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Consultant’s report supports need for private option

A company hired by the Arkansas Legislature to study the state’s unique “private option” Medicaid program has produced its million-dollar report, totaling more than 300 pages. No doubt to the disappointment of some lawmakers, the consultant recommended keeping the plan with some modifications. One of those would be to change the name of the program from Health Care Independence Program to Transitional Health Independence Program, or T-HIP.

Your Best Life - Tips for avoiding injury

I believe everyone should strength train. Maintaining strong, active muscle mass throughout our lives is a critical step toward good health and longevity. And while anyone can learn the skills necessary to strength train effectively, it is always important to remember that safety is the top priority. Today we will discuss five strategies to help you remain as injury free as possible during the lifelong pursuit of maintaining a strong, fit body.

Breath of life

Ever feel deflated? Not like Tom Brady’s football, but simply worn out? Recently while I was on a hill operating a backhoe and turning with a full load the front right tire deflated.

Stopping smoking starts with a plan

Q. I have been smoking for almost 30 years, and I’d like to quit. Every time I try, I get upset, cry and am so irritable that no one wants to be around me. Now, my daughter says that she doesn’t want to leave my grandson with me anymore because I smoke in the house and his clothes smell like smoke when she picks him up. I want to quit, but now I feel like I’m being held hostage. What can I do short term to solve this problem?

Ben Carson and the Politics of Fantasy

If only Ben Carson had been in that classroom at Umpqua Community College, the outcome might have been different. The gunman reportedly asked several people their religion, only to be shot regardless of the answer. Carson said he would have been braver than they were.

Cuba: carrots and sticks

There are two ways in politics to change behavior: power and influence. Power is the stick — using your greater strength to make someone do what you want them to do. Influence is the carrot — encouraging them to want to do it themselves. Sometimes you use both.

Basic steps can ensure a safe ATV ride

I couldn’t even begin to count the number of children I have seen critically injured in all-terrain vehicle crashes in my 20-plus years as a surgeon at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. But I can tell you what I almost always hear from their parents: They wish their child had been wearing the right helmet or been better educated on how to ride the vehicle safely.

A tribute to my Willie

She never wore a frilly cap. She never wore a ruffled white apron over a black uniform with matching shoes because she wasn’t a real maid. Most of all, she was my babysitter and friend. She wore dresses she had sewn herself from feed sacks and navy felt house shoes when her feet ‘got to botherin.’ She was a heavyset woman with a large lap and bosom to cradle my head. She always smelled of Faultless Starch and I thought it was the best smell in the world. Her name was Willie Mae. And I loved her.

We mourn Israeli teens, but what about Americans?

Last week, the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who had been abducted and shot to death while hitchhiking were found in a field near Hebron. While Israel mourned their deaths, leaders in the United States offered their condolences and prayers. Senators and members of Congress took to Twitter and Facebook to mourn the deaths and to reaffirm their support for Israel. The boys’ names were reported nationally, and cable news extensively covered the incident. The president issued a statement.

Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in the nationally followed Hobby Lobby case. The for-profit corporations that brought these cases to the Supreme Court — a craft store and a cabinet manufacturer — argued that the corporations’ religious convictions should excuse them from compensating their employees through the comprehensive health insurance required by law. Specifically, these private employers sought to exclude insurance coverage of several forms of birth control because, contrary to medical and scientific evidence, the corporations’ owners believe some birth control causes abortions.

The case for climate action

What is perhaps the greatest challenge to humanity in our lifetime? Climate change. It threatens our security, our health, our families and our economy. Over 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that humans are causing it primarily by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Most say that we have little time left to reverse the trend. Because the full effects of climate change appear incrementally and affect different parts of the world in different ways, it’s easy to deny that it is happening. Ignoring the signs and trends is a very serious mistake. The recently published U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on May 6, 2014, reminds us how serious the consequences of climate change will be.

Let the Republican infighting begin

WASHINGTON — The stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a tea party primary challenger will roil the House for the rest of this session and the next Congress, probably ending the slim hopes for any bipartisan accords on issues such as immigration.