Pete's Prep: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

NC doctor suing over state's CON law

It's called "certificate of need" - or CON for short. An acronym that seems apt in more ways than one.

The liberal website Vox has the story of a doctor who is trying to dismantle the monopolistic and anachronistic law:

The India-born surgeon decided he would open his own  imaging center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and charge a lot less.  Singh launched his business in August and decided to post his prices, as  low as $500 for an MRI, on a banner outside the office building and on  his website.

There was just one barrier to fully realizing his vision: a North Carolina law that he and his lawyers argue essentially gives hospitals a monopoly over MRI scans and other services. 

Singh ran into the state’s “certificate of need” law,  which prohibited him from buying a permanent MRI machine, which meant  his office couldn’t always offer patients one of the most important  imaging services in medicine. He has resorted to renting a mobile MRI  machine a couple of days a week. But it will cost him a lot more over  time than a permanent machine would, and five days a week, his office  can’t perform MRIs. 

Now Singh has had enough. He filed a lawsuit Monday in  North Carolina Superior Court to overturn the state law, news that he  and his attorneys from the Institute for Justice shared exclusively with  Vox.

The CON laws have been criticized by conservatives for a very long time - as they stymie competition, slow innovation, and keep prices high.

If the Republican-controlled General Assembly won't repeal the CON law, let's hope this doctor's lawsuit does.

'Chances are the election was a landslide in your backyard'

An analysis over at, confirms what many of us already believed - we are self-segregating ourselves into political enclaves. As David Wasserman writes, "[It's] an accelerating trend that confirms that America’s political fabric, geographically, is tearing apart."

The electorate’s move toward single-party geographic enclaves has been particularly pronounced at the extremes. Between 1992 and 2016, the share of voters living in extreme landslide counties quintupled from 4 percent to 21 percent.

November’s election was an exclamation point — or perhaps a flashing danger sign. Legions of big counties were won in a landslide (by at least 20 points): The counties containing Ocala, Florida; St. Cloud, Minnesota; Utica, New York; Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; and Charleston, West Virginia, were Republican routs for the first time in a generation. Meanwhile, San Diego County, California; Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; and Henrico County, Virginia — all GOP landslide counties in 1988 — became Democratic landslide counties in 2016.

Those examples prove that communities can change allegiances over time. But most places just aren’t budging — in fact, they’re doubling down. In an increasing number of communities like Baldwin County, Alabama, which gave Trump 80 percent of its major-party votes, and San Mateo, California, which gave Clinton 80 percent, an entire generation of youth will grow up without much exposure to alternative political points of view. If you think our political climate is toxic now, think for a moment about how nasty politics could be 20 or 30 years from now.

Part of the problem with insulating ourselves from opposing views is that it renders us impotent to combat an argument we've never heard before. (This is why a lot of kids raised in churches abandon their faith when presented arguments from atheists in college.)

Gun violence protection orders lead to hundreds of confiscations

In the wake of the Parkland High School shooting, Florida enacted a three-day waiting period for gun purchases, raised the rifle purchase age to 21, and created Risk Protection Orders (also called gun violence protection orders).

Since March, about 450 Floridians have had their guns seized, according to WFTS-TV:

Since the law took effect in mid-March we've learned the  number of risk protection cases filed in Florida now total 467, as of  July 24th  and according to the FL Department of Agriculture and  Consumer Services (DOACS).  DOACS oversees gun permit licensing in  Florida and is notified when a petition is filed.  An agency  spokesperson revealed just over a quarter of risk protection cases filed  so far involve concealed license firearm holders whose license  temporarily is suspended once the order is granted.

“I think we’re doing this because it makes us feel safer,” said  attorney Kendra Parris, critical of the new law. “What’s wrong with  that,” asked reporter Katie LaGrone. “It violates the constitution,”  Parris said.

She believes after four-and-a-half months, Florida’s version of the  ‘red flag” law as its also known is starting to reveal some  disturbing grey areas, specifically among individuals who don't have  histories of violence or mental illness.

“These are individuals  who are often exercising their first amendment rights online, who are  protecting constitutionally protected speech online,” she said. “Maybe  it was odious, maybe people didn’t like it but they were hit with the  risk protection order because of it.”

Take University of Central  Florida student, Chris Velasquez. His case made headlines in March when  Orlando police filed a risk protection petition after he praised mass  shooters online.

In another case, Parris describes, the respondent involved a minor, who she said, had a dream of killing.

In Pinellas County, every single protection order has been approved by a judge.

But, wait! There's more!

The prosecutor - Freda Black - who many people have seen in the Netflix documentary "The Staircase" -died this weekend.

A Canadian man legally changed his gender to female so he could save $1,000 on car insurance.

California cities are blacklisting companies that bid on the border wall construction project.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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