Correction: Here is a way to reduce total claims paid FOR retirees.
"The data, in all cases, indicates the total claims paid for retirees are almost twice those of regular employees."
Here is a way to reduce total claims paid by retirees:
Require all Pima County government employees, including executive, elected, and judicial, to quit smoking within two years, or be fired to reduce healthcare expenses.
Also, all applicants for Pima County jobs must test negative for nicotine metabolites in their blood, or be rejected.
BTW there is NO right to smoke. Smoking is substance abuse, not a right, and smokers are nicotine addicts.
17,700,000 federal, state, local civilian employees are costing taxpayers $915,200,000,000 per year. We cannot afford to coddle tobacco junkies on government payrolls.
Include nicotine as a drug to be tested for under Senate Bill 1495. Nicotine addicts have money for cigarettes so they don't need UI benefits. We cannot afford to coddle tobacco junkies. Also, my compliments to University of Arizona Medical Center for joining Tucson Medical Center in making it's entire campus, indoors and outside, 24/7, 100% smoke free.
"Illegal entry into the U.S. is a crime, federal law says", according to Ryn. First of all, this sloppy statement contains obvious redundance because, if it's "Illegal", then of course it's a "crime". Second, entry without going through inspection is the actual crime, and that goes for both U.S. citizens and immigrants.
Ryn goes on to list "grounds for aliens' inadmissibility or removal", implying that they are criminal offenses, which they are not. An immigrant not admitted for "health concerns" has not been convicted of any crime, and neither has one who is removed for that reason.
Dave, Rachel, and Jake are totally right.
Re "25 Bills To Watch": Watch HB 2770. The feature of HB 2770 (sponsored by Frank Antenori to eliminate wasteful welfare spending) pertaining to smoking can be enforced right now in Arizona and must be matched in Congress with an amendment to the Food and Nutrition Act.
Enforcement by the state of Arizona will be accomplished without informants or the cost of any new bureaucracy or red tape by a "yes" or "no" answer to the new question "Do you smoke?" on this form already in use:
"Arizona Department of Economic Security Application for
AHCCCS Health Insurance, SNAP Food Stamp Benefits, and General Assistance"
Anyone giving a false answer will, as they do now, receive the following penalties:
"If you, your representative or any household member knowingly withholds information or gives false information with the intent to get or continue to get Food Stamps SNAP, AHCCCS Health Insurance or General Assistance benefits, that person will be subject to criminal prosecution, fines, imprisonment or other penalties provided for by state and federal laws.
If you get SNAP Food Stamp benefits, or AHCCCS Health Insurance, you must follow the rules for telling us about changes, and the rules below:
* Do not make false statements or hide information. This is an Intentional Program Violation (IPV). If you are not truthful, the Department can take back money overpaid to you, and you may be taken to court.
* Do not do anything dishonest to get SNAP Food Stamp or AHCCCS Health Insurance benefits that you are not supposed to get.
* Do not give or sell your AHCCCS ID card to anyone.
* Do not alter or use someone else’s EBT card for your household.
* Do not use your Food Stamp benefits to buy non-food items such as ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO.
* If you knowingly hold back or give false information so you can receive or continue receiving AHCCCS Health Insurance, or if something you tell us on this application is incorrect, we may deny or stop AHCCCS Health Insurance. If you and/or your representative knowingly provide false information, you and/or your representative will be subject to criminal prosecution, which could result in fines, imprisonment and/or other penalties under state or federal laws. You may also be required to pay AHCCCS for AHCCCS Health Insurance you received while you were not eligible.
* If you knowingly break the rules and get SNAP Food Stamp benefits, you will be disqualified from receiving SNAP Food Stamp benefits for:
* 12 months for the first violation
* 24 months for the second violation
* Permanently for the third or any other violations
* The following additional penalties apply to the Food Stamp Program:
* An additional disqualification, of up to 18 months, may be ordered by a court.
* Any participant or family member who commits an Intentional Program Violation (IPV) can be fined up to $250,000.00, imprisoned up to 20 years, or both.
* An individual may be subject to further prosecution under federal laws."
In addition, anyone using AHCCCS for medical services which include drawing blood will also be required to have the same blood sample tested for nicotine metabolites (little or no extra expense) and those who test positive will receive the penalties listed above.
Notice that purchase of ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO with food stamps is already prohibited. The current state and federal budget deficits are so severe and intractable that it is now imperative to tighten eligibility rules by ending SNAP payments to smokers. Enforcement must be sustained and vigorous.
Also, Congress must amend the Food and Nutrition Act (FNA) to end Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) benefits for smokers.
Taxpayers are simultaneously subsidizing the living expenses and supporting the addiction of people who are practically burning money in the form of tobacco. Anyone who has money to spend on smoking neither needs nor deserves tax dollars for free food. The governor of Arizona already sent a state official to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Dept. of Health and Human Services in Washington DC to prohibit purchase of soda, candy bars, etc. with food stamps. The logic is impeccable and compelling: Food stamps are for nutrition not junk food, so if cigarette smokers have money for their nicotine addiction then they don’t need food stamps.
Instead of crippling essential services such as public safety, instead of depriving children of decent K-12 education, we must now stop indulging selfish and extravagant welfare recipients who smoke. If anyone asks, the same goes for alcohol as tobacco but not pensions, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits because those recipients earned those benefits by being employed.
These are efficient, fair, unbiased and humane ways to make domestic budget cuts, ones that still recognize and aid the truly needy, but these legislative changes are not anti-smoker, they are anti-waste.
They are by no stretch fascist or totalitarian but they are paternalistic, and justifiably so. People who are unwilling or unable to feed themselves must accept the government control that inevitably and necessarily accompanies government aid they receive. Those on the public dole are in no position to take the posture of libertarians.
Many homeless men and women die "...without the dignity of a roof over their heads" because they squander their meager resources, including pan handling proceeds, on their nicotine addictions. Does Primavera have vigorous and consistent policies, procedures and programs for their clients for smoking cessation? A homeless adult begging for money and inhaling cigarette smoke in the same breath is a shame-on them. They are the ones who refuse to "...acknowledge that their lives have meaning" and that their health has value. The "state ... dollars for people who are disabled,for health insurance and for education..." lost to budget cuts pale in comparison to what the homeless could do for themselves by not literally burning money in the form of tobacco.
Arizona can immediately save millions of dollars and lives by simply ending all public assistance (welfare) payments to cigarette smokers. Taxpayers are simultaneously subsidizing the living expenses and supporting the addiction of people who are literally burning money in the form of tobacco. Anyone who has money to spend on smoking neither needs nor deserves tax dollars for free food, subsidized housing, government daycare, and so on. An average pack a day smoker spends over $1800 a year on their cigarettes alone and an idle, unemployed nicotine addict obviously spends even more. The governor of Arizona already has sent a representative to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to prohibit purchase of soda, candy bars, etc with food stamps. The logic is impeccable and compelling: food stamps are for nutrition not junk food, while cigarette smokers have money for their nicotine addiction so they don’t need food stamps.
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