In brief: Reform critic seeks expanded Medicaid
Tallahassee, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott announced plans Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more people under the federal health overhaul, a surprise decision from the vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s plan.
Scott said he will ask the Legislature to expand the program under a bill that would expire in three years, after which it would require renewed legislative support. He’s the seventh Republican governor so far to propose expanding the taxpayer-funded health insurance program.
Scott said he would support the expansion as long as the federal government pays 100 percent of the increased costs, which is the deal offered to states by the Obama administration for the first three years. After that, the federal government said it would pay 90 percent of the cost for the additional enrollees.
The governor said he gained new perspective after his mother’s death last year, calling his decision to support a key provision of the Affordable Care Act a “compassionate, common sense step forward,” and not a “white flag of surrender to government-run healthcare.”
Fast food calories dip in daily U.S. diet
Atlanta – On an average day, U.S. adults get roughly 11 percent of their calories from fast food, a government study shows.
That’s down slightly from the 13 percent reported the last time the government tried to pin down how much of the American diet is coming from fast food. Eating fast food too frequently has been seen as a driver of America’s obesity problem.
For the research, about 11,000 adults were asked extensive questions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours to come up with the results.
Among the findings:
• Young adults eat more fast food than their elders; 15 percent of calories for ages 20 to 39 and dropping to 6 percent for those 60 and older.
• Blacks get more of their calories from fast food, 15 percent compared to 11 percent for whites and Hispanics.
• Young black adults got a whopping 21 percent from the likes of Wendy’s, Taco Bell and KFC.
Body found at site of restaurant blast
Kansas City, Mo. – A day after a natural gas explosion leveled a popular restaurant, investigators raced to search the rubble and tried to understand how the blast happened in the busy outdoor shopping area.
Hours before the explosion, witnesses reported a strong smell of gas, and firefighters were summoned to the scene at one point but left without ordering an evacuation.
As the cleanup got under way Wednesday, search-and-rescue crews recovered a body. Mayor Sly James declined to identify the victim, but the mother of a missing restaurant server said her family was awaiting confirmation that the remains were those of her daughter.
More than an hour before the blast, a subcontractor working for a cable company hit a gas line with underground boring equipment. Then something inside the restaurant ignited the fuel, authorities said.
Surveillance video from a nearby travel agency shows a fireball erupting from the restaurant’s roof, showering the street with debris and throwing up a cloud of dust and smoke. Fifteen people were injured. Six were still hospitalized Wednesday, James said.