Story TimelineGalaxy S9 pre-release leaks: fixing these S8 mistakesSamsung’s Galaxy S9 chips are ready, but there’s a huge questionQualcomm Snapdragon 845 revealed in Microsoft job listing As usual, Qualcomm has a shopping list of technologies it wants to put at the heart of the new Snapdragon. For 2018, that means the camera, augmented and virtual reality, the growing role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), “vault-like” security, broader adoption of “the wireless fiber experience,” and longer lasting battery life. There’s the usual promise of ubiquitous high-speed downloads, too. Alex Katouzian, VP and General Manager, Mobile at Qualcomm suggests users of Snapdragon 845 devices will be able to grab a 3 GB HD movie from the cloud to their phone in about three minutes, courtesy of Gigabit LTE. While longer battery life is on the cards, Qualcomm is also pushing faster recharging too, building on its Quick Charge technology.2018 looks set to be a big year for Snapdragon. Along with the new Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm is also looking to Windows 10 on Snapdragon to open up new markets in tablets, 2-in-1s, and ultrabooks. Earlier today, both ASUS and HP unveiled devices running Windows 10 on the Snapdragon 835, with the promise of 20+ hour battery life and always-on 4G LTE connectivity. It looks likely that, eventually, that platform will transition to adopt the Snapdragon 845, too. As with previous Snapdragon chipsets, the Snapdragon 845 will be manufactured on Samsung Foundry’s lines. It’ll be produced with 10nm processes. The same facilities are also expected to be producing Samsung’s own new Exynos chipsets. That’s important, because Samsung is not only manufacturing the Snapdragon 845 for Qualcomm, but is also likely to be one of its biggest customers. The expectation is that the Samsung Galaxy S9 – which could be previewed as early as CES 2018 – will use the new chipset in at least some locations. If the pattern is anything like what we’ve seen with the Galaxy S8, for instance, the Galaxy S9 in the US will likely use the Snapdragon 845, while international versions will use Samsung’s own silicon. Samsung won’t be the only one, mind. Lei Jun, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Xiaomi confirmed at the Snapdragon Summit today that the phone-maker is also looking at building a new, flagship handset based on the Snapdragon 845. There are still plenty of big questions, of course. Qualcomm is yet to announce final specifications for the Snapdragon 845, beyond its broad-stroke goals. We’ll find that out later this week. Qualcomm has officially unveiled the Snapdragon 845, its latest mobile chipset. Set to appear in smartphones, tablets, and more come 2018, the new mobile platform will be at the heart of new AR and VR experiences, as well as promising Gigabit LTE connectivity and better power management.
While Google also has its fingers in the online shopping cookie jar, it has never really measured up to Amazon in that market. That’s partly because, unlike Amazon, Google really doesn’t have a retail business. Instead, it is getting others to do dirty work, so to speak.The Shopping Actions program is no different, but this time Google is going to take an even bigger cut. The way it works is perhaps genius in its simplicity. Search for an item you want to buy and buy it right then and there from the search results. No more going to Amazon. That is, if you don’t want to.Your order gets saved to a shopping card linked to your account. That makes it easy to pile up the orders even before you check them out for the actual purchase. Shopping Actions will work on Google Search, Google Express, and, probably best of all, Google Assistant. That is a clear challenge to Amazon, whose Echo was primarily intended to be a voice-controlled shopping assistant.AdChoices广告But who will actually provide the products? Google is working with Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, and Ulta Beauty, among others. Basically, retailers who are feeling the pressure from Amazon’s growing empire. It won’t come cheap, at least not for them. They will have to pay Google a percentage for every purchase made via Shopping Actions. Which is still a different percentage that Google gets from ads.This promise of shopping convenience is probably going to run afoul of regulators eventually. Google has already battled, and sometimes lost, cases at home and abroad over shopping search results. And that was when it wasn’t directly offering a way to buy items without leaving those search results and when it wasn’t directly profiting from those. Google might be the go-to for people looking to make a purchase, especially an online one, but a lot of the times it ends at search results. More often than not, those search results lead to a purchase on Amazon, and Google is none too happy about that. Now it is starting a program called Shopping Actions to let searcher become instant buyers without having to leave Google. And it is getting Amazon’s rivals to help set it up.
Up until now, Family Link has only been compatible with accounts for users under 13 years of age. It allows parents to handle Google account creation for kids, but with teens, Family Link works a bit differently. It sounds like parents will only be able to link their teen’s existing Google account, and Google suggests in a blog post today that consent and mutual agreements between parent and child will be at the heart of this new functionality.For instance, teenagers will be able to turn off supervision of their accounts whenever they like. They can’t use that to suddenly go rogue, however, as Google will alert parents that supervision has been turned off. “Ultimately,” Google writes, “it’s up to each individual family to have a conversation and decide what’s right for them.”Google also announced that Family Link is now available on Chromebooks for both kids and teenagers. It apparently functions the same way as Family Link for Android, as it allows parents to implement website restrictions and change account settings. At some point in the near future, parents will also have the ability to manage apps and set screen time limits on their child’s Chromebook.AdChoices广告Google says the functionality that allows parents to monitor their teen’s account will go live sometime this week. We don’t have a specific date for the roll out of features like screen time limits and app management on Chromebooks, but Google’s post suggests it’ll be arriving shortly. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for more, and in the meantime, head down to the comments section and let us know what you think of these new features. Last year, Google launched a new app called Family Link for Parents. This app introduced a number of parental controls for parents of children using Android devices, allowing them to see things like their child’s device activity, manage in-app purchases, and set limits on screen time. Today, Family Link is getting a rather interesting expansion, as Google says that parents will soon be able to use it to monitor their teens’ devices as well. Story TimelineGoogle’s new Family Link app invites live (APK download)Google Family Link now open to all parents in the US
Android Auto has been around in the US for a long time now so it is easy to forget that the automotive OS isn’t available all around the world just yet. Google has announced that Android Auto is now available in 18 more countries around the world. That means that drivers in these countries can get control over compatible apps on their phone from the car infotainment system. Story TimelineHonda pushes CarPlay and Android Auto in 2016 CivicGoogle refutes claim Android Auto collects car dataFord SYNC now boasts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, remote controlsApple CarPlay, Android Auto coming to Fiat Chrysler vehicles too The 18 new countries that now support Android Auto include Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The addition of these 18 new locations marks the largest international rollout of Android Auto since it launched. It’s worth noting that just because Android Auto is available in these countries doesn’t mean all cars will support it.The automakers have to decide to support Android Auto for any of this to make a difference. Many of the major global automakers are supporting Android Auto in some of their cars. Earlier this year we learned that Fiat and Chrysler vehicles would support Android Auto. All cars fitted with Ford Sync will support Android Auto and rival Apple CarPlay.Porsche pushed Android Auto to the side and only supports CarPlay in the new 911. Honda has support for Android Auto in its new Civic and VW cars with support for Android Auto are in dealerships right now. The new Android Auto rollout puts the car OS available in the three fastest growing car markets in the world, Brazil, India, and Russia. Android Auto first launched in 2014. Presumably, the cars available in the US and other existing Android Auto markets will be offered with support in these 18 new locations as well.SOURCE: Techcrunch
The model that’s appeared in Antutu testing today is the SM-G975F, Samsung model “beyond2”, otherwise known as Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The Galaxy S10 is codenamed “beyond”, and both devices seem to have very similar specifications in rumors thus far. This larger model seems to have a larger display than its closest brethren, and probably has a slightly different set of cameras – but we’ve not yet seen those as such.SEE TOO: How the Exynos 9820 will make the Galaxy S10 excellentThe Galaxy S10 Plus shown in Antutu benchmarks this morning show it running with a Samsung Exynos 9820 processor. It’ll be released in several iterations, one of which sports 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage space. This device’s ability to beat up the benchmarks is fairly on-track for a yearly upgrade, coming to Antutu with its unrefined total score of 325,076. When the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 was first appearing on Antutu, scores hovered around 250k. Once devices began to be released and drivers were updated, the chip scored above 290k. Once Samsung refines their own processor power here, we’ll likely see the Galaxy S10 Plus reaching above 350k. But of course all mobile benchmarks tell us very little about the end product – so who cares?For more information on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus – and the S10 Lite – head to the timeline below. This is set to be the biggest release from Samsung since the dawn of the Galaxy S line, with three devices coming all at once. Later in the Spring, then, we’ll see the foldable Galaxy phone too – can’t wait! A set of details leaked today showing the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. This device and its name are not officially revealed by Samsung just yet – but their details are right on the verge of appearing in rendered format. This is right around the time we usually start to see a Samsung Galaxy S phone appear in CAD drawings – and it’s right on schedule for an engineering machine to hit the benchmarks. Story TimelineGalaxy S10 patent images confirm edge-to-edge, notch-less displayGalaxy S10 leaks: colors, flat display, fingerprint scannerGalaxy S10’s 4th model leaked: It’s a BIG oneGalaxy S10 pre-release glass tells tale of two new phones
As Tesla has shown us, electric cars are quite capable of embarrassing their gas-powered rivals, but a new record-breaking racer developed by a student team demonstrates just how potent the electron is. Handiwork of a Swiss team of students, Academic Motorsports club Zurich (AMZ), the race car may look small but it’s not short on power or indeed speed. In fact, it shot from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.513 seconds, setting a Guinness world record in the process. You can watch it in the following video, but try not to blink because you’ll miss most of the attempt if you do. The racer itself, which has been named Grimsel, has four motors, one for each of the wheels. While there’s only 200 HP in all, the more important number is torque: that’s more than a frankly ridiculous 1,250 lb-ft.As for the wheels themselves, they’re made from carbon fiber to help keep curb weight down, and they’re joined by oversized wings to ensure there’s enough downforce to keep Grimsel on the track rather than taking off like a tiny, electric plane. It’s an important consideration, because the racer only weighs 370 pounds. Like the Model S, Leaf, or e-Golf that might be on your drive, AMZ uses regenerative braking to pump some of the otherwise wasted energy produced by slowing back into the batteries, and the car is capable of translating as much as 30-percent of that power into charge. Four independently powered wheels means there’s the potential for some very interesting power distribution, and sure enough the AMZ team uses a clever torque vectoring system. Similar to the approach we’ll see Acura use on its quad-motor NSX concept headed to Pikes Peak this weekend – and, indeed, the Honda concept that proceeded it, and which we tried out ourselves last year in Japan – different levels of power can be pushed to each corner of the car depending on which has most grip.There’s also all-important traction control to make sure as much of that 1,250 lb-ft. of torque makes it to the asphalt as possible.As for what’s next for the AMZ team – which is made up of students from Swiss universities ETH Zurich and Hochschule Luzern – that’s not clear, but it’s entirely possible that the work done on traction and motor control could be essential in helping future electric vehicles make the most of their power. MORE AMZ
Story TimelineiOS 12.1 update arrives today with Group FaceTimeiOS 12.1.1 fixes FaceTime’s biggest frustrationFaceTime bug lets callers spy on recipients’ audio before they answer [UPDATE] Earlier this week, the world was alerted to a supremely bad FaceTime bug that let callers hear audio from the recipient’s end before they answered the call. Obviously, that’s a major security concern, but it gets worse, as the bug also allowed callers to see video from the recipient’s front-facing camera in some instances, even when the recipient never joined the call. The same day news about the bug broke, Apple disabled Group FaceTime and said that it was working on a fix. Today, the company delivered another statement on the issue, saying that the fix has been implemented and Group FaceTime will be re-enabled at some point next week. It also apologized for the issue and detailed its response to the bug report.“We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple’s servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week,” Apple said in its statement, which was shared by Rene Ritchie on Twitter. “We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.”Apple goes on to say that work began on a fix “as soon as our engineering team became aware of the details necessary to reproduce the bug.” Now that the bug is fixed, the company says that it will improve the process it uses for receiving and escalating bug reports, with the end goal clearly being to reduce the time between the initial report and the roll out of a fix. “We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us,” Apple said in closing. That part about improving its bug reporting and escalating process is important, because earlier reports indicated that the Thompson family tried to alert Apple to the bug as early as January 21 and were frustrated by the fact that it’s difficult for regular end users to submit a bug report. We’ll be keeping an eye out for more information on Group FaceTime’s hopefully bug-free return, so stay tuned for more.
Motorola started the year by launching the mid-range Moto G7 series. Between then and now, the brand’s remaining fans have been awaiting its next big thing, be it the Moto Z4 or the next-gen Motorola One series. Sadly, it seems neither of those will be coming just yet. Instead, what may come first isn’t Motorola’s 2019 flagship but yet another entry-level Android phone from the Moto E family, the Moto E6, codenamed “surfna”. That’s not to downplay the importance of having affordable Android phones, of course. Providing choices for every tier and every budget ensures that the Moto brand remains relevant in those markets. That said, prolonging the anticipation for a higher-end model does raise questions about the company’s ability or intention to compete at that level.The Moto E6 specs leaked by Mishaal Rahman is perhaps not exactly that exciting. It’ll be running on a Snapdragon 430 with 2 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage. There’s only one camera, a 13 megapixel f/2.0 sensor, on the back and a 5 megapixel selfie shooter on the front. The 5.45-inch screen will have a 1440×720 pixel resolution, though Rahman notes it might not be accurate.Perhaps the more important tidbit is that this Moto E6 will supposedly launch on US carriers, which makes it available for more consumers. It’ll thankfully be running Android 9 Pie out of the box though Motorola has sadly become as notorious as Samsung and LG when it comes to updates.With the Moto G7 and this upcoming Moto E6, Motorola may be shifting its focus towards the mid-range market. Indeed, even the Motorola Z and Motorola One series can hardly be considered “flagship material”. There is no word yet on when the Moto E6 will actually launch but it doesn’t like Motorola is in any rush to put out anything soon.
Nobody can quite agree on what the Tesla Model Y is. Last night, at the grand unveiling of what’s set to be the fourth car in the automaker’s electric line-up, Tesla CEO Elon Musk referred to the Model Y as a “midsize SUV”; others, meanwhile, have argued that it’s actually a compact SUV. One of the headline figures for the Model Y is its 0.23 Cd. That’s actually lower than the Model S’ 0.24, and matches the Model 3 on which the new crossover is based. It’s key, Tesla says, to the Model Y achieving its range figures, which clock in at as much as 300 miles on a charge from the Long Range model, or 230 miles – still impressive – from the Standard Range version which will follow on in 2021.Problem is, cars that are slippery through the air don’t tend to have the same aesthetic cues as traditional SUVs: the former are curvy, the latter squared-off and bulky. Tesla had to make a decision, and it opted for engineering.Subtle, but subtle enoughTrue electric off-roaders are a niche of their own. Rivian is working on an all-electric pickup truck, for example, while Bollinger is going even further, with its Defender-inspired EV. They’ll undoubtedly find buyers, but they’re also probably too limited in their audience to deliver the sort of sales that Tesla needs the Model Y to achieve. Even when the Tesla pickup arrives, it may well focus more on consumer-friendly features than a vision of off-road ruggedness inspired by decades of internal-combustion trucks. MORE Tesla Model Y first ridePlenty has been made of the fact that Tesla is tackling a huge potential market with the Model Y. Crossovers and small SUVs are big business right now, and Elon Musk & Co. are fully aware that the demand for a more affordable car than the Model X – but with similar SUV-esque styling cues – is considerable. The question, then, is whether the Model Y is sufficiently crossover in its design to win over those buyers. I suspect the answer is yes. Though purists may argue that the new EV doesn’t exactly fit whatever official definition holds sway that day, the reality is that consumers have different priorities. The Model Y is a crossover because Tesla says it is, and because – side by side with the Model 3 – it’s bigger. The differences may be relatively subtle in comparison to what some automakers are doing, but not so much so that they dissuade too many sales. Then there’s the “crossover” name, which first became truly popular with the launch of the Toyota RAV4 back in 1996. Being a crossover isn’t so much a matter of size, just to muddy the definition waters a little more. Instead, it’s about having the styling cues of an SUV, but being based on a passenger car platform underneath. That, certainly, goes some way to describe the Model Y. After all, it’s clearly related to the Model 3, which is Tesla’s compact premium passenger car. The lingering question, though, is whether the Model Y is crossover enough.Expectations versus realityWhat Tesla calls an SUV is not necessarily what everybody else refers to that way. The Model X – revealed in prototype form back in 2012, and in production from 2015 – is referred to by the company as an SUV. However there have been long-standing arguments that it’s a misnomer. The Model X, so some would insist, is more like a smoothed-over minivan. The curvaceous body – as much a magnification of the Model S sedan, as the Model Y is an enlargement of the Model 3 – has borrowed the SUV nomenclature, critics say, simply because SUVs sell better than minivans do. A minivan is the old-fashioned car you remember your parents taking you to school in. An SUV, however, is the dynamic promise of an active lifestyle (even if the furthest you go off-road is over the curb in the Costco parking lot). Expectations from the Model Y were, therefore, fairly low in terms of just how SUV-inspired its design might be. Sure enough, it looks a lot closer to the Model 3 we’re used to seeing now than some might have hoped for. It’s taller, and it has more cargo space, and even the option of seven seats instead of the usual five, but is it an “SUV”?When aero is your kingElon Musk made clear Tesla’s priorities at the Model Y reveal: aerodynamics are important. When you’re making an electric car, you don’t want to compete with air resistance. That demands a slippery body, particularly when you’re dealing with a larger vehicle like the Model X or Model Y. The metric there is “Cd” or coefficient of drag. In short, it’s the measure of drag resistance of an object in a fluid environment, like air. Vehicles with a low Cd allow air to flow more smoothly across them: they require less energy to move forward than a blockier car or truck. Story TimelineThe Tesla Model Y is Elon Musk’s biggest challenge yetElon Musk made a risky Tesla Model Y prediction
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Mass. Lawmakers Unveil Bill To Cut Health Costs Legislature expected to vote on compromise today.The Wall Street Journal: Massachusetts Set For Health-Care VoteMassachusetts lawmakers are expected to vote Tuesday on long-awaited legislation to rein in health care costs. The effort, which would put the state again at the forefront of health policy, will be watched by other states looking to control spiraling costs. After months of debate, House and Senate leaders filed a bipartisan compromise bill of more than 350 pages Monday night that would seek to contain health-care costs by setting a target at which overall state health spending should rise (Levitz, 7/30).Kaiser Health News: Mass. Aims To Set First-In-Nation Health Care Spending Target Massachusetts leads the nation once again, this time with Phase II of health reform. A 350-page bill expected to be voted on Tuesday sets the first statewide target for health care spending in the U.S. Massachusetts would aim to hold health care cost increases to same rate as the state’s economy through 2017. Specifically, health care costs could not rise faster than the Gross State Product from 2013 to 2017 (Bebinger, 7/30).Boston Globe: Bill Aims To Curb Health Spending In Massachusetts Supporters believe the bill will help moderate increases in insurance premiums for consumers and businesses. While the measure does not spell out specific cuts, health providers are expected to expand efforts already underway to slow the proliferation of some medical procedures, better coordinate care to keep patients healthier and out of the hospital, and steer patients to lower-cost caregivers. Providers and insurers that do not meet the spending targets would have to submit “performance improvement plans” to a new state commission. Failure to implement their plans could lead to a fine of up to $500,000 (Kowalczyk, 7/31).
News outlets report on federal funds awarded to 11 states to develop these marketplaces. The Hill: HHS Announces $1.5B For State ExchangesThe federal health department announced $1.5 billion in new grants Thursday for states to continue building their insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont received funding — either one-or multi-year awards based on their progress in creating the marketplaces (Viebeck, 1/17).Los Angeles Times: State’s Health Exchange Gets $674-Million Federal GrantFederal officials awarded California’s new health insurance exchange a $674-million grant, providing money for a crucial marketing campaign aimed at millions of uninsured consumers (Terhune, 1/18).The Associated Press: California Awarded $674M To Build Health ExchangeCalifornia has been awarded a $674 million federal grant to continue developing and building an online insurance marketplace under the federal health care reform law, state officials announced Thursday. The state is receiving substantial support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the effort to aid millions of uninsured Californians, said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state entity in charge of the exchange (1/17).Sacramento Bee: Latest Grant Helps California Health Exchange Plan Move ForwardBolstered by a federal grant of $674 million on Thursday, Covered California outlined an agenda to keep the state health exchange on pace for a full-scale launch on Jan. 1, 2014. California’s nascent health-insurance shopping site faces a complex and expensive ramp-up process as it seeks to sign up customers from throughout the state’s diverse communities. Officials Thursday laid out an action plan for outreach that includes signing up translators fluent in the 13 languages common in the Golden State. Because California’s land mass is so huge, Covered California expects to develop seven geographical exchanges reflecting different markets in Sacramento, Northern California, the Greater Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California (Craft, 1/18). California Healthline: Covered California Lands $674 Million Federal GrantYesterday federal officials awarded $674 million to the California exchange, a Level 2 establishment grant that funds the set-up of the exchange through the end of 2014. It was slightly short of the $706 million originally requested for the grant, but Lee was not about to quibble. “The feds reduced 2014 potential payment for outreach and enrollment by about $30 million,” Lee said. “But we think we have enough resources on hand to do the biggest outreach that I’ve ever seen.” State HHS Secretary Diana Dooley pointed out that the extensive planning for the exchange was accomplished in a relatively brief time frame, as the exchange board was only formed in April 2011 (Gorn, 1/18).Pioneer Press: Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Receives $39MThe federal government has awarded a $39 million grant to fund more work on Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, according to a Thursday, Jan. 17, statement from state officials. The latest award means the federal government has granted the state $110 million to develop the exchange, which is intended to be an online marketplace for individuals and small employers to buy coverage starting later this year (Snowbeck, 1/17).WBUR: Mass. Gets $81M Federal Grant To Develop Insurance ExchangeThe federal government announced Thursday that Massachusetts is receiving an $81.2 million grant to help its Connector Authority comply by 2014 with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and further develop its health insurance exchange. According to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the grant will “support the development and operation of a Massachusetts-specific risk adjustment program that will ensure stability in the state’s merged market and will provide funding to develop and execute a robust outreach and education campaign” to inform residents about benefits available through the ACA and the Connector (Norton, 1/17).Oregonian: Oregon Receives $226 Million Federal Grant To Set Up Health Insurance Exchange ProgramOregon received a $226 million federal grant Thursday to set up the state’s health insurance exchange program over the next two years. The money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will go toward building the online marketplace for health coverage. By 2014, individuals and small businesses will be able to use it to shop for coverage and tap federal tax credits and other assistance if they’re eligible. Officials plan to use the money to build a customer service center and to develop, test and train people to use the web-based program, among other uses, said Lisa Morawski, spokeswoman for Cover Oregon. Cover Oregon is the public corporation set up in 2011 to operate the exchange (Zheng, 1/17). In other exchange news – MPR News: Health Exchange Bill Passes First Senate CommitteeA bill to create a key part of the federal health care law in Minnesota sailed through its first committee Wednesday on a party line vote. The state Senate Local Government committee passed a bill to create an insurance exchange. It’s expected that one in five Minnesotans will use the online gateway to comparison shop for health care policies and enroll in Medicaid beginning in October. Two similar exchange bills failed to pass in previous sessions when Republicans were in control. Burnsville Republican, state Sen. Dan Hall called for delay. “It takes some time to digest it. I think it takes time to look at it,” Hall said. “I see the stakeholders that are really in conflict with it. And I wonder if we just need to just wait on this thing, table it” (Stawicki, 1/17). MinnPost: Minnesota Health-Exchange Bill Clears First Of Many Committtee StopsThe Minnesota health insurance exchange’s sprint through the Legislature got off to a good start Wednesday, clearing its first Senate committee. The exchange legislation, with a late-March deadline, likely faces a dozen similar legislative hearings and hours of floor debate (Nord, 1/17). Also regarding the health law’s implementation –The Washington Post: New Regulations Shed Light On Looming Health-Care Reform Costs For BusinessesThe ramifications of health care reform for business owners are coming into focus as regulators float new rules to govern employer-sponsored coverage. Lost in the political fervor over the fiscal cliff, the Internal Revenue Service recently proposed new regulations to govern what has been dubbed the “employer mandate” section of the Affordable Care Act. The provision, which takes effect next year, requires companies with 50 or more employees to either provide adequate and affordable coverage to their workers or pay tax penalties (Harrison, 1/17).The Hill: Hospitals Push White House To Back Change In Health Care LawA coalition of 21 hospital associations is asking the White House to help fight a provision of President Obama’s healthcare law that they say will cost them billions of dollars. Hospital associations from 20 states sent a letter to Obama this week arguing that a change to his healthcare law ought to be included in the next White House budget proposal (Baker, 1/17). Federal Gov’t. Awards Health Exchange Grants To Some States 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 status reports on the health exchanges in Nevada and Oregon. Kaiser Health News: Medicare May Be Overpaying Hospitals For Short-Stay PatientsReporting for Kaiser Health News, Susan Jaffe writes: “The federal government may be overpaying hospitals an estimated $5 billion as a result of the 18-month moratorium on enforcing a controversial rule that tells hospitals when patients should be admitted, an independent Medicare auditing company told a congressional panel Tuesday” (Jaffe, 5/29). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: California Doctors Among Those Charging Medicare The Most For Office VisitsReporting for Kaiser Health News, Lisa Aliferis, April Dembosky and Lisa Pickoff-White write: “When people think of seeing a doctor, generally the first thing that comes to mind is an office visit. But not all visits are the same. Frequently, patients have minor problems, which can be dispensed with quickly. Other problems are much more complex and require more of a doctor’s time and expertise. Not surprisingly, doctors get paid more for these more complex visits. Office visits for established patients are billed across five levels” (Aliferis, Dembosky and Pickoff-White, 5/21). Read the story.Los Angeles Times: Federal Funds Earmarked To Offset Affordable Care Act Insurer LossesThe Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money. The move was buried in hundreds of pages of new regulations issued late last week. It comes as part of an intensive administration effort to hold down premium increases for next year, a top priority for the White House as the rates will be announced ahead of this fall’s congressional elections (Levey, 5/21).The Wall Street Journal: ER Visits Rise Despite LawEarly evidence suggests that emergency rooms have become busier since the Affordable Care Act expanded insurance coverage this year, despite the law’s goal of reducing unnecessary care in ERs. Almost half of ER doctors say they are seeing more patients since key provisions of the health law took effect Jan. 1, while more than a quarter say their patient volume has remained the same, according to a survey to be released Wednesday by the American College of Emergency Physicians (Armour and Radnofsky, 5/21).The New York Times: Health Site Under Fire, Nevada Alters PathThe board of Nevada’s problem-plagued online health insurance exchange voted Tuesday to end its contract with the vendor in charge of building it and to rely on the federal enrollment system for at least a year. The board voted unanimously to sever ties with the vendor, Xerox, which had a $72 million contract to build the Nevada exchange and has been paid $12 million to date. The exchange has been riddled with problems, including billing and enrollment errors that led to a class-action lawsuit by 200 customers who said they paid for exchange plans but still have no coverage (Goodnough, 5/20).The Wall Street Journal: Nevada Scraps Xerox For Health SiteNevada’s health-care exchange board voted Tuesday to cut ties with Xerox Corp. , which helped build the state’s troubled insurance website, and instead use the federal government’s technology for the next insurance enrollment season. A spokesman for the exchange, known as Nevada Health Link, said lawyers were examining provisions in the state’s $75 million, five-year contract with Xerox to allow it to terminate it early. The state has paid Xerox around $12 million for work that had been completed to its satisfaction, said C.J. Bawden, the spokesman (Radnofsky, 5/20).Politico: Nevada Latest State To Scrap Its Obamacare ExchangeNevada has become the latest state to scrap its crippled Obamacare exchange and join the federal HealthCare.gov for at least a year. The Silver State, which had seemed to start strong last October before smashing into a wall of technical problems, is the only state with a Republican governor that ran its own health insurance exchange in 2014. Gov. Brian Sandoval had argued that it was important for his state to steer its own exchange, even though he opposed Obamacare (Cheney, 5/20).The Associated Press: US Subpoenas Oregon Insurance Website DocumentsFederal prosecutors have subpoenaed state records for a grand jury investigation of the troubled Cover Oregon health insurance website, the governor’s office said Tuesday (5/20).The Wall Street Journal: GOP Sees Primaries Taming The Tea PartyMr. Boehner, asked Tuesday whether he believed the tea party’s influence was waning, didn’t seem tempted to gloat. Instead, he argued that the conflict between the tea party and GOP leaders had been overblown. “The tea party has brought great energy to our political process,” he said. There isn’t “that big a difference between what you all call the tea party and your average conservative Republican: We’re against Obamacare; we think taxes are too high; we think the government’s too big” (Hook and O’Connor, 5/21).Los Angeles Times: GOP Vs. GOP: Key Primary Races In Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho and OregonTuesday marks the biggest day of primary elections so far this year, with voters in six states casting ballots in state and congressional elections that will offer another test of Republican establishment efforts to curtail the influence of outside tea-party-inspired groups. Here are some key races where Tuesday’s outcome will help shape the midterm battle for Congress this fall (Memoli and Mascaro, 5/20).Los Angeles Times: $10-Million Ad Campaign Joins ‘Avalanche’ Of Anti-Obamacare AdsThe big-spending conservative group American Crossroads and its nonprofit arm launched a new offensive Tuesday in the 2014 campaign for control of the U.S. Senate with an ad targeting North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and her support of the Affordable Care Act (Reston, 5/20).The New York Times: Political Memo: Ex-Senators On Both Sides of Aisle Join Forces On Health CareAs a Republican senator, Trent Lott was among those who successfully dug in against the Clinton-era health overhaul. Tom Daschle, then the Senate Democratic leader, fought Republicans on their prescription drug plan. John B. Breaux, a centrist Democrat who led a blue-ribbon Medicare commission, often found himself at odds with both parties. Now these three retired Senate powers are combining to push an expansion of tele-medicine as a way to improve health care access and cut costs. They say the idea of using the nation’s growing digital capacity to provide more health care has significant bipartisan support and could be an solution to the partisan schism over the Affordable Care Act (Hulse, 5/20).Propublica/NPR: Following Abuses, Medicare Tightens Reins On Its Drug ProgramThe federal government has granted itself potent new authority to expel physicians from Medicare if they are found to prescribe drugs in abusive ways, following through on a proposal issued earlier this year. Under the rule finalized Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also will compel health providers to enroll in Medicare to order medications for patients covered by its drug program, known as Part D. This requirement closes a loophole that had allowed some practitioners to operate with little or no oversight from Medicare (Ornstein, 5/20).The Associated Press:Obama Aide Tasked With VA Review Going To PhoenixPresident Barack Obama’s choice to help carry out reforms at the Veterans Affairs Department will travel to Phoenix this week to meet with staff at the local VA office as pressure mounts in Washington for an overhaul of the beleaguered agency (5/20). The Associated Press: IG:VA Investigations Expanded To 26 FacilitiesA spokeswoman for the IG’s office said 26 facilities were being investigated nationwide. Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin told a Senate committee last week that at least 10 new allegations about manipulated waiting times and other problems had surfaced since reports of problems at the Phoenix VA hospital came to light last month (5/21).NPR: Tell Me More: Waiting At VA Hospitals: A Matter Of Life And DeathThe Department of Veterans Affairs is under scrutiny after reports say it makes patients wait too long to see doctors. NPR correspondent Quil Lawrence discusses what happened and the possible fallout (5/20).Los Angeles Times: San Francisco Supervisors Get Behind Laura’s Law Mental Health ProgramA dozen years after state passage of Laura’s Law — which allowed counties to set up programs mandating outpatient treatment of the severely mentally ill — San Francisco supervisors Tuesday vowed to take the matter to voters if a board majority does not approve one by summer. The law approved in 2002 was named for Nevada County’s Laura Wilcox, who was killed by a man who had been refusing treatment when he entered the county’s behavioral health offices and opened fire (Romney, 5/20).The Washington Post: District Age-In-Place Program Faces ShutdownBut the program that brought them there — Home First, which is run by the nonprofit Seabury Resources for Aging — says that under the proposed city budget, it might not have enough money next year to continue its 20-year-old age-in-place component, which provides regular home help to about 300 older District residents in wards 4 and 5 (Bahrampopur, 5/29).The Associated Press: Senate Democrats Reintroduce Women’s Rights BillsA series of bills dubbed the Women’s Equality Act were reintroduced Tuesday in the New York Senate after the package was derailed last year over a contentious late-term abortion proposal (5/20). 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 21, 2014
More than a half-million adults who said they wanted help with their serious mental conditions last year couldn’t get it because they lacked the resources and weren’t eligible for Medicaid to pay for treatment, a new study finds. Those people — an estimated 568,886 adults ages 18 through 64 diagnosed with a serious mental illness, serious psychological stress or substance use disorder at the start of last year — lived in 24 states that didn’t expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act in 2014, according to a study published this week from the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). (Ollove, 4/8) D.C. home health-care workers filed a class action lawsuit against four agencies Wednesday, alleging that they were cheated out of wages and denied overtime and sick pay. The suit against four local agencies — Capitol View Home Health Agency, Human Touch, T&N Nursing and VMT Home Health — comes a week before home health-care workers and other low-wage workers across the country are expected to rally for a $15 wage on April 15 as part of the “Fight for 15 movement.” (Stein, 4/8) Supporters say a measure requiring hospitals to disclose whether a person is being admitted is needed to protect consumers. The Missouri House on Tuesday gave first-round approval to a bill that would require written notices when a patient is admitted or placed on observational status by a hospital. (4/8) The Associated Press: Ex-Mental Health Providers In NY To Pay $3M To End Suit A group of home health workers in Washington, D.C., are suing several staffing agencies in the district for allegedly stealing their wages. In a class action lawsuit, filed in the D.C. Superior Court, the workers claim they were not paid the hourly wage they were entitled to and were denied overtime and sick days in violation of the law. It’s the second in a series of lawsuits against home care agencies. (Rooney, 4/8) The Washington Post: D.C. Home Health-Care Workers File Class-Action Suit Alleging Wage Theft A cancer diagnosis is often the beginning of a life-or-death struggle. Patients want to go into that fight armed with the most powerful weapons available. In many cases, that involves treatments still in their experimental stages that are only available through clinical trials, which are typically found at academic medical centers. But the University of Kansas Cancer Center has created a partnership to bring those options closer to home for rural Kansans. (Thompson, 4/8) Kansas City Star: Missouri Senate Approves Budget That Would Expand Medicaid Managed Care The Associated Press: Suit Claims AIDS Foundation Scammed Medicare $20M Los Angeles Times: Former Blue Shield Executive Sues Insurer Over Dismissal, $450,000 Bonus A federal judge has approved a $3 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit by patients at a former state-licensed mental health facility in Putnam County alleging abuse. The suit filed in 2007 alleges patients were illegally restrained, assaulted, punished and isolated by SLS Residential staff, while the facility falsely advertised compassionate care and effective treatment and received up to $900 a day from patients’ insurance companies. (4/8) The Associated Press: Missouri House OKs Bill Requiring Hospital Disclosures Georgia Health News: Will Dental Ruling Send Ripples Through Health Care Industry Connecticut Mirror: Nursing Home Workers Vote To Strike, Send Message To Both Employers And Lawmakers Workers at 27 nursing homes [in Conn.] have voted to go on strike April 24, a move aimed at both their employers and state lawmakers wrangling over a state budget that has significant implications for nursing homes. (Levin Becker, 4/8) Prisoners in the Oregon State Penitentiary unit reserved for inmates with the most severe mental illnesses spend months, sometimes years in small cells with no natural light or outdoor access and rarely get to speak with others, according to an investigation by Disability Rights Oregon. (Bernstein, 4/8) One of the nation’s largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care is accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in an elaborate $20 million dollar scam that spanned 12 states, according to a lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court. Three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a suit last week alleging the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals in an effort to boost funding from federal health programs. Employees were paid $100 bonuses for referring patients with positive test results to its clinics and pharmacies. (Kennedy, 4/9) The Kansas Health Institute News Service: Alliance Brings The Latest Cancer Treatments To Rural Kansas Politico Pro: States Step In On Mental Health Parity Enforcement Stateline: Wanting Mental Health Treatment And Not Getting It A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling about teeth-whitening services may have long-term implications for health care professionals and their practices across the country. The dispute involves the right of dental hygienists to perform such services in North Carolina. The Federal Trade Commission brought a major anti-competition case on the matter. The high court did not settle the case, but rejected the state dental board’s claim that its actions were immune from FTC scrutiny. (Kanne, 4/8) Former executive at Blue Shield of California has sued the health insurance giant, claiming he was wrongly fired right before he was due a $450,000 bonus. Aaron Kaufman, the insurer’s chief technology officer since 2013, sued Blue Shield on Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court for wrongful termination and breach of contract. (Terhune, 4/8) State Highlights: States Move To Enforce Mental Health Parity; D.C. Home-Health Workers File Class-Action Suit Seeking Back Pay News outlets offer articles on health care issues from Washington, D.C., California, Missouri, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Florida, Georgia and Kansas. States are stepping in to enforce a little-known federal law that’s supposed to improve insurance coverage of mental health care for millions of Americans. The parity law has been on the books since 2008, but mental health advocates say the federal government has been slow to make sure it’s been put into practice. (Villacorta, 4/8) Shortly before 4 a.m. Wednesday, after a six-hour filibuster and bipartisan resistance nearly derailed the process, the Missouri Senate finished its work on the state’s $26 billion budget. Perhaps. Major differences in how the state will fund its social welfare programs, as well as how much money should be divvied out to public schools and colleges, must be worked out with the Missouri House. The debate is complicated by a dramatic proposal to turn over most management of Medicaid to private companies. Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon has expressed serious concerns, setting the table for potential budget battles between the Democratic governor and a Republican-dominated General Assembly. (Hancock, 4/8) The Oregonian: Solitary Confinement Of Oregon Inmates With Most Severe Mental Illnesses Must Stop, Advocacy Group Says CNN Money: Home Health Care Workers Sue Employers For Back Pay This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
In Pushing States To Help Seniors Save For Retirement, Obama Lauds Medicare, Medicaid And Social Security President Barack Obama made these comments during a speech at the sixth White House conference on aging, an event that takes place roughly once a decade. President Obama on Monday threw his weight behind California’s bid to provide more workers with retirement savings accounts. … A few other states, including Illinois, Oregon and Connecticut, are pursuing similar plans. … The goal is to provide workers with an added retirement benefit beyond Social Security and Medicare. (Peltz, 7/13) McClatchy: Obama Pushes States To Help Millions More Save For Retirement Los Angeles Times: Obama Wants To Help California Create More Retirement-Savings Accounts A handful of states have passed laws that require certain employers to automatically open retirement plans for employees when they are hired instead of waiting for workers to decide to do so on their own, and about 20 more are considering such laws. Mr. Obama said he wanted to encourage more of these laws to be passed. The president spoke during the sixth White House conference on aging, an event that takes place roughly once a decade. Mr. Obama noted that the conference was particularly well timed because it was being held almost 50 years after legislation was passed creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which provide health care to the elderly and the poor. (Harris,7/13) The president praised Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and said the programs reaffirmed the greatness of the United States, allowing older Americans who had worked hard to retire independently. He used his grandmother as an example, saying Medicare and Social Security allowed her to continue to live on her own after she had retired and his grandfather died. (Kennedy, 7/13) The New York Times: Obama Wants More State Laws To Make Retirement Saving Easier This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The New York Times: Outside Influence: The Veterans Agency’s Shadowy Leadership A new secretary was sworn in at the Department of Veterans Affairs in late July, but the people actually in charge of the agency may not have changed, and they are not at the headquarters in Washington, but on the manicured grounds of Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s West Palm Beach estate. A shadowy threesome known in the department as the “Mar-a-Lago crowd” has been quietly empowered by the president to help steer the veterans agency, and the men are exerting their influence in ways that affect millions of veterans, according to interviews with four former senior officials at the department and a report by the nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica. (Philipps, 8/10) Shadowy Threesome Known As ‘Mar-A-Lago Crowd’ Have Been Silently Exerting Influence On Veterans Affairs The Mar-a-Lago group is led by the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac Perlmutter, 75, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s and a member of his West Palm Beach golf club. Veterans advocates are worried that the group is going to exert pressure on new VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
Farmers forced to reckon with the whims of China as diplomatic spat drags on Related Stories Reuters ← Previous Next → Twitter China’s trade war threat to withhold rare earths from U.S. would inflict ‘devastating’ blow Featured Stories Join the conversation → 5 Comments Comment More Share this storyCanada is worried China may start cracking down on more of its exports Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Email June 6, 20191:00 PM EDT Filed under News Economy Sponsored By: Canada’s canola farmers facing storage crunch for stockpiles of oilseed that China won’t take advertisement Reddit OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday he was concerned that China could broaden its crackdown on Canada’s exports, and that he might seek a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.China has already blocked imports of Canadian canola seed and looks set to boost customs’ examinations of pork shipments.“We are … worried about their actions on canola and the potential for other actions against other products,” Trudeau said during a televised news conference in northern France, where he was taking part in ceremonies to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.[realted_links /]Trudeau, accused by opposition parties of bungling relations with China, is due to attend a summit of the Group of 20 nations in Japan at the end of June. China is also a member.Asked whether he might talk to Xi on the sidelines of the event, Trudeau said, “certainly we will see whether it would be appropriate or desirable to have a conversation directly with the Chinese President.”Trudeau had up until now sidestepped questions about whether he plans to meet Xi.Diplomatic relations between Canada and China turned icy last December when police in Vancouver detained Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. arrest warrant.As well as blocking canola imports, China has arrested two Canadian citizens and charged them with espionage. Beijing denied its actions had anything to do with the Meng case, but diplomats and experts say they are clearly linked.Although Trudeau did not give details about possible targets for further Chinese retaliation, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau later told legislators that she had heard industry concerns about action against soybean exports.Overall canola exports fell by $47 million in April, or 14.7 per cent, as shipments to China stopped, Statistics Canada said on Thursday. Exports of wheat, though, jumped $136 million, or 21.7 per cent, with China accounting for much of the increase.China said it was blocking imports of Canadian canola seed because pests were discovered in some shipments, a charge Canada firmly denies.Canadian and Chinese technical experts resumed a series of phone calls on the issue on Wednesday, Bibeau told legislators.“Yesterday we could feel that we were at a different level of getting into what we want to talk about, the evidence, so this is encouraging,” she said.© Thomson Reuters 2019 Canada is worried China may start cracking down on more of its exports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he may seek a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of a major summit this month David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson Treated canola seeds sit in a bag on a farm near St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba. China has blocked imports of Canadian canola seed.Shannon VanRaes/Bloomberg What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Facebook
Source: Electric Vehicle News State-By-State Look At Plug-In Electric Cars Per 1,000 Residents Washington State Notes Greatest Fuel Cost Savings For An EV Georgia is the only state which noted a significant downturn. It’s the result of ending the generous incentives, which previously made Georgia one of the top EV markets. Here is a chart, which shows where plug-in car sales growth is the highest in the U.S.According to the U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the U.S. average growth rate for PEV per capita in the years 2016-2017 is 30.2%.The highest growth of over 50% in relation to population was noted in three states:Vermont – 56.4%Maryland – ≈54%Massachusetts – ≈52%Alaska – ≈50%New Hampshire ≈50% Most Housing In U.S. Has A Garage Or Carport To Potentially Charge An EV Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 25, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Note: PEV includes both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles.Sources: PEV registrations – Department of Energy analysis of IHS Automotive data.Population: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population.Source: energy.gov More reports for U.S.
US electric bus manufacturer Proterra is scaling up its battery leasing program, removing one of the largest barriers to widespread e-bus adoption as it looks to put its buses on even footing with diesel counterparts when it comes to upfront costs. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe the podcast. Source: Charge Forward https://youtu.be/a80dwn_R-mcThe post Proterra’s $200M battery leasing program to accelerate electric bus adoption, take aim at diesel appeared first on Electrek.