The pros of 360-degree live broadcasting is that it gives the illusion of immersion, allowing viewers to really feel, or at least see, as if they were indeed there. The cons is that it is best experienced with something like a VR headset. Since it’s statistically impossible for all Periscope watchers to have one, Twitter lets you pan around the scene by moving your phone around as well.Last month, Periscope started making Live 360 videos available on iOS and now it is doing the same for Android. Viewers need not do anything special. If you see a “Live 360” badge on a video, you simply have to start viewing and moving your phone around or tap and scroll to change your angle.Broadcasters, however, will naturally need the right cameras for the job. At the moment, only Insta360’s cameras natively integrate with Periscope Live 360. That means iOS users will need an Insta360 Nano while Android users need an Insta360 Air. If, however, you decide to use Periscope Producer instead, you can also use a Ricoh Theta S or an Orah 4i.SOURCE: Periscope Just live streaming these days is no longer enough. People seem to be hyping up 360-degree live streaming, whether or not there are enough people with the devices to properly enjoy them. Of course, that’s no reason not to let social media broadcasters do what they want or need to do, which is why Periscope introduced Live 360 video late last year. Now after months of limited testing, Twitter has opened the floodgates to iOS and Android users at long last.
Last week, we started hearing word of a potential security breach over at OnePlus. Users were reporting that their credit cards had been compromised shortly after making a purchase on the OnePlus website, which prompted the company to launch an investigation. Today we’re getting the first results from that investigation, and things aren’t looking good for OnePlus or its users. In a new post to the OnePlus forums, the company tells us what it found during its investigation. As it turns out, OnePlus was indeed attacked, and as many as 40,000 users who shopped at OnePlus.net over the past couple of months might be affected. That, as you can probably guess, isn’t good news for a company that’s been trying to make a name for itself among the behemoths of the smartphone industry.OnePlus explains that anyone who entered their credit card information on OnePlus.net between mid-November and January 11 might be affected by this breach. OnePlus stresses that those who paid using saved credit card information, credit cards routed through PayPal, or PayPal itself likely aren’t affected by this, which is good news. It also says that it will be contacting potentially affected users by email, so if you’ve bought a OnePlus device within the last couple of months, keep an eye on your inbox.So, what happened? OnePlus says that one of its systems “was attacked, and a malicious script was injected into the payment page code to sniff out credit card info while it was being entered.” That script operated “intermittently,” and lifted data straight from web browsers. OnePlus says that it has eliminated the script and quarantined the infected server, but for now, credit card purchases remain disabled, with no word on when they might come back online.Potentially affected users are instructed to watch their credit card statements closely and contact their banks or providers if they see any rogue purchases. In addition to contacting customers that might be at risk of having their card information exposed, OnePlus says it will now work on implementing a new, more secure payment system while at the same time conducting an “in-depth” security audit. We’ll have more information for you as it becomes available, so stay tuned for that.
We’ll see the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in a matter of weeks. Either inside July or August – that’s where it’ll probably pop up first. At that time, we’ll be able to do our own comparisons in real life – battery life, camera quality, and performance. Price, too – as we expect prices to be rather similar to what they were in years past. Newest details leaked on the Galaxy Note 9 suggest we’re already nearly on the money for Samsung’s biggest phone of the year. This device isn’t going to be more of a Silver Surfer than it is a Galactus. This is the herald of things to come. For some of the more hardcore buy-all-Samsung users, this might be an unwelcome revelation. For those that’ve been waiting for a couple years to upgrade – an upgrade’ll probably be just fine, here and now. The image you see above is a rendering, not unlike that of a rendering Samsung would present just before the release of their actual, real Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The big difference here is the designer, as it’s most certainly NOT Samsung, but a designer by the name of Max. The image shown above comes from Twitter, where it was posted by Max for AllAboutSamsung. A few different versions of this device were rendered and included in the gallery later in this article.SEE TOO: Galaxy Note 9: 5 reasons to skip it (if you can) This device looks a whole lot like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for a real good reason. Not because it IS a Galaxy Note 8, but because leakers with a legacy of accurate leaks suggested recently that the device looks like this – not a whole lot different from its predecessor.Below you’ll see a set of specifications that are unofficially accurate. By unofficially accurate I mean Samsung’s not said so, but based on leaks and precedent. Until Samsung says so, these are the specs we’ve got with a grain of salt.NOTE: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 specifications above are accurate. Have a peek at our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review to see it up close and personal. Story TimelineGalaxy Note 9: The smallest leaked detail (and a few more specs)Galaxy Note 9 vs 8 Pre-release and tip-basediPhone release prices tipped: Undercutting Galaxy Note 9
The 2001: A Space Odyssey dashboard is cleared for productionBy the time concept cars make it to the dealership, the space-age dashboard is usually the first thing to have gone. Tesla, though, promises that’s not the case for the Model 3, insisting that the sparse and striking cabin of the car is already cleared for production. That means the 15-inch display, standing old-school anglepoise-iMac-style in the middle of the dashboard, isn’t just a design conceit. Instead it’ll be the hub for most of your interaction with the Model 3, with driving details like speed and battery status in the upper corner nearest the driver, and the rest of the touchscreen turned over to navigation, infotainment, and HVAC. That long sweep of glass roof is to blame, since Tesla would’ve needed to split it for a hatchback opening. Instead, the metal trunk lid opens, suspended on two trailing arms which extend back up, either-side of the rear glass. It’s one of two external storage cubbies the Model 3 offers, with a trunk at the back and a “frunk” – or front-mounted trunk – up where the engine would regularly be in a gasoline car. Tesla isn’t saying exactly how many cubic feet you’ll get in total, but Musk did promise that transporting a 7-foot surfboard was a possibility. The trump card is SuperchargingIf there was a will-they, won’t-they about the Model 3, it was whether the more affordable car would be eligible for Supercharging. On the one hand, the network of fast charging stations has become synonymous with the upstart automaker; on the flip-side, bundling free recharging with a far more affordable car than the Model S and Model X would be an expensive perk for Tesla to swallow. It came as a pleasant surprise, therefore, when Musk confirmed that the cheapest car in Tesla’s line-up will get exactly the same Supercharger privileges as the more costly vehicles. Since that’s going to put a lot of extra strain on the Supercharger network, Tesla has plans to upgrade that, too. There’ll be 7,200 Superchargers by the end of 2017, Musk promised, along with 15,000 Destination Chargers – the recharging equipment installed at parking lots, hotels, shopping centers, and other public locations where your Tesla might spend some time waiting for you. You won’t be able to jump the linePreorders have been wildly successful. Elon Musk announced 115,000 while on-stage during the presentation, and that number rose by thousands more over the following few hours. ALSO SEE: Tesla Model 3 first ride – Inside the $35k game-changer [Video]It means that you could be in for a long wait if you didn’t get your order in early, and even though Tesla is ambitiously targeting production rates of 500,000 cars a year, it’ll take some time to ramp up to that figure. You won’t be able to buy someone else’s place in the wait list, either, since Tesla has made the preorders non-transferable. In short, the only way to get some of that Model 3 goodness is to trust Elon with $1k of your hard-earned. It seems it’s a commitment many are willing to make. There’ll be single and dual-motor versionsIn Tesla-land, more motors equals more power and better traction. Just as is the case with the Model S, there’ll be single and dual-motor options for the Model 3: the base cars will be rear-wheel drive, whereas the more expensive versions will get twin motors and all-wheel drive. Interestingly, AWD can also mean greater range, another thing we’ve seen in the Model S. That’s because when you have more motors involved, each needn’t work so hard at any one time, potentially saving power. It’ll be fast, but not Insane Mode fastEvery Model 3 is going to do 0-60 mph in under six seconds, Musk has promised, and some will do it even quicker than that. Exact model breakdowns won’t be revealed until closer to the car’s arrival in 2017, but figure In my test ride – which, notably, took place in a dual-motor prototype, not the $35k RWD base car – the Model 3 certainly showed that gush of torque we’re familiar with from electric cars. It wasn’t the organ-churning madness of the more comically-named performance modes from the Model S, however.Those could be coming, mind, albeit at a price. Musk coyly hinted at the possibility during his presentation and, given potential Model 3 buyers may very well be cross-shopping with AMG and M Sport versions of Mercedes’ C Class and BMW’s 3 Series, a fired-up version of the small Tesla seems like a must-have for the range. It’s not just Tesla being different for the sake of it, either. By condensing all of the controls into a single point in the center of the dashboard, the company’s engineers tell me, it can do “interesting things” with cabin airflow. That basically means condensing the vents down to narrow slots, which can more precisely – and thus more economically – direct warm and cold air around the passengers. There are solid business reasons for it, too. Removing analog gages and separate secondary displays entirely cuts costs down to just that touchscreen; mounting it centrally means fewer dashboard changes when Tesla is reworking left-hand drive cars for right-hand drive markets. Meanwhile, as the Model 3’s update schedule has proved, going digital adds flexibility. Tesla’s homegrown, Linux-based platform for the system can easily be tweaked and modified as new features are developed, rolled out over the OTA update system which has already seen the company’s customers waking up to a car that suddenly does new things. Autopilot hardware is standard, but Autopilot isn’tEvery Model 3, Musk confirmed during the keynote, will have the Autopilot hardware installed. That’s the package of various sensors – cameras, radar, and the like – which Tesla uses for lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, piloted driving, and crash detection.However, just because the hardware is fitted, doesn’t mean every Model 3 will be able to drive itself. Musk promised that the safety suite would be a standard feature across the range, but the convenience features – think self-driving on the highway – will require a paid upgrade.Despite appearances, the Model 3 isn’t a hatchbackThe Model S looks like a traditional sedan, but is actually a hatchback. Ironically, the Model 3 looks like a traditional hatchback, but it’s actually a sedan. To say the Tesla Model 3 has been hotly anticipated is an understatement, and last night’s unveiling in Los Angeles reached Apple-levels of excitement. CEO Elon Musk is still playing many of the details close to his chest, but after taking a brief ride in one of the latest prototypes, I do know a little more about the $35k electric car that could give the auto industry a serious shake-up. Story TimelineThe big questions the Tesla Model 3 needs to answer todayTesla Model 3 online ordering starts at 7:30PM PTRevealed: This is the Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3 first ride – Inside the $35k game-changer [Video]
Apple doesn’t seem to have a favorable relationship with its iPhone batteries. After giving in to complaints about its battery-related throttling on older iPhones, the company partly blamed its weak financial figures on the significantly cheap battery replacement program it started in response to that. Many iPhone users, however, may have already resorted to third-party aftermarket battery replacements. And in a historic reversal, Apple is now telling Genius Bars and authorized service providers that it’s now OK to repair those iPhones, too. Apple’s previous repair policy was straightforward and unyielding. If any part of the iPhone has been replaced with an unauthorized third-party component, the owner will be turned away when requesting official repairs and services. For one reason or another, Apple is now making an exception at least when the part that was replaced is the battery.If the service request is unrelated to the battery, Genius Bars and official service providers are now being instructed to proceed as normal, even if they see that the battery has been replaced by a third-party one. If the problem is the battery itself, that can be replaced by an official one for the standard fee of a battery replacement. In other words, service providers are to turn a blind eye on whether the battery comes from a first-party or a third-party.The internal Apple document detailing these instructions is supposedly just going round last Thursday and should apply worldwide. It is definitely a significant change of heart for a company that has previously been bullish on third-party repairs. Sadly, restrictions still stand with regards to other components and service providers are instructed to still decline those.
Blood banks in the United States are reporting a decrease in donors, a problem Facebook is helping address with a new Blood Donations tool on its primary social network. Facebook users in the US will start seeing the new feature in select major cities, making it easier for them to find a nearby blood donation center in need of donors. Blood donations remain a critical component in a variety of health care settings, including emergency rooms and surgery centers. Current demand levels require tens of thousands of donors daily in the US, but the number of blood donations has been on the decline, particularly during the summer and winter months.Facebook’s focus on blood donations isn’t new — it started offering this blood donation center feature in Pakistan, India, Brazil, and Bangladesh starting in 2017. In the years since, the company reports having seen more than 35 million people sign up to be blood donors through its platform. According to the company, 20-percent of those individuals cite the feature on Facebook as an influencing factor on their decision.On June 11, Facebook announced plans to introduce the same feature on its platform in the United States. Users located in Washington, DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York City, and Baltimore will see the feature first, but it’ll eventually be available to all users across the US. AdChoices广告The company has partnered with American Red Cross, Rock River Valley Blood Center, Vitalant, and a number of other organizations. Through Facebook, users can find their nearest blood donation centers and sign up to become a donor. By signing up, users will receive alerts when the center requires blood donations, including the specific blood types required. Story TimelineHuawei phones can no longer ship with Facebook’s appsFacebook Portal will get a successor despite privacy concernsFacebook thinks you’ll trade privacy on your phone for cash
The New York Times: A Confirmation Too Long DelayedThe Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a long-overdue vote on Tuesday on President Obama’s nominee to lead the embattled agency responsible for overseeing Medicare, Medicaid and the implementation of health care reforms. The committee ought to set aside its deep partisan divisions and unanimously endorse Marilyn Tavenner to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The full Senate should then confirm her (4/22). The Wall Street Journal: An Ounce Of ObamaCare PreventionCongressional Republicans have mapped out another way to obstruct ObamaCare, thanks to the incompetence of its architects. It’s a shame certain absolutists on the right are mounting another self-defeating rebellion in the name of the impossible (4/22).JAMA Pediatrics: Medicaid Expansion: Good for Children, Their Parents, And Providers Public insurance makes a real difference in the health of children. Those who are covered are significantly more likely to have a usual source of care than those who are uninsured, which is strongly associated with better outcomes. … Although Medicaid and SCHIP do a reasonably good job of covering children and pregnant women, the programs have not been nearly as universal when it comes to adults. This is important because the insurance status of a parent can significantly effect the health of his or her child. Children with uninsured parents are significantly less likely to receive recommended health services, even if they themselves are covered (Aaron E. Carroll and Austin B. Frakt, 4/22). Journal of the American Medical Association: Cost Consequences Of The 340B Drug Discount Program Created in 1992, a little-known federal drug discount program called “340B” allowed a handful of hospitals that cared for the poor to obtain drugs for their patients at substantially reduced prices. Today, through a series of expansions, including some enumerated in the Affordable Care Act, numerous other types of entities such as community hospitals and cancer centers that serve both the poor and the well-insured can participate. … The original intent of the 340B program was presumably to enable underfinanced care facilities to purchase drugs that would be used for the treatment of medically and financially vulnerable patients they served. The program does not require hospitals to only provide the discounted drugs to patients who are poor and in need, nor does it include a requirement that the savings on drugs be passed on to patients or insurers (Rena M. Conti and Peter B. Bach, 4/22). Los Angeles Times: A Roadblock To Collecting Travel Insurance BenefitsBarbara Butkus bought an airline ticket in November to fly from Palm Springs to Washington, D.C., a month later for a family reunion. Just to be on the safe side, Butkus, 80, also bought travel insurance while booking her flight through Orbitz, the online travel agency. The coverage was from Allianz, a leading provider of travel insurance. As it happened, Butkus had to cancel her trip for health reasons. She began experiencing shortness of breath in early December, and her doctor advised her not to travel. Butkus filed a claim with Allianz for a refund of her $451.20 airline ticket. Allianz denied her claim last month, concluding that she had an existing medical condition when she bought her airline ticket (David Lazarus, 4/23). Miami Herald: Aging In Place: A New Frontier In Housing For many seniors, aging in place reflects an aspiration to remain supported by the same personal connections that have given meaning to their lives. It can also be the most financially sensible housing option for those seniors with the physical ability to remain at home. Unfortunately, many of today’s homes and neighborhoods were designed at an earlier time before the unique needs of an aging population were even recognized. For many seniors, their homes — rental or owned — lack the necessary structural features and support systems. Likewise, many of our nation’s communities fail to provide the services and amenities that would make aging in place a realistic choice (Henry Cisneros, 4/22). Kansas City Star: Protect Developmental Disability Services In KansasMy sister Liz is 49 years old and has Down syndrome. Since our parents died 33 years ago, Liz has been my responsibility and my joy. Today she lives in her own apartment and works at Heartstrings Community Foundation in Overland Park. With the Medicaid money allocated to Liz, we hire staff that helps her with daily living skills: cooking, shopping, paying bills and getting to doctors’ appointments. Liz has accomplished amazing things with an IQ of 65, and she loves her life (Effie Bradley, 4/21). Viewpoints: Time To Confirm Tavenner; ‘Self-Defeating’ GOP Plan For Prevention Fund; Parents Need Insurance Too This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Americans’ spending on health care rose a relatively modest 3.7 percent in 2012 — slower than the growth of the overall economy — dropping from 17.3 percent of U.S. spending to 17.2 percent, according to an annual report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.The New York Times: Another Modest Rise For Health CostsAs a share of the economy, health spending declined slightly, to 17.2 percent in 2012, from 17.3 percent in the prior year. For decades, health spending has grown faster than the economy, taking a bigger bite out of workers’ wages and the federal budget. Health spending averaged about $8,900 a person in 2012, according to the annual report issued Monday by the government (Pear, 1/6).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Detailed Report Delivers Good News On Health Costs, But Will It Last?Definitive 2012 numbers show continued, historically low increases in medical prices and the use of medical services. Health spending rose 3.7 percent, up slightly from 2011 but far below the 8 percent increases of the early 2000s, according to figures released Monday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Hancock, 1/6). NPR: Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why (Rovner, 1/6).Los Angeles Times: U.S. Health Care Costs Keep Rising But At Slower PaceThe relentless rise in health care spending — which had threatened government budgets and helped pave the way for President Obama’s health law — continued to moderate in 2012, the fourth year of a historic slowdown, newly released federal data show. … For only the third time in the last 15 years, health spending grew more slowly than the overall economy as measured by the non-inflation-adjusted U.S. gross domestic product. That meant that health care shrank slightly as a share of the U.S. economy, from 17.3 percent in 2011 to 17.2 percent in 2012 (Levey, 1/6).The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Good News! Health Spending As A Share Of The Economy Is Shrinking.The share of the economy devoted to health care fell in 2012, according to federal data released Monday. The decline — the largest in more than a decade — comes after four years of unprecedentedly slow growth in health care spending. And it has economists puzzling, yet again, over whether the slackening merely reflects the short-term impact of the recession or shows a larger, more structural change in the medical industry (Kliff, 1/6).The Wall Street Journal: Health Care Spending Grew at Modest Pace in 2012Economists say health care costs are the biggest driver of the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, and until the economic shocks of 2008 those costs seemed to be growing unstoppably. Since 2010, however, health spending has risen roughly in line with economic growth, and in 2012 it accounted for 17.2 percent of gross domestic product, down from 17.3 percent in 2011 (Schatz and Morath, 1/6).USA Today: Growth Of Spending On Health Continues To SlowThe researchers would not comment on 2013 or trends moving forward, saying they have to wait for the data. However, they did explain why the growth spending rate seems to be stabilizing after the recession years. Anne Martin, lead author on the report, said that both consumers and employers make decisions about health care based on what’s happening at the time, but those decisions can affect costs for years to come (Kennedy, 1/6).Reuters: U.S. Health Spending Rose 3.7 Percent In 2012 As Economy DraggedU.S. health care spending rose 3.7 percent in 2012 to $2.8 trillion, the fourth year in a row in this range as the slow economic recovery tempered private insurance use, drug prices fell and the government held back payment increases for doctors, the Obama administration said on Monday (1/6).Bloomberg: Obamacare Tested By Recession’s Effect On Health CareThe U.S. recession remained a drag on health-care spending three years after it ended as a net of 9.4 million people lost private insurance coverage before key provisions of Obamacare had begun, a government report showed (Wayne, 1/7).CQ HealthBeat: Health Spending Dips Below GDP Growth — But No Huzzahs For Health LawNational health spending growth remained unusually low in 2012 — even taking the rare turn of dipping below Gross Domestic Product growth — but government economists aren’t making return trips to the liquor store to lay in new supplies of champagne (Reichard, 1/6).ABC News: Health Spending Growth Slows, But Obamacare Impact ‘Minimal’For the fourth year in a row, Americans’ spending on health care grew at one of the slowest rates ever recorded. National health expenditures in 2012 increased just 3.7 percent over the year before — a rate relatively stable since 2009 and at historic lows, according to new analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All told the country spent $2.8 trillion on health care, or $8,900 per person, last year, gobbling up 17 percent of the economy (Dwyer, 1/7).In other news related to medical pricing –Kaiser Health News: Capsules: How Much Does A New Hip Cost? Even The Surgeon Doesn’t Know They were only able to correctly estimate the cost of a device 21 percent of the time, according to a survey of 503 physicians at seven major academic medical centers published this week in Health Affairs. Their guesses ranged from 1.8 percent of the actual price to 24.6 times the actual price. Researchers could not release the actual costs, because they signed nondisclosure agreements with the hospitals (Gold, 1/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Health Care Spending Grew At Record Slow Pace
Viewpoints: GOP And Governing; Va. Medicaid Expansion Chances Falling Fast; Private Care For Vets 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: In GOP, Far Right Is Too Moderate The forces of political nihilism not only remain alive and well within the Republican Party, but they are on the rise. Witness the way they shook Washington on Tuesday by removing from power Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who had been one of the most implacable opponents to the reform of immigration, health care and taxation. His crime (in addition to complacent campaigning)? He was occasionally obliged, as a leader, to take a few minimalist steps toward governing, like raising the debt ceiling and ending a ruinous shutdown (6/11). The Washington Post: In Week’s Political Tumult, Terry McAuliffe Is Long-Term Loser And Md. Status Quo Is Winner A pair of political earthquakes rocked Virginia this week, while seismograph needles in Maryland stood still as can be. … Virginia’s governor sustained a critical reversal when his fellow Democrats lost control of the state Senate with the surprise resignation of Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell). … So much for hopes for a progressive agenda, highlighted by Medicaid expansion, following the Democrats’ sweep of the three top state offices in November. Now the gridlock is broken. The legislature is set to approve a budget. Financial turmoil is averted. In addition, a perfect excuse has fallen in the Democrats’ lap to explain why McAuliffe failed to broaden Medicaid as promised (Robert McCartney, 6/11). The Washington Post’s All Opinions Are Local: Does Cantor’s Defeat Kill Virginia’s Medicaid Expansion? If our iron law is right, there is no way Medicaid expansion can pass the General Assembly, even in a special session, unless the political landscape fundamentally changes on the GOP side of the field (Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman, 6/11). The New York Times’ Opinonator: The Power To Cure, Multiplied Ten years ago Dr. Sanjeev Arora, a hepatologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, realized that he would need to change the way he practiced medicine if he was going to prevent his patients from dying. Today, the solution he developed could transform health care (David Bornstein, 6/11).Los Angeles Times: Time For The State To Patch Up Medi-Cal State lawmakers are nearing a deal on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and the projected revenue bounty makes it possible for Sacramento to undo some of the most damaging cuts made to state programs during the economic downturn while still paying off debt and building reserves. That’s good news for the state’s schools, courts, colleges and universities, and welfare-to-work program, all of which are in line to recover some lost funding. But lawmakers shouldn’t forget Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for impoverished Californians, which has been weakened by a cut of up to 10% in the fees paid to doctors and other providers. The arbitrary cut has made it more difficult to provide care to the poorest Californians in a cost-effective way. In that sense, it’s self-defeating (6/11). USA Today: Private Veterans Care? Caution Sometimes, crisis can bring opportunity. On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain, Ariz., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to increase funding for Veteran Affairs, build 26 facilities and make access to private health care easier. But as the House considers whether to allow veterans to seek private care, it should bear in mind that offering treatment outside of the VA health system could also spawn new problems, even as it cuts wait times (Jessica L. Adler, 6/11). Reuters: How To Recruit More Primary Care Physicians — For The VA And Nationwide Access to primary care has been a national problem for years. Recent attention has focused on access for military veterans, but access has been just as bad — if not worse — for many rural and lower socioeconomic populations. Even in otherwise well-served areas, someone seeking a primary care physician may have few to no options, with visit delays lasting months (Dr. Davoren Chick, 6/11).
First Edition: June 23, 2014 Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including news stories about healthcare.gov management changes.Kaiser Health News: More Than 750 Hospitals Face Medicare Crackdown On Patient InjuriesKaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau reports: “A quarter of the nation’s hospitals – those with the worst rates – will lose 1 percent of every Medicare payment for a year starting in October. In April, federal officials released a preliminary analysis of which hospitals would be assessed, identifying 761. When Medicare sets final penalties later this year, that list may change because the government will be looking at performance over a longer period than it used to calculate the draft penalties. Vidant, for instance, says it lowered patient injury rates over the course of 2013, and Handron praises their efforts” (Rau, 6/22). Read the story; a related article, Patient Injuries: Hospitals Most Likely To Be Penalized By Medicare; or an explanation of the methodology regarding how hospital-acquired infections are calculated. Kaiser Health News: Drug Discount Policy For Hospitals, Clinics Under ScrutinyKaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey reports: “A federal program designed to allow certain safety net hospitals and clinics to save money on drug purchases is under fire from critics who say the facilities are using that money to pad profits rather than help patients. The 340B drug pricing program lets thousands of hospitals, community health centers and family planning clinics buy outpatient prescription medications from manufacturers at an estimated 25 to 50 percent discount. Participants can then charge higher rates to insured patients and keep the additional revenue” (Carey, 6/23). Read the story, which also ran in The Washington Post. The New York Times: Health Site Is Changing SupervisionThe Obama administration hired a top executive from the UnitedHealth Group on Friday to bolster management of the federal health insurance marketplace and to prevent a repetition of the chaos that engulfed the program last fall. The executive, Andrew M. Slavitt, was in charge of work on HealthCare.gov by Optum, a unit of UnitedHealth, one of the nation’s largest insurers. Starting on July 10, the administration said, Mr. Slavitt will become the principal deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in charge of policy and operations. He will supervise and coordinate the work of the federal insurance exchange, Medicare and Medicaid, which together provide coverage to more than 100 million people (Pear, 6/20).The Wall Street Journal: HHS Forms New Positions To Oversee HealthCare.govThe new head of the Department of Health and Human Services said she was creating two executive-level positions to oversee HealthCare.gov, and bringing in-house the head of the private contractor that had been tasked with fixing the site, to try to avert problems in the law’s second sign-up period (Radnofsky, 6/20).The Washington Post: HHS’s Burwell Makes Management ChangesHealth and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced a series of management changes Friday that are intended to put a single administrator in charge of the federal health insurance marketplace — something both critics and allies of the Obama administration have urged since the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov last year (Goldstein, 6/20).The Associated Press: New Health Chief Revamps HealthCare.govHealth and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell appointed a new high-level operations manager to closely supervise the online portal to coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law. She also announced that she’s hiring a CEO and a technology leader to specifically handle all aspects of the health law’s coverage expansion. The CEO would be able to take concerns directly to Burwell (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/20).The Washington Post: Gov. Terry McAuliffe Vetoes Portions Of Virginia Budget, Vows To Expand MedicaidVirginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed portions of the state budget Friday and vowed to defy the legislature by expanding Medicaid without its approval, setting up a legal showdown with Republicans even as he averted a government shutdown. … Legislators will act on McAuliffe’s vetoes Monday when they reconvene in Richmond, and the outcome is uncertain. The GOP’s majority is large enough in the House of Delegates to override a veto, but not in the Senate (Vozzella, Laris and Weiner, 6/20).The Associated Press: Va. Governor Vows To Expand Medicaid On His OwnDemocratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vowed Friday to bypass the General Assembly and expand Medicaid eligibility for about 400,000 low-income residents on his own, a move Republican lawmakers immediately promised to fight. At a Capitol news conference, McAuliffe denounced leaders of the GOP-controlled House of Delegates, saying they are unwilling to help the state’s poor (Suderman, 6/20).The Wall Street Journal: States, Firms Spar Over Insurance-Exchange FundsStates and technology companies, including Xerox Corp. and Oracle Corp., are locked in disputes over more than $100 million allocated for Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges that had troubled rollouts. Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts and Nevada are seeking to recoup funds or withhold money for work they say wasn’t properly done. Poorly functioning exchanges in those states hampered enrollment last fall, and states blame contractors (Armour, 6/20).Los Angeles Times: California Probes Obamacare Doctor Networks At Anthem And Blue Shield California regulators are investigating whether Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California have violated state law in connection to patients struggling to find doctors under Obamacare. Officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care said they are looking into whether consumers were misled by inaccurate provider lists and the difficulty some patients are still having at locating a physician in narrower networks statewide (Terhune, 6/20).The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: A guide To The Supreme Court’s Birth Control DecisionTwo Junes ago, we were waiting on a major Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. It’s funny how history repeats itself. Any day now, the high court is set to rule on challenges to the administration’s requirement that employer health plans provide a wide range of birth control at no-out-of-pocket cost. The challenges, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, was were brought by two employers who argue the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom (Millman, 6/20). USA Today: Eight Big Cases Await Supreme Court RulingsThe Supreme Court will issue decisions on three days this week as it seeks to conclude its 2013 term a week from today. … Abortion clinics. This is a First Amendment challenge to a Massachusetts law that restricted demonstrators outside abortion clinics by setting up 35-foot buffer zones. … Religious freedom. This is Obama’s third major test pending before the court. His health care law mandates that most employers provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives. For-profit companies with religious objections are challenging (Wolf, 6/23). The New York Times: Health Insurers Pressing Down On Drug PricesDetermined to slow the rapid rise in drug prices, more health plans are refusing to cover certain drugs unless the companies charge less for them. The strategy appears to be getting pharmaceutical makers to compete on price. Some big-selling products, like the respiratory medicine Advair and the diabetes drug Victoza, have suffered precipitous declines in market share because Express Scripts, the biggest pharmacy benefits manager, recently stopped paying for them for many patients (Pollack, 6/20).The Wall Street Journal: Insider-Trade Probe Eyes Call With House AideAbout an hour before stock trading closed April 1, 2013, a lobbyist at the center of a federal insider-trading probe spoke on the phone with a senior House health-care aide. The disclosure of that conversation represents the latest twist in a long-running federal investigation into whether congressional aides or other federal officials leaked word of a change in health-care policy to traders or anyone seeking information on behalf of investors. The conversation between the lobbyist, Mark Hayes, and Brian Sutter, staff director of the House Ways and Means Committee’s health-care subpanel, was revealed Friday in court filings by the Securities and Exchange Commission (Ackerman and Mullins, 6/22). The Wall Street Journal: KPMG Expected To Announce Deal To Boost Health-Care PracticeKPMG LLP is buying Zanett Commercial Solutions, a Cincinnati-based technology-consulting firm that will help the Big Four accounting firm beef up the services it provides to health-care clients. The deal is expected to be announced Monday. Financial terms aren’t being disclosed (Rapoport, 6/23). The New York Times: Every Senior V.A. Executive Was Rated ‘Fully Successful’ Or Better Over 4 YearsAll of the 470 senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs received annual ratings over the last four years indicating that they were “fully successful” in their jobs or even better, according to data released at a congressional hearing on Friday, despite delays in processing disability compensation claims and problems with veterans’ access to the department’s sprawling health care system. None of the department’s senior executives received either of the two lowest of five possible job ratings, “minimally satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory,” in any of the past four fiscal years (Oppel, 6/20).The New York Times: Report Calls For Tracking Data On Stress DisorderThe Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs Department should track their efforts to treat post-traumatic stress more carefully, to see how effective those efforts are, a government-sponsored report released Friday said (Carey, 6/20).Los Angeles Times: Government’s PTSD Treatment For Veterans Lacking, Report FindsDespite spending billions of dollars a year to treat military service members and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the government has little evidence that its efforts are working, according to a new report commissioned by Congress (Zarembo, 6/20).The Wall Street Journal: FBI Probes Medicare Billing At Los Angeles ClinicThe Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining a Los Angeles clinic that collected more than $2 million from Medicare in 2012 for a rarely used cardiac treatment, according to people familiar with the matter. In a page-one article earlier this month about some doctors’ Medicare billings, The Wall Street Journal showed that the clinic collected more for the treatment than any provider in the nation by a large margin. Internal company documents reviewed by the Journal indicate that the clinic, which is owned by internist Ronald S. Weaver, and an affiliated lab collected about $17.5 million from Medicare between early 2006 and late 2012 (Stewart, Carreyrou and Weaver, 6/22). The Washington Post’s Fact Checker: Four Pinocchios For Yet Another Democrat ‘Mediscare’ AdThis ad, in the hard-fought congressional race between Rep. Nick Rahall and GOP state Sen. Evan Jenkins, is textbook example of why voters gets turned off by politics. It takes some misleading facts and then combines it with a statement taken grossly out of context. Let’s take a look (Kessler, 6/23). Politico: Chris Christie Pushes ‘Pro-Life’ ReformsNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie argued Friday for reforms in education and the treatment of non-violent drug offenders as part of a “pro-life” philosophy that extends beyond abortion. … “I believe if you’re pro-life, as I am, you need to be pro-life for the whole life,” Christie said. “You can’t just afford to be pro-life when a human being is in the womb. You have to be pro-life after … Sometimes being pro-life is messy, sometimes it’s difficult. Because human beings make bad choices, we are flawed. And I doubt that there’s one person in this audience who hasn’t made a bad choice, or a bad decision in your life” (Glueck, 6/20).The New York Times: Judge Upholds Policy Barring Unvaccinated Students During IllnessesIn a case weighing the government’s ability to require vaccination against the individual right to refuse it, a federal judge has upheld a New York City policy that bars unimmunized children from public school when another student has a vaccine-preventable disease (Mueller, 6/22). 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State Highlights: N.Y. Sues Drugmaker Over Alzheimer’s Drug Switch A selection of health policy stories from New York, Arizona, Texas, California, Florida, Maine, Georgia and Oregon.The New York Times: New York Files An Antitrust Suit Against The Maker Of An Alzheimer’s DrugNew York State’s attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit on Monday seeking to stop a pharmaceutical company from forcing patients with Alzheimer’s disease to switch to a new version of a widely used drug. The lawsuit contends that the switch is designed to blunt competition from low-priced generic versions of the medication (Pollack, 9/15).The Associated Press: NY Bid To Halt Alzheimer’s Drug SwapAttorney General Eric Schneiderman alleges both anti-trust and state law violations in the federal suit filed Monday in Manhattan against Dublin-based Actavis PLC and New York subsidiary Forest Laboratories (9/15).The New York Times: Arizona Republican Official Resigns After Remarks About Medicaid RecipientsThe former Arizona lawmaker who sponsored the state’s stringent anti-immigration law resigned as a top state Republican official late Sunday amid criticism for remarks he made supporting mandatory birth control or sterilization for Medicaid recipients (Medina, 9/15).Politico: Russell Pearce Resigns After Birth Control RemarksFormer Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce resigned from his post as vice chairman of the state’s Republican Party following recent controversial remarks about Medicaid, suggesting women be required to use birth control. However he pointed blame at media. “Recently on my radio show there was a discussion about the abuses to our welfare system. I shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author. This was a mistake. This mistake has been taken by the media and the left and used to hurt our Republican candidates,” Pearce said in a statement in which he announced his resignation, published by the Arizona GOP on Sunday (McCalmont, 9/15). Texas Tribune: Advocates Warn Of Unexpected Medical BillsEven Texans who have health insurance often face steep, unexpected costs for emergency-room care, consumer advocates told a panel of state lawmakers Monday. Senators on the State Affairs Committee met to address a charge from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican, to study “increasing medical price transparency” in advance of the legislative session that begins in January. Policy experts representing patients and hospitals expressed concern about the practice of “balance billing” — when consumers are asked to pay more for out-of-network care not paid for by an insurer (Walters, 9/15).Los Angeles Times: California Broadens Autism Therapy Coverage For Children On Medi-CalCalifornia children enrolled in public health care will regain access to an expensive form of autism therapy after the state Monday became the first in the country to comply with new federal guidelines. The therapy, called applied behavior analysis, was at the center of controversy last year when state officials phased out the Healthy Families program, which covered the treatment, and shifted poor children into Medi-Cal, which did not (Megerian, 9/15). The Associated Press: Fla.’s ‘Gray Belt’ A Glimpse At Nation’s FutureIn Citrus County, about 70 miles north of Tampa, health care dominates the labor force. Residents prefer to get their news from a newspaper. Strip malls have an unusually high number of hearing aid businesses. The library offers Medicaid planning seminars. Voters turn out in large numbers, albeit often by absentee ballot. Having such a high concentration of elderly citizens has its trade-offs. You get an engaged citizenry with high voter turnout and volunteerism, but also an economy based on low-skill jobs such as health-care aides, retail clerks and food service workers (Schneider, 9/15).Health News Florida: Problems Pop Up In Florida’s Medicaid Managed Care ProgramFlorida recently finished rolling out a new way of providing care to more than 3.5 million low-income Floridians. Nearly all of them are now enrolled in managed care plans. The state agency that runs Medicaid recently released a series of comments from various players in the industry praising the rollout. But some groups say the new system is still plagued with problems (Hatter, 9/15). The Associated Press: Maine Gubernatorial Hopeful Outlines Ideas Around Health CareGubernatorial hopeful Mike Michaud on Monday touted a 10-part health care plan that includes taking advantage of telemedicine, supporting [preventive] care and improving substance abuse and mental health services. The Democrat challenging Gov. Paul LePage again pledged his support for expanding Medicaid to an estimated 70,000 residents under the Affordable Care Act — a proposal the Republican governor fiercely opposes and has vetoed five times because he says it will be too costly for the state. LePage’s campaign criticized Michaud’s continued push to add more people to the Medicaid program, saying that its growth the past lead to a $400 million debt owed to the state’s hospitals, which was his administration recently paid (9/15). Georgia Health News: Another Important Change In State Benefit PlanBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is dropping its Medicare Advantage plan for next year for retirees in the State Health Benefit Plan. That means UnitedHealthcare will be the sole provider of the Advantage plans for 2015. (Blue Cross is the sole provider for 2014.) The Georgia Department of Community Health is informing retiree health plan members about the Blue Cross move through email and letter this month, letting them know that the decision won’t affect the coverage in effect for the current year (Miller, 9/15).Oregonian: Impasse Between Oregon Officials, Controversial Drugmaker Goes Before LawmakersThe state of Oregon and the maker of a pricey new Hepatitis C drug may yet have room to compromise on cost, according to a hearing of the House Health Care Committee on Monday. Oregon and Gilead Sciences, maker of a $1,000-a-pill drug called Sovaldi, have been at a widely publicized impasse on the drug’s potential cost to the Oregon Health Plan. Though the drugmaker has offered about a third off the list price, that price would require the state of Oregon to drop any attempt to limit consumers’ access to the drug. The cost of the drug has sparked national controversy and criticism from insurers and states’ Medicaid officials (Budnick, 9/15). 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. State standards for access to care for Medicaid recipients vary widely and are rarely enforced, says a soon-to-be released report by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s governor pursues Medicaid expansion talks, and confusion continues in Pennsylvania about what benefits will be available to enrollees in that state’s expansion plan.The New York Times: For Many New Medicaid Enrollees, Care Is Hard to Find, Report SaysEnrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report. The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor (Pear, 9/27).Forbes: As Obamacare Pays Medical Bills, Red States Pressured On MedicaidA new report showing the continued pileup of unpaid medical bills in states that didn’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is escalating criticism on these Republican-led areas of the country to expand the health insurance program for the poor. The report out last week from the Obama administration shows the costs of uncompensated care are projected to fall by $5.7 billion this year largely because millions of Americans are eligible for expanded Medicaid insurance … Pressure on GOP-led states has worked in some cases. In Pennsylvania, for example, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who is facing a difficult re-election challenge, dropped his opposition to the Medicaid expansion a few months ago (Japsen, 9/28). Philadelphia Inquirer: Confusion Remains Over Corbett’s Obamacare AlternativeTwo months before Healthy Pennsylvania – Gov. Corbett’s private-market version of Medicaid expansion – opens for business, advocates for the low-income uninsured have no idea what benefits packages will be offered or what criteria will be used to place people in plans. State officials “clearly have been on top of this because they have been getting the delivery system in place,” says Leonardo Cuello, director of health policy at the National Health Law Program in Washington. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t figured out a lot of the details.” After months of negotiations over the state’s request for 24 waivers, the Obama administration granted four of them in giving Healthy Pennsylvania the green light last month. The approval clears the way for 600,000 low-income Pennsylvanians – most of whom have never had health insurance – to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act starting Jan. 1 (Calandra, 9/28).The Associated Press: Tennessee Governor Presses Ahead On Medicaid Expansion TalksGov. Bill Haslam says he’s still in talks over finding a way to expand Medicaid in Tennessee despite pushback from fellow Republicans in the state Legislature. The governor said in a conference call with reporters after meetings with bond rating agencies in New York on Thursday that he wants to find a solution that is acceptable both to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and to largely skeptical lawmakers in Tennessee, who must approve any deal under a law passed earlier this year. Haslam said that he had meetings over the subject in Washington as recently as two weeks ago and that TennCare officials have been involved in ongoing discussions on the issue (Schelzig, 9/26). Kaiser Health News: Texas And Florida Expand Medicaid – For KidsRepublican lawmakers in Florida and Texas snubbed the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion for adults, but their states did broaden the program this year — for school-age children. Those states were among 21 – including some big Democratic-led states, such as California — that were required to widen Medicaid eligibility for children between the ages of 6 and 18 by 2014. That little-known provision of the health law is a key reason hundreds of thousands of kids gained coverage in the state-federal health insurance program for the poor, according to a Kaiser Health News survey of a dozen states (Galewitz, 9/29).Meanwhile, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate calls for investigating health exchange contracts -The Associated Press: Hogan Calls For Wider Probe In Md. Health ExchangeRepublican candidate for governor Larry Hogan called for a wider investigation of Maryland’s flawed health care exchange website on Thursday with a focus on political donations from companies and state contracts they received. Hogan said he asked state and federal officials in a letter Wednesday to expand on an audit already underway by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His action served to underscore criticism of his opponent — Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown — in what has been an increasingly negative campaign for the governorship. Hogan said he sent letters to the Maryland U.S. attorney, the state prosecutor’s office and the state attorney general’s office (9/25). Report: Finding Care Is Difficult For Some New Medicaid Enrollees
The Hill: Gilead Wins FDA Approval For Cheaper Hepatitis C Cure FDA OKs Gilead’s Lower-Priced Drug To Treat All Strains Of Hep C Epclusa costs $74,760 for a 12-week course of treatment. The company that created Sovaldi, the landmark drug to cure hepatitis C, has won approval for a new, slightly cheaper treatment that will be even more effective against the disease. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the newest drug from Gilead Sciences called Epclusa, which marks the first combination therapy to treat all six forms of the liver disease hepatitis C. (Ferris, 6/28) The Columbus Dispatch: Emergency Medicine: So-Called ‘Smart Drugs’ Can Have Dangerous Consequences Federal health officials on Tuesday approved the first pill to treat all major forms of hepatitis C, the latest in a series of drug approvals that have reshaped treatment of the liver-destroying virus. The Food and Drug Administration approved the combination pill, Epclusa, from Gilead Sciences for patients with and without liver damage. The new drug’s broad indication could make it easier to use than five other hepatitis drugs recently approved by the FDA, which are each tailored to different viral strains or stages of liver disease. (6/28) Stat: FDA Approves A Gilead Pill That Is First To Treat All Forms Of Hepatitis C Shares of Los Angeles-area biotech firm Xencor Inc. soared Tuesday by 32% after the company announced a deal with Swiss drug giant Novartis. Under the agreement, Novartis will pay Xencor $150 million now and potentially much more in the future as the companies work to develop and commercialize two experimental cancer drugs. Monrovia-based Xencor will keep the rights to the drugs in the U.S. while Novartis will have those commercialization rights in the rest of the world. (Petersen, 6/28) For more drug pricing news, check out our weekly feature, Prescription Drug Watch, which includes coverage and perspectives of the issue. The Associated Press: FDA Approves First Pill To Treat All Forms Of Hepatitis C The Wall Street Journal: Gilead Gets FDA Approval For Combo Hepatitis C Drug And in other pharmaceutical news — Gilead Sciences Inc. received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its Epclusa hepatitis C combination drug and priced the treatment below its older drugs for the disease. … The new drug, a combination of the biopharmaceutical company’s Sovaldi with its new velpatasvir therapy, is the first drug that treats all six major strains of the disease. Gilead priced Epclusa lower than its older hepatitis C drugs, at $74,760 for a course of treatment before discounts, according to a company spokeswoman. (Stynes and Rockoff, 6/28) Los Angeles Times: Xencor Signs Cancer-Drug Deal With Novartis; Its Stock Surges 32% Gilead Sciences won regulatory approval on Tuesday to sell a new hepatitis C combination drug, which can combat all six strains of the disease, and priced it below its older treatments. (Silverman, 6/28) The pills this young man was taking fit into the broader category of nootropics, pharmacological agents designed to improve cognition. These so-called “smart drugs” are becoming more and more popular, although not terribly well supported with scientific studies. … What we also know, through survey data, is that men are more likely to experiment with medications and be more adventurous in pushing the limits of getting smarter, stronger and faster. That’s why it is not surprising that the advertising for these “smart drugs” targets men, especially successful upwardly mobile men. (Gorgas, 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.
California Healthline: Children’s Hospitals Look To Voters For Financial Aid It took more than half a year for Brian’s daughter to get a bed at Western State Hospital after she put a bread knife into an electrical outlet at his Tacoma apartment. A court ruled she needed involuntary psychiatric treatment at the 857-bed facility in Lakewood, but because the waitlist can stretch to more than 100 patients, his daughter instead bounced around Pierce County inpatient treatment centers that provide less-intensive care. (Orenstein, 5/19) The state’s highest court will weigh the constitutionality of a law that lets not-for-profit hospitals skip paying property taxes — a question with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. Current law says that not-for-profit hospitals in Illinois don’t have to pay property taxes as long as the value of their charitable services is at least equal to what they would otherwise pay in taxes. About three-fourths of the state’s more than 200 hospitals are not-for-profit. (Schencker, 5/18) California’s children’s hospitals say they’re struggling to keep up with advances in medical care and a growing demand for their services, and they’re asking taxpayers to help – again. The California Children’s Hospital Association wants voters to pass a $1.5 billion bond measure to upgrade infrastructure and equipment at the state’s 13 children’s hospitals. It would be the third state bond for children’s hospitals in the past 14 years. In 2004, voters approved one for $750 million, and in 2008, they re-upped for $980 million. (Ibarra, 5/21) The former executive of a Frisco hospice admitted Thursday to overdosing patients to “hasten their deaths” so the company could make more money, court records show. Melanie Murphey, 36, admitted serving as the “go-between” for Novus Health Services owner Bradley Harris, doctors and nurses in an alleged $60 million scheme. Murphey, Novus’ director of operations, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and is expected to testify against 15 others in the case, including Harris and his wife, Amy. The other defendants have pleaded not guilty. (Emily, 5/19) Chicago Tribune: Illinois Supreme Court To Weigh Tax Exemption For Not-For-Profit Hospitals Concerns Rise As California Hospitals Provide Few Details Following Crash Of Information System While Sutter Health executive officer Sarah Krevans says everyone was provided “high-quality, safe patient care,” during the outage, patients, doctors and nurses describe a different picture. More hospital news is reported out of Illinois, Washington and Texas, also. Sacramento Bee: Sutter Health Patients, Nurses Concerned After Computer Failure San Francisco Chronicle: Sutter Health Tight-Lipped About Cause Of Major Computer Crash The companywide information system failure at Sutter Health last week is raising concerns among some nurses and at least one patient about how the health-care giant functioned amid the crisis. (Anderson, 5/20) Dallas Morning News: Frisco Hospice Exec Admits Overdosing Patients ‘to Hasten Their Deaths’ And Make More Money Sutter Health, whose computer network system crashed Monday night and remained down until Wednesday morning — forcing hospitals across Northern California to cancel surgeries and delay appointments — is sharing few details about the cause of the problem. (Ho, 5/18) Seattle Times: Western State Patient Releases Can Be Delayed Years For Lack Of Outside Beds This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Email April 23, 201912:21 PM EDT Filed under News FP Street Sponsored By: Foreign investments by pension funds protect Canada’s triple-A credit rating Since 2011, the value of Canada’s overseas assets has more than doubled, says the global credit rating agency Fitch Recommended For YouFerring Collaboration with Digital Health Innovators WOOM Aims to Help More People Build Families FasterTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank 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 Comment 0 Comments Canada’s trove of overseas assets, including airports and roads owned by pension funds, is helping to protect the country’s top credit rating, according to Fitch Ratings.Foreign assets held by Canadians reached $3.71 trillion US at the end of 2018, exceeding foreign liabilities by $528.6 billion US$ and making the country a net creditor to the rest of the world.That’s helping to support the credit rating, despite a mountain of public-sector debt and persistent current account deficits that would typically undermine a nation’s creditworthiness, Fitch said. The current account includes trade in goods and services, as well as net earnings on cross-border investments and transfer payments. Stephen Poloz’s dashboard: The latest charts that matter most to the Bank of Canada CPPIB and Ontario Teachers’ on team buying British satellite operator Inmarsat for $3.4 billion Brookfield buys most of Oaktree in $4.8 billion deal to build juggernaut to rival Blackstone “Countries that run current account deficits are countries that tend to pull the rating down,” said James McCormack, Fitch’s global head of sovereign & supranational group. Nonetheless, “Canada is building more external assets than external liabilities.”Canada historically had been a debtor nation, with net liabilities peaking at $333 billion US in 2011, according to Statistics Canada. But since then, the country has seen the value of its foreign assets more than double, helped in part by a weaker Canadian dollar. That outpaced a 72 per cent increase in liabilities. The nation turned from debtor to creditor in 2014.The $2.2 trillion US economy is supporting public sector debt — provincial and federal — equivalent to almost 90 per cent of its output, compared with an average of about 40 per cent for the 11 countries rated AAA by Fitch. Top-rated countries have on average been reporting current account surpluses while Canada has posted deficits of about two percentage points to almost four percentage points of gross domestic product in the last decade.Pension FundsThose weaknesses would put the country’s rating in the AA-range, were it not for a two-level uplift that Fitch applies to take into account issues including the net international investment position and unfunded pension commitments that are lower than its peers, wrote McCormack, who previously was a Bank of Canada official as well as a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumni.Only Canada and Denmark are given that adjustment, said McCormack.Pension funds such as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec are playing a key role in bolstering Canada’s presence abroad. Pension fund assets rose 53 per cent to $1.92 trillion US at the end of 2018 from $1.25 trillion US in the second quarter of 2011, according to Statistics Canada.Clear LiabilitiesCPPIB, which manages the pension savings of all Canadians except those in Quebec, had $302.3 billion US of investments overseas in the fiscal year ended March 2018, or almost 85 per cent of its assets under management, according to its annual report. Last month, it committed about $900 million US in a joint bid for U.K. satellite company Inmarsat Plc.Almost two-thirds of the Caisse’s $309.5 billion US of assets at the end of last year were invested outside of Canada. On April 5, the Caisse announced a deal with with France’s Engie SA to buy 90 per cent of Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s pipeline unit TAG for $8.6 billion US.Other big overseas investors include Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which has about $350 billion US under management.“Despite heavily financing ourselves abroad, Canadians have not dug themselves into a foreign debt hole,” Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said Friday in a separate note. “If we sold everything we’ve added to our balance sheets in assets abroad, as a country, we could clear our liabilities.”To be sure, the country’s international net international investment position may be not enough to protect the country’s top rating should public debt ratios head upward and rise over 90 per cent of GDP, said McCormick.Also, the country’s net international investment position declined by $109.1 billion US in the last quarter after reaching record $637.7 billion US at the end September, according to government data.Shenfeld also cautions that in the next downturn the value of Canada’s overseas assets may slip while the country will still have to make interest payments on debt held abroad. Featured Stories What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation More Share this storyForeign investments by pension funds protect Canada’s triple-A credit rating Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Bloomberg News Canadian corporations have ramped up their spending abroad as Canada deals with significant levels of debt.Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg Reddit Esteban Duarte advertisement Twitter Facebook ← Previous Next → Join the conversation →
3 Comments Comment Facebook Terence Corcoran: China’s most dangerous export is anti-market ideology. And we’re buying it Sponsored By: Related Stories Lawrence Solomon: Beijing’s behaviour shows why Ottawa needs to stop pushing Chinese trade Twitter Bloomberg News January 23, 20191:58 PM EST Filed under News FP Street Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has a long-term plan for China that’s unlikely to be derailed by political tensions, its chief executive officer said.“China’s a long game from our perspective and while there’s always skirmishes of one kind or another, in the short term, we believe that it’s absolutely necessary to be there,” Ron Mock said in a Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The fund invests a lot in technology in China which is very different than doing so North America, he said.Mock’s comments come as relations between Canada and China are at one of the most strained in their history. Canada is holding Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. in Vancouver at the request of the U.S. who want to extradite her while China has detained two Canadians and sentenced a third to death on a drug charge. Hudson’s Bay chairman’s firm to buy Ontario pension fund stake in retailer; stock surges more than 12% Investment veterans play the long game with launch of new private equity fund Peloton Cadillac Fairview is building a $800-million office tower in Toronto that will be Teachers’ new home The Toronto-based fund is Canada’s third-biggest pension plan, with about $194 billion (US$145 billion) in assets, and oversees the retirement savings of 323,000 retired and working teachers in the province.OTPP is also ready to invest billions of dollars in Brazil now that the worst seems to be behind for the Latin American country, Mock said. Brazil plans to sell a large number of state-owned companies are nearly ready, President Jair Bolsonaro said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday in Davos. Sales will include airports and ports, he said.“Those kinds of things don’t come on the market very often. And if it’s the right asset with the right partners, we’re not shy about moving into it,” Mock said. “It could be billions or tens of billions in some cases, let’s just say it could be billions.”Mock said that OTPP’s assets in Brazil have “performed extremely well” and that he has teams on the ground and that the opportunity set is starting to pick up.–With assistance from Erik Schatzker.Bloomberg.com advertisement Paula Sambo Ron Mock, president and chief executive officer of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg Feud with Canada is damaging China’s reputation in the world, ambassador warns Reddit China ‘absolutely necessary’ for Ontario Teachers’, CEO says Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has a long-term plan for China that’s unlikely to be derailed by political tensions, Ron Mock said Featured Stories Email Share this storyChina ‘absolutely necessary’ for Ontario Teachers’, CEO says Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn More Join the conversation → What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation ← Previous Next →
Paris Will Resume Service Of 1,000 Autolib Charging Stations Ford Begins Production Of DHL Electric Streetscooters Car2go Announces Car Sharing In Paris: 400 Smart EQ Fortwo Bosch decided to use StreetScooter electric vans produced and used in volume by Deutsche Post DHL (it’s worth noting that Bosch is the supplier of the powertrain for StreetScooter). Those vehicles will be rented simply by using an app. Each store will also have charging infrastructure to handle the fleet and since each vehicle will back returned back to the store, van sharing makes perfect sense.In Germany, already 2 million people are using some kind of vehicle sharing services and 1/10 of the fleet is electric.Press blast:Bosch enters the car-sharing business with electric vansQuickly renting a car by app is something that nearly two million people already do in Germany alone, and the number of car-sharing users is on the riseStreetscooterQuickly renting a car by app is something that nearly two million people already do in Germany alone, and the number of car-sharing users is on the rise. In this growth market, Bosch is launching a new sharing service for electric vans. Together with toom, a subsidiary of the German retail group Rewe, the company will be testing the service at hardware stores, which is precisely where there is a demand for vans with sufficient space to carry heavy and bulky purchases. “Bosch is growing with digital services for urban mobility. A service for sharing electric vans has huge potential for growth,” says Dr. Rainer Kallenbach, president of the Connected Mobility Solutions division at Bosch. With more than 330 stores, toom is one of the top providers in the German home-improvement industry. From December 2018, it will only take a few clicks for customers at five selected stores to directly book an electric van on site, and quickly and simply take stone slabs, balcony plants, and paint pots home with them. “As a company committed to sustainability, we are always eager to constantly improve our contribution to environmental protection. We’re therefore very pleased that we can now offer our customers an eco-friendly way of taking their purchases home,” says Wolfgang Vogt, toom’s managing director for finance and personnel. Bosch is already well versed in the sharing services business, as demonstrated by Coup, its rental service for electric scooters. Since its launch in 2016, Coup has constantly expanded, and now has a fleet of 3,500 scooters in Berlin, Paris, and Madrid.Electric fleet for hireIn Germany, one in every ten shared cars now has an electric motor. In its Coup and van-sharing schemes, Bosch has opted exclusively for electrically powered vehicles. “Fully electric driving is ideal for urban mobility – whether that means downtown delivery traffic or individual mobility in major cities,” Kallenbach says. The van-sharing service will initially be offered in Germany, at hardware stores in Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Troisdorf, and Freiburg. At these stores, charge spots are already in place for the small electric vans, which are provided by StreetScooter. Bosch supplies the powertrain components for these vehicles. The company believes that shared electric vans have scope for application outside the hardware-store sector: if the new sharing service proves popular, Bosch plans to expand it to include other partners, whether these be other toom stores, furniture stores, supermarkets, or electronics stores.Say goodbye to shopping stressCar sharing has long ceased to be a niche market, as indicated by the sector’s rapid growth: by 2025, the market is projected to have as many as 36 million users worldwide (source: Frost & Sullivan). More and more users, especially in big cities, are taking advantage of app-based services to reserve a vehicle at any time, day or night, then climb right in and drive off. Large and bulky purchases rarely fit into the backpack a shopper might use when traveling through the city on a rented scooter or bike. Anyone who finds themselves needing a way to transport their hardware-store purchases can use the new service to reserve a roomy electric van, either a few hours in advance or at the last minute when making the purchase. Vans can be returned to the same station that the shopper picked them up from. The great advantage here is that users pay a flat hourly rate that includes mileage and battery recharging, an arrangement that is often less expensive than the classic car rental. In addition, the entire process from rental to return is completely digital – with no tedious paperwork. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 15, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Bosch will launch a van sharing business in GermanyAfter launching Coup rental service, which operates 3,500 electric scooters in Berlin, Paris, and Madrid, Bosch is now preparing an electric van sharing system in Germany.Bosch partners with toom, a subsidiary of the German retail group Rewe, that has more than 330 hardware stores. The idea is to offer small delivery vans at toom stores, that would enable customers to carry heavy and bulky purchases back home.The service will be launched in December 2018 at five stores in five cities (Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Troisdorf, and Freiburg).See Also Source: Electric Vehicle News
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