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Conor Ryan Will Join Kate Baldwin in John & Jen Off-Broadway

first_imgConor Ryan will play brother (and later son) to the previously announced Kate Baldwin in John & Jen. The Keen Company revival will play off-Broadway’s Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row beginning February 10. Opening night for the tuner is set for February 26. Performances are set to run through March 22. Jonathan Silverstein will direct.Ryan made his Broadway debut in Cinderella. He also appeared in The Fortress of Solitude off-Broadway.Featuring music by Andrew Lippa, lyrics by Tom Greenwald and a book by both, John & Jen explores familial connections and commitments. It tells the story of Jen and her relationship with two Johns in her life: her younger brother and her son. The musical originally premiered off-Broadway in 1995. The Keen Company production will feature a new song titled “Trouble with Men.” John & Jen Show Closed This production ended its run on April 4, 2015 Related Shows Star Files View Comments Kate Baldwinlast_img read more

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Denzel Washington & Viola Davis Pick Up Golden Globe Nods for Fences

first_img View Comments Denzel Washington & Viola Davis in ‘Fences'(Photo: Paramount Pictures) Denzel Washington Star Files The 2017 Golden Globe nominations were announced on December 12, and a number of stage favorites picked up nods, including three actors who reprised their Tony-winning performances on screen.Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, who both won Tony Awards for their star turns in the 2010 revival of August Wilson’s Fences, received nominations for their performances in the Washington-helmed big screen adaptation. Additionally, Bryan Cranston picked up a nod for the HBO motion picture All The Way; he took home a Tony in 2014 for the Robert Schenkkan play.The movie musical La La Land led the pack with seven nominations including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Broadway alum Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling received nominations for the flick, as did director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle.The La La Land number “City of Stars,” featuring music by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Dear Evan Hansen team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, was nominated for Best Original Song. Also in that category is Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda for the Moana tune “How Far I’ll Go.”Additional stage names and alums to receive nominations for film performances include 2016 Tony nominee Michelle Williams for Manchester By the Sea (playwright Kenneth Lonergan also picked up nods for directing and writing the film), Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, Jessica Chastain for Miss Sloane, Annette Bening for 20th Century Woman and Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins.Meanwhile, on the small screen, current Les Liaisons Dangereuses star Liev Schreiber picked up another nod for Ray Donovan. Sarah Paulson and Tony winner Courtney B. Vance, who both won Emmys earlier this year for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, received nominations. Rachel Bloom and Gael García Bernal picked up second nominations for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Mozart in the Jungle, respectively, having won Golden Globes last year for the two series.The 74th annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, will be held on January 8, 2017. Click here for a complete list of nominees.last_img read more

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Health care reform report recommends hybrid single-payer

first_imgâ ¢ Option 1 1A–Government-run Single Payer system with comprehensive benefit package 1B’Government-run Single Payer system with essential benefit packageâ ¢ Option 2’Public Option (create new government option but retain current insurance model and let the public decide which to choose in a competitive landscape). â ¢ Option 3 (Public-Private Single Payer) ‘Essential benefit package, Independent board, third party manages provider relations and claim adjudication/processing. Statement by William C. Hsiao before Vermont State LegislatureJanuary 19, 2011My name is William Hsiao and I am the K.T. Li Professor of Economics at the Harvard School of Public Health. I appreciate the opportunity to address the leaders and the public about the future of health care in the State of Vermont. Before discussing my role, and the role of my team of more than twenty specialists, in developing Vermont’s bold agenda for health care reform, I believe it is important to frame those issues already identified by the Legislature and Governor Shumlin in Act 128.Despite its valiant efforts, Vermont has not been able to provide high quality, affordable health care for all of its residents. It is fair to say that the system is broken. At present, roughly 47,000 Vermonters are without health insurance. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make a dent in that figure, it is estimated that 32,000 Vermonters will remain uninsured. Beyond that, it is estimated that 15 percent of Vermonters are underinsured and dedicating too much of their household budget to covering health care expenses. On hearing these figures, the instinct is to immediately ask how the legislature can intervene to provide adequate coverage for those who currently lack it. Financing, Payment and Delivery ReformsThough few could argue against the benefits of cost savings, inevitably, the discussion must turn to the politically sensitive and economically complex issue of financing the uninsured, under-insured and expansion of benefits. We recognize that in developing a financing mechanism for a single-payer system, our plan must account for day-to-day realities facing Vermonters. Therefore, our single-payer Options are financed by a payroll tax that provides exemptions for low-wage employers and low-earning workers. By using this financing method, we ensure that no additional cost burdens will be placed on the overwhelming majority of employers and their workers if the employers decide to rely on the single payer benefit plan. Simply put, under our plan, most Vermonters will pay no more for coverage under the single-payer system than then they currently pay for private insurance premiums. It is well understood that healthier populations experience lower healthcare costs on average. We factor that recognition into our proposed system by offering incentives for employers to institute healthy workplace initiatives and programs that encourage preventative care. Those employer-based incentives will run parallel with broad incentive programs to promote healthier lifestyles for individual Vermonters.In addition to changing how Vermonters pay for coverage, the single-payer system would fundamentally alter how providers receive compensation. Under the current system, every insurance plan, both public and private has its own payment method and rates. It is overly complex and inefficient and allows providers to do cost-shifting. We recommend Vermont adopt a two-stage approach to reforming provider payment, consisting of a transitional phase and a full implementation phase that would center on the use of accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are discussed in detail below. The first step in this process would see Vermont move towards uniform payment method and rates for all insurance plans. Vermont can implement this through both law and regulation. The uniform payment rates would incorporate risk adjusted capitation rates for ACOs, along with performance incentives for providers. The goal of this phase is to transition both patients and providers towards the uniform payment structure contemplated in the full implementation phase. When the transition is complete, payment for services in Vermont will be managed and overseen by ACOs, which are a central component of an integrated delivery system. The ACOs will bear primary responsibility for negotiating payments rates for providers, and we recommend that the principal method of payment for primary physicians, center on risk adjusted capitation and pay-for-performance. For specialists and other health professionals, we recommend payments based on a salary and performance bonus structure.A central component of both our cost savings estimate and our payment reform plan is the deployment of an integrated delivery system. To realize these savings, we recommend that Vermont use ACOs as a means of facilitating payment and integrating service delivery. This cannot be completed overnight, and as noted above we recommend a phase-in process that gradually implements a uniform rate and payment structure. While there is no single format for designing ACOs, they are generally understood to control health care costs by creating payment mechanisms that hold providers accountable for the cost of services, the quality of those services and population health outcomes. ACOs encourage providers to communicate and coordinate patient care across service levels. Vermont’s move towards ACOs should account for the lack of a one-size-fits-all model. As such, Vermont should allow for innovation and experimentation with respect to the development of ACOs. The system should foster competition where appropriate and provide strict oversight mechanisms that evaluate the effectiveness of various ACOs and set guidelines.Comparison of ImpactsOption 1, 2 and 3 produce different savings, benefit packages, payment systems, governance structures, etc. Act 128 requires us to assess and compare their impacts. We relied on the GMSIM model to estimate the impacts of the PPACA and three options on uninsured persons, the Vermont government, employers and households. Professor Jonathan Gruber of MIT developed the GMSIM model and his model produces the results. Kavet/Rockler Associates then use the Regional Economic Model to estimate the macroeconomic impacts of the options such as employment in Vermont and its gross domestic product. We first present the impacts of PPACA in Table 3, and compare the impacts of the three options in Table 4. Finally, we show the estimated payroll contribution rates for the various options for employers and workers. – 30 – “We recognize that these estimates are inherently uncertain and that the true impact will depend largely on how the proposed system is implemented,” the Report stated. “The estimates could vary by ± 15%. However, we used conservative approaches in our estimation of cost savings and that still revealed considerable opportunity for Vermont to build a more sustainable health system.”Option 3 will yield the most significant cost savings, as compared to Option 1 and Option 2. As we discuss, Option 3 is more cost effective and more feasible on account of its governance structure. Unlike Option 2, which continues a multiple-insurance system and Option 1, which incorporates a strictly government-administered, single-payer system, Option 3 proposes a single-payer structure overseen by an independent board with representatives of patients, providers, employers and responsible government agencies. Board members will be charged with establishing a budget for the single-payer system, determining the benefits package, and making adjustments to payment rates. Under Option 3, the Governor has discretion to veto decisions by this board. In addition to establishing an institutional board, Option 3 proposes a third-party to administer provider relations and claim processing function, awarded through a competitive bidding process. Both public and private entities will be eligible to submit proposals for this work. Under Option 3, the Vermont state government will be responsible for determining the eligibility of beneficiaries, collecting premiums, credentialing and licensing providers, and regulating patient safety throughout the system. Many of these functions are currently undertaken by Vermont state agencies in the context of administering the Medicaid system and other government-run health programs.We note that in estimating cost savings for the various options, we take into account services for only those Vermonters under the age of 65. None of the options contemplate changes to the Medicare system, or its application in Vermont. Proposed Benefit PackagesAlongside cost considerations, a principal challenge in health system reform is designing a benefits package that provides all citizens with adequate care, while allowing those with more generous benefits to supplement with private insurance. Under a single-payer system the benefits package is a primary means of allocating resources. By tailoring the contents of a benefits package to promote prevention, primary care and improved general health outcomes, Vermont can affect both cost savings and a system-wide behavioral shift. Act 128 calls on us to design both an essential and a comprehensive benefits package for a single-payer system. In designing those benefits packages, we drew on three basic principles: (1) reducing financial barriers to provide easy access to all health services; (2) emphasis on the need for prevention and the importance of primary care; and (3) protecting Vermonters against the financial risk of high health care expenses that can lead to bankruptcy and poverty.The comprehensive benefits package covers a range of services including prevention, primary and specialty medical care, mental health, other allied health services, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, nursing home care and home health care. Under this package, the cost sharing burden on patients is very low and consists only of minimal co-payments that temper demand slightly, without impeding access to services. The essential benefits package also provides coverage for prevention, medical care including primary and specialty services, mental health services, other allied health services, prescription drugs, some vision care and dental care. Unlike the comprehensive benefits package, the essential benefits package does not cover nursing home care or home health care. In addition, the essential benefits package calls for more significant cost sharing relative to specialty services, surgical procedures, the use of brand-name prescription drugs and high-technology tests. The essential benefits package also provides lower amounts of coverage for dental and vision care. Uses of SavingsBecause a fundamental premise of our proposal is to ensure that no additional money is spent on healthcare over current levels it is important to determine where the realized savings will be reallocated. In developing Options 1, 2 and 3, we allocated these savings to providing insurance for all Vermonters, guaranteeing either a comprehensive or an essential standard benefit package that are described above. Beyond this, options 1 and 3 allocates $50 million of savings towards investment in human resources for primary care and updates to community hospitals to ensure an adequate supply of services to meet increased demand. Table 2 shows our estimates of the spending to cover the uninsured, under-insured, investment in primary care and updating some hospitals, etc. Option 1 with comprehensive benefit package has the highest cost because it has minimum cost sharing and Act 128 asked us to consider the inclusion of full dental, vision, nursing home and homecare. The services covered and cost sharing provisions in the essential benefit packages of option 1 and 3 are the same. The man charged with developing Vermont’s health care reform effort, Dr William Hsiao of Harvard University, presented his report to the state Legislature today. He outlined three options and of those recommended a hybrid single-payer system that would offer a government-mandated, essential benefit package managed by a private entity and include an oversight board. Savings will be realized by administrative savings through a uniform benefits package and the system will be financed by a payroll tax. There would be exemptions for low-wage employers and low-earning workers. He suggests implementing it in 2015.‘Beyond yielding greater cost savings, we believe Option 3 is most feasible because it is likely to be accepted by the broadest cross-section of Vermont stakeholders. In other words, we designed Option 3 to be both economically responsible and politically palatable,’ he told lawmakers. Hsiao’s statement is pasted below.He also said that it would yield positive economic results in terms of both state domestic product and employment:‘Both option 1 and 3 would create several thousand new jobs in Vermont when the cost of health care declines and results in increases in workers’ cash wages. Option 2 would not produce this positive effect. Option 1 and 3 would also increase gross state domestic product by approximately $180-$240 million in 2015.’Hsiao endeavored to define ‘single payer.’ His definition does not limit it to government-only health insurance:‘I believe it is important for us all to have a common understanding of what a single-payer system entails before I discuss our approach and findings. In short, a single-payer system provides insurance coverage to every Vermonter, provides them with a common benefits package, and channels all payments through a single system that establishes uniform processes and rates for all providers. The system also provides a single mechanism for resolving disputes. Contrary to some perceptions, a single-payer system does not need to be run solely by government, but rather can be administered by governmental, quasi-public, or private entities.’Governor Peter Shumlin said in a statement: ‘I appreciate the work Dr. Hsiao has put into this comprehensive study of health care reform options that will lead to universal, affordable coverage and quality care for Vermonters.‘It’s clear that moving to a single payer plan, with or without a limited role for private insurers, will save Vermont significant money in health care.  Dr Hsiao estimates that a single payer plan with a limited role for a private insurer would save $500 million in the first year of operation, and a government-run single payer plan would save between $50 million and $100 million.  That’s very good news for Vermonters who are being forced to spend $1 million more tomorrow than we did today on health care. ‘In addition, there will be no additional overall cost under these plans for employers. ‘Dr. Hsiao believes the savings from a single payer plan can cover the remaining uninsured, improve coverage for those whose current coverage is not adequate, and be invested in technology and expanding our primary care workforce.‘It’s also clear that the reform will provide up to 5,000 new jobs, which is a significant boon to Vermont’s economy.   I look forward to working with lawmakers and other partners to determine how to use this thorough information to shape the best health care reform plan for Vermont.’Meanwhile, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont said it supports health care reform and will review the proposal.‘Health care reform will be difficult and it will be challenging, and to be successful it will require all of us within health care to advocate for the system as a whole, rather than for each of our separate parts of it,’ said Don George, BCBSVT’s President and Chief Executive Officer.‘As Vermont’s largest private payer and the only plan that has continuously served all segments of Vermont’s population for more than 30 years, we have a wealth of data, experience and perspective to bring to this process. Without endorsing any specific proposal, we look forward to working closely with lawmakers and our customers over the next several months as they evaluate various approaches to health care reform.’Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, based in Berlin, is a not-for-profit company employing 340 people.George said the company will thoughtfully assess the new proposals that will be considered on the basis of how well they will deliver on the reform vision that BCBSVT shares with policy makers — for a transformed health care system in which every Vermonter has health coverage and receives timely, effective and affordable care. He said the company will make recommendations to policy makers based on those assessments so that Vermonters and businesses receive the maximum value from a transformed health care system.‘We have been an important part of health care reform in Vermont, from the pioneering community rating and guaranteed issue legislation of the early 1990s to the BluePrint for Health, VITL, Catamount Health and more recently implementation of the new federal Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act,’ said George.‘We are proud of the leadership Vermont has shown, and look forward to working with the new Administration and Legislature on the ambitious agenda they have created for Vermont.’Three Options Problems Confronting VermontHowever, Vermont has another major problem: rapid health cost escalation. Vermont cannot begin to effectively address the coverage issue without first taking a hard look at the rapidly increasing cost of its health care. In recent years, Vermont’s residents, employers and government have born the stress of rapidly increasing health care costs. Between 2004 and 2008 health care spending in Vermont grew at an average annual rate of 8 percent, in comparison to the national average of 5 percent. The net impact of this above average trend has been job loss, stunted wages, and an overall decline in the quality of coverage available to Vermonters. It is estimated that between 2010 and 2012 health care spending will increase by $1 billion, from $4.9 billion to $5.9 billion. These escalating costs strain all those who have to pay.The leadership of Vermont’s legislative and executive branches has recognized this emerging crisis. That brings us to why I am here today. Pursuant to Act 128, I was commissioned by the Legislature to conduct a detailed examination of the health care system in Vermont. I was directly involved with development of the new single-payer health care system in Taiwan that covers everyone with comprehensive benefits. That system, implemented in 1995 has reduced health care costs and holds Taiwan’s health expenditure at around 6% of its GDP as compared to more than 16% in the United States. Besides Taiwan, I have led or closely advised eight other nations in their health system reforms. Strategy and ApproachesTo carry out the legislative mandate, I assembled a team of experts with both practical and academic experience. Our group of economists, political scientists and public health specialists has in depth knowledge specific to Vermont, as well as the US and international health care systems. I commend Vermont’s leadership for tackling this politically sensitive and complex issue head on. There is no easy solution to remedy a problem many years in the making. However, Act 128 is effective in establishing Vermont’s goals for fundamental health care reform. Those goals are:(1) universal health insurance coverage;(2) provision to every Vermont resident of an adequate standard benefits package and equal access to health care;(3) control of the rapidly escalating costs of health care in Vermont; and(4) establishment of a system that prioritizes community-based preventive and primary care, as well as, integrated health care delivery.Act 128 calls upon our team to develop three options. The Legislature requires that we evaluate a state government-administered and publicly-financed single-payer health benefits system. This system, which we refer to as Option 1, would provide all Vermonters with a uniform benefits package. Within those parameters, we looked at costs of both a ‘comprehensive’ benefits package and a leaner, ‘essential’ benefits package, which I will define and discuss later. The second option is a state government-administered, public option that would allow Vermonters to choose between public and private insurance coverage. Option 2 is designed to allow for and promote competition between the public and private plans, while keeping in place the current multiple payer system. Act 128 allows our team to develop a third option that we design after analyzing all aspects of Vermont’s health care and assessing the positions of key stakeholders across the State of Vermont. We call Option 3 a public/private single-payer system. It provides an ‘essential’ benefits package, is administered by an independent board with diverse representation, and it employs a competitively-selected third party to manage provider relations and claims adjudication and processing.I believe it is important for us all to have a common understanding of what a single-payer system entails before I discuss our approach and findings. In short, a single-payer system provides insurance coverage to every Vermonter, provides them with a common benefits package, and channels all payments through a single system that establishes uniform processes and rates for all providers. The system also provides a single mechanism for resolving disputes. Contrary to some perceptions, a single-payer system does not need to be run solely by government, but rather can be administered by governmental, quasi-public, or private entities.To assess the feasibility of a single payer option and its implementation, in Vermont, we focused our analysis on: the current fiscal conditions in Vermont, the legal and regulatory implications of broad health system reform, the impact of Federal interventions and programs, the interests of all major stakeholders, and lessons learned from Vermont’s own history. Our research and findings, coupled with interviews of more than 100 key stakeholders in Vermont, allowed us to formulate a plan that is feasible and works within Vermont’s unique socio-political environment. Our findings also identified at least 15 major fiscal, legal, institutional, political and operational barriers that must be overcome to achieve the goals outlined in Act 128. From a fiscal standpoint, the reform cannot result in additional overall health care spending. In legal terms, Vermont cannot implement a system that runs afoul of existing federal laws under ERISA, PPACA, as well as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. As with every major reform effort, Vermont’s health care overhaul must take into account the state’s diverse and often complex political dynamic. Finally, Vermont will need to develop and deploy uniform, electronic management systems.We developed a strategy to accomplish the goals of Act 128 and to overcome the challenges noted above. If implemented properly, a single-payer system can provide universal coverage; yield significant savings that help fund the under-insured and uninsured; and control the escalating costs of health care. Our plan contemplates a more equitable financing structure than the current premium-based financing that exists for most Vermonters. It derives its funding from a payroll-based contribution that is split between employees and employers and exempts low-income individuals and low wage employers. In short, it allows Vermont to do more for less over time, and to do so more fairly.In developing options we were guided by 6 major design parameters:1) We must maximize federal funds for Vermont.2) There must be no increase in overall health spending and therefore all funding for the options must derive from savings.3) No option could result in an overall increase of the health care cost burden faced by employees or employers.4) No option could yield a reduction in the overall net income received by physicians, hospitals or other health care providers.5) The implementation of any option must move Vermont toward an integrated health care delivery system that allows for a transition to global budgets and risk-adjusted capitated payments.6) No option could entail changes for Medicare beneficiaries in Vermont. System Structural Reforms and Potential ImpactsMeeting these objectives and the underlying goals of Act 128 will require significant structural changes to the Vermont health system. The current system is rife with perverse incentives, as well as inconsistencies in the regulatory, financing and payment structures. Therefore we propose changes that will better align the overall system with the goals of providing universal coverage and controlling the costs of health care in Vermont. In doing so, we recommend legal and regulatory reforms, as well as, reforms in how providers and hospitals are compensated for their services, the manner in which health care is financed, how providers interact with each other and their patients through integrated delivery, and how patients themselves approach wellness and their own use of the health care system. The success of a broad based reform effort will require consideration of all these elements and their coordination with one another.As I’ve discussed, cost control is a significant motivator in health system reform. With a single payer system in place, Vermont will be able to realize substantial cost savings. We have approached our analysis conservatively, but have identified the following areas from which a single-payer system can derive cost savings. Specifically, a single-payer system yields administrative savings because there is one standard benefits package and one common system for payment and adjudication of claims. Under the current structure in Vermont, competing insurers offer a variety of benefit packages, maintain a broad array of rules and have numerous channels for payment. By streamlining the process, we eliminate much of the administrative costs associated with multiple payers and the administrative hassles on providers and hospitals that cause waste and inefficiency. Though the vast majority of providers and patients are honest, the few who are not can cost the system significant sums of money. With a single-payer in place to manage all claims, Vermont can significantly reduce instances of fraud and abuse within the system. By implementing an integrated delivery system, providers will be able to share information about their patients more efficiently and will be required to do so by law. This will result in considerable savings and reduce overuse of services, tests, duplicative procedures, as well as the negative impact of overtreatment and drug interactions. Vermont has already begun the move towards an integrated delivery system through its Blueprint Program and medical homes. These actions represent an important first step but will be more effective in the context of a single-payer system. Major reforms to the overall health care system will also result in a favorable environment to reevaluate how medical malpractice claims are litigated and paid out. The opportunity to design tort reform, including the possibility of a no fault system, would reduce the practice of defensive medicine.Vermont will realize considerable savings upon implementation of the system in 2015. Table 1 gives more details. Those savings will be immediate. In addition, Vermont will continue to realize savings over the longer-term that will contribute to a more sustainable and cost-controlled health care system. In analyzing the three options, we determined that all will yield significant savings. However, our research and analysis indicate that the single-payer options will have a more dramatic impact on reducing cost than the public option because they incorporate a uniform benefits package and reduce much of the administrative structure needed to compensate multiple payers. Therefore, we estimate that Option 1 will produce savings of 24.3% of total health expenditure between 2015 and 2024. Option 2 will produce savings of 16.1% of total health expenditure between 2015 and 2024. Finally, Option 3 will produce savings of 25.3% of total health expenditure between 2015 and 2024. Option 3 produces additional savings as compared to Option 1 because it incorporates a public/private partnership in governance and administration. These percentages of savings are shown in Graph 1 and they represent the savings that can be achieved in cost of current benefits. The estimated dollar figures of savings are shown in Table 1 and they are expressed in 2010 dollars. GRAPH 1: COMPARISON OF VERMONT HEALTH EXPENDITURE PER PERSON UNDER DIFFERENT OPTIONS (IN REAL TERMS), 2010 – 2024 Discussion and RecommendationsBeyond yielding greater cost savings, we believe Option 3 is most feasible because it is likely to be accepted by the broadest cross-section of Vermont stakeholders. In other words, we designed Option 3 to be both economically responsible and politically palatable. Through discussion with more than 100 stakeholders, we gained a critical understanding of what the various competing interests would tolerate, where they disagreed and where common ground could be reached. We focused on providing access to care, maximizing cost savings and where possible, relying on market-based efficiencies within a single-payer system. Political opposition to single-payer systems is often rooted in concerns over transparency and accountability. We designed Option 3 to address those issues and to operate with input from a broad base of stakeholders, with no one constituency holding total control. In sum, we believe that Option 3 provides benefits to patients, providers and the system at large in keeping with the goals of Act 128, with an eye towards long-term sustainability.In addition to benefiting the Vermont health care system at-large, Option 3 will provide immediate, direct benefits to the uninsured and the underinsured. All Vermonters will receive dental and vision coverage. Most employers and employees will pay less for the essential benefits package in Option 3 than they currently pay for private insurance. Additionally, the new focus on preventative and primary care will result in more physicians practicing in that space, and greater incentives for those that chose to do so.It is a general rule that with any broad reform effort, some individuals and groups will benefit more than others. The provisions implemented under Option 3 are not an exception. While all Vermonters will have access to coverage under Option 3, the single-payer system will require private health care organizations to adapt and evolve. Though we cannot estimate the full impact, it is inevitable that under a single-payer system, certain private insurance functions will become obsolete and will leave the market in Vermont. We believe that these changes will have the most significant effect on sales, marketing and underwriting personnel within the private health insurance industry. Further, many of the persons performing billing, coding and claims management functions for providers may also be displaced. Beyond the jobs-related impact of Option 3, it is fair to conclude that certain employers who currently do not provide coverage for their workers, or who provide minimal coverage, will face greater costs on account of the payroll tax used to finance the system.Though one may be inclined to focus attention on the near term challenges of health system reform, it is critical that we not lose sight of the long term benefits of a single-payer system. If Vermont implements the structure contemplated under Option 3, it will set in place a policy that controls the long range escalation of health care cost, affords every Vermont resident coverage with an essential benefits package, creates jobs by allowing employers to better plan for the costs associated with their workers’ coverage, attract new workers to Vermont with better healthcare and higher wages and finally, creates a healthier and more productive citizenry.As I have discussed at length, Vermont is in a unique position to fix its broken health care system. The Legislature has taken the first, critical steps towards controlling health care cost escalation while providing coverage and essential benefits for all Vermonters. Though we have outlined multiple options, and considered various legal and regulatory structures, our research and analysis shows that a single-payer system can immediately reduce health care costs in Vermont by 8-12% and reduce health care costs by an additional 12-14% over time. We believe that a single-payer plan will serve as an effective way to integrate delivery of health care, making it more efficient, more intuitive and less costly. If Vermont is successful in designing and implementing health care reform based on our recommendations, it will be seen as a leader in resolving the most important domestic policy issue of our time. Vermont can show the way forward for the rest of the United States and I am grateful for the opportunity to inform this process. The results above indicate that the impacts of PPACA will be felt gradually over four years. In 2015, the first full year of implementation, PPACA would reduce the number of uninsured by 18,000 people; however 32,000 Vermont residents will remain uninsured. Ultimately in 2019, PPACA will reduce the number of uninsured by 22,000 in 2019. PPACA will likely add an additional $240 million of federal funds in 2015 to the State of Vermont, which will eventually rise to $420 million in 2019. All of these dollar values are expressed in 2010 dollars.In comparison with option 1 and 3, Option 2 would still leave approximately 30,000 Vermonters uninsured. Option 2 would not expand the current benefits to cover some dental and vision care nor bring up the benefits for those who are currently under-insured.The comprehensive benefit package under option 1 covers all health services with minimum cost sharing. As a result, it costs more and requires more funds to finance it. Under a payroll contribution scheme of financing, employers and workers will have to pay more than what they would pay if no reform takes place. This comprehensive benefit option would also increase the total health spending in Vermont which would make this option less feasible.The essential benefit package under option 1 and 3 have leaner benefits and they can be financed through payroll contributions without increasing the amount that most employers and workers would have to pay as compared to if no reform takes place. It would reduce the total health spending in Vermont slightly in 2015 when the proposed reforms are implemented.Both option 1 and 3 would create several thousand new jobs in Vermont when the cost of health care declines and results in increases in workers’ cash wages. Option 2 would not produce this positive effect. Option 1 and 3 would also increase gross state domestic product by approximately $180-$240 million in 2015.last_img read more

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Explore More Top Adventure Towns

first_imgDon’t stop at the winning towns! Explore the rest of these Blue Ridge adventure hubs next time you’re looking for an outdoorsy getaway. Martinsburg, W.Va.Hike the Tuscarora Trail, a 242-mile blue blazed side trail that runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail.Martinsville, Va.Paddle the Smith River Trail System and attend the Smith River Fest.Frankfort, Ky.Capitol View Park offers five miles of mountain bike trails in the heart of the city, and Cove Spring Park and Nature Reserve features trails, wetlands and waterfalls—also within city limits. Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary, Life Adventure Center, and Salato Wildlife Education Center are outstanding locations for nature viewing, hiking and exploring.Charleston, W.Va.Load up the bikes and explore 9,000-acre Kanawha State Forest, laced with 30 miles of hiking and biking trails.Morgantown, W.Va.  Coopers Rock State Forest offers 13,000 acres of adventure for hikers and bikers.Harrisonburg, Va.Mountain bike in the GW, and then hit the ski slopes of Massanutten Resort.Charlottesville, Va.The Rivanna Trail encircles the city, and O-Hill is a popular trail network on UVA’s campus, but the most magnificent trails are in nearby Shenandoah National Park.Morganton, N.C.Just north of town, explore the rugged, remote trails and crags of Linville Gorge.Hendersonville, N.C.The Blue Ridge Parkway, DuPont State Forest, Green River, and Pisgah National Forest are all within striking distance.Waynesville, N.C.Ride Coleman Mountain Panther Creek Loop or hike up Cold Mountain.Greenville, S.C.Hike or bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail, or summit Sassafras Mountain.Asheville, N.C.Get on two wheels at Bent Creek, or paddle the French Broad River through downtown.Evans, Ga.Explore the Fork Area Trail System (aka: FATS) for 37 miles of trails.Boone/Blowing Rock, N.C.Take your fishing poles to the Watauga River, or take your skis to Beech Mountain Ski Resort.Johnson City, Tenn.Hike Roan Mountain, paddle the Nolichucky, or go for a trail run at Warriors’ Path State Park.Chattanooga, Tenn.Explore Lookout Mountain by boot or bike, or go for a trail run at Raccoon Mountain or Stringers Ridge.Charlotte, N.C.Paddle at the U.S. National Whitewater Center; explore Sherman Branch MTB Park.Atlanta, Ga.Run at Kennesaw Mountain or at Cochran Shoals along the Chattahoochee River.Charleston, S.C.Explore the 7-mile Palmetto Trail via foot or on wheels.Columbus, Ga.Riverwalk provides 15 miles of trail around the Chattahoochee River.Birmingham, Ala.Moss Rock Preserve offers challenging rides, and Red Mountain State Parksoffer tons of trails for hiking and running.Greensboro, N.C.Take in 42 miles of rolling Piedmont foothills around Lake Higgins on foot or by bike.Knoxville, Tenn.Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is a unique urban playground offering 50 miles of trails.Washington, D.C.Rock Creek Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country.Richmond, Va.Rock hop on Belle Isle, an island in the James River and part of James River State Park.Virginia Beach, Va.Explore Back Bay and paddle through over 12,000 acres of protected coastal marsh and marsh habitat.Louisville, Ky.Head down to the Ohio Riverfront and play in the Louisville Waterfront Park.Chesapeake, Va.Paddle the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, or take a canoe to paddle around Lake Drummond.Lexington, Ky.Kayak Elkhorn Creek; fish the 47-acre lake at Jacobson Park.Baltimore, Md.Explore the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary, home to 1,000-year-old trees.Brevard, N.C.Brevard serves as the gateway to Pisgah National Forest, DuPont, and Gorges State Park.Dawsonville, Ga.Explore Amicalola Falls State Park and the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.Sylva, N.C.Hike in Pinnacle Park or anywhere in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or paddle/ fly fishing the Tuck.Cherokee, N.C.Cherokee offers front door access to Mingo and Soco Falls, the Oconaluftee River and Trail, and the Great Smokies.Bryson City, N.C.Mountain bikers should hit up Tsali Recreation Area. Steep creekers can paddle the Cascades of the Upper Nantahala.Ellijay, Ga.The mountain bike capital of Georgia is at the doorstep of endless trails in Chattahoochee National Forest.Walhalla, S.C.Paddlers will want to add the nearby Chattooga and Tallulah Rivers to their bucket list.Fayetteville, W.Va.The New River Gorge provides world-class whitewater, top-notch sport and trad climbing, bouldering, and hiking.London, Ky.The cycling capital of Kentucky, London offers easy access to the Bluegrass Tour Bicycle Route.McHenry, Md.Visit 3,900-acre Deep Creek Lake or tackle class IV rapids and slalom course at Adventure Sports Center International.Abingdon, Va.The Virginia Creeper Trail starts in Abingdon and spans 34 well-graded rail-trail miles.Davis, W.Va.Cross-country ski at White Grass Ski Touring Center or backpack through the Dolly Sods Wilderness.Lexington, Va.Hike to Devil’s Marbleyard or fish and float the Maury River through Goshen Pass.Ohiopyle, Pa.Hike the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail or paddle the class III Lower Youghiogheny River.Woodstock, Va.Explore Skyline Drive and adventures in Shenandoah National Park.last_img read more

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Largest Dutch union demands retirement age freeze in new system

first_imgThe Netherlands’ largest union has demanded a freeze in the state retirement age and pension provision for self-employed workers in return for its support for system reforms.In an interview in Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant, Tuur Elzinga, the FNV union’s trustee tasked with the pensions dossier, said that the union had linked the state pension (AOW) to the proposed new second pillar rules “as these subjects are intertwined for our members”.“They look at the combined financial result, and a decent pension doesn’t make much sense if people don’t have the time to enjoy it,” he said.In the opinion of the FNV, the Dutch government’s decision to raise the state pension age to 67 in 2021 was unrealistic. “People can’t keep up with it,” Elzinga said. “In particular for low-paid workers in hard manual jobs, the longevity-linked AOW age is turning out to be disastrous.“These workers have started their career early and have to work longer, while they tend to live shorter [lives] than higher educated people.”“We are already preparing for an offensive.”Tuur Elzinga, FNVThe FNV trustee added that the current proposals for a new pensions system lacked pension provisions for the approximately 1m self-employed – also known as ‘zzp’ers’ – and flexible workers, most of whom save little or nothing for retirement.“In order to prevent ‘individual pension dramas’, to counter unfair competition between employed workers and self-employed, as well as to keep support for the pensions system, something must be done,” the paper quoted Elzinga as sayingHe indicated that negotiations about the position of zzp’ers in the new social agreement between unions and employers hadn’t produced any results yet.According to Elzinga, “nobody” understood why, despite the economic prosperity of recent years, it was still impossible to link pension benefits inflation.In the coalition agreement between the four parties forming the Netherlands’ new government, the parties said that they expected an agreement on pensions to be reached early next year.However, Elzinga said he didn’t expect social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees would force through arrangements without the FNV’s support.“Given the coalition’s tiny majority in parliament, the government will not succeed without broad support from society,” he said.Were Koolmees to introduce a new pensions contract anyway, the FNV would block a transition if it thought such a setup wasn’t an improvement, Elzinga said.“We are already preparing for an offensive,” he said.last_img read more

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Suspect in triple murder found dead in Monroe County.

first_imgMonroe County, Ind. — Indiana State Police say the body of Richard Lee Burton Jr., 47, was found in a vehicle at the Blackwell Horse Camp in Monroe County. The identity of the body will be confirmed by the Monroe Couynty Coroner’s office.Evidence at the scene of a triple homicide in Washington County Sunday suggests Burton may have killed three people in the 5800 block of South Beck’s Mill Road. At this time police have determined committed that crime.The original story is below: Salem, Ind. — Indiana State Police are looking for one person of interest after the discovery of three dead bodies in Washington County Sunday.At 4:30 p.m. Washington County authorities were asked to conduct a welfare check at an address in the 5800 block of South Beck’s Mill Road, 14 miles south of Salem. When police noticed a deceased body in open view from the outside, additional units, including Indiana State Police detectives were called. Police found two additional bodies following a search of the home. The names and causes of death will not be released until an autopsy in completed.Police say Richard Lee Burton Jr. was living in the home at the time and may have valuable information. Information suggests Burton could be traveling to Tennessee, Texas or Missouri in a blue 1997 Dodge Ram that could be pulling a dark blue camper. Burton is described as a 47-year-old white male, 5-feet 9-inches, blue eyes, with long brown hair, possibly in a pony tail. The vehicle license plate is TK641MUK.Police say if Burton located 911 should be calledlast_img read more

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Lineker tips Leicester to survive

first_imgEx-England striker Gary Lineker has tipped his former club Leicester to win their Barclays Premier League survival fight. A run of five wins in six games has lifted the Foxes outside the relegation zone – and Hull’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal even left them above Steve Bruce’s men on goals scored and in 16th place. Nigel Pearson’s men have crucial games to come against Sunderland and QPR, the teams in 18th and 19th, with the latter looking bound for relegation which could well be confirmed before their meeting with Leicester on the last day of the season. Lineker, a Leicester fan, told BBC Leicester: “I f I was a neutral looking at this, I would say 99 per cent sure Leicester will stay up. “It’s nice to have in the bag that the last game is QPR at home when it’s massively odds-on for them to be relegated by that stage. That might be quite handy if things don’t go too well in the next two games. “If Leicester get any sort of result at Sunderland that will pretty much guarantee they stay up, particularly if they get anything this weekend against Southampton. “I think they will [stay up]. I don’t want to tempt fate but given their turnaround in fortunes, and given the fixtures that other sides at the bottom have got and the fixtures Leicester have got, I would now be quite surprised if they don’t. “It’s not impossible, of course, and lose the next two games and you are bang under the cosh.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Ellsworth, MDI swim teams among top finishers at regional championships

first_imgELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island boys and girls each posted top-half finishes at this weekend’s Class B North swim championships.The boys’ tournament was held Saturday at the University of Maine in Orono. Ellsworth finished second behind Old Town and got two wins each from Sam Alvarado and Camden Holmes. MDI finished fourth.Alvarado is an athlete Ellsworth coach James Goodman has called “a driving force” behind the Eagles’ success in recent years. An accomplished distance swimmer, Alvarado is Maine’s No. 1-ranked swimmer in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.“[Sam] is humble, dedicated and a gentleman,” Goodman said. “He never gives up, and he gets the job done regardless of the odds. … He is one of Ellsworth’s finest sons.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textAt Husson University, MDI finished second behind Bangor on the girls’ side. A team consisting of Ceileigh Weaver, Ruby Brown, Maddie Woodworth and Lydia DaCorte won the 200-yard freestyle for the Trojans. For Ellsworth, Ellie Clarke broke her record in the 100-yard backstroke once again by finishing in 1 minute, 1.92 seconds. The Eagles finished sixth.Both teams have swimmers qualified for the upcoming state championships. The boys’ meet will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, and the girls’ meet will be held Monday, Feb. 20. Both events will be held at UMaine.last_img read more

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Update on the latest sports

first_img— Zion Williamson could still make reopening night of the NBA season. The New Orleans Pelicans said Wednesday that Williamson is being tested daily for the coronavirus and continues showing negative results. If that continues, Williamson may have to quarantine for only four days when he returns to the team. SPORTS-CORONAVIRUS NHL to be mum on injuries UNDATED (AP) — The NHL is prohibiting teams from disclosing injuries as a way to maintain player privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an even thicker veil of secrecy for a sport that already uses vague terms like upper- and lower-body injuries. Players asked for the nondisclosure policy to prevent individual coronavirus tests results coming to light. Saying nothing has led to rampant speculation when prominent players like Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby or Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford are missing from practice. July 23, 2020 — Freddie Freeman is back and ready to anchor the Braves’ lineup after a scary battle with COVID-19 earlier in summer camp. The 30-year-old Freeman had career highs last season with 38 homers and 121 RBIs. The four-time All-Star hopes to lead Atlanta back to the top of the NL East for the third straight season. — Mets hitting coach Chili Davis hasn’t decided if he will rejoin the team at any point this season because of concerns about the coronavirus. The 60-year-old Davis has been working remotely from his Arizona home during the pandemic. On a video conference call with reporters Wednesday, he said he’s at risk due to underlying health conditions that he preferred to keep private. — MLB players have the option of having a patch with “Black Lives Matter” or “United For Change” on a jersey sleeve on opening day of the pandemic-delayed season. Teams have the option of stenciling an inverted MLB logo with “BLM” or “United for Change” on the back of the pitcher’s mound during opening weekend games. — The Nationals are planning to raise a new 2019 World Series champions flag before Thursday night’s opener against the New York Yankees. Other festivities include a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Dr. Anthony Fauci and a previously recorded Presidents Race to be shown during the fourth inning. The Nationals also say a Black Lives Matter stencil will appear on the pitcher’s mound during games on opening weekend. — Umpire Angel Hernández will serve as an interim crew chief this season after a dozen umps decided to sit out amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hernández sued MLB in 2017, alleging race discrimination and cited that he hadn’t be assigned to the World Series since 2005 and hadn’t been promoted to head a crew. Eight crew chiefs and four other umpires have opted out of working this season. In other major league news: — Mike Trout has decided to play for the Angels in the shortened baseball season, although his year will be interrupted in a few weeks by the birth of his first child. The three-time AL MVP confirmed his decision Wednesday before his team’s exhibition game against the Padres at Angel Stadium. Trout expressed uncertainty earlier this month about the safety of this unique major league season, saying he wouldn’t risk his growing family’s health to participate. — Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman has a torn muscle in his left calf and will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. The All-Star right-hander was expected to follow two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom in a rotation that already will be without No. 2 starter Noah Syndergaard all year because of Tommy John surgery. He was 6-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts for Toronto last season before going 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA for the Mets. — Rockies reliever Scott Oberg will start the season on the injured list because of back soreness. Oberg was 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA and five saves in 49 games for the Rockies last season. He got a $13 million, three-year contract last winter. — Royals outfielder Hunter Dozier has tested positive for COVID-19 and been placed on the injured list. The 28-year-old is coming off a breakthrough season in which he hit 26 homers, drove in 84 runs and tied for the American League lead in triples. He is expected to play a big role for the Royals during their abbreviated 60-game season, which begins against the Indians on Friday night in Cleveland. In other sports news related to the pandemic: — The NFL Players Association says 95 players are known to have tested positive for the coronavirus. That number is up from 72 in the union’s last report on July 10. The NFLPA and the NFL reached agreement Monday on COVID-19 testing as rookies begin reporting to training camps. Most veterans come in next week, though some players rehabbing injuries could report this week. — The NCAA football oversight committee is asking the association’s Board of Governors to avoid making a decision later this week on whether to conduct fall sports championships. The board is scheduled to meet Friday as college sports leaders try to find a path to play during the pandemic. There has been speculation the board could decide to call off NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower-division football. That could increase pressure for conferences to cancel their seasons. — Tulane says the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of its college basketball game scheduled in China this November. The Green Wave were slated to play against Washington in the Pac-12 China Game in Shanghai. A Tulane spokesman says the decision to cancel the event was made in coordination with Washington as well as Chinese-based partners in the event. — The International Tennis Federation plans to resume its lower-level World Tennis Tour the week of Aug. 17 and its junior and beach tennis tours two weeks later when the U.S. Open is scheduled to begin. All ITF tours have been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ITF also announced its COVID-19 protocols for its tournaments and players. The R&A announced Wednesday that New York-based finance and insurance group AIG. And now that the R&A is charge on running the event, it said its official title will be the AIG Women’s Open. It previously was called the Women’s British Open. . OBIT-HASELRIG Former Steeler, NCAA wrestling champion Haselrig dies at 54 A spokesperson for the Montgomery County DA’s Office says the decision was due to lack of evidence after blood test results showed no intoxication. GOLF-BRITISH MASTERS Law and order at British Masters NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, England (AP) — David Law of Scotland shot a 7-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Oliver Fisher, Garrick Porteous and Renato Paratore in the opening round of the British Masters at Close House Golf Course near Newcastle on Wednesday. Aaron Cockerill, Rasmus Hojgard, Lee Slattery and Pedro Figueiredo were another shot back in a share of fifth, holding off a gaggle of nine players on 4 under. Betts and the Dodgers have struck baseball’s first big-money deal since the coronavirus pandemic decimated the sport’s economics. The 12-year, $365 million contract runs through 2032 and removes the top offensive player from next off-season’s free-agent class. The 27-year-old outfielder was acquired by the Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox on Feb. 10, along with pitcher David Price for three players. His deal is baseball’s second-largest in total dollars behind the $426.5 million, 12-year contract for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout covering 2019-30. The four-time Gold Glove winner captured the 2018 AL MVP award en route to Boston’s World Series title. He hit .295 with 29 homers and 80 RBIs last year, down from a major league-leading .346 average with 32 homers and 80 RBIs in his MVP season. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania health officials won’t allow the Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh amid the coronavirus pandemic. The state is the latest jurisdiction to say no to the team as the baseball season begins this week. The state’s secretary of health cited a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania as the reason to bar the Blue Jays from playing their home games in the Steel City. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said this week his team has more than five contingency plans for a home stadium and was in talks with other teams. He declined to name them. Atkins said if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games. — The PGA Tour Series-China season has been canceled. The China-based tour’s executive director says attempts to move the qualifying tournaments to other sites in Asia were not practical and restricted access into mainland China made it too difficult to stage tournaments in 2020. — The head of the Tokyo Olympics says the delayed games could not be held next year if conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic remain as they are. But Yoshiro Mori says he expects conditions to improve and is hopeful a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed soon. The postponed Olympics open a year from now on July 23, 2021.NFL-BILLS Charges dropped against Oliver CONROE, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped the drunken driving and illegal handgun charges against Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who had been arrested in May during a traffic stop in Houston’s northern suburbs. Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-NEWS Betts lands huge contract…No Jays in Steel City UNDATED (AP) — Mookie Betts has said yes to a huge contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the state of Pennsylvania has said no to the Toronto Blue Jays. Update on the latest sports The tournament marks the start of the European Tour’s “U.K. Swing,” a series of six events played in England and Wales over the next six weeks devised primarily for ease of travel for players amid the coronavirus pandemic. . GOLF-WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN Women’s British gets sponsorship extension, new branding ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The Women’s British Open is keeping its title sponsor and getting a slightly different name. NBA-NEWS Westbrook set to return UNDATED (AP) — Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook is set to practice with the team for the first time since revealing that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Westbrook did not travel with the Rockets on July 9 when they flew to Florida for the NBA’s restart. The nine-time All-Star revealed on social media that he had tested positive for the virus on July 14 and he did not arrive in Florida until Monday. Westbrook had to quarantine upon his arrival at Disney but was cleared to join the Rockets for their practice Wednesday. He said his only symptom was a stuffy nose. Also in the NBA: PITTSBURGH (AP) — Former Pittsburgh Steelers player Carlton Haselrig has died at age 54. Haselrig was a Pro Bowl right guard for the Steelers in the early 1990s and also the only wrestler in NCAA history to win six individual national championships. Pittsburgh-Johnstown wrestling coach Pat Pecora said Haselrig had been in declining health in recent years. Pecora molded Haselrig into a multiple heavyweight division champion at both the NCAA Division II and Division I levels in the 1980s Haselrig didn’t play a down of college football after suffering an injury during his freshman year at Lock Haven. He spent five years in the NFL after the Steelers took him in the 12th round of the 1990 draft. His career was cut short in the mid-1990s due to a battle with alcohol and substance abuse.last_img read more

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Trojans host three-game series against Wildcats

first_imgAfter facing a tough loss last Friday, USC’s baseball team bounced back to win the weekend series 2-1 against the Utah Utes. The Trojans’ pitching staff only gave up two runs in each of the three games, marking a significant improvement from previous series.Sharpen up · Junior RHP Wyatt Strahan will look to improve upon his 4.25 ERA tonight. Batters are hitting .266 against Strahan this season. – William Ehart | Daily TrojanThe Trojans gave the Utes a thorough beating on Sunday, winning the conference match 13-2 and achieving a season high of 19 hits. Seven different Trojans had multiple hits at the plate while four had multi-RBI outings. Sophomore shortstop Blake Lacey went 2-3 at the plate and drove in 4 RBIs.The Trojans hope to extend their winning streak into this weekend’s series against Pac-12 rival Arizona at Dedeaux Field. The Wildcats currently hold a 17-20 overall record and a 6-9 Pac-12 record, the same conference record as the Trojans. Arizona holds the No. 8 spot in the Pac-12 standings while the Trojans occupy the No. 7 slot.Senior starting catcher Jake Hernandez believes that the success from last weekend’s series win will positively impact the team’s mindset entering tonight’s game.“We’re feeling pretty confident going into this weekend’s series,” Hernandez said. “We know what we have to do and what we have to accomplish to win big. It was really huge for us to take 2 of 3 from Utah in terms of confidence in our abilities.”The Trojans did not have a game this past Tuesday, so the team has had more time to prepare and rest up before tonight’s matchup. USC has been concentrating on cleaning up their infield game as well as gaining better control of the batter’s box.“This week in practice it was really all about focusing on staying on top of the ball at the plate,” Hernandez said. “We really need to work on creating more line drives instead of hitting pop-ups to avoid giving Arizona easy outs.”USC faced a major slump in terms of hitting a few weeks ago, causing them to lose important games and entire series. The Trojans have recently turned it around, however, having multiple games with double-digit hits against Utah, Arizona State and Washington.The Wildcats have also been hot at the plate recently, especially coming off of a hugely unexpected series win over No. 22 UCLA this past weekend, taking two of three wins from the reigning NCAA champions. Arizona’s total team batting average is .299 compared to USC’s .271. The Wildcats currently have four starters batting over .300, led by Scott Kingery, who brings a .390 average into tonight’s matchup.Despite this, USC might have the advantage in pitching when assessing the numbers. The Wildcats currently have an unimpressive total team 4.93 ERA as opposed to the Trojans’ 3.75.Ultimately, Hernandez feels that the team who plays the smartest baseball, both offensively and defensively, will win the series.“To win this weekend, we’ve got to stick to what we do best, which is getting guys over and staying focused at the plate,” Hernandez said. “We need to concentrate on making better pitch selections as well as getting out there early for ground balls while out in the field. We’ve just gotta stay within ourselves.”The Trojans will host the Wildcats at Dedeaux Field this weekend. Junior Wyatt Strahan will start for the Trojans in tonight’s match. The Villa Park, Calif. native will throw the first pitch at 7 p.m., which will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, as will tomorrow and Saturday’s 7 p.m. games.last_img read more

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