Friday News: Better than nothing?


TIM MOORE WILLING TO EXPAND MEDICAID TO CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS: House budget writers voiced support for rural hospital funding and taxpayer-covered COVID-19 treatment costs Thursday as they ticked through a laundry list of funding and policy requests. They also made it clear: Not everything will get done during the coming legislative session focused on coronavirus response. There won't be enough state money for everything, nor is there an appetite to tackle long-standing policy issues that may be relevant to the crisis but don't have enough political support to move. That includes full-blown Medicaid expansion, long a top ask for North Carolina Democrats and a measure that has some support among the House Republican majority but little, at least publicly, in the state Senate. But House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday morning, during a video conference with a House working group, that he supports a temporary, and limited, expansion of Medicaid to pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment.

MEADOWS HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO TEARS OF FRUSTRATION WORKING FOR TRUMP: But administration officials say he has been overwhelmed at times by a permanent culture at the White House that revolves around the president’s moods, his desire to present a veneer of strength and his need for a sense of control. It is why, no matter who serves as chief of staff, the lack of formal processes and the constant infighting are unavoidable facts of life for those working for Trump. In the case of Meadows, it has not helped him with his White House colleagues that the former North Carolina congressman, who has a reputation for showing his emotions, cried while meeting with members of the White House staff on at least two occasions. One instance was in the presence of a young West Wing aide; another time was with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. On both occasions, Meadows was discussing staffing changes, according to the people briefed on the events. A White House spokesman declined to comment on either meeting. A person close to Kushner said he denied that any such episode involving him ever took place.

NC FOOD PROCESSING WORKERS IN FEAR OF CONTRACTING COVID 19: Factory workers at Pilgrim's Pride in Sanford and Mountaire Farms in Siler City say not enough is being done to protect them from contracting coronavirus, despite both companies taking several measures to help prevent the spread. Pilgrim's Pride is offering unpaid voluntary leave and Mountaire Farms is offering paid sick leave, but employees say they fear skipping work will cost them their jobs. "Everybody is scared. There is a lot of things from upper management that they're telling us. They're not giving them security of having a job," a Pilgrim's Pride employee said. "If you take these two weeks, you might come back and be replaced." The employees say several people threatened to walk off the job two times in the last week. They say the meat production floor is regularly sanitized, but they claim surfaces and machinery in the shipping area are not getting cleaned. "The people making the meat for y'all aren't being appreciated," one employee said. "We're feeding the world. They are telling us we're food heroes when we're not even being heroes for ourselves." Their concerns come as Smithfield Foods announced the closure of two more facilities in the Midwest -- forcing 5,300 people off the factory floor in Wisconsin, Missouri and South Dakota.

NEW YORK'S HART ISLAND MASS BURIALS ARE HAPPENING DAILY DUE TO VIRUS: The burials have raised concern among New York residents and proven divisive among its leaders. Corey Johnson, speaker of the city council, affirmed that the pandemic is forcing New York to use mass graves on the island “far more than at any point in recent memory.” He challenged city officials to “provide as much info as possible so no one has to speculate or worry about what might happen to a lost loved one.” Drone videos of Hart Island have shown fresh trenches dug with backhoes, and people wearing white hazmat suits lifting coffins from forklifts and stacking them in two long rows, three coffins atop one another. The caskets are the same as they’ve been for decades — simple pine boxes unadorned but for a name or “unknown” written in permanent marker and a grave number carved on the lid. The bodies are unembalmed, often buried with personal effects they had when they died. As usual, each plot contains around 150 coffins. With hospitals storing bodies in refrigerated trucks, funeral homes overwhelmed, and the city’s death toll rocketing past 10,000, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has declared that anyone who is not claimed from a morgue in 15 days will be buried on Hart Island. Typically, the medical examiner has held bodies much longer. The declaration means that anyone who has died of covid-19 (or other causes) and whose family could not make arrangements in time could be bound for the trenches. Perhaps permanently.

PROTEST GROUPS LIKE "REOPEN NC" JUST DON'T LIKE BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO: “If there’s a statement that I think I’m hearing the most, it’s: ‘Tell us what to do and trust us to do it, don’t try to make us do it by law,’” Robert Cahaly, a Republican pollster and senior strategist for the Trafalgar Group, said of the protesters. “It’s that whole axiom of, If you would trade liberty for security, you deserve neither.” With President Trump publicly lamenting the need to keep the economy shuttered, the responsibility to lay out restrictions and articulate the justification for them has fallen largely to governors. Most people express general appreciation: Governors’ approval ratings are up virtually across the board. But in states with an already intense partisan divide — like Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina — a small, vociferous protest movement is arising. From the language being used, it seems that protesters’ grievances mostly have to do with outrage over being told what to do, more than any policy critique on economic grounds. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson has called Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan “authoritarian” for placing strict limits on public activity in response to the virus, which has hit the state hard. When Garrett Soldano, a right-wing activist, spoke recently via live stream to his Facebook group, Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine, he focused more on principles of liberty than on economics. “Keeping healthy people at home is tyranny,” he said.



Here's some relatively good news

These crazy protesters are a distinct minority:

With fast-developing stories like this one, survey data always lags behind the present moment. But polling shows that these right-wing activists probably speak for only a small minority of Americans — or even of all Republicans.

In a Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday, two-thirds of Americans expressed more concern that the economy would reopen too quickly and allow the coronavirus to keep spreading, rather than that it would open too slowly, causing undue strain.

Even among most Republicans, bringing things back online too fast was the greater source of concern.

I guess it's only "good news" in the sense that Governors like Roy Cooper won't be unduly punished by voters for being careful. I saw some polling the other day that had Cooper leading Forest by something like 50 to 33. Now *that* is good news.

Unbelievable stupidity

So if I'm poor and I somehow get malaria, I can't be covered by the limited Medicaid expansion. But if I think I might be infected by covid 19, I will be covered? And what if it turns out that I'm not infected, do I have to give the money back?

Tim Moore is a diabolical asspole.

That's a good point...

This legislation needs to be written with some "no fault" language in it. Being hospitalized for COVID 19 can cost between $9,700 and $20,300, but the tests are bound to be pretty expensive themselves.

After finding out hospitals were charging women for rape kits, I don't trust them to not charge those who test negative for COVID 19.