February 27, 2007
America Outdoors E-News
||Forest Service Forum on Outdoor
Recreation in Colorado
||Young adults representing outdoor clubs and youth groups from the
West will be helping to facilitate a daylong regional forum on outdoor
recreation at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado on
Thursday, March 1, 2007. This is the first of six recreation forums being
convened across the country by the National Forest Foundation and the American
Recreation Coalition, in cooperation with more than two dozen organizations and
agencies. Organizers are expecting 350 people to attend.
The forum theme, "Turning Inside Out: New Doors to the
Outdoors," focuses specifically on the West's changing demographics and the
benefits young people gain from outdoor recreation. Recreation groups, tourism
interests, sportsmen's organizations and many others will be talking about
ideas for getting youth involved in the outdoors. Land management agencies will
be on hand to listen so that they can incorporate these ideas into their
programs. The other forums will be held in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and
Portland. Invited participants will present proceedings from the regional
forums at a national forum in Washington D.C.
The Forest Service's 12-mule
pack string will be on hand to show how they help many youth groups accomplish
volunteer trail construction and resource improvement projects across the West
What: "Turning Inside Out: New Doors to the
Outdoors," Regional Recreation Forum
When: Thursday, March 1, 2007;
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: American Mountaineering Center, 710
10th Street, Golden, Colorado.
RSVP: Mary Ann Chambers of the USFS
at 303-275-5356. There will be a media room for interviews with speakers,
participating youth, and the meeting's conveners. Contact Mary Ann Chambers to
set appointments for interviews.
||President Bush's Health Care Tax
||President Bush's plan to tax health care benefits
discriminates against older, self-employed Americans in family-run businesses,
because they are likely to find their benefits taxed. The plan also discourages
coverage for families. Small businesses usually constitute very small health
care groups consisting of a handful of employees. The group's premiums are
governed, in part, by the age of the employees, the size of the group and not
solely by the lavishness of their coverage. Even with $1,000 deductibles and
co-pays of 20%, a small business with two family members in their late fifties
or early sixties or with family coverage will likely exceed the premium
threshold of $15,000 and be forced to reduce coverage or pay more taxes in
addition to co-pays and deductibles. The average premium for family coverage
was $14,500 in 2006.
While there are some benefits for some groups, the Bush
plan is estimated to hit small employers the hardest, reducing the number
covered by 25% in firms with fewer than 10 workers, according to the Lewin
Group (Lewin.com). The Plan would increase the budget deficit by $61.8 billion
in the first year while increasing the number of insured by 9 million,
according the Lewin Group analysis.
This plan is probably
designed to help large corporations lower their health care costs under the
guise of providing benefits to an incrementally small portion of the
population. GM spent an estimated $5.6 billion on health care in 2005 and large
U.S. corporations are losing their competitive edge in the global market place
in part because of the cost of labor.
Allowing associations to establish large nationwide groups would
be one solution for small businesses. But this legislation is opposed by many
state regulators who want to retain their state by state regulation of health
care insurance. There is no question that the health care system in America,
while one of the best in the world, is pricing itself out of the market.
However, taxing health care benefits and discouraging family coverage as
proposed by President Bush, is not the answer.
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