Other festivities onboard Queen Elizabeth during her time in Alaska will include:Live bridge commentary to narrate scenic cruising areasDedicated Alaska in-room entertainment, including Emmy Award-winning documentary series The Ketchikan StoryComplimentary blankets and hot cocoa on deck for taking in the beauty of the Alaska coastlineCunard will also offer Rocky Mountaineer rail tours pre- and post- voyage in Alaska, which include either three or five nights’ accommodation and two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through a spectacular array of scenery including the glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels.Visit www.cunard.com.Go back to the enewsletter LaDonna Rose GundersenLaDonna Rose Gundersen, commercial fisherwoman and cookbook author, will be sharing her experiences and expertise with guests onboard the May 20 2019 Alaska voyage (Q915B). A fisherwoman in Alaska for more than two decades, Gundersen has made a career out of catching and cooking delicious salmon and other fish using simple ingredients while at sea. She will be joined by her husband Ole Gundersen, a fellow fisherman and accomplished photographer known for his images inspired by life in Alaska. Go back to the enewsletterCunard is set to offer a culturally rich onboard program for 2019 voyages as the luxury cruise line returns to Alaska to offer its iconic experience in ‘The Last Frontier’. Queen Elizabeth will sail four 10-night roundtrip Alaska voyages out of Vancouver departing 21 and 31 May, 10 and 20 June 2019, with port calls in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Victoria. Highlights include scenic cruising through the famous Inside Passage, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Hubbard Glacier.“For our return to Alaska, Queen Elizabeth will bring Cunard’s iconic luxury experience to one of the most magnificent places in the world,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America.“More than our signature Gala evenings and award-winning White Star Service, our team has curated some of the most interesting and engaging speakers to join our Insights program in Alaska. Our guests will have the opportunity to gain a deep understanding about Alaska and its breathtaking landscape, rich cultural heritage and local cuisine.”Cunard’s new Alaska Insights programming will include:Dr. Rachel CartwrightDr. Rachel Cartwright, an award-winning naturalist with 20 years’ experience in Alaska. Author of Alaska Cruise Companion: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Inside Passage and renowned expert on the behaviours of humpback whale mothers and their calves, Dr. Cartwright will offer presentations on the Alaskan ecosystem including whales, marine life and glaciers. Dr. Cartwright will also offer expert commentary live from the bridge during scenic cruising throughout the Inside Passage on all 2019 Alaska itineraries. Alaska Native Voices along with members of the Huna Tinglet tribe, a group native to Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, will offer lectures and workshops about their history, culture, and storytelling while cruising the Alaskan coastline. On all 2019 Alaska voyages, guests will have more opportunity to learn about Alaska’s indigenous people at an information centre hosted by cultural heritage guides onboard Queen Elizabeth.
Viewpoints: New Delay On Policies: Cover For Dems Or Just Smoothing The Bumps Of Health Law? This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The New York Times: Keeping Your Insurance Policy The Obama administration announced a new policy on Wednesday that will allow many people to renew their existing insurance policies for two more years even though the policies don’t provide the comprehensive coverage and consumer protections required by the Affordable Care Act. The move is designed to provide political cover for Democratic senators facing tough re-election campaigns in Republican-leaning states where the president is especially unpopular. … This policy change had the immediate, unfortunate effect of giving Republicans another convenient excuse to bash the Affordable Care Act as a failure that should be repealed. In truth, it poses no threat to health care reform and will have no impact on the vast majority of Americans (3/6). USA Today: Obamacare Delays Not Created Equal: Our View Another day, another Obamacare delay? Really? On Wednesday, the administration announced it would allow some people two more years to keep insurance policies that don’t fully comply with the Affordable Care Act, feeding the impression that the White House changes the law whenever it feels like it for political reasons. That’s a cartoon version of what’s really happening, but it gave critics another chance to pounce. … What’s really going on is that Obamacare, like the Clean Air Act and other big changes before it, is such a large transformation that there were bound to be problems and delays (3/6).USA Today: Mitch McConnell: Political Games Prompt Delays Every week, it seems, we learn of some new way the administration and its congressional allies plan to put political imperatives ahead of the rule of law and the rights of ordinary citizens. We’ve seen it with the IRS scandal, and we saw it yet again this week with another politically motivated Obamacare delay. … It’s essentially all smoke and mirrors, because as long as Obamacare remains law, Americans will continue to face the threat of losing their plans. It’s simply how the law was written; there’s no “glitch” to be ironed out (Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., 3/6). Bloomberg: Will Obama Ever Enforce His Health Law? The Barack Obama administration announced yesterday that it was extending the “grandfathering” of noncompliant health-care plans for two more years. … This latest maneuver is supposed to help midterm Democrats, who are facing a very tough landscape in November. But there will always be an election coming that Democrats will want to win. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be to activate the unpopular parts of the law. Especially if Republicans gain the trifecta — House, Senate, presidency — they are going to have no incentive to save Obamacare by sacrificing their own political fortunes (Megan McArdle, 3/6). In other views on the health law -The Washington Post: A Bipartisan Solution To Va.’s Medicaid Standoff Virginia Republicans and Democrats are talking past each other on Medicaid expansion. GOP leaders bristle at federal bureaucratic demands regarding Medicaid. We get it; we don’t like to be pushed around either. Democrats bristle at suggestions they are willing to cut and run on President Obama. We get that; no one likes being charged with cowardice under fire (Norman Leahy and Paul Goodman, 3/6). The Washington Post: Virginia Republicans’ Stand Against Medicaid Funding Defies The Facts The year 2014 is only 66 days old, yet already Virginia has forfeited $330 million in federal funds — funds already paid to Uncle Sam by taxpayers — as a result of its delay in expanding Medicaid to cover up to 400,000 lower-income and uninsured Virginians. With each passing day, the state leaves another $5 million in federal funds unclaimed. It has also passed up another $32 million so far this year in lost savings, as well as tax revenues that would be generated by the creation of some 20,000 health-care jobs (3/6). Bloomberg: The Obamacare Placebo Effect? Gallup has new numbers today showing that the Affordable Care Act continues to be quite unpopular. In this reading, 40 percent of Americans approve of the law and 55 percent disapprove. … We need better questions. First, how about some open-ended ones that ask how people have been helped or hurt? Second, how about some insurance information. People who have kept their employer-linked insurance may perceive that Obamacare has helped or hurt them. But that doesn’t tell us anything about those who have had policies canceled or who have obtained insurance for the first time (Jonathan Bernstein, 3/6). And on other health issues -The Fiscal Times: Employers’ Health Care Push: Play by Our Rules, or Pay In Las Vegas, the house always rules. The same maxim may apply to how you obtain health benefits through your employer. Under a growing employer insurance option called “house money/house rules,” employers are increasingly calling the shots on how employees receive their benefits — and workers may be penalized or rewarded depending upon how they take care of themselves. That means they may be subject to regular monitoring and told to enroll in health care management programs (John F. Wasik, 3/6). Bloomberg: Unvaccinated Kids Make Everyone Sick One of America’s essential national defense shields is under attack from within, and the aggressors are people you wouldn’t normally consider dangerous: parents of young children. As more and more resist having their school-age kids vaccinated, they are destroying the herd immunity that everyone relies on for protection against whooping cough, measles and other dangerous, sometimes fatal, infectious diseases (3/6).