dental care, eye exams or glasses, dentures, acupuncture, hearing aids, and routine foot care.
This list is what Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn't cover. Certain Medicare health plans may cover some of these services.
6. What is Medigap?
Since there are many copays and deductibles, private insurers sell Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans, or Medigap plans. There are 10 different varieties of Medigap plans, with Medigap Plan F (the most comprehensive) the most commonly chosen option. While Medigap plans are standardized in terms of the coverage they provide, costs can vary significantly.
7. I have health insurance already through an employer. Do I have to enroll in (and pay for) Medicare at age 65?
It depends what kind of health insurance you have. If you have insurance through your employer or your spouse's employer and the primary insured is still working, you may not be required to enroll in Medicare as long as the company sponsoring your coverage has at least 20 employees. In this case, you'll have a special enrollment period after you (or your spouse) retire or leave that employer.
On the other hand, if your insurance is through an employer you've already retired from, you still have to sign up at 65. If you are required to sign up for Medicare Part B, and don't, you'll face a permanent penalty of 10% of the Medicare Part B premium for every year you were supposed to enroll but didn't.
It's also worth noting that since Medicare Part A is free, it generally doesn't make sense to delay signing up for it, even if you're not required to. Your employer's insurance will be your primary coverage, and Medicare will be secondary. However, since Part B comes with a premium, it does make sense to wait if you're still covered by your employer's plan.
So say you access information on a government website. You may need to have Google Translator pulled up in another tab just to understand the jargon. Here's another article from Reader's Digest that breaks down some of the most common terms in Medicare. Also, what are some other questions that this list and articles might not have covered?
I'm hoping this isn't me this year, but it's at least good to prepare for such a thing. Life happens, and no judgement is made on anyone with such a problem. When it comes to owing Uncle Sam, we're all in this together. So what do you do if you can't pay your income taxes? I found an article on just the matter. The first thing it says, which sounds pretty obvious is to make sure you file your return on time. The IRS charges a penalty of 5% if it's late. Don't forget that you can set up a payment plan with the IRS. You can also file for an extension by the deadline date.
The best is to pay as much as you can by the April deadline to minimize penalties and interest.
If you can pay the full bill within 120 days, you will still pay penalties and interest on the balance, but there is no IRS fee to set up the plan.
An installment plan is more expensive. You'll pay to set it up, and it costs more in interest and penalties depending on the length of the payment term, six year maximum on that.
Does anyone else have advice for those out there who might struggle with paying their income taxes?
Sheesh, I'm cutting it close. Thanks for the info. It's funny, it's so easy to file these days, and yet I still drag my feet.