County sold us out to highest cannabis bidder
If you haven’t read The Los Angeles Times article “Must Reads: The world’s largest pot farms, and how Santa Barbara opened the door” (June 12, 2019), you should.
If you care about Santa Barbara County’s blessed topography with its rolling hills, beautiful vineyards, quiet beaches, and unique tranquility that is home for thousands as well as a tourist destination … you must.
According to this well researched article by LA Times staff writer Joe Mozingo, Santa Barbara County has become “the unlikely capitol of California’s legal pot market.” The draw of big money for growers, land owners, investors, and the County created the perfect moneymaking storm following the passing of Proposition 64 that legalized recreational marijuana in November 2016.
But the county’s expectation of lucrative tax returns fizzled when the County Board of Supervisors, unlike other counties, agreed to tax cannabis on revenue rather than tax the licensed square footage cultivated. Since there aren’t enough licensed dispensaries buying the product, only a fraction of what consultants predicted as income to Santa Barbara County has come to fruition.
Supervisors Das Williams and Steve Lavagnino developed close ties and socialized with hired advocates/lobbyists/consultants for the marijuana industry. They pushed for and won nearly every important measure the cultivators asked for.
People who we voted into power have sold us out in their quest for financial and personal gain. They will never have to suffer the direct consequences of their actions … unless they choose to move next to or nearby a marijuana grow. Monstrous white hoops won’t surround their neighborhoods; the smell of skunk won’t poison their air; their property values won’t plummet; the lighting ruining our dark night skies won’t be seen by them; and armed guards won’t be patrolling near them.
Ensuring access to vital home care
The United States has an aging population and we're simply not training enough healthcare workers to meet growing demand. By 2030, Medicare-eligible seniors will make up over 20% of the population and there are not enough physicians to care for them all.
Non-physician healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physicians assistants play increasingly critical roles in the delivery of our nation's health care and often serve as primary care practitioners for Medicare patients.
However, our laws have not kept up with the needs of our aging population and currently federal law does not allow non-physicians to certify Medicare beneficiaries for home health services, forcing these highly-trained medical professionals to "hand-off" their patients to a physician simply to comply with outdated regulations.
In almost all cases, the nurses or assistants have had far more contact with the patient and know his or her problems and needs far better than any doctor. This problem is made far worse in rural areas, where doctors may live great distances from a patient.
I have worked in home health care for many years, providing quality care and service my patients and their families cannot live without. Federal law needs to be modified to authorize non-physicians to certify Medicare beneficiary eligibility for home health services and ensure access to vital home care services in rural states and communities.
Fortunately, bipartisan legislation in both houses of Congress - Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act - will allow qualified and experienced non-physicians to certify Medicare beneficiaries for home health services, making it easier for needy patients to access the care the need in the home.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is fighting the spending cuts and all of us can join the fight by going to nahc.org/advocacy-policy/ and with a few clicks tell our elected representatives to support legislation to stop the harmful spending cuts. Let's do it to protect our families, our neighbors, our friends, and the most vulnerable among us, our seniors.
Coast Family Home Care