BJPcongressemploymentLok Sabha elections 2019 First Published: May 17, 2019, 10:17 PM IST New Delhi: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday said her party did not allow the BJP to divert the focus in elections from issues of employment and farming as she asserted that the victory of ‘Nyay’ was certain on May 23.Campaigning in the bitterly fought marathon Lok Sabha elections, spread over 38 days, drew to a close Friday evening as top leaders made a final push in the seventh and concluding phase for the remaining 59 seats. “Dear friends, 60 days of spirited election campaign for ‘one person one vote’ or political equality was made possible because of your love,” Priyanka said.”Despite BJP’s efforts, we did not allow the elections to be diverted from issues of employment, farming, and income. On the 23rd (May), the victory of ‘Nyay’ (justice) and people’s voice is certain,” said the AICC general secretary, in-charge Uttar Pradesh (East).The Congress’ proposed Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay) promises up to Rs 72,000 a year to 20 per cent of India’s poorest families if the party is voted to power.Polling will be held on Sunday in the seventh phase in all 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.Counting of votes in the world’s largest exercise in democracy will be taken up on May 23.
Month: July 2019
KidnappingMainpuriUP crimeUP Police First Published: July 8, 2019, 9:38 AM IST Mainpuri: A 41-year-old Dalit man was allegedly subjected to third-degree torture when he went to file a complaint about kidnapping of his 38-year-old wife from the Aligarh-Kanpur highway in Mainpuri area in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. After the woman alleged gangrape, police Saturday registered a case against three unidentified youths. The incident took place in the district of Mainpuri, which is the parliamentary constituency of Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. The man and his wife, natives of Bulandshahr district, were going to his relatives’ house on a motorcycle on Friday night when the wife was abducted by three men in a car. They allegedly took turns to gang rape her and beat up the husband till he lost consciousness.The husband approached police for help, but the officials instead accused him of foul play. “Policemen assaulted the man during questioning. A medical examination shows injuries on his back and legs,” Superintendent of Police, Mainpuri, Ajai Shankar Rai, was quoted as saying by Indian Express. The policemen also broke two of his fingers. They accused the victim of even “murdering his wife” and calling them to lodge a false complaint.A few fours later, the woman reached the police station and accused the abductors of raping her and robbing her off her jewellery before dumping her in a secluded spot.An FIR was finally lodged on Saturday against the three unidentified men on charges of rape, kidnapping and robbery at Kurawali Police Station in Mainpuri. On Sunday, Bichhwan Police Station SO Rajneesh Pal Singh and two constables were suspended for allegedly harassing the man.However, the police said that the medical examination of the woman did not support the rape allegation and no injuries were found on her body.
New Delhi: Newly-appointed Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani met her predecessor Maneka Gandhi on Saturday to discuss important issues in the ministry and the way forward in tackling them.Sharing a picture with Gandhi on Twitter, Irani said she is “grateful” to the former Women and Child Development minister for “sparing her valuable time and blessing her”. “It was extremely kind of her to highlight important issues in the WCD Ministry and guide me on the way forward,” Irani tweeted.She is yet to formally take charge of the WCD Ministry. Preparation has already begun at the Women and Child Development Ministry to welcome Irani, who is likely to assume office on Monday, sources said.From tackling malnutrition and stunted growth among children to drafting the regulations for sexual harassment at workplace, a host of challenges await Irani, who was appointed as the WCD Minister on Friday.Among several issues that await the Union minister are completing the registration of child care institutions and ensuring that the anti-trafficking bill passes the Rajya Sabha hurdle.She emerged as a ‘giant slayer’ after defeating Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. Irani has retained the charge of Textiles Ministry, a portfolio she held during the first term of the Narendra Modi government. BJPmaneka gandhiModi Govt 2.0NDA First Published: June 1, 2019, 7:38 PM IST
BJPlok sabha speakerMahrashtraNarendra Modi First Published: June 6, 2019, 6:19 PM IST Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, which has a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet, Thursday said it has sought the post of Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said the demand has been conveyed to the BJP. “The party has demanded deputy Speaker’s post. We have conveyed our demand to the BJP,” Raut told PTI.Raut said Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and all the 18 Lok Sabha MPs of the party will visit Ayodhya next week, before the start of the Parliament’s session.The purpose of the visit is to reaffirm the party’s commitment to construction of Ram temple at the disputed site, Raut said.Thackeray had visited Ayodhya in November 2018 too, in an apparent bid to mount pressure on the Modi-led government on the Ram temple issue.The ties between the Sena and the BJP were under considerable strain before the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.The two parties, however, stitched up an alliance for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls later.Arvind Sawant, MP from Mumbai South Lok Sabha seat, the lone Sena minister in the Modi government, handling the heavy industries and public enterprises portfolio.
Story TimelineT-Mobile refreshes prepaid plans with $45, $55 and $75/month optionsT-Mobile calls out Verizon with its latest switcher promotionT-Mobile DIGITS brings multi-number, multi-device joy on May 31T-Mobile LTE-U arrives for customers in a handful of US cities Back when the big four carriers first announced their new unlimited plans, T-Mobile initially put itself in a good position to compete on price with the likes of Verizon and AT&T. Today, however, T-Mobile’s unlimited plan is looking quite similar to what Verizon offers, not only from a features standpoint, but also from a pricing one. That’s thanks to a small price hike T-Mobile has made to its One Plus add-on. For those of you who need a bit of a refresher, T-Mobile currently offers its One unlimited plan for $70 per month for a single line. A couple of big problems with that plan include the fact that it limits your video streams to 480p automatically and, though it allows you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot, you’re limited to 3G speeds.Those who don’t like those restrictions can add One Plus to their line. This add-on allows for HD video streaming and gives you 4G LTE mobile hotspot speeds for the first 10GB. You also get extra, smaller perks like double speed for international data and unlimited WiFi on Gogo-enabled flights.Up until today, the One Plus add on only cost an extra $5 per month, bringing the total cost of your unlimited plan with One Plus to $75 per month. Now, however, T-Mobile has increased that price to $10 a month, notably bringing its One Plus plan in line with Verizon’s pricing for a single unlimited line. Though you don’t get stuff like free in-flight WiFi with Verizon, the major features of both plans are similar.When asked about the price hike, a T-Mobile representative told Business Insider that the $5/month price was merely promotional pricing that was only going to last for a limited time. Those who signed up for One Plus while it was $5 per month will be grandfathered in at that price, so you don’t have to worry about it increasing to $10 unless you remove it from your account and reapply it later.Update: It’s worth noting that while T-Mobile rolls taxes and fees into the price of its One plan, Verizon doesn’t do the same with its own unlimited plan. With that in mind, Verizon customers will end up paying more for a single line, despite the fact that Verizon’s plan is the same price as T-Mobile’s One Plus plan on paper.
SOURCE: Kickstarter Why do people prefer paper books even when ebooks exist? It mostly has to do with the tactile feel of paper as well as the simplicity of their use. You don’t have to charge it, you don’t have to worry about visibility under bright light, and you definitely don’t need to learn how to use it.But ebooks also have distinct advantages. You can compile numerous books into one device, allowing you to carry as many books as you want in the space of one. You don’t have to wearing about wearing and tearing the paper down over use. And you can easily switch between books or even between versions of the book.The “Fist of North Star” eOneBook merges all those qualities into one easy to use ebook reader in the form of a two-screen book. It’s so easy to use you only need to open it to turn it on and close it to turn it off. It’s so simple to use that you can’t even load any other ebook. At least not without some heavy duty hacking. It tries so hard to offer the same tactile feel of paper books that its case is actually made out of paper that you can scrub with your thumb (and maybe doodle some flip book animations on). Which explains why it’s thicker than two ebook readers on top of each other.It still has some of the advantages of regular ebook readers, though. Aside from being able to contain all 18 volumes of the hit manga, it actually holds both English and Japanese versions of it. You can quickly switch between the two languages by hitting a single button. Unlike most ebook readers, however, the eOneBook is powered by AAA batteries, because charging makes it feel more like an electronic device than a book.The Fist of the North Star eOneBook is an idea that is both amusing yet also sensible, as it tries to address pain points from both sides of the fence. And, judging by how much it has already raised on Kickstarter, it’s an idea that has resonated with many people. Who knows? Maybe the idea will catch on and we’ll soon be seeing volumes of paper books replaced by one ebook reader disguised as a paper book on a bookstore shelf. Ebooks have been around for around a decade now and although they have become a force to be reckoned with, they never really made paper books go extinct. Especially in Japan, where, unlike their Western counterparts, comics, more popularly known around the world as “manga”, continue to be enjoyed in their original paper format. One Japanese company is trying to change that by combining the best of both worlds into an ebook reader that can be used to read one and only one content: 18 volumes of “Hokuto no Ken”, or “Fist of the North Star”.
Smart speakers are one of the fastest growing segments in the consumer market. That was until Amazon made a blunder that have thrown the AI-powered devices into hot water. But even before the privacy fiasco, two of the largest smart speaker companies were already planning to dish it out in a new arena: smart speakers with screens. Google already made its Smart Display spiel, both at CES 2018 and, more recently, at I/O last month. Now the first of those, the 8 and 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display are available for pre-order, signaling the next wave of smart home devices. Credit (or blame) should again be given to Amazon, whose bullishness in the first Amazon Echo canister single-handedly gave birth to this market segment. Launched last year, Amazon Echo Show delivered what fans were dying to have: visual feedback for their questions and requests. Amazon being Amazon, the company threw in more features, like making video calls or suddenly dropping in on contact’s Echo Shows.Unsurprisingly, Google followed suit not long after with a new product line. Powered by its Android Things IoT platform, the Smart Displays practically merged Android and Google Home products, glued together by Google Assistant. It didn’t announce its new product category guns a blazing but instead conspired with a few partners, including Lenovo.The Lenovo Smart Displays look pretty much like those video phone devices, minus the handset. It had a large touch screen panel, 8 or 10 inches depending on the model, with a speaker off to one side. The backs are eccentrically folded so that the displays can be propped up horizontally or vertically as desired.Both speakers are now available for pre-order on B&H Photo with price tags lower than what the company let on back in January. The 8-inch model will cost $149.99 instead of $199.99 while the larger model is $228.88, down from $249.99. Given the reputation smart speakers suddenly face now as well as Lenovo’s Z5 red herring, those figures could help make the Smart Displays a bit sweeter. Story TimelineLenovo Smart Display gives Google Assistant a touchscreen and cameraGoogle Smart Displays release dates and details
The goal, in fact, is to deliver strong image quality but in a form-factor that might actually encourage you to take the XF10 on your travels. In short, you could think of the new Fujifilm as the company’s attempt to bypass your smartphone as the everyday camera you reach for. To hammer that preference home, there are a few useful features. Fujifilm has announced an unusual new premium compact camera, the Fujifilm XF10, packing a sizable sensor and a fixed f/2.8 prime lens. The pocket-sized little compact may not have lens flexibility like many of its X Series siblings, but it does pack 24.2-megapixels from an APS-C sensor. Since there’s not really room in the roughly 279g body for a viewfinder, control and framing is courtesy of a 3-inch touchscreen and a few physical buttons and dials. Swiping the touchscreen switches to a Square Mode, which takes a 1:1 aspect photo more suited to sites like Instagram. There’s Bluetooth 4.2 for wirelessly transferring shots from the XF10 to your smartphone. Meanwhile, the 18.5mm Fujinon lens – equivalent to 28mm on 35mm format – promises no aberrations or loss of sharpness at the edges of the frame. There’s a Digital Teleconverter function allows the XF10 to mimic a 35mm or 50mm focal length on a 35mm format, too. Minimum focus distance is 10cm from the tip of the lens.If you really want to go old-school, there are various film simulation modes. In fact, the XF10 offers 11 modes to choose between. That ranges from PROVIA, through Velvia with greater saturation and darker blacks, Sepia for retro shots, and PRO Neg. Std, which prioritizes accurate skin tones and softer saturation for portraits. Advanced Filters for HDR, monochrome (NIR), and more add other styles to choose between, without having to spend time digging through Instagram filters later on. At the same time, there are some odd decisions. The XF10 can shoot 4K video, but only at 15 frames per second; basically, Fujifilm is stitching together multiple shots to make up a video, though the result could be a little jerky. If you want something more usable, you’re looking at 1080p instead. The Fujifilm XF10 will go on sale in August, available in both champagne gold and black. It’ll be priced at $499.95.
Porsche Mission E gallery The 2020 Taycan is going to be fastPorsche has been playing final performance figures close to its chest while showing off the Mission E, but with the official debut of the Taycan it’s being a little more forthright as to what we can expect. The electric sedan will have more than 600 horsepower from its two “permanently excited” synchronous electric motors. We suspect that’ll be enough to “permanently excite” most drivers, too. The 2020 Porsche Taycan will be the automaker’s first all-electric car, and it’s more than just a Tesla rival. Stage one of what will eventually be more than $7bn in investment into electrification and e-mobility by Porsche, the Taycan – like the Mission E concept it’s based on – isn’t just quick on the road, but will usher in a new age of fast charging and more. Read on for six things we found out about the 2020 Taycan today. The result will be 0-62 mph in “well under 3.5 seconds,” Porsche promises, while 0-124 mph will be done in under 12 seconds. Arguably more important, the automaker points out, is that the Taycan will be able to do that over and over again. “Multiple jump starts are possible in succession without loss of performance,” Porsche says. That, if you haven’t been paying attention to EVs, is some direct snark at Tesla. Elon Musk is well known for talking up the speed of cars like the Model S, but Porsche has voiced some skepticism about just how long the potent Tesla can keep that up on the track. Overheating regenerative braking systems are a big area of concern for any performance EV, and if Porsche has nailed that it could give the Taycan a serious edge. Range shouldn’t be a problemPower is only one part of the EV equation: range is the other. Porsche is saying the 2020 Taycan should do more than 310 miles on a single charge, albeit according to NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) tests. They’re generally accepted as being more optimistic than the US’s EPA tests, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Taycan fall somewhere in the high-200s when those results are available. Even with that, adding range back in should be more rapid than with most electric vehicles. Thanks to 800 volt, 320 kW chargers, Porsche suggests you’ll be able to add about 60 miles of driving to the Taycan in just four minutes. Porsche US plans to install 500 such chargers across the US by the end of 2019.It’ll have regular mirrors and a glowing rumpPorsche is yet to show the final production design of the 2020 Taycan, which means all we’ve had to go on so far is the Mission E concept. The automaker has said several times that it plans to stick as closely as possible to that concept car for the road-going version. Still, some of the more striking features aren’t going to translate from auto show stage to Porsche dealership.Porsche’s teaser reel today confirms one big loss: the fancy rear view cameras. They’ll be swapped out for regular side mirrors on the Taycan. It’s no huge surprise, given in the US at least cars are still legally required to have two side mirrors using reflective glass. Still, as we’ve seen from Porsche stablemate Audi and its upcoming e-tron, outside of the US the rules aren’t so backward and camera side mirrors will be offered as an option on the electric SUV. Porsche may well decide to follow suit in countries where that’s permitted. The other likely change is that the door hinges on the Taycan are going to change dramatically from those of the Mission E. The concept car had rear-hinged back doors, effectively opening up the whole passenger cabin. Expect more traditional hinges on the production version. Finally, Porsche’s fancy new butt design language is a lock-in. The Taycan has a light strip that runs the width of the rear, following in the tread marks of the latest Panamera and other models. It should give it a distinctive look when you’re following the EV sedan at night. The Taycan name beds the EV down in Porsche’s rangeMission E was a good name, but Porsche’s all-electric car has shed its concept title and embraced something more in-keeping with the rest of the automaker’s line-up. Taycan, so the company says, “means the equivalent of ‘spirited young horse’,” a reference to the leaping horse that has been a part of the Porsche badge since 1952. “The name has its linguistic roots in the East,” it claims. “At Porsche, the vehicle names generally have a concrete connection with the corresponding model and its characteristics,” the automaker points out. In the case of the Taycan, then, we’re supposed to think about how horse travel made a new age of exploration possible. “Our new electric sports car is strong and dependable,” Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG, explained today, “it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomizes freedom.”Expect the Taycan in Porsche US dealerships next yearInterest in the Taycan has already been huge, Porsche says, though sales aren’t expected to kick off in the US for some time yet. Series production of the car won’t actually begin until early 2019. Exactly when that’ll translate to cars arriving on American roads hasn’t been shared, though we’d expect a late 2019 debut for that. As for how much you’ll have to spend to have one on your drive, that’s another fact which Porsche is playing close to its corporate chest. Still, previous suggestions have indicated a starting price in the region of $80-90k. The Taycan is just the start for Porsche’s e-ambitionsPorsche’s original goal had been to spend three billion euro ($3.53bn) on electromobility by 2022. Today, it has announced that it’s doubling that investment. Around 500 million euro is going to go on Taycan variants and derivatives, it says, while around a billion euro will got on electrification and hybridization of the existing Porsche line-up. Charging infrastructure and other “smart mobility” expenses will soak up around 700 million euro, Porsche expects. There’ll also be an outlay on ramping up production. A new paint shop, dedicated Taycan assembly area, and a conveyor bridge that will move painted bodies and drive units to the final assembly area are already under construction. Porsche plans to use its existing engine plant to make the twin-motor drive units, which is being expanded accordingly. Story TimelinePorsche Mission E charger plan has Tesla in its sightsPorsche Mission E Cross Turismo teases EV crossover to rival TeslaPorsche Mission E family could include a 2-door and a convertible
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Medicare Beneficiaries Who Were Overcharged For Drugs Because Of CVS’ Incorrect Prices Will Receive Refunds The Associated Press/Washington Post: FTC Is Mailing Refunds To Medicare Customers Who Relied On Incorrect CVS Drug PricesThe Federal Trade Commission said that it is mailing refund checks to 13,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries who were overcharged for drugs because a CVS Caremark Corp. business understated the price of the medications (9/4).
Viewpoints: George Will: Dems’ ‘Reservoir Of Condescension’ Focused On Women; One Disabled Voter Questions Assisted Suicide Referendum The Washington Post: Obama’s Campaign Goes Empty And Strident Much of the Democratic Party’s vast reservoir of condescension is currently focused on women, who are urged not to trouble their pretty little heads about actual problems but instead to worry that, 52 years after birth control pills went on the market and 47 years after access to contraception became a constitutional right, reproductive freedom is at risk. This insult may explain the shift of women toward Romney. … [Also,] Nothing in the president’s campaign has betrayed an inkling that anything pertinent to Social Security or Medicare has changed since they were enacted 77 years and 47 years ago, respectively (George Will, 10/31). The New York Times: Suicide By Choice? Not So Fast Next week, voters in Massachusetts will decide whether to adopt an assisted-suicide law. … I can’t help wondering why we’re in such a hurry to ensure the right to die before we’ve done all we can to ensure that those of us with severe, untreatable, life-threatening conditions are given the same open-hearted welcome, the same open-minded respect and the same open-ended opportunities due everyone else (Ben Mattlin, 10/31).McClatchy: Rallying The R’s As Electoral StrategyLong before Mitt Romney, and not just for the sake of alliteration, the Republican Party could have been described as the party of the “r’s.” That’s because its base, the core constituencies it has to energize to win elections, all begin with “r.” … First, there are the rich. … Then there are the rural. … One other area where Republicans see a strong role for government is in making health care decisions for women and determining who can marry. That generally gets them the support of the third “r”, the religious. They buy the idea that government should dictate their brand of morality (Dennis Jett, 11/1). Journal of the American Medical Association: The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Experiment: A SuccessTo some extent, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is based on the “Massachusetts experiment,” the health care legislation passed by the state in 2006, leading politicians on both sides of the political aisle to claim it as a success or failure. Supporters assert that the legislation resulted in nearly universal health insurance coverage in Massachusetts. Detractors point out that the quality of coverage may be suboptimal and its costs are exorbitant. Both sides have overstated their cases (Drs. Michael J. Zinner and Edward H. Livingston, 10/31).New England Journal of Medicine: The Insurance Value of Medicare Medicare should give beneficiaries not just access to medical care, but also protection from the risk of catastrophic spending. At the same time, Medicare — like any good insurance — should not cover so much care so generously that beneficiaries end up consuming too much care of questionable value and driving up costs for everyone. Thus, setting cost sharing for Medicare beneficiaries is a balancing act: too little cost sharing means patients have no incentive to spend Medicare dollars wisely; too much means Medicare fails to perform its insurance function. How well does Medicare do at this balancing act? Not very (Katherine Baicker and Helen Levy, 10/31). New England Journal of Medicine: Medicare’s Enduring Struggle to Define “Reasonable and Necessary” Care The Medicare program, among its many functions, serves as the country’s preeminent organization for the assessment of health technology. Its decisions to cover and pay for medical technology can have profound consequences for patients’ access to therapies, physicians’ treatment options, and the fiscal well-being of the program. … It is unfortunate, if not unexpected, that Medicare’s attempts to implement evidence-based decisions have been influenced by politics. It’s ironic that as CMS launches value-based purchasing programs for providers, it is unable to apply value-based purchasing for technology (Peter J. Neumann and James D. Chambers, 10/31).New England Journal of Medicine: Cancer Screening Campaigns — Getting Past Uninformative Persuasion For nearly a century, public health organizations, professional associations, patient advocacy groups, academics, and clinicians largely viewed cancer screening as a simple, safe way to save lives. … Persuasive messages stripped of useful facts might be justified if cancer screening didn’t carry harms. But research has increasingly shown that it does. … In order to get past persuasion to informed decision making, we need to make it easy for doctors and patients to see the key data about screening tests’ benefits and harms in an appropriate context (Drs. Steven Woloshin, Lisa M. Schwartz, William C. Black, and Barnett S. Kramer, 11/1). Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado Picks Top 4 Races For Women’s HealthIn every race, voters will choose either to continue moving forward towards equality or to wind the clock back on women’s health. … Women’s access to affordable health care is an economic issue as well as one of equality. Because of reliable and affordable sources of contraception, women are able to pursue educational and professional goals, making it possible to continue their education and financially support their households (Cathy Alderman, 10/31).The Miami Herald: ‘Visionary Act’ Benefits MDC’s Nursing ProgramHealthcare and jobs have been two constants in the political season. … But there can be no debate or confusion about the critical jobs that need to be filled in our South Florida healthcare community … Forty percent of Florida’s nurses will be lost to retirement in the near future. Factor in demand from retiring baby boomers and we’re staring at a deficit of 11,000 nurses in the next two years and 50,000 in ten years. … South Florida will be vulnerable as few communities in the nation (Eduardo J. Padron, 10/31). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
How Much Will The Health Law Cost? Depends On Whom You Ask This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Some restaurant chains now say the health law may not cost them so much after all — mostly because many employees either won’t qualify for coverage or may decline it. Meanwhile, analysis continues of a Society of Actuaries projection of big increases in medical claims costs for insurers in the individual market. And the Associated Press examines President Barack Obama’s promises regarding health care. The Wall Street Journal: Restaurant Chains Cut Estimates For Health-Law CostsRestaurant owners have been fierce critics of the health-care overhaul law, fearing that its mandate for employers to offer insurance more broadly will drive up costs and deter hiring. Now, some operators say the law may not be that costly after all. They say many employees won’t qualify for coverage, and many of those who do qualify will decline company-offered insurance (Thurm, 3/27).Kaiser Health News: FAQ On The Latest Study: Obamacare’s Impact On Insurance Claim CostsIt’s too early to know how much individual health insurance policies will cost once the online marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act launch Jan. 1. But that hasn’t stopped experts and interest groups from making predictions. The latest analysis comes from the Society of Actuaries. It’s attracting attention because of the group’s expertise and nonpartisanship. What actuaries do for a living — predicting future expense based on multiple squishy factors — is at the core of figuring out what will happen under Obamacare (Hancock, 3/28).The Associated Press: Promises, Promises: Obama On Health CareThe issue: Health care was the defining political battle of President Barack Obama’s first term, and — after the economy— it remains his most complicated policy challenge at home, central to his place in history. Fixing the system is a tall order as “Obamacare’s” major coverage expansion takes effect this year and next (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/28). National Journal: The Secret Republican Plan To Repeal ‘Obamacare’A few minutes after the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision upholding President Obama’s health care law last summer, a senior adviser to Mitch McConnell walked into the Senate Republican leader’s office to gauge his reaction. McConnell was clearly disappointed, and for good reason. For many conservatives, the decision was the death knell in a three-year fight to defeat reforms that epitomized everything they thought was wrong with Obama’s governing philosophy (Frates, 3/27).In California – Los Angeles Times: Low-Income California Seniors To Move Into New Managed Care PlanIn a major shift triggered by the national healthcare law, nearly half a million low-income California seniors and disabled patients will begin moving into a new managed care program this fall. The patients, who receive both Medi-Cal and Medicare, are among the most costly in the state. Officials believe that the program, Cal MediConnect, will reduce spending and improve care by shifting the patients out of a fragmented system and into one that is more coordinated (Gorman, 3/27).
First Edition: May 3, 2013 Today’s headlines include a variety of stories about the health law’s implementation, including reports about the Medicaid expansion’s red state prospects. Kaiser Health News: Advocates Head To Court To Overturn Medicare Rules For Observation CareReporting for Kaiser Health News, in partnership with USA Today, Susan Jaffe writes: “Advocates for seniors say the distinction is not fair to patients. They are taking their argument to federal court in Hartford, Conn., Friday for the first hearing on a lawsuit seeking to have Medicare eliminate the observation label. Government lawyers argue in court filings that Medicare considers observation care an outpatient service and if elderly patients think they should have been admitted to the hospital, they should file an appeal” (Jaffe, 5/3). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Medicare Seeks To Limit Number Of Seniors Placed In Hospital Observation CareReporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with The Washington Post, Susan Jaffe writes: “Medicare officials have proposed changes in hospital admission rules that they say will curb the rising number of beneficiaries who are placed in observation care but are not admitted, making them ineligible for nursing home coverage. ‘This trend concerns us because of the potential financial impact on Medicare beneficiaries,’ officials wrote in an announcement April 26. Patients must spend three consecutive inpatient days in the hospital before Medicare will cover nursing home care ordered by a doctor” (Jaffe, 5/3). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Colorado Weighs Reopening A Psychiatric Hospital To Serve The HomelessColorado Public Radio’s Eric Whitney, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: “Last summer’s mass shooting at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., led Gov. John Hickenlooper to call for stricter gun control and big new investments in mental health care. Several significant gun bills passed, and a package of mental health reforms are moving forward, but there may not be enough support to win funding for 300 new in-patient psychiatric beds” (Whitney, 5/2). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Letters To The Editor: Better Wages For Home Health Aides; Nurse-Staffing Laws; Physician-Owned Hospitals; Actuaries And ‘Rate Shock’This periodic Kaiser Health News feature offers a variety of reader comments on recent stories (5/2). Read the letters.The Washington Post: In Several States, Medicaid Expansion Remains In Limbo As Time Runs ShortIn the closing days of their legislative sessions, lawmakers in more than a dozen states are struggling with whether to expand Medicaid under the federal health-care law, with many of them leaning against participating in a program that is key to President Obama’s aim of extending coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the expansion, and 14 are planning to decline. But 16 remain in limbo as lawmakers clash in the final days and weeks of the legislative calendar, when many must come to a decision in time for the provision to kick in next year (Somashekhar, 5/2).The Wall Street Journal: GOP Clashes Stymie Medicaid ExpansionSeveral Republican governors who defied their conservative bases to support Medicaid expansion under the federal health-care law are running into a brick wall: their states’ GOP-led legislatures. The latest clash is unfolding in Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott, an ardent opponent of the 2010 health-care law, shocked many observers by announcing his support for Medicaid expansion in February (Campo-Flores, 5/2).Politico: Medicaid Expansion Stalls In Red StatesConservative state legislators have thwarted Republican governors who broke with their base in favor of Obamacare’s massive expansion of Medicaid. Governors such as John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Scott in Florida and Jan Brewer in Arizona spent political capital but saw their Medicaid expansion plans stall, the latest glitch in implementing the sweeping 2010 health law (Cheney and Millman, 5/2).NPR: Political Battle Over Health Law Starts Next ChapterIn the three years since the Affordable Care Act became law, public opinion has remained deeply divided, with as many Americans opposing the law as supporting it. When Americans begin signing up for health insurance under the act, opinion may finally begin to shake loose. Some people without access to insurance gain it and others encounter new bureaucracies (Liasson, 5/3).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obamacare Gets New Court ChallengeOpponents of the health-care overhaul have filed a new lawsuit Thursday against the federal government on behalf of four individuals and three employers in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaint focuses on the law’s distribution of federal subsidies for Americans to purchase insurance, and whether people can get them if they live in one of the 33 states that have refused to set up their own insurance exchanges and have left that task up to the federal government (Radnofsky, 5/2).NPR: Congress, Staffers Caught Up In Health Act’s Sticky Political SituationMembers of Congress have found themselves in another awkward situation when it comes to the federal health law. They wrote the law to require that members and staffs participate in the new health exchanges starting in 2014. But a glitch could stick them with huge out-of-pocket costs. And, as NPR’s Julie Rovner tells David Greene, attempts to fix it could be seen as providing special treatment (Greene and Rovner, 5/3).Los Angeles Times: Part-Timers To Lose Pay Amid Health Act’s New MathMany part-timers are facing a double whammy from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The law requires large employers offering health insurance to include part-time employees working 30 hours a week or more. But rather than provide healthcare to more workers, a growing number of employers are cutting back employee hours instead. The result: Not only will these workers earn less money, but they’ll also miss out on health insurance at work (Terhune, 5/2).The Washington Post’s Post Politics: Harry Reid Concerned About Obamacare ImplementationSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expressed fresh concerns Wednesday about the implementation of the federal health care reform law, while a second congressional Democrat also chimed in with some worry. Reid said he agrees with Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the law’s chief architects, who has expressed concerns about potential problems with implementing some of the law’s key components. Baucus recently said he sees a “huge train wreck coming down” the road in the implementation process (Sullivan, 5/2).The Associated Press/Washington Post: W. Va. Governor Decides To Expand Medicaid; Analysis Says Additional 92K Likely To Be CoveredWest Virginia will expand Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul through a plan announced Thursday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, which would extend coverage to an estimated 91,500 uninsured low-income residents (5/2).Los Angeles Times: Obama ‘Very Comfortable’ With Age Restriction On ‘Morning After’ PillPresident Obama says he’s “very comfortable” with a Food and Drug Administration ruling that maintains age restrictions on females who can buy the so-called morning after pill without a prescription. The rule announced this week prohibits girls younger than 15 from buying the drug, known as Plan B, over the counter. The decision was made by the FDA and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Obama said, pushing back against women’s groups that have suggested the White House has interjected its political concern about a touchy subject into the rule process (Hennessey, 5/2).Politico: President Obama Defends Plan B AppealPresident Barack Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s decision to appeal a judge’s ruling that the Plan B morning-after pill should be available to women and girls of all ages, saying he was “very comfortable” with the Food and Drug Administration’s current rule. Obama said the agency was likely to conduct an additional review, but would go forward with the appeal nonetheless (Epstein, 5/3).Los Angeles Times: Plan B One-Step Debate ContinuesConfused by the wrangling in federal court over the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive? You’re not the only one. As U.S. attorneys work hastily to halt a federal judge’s order regarding the sale of the so-called morning-after pill, medical and reproductive rights groups weighed in on the hot-button controversy, which mixes issues of drug safety, social mores and politics (Morin, 5/2).The Wall Street Journal: Probe Into Medicare Tips GrowsSen. Charles Grassley is expanding his investigation into how investors got advance word of a market-moving Medicare policy decision, a development that could shine a spotlight on the office of one of the senator’s own colleagues (Mullins and McGinty, 5/2).The Washington Post: Intel For Investors: What’s Going On Behind Closed Doors In Washington The Washington-based firm Height Securities is a small player in a burgeoning financial field where companies seek to acquire valuable information about even the most minor of federal actions and provide it to investors. Yet a stock brokerage with only $7 million in reported annual revenue, a pittance by Wall Street standards, was apparently able to provoke a major surge in market trading. After Height Securities alerted clients to a pending government decision favoring health-care insurers, trading spiked in the shares of major health-care firms. With a federal investigation underway into these events, the activities have gained public attention (Markon and Yang, 5/2).The Washington Post: Three New Md. Health Laws Offer More Patient ProtectionMaryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed three laws Thursday that will give more protection for patients. The measures provide more state oversight of cosmetic surgery centers, pharmacies that make sterile medications and staffing agencies that find temporary jobs for health-care professionals (Sun, 5/2).The New York Times: Park Slope Food Co-op Takes Up New Cause: Saving A HospitalIn a letter written “on behalf of the 16,000 members” of the co-op, its general manager, Joseph Holtz, and a member, Dr. Saul Melman, call on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to “take a leadership role” in developing a plan to save the money-losing hospital, known as LICH, which serves a large swath of food co-op territory from its perch in Cobble Hill in northern Brooklyn (Hartocollis, 5/2).The Associated Press/Washington Post: NJ Gov. Signs Good Samaritan Bill to Help Overdose Victims; Bon Jovi Says It Will Be LifesaverThe New Jersey law seeks to assure timely medical treatment for overdose victims by encouraging people to seek help without fear of being arrested for drug possession (5/2). 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A selection of health policy stories from Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Wisconsin and California.CQ HealthBeat: OIG Final Rule Allows Medicaid Investigators To Use Data MiningState Medicaid fraud investigators will be able to get federal matching funds to electronically search for potential fraud, under a final rule to be published on Friday. The rule, which will be published by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, is expected to save the federal government about $34.3 million from fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2023 in fraudulent claims that would have been paid (Adams, 5/16).The Texas Tribune: End-Of-Life Bill Sparks Anger, AccusationsPolitical powerhouse Texas Right to Life is working overtime to try to defeat a compromise measure aimed at improving state laws governing “end of life” medical decisions. But with time running out to get Senate Bill 303 passed, the fight over the legislation has shifted from political to personal. Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, a family physician who has worked for years to craft legislation acceptable to faith-based groups, the disability community and medical professionals, said Texas Right to Life is acting like “the woman that went to Solomon and wanted the baby to be cut in two” (Aaronson, 5/17).The Texas Tribune: House Backs Bill To Protect Medicaid Providers’ RightsMedicaid providers would have clearer due process rights during fraud investigations under a measure the House gave tentative approval to on Wednesday. The bill would also codify the state’s rules for withholding payments to providers during such investigations (Smith and Aaronson, 5/16).Kansas Health Institute: Governor’s Mental Health Initiative Panned At Manhattan MeetingKaren McCulloh spent much of Wednesday afternoon listening to state officials explain how Gov. Sam Brownback’s mental health initiative might work. She said she didn’t hear much that she hadn’t heard before. … Brownback has said his initiative, much of which remains undefined, is meant to “strengthen” the state’s mental health system and better serve those most at-risk of hospitalization or incarceration (Ranney, 5/16).Georgia Health News: Albany Hospital Merger Slowed By Latest RulingU.S. District Court Judge Louis Sands has issued a temporary restraining order against further moves by Phoebe Putney Health System to consolidate with the former Palmyra Medical Center in Albany. The ruling had been sought by the Federal Trade Commission. Phoebe Putney officials said in a statement that the judge’s action won’t alter day-to-day operations at the former Palmyra, which was purchased from HCA and has been renamed Phoebe North (Miller, 5/16).Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Uninsured, Low-Income Visits To Hospital More than 1 million visits to Wisconsin’s hospitals were by patients who were uninsured and low-income in 2011 — an increase of more than 30 percent since 2006, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center’s annual Guide to Wisconsin Hospitals. The Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center also reported that 70 percent of surgeries and procedures now done at the state’s 148 hospitals don’t require an overnight hospital stay and are done in outpatient departments. The figure shows that the traditional measure of inpatient stays no longer is a valid way to gauge a hospital’s patient volume and size (Boulton, 5/16).California Healthline: Increasing Medical Residencies Could Help Inland EmpireAs the Inland Empire grapples with a shortage of primary care physicians, experts say the solution hinges on creating more medical residencies. New state legislation could help. AB 1176 proposes to increase the number of primary care medical residencies in underserved regions, such as the Inland Empire. The new slots would be funded by levying a fee on insurers (McSherry, 5/16). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. State Highlights: State Medicaid Investigators Get More Money To Investigate Fraud
Looking To Compare Prices For Health Care? The Internet Is Not Your Friend New research shows that patients who are trying to be savvy consumers are not going to have much luck if they turn to the internet. The internet is great place to shop for plane tickets, laundry detergent, artisan jewelry and pretty much anything else you might ever want to buy. But a new report says there’s one big exception — healthcare. If you expect the World Wide Web to help you figure out how much you’ll need to pay to get your hip replaced, a painful joint isn’t your only problem. And if you think Google can tell you the cheapest place to go for a cholesterol test, just type “reality check” into that rectangular search bar. (Kaplan, 12/8) Los Angeles Times: Shopping For Healthcare Online? The Odds Are Stacked Against You This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.