Month: July 2019 Page 1 of 13

Historic building weathers grocery owner former Facebook exec

first_img 0% After years of disrepair and neglect, a historic building at 18th and Mission streets is in the process of trading ownership from a former Facebook executive to a commercial developer. Once a hub of the Mission’s Miracle Mile, the building may now become a dialysis center.Mike Conn, senior vice president of Meridian Property Company, a commercial developer based in San Ramon, confirmed his company is in negotiations to purchase the property, which has been empty for more than ten years.“We are in escrow to purchase the property,” Conn wrote in an email, referring to the step before a final closing.Constructed in 1911, the building at 2205 Mission Street housed appliance and furniture stores during the heyday of the commercial district known as the Mission Mile that bustled along Mission Street in the 1950s. A dialysis clinic now has plans to move in.  This is the story of how two  earlier owners failed to accomplish the plans they envisioned for 2205 Mission St. Tags: Business • construction • development • mission street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Conn, who has met with the Department of Building Inspection and the Historic Preservation staff at San Francisco Department of Planning, has no illusions about the process ahead. He gave no date for work to begin on the building, stressing that Meridian has “a long approval process with the City, the community, and our Tenant.”A medical clinic will be the third proposed use for this building. Two previous uses – an organic grocery store and a vegan restaurant and brewery – were proposed by the building’s last two owners – first the grocery store owner Guadalupe Hernandez, and later an LLC involving Owen Van Natta, a former chief operating officer of Facebook.But after seven years of troubled property management and intermittent construction, the damaged building remains empty as complaints and violations pile up.“I don’t know what’s happening over there. But it doesn’t look good,” said Howard Ngo, whose grocery store Duc Loi sits directly across the street from the building.Ngo purchased his property in 1991. It was a mess: needles, trash and feces were everywhere, Ngo said. He and his wife Amanda cleaned it up and opened a produce market, later adding a 28-unit apartment building.Ngo said that the owner of the property at 2205 came in to seek his support a few years back.“I asked him if he’d done this kind of thing before and he said no,” said Ngo. “He was a tall guy. Nice. But I haven’t seen him since. I tried to get in touch with him, to ask what was happening, but got no response.”Van Natta owns multiple properties in the Mission District, including 2205 Mission Street, which is managed by Tom Van Loben Sels.Sels is a founding partner of Apercen Partners LLC, a tax-consulting and wealth management firm in Palo Alto. Requests for an interview sent to 2205 Mission Street LLC went unanswered as did attempts to reach Van Natta.Mismanagement of the historic building, however, started before Van Natta purchased it. In 2010, Hernandez, who owns other grocery stores, purchased the building, formerly the 99-cent Depot store, and filed a permit to open an organic grocery store. In the application he described the building as having a stucco exterior.Department of Building Inspection staff called that description “misleading,” according to a Department of Inspections document.  It obscured the existence of historic tiles, which had been put on in 1937. The tiles had been painted over by the building’s previous owners in the years before the building achieved historic status.In a 2010 application to put the neighborhood on the National Historic Registry, the city writes: “Among the most impressive examples of Modernist architecture were the Streamline Moderne remodel of the older commercial building at 2205 Mission Street with iron enamel panels, rounded corners, and a marquee/tower sign.”That same year, neighboring merchants filed a complaint with the building inspection department, which found that the building was listed on the city’s roster of historic buildings and issued a violation notice to Hernandez, stopping all work on the building and ordering that he restore the original exterior. This restoration never happened.In February of 2014, Hernandez sold the building to Van Natta for $5 million and the building’s permits changed to reflect the vision of the new owner. The plan was to make it  the permanent home to Citizen Fox, a “full service brewery and restaurant.”  In a 2016 piece by Lauren Smiley on Mission Street, Van Natta’s broker – and later property manager – Bennett Mason described Van Natta’s vision for his Mission properties:“His idea is a cool thing, contributing to the community and doing something that would make his two daughters proud,” Mason said at the time. But the building’s troubles continued.Between December 2014 to March of this year, four complaints, and three notices of violation were filed against 2205 Mission Street LLC. The complaints came both from Mission Street merchants and the Board of Supervisors. Workers were doing work “in a dangerous manner” that went “beyond the scope of permit,” the complaints alleged.According to the first complaint in December, 2014, workers erected unsafe scaffolding, removed paint from the metal trim on the building, and were dropping “side panels” in an unsafe manner.Building Inspector John Barnes visited the site three times between December 18th and December 29th, halting work on his final visit, and issuing a notice of violation. Barnes issued a second notice in February, 2015. Matters appeared to come to a head in June when Mason appeared at a hearing to explain the lack of progress on the building and lack of compliance with the first notice.In a recording of the hearing, Mason can be heard blaming the planning staff, alleging that “no one at Planning” – presumably the historic preservation staff that he’d been working with for nine months – wanted to sign off on further work. “It’s a quasi-historic building,” he says in a tone of voice clearly indicating sarcasm “as are all buildings in San Francisco. We have to restore it to the way it was in built in the thirties,” he said.Material to restore the exterior was being shipped from Tennessee, he said. In the meantime, he’d directed a worker to remove paint from the metal trim that wrapped around the building. “I didn’t think a permit was required,” Mason said at the hearing, arguing that the historic preservation staff had told him to remove the paint.    When Inspector Barnes visited the site and stopped the work, he says at the hearing, “The painter got in a fight with the inspector. And that’s why we got a notice of violation.”Mason was given 30 days to remedy the violations. Within two months, more complaints were made, one by the Board of Supervisors, and another by an anonymous person who complained about pieces of glass hanging precariously from the second floor and an unsecured entrance on 18th street.The most recent complaint was made last month by city planner Dario Jones, who described the building as an “abandoned and derelict structure.” He noted in his complaint that SF Planning had issued a permit to restore “unauthorized façade work” back in 2015.“Today, the property remains out of compliance,” Jones wrote in the same complaint.  Since then, a third notice of violation has been sent to 2205 Mission Street LLC. At least one more was issued this month for broken windows hanging over the right of way, according to Inspector John Romaidis.In February in 2016, Citizen Fox announced it would not be opening at 18th and Mission as planned, after briefly operating in a smaller location at the other end of the block. Deborah Blum, founder of Citizen Fox and co-owner of several restaurants in San Francisco, noted the glut of restaurants in the Mission – “The restaurant environment in San Francisco is a bit saturated.  Expenses are incredibly high and there is such strong competition,” Blum wrote in an email.Blum also cited dissatisfaction with San Francisco’s Planning Department, stating that she thought the time to secure new permits was “extraordinarily long.” She added that her “boss” – presumably Van Natta owned the building – had decided to sell it.Building inspection records show that two building permits that were never paid for, including one permit in May of 2015 that was filed to comply with the violation notices. According to Joe Duffy, senior building inspector, paying for the permits is the final step in the application process.“You start on the first floor, work your way up and leave through check out,” Duffy told me in his office, “check out” being the Central Permit Bureau. The department sees applications for at least 66,000 permits each year.Accordingly, the Department of Building inspections must operate, at first, on trust.“We have believe that people are going to do the right thing,” Duffy said.It’s unclear why the property has fallen behind on compliance. Money is likely not the issue – Van Natta, a current director at Boku mobile payments, was included in Fortune’s 2011 “Highest Paid Men” list.  The 2205 LLC has paid $2,052.96 in fines, according to city records.One owner who has property nearby and asked for anonymity says Van Natta approached him last year with a request that he sell his property, said the fines weren’t enough to provoke action.“I told him I didn’t want to sell my property. And I don’t really know why he wanted it,” the business owner said. “What is he doing with his own building? It’s just sitting there.”He cited Van Natta’s wealth as a reason for inaction.“A couple of thousand of dollars in fines isn’t going mean anything to that guy. He can just pay the fines and let his building sit there. The rest of us can’t afford to ignore the city,” he said.Both this man and Ngo expressed the same sentiments about working with the city: It’s not that hard. Ngo, who arrived in America in the mid-seventies as a refugee from the war in Vietnam – “I’m a boat person,” he told me proudly – worked with the Planning Department when he bought his property.“I took a lot of risks. But the people in the planning department were very helpful, very nice. I would like to tell the owner of that property that he should work with the planning department. The neighborhood would look better,” Ngo said.The other property owner agreed.“When you get into the business of buying properties on Mission street, you know what you’re getting into. It’s like driving in traffic: You know there’s traffic lights. It’s the same thing with historic buildings.”“I wish this man the best. But I hope he can find a solution,” Ngo told me, adding that he wondered if the owner didn’t have enough money. “My customers have asked me about the building. I don’t have anything to tell them. I don’t know why he lets it sit.”Left, an interior shot. Right, the clock. Photo by Elizabeth CreelyA broken widow. Photo by Elizabeth CreelyOwen Van Natta’s tech hub on Mission St. Photo by Elizabeth Creely last_img read more

SAINTS have announced an unchanged squad for Frida

first_imgSAINTS have announced an unchanged squad for Friday’s First Utility Super League match with Salford Red Devils.Nathan Brown retains the same 19 that was named ahead of last week’s game against Huddersfield.He will choose from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Paul Wellens, 23. Joe Greenwood, 24. Gary Wheeler, 25. Anthony Walker, 26. Matty Dawson, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson, 29. Jordan Hand, 31. James Tilley.Iestyn Harris will choose his Salford side from:2. Danny Williams, 4. Junior Sa’u, 5. Francis Meli, 6. Rangi Chase, 7. Tim Smith, 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Tommy Lee, 10. Lama Tasi, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Gareth Hock, 15. Darrell Griffin, 16. Andrew Dixon, 18. Steve Rapira, 19. Matty Ashurst, 21. Jordan Walne, 23. Greg Johnson, 26. Niall Evalds, 35. Logan Tomkins, 37. Greg Eden.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be Robert Hicks.Tickets for the game remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.last_img read more

SAINTS have won their last 15 meetings with Castle

first_imgSAINTS have won their last 15 meetings with Castleford.The Tigers’ last win was on April 6 2008 when they edged home 30-24.Last 10 Meetings:St Helens 21, Castleford 14 (SLR3, 27/2/15)St Helens 41, Castleford 0 (SLQPO, 19/9/14)St Helens 38, Castleford 16 (SLR17, 22/6/14)Castleford 28, St Helens 30 (SLR8, 11/4/14)Castleford 24, St Helens 40 (SLR21, 7/7/13)St Helens 48, Castleford 18 (SLR10, 1/4/13)St Helens 44, Castleford 12 (SLR25, 17/8/12)Castleford 12, St Helens 18 (SLR11, 9/4/12)Castleford 26, St Helens 46 (SLR23, 31/7/11)St Helens 22, Castleford 20 (SLR12, 25/4/11)Super League Summary:Castleford won 4St Helens won 34 (includes wins in 1999 and 2014 play-offs)1 drawHigh and Lows:Castleford highest score: 36-22 (H, 2002) (Widest margin: 35-16, H, 1997)St Helens highest score: 72-4 (A, 2006) (also widest margin)Career Milestones:Jon Wilkin needs one try to reach a career century of touchdowns.His total of 99 has been scored as follows: 8 for Hull KR (2000-2002), 90 for St Helens (2003-2015) and 1 for England (2004-2005, 2008-2009 & 2011-2012). Wilkin also made 6 non-scoring appearances for Great Britain (2006-2007).Try-Scoring Runs:Castleford’s Denny Solomona (4-1-2) and Saints’ Adam Swift (1-1-1) have scored tries in their sides’ last three matches.Winning Runs:Saints have won their last five matches. Their last defeat was 33-26 at Catalans Dragons on May 9.Consecutive Appearances:Mose Masoe has the longest run of consecutive appearances amongst Super League players, with 49.He made his Saints debut as a substitute in a 38-18 win against Hull KR at Langtree Park on March 7 2014 and has been ever-present.1 Mose Masoe (St Helens) 492 Danny Washbrook (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 413 Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons) 374 Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) 345 = Paul Aiton (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves) 33First Utility Super League Leading Scorers:Tries:1 Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) 182 Tom Lineham (Hull FC) 153 = Ken Sio (Hull Kingston Rovers), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Jordan Turner (St Helens) 136 = Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings), Dominic Manfredi (Wigan Warriors) 128 = Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons), Kieran Dixon (Hull Kingston Rovers), Albert Kelly (Hull Kingston Rovers), Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 11Goals:1 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 592 = Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 564 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 545 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 536 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 517 = Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 379 Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings) 3610 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 33Goals Percentage:1 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 85.71 (54/63)2 Danny Tickle (Widnes Vikings) 84.61 (11/13)3 Tommy Makinson (St Helens) 82.60 (19/23)4 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 80.82 (59/73)5 = Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) (56/73), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 76.71 (56/73)7 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 75.00 (33/44)8 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 71.15 (37/52)9 Craig Hall (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 71.05 (27/38)10 Gareth O’Brien (Warrington Wolves) 69.56 (16/23)Points:1 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 1462 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 1373 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 1264 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 1245 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 1226 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 1207 Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings) 968 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 949 = Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 90last_img read more

CFPUA crews working to replace asbestos pipe

first_imgCFPUA (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An asbestos pipe broke while a contractor was doing storm drain work in the Mohican Trail area.The CFPUA says crews responded and decided to cut out the asbestos pipe and replace it with ductile iron pipe.- Advertisement – CFPUA spokeswoman Peg Hall Williams says crews are trained to cut and remove asbestos pipe.  Williams says there are no health effects related to asbestos pipes, asbestos-related health issues are only a concern when the asbestos becomes airborne.Williams says CFPUA is working to offset the pipe and hopes to have a permanent solution completed soon.Meanwhile, there is a precautionary boil water advisory for 301-722 Mohican Trail.Related Article: NC environmental chief: Chemours must change its waysThe advisory will be in effect until water quality testing has occurred and service returned to normal.last_img read more

Speaking Books New Initiative Targets Support to Ugandas communities with Low Literacy

first_imgAdvertisement They combine clear and impactful text and images with recordings, so that each page can be listened to as well as read.Speaking books are recognized across the world for their success and are endorsed by, among others, the World Medical Association, UNICEF, the International Council of Nurses, the African Pharmaceutical Forum and the Global Fund.  They are produced by Books of Hope in the US and SADAG in South Africa.With these multi-sensory and multilingual education tools, it is easier for healthcare professionals and community health workers to reach rural and disadvantaged communities and to communicate complex health issues in a user-friendly and understandable way. – Advertisement – Emma Andrews, Director of External Medical Affairs at Pfizer says: “We believe that our responsibility to patients continues beyond the medicine itself. We want to make sure that everyone, everywhere, whatever their level of literacy, can get the best from their medicine and that means knowing some simple but vital facts – and that is why Pfizer is proud to be launching the Safe Use of Medicines speaking book.”The ‘Safe Use of Medicines’ book has been produced with content relevant to local challenges in Uganda –using artists and voices from sub-Saharan Africa. It includes important information on how best to use, store and take medicines; the dangers of counterfeit medicines and the importance of following advice from healthcare professionals.Mrs Regina Kamoga, Uganda’s IAPO representative commented: “The Safe Use of Medicines Speaking Book meets an important and urgent need in our communities, supporting our Association’s work to improve the quality of patient-centered healthcare for all patients in Uganda.We’re really looking forward to using the books!” Pfizer is launching the books during the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) Scientific  Conference in Kampala (June 9th-11th 2011).last_img read more

Social media giant sued over alleged private message scanning

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook is facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it monitors users’ private messages.The lawsuit claims that when users share a link to another website via a private message, Facebook scans it to profile the sender’s web activity.It alleges that Facebook systematically intercepts messages to mine user data and profits by sharing it with data aggregators, advertisers and marketers. – Advertisement – Facebook said the allegations were “without merit”.We will defend ourselves vigorously, the world’s biggest social networking site added.The lawsuit is claiming the greater of either $100 (£61) a day for each day of alleged violations or $10,000, for each user.‘Profitable opportunity’ The lawsuit, filed earlier this week, cites independent research that, it claims, found Facebook reviews the contents of its users’ private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”.Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is “private” creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook, it says.It says this is “because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.“Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users’ profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”Criticism Facebook has come under attack over its privacy policies in the past.In September last year, it faced criticism over a proposed change to its privacy policy which would have allowed ads to be created using the names and profile pictures of Facebook users.The firm had claimed that its proposal merely clarified the language of its privacy policy, rather than making any material changes to it.Facebook undertook to change the wording in the wake of a legal action launched in 2011 which saw it pay $20m to compensate users who claimed it had used their data without explicit permission.last_img read more

Equity Bank issues mobile banking smart SIM powered by Taisys Technologies to

first_imgAdvertisement Today, Taisys Technologies Co., Ltd has announced that Kenya’s leading bank Equity Bank will be issuing a ultra-thin mobile banking smart SIM with patented technology from Taisys.Equity Bank customers can now enjoy funds transfer, micro-payments and other mobile financial services that are agnostic across mobile devices, including traditional basic-feature phones using Taisys’s “mBanking” and “duoSIM”.The technology also allows the bank to extend to customers mobile telecommunication services approved by Communications Authority of Kenya. – Advertisement – Traditionally, banks providing mobile banking services rely on the telecommunications provider to issue smart SIMs. Besides substantial investments from the bank in product development, the banks do not have direct control over the platform, making day-to-day maintenance difficult and creating customer experiences that are less than ideal.With Taisys’s patented ultra-thin smart SIM – duoSIM – can be directly attached the surface of an existing telco-issued SIM, and placed into the mobile device. Taisys’s duoSIM can then be used to execute mobile banking transactions, releasing the bank from the limitations of a telco-issued banking SIM.The unique nature of Kenya’s financial market provided the ideal environment for the rapid growth of mobile micropayment provider M-Pesa. Equity Bank is determined to challenge the M-Pesa’s monopoly in this area. By adopting duoSIM technology, Equity Bank can now provide an alternative mobile banking and mobile money solution to consumers. By successfully securing a license to be a mobile virtual network operator, Equity Bank becomes the first financial services institution in Kenya that is also licensed to provide telecommunication services.CEO of Taisys, Jason Ho expresses great optimism in Kenya’s market potential. “With a population of 40 million, and 14 million mobile money users, Kenya is a mature market with users familiar with mobile financial services. Taisys sees this as a great impetus for growth in mobile banking,” he says. He also sees Taisys’s collaboration with Kenya’s largest bank as a strategic partnership to expand the offering of mobile banking services, and providing such services to a wider population in Kenya.last_img read more

Skype Cancels Support for Smart TVs

first_imgSkype Tv. Image Credit: YouTube Advertisement The advent of the internet of (all) things (IoT)saw major drives to integrate technology and especially social networking into every aspect of our day to day lifestyle. Now the question isn’t the feasibility or even the relevance of gadgets like smart TVs since we have long since caught on and are indeed enjoying these ‘luxuries’ every day of our good lives. However our long time video and voice instant messaging platform, Skype is pulling out this drive to bring families and friends across the world closer on the large screen.Microsoft-owned Skype is pulling its support from Smart TV software , owing to the public’s preference to communicate via mobile devices as opposed to the larger screens. Will the corporate users of the service suffer from this adjustment or not? That waits to be seen. Syke will however maintain the service until June this year.TV manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp, Philips and Toshiba which integrated the service will then be free to remove it from their devices thereafter. Samsung has already announced that its TVs will stop offering the app starting 2nd June, 2016. – Advertisement – The Skype for TV chapter which was generally rosier on paper than in our living rooms now closes leaving the app to the stiff competition of the market with Google Hangouts and Facebook’s Messenger whose uptake on mobile devices continues to see an upward shift.last_img read more

Try as I might…

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s always the chance of an upset, it’s the FA Cup, right? Wrong.Try as hard as I can, I can’t find an ounce of evidence to suggest that Coventry can be given an earthly tonight at the Emirates and take issue with the Racing Post’s page 99 headline that suggests “Sky Blues won’t roll over easily”.I can probably find 99 reasons why they will, and trust me I want to TRY and find some reasons for thinking against the masses to try and get maximum value from the match.But when this pair last met it was 6-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates….HEAD TO HEAD(Last 10 only)Sep 2012 Capital One Arsenal 6-1 CoventryFeb 2001 Premiership Coventry 0-1 ArsenalSep 2000 Premiership Arsenal 2-1 CoventryMar 2000 Premiership Arsenal 3-0 CoventryDec 1999 Premiership Coventry 3-2 ArsenalMar 1999 Premiership Arsenal 2-0 CoventryOct 1998 Premiership Coventry 0-1 ArsenalJan 1998 Premiership Coventry 2-2 ArsenalNov 1997 League Cup Arsenal 1-0 CoventryAug 1997 Premiership Arsenal 2-0 CoventryIt was 2001 that these two teams last met at the top level and Coventry’s subsequent freefall has been well documented.However, they are playing well in League One at the moment, despite being docked 10 points by the FA at the start of the season for entering administration, and it’s certainly not inconceivable that they could get into the play-offs even with that hefty handicap.Furthermore, Coventry have lost just one of their last 11 and won at Barnsley in round three of the Cup.But they face an Arsenal side who have conceded just one goal in their last NINE home matches and are currently proudly sitting at the top of the pyramid of English football.Arsene Wenger has indicated he will play a strong side tonight and will no doubt be keen to avoid a repetition of last season’s shock defeat by Championship side Blackburn.There’s always the ‘romance’ of the cup to consider, but even so, with home advantage, it’s hard to see anything other than a convincing win for the Gunners and I’m backing them with Star Sports at the first odds-against opportunity on the handicap (-3 goals) at 7/4.RECOMMENDED BET (1-10 points)6 points ARSENAL (-3) at around 7/4 with Star SportsRUNNING RETURN (JANUARY): PROFIT 2.53 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

Rice University health care experts available to comment on Supreme Courts impending

first_imgAddThis ShareDavid Jeff Rice University health care experts available to comment on Supreme Court’s impending Affordable Care Act rulingHo and Marks: Stakes are high for all Americans  HOUSTON – (June 19, 2012) – As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this month, the stakes are high for all Americans. What the nine justices decide, and exactly how they craft their lengthy opinion, has been the topic of much speculation.Two health care experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy can speak about the potential ruling’s local and national implications and why Texas is an example of what the nation will look like without ACA:Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics.Elena Marks, the Baker Institute Scholar in Health Policy.Ho’s key points:“Some of the nation’s most highly regarded economists with years of experience in health economics promoted the inclusion of the individual mandate in the ACA. The mandate is a vital partner to the ACA’s requirement that insurers accept all customers in 2014 regardless of pre-existing conditions. Without the mandate, people could forgo the purchase of health insurance while they are healthy, then buy insurance if they fall seriously ill and require significant medical care. Their costs would drive up costs for insurers, who would then have to pass these expenses on in terms of higher health insurance premiums to all of their customers. Thus, the mandate prevents free riders from taking advantage of honest customers as well as taxpayers, who foot the bill for many of the uninsured through local public hospitals and clinics. That said, the overwhelming majority of the ACA can still stand without the mandate.”“If the entire ACA is struck down by the Supreme Court, health care costs will continue to consume a larger portion of our nation’s economy and a larger share of workers’ paychecks for the foreseeable future. The legislation is a dramatic attempt to solve a dramatic problem facing our economy and the well-being of our citizens. There are no easy to solutions to the problem. The ACA was written with the advice of some of the best health economists in the country, based on years of research and the best data available.”Marks’ key points:“Texas is an example of what the rest of the US will begin to look like without ACA: The goals of the ACA were to increase access to care and rein in costs that routinely outpaced all other indices. The primary mechanism for increasing access was to increase insurance coverage — for poor people through a Medicaid expansion, and for others through changes in the health insurance industry. The insurance industry changes would be effected through the combination of the mandates (there are large employer mandates as well) and new industry regulations including guaranteed issue, community-rated pricing, medical loss ratio requirements and premium setting rules. These reforms would have benefited Texas more than any other state –because we have the largest percentage of uninsured. Texas is a poor state — with 25 percent of the population living in poverty, compared to 16 percent nationwide. Thus, Medicaid expansion would have benefited Texas more than most states. Of the 6 million uninsured Texans, 2.6 million would be covered under expanded Medicaid.” “An additional 2.8 million Texans living just above the poverty line would qualify for subsidies with which to purchase private insurance in a market subject to consumer-protective regulations. Currently, health plans in Texas are not required to spend any particular amount of premium dollars on medical care, and they are not even required to report to their customers how they spend premium dollars. They are also allowed to raise their premiums as much as they want without regulatory approval. Because of the ACA, in 2012, 92 percent of the Texans who purchased plans in the individual market will receive rebates of approximately $127 million from insurance companies that did not meet the ACA’s medical loss ratio requirements. This is more than any other state; the next highest was Florida at $29 million.” The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Ho or Marks. For more information, contact David Ruth at or 713-348-6327.-30-Related materials: Ho biography: biography: in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog, read more

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