Because of their reliance on moving parts and physical medium, HDDs are at the mercy of things like friction and physical space limits. The challenge of cramming more data capacity in the same amount of space as a regular hard drive isn’t simply solved by shrinking parts and cramming more of them inside.The Ultrastar Hs14 accomplish the nearly impossible with two technologies. The first is the use of HGST’s, owned by Western Digital, HelioSeal technology. By using helium sealed inside, drive heads don’t “flutter” or vibrate as much because of reduced air turbulence. This means heads are more stable and are more precise, allowing hard drive makers to cram more capacity on the same platter.The second way the Ultrastar Hs14 manages to get 14 TB in the same space is through the use of host-managed SMR, or shingled magnetic recording. SMR maximizes space by writing on top of overlapping tracks, much like shingles on a roof, hence the name.Despite drool-worthiness, the 14 TB Ultrastar Hs14 is not a panacea. Even Western Digital itself admits it is not a drop in replacement for your conventional HDD. Instead, because of its use of host-managed SMR, it is optimized for sequential writing of data. But, most importantly, given the technologies involved, Western Digital is targeting enterprise customers and OEMs, not the consumer market. That said, any new hardware that will benefit companies and services behind cloud storage, web servers, and the like, will ultimately benefit end-users in the long run.SOURCE: Western Digital While consumers, particularly those on laptops, look to SSDs as their data storage of choice because of their speed and reliability, hard disk drives or HDDs are never going away. In fact, they have become even more critical because of the digital content we produce and store these days. Unlike SSDs, however, hard drives run into the limits of physics sooner. Which is why making a single HDD that reaches 14 TB capacity, such as Western Digital’s Ultrastar Hs14, is no small matter for the enterprise.
The Pixel 2 XL just can’t seem to catch a break. It has been hounded with this or that issue related to its screen. And now there’s a new cause for concern among owners, though this time it isn’t alone. Both the Pixel 2 XL but more prominently the smaller Pixel 2 have been reported to be emitting an odd high-pitched or crackling sound from the earpiece speaker. And while a temporary workaround seems to have been discovered, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the overall quality of Google’s second gen smartphones. Story TimelinePixel 2 Active Edge remap highlights a big problemPixel 2 XL screen problems VS iPhone 8 Plus, LG V30, Galaxy Note 8Pixel 2 XL screen reported to have burn-in after just daysPixel 2 XL screen saga keeps getting worse A Pixel 2 owner by the name of “Roy M.” posted on the Google product forums to report that his Pixel 2 was emitting a high-pitch frequency sound as well as clicking under a specific set of circumstances. Those circumstances include having the screen on, the phone unlocked, and the phone held up like taking a call. The sound seemingly came from the earpiece speaker.This almost calls to mind the recent iPhone 8 bug, though that only happened when actually taking a voice call. Here, having the Pixel 2 simply unlocked did triggered the issue. While majority of those who confirmed the issue were on Pixel 2s, some Pixel 2 XL owners did chime in to report the same.Fortunately there does seem to be a more or less confirmed workaround. Turning off the NFC seems to make the clicking go away. The bad news is that the high-pitched whining sound doesn’t. And like any workaround, it doesn’t seem to work for everyone affected.Google has not yet responded to the product forum thread and might already have its hand full with the other reports regarding the Pixel 2 XL. Whether or not these devices shipped despite failing quality control is now less important than actually shipping out the fixes for these issues. But together with the rather big blunder with the Home Mini, it seems that Google’s big product launch is turning out to be a big PR mess.VIA: Google Product Forums
The process hasn’t changed much in several years. Apple opens its preorder books from 12:01AM Pacific time on Friday morning, October 27, or 3:01AM Eastern time. Carriers also begin their own presales too, as do retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. In theory, that process continues up until next Friday, when in-store sales of the new iPhone begin. The reality, however, is that early demand invariably outstrips Apple’s supplies. If you don’t get your order in pretty much immediately after the store goes live, you can be looking at weeks or even months before your new phone arrives on your doorstep.Apple rarely has sufficient stock to meet the initial appetites, but the iPhone X is shaping up to be even more constrained. You can blame a number of firsts for that: the first iPhone to use an OLED panel, and the first to get the new TrueDepth camera, which powers Face ID, Animojis, and more. Of course, they’re also part of the reason the smartphone is so appealing in the first place. According to the supply chain, both OLED and TrueDepth issues have left Apple with potentially half the number of iPhone X units it was hoping to have by the end of the year. And, while the Cupertino firm may have said it plans to have stock on-hand in its physical locations at the end of next week, it’s almost certain that they’ll be in small numbers. So, if you really want an iPhone X sooner rather than later, the best way to do it is to wake up early tonight and get a preorder in. If your unhappy with the promised delivery window, after all, you can always try in-store on Friday, November 3, and subsequently cancel your online order if you get lucky. If you want an iPhone X, you have to do your homework. Apple’s flagship smartphone for 2017 isn’t just expensive, it’s undoubtedly going to be in short supply, and that means conceding that you’re not going to get much sleep tonight. That said, with the potential for very limited devices, Apple’s promise of in-store stock next week, and lingering skepticism about just how willing people are to put up with “the notch,” the big question is how many will actually preorder the iPhone X? There are a few ways to stand a better chance of being successful online tonight. Having your correct delivery details saved in your Apple profile is a good place to start: punching in a new credit card number, or double-checking a billing address will only slow you down. If you’re willing to sign up with the iPhone Upgrade Program, Apple’s own finance scheme, you can get pre-approved for the iPhone X. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a handset immediately, but it does address the tricky payment issue that trips buyers up every year.Credit and debit card companies are always watching out for potential fraud, and every iPhone order night there are plenty of people who find their card is suddenly on lock-down because the transaction looks suspicious. Sometimes, if you call your bank or card issuer ahead of time, you can warn them you’re going to make a big purchase and avoid the over-cautious freeze. That doesn’t always work, mind: the algorithms these companies use to spot fraud are both complex and inscrutable. Using a card you’ve made large purchases on before can help, as can using the same card you’ve already relied on for other Apple Store purchases. Still, sometimes there’s just no way to avoid the dreaded “we can’t authorize” message. The other tip is to use the Apple Store app, rather than the website. Historically, sales through the app have not only started a little before the web version, but its been more stable and likely to result in a successful order too. Don’t leave downloading it, signing in, and checking your payment and delivery details to the last minute, either.MORE Are you still excited about iPhone X?You may, though, decide to hold off altogether. Starting at $999, the iPhone X certainly isn’t a cheap device, even in a world where smartphones have been getting more and more expensive. There are some excellent alternatives out there, not least Apple’s own iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Indeed, we’ve seen a bumper crop of Android smartphones reach the market in just the last few months, whether your priority is a big screen, great photography, or something else. Given predictions from some quarters that, as a first-generation device, the iPhone X may well face some teething pains, there’s no shame in holding back and waiting for the new hardware and software to shake itself out. All the same, if you live for the pleasure of being on the cutting-edge of technology, the iPhone X is probably one device you’re going to want to have in your pocket.Are you preordering the iPhone X tonight? Planning to risk turning up in person on November 3 and scoring one in-store instead? Let us know in the comments!
It should come as no surprise to OnePlus fans that we’re hearing more details on their next smartphone model, the OnePlus 6; after all, the company is almost literally on a six-month update cycle with its subsequent “T” upgrades. But that’s the situation we find ourselves in today, as a set of specs for the OnePlus 6 have leaked, setting expectations for the device that will probably debut before summer. The details come from a list of specs for a OnePlus model currently known as the “A6000,” although it’s almost a guarantee they’ll go with the name OnePlus 6 for release. While the list was first obtained by the site Techslize, it’s not clear where they got it from; however, adding legitimacy is the fact that the specs are perfectly in-line with what we expect from OnePlus’ yearly upgrades, not to mention what should be found in any Android flagship for 2018.According to the leak, the OnePlus 6 will ship with a 6.28-inch AMOLED display featuring a 2280 x 1080 resolution, and be powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor. That will be paired with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 3,450 mAh battery. On the back will be an impressive dual-lens camera with 16MP and 20MP sensors and a f/1.7 aperture, while the front facing camera will be 20MP with a Ff/2.0 aperture.Like any new phone release these days, Android 8.1 Oreo should be the operating system at launch, and it’s a safe bet the OnePlus 6 will borrow the 5T’s design in ditching the front button and placing the fingerprint sensor on the rear.Speaking of the 5T, OnePlus confirmed to Engadget that all of its stock for the North American market has been sold out, and there will not be any more produced. The phone-maker says they experienced a stronger-than-expected demand for the phone, resulting in only about four months of availability. SOURCE Techslize Story TimelineOnePlus 6 release date teasedOnePlus 5T vs Essential vs Razer Phone: newcomers showdownOnePlus 5, 5T can stream HD video if you mail it inOnePlus 6 will be embracing the future but not in a good wayLook, OnePlus 6 is probably a well-priced copycat, too
Uber has been criticized for its lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, but that’ll soon be changing thanks to a new partnership with MV Transportation. Under the new arrangement, Uber will add hundreds of wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the future, deploying them in half a dozen of the markets where it operates. Because Uber doesn’t own the cars that are driven on its network, the company hasn’t previously been able to ensure there are wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) available to customers who need them. Too few individuals who own these cars operate them on Uber’s network, but the new MV Transportation partnership offers a solution.Under this, Uber users in New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Toronto will be able to order a WAV and have it arrive within fifteen minutes, on average. In addition, Uber says it anticipates having the same reduced wait times in Los Angeles and San Francisco over the next year, which would end up covering half of all rides on the network.Uber plans to expand its MV Transportation partnership to cover more of its top cities starting next year, as well, improving transportation options for those with accessibility needs. The company indicates that it may partner with other third-party providers in the future to offer rides that accommodate other accessibility needs.AdChoices广告The WAVs added to Uber’s transportation network are owned by MV and are operated by the company’s own drivers. This ensures that the wheelchair securement process is safely conducted by individuals trained on using the system. Uber indicates that WAV trips will have the same price as related uberX rides, as well.
This vehicle features a forward-slanted C-pillar as well as a long wheelbase. Also prevalent are the vehicle’s longer roofline and tiny overhangs all around. This vehicle is being premiered at Mondial de l’Automobile Paris 2016, but it’d fit in well in uptown, Minneapolis or downtown Dallas, no problem. This vehicle features a two-box design with what BMW describes as a “functional X model character.” ALSO: The press release for this vehicle includes the following excerpt, so we’ve gone ahead and sharked this one out ourselves just for the heck of it. “Graphically modelled and heavily angled bars within the kidney grille create an undeniable ‘shark nose’ effect,” said a BMW representative, “bringing additional depth and sculptural richness to this area of the car. ”Look like it fits? So fierce! This vehicle might seem like a big departure for hardcore fans of the X1, or even the vast majority of BMW’s vehicles revealed over the past couple of years. This vehicle has a couple of large cheeks, your mother might say, and features that make it look like a big set of exaggerations. But big air intakes and daring lines make this concept very much a part of a future we’re happy we’re about to live in.“The BMW Concept X2 combines the fast-moving body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe with the robust construction of an X model,” said Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design. “This is a sporty vehicle with a bold character, and it allows us to open up some fascinating new design possibilities for the BMW brand.” ABOVE: Images photographed by SlashGear at this year’s Paris Auto Show. BELOW: Photos from BMW. Story Timeline2016 Lexus GS F in Super-Sedan Showdown with BMW, Audi, and Cadillac2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i ReviewBristol Bullet has the 4.8L V8 heart of a BMWBMW Connected arrives this month with Alexa skill to come2017 BMW 740e goes green(ish) with plug-in hybride-MINI and BMW 3 Series EV tipped as Tesla’s Model 3 loomsBMW C Evolution e-scooter refresh announced with two variants While some concept vehicles being shown this week are completely off-the-wall, wacky, and aimed at showing some major space-age inspiration for the next generation of vehicles, BMW seems set on making a concept vehicle here that’s ready to drive right this minute.AdChoices广告 This week the folks at BMW have revealed one of the most unique-looking concept vehicles of the show in the BMW Concept X2. This vehicle is being premiered alongside the and the BMW i3 (with increased range and improved battery) as well as the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. The BMW Concept X2 is a compact vehicle, made to show off BMW’s chops in coupe-making and in making a fine looking vehicle that combines futuristic elements with today’s popular urban stylings.
A high-tech new license plate is set to hit the streets in California that replaces that old piece of metal on the back of the car with a digital device. The device looks like a traditional license plate and appears to be the sort of e-ink screen we have seen in many uses over the years. Other than showing the license plate, the digital display can also show changeable messages that are controlled by the driver or by fleet managers. Inside the plate reportedly uses the same tech you would find in a Kindle eBook reader, a wireless communication system, a computer chip, and a battery. One key benefit of the digital plate that users can skip the DMV line and register the plates electronically. A visit to the DMV is one of the most universally hated things for all drivers.Personal messages could also be displayed on the screen, assuming the DMV in California allows that feature to operate. Other nice things about the plate is that it could alert the owner and police to the exact location of the car (or at least the license plate) if the ride was stolen. The pilot program in the state is being conducted with Reviver Auto and the fancy plate is offered at auto dealerships, not via the DMV.Sacramento is the first city to start the test, and the city has 24 of the plates that it is using on the in-house fleet of vehicles. All the fancy tech and convenience isn’t cheap, the plates cost $699 plus installation. There is a monthly fee of $7.AdChoices广告Some feel like a license plate that can tell police your location is an invasion of privacy. If the tech was widely rolled out, police would certainly use the tech to find people with warrants for their arrest, which most would see as a good thing. The plates could also alert police and other motorists if the vehicle is wanted for questioning related to something like an Amber Alert.SOURCE: Sacremento Bee
Story TimelineGalaxy Fold might get a new release date soonGalaxy Fold fixes are coming and these are the changes Samsung madeSamsung Galaxy Fold Game of Thrones edition: Isn’t that odd? Though Best Buy hasn’t said anything official about this mass cancellation yet, at least one customer is reporting that they’ve received an email from the company confirming that their pre-order has been canceled. Best Buy says that it decided to pull the plug specifically because Samsung hasn’t revealed a new release date for the Galaxy Fold yet.That customer published a copy of the email they received to the Slickdeals forums. The email also explains that users who are still interested in buying the Galaxy Fold can sign up to be notified when the phone is available for purchase by heading over to Best Buy’s Galaxy Fold page and clicking the “Notify Me” button.It isn’t all bad news, though: Best Buy also says that it’ll give a $100 gift card to users who have had their pre-orders canceled. The $100 “savings code,” as it’s called, can be used either online or in store for future purchases, so as silver linings go, this one is pretty darn good.A few weeks ago, Samsung itself sent out similar emails to those who pre-ordered the Galaxy Fold. The company asked those users to confirm that they wanted to keep their pre-orders, noting that they will be canceled on May 31st if no confirmation is received. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for more, because hopefully Samsung is getting ready to make an announcement about the Galaxy Fold’s release date.Update: Best Buy actually has announced the mass cancellation of Galaxy Fold pre-orders publicly on its support site. Curiously, that support site post doesn’t mention the $100 gift card that the email sourced above does, so if you pre-ordered a Galaxy Fold from Best Buy, be sure to check the email associated with your Best Buy account. Toward the end of April, Samsung made the decision to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold after it became clear that the device had some design flaws that made it easy to damage the phone’s delicate display. In the weeks since, we’ve been waiting for Samsung to announce a new release date, but one has yet to come down the line. Now, it seems Best Buy is tired of waiting on the new release date and has decided to cancel all of its Galaxy Fold pre-orders.
Story TimelineMotorola Moto Z2 Force Review: Modular compromiseMoto Z2 Force said to also have Jelly Scrolling effectMoto Z2 Force screen peeling repair fee waived Motorola may soon be down for the count. The recently launched Moto Z4 suggests it may be winding down its flagship line, though it does seem to be ramping up the Motorola One brand instead. The biggest evidence that it might be losing its ability to support its phones comes from a recent announcement over at the Lenovo forums. It has just revealed that the Moto Z2 Force won’t be getting its Android 9 Pie update as promised, raising concern whether the company is still committed to the smartphone market, not to mention its customers, at all. If you have already forgotten the 2017 premium rugged smartphone, the Moto Z2 Force was one of the company’s more controversial products of late. It boasted of a shatterproof screen which turned out to be scratch-prone in turn. Motorola would later clarify that it’s exactly due to the plastic-like substance used to protect the screen from cracks.Given the furor over it, you’d expect that Motorola would try to do good by Moto Z2 Force owners. Even if it didn’t need to do anything extra, the Moto Z2 Force, which launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, was still due an Android 9 Pie as its last update. Not anymore, says Motorola.According to the Lenovo-owned phone maker, the Moto Z2 Force will no longer get the expected Pie update on US models except for one. The Verizon version will still get Pie in preparation for support for the 5G Moto Mod. All phones will still get their two years’ worth of security updates which coincidentally ends this year.AdChoices广告It’s a sad fact for Android users that OEMs more often than not fail to update their phones, especially older models. Motorola’s excuse of the upgrade process being complex, however, does cast some doubt on whether it still has the resources to update its other phones. Maybe that’s why it’s switching to Android One phones to pass the buck to Google instead.
Viewpoints: Both Parties Swinging For The Fences On Health Law Decision; GOP Once Supported Universal Care; Sarah Palin’s Latest ‘Whopper’ The ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold most of the health law has put the controversy squarely back on the parties’ agendas for the November elections.The New York Times: The Price Of Health Care For President Obama, the consequences of health care may still be fatal to his re-election hopes. The choice to go all-in on reform was the most important call of the Obama presidency, and from a purely political perspective it has proved the most disastrous one. Thursday’s decision won’t change this reality: Victory at the Supreme Court was obviously preferable to defeat, but the chief justice’s grudging imprimatur is unlikely to make a deeply unpopular piece of legislation suddenly popular instead (Ross Douthat, 6/30). The New York Times/Bloomberg News: Next Battleground Of Health Care DebateThe outcome poses challenges for both presidential contenders. Mr. Obama’s claim that it means the country “can’t refight” the law is a pipe dream. Mr. Romney will be held accountable for his strong inconsistencies on health care and his refusal to offer serious alternatives. The 5-to-4 decision upholding the central tenet of Obamacare, as Republicans call it, was a better result for the Democrats. If things had gone the other way, Mr. Romney could have credibly charged that Mr. Obama wasted two years on an unconstitutional measure, instead of focusing on the economy (Albert R. Hunt, 7/1).The Washington Post: The Republican Turn Against Universal Health Insurance To some degree, the political debate over health care has been on hold while everyone waited for the Supreme Court to rule on the law. But now that the Court has had its say, we can, and should, turn our attention back to the election, where the two parties have clearly laid out their health-care platforms. The Democrats’ commitment is to provide every American with health insurance. The Republican Party’s commitment is to prevent any American from being forced to have health insurance. It wasn’t always this way. Democrats and Republicans used to argue over how best to achieve universal coverage, but both agreed on the goal (Ezra Klein, 6/30). The Washington Post: Roberts’s Health-Care Ruling Sends A Message To Politicians Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. delivered more than a historic ruling with his opinion upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Deliberately or not, he sent a message to politicians about the importance of protecting the vitality and reputation of public institutions. That’s a message badly needed in Washington and nowhere more so than in the Capitol building that sits across the broad lawn from the Supreme Court (Dan Balz, 6/30). The Washington Post: The Umpire Strikes Back Roberts explained why he had sided with the four liberal justices: not because he thought the health-care law was “good policy” but because there wasn’t a constitutional reason to invalidate the individual mandate at the core of the law. “We possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments,” he wrote in his majority opinion, which he read in part from the bench. “Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices” (Dana Milbank, 6/30). The Chicago Tribune: On Facts, Lies And Sarah Palin The death panels are back. Sarah Palin’s vision of a dystopian society in which the elderly and infirm would be required to justify their continued existence before a jury of federal functionaries has been widely ridiculed since she first posted it on Facebook three years ago. … Last week, Palin doubled down. “Though I was called a liar for calling it like it is,” she posted, “many of these accusers finally saw that Obamacare did in fact create a panel of faceless bureaucrats who have the power to make life-and-death decisions about health care funding.” … Not long ago, if you told a whopper like Palin’s and it was as thoroughly debunked as hers was, that would have ended the discussion. These days, it is barely even part of the discussion (Leonard Pitts, 7/2). Los Angeles Times: Obama’s Victory Is Now His Challenge Nothing produces cheers from the GOP faithful like the promise to “repeal, dismantle and defund Obamacare,” to quote House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). So while many in the GOP had hoped the law would be found unconstitutional, having it to kick around through the fall may have its advantages. As Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page after the decision, “Thank you, SCOTUS. This Obamacare ruling fires up the troops as America’s eyes are opened” (Doyle McManus, 7/1). Politico: Time For Real Health Care ReformHistorians will likely say that the court showed an astonishing level of judicial activism. While Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the more liberal justices and found the law constitutional under Congress’ power to tax, the bill would never have passed if the penalty had been cast as a tax increase. Many politicians, including President Barack Obama, went to great lengths to assert it was not a tax. … Democrats must acknowledge that the law does not come close to dealing with the long-term fiscal challenges caused by rising health care costs. It may have increased coverage, but you can’t increase coverage and save money—that’s an oxymoron (David M. Walker, 7/2).Denver Post: Moving Forward On Nation’s Health CareThe U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the historic Affordable Care Act is great news for America’s families as they begin to see greater access to health care and lower insurance costs. As a constitutional lawyer and one of the chief architects of the ACA, I always believed the mandate was constitutional, and I am extremely pleased the court agreed (Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., 6/29).Philadelphia Inquirer: What Would Replacing Obamacare Look Like?Now comes the hard part, assuming opponents of the Affordable Care Act are ever actually in a position to pull off repeal. Replace Obamacare with what? Strict constructionists might argue that there’s no reason to go beyond repeal, that this is just a matter of getting the government out of the business of health care. But unless they also repeal Medicaid, Medicare, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a host of other programs, government is in health care to stay. Therefore what needs addressing is the government’s business model for health care, which is exacerbating the problems, especially the spiraling costs (Kevin Ferris, 7/1).Bloomberg: Congress Can Fix Health-Care Law Without Destroying It Republicans run the risk of looking like wreckers, not problem-solvers — not a good image in an election year, no matter what polls say about support for the law. There is a smarter course for them. They should assemble a list of ways to tweak the act to make it work better — and more to their liking…. First, and most urgently, the law’s requirements on creating state-based health-insurance marketplaces need to be adjusted slightly to give states more time to comply (7/1).Houston Chronicle: Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Importance Of 2012 Election Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling has clarified the importance of our upcoming election: The only way to stop the government power grab known as Obamacare is to elect a president and a congressional majority who will repeal it…. Before Obamacare became law, the president assured Texans that the individual mandate was not a tax. But the Supreme Court has now made clear that the mandate breaks the president’s pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Texans (Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, 6/29).The Seattle Times: The ‘Tax’ Attack On Health Care It sure feels like someone, somewhere, decided this is going to be the mantra of the coming campaigns. But it doesn’t make much common sense that a tax on people who don’t have health insurance could be so big. Most people have insurance, so by definition they won’t pay this tax (Danny Westneat, 6/30). Boston Globe: On Health Care, It’s Romney Vs. RomneyBy upholding the constitutionality of the historic national health care reform law last week, the Supreme Court sets up a fierce ideological battle. It’s between Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney. If elected president, Romney promises to repeal Obamacare. He says it is bad law and bad policy, and unfairly raises taxes on the American people. His problem is that as governor, he imposed the same law, policy, and taxes on Massachusetts citizens (Joan Vennochi, 7/1).Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Health Care Landscape Will Be Reshaped In Unimaginable WaysProtestations from the Republicans that they will seek repeal are basically a day late and dollar short. The chicken’s head has been cut off but the chicken is still running around like he is alive. Barring some landslide victory in November that changes the balance of power in the Senate or Presidency, the die has been cast. This phase is over and Republicans should meditate on why they did not enact their conservative vision when they were in power (Francis M. Miller, 6/29). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released more than 100 pages of documents showing how the difficulties and glitches were chronicled. The New York Times: Notes Reveal Chaotic White House Talks On Health Care SiteMore than 100 pages of “war room notes” released by congressional investigators on Tuesday offer a window into the chaos that overwhelmed the Obama administration as the federal health insurance marketplace started up last month and officials realized that its problems could not be fixed quickly (Pear, 11/5).Politico: Darrell Issa Releases 175 Pages Of Obamacare ‘War Room’ NotesA slew of newly released notes documenting Obamacare’s first month fill in more of the blanks of how the troubled launch unfolded but don’t reveal any enrollment numbers. During the first few days following the federal exchange site’s Oct. 1 launch, the Obama administration publicly blamed the HealthCare.gov glitches on high website traffic. But the 175 pages of notes from the Obamacare “war room” — released Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — contain little to no mention of higher-than-expected volume (Cunningham, 11/5).CNN: Documents Show First Days Of Obamacare Rollout Worse Than Initially Realized A stack of daily updates written by Obamacare contractors shows the October rollout hit more walls than previously known: In the first days, half of the calls to the phone center had problems, paper applications could not be processed and up to 40,000 people at a time were sitting in the waiting room of http://www.HealthCare.gov. The 175 pages of internal updates during the sign-up chronicle the growing ailments and efforts to heal the system during October. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa, obtained the documents from contractors involved and released them Wednesday (Desjardins, 11/6). In other oversight news – The Hill: GOP Lawmaker Subpoenaes ObamaCare Enrollment DataHouse Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Tuesday issued a subpoena to the agency responsible for implementing ObamaCare, requiring it to turn over all the data the agency has about how many people have enrolled in the healthcare exchanges. Camp previously requested the data from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner at a hearing last month, but says the agency has refused to provide it (Easley, 11/5). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. ‘War Room’ Notes Offer View Of Chaos That Surrounded Healthcare.gov Launch
Viewpoints: Parsing Obamacare Numbers; Experts On Long-Term Care Insurance; French Cancer Care This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Bloomberg: The Only Obamacare Number That Matters The monthly announcement of Obamacare’s enrollment figures has become an exercise in confirmation bias, starting with the administration itself. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted the “encouraging trends” in yesterday’s release, while House Speaker John Boehner opted to highlight its “embarrassing failures.” … The only debate worth having is how to improve enrollment. … enrollment numbers for Obamacare aren’t some referendum on the president’s popularity or lack thereof. They’re the best way to tell whether the law is working as planned — and how to adjust if it isn’t (2/13). Bloomberg: Obamacare’s Missing Numbers The number 3.3 million represents people enrolled in a policy, not the number who have paid for their premiums. Most of the reporting — which comes from insurance industry sources — suggests that about 80 percent of those who signed up have actually paid the first month’s premium. … The demographic mix isn’t improving as hoped. … We still have no idea how many of these people previously had insurance. If the administration knows, it is not sharing those numbers with anyone else (Megan McArdle, 2/13).Bloomberg: Obamacare Enrollment Slowed in January. Does That Matter? Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges grew again in January, but it grew at a much slower pace than the month before. How much of a concern that is for the law is open to interpretation. In raw numbers, total enrollment in January was indeed a win for the Barack Obama administration … On the other hand, there are just two months left in the six-month open enrollment period … the only game that matters right now is getting more people — mostly young people, and young men in particular — to sign up (Christopher Flavelle, 2/13).The New York Times: Inequality, Dignity And Freedom Now that the Congressional Budget Office has explicitly denied saying that Obamacare destroys jobs, some (though by no means all) Republicans have stopped lying about that issue and turned to a different argument. O.K., they concede, any reduction in working hours because of health reform will be a voluntary choice by the workers themselves — but it’s still a bad thing because, as Representative Paul Ryan puts it, they’ll lose “the dignity of work.” … if you really care about the dignity and freedom of American workers, you should favor more, not fewer, entitlements, a stronger, not weaker, social safety net (Paul Krugman, 2/13). The New York Times’ Economix blog: Tax Subsidies And The Incentive To Work It is worth reading Appendix C of the C.B.O. report to get a feel for what is really at stake here. In that appendix the agency explains, for example, that its “estimate that the A.C.A. will reduce employment reflects some of the inherent trade-offs involved in designing such legislation.” Further clarification was offered in a “Frequently Asked Questions” statement by the C.B.O. The agency alludes there to the fact that any program offering means-tested public assistance to citizens will do much good but implicitly confront citizens with higher marginal tax rates that may induce these beneficiaries to work fewer hours or even retire (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 2/14). The Washington Post: Obamacare’s War On Jobs The honest liberal reply to the CBO report is that a disincentive to work is inherent in any means-tested government benefit. It’s the unavoidable price of helping those in need because for every new dollar you earn, you lose part of your subsidy and thus keep less and less of your nominal income. … But Obamacare’s war on jobs goes beyond voluntary idleness. The administration is now conceding, inadvertently but unmistakably, Obamacare’s other effect — involuntary job loss (Charles Krauthammer, 2/13). The Washington Post: The GOP’s Health Crisis The news that nearly 1.2 million people signed up last month for insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges is highly inconvenient for GOP candidates nationwide. … Republicans may even have to take the drastic step of saying what they advocate, rather than harping on what they oppose. Is there a GOP plan to cover those with preexisting conditions? To cover the working poor? Is expanding access to health insurance really such an awful thing? Sorry, I didn’t catch what you said (Eugene Robinson, 2/13).USA Today: GOP’s Unhealthy Strategy It is hard to imagine anything they could have cooked up on their own that would have enabled Republicans to feast on for so long as Obamacare. It gave them talking points, 47 opportunities to vote to repeal the law and now a narrative for the 2014 elections. And just as the GOP was beginning to discuss immigration reform, it was erased from the menu in favor of a pig-out on the flaws of the Affordable Care Act. But putting too many eggs in the Obamacare basket could leave Republicans with insufficient nourishment for the fall campaign (Ross K. Baker, 2/13). The Washington Post: The Tea Party Position On Obamacare A senior member of the Louisiana Democratic Party tells me Dems will try to get a state Constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid on the ballot on Election Day 2014. The chances of succeeding at that are very slim – more on that in a moment – but this goes to the heart of a very interesting storyline that’s set to unfold in Louisiana this spring involving Americans for Prosperity, the group backed by the Koch brothers, Mary Landrieu, and the health law. This storyline also neatly captures the true nature of the Tea Party position on Obamacare (Greg Sargent, 2/13).The Fiscal Times: Obama’s Health Care Mandate: My Whim Is My Command The latest arbitrary salvo from the Obama administration in an attempt to rescue its collapsing command health-insurance economy came from the Treasury Department earlier this week. As Barack Obama made headlines by issuing yet another delay in enforcement of the employer mandate – again ignoring the January 2014 statutory deadline for compliance in his own legislation – Treasury announced that it would keep an eagle eye on businesses that reacted to the exploding costs of compliance. The IRS would require employers to file a “self-attestation” on their tax forms “to ‘certify’ that they are not shedding full-time workers simply to avoid the mandate.” This demand is based on … what, exactly? (Edward Morrissey, 2/13).JAMA: Henry Waxman: Architect Of The Health Care Safety Net As a medical student in New York and then a resident in San Francisco, I received a substantial amount of my training in safety-net hospitals. … In 2009, as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, I had the opportunity to meet and work for one of the primary architects of the health care safety net, Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D, California). … With the ACA’s expansion of health insurance coverage, questions are emerging about the future of the health care safety net. … Without Henry Waxman in Congress, finding answers to guide the health care safety net into the future is likely to become significantly more difficult. (Dr. Andrew Bindman, 2/13). Los Angeles Times: Will Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Be A Wake-Up Call? After Hoffman’s death, reports surfaced that the actor, a onetime heroin addict, had been abusing prescription opiates, which ultimately led him back to heroin. That’s a common path … On the street, opiate pain pills sell for $1 a milligram, according to police and addicts I’ve interviewed across the country. An addict can need 150 to 300 milligrams a day. A comparable high from heroin is a fifth to a tenth the price, which is part of the reason its use has almost doubled between 2010 and 2012 … So here’s hoping that Hoffman’s death, which encapsulates much of this epidemic, will also rouse us to a thing that is deadlier and quieter than any drug plague we’ve seen before (Sam Quinones, 2/14). Reuters: The French Way Of Cancer TreatmentWhen my father, the editor and writer Andre Schiffrin, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer last spring, my family assumed we would care for him in New York. … my father announced he wanted to stick to his normal schedule — and spend the summer in France. … the French system is basically like an expanded Medicaid. Pretty much everyone has insurance, it explained, and the French get better primary care and more choice of doctors than we do. … We didn’t have to worry about navigating a complicated maze of insurance and co-payments and doing battle with billing departments. Every time I sit on hold now with the billing department of my New York doctors and insurance company, I think back to all the things French healthcare got right. The simplicity of that system meant that all our energy could be spent on one thing: caring for my father (Anya Schiffrin, 2/12).The Wall Street Journal has a panel of experts answering the question: Should healthy, younger individuals consider long-term-care insurance? The responses:What to Consider When Considering Long-Term-Care Coverage (Sheryl Garrett, 2/13)Get Long-Term-Care Insurance While You’re Healthy (Charles Rotblut, 2/13)You’re Not Too Young For A Long-Term-Care Policy (Larry Zimpleman, 2/13)Start Shopping For Long-Term-Care Insurance at 45 (Michelle Perry Higgins, 2/13)Why Long-Term-Care Coverage Is Right for Me (Olivia Mitchell, 2/13)Don’t Buy Long-Term-Care Insurance. Self-Fund It. (Manisha Thakor, 2/13)
First Edition: May 12, 2014 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s headlines include news about the inner-workings of some state-based health exchanges.Kaiser Health News: Medicare Struggling With Hepatitis-C Cure CostsReporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with NPR, Richard Knox writes: “Previous drug treatments didn’t clear the virus from Bianco’s system. But it’s almost certain that potent new drugs for hep-C could cure him. However, the private insurer that handles his medication coverage for the federal Medicare program has twice refused to pay for the drugs his doctor has prescribed” (Knox, 5/12). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: D.C. Health Insurance Tax Triggers Insurer PushbackKaiser Health News staff writer Lisa Gillespie reports: “Insurers who are not selling their wares on Washington, D.C.’s exchange have signaled they may sue to block a D.C. council plan to charge them a 1 percent annual tax on all health-related plans sold in the city. The revenue would pay for the continuing operation of online marketplace” (Gillespie, 5/12). Read the story. Kaiser Health News: Capsules: States’ Medicaid Decisions Leave Health Centers, Patients In LurchNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Phil Galewitz reports: “More than 1 million patients who use federally funded community health centers will remain uninsured because they live in one of 24 states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to a study released Friday by researchers at George Washington University” (Galewitz, 5/9). Check out what else is on the blog.The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare Question: Ditch Employer Mandate? A left-leaning think tank whose research is often taken seriously by backers of the health-care overhaul has published a paper suggesting the administration should scrap the health law’s requirement that employers offer coverage or pay a penalty. “Why Don’t We Just Get Rid of the Employer Mandate?”, by three researchers at the Urban Institute, argues that the requirement won’t lead to many more people gaining coverage, since most firms that don’t currently offer benefits to all their workers will opt for the penalty, and most firms that already voluntarily offer benefits will want to carry on doing so (Radnofsky, 5/10).The Wall Street Journal: Virginia Filings Give First Look At 2015 Health Rate IncreasesIn the first look at how insurers plan to adjust prices in the second year under the federal health-care law, filings from Virginia carriers show they are opting for premium increases in 2015 that will pinch consumers’ pocketbooks but fall short of some bigger rate predictions. The new premium proposals, detailed in official filings to the state’s insurance regulator, show health plans all opting for some increases (Radnofsky, 5/11).Los Angeles Times: Insurance Agents Played Key Role In California’s Obamacare EnrollmentAs enrollment neared under the Affordable Care Act, both President Obama and California officials boasted that signing up for health insurance would be as easy as ordering a book from Amazon.com or buying a plane ticket online. With that in mind, Covered California’s executive director, Peter Lee, predicted a bleak future for insurance agents selling individual policies, saying they could easily go the way of travel agents. As it turns out, reports of their demise were greatly exaggerated. Insurance agents played a major role in California’s larger-than-expected enrollment of 1.4 million people in private health plans (Terhune, 5/10).Politico: $474M For 4 Failed Obamacare ExchangesNearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher. Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. … The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov (Haberkorn and Cheney, 5/11).The Associated Press: Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health ExchangeThe chief executive of Hawaii’s largest health insurance company is calling on Hawaii to shut down its beleaguered health insurance exchange, which was set up as part of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, says the state shouldn’t keep spending money on the Hawaii Health Connector, a system that he says is financially unsustainable and does not work (Bussewitz, 5/9).?The Wall Street Journal: Rural Hospitals Feel PinchRural hospitals have long been under financial pressure from the rising cost of providing health care, the dwindling number of patients staying overnight and the shift of more profitable services like cardiac care to bigger medical centers. Now, the Obama administration, saying that some rural hospitals have been receiving subsidies they weren’t meant to get, has proposed eliminating a further $2.1 billion in Medicare payments next fiscal year for hospitals designated as providing “crucial access.” In addition, under the new federal health law, hospitals are losing government subsidies for providing care to the uninsured (Bauerlein, 5/11). The Associated Press: Pregnant Women Gain New Options Under Health LawLower-income women who signed up for a private policy in the new insurance exchanges will have access to additional coverage from their state’s Medicaid program if they get pregnant. Some women could save hundreds of dollars on their share of hospital and doctor bills (5/10). The Washington Post: Liberal Groups Launch Campaigns To Boost Turnout Based On Obamacare SupportDemocrats and Republicans agree on one thing about the hotly contested Affordable Care Act: When it comes to voter intensity, the GOP holds a clear upper hand. But a trio of major liberal groups hopes to change that in coming months, with plans to spend tens of millions of dollars persuading residents in a dozen key states to vote for Democrats based on the issue. … By focusing on more popular parts of the law — including Medicaid expansion, free birth-control coverage and a bar on denying coverage for preexisting conditions — the [The Service Employees International Union, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and MoveOn.org] hope to coax individuals who often skip voting in midterm elections to make it to the polls (Eilperin and Somashekhar, 5/10).Politico: Koch Brothers’ Americans For Prosperity Plans $125 Million Spending SpreeThe Koch brothers’ main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group. … AFP developed “a sophisticated new media message-testing strategy to target specific demographics in specific locations we need to move on our issues,” according to the memo. The resulting advertisements increasingly have used personal stories, often told by regular folks looking directly into the camera, to critique Democratic policies like Obamacare, and the politicians who support them (Vogel, 5/11).Politico: Bachmann, Wasserman Schultz Spar On CNNSome clear tension arose between Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann during a segment Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” as the two went head to head on a handful of issues, starting with the new Benghazi select committee in the House. “Republicans have clearly lost the ability, because we’ve had such a precipitous drop-among Republicans even-in their fervor for repealing the Affordable Care Act, that they are clearly doing this to drive their turnout,” Wasserman Schultz said. “No, Candy, Candy, that is not true at all,” Bachmann interjected to CNN host Candy Crowley (McCalmont, 5/11).Politico: Hagel: We Missed VA ProblemsAddressing the scandal plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the backlog is an issue that should have been looked at “years ago.” “I don’t think it just started with [Veterans Affairs Secretary] Gen. [Eric] Shinseki’s term at the VA,” Hagel said in an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz that aired Sunday on “This Week.” “This is something that should’ve been looked at years and years ago. So. yes, we missed it” (McCalmont, 5/11).USA Today: Veteran Reports Delay In Care At Fort Collins VA ClinicHenry P. Leweling’s chest hurt. He suffers from high cholesterol — and a family history of heart disease … That pain in August pushed the 68-year-old from Fort Collins, Colo., to drive to the Cheyenne, Wyo., Veterans Affairs Medical Center to receive treatment. Doctors saw him through urgent care and he was sent from Cheyenne to his primary care physician at the Fort Collins VA clinic. He remembers walking into Fort Collins, chest still aching, and telling staff he just came from Cheyenne with orders to see his doctor. He also remembers the staff’s response: “We can see you in three or four months” (Coltrain, 5/11).The Washington Post: Pain And Gain: An Alabama Clinic Stands Out Amid Data On Medicare PaymentsAfflicted by pain from spinal injuries, botched surgeries or rare nerve conditions, patients from Tennessee, Georgia and Florida have flocked across state lines to see K. Dean Willis, a tanned anesthesiologist with salt-and-pepper hair who says he is among the top 30 experts on the use of pain pumps. … Although some experts consider the implanted pain pump to be an unusual and controversial last resort of pain management, it has become a signature treatment at the Alabama Pain Center. … For the first time, newly released Medicare data has identified the costs associated with specific doctors performing procedures or administering drugs. The data allows for the identification of “hotspots” for particular treatments (Brittain, Fallis and Keating, 5/10). Los Angeles Times: California Bill Would Ease Professional Licensing Rule For ImmigrantsDenisse Rojas earned a biology degree from UC Berkeley and has set her sights on medical school. But one big obstacle stands in her way. To practice medicine in California, doctors must obtain a license from the state, and applicants are required to provide a Social Security number as proof of identity. Rojas, 25, does not have such a number. She is in the United States illegally, having been smuggled into the country from Mexico by her parents when she was 6 months old. But a group of legislators wants to help her — to do for doctors, dentists, nurses, barbers, security guards and many others what they did last year for attorneys: grant those in the country illegally permission to practice their occupations (McGreevy, 5/12).The Wall Street Journal: Los Angeles Plan Highlights Rift Over How To Treat Offenders With Mental-Health IssuesLocal-government officials, residents, civil-rights activists and mental-health experts around the country differ on how best to handle criminal offenders with addiction and mental-health problems. Some leaders argue in favor of treatment within corrections systems, for reasons of public safety and to fulfill constitutional mandates to care for incarcerated offenders. Others say nonviolent offenders like Mr. Dumont should be redirected into community-based treatment, through so-called diversion programs. Jail-based treatment, they argue, is more expensive, less effective in remedying inmates’ problems and, as Mr. Dumont notes, can encourage people to re-offend in hopes of getting help (Phillips, 5/9).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. First Edition: May 22, 2014 Today’s headlines include coverage of the Senate Finance Committee vote to recommend Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Kaiser Health News: The Politics Of Health In 2014 Aren’t What You ThinkKaiser Health News staff writer Julie Rovner reports: “Last year, the GOP playbook for keeping the U.S. House in 2014 and winning the Senate consisted of a fairly simple strategy: Run against Obamacare. But now that the 2014 races are starting to take shape, that strategy is looking not so simple after all. For example, at least a few Democrats are fighting back – using Republican opposition to the health law’s expansion of Medicaid as a part of their own campaigns. Indeed, Democratic senators in two states are trying to capitalize on Republican opposition to the health law’s expansion of Medicaid” (Rovner, 5/22). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Should Medicare Pay The Same No Matter Where The Patient Gets Care?That question was the focus of a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday, and it’s an important issue in the context of the debate over ending the Medicare SGR. Kaiser Health News’ Mary Agnes Carey and CQ HealthBeat’s John Reichard discuss the topic (5/21). Read the transcript or listen to the audio.Kaiser Health News: Some Colorado Doctors May Be Overcharging Medicare For Routine VisitsReporting for Kaiser Health News, in partnership with NPR and Colorado Public Radio, Eric Whitney writes: “Hundreds of Colorado doctors are charging Medicare far more than is typical for routine patient visits, according to a new database. The numbers could reveal fraud. But experts caution that the raw data alone could also make physicians who are doing nothing wrong look bad. Findings are based on an analysis of a database assembled by ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom. The data show payments made according to the system of codes for routine office visits doctors use to bill Medicare and insurance companies” (Whitney, 5/22). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Single-Payer Advocates Hit Capitol With New Sense Of Reality; Minnesota, Not Florida, Not Hawaii, Is Healthiest State For SeniorsNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Julie Rovner reports on the single-payer message on Capitol Hill: “Advocates for a single-payer “Medicare for all” health system are fanning out across Capitol Hill this week, lobbying members of Congress. But years of mostly fruitless struggles – and watching the intense opposition to the much less sweeping Affordable Care Act – appears to have left them with a much more clear-eyed view of what it will take for them to accomplish their goal” (Rovner, 5/21). Also on the blog, MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki reports on seniors’ good health in Minnesota: “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report rated Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for adults aged 65 and over — beating out Hawaii. And that retiree and snowbird haven, Florida? It came in 28th” (Stawicki, 5/22). Check out what else is on the blog.Los Angeles Times: Senate Panel Oks Sylvia Mathews Burwell As Health SecretaryA Senate panel Wednesday recommended approval of President Obama’s pick to oversee implementation of the Affordable Care Act, all but assuring Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s confirmation as the next secretary of Health and Human Services. Eight Republicans joined all 13 Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee in endorsing Burwell, who is expected to easily be confirmed when her nomination is considered by the full Senate, likely next month (Levey, 5/21).The Associated Press: Burwell Gets Committee Approval For Health PostBurwell, who has served as President Barack Obama’s budget chief, would replace outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who announced her departure last month just as the health law was recovering from the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov website to post stronger-than-predicted enrollment numbers. Despite expectations that Burwell’s confirmation hearings would become an election-year trial of “Obamacare,” there were no fireworks as she won support from senators of both parties (5/21).The Wall Street Journal: Senate Panel Votes To Confirm Burwell To Run HHSMs. Burwell, the current Office of Management and Budget director, was tapped by the Obama administration last month to succeed Kathleen Sebelius to lead HHS. The agency implements the Affordable Care Act and includes Medicare, Medicaid and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other health programs. Ms. Burwell secured the backing of all Democrats on the committee and most of its Republicans, including ranking member Orrin Hatch of Utah. The three members who opposed her were Republican senators Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Thune of South Dakota and John Cornyn of Texas (Radnofsky, 5/21).Politico: Sylvia Mathews Burwell Approved By Finance For HHS PostThe vote serves as the latest example of how easily Burwell’s nomination is sailing through the Senate despite her chief responsibility: running Obamacare (Haberkorn, 5/21).The New York Times: Prosecutors Investigating Grants For Health Site In OregonUnworkable technology pushed Oregon’s health care exchange to the brink, making it the first state to abandon its self-administered system in favor of the federal exchange. But now prosecutors are following the money. Grand jury subpoenas, issued last week by the United States attorney’s office in Portland and released on Tuesday by Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon, have demanded all records, including email correspondence and memos related to the application or receipt of federal funds that might have been used in developing, building or administering the state’s website (Johnson, 5/21).Los Angeles Times: U.S. Prosecutors Investigate Oregon’s Failed Health Insurance ExchangeFederal prosecutors and FBI agents requested an expansive list of documents from the Oregon Health Authority, a state agency, and Oregon’s state health insurance exchange, known as Cover Oregon. The investigation appears to be focused on the representations that Cover Oregon made about the status and functionality of its website to officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, the federal agency that parceled out the money to states to build exchanges under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Reston, 5/21).The Washington Post: Md. Health Insurance Exchange Board Violated Open Meetings Law, Compliance Panel SaysThe board that oversees Maryland’s troubled health insurance marketplace repeatedly violated a state law that requires such groups to fully explain their reasons for meeting behind closed doors, the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board concluded this week. The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board of Trustees failed to fully disclose and document its reasons for confidentiality, the compliance board wrote in an opinion released Tuesday (Johnson, 5/21).The Washington Post: Nevada Officials Will Dump Health-Care Vendor And Join The Federal ExchangeHHS will pay costs associated with transferring Nevada’s health exchange to the federal exchange. But the move will still cost Nevada millions of dollars as it merges the state’s Medicaid system with the federal government. The state estimates those costs could be as much as $20 million, though Nevada will only be responsible for 10 percent of total costs. The board also voted to issue a request for proposals for a more permanent replacement, one that could come from another state with better software (Wilson and Hicks, 5/21).The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: It’s Crunch Time For Obamacare’s Broken ExchangesThe states that tried and failed to run their own Obamacare health insurance marketplaces aren’t quite ready to call it quits. With the health-care law’s next open enrollment period just more than six months away, Nevada on Tuesday joined the ranks of Maryland, Oregon and Massachusetts as states that have ditched their faulty enrollment Web sites. Of the 14 states — plus the District — that chose to run their own Obamacare exchanges in 2014, these four have either decided to join HealthCare.gov or do enrollment through another system in 2015 (Millman, 5/21).Los Angeles Times: Only 2 in 5 L.A. Health Clinics Are Ready For Obamacare PatientsA May brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research examined approximately 40 clinics in the Los Angeles area to determine how prepared they were for an expected increase in new patients because of the Affordable Care Act, the national healthcare law that went into full effect this year. Historically used by low-income patients with few options, community health clinics have begun employing a variety of strategies to make themselves more attractive to patients with new insurance plans and choices (Karlamangla, 5/21).The New York Times: Conservatives Draft Manifesto To Help Republicans Attract Middle-Class VotersHoping to push their agenda ahead of the presidential election, a group of prominent conservatives has devised a 121-page policy manifesto aimed at giving the Republican Party a message that will attract some of the middle-class voters the party lost in recent White House races. The document, to be unveiled Thursday, features eight essays with proposals on issues including health care, taxes and education. The authors hope the book will help Republicans address the economic anxieties of Americans and nudge the party from its most polarizing positions and constant confrontations with President Obama (Martin, 5/21).The Associated Press: Ky. Democrat Mum On Question Of ‘Obamacare’ VoteDemocratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes on Wednesday twice refused to say whether she would have voted for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Asked two times whether she’d have voted for the 2010 overhaul, the Kentucky Democrat who is challenging Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told The Associated Press: “I, when we are in the United States Senate, will work to fix the Affordable Care Act” (5/21).Los Angeles Times: Study Sees Modest Costs In Healthcare For Immigrants Here IllegallyThe study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research estimates that the net increase in state spending would be equivalent to 2% of state Medi-Cal spending, or between $353 million and $369 million next year, while the net increase in spending would be up to $436 million in 2019 (McGreevy, 5/21).The Associated Press: Study: Care Costs Continue Slower Growth In 2014A typical American family of four will spend an average of $9,695 on health care this year, according to actuarial projections in the 2014 Milliman Medical Index, which was released Wednesday. That counts their contribution toward insurance premiums, payments at the doctor’s office or pharmacy and even bottles of aspirin purchased at the drugstore. That compares with $4,443 spent in 2004 and is up 6 percent from last year. Milliman actuaries make their projections for a family with preferred provider organization, or PPO, coverage through a big employer. That’s a common form of insurance that involves large networks of doctors and other care providers (5/21).The New York Times: History And Context Of An Embattled Department Of Veterans AffairsThe uproar over medical care for military veterans involves one of the nation’s biggest health care systems, a far-flung operation that treats 6.5 million people a year at 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics, with more than 18,000 doctors and an annual budget of more than $57 billion (Pear, 5/21).The Wall Street Journal: Obama Pushes Accountability At VAPresident Barack Obama took ownership of the burgeoning crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying Wednesday that he is ultimately responsible for any misconduct, a move that raises the stakes for the White House as calls accelerate for new leadership at the agency. Mr. Obama addressed the allegations of wrongdoing at VA hospitals for the first time since remarks three weeks ago in Asia. He said he expects VA Secretary Eric Shinseki next week to provide him with preliminary results of an inquiry into claims by VA employees that patients face excessive wait times for care and that secret bookkeeping was used to cover up the delays (Lee and Kesling, 5/21).Los Angeles Times: At Least For Now, Obama Stands By VA Secretary Eric ShinsekiAs the investigation into complaints that VA facilities have concealed long waits for healthcare widened Wednesday, President Obama vowed he would not tolerate misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs and stood by the agency’s chief — for now (Hennessey and Simon, 5/21).Politico: Anatomy Of A Veterans’ Affairs ScandalBut the tsunami of problems with the veterans’ health care that smashed into the White House had been building for years, growing larger and more menacing as it headed toward the Oval Office. The slow-burn story at the Phoenix VA went from a largely ignored congressional hearing and a local news report before it landed on CNN and then exploded in the national media and seized the White House — the latest reminder that it isn’t always the president who sets the agenda (Gold, 5/21).Politico: President Obama Defends Eric Shinseki, Demands VA AnswersSpeaking at the White House after an Oval Office meeting with Shinseki and deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, Obama said if allegations that as many as 40 veterans have died as a result of records being doctored, along with other charges of mismanagement, prove to be true, “it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful,” adding “I will not stand for it — as a commander in chief, but also as an American.” Asked repeatedly if the secretary has offered to resign — or whether he should — the president gave a roundabout statement of wavering confidence — but only after catching himself praising Shinseki’s work on veterans’ homelessness and the Post-9/11 Bill (Dovere, 5/22).The New York Times: With New Bill, Abortion Limits Spread In SouthThe Louisiana State Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill that could force three of the state’s five abortion clinics to close, echoing rules passed in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas and raising the possibility of drastically reduced access to abortion across a broad stretch of the South (Alford and Eckholm 5/21).Los Angeles Times: Counties Sue Narcotics Makers, Alleging ‘Campaign Of Deception’Two California counties sued five of the world’s largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation’s prescription drug epidemic by waging a “campaign of deception” aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin (Glover and Girion, 5/21). 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Sales of the new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi reached $3.5 billion in the second quarter, putting it on track to become one of the world’s best-selling medicines and intensifying concerns about its costs. Two advocacy groups and a Democratic lawmaker demanded that Medicare be able to negotiate with Gilead and other drugmakers to bring down such costs.The New York Times: Gilead Reports Strong Sales of Sovaldi, Putting It On Pace to Become A Blockbuster Sales of the new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi reached $3.5 billion in the second quarter, a huge figure that puts it on track to become one of the world’s best-selling medicines but could intensify concerns about society’s ability to pay for it. The sales, announced on Wednesday by Gilead Sciences, were an increase from the $2.3 billion in the first three months of the year, the first full quarter of sales since the drug’s approval in December (Pollack, 7/23).The Wall Street Journal: Hepatitis C Pill Rockets Gilead Into Big LeaguesFor decades, a liver disease that would slowly kill the infected person didn’t even have a name, let alone an effective medicine. Now, a new pill promising to cure most cases of the disease, eventually called hepatitis C, is believed to be the biggest new drug launch ever, catapulting maker Gilead Sciences Inc. 13% into the ranks of the top-selling pharmaceutical companies (Rockoff, 7/23).Bloomberg: Patient Cures Spur Demand For $1,000 Hepatitis C PillThe powerful new hepatitis C drug that sent Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)’s sales soaring last quarter is doing the same for the hopes of millions of patients. Sandra Cabrera and Ted Tabor both suffered devastating damage from hepatitis C. After just weeks of taking Gilead’s Sovaldi, they feel much better and tests suggest the lethal virus is disappearing from their blood (Bennett and Langreth, 7/24). Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Advocacy Groups Say Medicare Should Negotiate With DrugmakersExpensive new blockbuster drugs, such as a $1,000-a-pill hepatitis C treatment called Sovaldi, highlight the need to do something soon, the California Democrat said, backing recommendations made in a report released Wednesday by two advocacy groups, the Medicare Rights Center and Social Security Works (Appleby, 7/24). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. $1,000-A-Pill Hepatitis C Drug Boosts Gilead’s Fortunes
advertisement Email Comment Featured Stories Facebook Caisse, Sun Life backing new $75 million fintech venture capital fund Additional partners in Luge Capital include Desjardins Group, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ, and La Capitale, and the fund could be increased to $100 million June 11, 201812:02 AM EDTLast UpdatedJune 11, 201812:02 AM EDT Filed under News FP Street Join the conversation → Barbara Shecter Recommended For YouBeyond Meat’s forecast sends 2019’s IPO darling to new heightsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016The storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them through Share this storyCaisse, Sun Life backing new $75 million fintech venture capital fund Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn 0 Comments A new $75 million venture capital fund is being launched to develop early-stage fintech companies and artificial intelligence applications for financial services with the backing of large financial institutions including the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Sun Life Financial.Additional partners in Luge Capital include Desjardins Group, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ, and La Capitale, and the fund could be increased to as much as $100 million in the coming months.Luge Capital, named for the winter sport that involves hurtling down an icy course at high speed, will concentrate on seed and Series A financing. Initial investments will be between $250,000 and $2 million.“The fund will support the development of innovative solutions that improve customer experiences, enhance efficiency for financial institutions, and implement data-driven methods and artificial intelligence for decision-making,” the partners said in a statement Monday.Luge is expected to tap its financial backers for more than just money in the development their products and services.“Our AI and data-driven companies will have the opportunity to partner with our investors to access key insights in order to build best-of-breed solutions,” said David Nault, co-founder and general partner in Luge’s Montreal office.Nault, who has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial and investing experience, will lead the Montreal office. Karim Gillani, who has extensive experience in fintech, will run an office based in Toronto.“We are looking for young mission-driven companies that challenge how the world interacts with financial services,” Gillani said.The initial $50 million of capital was raised and announced by the Caisse and Desjardins last October.“There is a booming startup ecosystem in this sector,” said Guy Cormier, chief executive of Desjardins, adding that the financial institution “wants to support and help develop this incredibly exciting industry.”The backers of Luge are not the first traditional financial services firms to back a venture fund dedicated to developing the financial technology-backed products and services that are disrupting the industry.The Desmarais family behind Montreal-based Power Corp. launched Diagram last year with 50 individual “angel” investors to fund entrepreneur-driven fintech startups. The fund raised an initial $25-million, with a substantial tranche coming from the family’s investment vehicle Portag3, which has been instrumental in the funding of robo-advisor Wealthsimple since 2015.Other investments were made in online lender Borrowell, and Koho, a mobile payments and banking startup.The increasing number of partnerships and funding arrangements suggest fintechs pose less of a threat to the healthy margins of traditional financial institutions than they were assumed to in their earliest days.Recent research suggests that disruption of business models and customer loyalty may come instead from “platform” players such as Google and Amazon.Last October, global consultant McKinsey & Company said 73 per cent of U.S. millennials would be more excited by a new financial services product or service from Google, Amazon, Paypal, or Square than from their bank. One in three said they believed they would not need a bank at all. Twitter The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Sun Life Financial are backing a venture capital fund to develop artificial intelligence applications for financial services.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press More Reddit Sponsored By: What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation ← Previous Next →
The physics of how Tesla achieved best safety of any cars ever tested. Note, when vehicle weight is taken into account, order is more like X,S, then 3, but they are all very close. https://t.co/hQz0hnElp2— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 8, 2018 Model 3 may have ranked as the safest, but it’s better to be in a Model X.Tesla Model 3 has the lowest overall probability of injury for any car ever tested by NHTSA, ahead of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X. However, having five stars in every category doesn’t really tell the whole story.Elon Musk noted in one of his most recent tweets that we need to take the weight of the vehicle into account to be able to truly find the safest cars in the case of crashes.The higher weight likely changes the ultimate ranking of the lowest probability of injury, so the Model X checks in slightly better than the Model S and Model 3 is third (but “they are all very close”), says Musk.See More Model 3 Crash Details The reason for that is because a vehicle that weighs more has higher potential energy than lighter vehicle at a similar speed and the difference will impact the lighter car. Just simple physics…really. Here is an example of an elastic collision that of course doesn’t apply to non-elastic cars, but be aware that your chances of walking away without injury go down as the weight of the vehicle you collide with goes up.Elastic collision of unequal masses (Source: Wikipedia) Tesla Model 3 Gets 5-Star Safety Rating From NHTSA Watch These NHTSA Tesla Model 3 Crash Test Videos Model 3 has the lowest overall probability of injury for any car ever tested by @nhtsagov. Model S is #2. Model X is #3. There is no safer car in the world than a Tesla— Tesla (@Tesla) October 8, 2018 Watch Slo-Mo Video Of Tesla Model 3 Crash Test: Plus Bolt Comparison Model 3 achieves the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by NHTSA Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 11, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News
Source: Electric Vehicle News The event, which has what FE describes as a “multi-year agreement” in an official statement, will be a double header that will take place on July 25-26, 2020.The 2.4km track will begin on starting grid based inside the ExCeL building and then take in 23 corners running in a clockwise direction across the waterfront of the Royal Docks.More Formula E News Mercedes-Benz Reveals Formula E Concept Livery ABB FIA Formula E will return to London with a new race based at the ExCeL exhibition centre in the city’s docklands to conclude the 2019/20 season. Double Fanboost Formula E Mexico Penalty Explained It will be FE’s second circuit in London after the electric championship used the Battersea Park track to conclude its first and second seasons before agreeing not return after the 2015/16 event despite having an arrangement in place for further races, in the face of opposition from local residents.“I’m extremely excited to be bringing the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and electric racing back to the UK,” said FE CEO Alejandro Agag.“Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London – this has been our desire for quite some time now and we’re delighted to have found a new home in the Royal Docks at ExCeL London.“We have a growing base of knowledgeable and passionate fans in the UK, and this race adds to a fantastic summer of sport as a world-class event we hope Londoners can be proud of.“Formula E coming back to the UK extends beyond pure racing excitement, it’s also a strong message for London to tackle inner-city air pollution by promoting clean technologies and electric sustainable mobility.”The ExCeL track layout and the event date remains subject to FIA homologation and the approval of the governing body’s World Motor Sport Council.ExCeL London CEO Jeremy Rees said: “It’s an honour to welcome the world’s first ever indoor and outdoor race to ExCeL London and the Royal Docks.“Events at ExCeL are thriving and London provides the perfect backdrop to host global entertainment brands, such as Formula E.“We look forward to working closely with Formula E to showcase the versatility of our venue, creating a truly unique experience for teams, drivers and spectators.“Hosting this event, is also closely aligned with our vision to create a more sustainable venue, in the heart of one of the most exciting destinations and best connected cities in the world.”The confirmation of FE’s return to London follows Agag claiming he and David Richards, chairman of the UK’s governing body, Motorsport UK, had a “little plan” to bring the event back to Britain at the 2018 Autosport Awards.As the news was announced, Richards said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the return of Formula E to London.“This innovative race series will be welcomed by fans throughout the country.”The announcement comes ahead of FE’s return to UK terrestrial TV on a one-off basis for this weekend’s race in Hong Kong, which will be screened on BBC2. Formula E RC Cars Battle On The Streets For Our Hearts: Video Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 8, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News