Do you think they serve pudding pops in prison?

It’s 1989, and a crowd has gathered around a mystic who claims to see into the future. All you can hear is the plastic rattle of the woman’s bracelets and beads as she gyrates her hands around a crystal ball. In a feather-boa headdress, she concentrates her attention, face contorting and eyes closed.

“Focus,” the fortune teller says, heel-clicking slippers that came with an Aladdin costume. The bulbous-necked lady scatters some glittery dirt around the ancient table, stopping halfway to pull another handful out of the purple satiny Crown Royal satchel with a gold-painted drawstring. Then suddenly, she gasps.

“I see... a spirit... He’s talking to me... He says, he has come from the future with startling news: ‘O.J. will become a murderer, Cosby... a rapist; Bruce Jenner... will become the world’s first conservative feminist... and Michael Jackson... he will turn into a frail white woman who wanders his circus-like home with chimpanzees and Macaulay Culkin.”

The room immediately bursts into laughter. Too unbelievable. Especially Cosby. America’s father --- intelligent, funny, avuncular, trustworthy. We warmly invited him into our homes. He was an inspiration for everyone, but especially for young black children who were able to see a version of themselves that had never existed on TV. The Huxtable family became an emblem of achievement. Teachers showed Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids in class.

Cosby’s downfall began at a comedy show.

For years, it was an open secret in the industry that Cosby had a darker side. But, strangely, Cosby’s downfall began at a comedy show, with a joke from Hannibal Buress. “Google ‘Bill Cosby rapist,” he told the audience. “There are more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’” You know the rest. Women stepped forward in droves.

58 of them. Their stories were terrifying. The allegations spread across decades. He denied them, but they kept mounting. Some of them were too old to take to court, but a handful were not. And as Cosby dodged lawsuits, the Cosby accusations sparked a social movement that continues to capsize every industry.

Yesterday, Bill Cosby had his day in court. Frail and slumping, he gripped whoever was beside him as he walked into the room. He faced three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby faces 10 years but will remain on bail until sentencing.

“Guilty.”

His downfall became official.

Then, as if that were not enough disgrace, Cosby got nasty. He had always prided himself as “the stand-up comedian who doesn’t curse.” He urged kids to speak well and be respectable. When District Attorney Kevin Steele asked the judge to revoke Cosby's $1 million, calling him a flight risk, Cosby stood up, pointed at Steele, and yelled, "He doesn't have a private plane, you a**hole."

He was only a character.

And, the way his face looked, full of nasty rage, was startling. How could that be the same man who made funny faces when Kids Said the Darndest Things? The same man who had been given enough honorary degrees to fill a museum? He even made an incredible jazz album. A man so wholesome that people felt good about eating pudding.

That man is gone now --- he was only a character, a disguise for a guileful monster.

Americans are getting crushed by healthcare costs. In 2018 alone, we spent $3.6 trillion on healthcare — that's more than $11,000 per American and nearly a fifth of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It's on everyone's minds, which is why it has taken center stage in the Democratic party's primary. Of course, the solutions offered by the current crop of presidential candidates would do nothing to help alleviate that enormous spending. In fact, it would only add to it — what with Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All and Joe Biden's proposed ObamaCare expansion.

However, what also deserves attention in discussions about plans that increase the government's role in health care is how religious organizations would be affected. Faith-based hospitals and health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) play an important role in America, often serving as a critical provider and/or facilitator of payments for medical services in many states. If plans like Medicare for All were implemented, these groups would be at risk of going bankrupt or being severely curtailed due to the elimination of choice that comes with these proposals.

Instead of imposing a top-down and expensive health care system overhaul, faith-based providers and groups should be allowed to continue offering a variety of plans that work as high-quality, often cheaper alternatives. And more Americans should consider them.

Instead of imposing a top-down and expensive health care system overhaul, faith-based providers and groups should be allowed to continue offering a variety of plans that work as high-quality, often cheaper alternatives.

As mentioned, one such option is a health care sharing ministry. In this model, individuals contribute money into a pool managed by a religiously or ethically-affiliated organization, and costs for medical treatment are shared by people who adhere to that organization's belief system. Typically, applicants are required to sign a statement of faith in order to be accepted. It's basically like a subscription service: consumers pay a set amount of money into the ministry every month. Then, when they have a medical need or incident, they submit a claim to the ministry. Members whose claims are approved are reimbursed by the ministry from that pool of funds. Note, these ministries don't cover procedures they deem immoral.

Because providers are often getting paid in cash under this model — and typically within 90 days — patients are able to negotiate significant discounts, in some cases slicing procedures' costs to a fraction of the initial price. Insurance companies, by comparison, tend to not pay dollar for dollar on claims, and certainly not in cash. Additionally, insurance companies usually have onerous paperwork requirements, forcing doctors to spend half of their time on electronic health records and desk work. This increase in demand for administrative work is partly responsible for the United States leading the world in administrative costs in healthcare.

There are various types of HCSMs, each offering different benefits depending on what the individual needs — and a lot of savings on monthly plans. Take Christian Healthcare Ministries, for example. It's resulted in enormous savings for its members. Whereas the average healthcare plan can cost about $400 a month on the low end (with high deductibles), CHM plans can run between $78-172 a month for a single person. These kinds of plans are particularly great options for people who are relatively healthy and young, where the need for doctors and prescription drugs is less likely.

HCSMs have seen explosive growth in popularity recently. In 2014, there were only approximately 160,000 members. By 2018, membership ballooned to about 1 million HCSM members around the United States who have shared over $1 billion in medical expenses. But unfortunately, many people still feel locked into the traditional — and expensive — health care insurance model. HCSMs provide a way out, and, depending on their belief system, people should research them and see if there's one that best suit their needs. If more people deviate away from the traditional health care insurance market, insurance companies would be incentivized to adjust their pricing. That won't be possible, of course, if plans like Medicare for All are implemented.

Health care is one of life's biggest expenses, and voters are understandably desperate for a plan that cuts costs without compromising quality of care or access to it. Alternative options to health care insurance such as HCSMs are practical, free-market solutions that saves money. Americans should sift through these options before subscribing to plans that will only break the bank.

James Czerniawski is a Young Voices contributor. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCz19.

Bill O'Reilly: Adam Schiff is in 'wonderland' during the Senate impeachment trial

Image source: BlazeTV video screen save

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, Bill O'Reilly gave his latest take on the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and explained why he thinks House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is like "Alice in Wonderland."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

youtu.be


Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to discuss the latest developments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

According to Cruz, Thursday was a "very consequential day" in the otherwise tedious and redundant impeachment proceedings.

"Yesterday, the House managers effectively threw Joe Biden under the bus," Cruz said. "They doubled down on what they started doing on the first day of arguments, which was making their entire case ... based on the proposition that there was zero evidence to justify investigating Burisma [the Ukrainian natural gas company that paid then-Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on the board]."

Cruz went on to explain that every time the Democrats, namely House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), rehash the "zero-evidence" argument, they open the door for Republicans to present the overwhelming evidence that contradicts those claims.

"That proposition, that there's zero evidence to investigate Burisma, is utterly and completely absurd. So, I'm looking forward to Saturday when the president's lawyers will begin presenting his case. Because what the Democrats have done, is they have opened the door to this. And I hope the president's lawyers will stand up and systematically lay out the case," Cruz said.

"They've been arguing that Hunter Biden is completely irrelevant to this case. Well, the House managers have now, through their arguments, made Hunter Biden not only relevant — he was always relevant — but critical now," he continued. "They built the entire case, like a house of cards, on the proposition that there was no reasonable basis to investigate Burisma. And that's just absurd."

The two also discussed Cruz's new podcast, "Verdict with Ted Cruz," which he records with Daily Wire host Michael Knowles each night following the Senate trial.

"Last night's podcast went through systematically ... all of the overwhelming evidence of corruption from Burisma that any president, not only had the authority to investigate, but the responsibility to investigate," Cruz said. "And that, ultimately, is why President Trump is going to be acquitted at the end of this process."

Watch the video below for more details:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

The violent crime rate in the United States has continued to decline every year since 1991 and last year the violent crime rate nationwide was down another 3% from the previous year.

Unfortunately for the people living in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, represented by Ilhan Omar (D), this trend toward a safer and more secure America does not apply in Minneapolis. In fact, Minneapolis police report a 53% increase in robberies since the controversial congresswoman took office in January 2019.

Minneapolis has also become the terrorist recruitment capital of the U.S. More people in Rep. Omar's district have either joined or attempted to join terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, al-Shabab, and ISIS, than any other place in the nation.

So, how is Rep. Omar addressing these issues? Is it just a coincidence that Minneapolis' representative in Congress is known for sowing division and hatred?

Watch this clip to hear Glenn break down the situation in Rep. Omar's district:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.