There might be a never-ending debate on whether Samsung’s phones are the greatest or the worst Android phones ever, but there is probably one thing both sides will agree on. Samsung is quite slow in rolling out updates, even after it pledged speedy security updates in the aftermath of Stagefright. Such a system will not work in businesses and enterprises, so when Samsung launched its new Galaxy Note 8 Enterprise Edition, it made a promise that should have been the case from the very start: monthly security updates. SOURCE: Samsung Granted, the Galaxy Note 8 EE does make that guarantee for three years. However, Samsung has so far inconsistently applied that with any of its flagships so far, even for just one year. It might not spark much confidence that it will be able to do so for three years. Then again, losing business customers might serve as a stronger motivation for Samsung to pick up the pace.Of course, that’s not the only perk the Enterprise Edition has for businesses. Samsung will give customers the tools to let their IT departments determine when to push out updates. So even if, in theory, Samsung pushes out monthly security updates, IT might decide to hold them off for a later date. Naturally, business owners will have more control to customize the out of the box experience for employees.Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Note 8 EE doesn’t ship with any bloatware but singles out carrier bloatware only. Which is on par with unlocked phones anyway. It makes no mention of how much of its bloatware it ships with or how much control businesses will have in having those removed from the get-go.In all other aspects, the Enterprise Edition is exactly identical to the regular Galaxy Note 8 in hardware and even in price. Almost. The Galaxy Note 8 Enterprise Edition does cost $994 each, but that is something that businesses will have to worry about on their own.
Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, has plans to add a huge Pokemon theme park attraction, according to a local news source. The addition will reportedly involve opening a fourth theme park, as well as a Pokemon-centric park that revolves around the popular franchise. That Pokemon attraction will be added to Universal Orlando’s KidZone, according to the report, joining other popular kid-friendly characters. The information comes from local news agency WFTV9, which reports that one of its news anchors, Jamie Holmes, got a scoop on the plans. Assuming the information is correct, Universal Orlando plans to build the Pokemon attraction in a section that was previously slated for a Donkey Kong roller coaster and Mario Kart attraction.The rides won’t be scrapped, but instead moved elsewhere to a section of property the company recently purchased. In their place will be the Pokemon attractions, the agency says, which is part of the park’s overall work with Nintendo. The report indicates that Pokemon will be found throughout the park.The newly purchased land will be the destination for Universal’s fourth theme park, one that’ll heavily feature iconic Nintendo characters. The company has previously dedicated large areas of its real estate to popular franchises, notably Harry Potter. However, these grand plans will take a lot of time, and so visitors will be waiting years to experience the attractions.Again, assuming the sources are correct, the Pokemon attractions won’t open at Universal Studios until 2020. As well, the company is planning to add a Harry Potter roller coaster, which is scheduled for launch next year. The decision is reportedly part of the company’s efforts to remain competitive with nearby theme park giant Disney.SOURCE: WFTV9ABC
Google’s first presentation of Google One isn’t direct about its future aims. Instead, Google suggests that it’s basically Google data storage with access to Google consumer product experts and the ability to share data storage between up to 6 members of a family. Data costs are similar to but not identical to those of the Google data storage plans available before Google One was active.In our first Google One introductory article, two sentence fragments from Google are particularly important to what we’re talking about now. • “as well as the additional benefits of Google One”• “And we’ll be adding more benefits over time.”Google also mentioned the addition of “access to extras from other Google products, like credits on Google Play or deals on select hotels found in Google Search.” Google wants to offer users the ability to feel like they’re a part of an elite group of Google users. Google One won’t be exactly like Amazon Prime – Google isn’t a marketplace, after all. But it’s not too much of a stretch to assume Google will eventually offer Google One plans with YouTube Red, YouTube Music, Google Express. And don’t forget your Google Assistant. Everything’ll be better with Google One. Google, Amazon, and any other company that aims to take over the world with their smart home-connected artificially intelligent digital assistants will cost a monthly fee. For premium access to all their best services, that is to say. You’ll be able to live without paying, but you could live so much better if you pay a monthly fee!But we’re not there yet. Soon! Google introduced Google One this morning as a new brand for consumer storage – but it’s more than that. Before Google One users simply pay a monthly fee for Google storage space that works with Drive, Photos, and Gmail. In the very near future, Google One will be to Google what Amazon Prime is to Amazon. But they won’t do battle directly. Not at first. Story TimelineGoogle Assistant adds professionally recorded voices and follow-up queriesWatch Google Assistant call a restaurant for youAlexa, Google Assistant, Siri vulnerable to inaudible commands
Story TimelinePixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 hands-on: The new Android flagshipsPixel 3 freebie disclaimers: The fine printPixel 3 launcher is here for your phonePixel 3 XL lets you hide the notch or add a second oneI’m no notch-hater but jeez, this Pixel 3 XL This week the Google Pixel 3 was revealed in full by Google and, before the device hit stores, its camera app was leaked. This app includes some of the technology meant to make the Google Pixel 3 the most elite camera smartphone in the world. Not all, but certainly some. Unless you’ve got a Pixel 3 in your pocket, this is just about as close as you’re gonna get. This app has SOME features for the Google Pixel 2, basic features for the original Pixel, and all that features in the Pixel 3. Users will be able to roll with a number of new features regardless of the Pixel. Icons in this app are adjusted ever-so-slightly and a few new UI elements are in effect. A white circle appears around the most recent photo/video preview, and you’ll find an option called MORE that includes Photo Sphere, Slow Motion, AR Stickers, Lens, and Settings.Pixel 3 Camera features: All the biggest bitsThis includes a new panorama mode – a version made to align with dots to make certain you’re running in a row. Panorama includes a mic icon with audio option attached. This version of the Panorama camera system is optimized for VR viewing, and it might even make you want to use panorama mode in the first place!Portrait Mode is enhanced with a “Face Retouching” option – which should be sufficient to make you look like a very real smoothy-face. You’ll be able to select Natural or Soft, if you do so desire. Slow-motion action is adjusted using buttons 1/4 and 1/8 instead of 120fps and 240fps – assuming you’re using a Pixel 2 or 3. This app is available through the service APK mirror right this minute, via Android Police. This version of the app is fully featured inside the Google Pixel 3 and has slightly fewer features in the Google Pixel and Pixel 2. If you’d like to try the app in other smartphones, go for it – and let us know if it works!Also note: Any and all actions (and downloads) you initiate before, during, or after visiting and reading SlashGear are your own responsibility. SlashGear can’t control what you do, we’re not your parents!
Until now, Pixel owners haven’t been able to use an external microphone with the default camera app. They’ve either had to go without improved audio capture, or use a third-party camera app, which means giving up the Pixel’s custom software for photos and video. A Google employee has now directly confirmed that this changes on October 18th, the same day the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL debut.Pixel 3’s biggest camera featuresAn engineer from the Pixel Camera team posted a response on Google’s product forums, stating that the launch of the Pixel 3 will also see the default Pixel Camera app updated to support “Android-compatible plugged-in external microphones.” Even better is that update will be coming to the camera apps on the Pixel 2 and original Pixel as well.This should be a welcome upgrade to Pixel users wanting to record videos with the best possible audio, assuming they have the necessary USB-C to headphone jack adapter needed on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3.SOURCE Google Story TimelineGoogle Pixel 3 camera makes big promises with big featuresPixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 hands-on: The new Android flagshipsPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL updates will stop with Android SI’m no notch-hater but jeez, this Pixel 3 XLPixel 3 Camera app download released unofficially, for Pie Google’s new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices were revealed earlier this week, and to almost no surprise the phones are ready to hold their title as having some of the best cameras around. One of the key reasons for this is that the Pixel doesn’t just rely on optics hardware, but also uses advanced software in the custom Pixel Camera app to capture great images. This continues with the latest generation, but next week’s launch also sees the app get a long-awaited feature.
Back then, though, you’d need to live in Las Vegas if you actually wanted to use the system. Audi had quietly added support to a number of its vehicles, though the option would only show up in the Virtual Cockpit instrumentation if it could get the data from the local infrastructure. This week, however, Traffic Light Information (TLI) is now available across more than 2,250 intersections in the US. That includes both Phoenix and Kansas City, Dallas and Houston, Palo Alto and Arcadia in California, Portland in Oregon, Denver, and Washington D.C. It’s available in a number of 2017 and 2018 model year cars. Audi’s Traffic Light Information system, which puts a countdown to the next green light on your dashboard, is launching in ten more cities across the US, the automaker has confirmed. First launched in 2016, the technology is one of the earliest examples of V2I, or Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, to reach production cars. Currently, the functionality is fairly straightforward. As you approach the next set of traffic lights, the car communicates its position with the city infrastructure over the embedded 4G LTE connection. A “time-to-green” indicator is shown on the dashboard, giving an idea as to how long a wait is involved. AdChoices广告“This “time-to-green” information helps reduce stress by letting the driver know approximately how much time remains before the light changes,” Audi suggests. However, it’s not a countdown to a fast launch. The car won’t show the final few seconds, in the hope that drivers don’t use it as a drag race launch timer. Audi’s plans for V2I do go beyond just showing when the next green light is. Currently, the information is only used to drive the countdown. However, the automaker suggests, it could use it to power the engine start/stop system more intelligently: only turning the drivetrain off if the length of time the car will be waiting makes it worthwhile. Other applications could be a so-called Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory (GLOSA), which would recommend the best speed to cruise at in order to sail through each open signal. Audi already uses geographic mapping data to give advice on when to lift off the gas ahead for the most economical drive through upcoming corners. It could also use the green light data to optimize its navigation routing. Of course, that’s all somewhere in the future, and Audi is cautious to say that it could implement the technology that way, not that it necessarily will. For the moment, you’ll need to have a compatible Audi and a subscription to Audi connect PRIME in order to get the time-to-green tech.
Story Timeline2018 Tesla Model 3 gets 5-star side crash ratingNHTSA Tesla Model 3 crash test videos will make you wince The Tesla Model 3 has aced European crash safety testing, with the most affordable car in the EV automaker’s line-up grabbing five stars out of five after Euro NCAP put it through its trials. The 2019 Model 3 scored a whopping 96-percent in adult occupant testing, while Tesla’s safety assistance systems like automatic emergency braking came in only shortly behind that, with a score of 94-percent. It isn’t a completely clean sweep, mind. Euro NCAP flags some missing safety equipment from the Model 3, like knee airbags, Isofix support for a child seat in the front passenger seat, and no active hood that would pop up in the case of a pedestrian collision. Mitigating that last point somewhat, the testing suggested that the Model 3’s automatic emergency braking system “performed well” in reacting to pedestrians in the roadway. “Its performance in the Safety Assist tests particularly impressed,” the testing organization says, “thanks to its superb driver assistance systems like lane support, speed assist and autonomous emergency braking. The Tesla’s 94 percent score in 2019 Safety Assist tests is the best yet under Euro NCAP’s most recent protocol.”All in all, it’s another vote of confidence for Tesla. Four new cars have been granted the maximum five stars from Euro NCAP today, with the Model 3 joining the Skoda Scala, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE. Two further cars – the Kia Need and DS 3 Crossback – achieved four stars with their standard safety package, rising to five when options were added. The Skoda – not available in the US – actually beat the Tesla in overall crash performance, scoring 97-percent in adult occupant and 87-percent in child occupant testing. It also beat the Model 3 when it comes to vulnerable road users, with a score of 81-percent. Only in tech did Elon Musk’s car pull ahead, with the Scala scoring 76-percent. Not bad, when you consider the version of the Skoda that Euro NCAP tested was priced at just over 20,000 euro, less than half the price of the Model 3. The Model 3’s child occupant rating was 86-percent, while the testing organization scored the electric sedan 74-percent for vulnerable road users like pedestrians. The car tested was the standard Model 3, with no extra safety tech added. It puts the Model 3 in ninth place in Euro NCAP’s 2019 ratings for driver protection, fourteenth place for child protection, eleventh place for pedestrian protection, and first place for safety systems. So far, Euro NCAP has only tested one other all-electric 2019 model year car, the Audi e-tron. That scored 91-percent in driver protection, 85-percent in child protection, 71-percent in pedestrian protection, and 76-percent in safety systems. Although most people associate crash testing with a car being propelled at speed – and coming off worse for wear – into a concrete block, in reality the process consists of a number of trials. To get a good Euro NCAP rating, for example, there are four main crash tests that a car needs to do well in. First is the frontal impact test, with the car hitting a rigid barrier. The offset frontal impact test, where 40-percent of the width of the car strikes a deformable barrier, is arguably more representative of typical crashes, some experts say. That’s because it more closely replicates what happens when two cars have a glancing collision. Then there’s the pole test, where the vehicle being tested is propelled sideways into a rigid pole. Finally, the side impact test sees a mobile deformable barrier impacting the driver’s door. Euro NCAP then runs a series of pedestrian tests with different sizes and shapes of impactors, body part forms designed to replicate adult and child bodies, and whiplash testing.
UnitedHealth’s Shareholders Will See Dividend Boost The UnitedHealth board approved an increase in quarterly dividends of more than 30 percent. Also in the news, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group is facing allegations of Medicare Advantage overpayments. The Associated Press/Washington Post: Insurer UnitedHealth’s Board Approves More Than 30 Percent Increase In Quarterly DividendThe largest U.S. health insurer authorized a quarterly payout of 21.25 cents per share on June 22 to shareholders of record as of June 15. That’s up from the previous dividend of 16.25 cents per share for the Minnetonka, Minn., company (6/6).Modern Healthcare: $115 Million In Overpayments AllegedA subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group was accused by auditors of receiving as much as $115 million in overpayments from the CMS in 2007 by inappropriately using patient diagnosis codes to increase risk-adjusted reimbursements in the population-based insurance program Medicare Advantage. … However, the office stopped short of recommending the CMS collect the projected figure from the company, saying PacifiCare officials should “work with” the Medicare agency to come up with an appropriate payment adjustment (Carlson, 6/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Are The Health Law’s Coverage Requirements Scaling Back Some Restaurants’ Expansion Plans? The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Costs Slow Some Fast-Food ChainsSome restaurant operators are scaling back expansion plans because of uncertainty about the expense of insuring employees under the new federal health-care law. The concerns are especially acute among smaller operators who are more likely to be on the cusp of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for increased coverage of workers. The doubt is adding to anxiety over other rising costs for items like ingredients at a time when diners are cutting back on eating out (Jargon, 5/14).
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: November 19, 2013 Today’s headlines include news that Obama administration officials were warned about the possibility of website difficulties months ago by an outside consulting firm.Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Readers Ask If They Can Buy A Policy After March 31 And If An Employer Can Cancel A Spouse’s CoverageKaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: “The news has been focused on the troubles of people trying to use the health care law’s insurance exchanges and new options for people whose individual policies are being canceled. But open enrollment continues, and people who are shopping for individual or job-based coverage have many questions. Here are some answers” (Andrews, 11/19). Read the column.Kaiser Health News: Scott Walker’s Medicaid ManeuverWUWM’s Erin Toner, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who appears to be laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run, is getting attention for his entitlement reform. He is one of 25 Republican governors who are rejecting the health law’s expansion of Medicaid. But Wisconsin’s own Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, was more generous than many states, and now Walker wants to transfer many of those people to the insurance marketplace created by the law. It’s a plan that allows Walker to reject Obamacare, turn down federal money on the table, but still provide health coverage to many of Wisconsin’s poor and working poor residents” (Toner, 11/19). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: In Pa., A Big Gap In Health Insurance CoverageThe Philadelphia Inquirer’s Robert Calandra, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News, reports: “As many as 400,000 Pennsylvanians will plunge into the hole between traditional Medicaid and the new marketplace come Jan. 1, according to the Pennsylvania Health Access Network. … That gap was supposed to be filled with federal money states could use to cover more people. Gov. Corbett first chose to turn down the so-called Medicaid expansion. Officials have since presented a 12-page plan called Healthy Pennsylvania to the federal government. The aim is to reform Medicaid, increase access, and stabilize financing. The feds have yet to render a decision on the plan” (Calandra, 11/19). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: 3 State Exchange Leaders Try To Get Good News OutNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Jenny Gold writes: “Democrats in states running their own exchanges are seeking to put a more positive spin on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, despite the mostly negative news coming out of Washington. ‘What we’re seeing is incredible momentum,’ Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said during a conference call for reporters held by Families USA on Monday. ‘We need to remind everyone that one-third of Americans are enrolling in state exchanges,’ he added. ‘We’re showing that [the ACA] can and is working for Americans'” (Gold, 11/18). Check out what else is on the blog.The Washington Post: Obama’s Ratings Tumble After Health-Care FlawsThe flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act has pushed President Obama to the lowest point of his presidency, with dwindling faith in his competence and in many of the personal attributes that have buoyed him in the past, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Opposition to the new health-care law also hit a record high in the survey, with 57 percent saying they oppose the president’s most significant domestic initiative. Forty-six percent say they are strongly against it. Just a month ago, as the enrollment period was beginning, the public was almost evenly divided in its assessments of the law (Balz and Craighill, 11/19).Politico: Obamacare Vs. ACA: What’s In A Name? President Barack Obama and loyal Democrats once embraced the term Obamacare to sell the American people on health care reform. Not anymore. With the president’s approval ratings at record lows, a broken website and Obama under fire for his pledge that people could keep their plans, the “Affordable Care Act” has returned (Epstein, 11/19).The New York Times: Officials Were Warned About Health Site WoesSenior Obama administration officials, including several in the White House, were warned by an outside management consultant early this year that the effort to build the HealthCare.gov site was falling behind and at risk of failure unless immediate steps were taken to correct the problems, according to documents released by House investigators. The report, by McKinsey & Company, which was prepared in late March at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that management indecision and a “lack of transparency and alignment on critical issues” were threatening progress, despite the tight deadline (LaFraniere and Lipton, 11/18).The Washington Post: Private Consultants Warned Of Risks Before Healthcare.gov’s Oct. 1 LaunchThe Obama administration brought in a private consulting team to independently assess how the federal online health insurance enrollment system was developing, according to a newly disclosed document, and in late March received a clear warning that its Oct. 1 launch was fraught with risks. The analysis by McKinsey & Co. foreshadowed many of the problems that have dogged HealthCare.gov since its rollout, including the facts that the call-in centers would not work properly if the online system was malfunctioning and that insufficient testing would make it difficult to fix problems after the launch (Eilperin and Somashekhar, 11/18).Politico: Report Warned Of Healthcare.gov Flaws Last SpringThe administration was warned last spring that its website didn’t meet key requirements for a successful rollout, including relying too heavily on outside contractors, according to a copy of a “Red Team” report prepared for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and obtained by POLITICO. The report, which was delivered at the end of March, identified six tests that the developing healthcare.gov website didn’t meet: Its needs were evolving, rather than clearly articulated; there was no clear definition of success; the program relied too heavily contractors and other outside parties; the design, build and test phases were stacked on top of each other rather than sequential, there wasn’t enough time allotted or a side enough scope for valid end-to-end testing of the system; and the site was expected to launch at full volume rather than phasing in over time (Allen, 11/19).The Associated Press/Washington Post: White House: 1 In 5 People Won’t Make It Through Health Exchange Website Despite FixesThe White House says 20 percent of Americans won’t make it through the website to buy health insurance through new exchanges. The Obama administration is scrambling to fix the malfunctioning website by Nov. 30. But White House spokesman Jay Carney says there will still be 1 in 5 who will start the process online but won’t be able to purchase insurance (11/18).USA Today: Fix Speeds Health Site’s Insurance Account ChoicesTechnicians working to repair the HealthCare.gov website have fixed most of the problems that stymied health insurance customers from creating personal accounts, the spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday. Those fixes mean the system can “easily” handle 20,000 to 25,000 people in the area of the site where they choose their insurance plans, said Julie Bataille, the CMS spokeswoman. Bataille did not comment on the site’s total capacity, although last week, the total capacity for all areas of the site was 20,000 to 25,000 people (Kennedy, 11/18).Los Angeles Times: Healthcare Plan Enrollment Surges In Some States After Rocky RolloutDespite the disastrous rollout of the federal government’s healthcare website, enrollment is surging in many states as tens of thousands of consumers sign up for insurance plans made available by President Obama’s health law. A number of states that use their own systems, including California, are on track to hit enrollment targets for 2014 because of a sharp increase in November, according to state officials (Levey, 11/18).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Once Considered A Leader, Oregon’s Insurance Exchange Still Hasn’t Enrolled AnyoneWith all the problems facing the rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, nowhere is the situation worse or more surprising than in Oregon, a progressive state that has enthusiastically embraced the federal law but has so far failed to enroll a single person in coverage through the state’s insurance exchange. Despite grand ambitions, an early start, millions of dollars from the federal government and a tech-savvy population, Oregon’s online enrollment system still isn’t ready more than a month after it was supposed to go live. The state has resorted to hiring or reassigning 400 people to process insurance applications by hand (11/18).Los Angeles Times: California Health Exchange Is Hesitant To Extend Canceled PoliciesCalifornia’s health insurance exchange remained hesitant to embrace a controversial request from President Obama to extend canceled insurance policies for another year. The state exchange, called Covered California, said Monday that it won’t decide until later this week whether 1 million policyholders with expiring policies can keep their coverage for 2014 (Terhune, 11/18).Los Angeles Times: Obamacare’s Backers And Foes View To Recruit Young People The raucous scene at a University of Miami tailgate party on a recent weekend might have seemed an unlikely spot for a debate over Obamacare. But with six dozen pizzas in hand, the youthful staffers from Generation Opportunity rolled up in Hummers and Ford F-150s to claim their spot (Reston, 11/18).The Washington Post: Obama’s Message To OFA Supporters On ObamacarePresident Obama sought to reassure supporters on Friday evening that the fight to stand up his health-care law would succeed, while also trying to enlist their help in spreading word about the importance of signing up Americans for the Affordable Care Act. In a conference call with thousands of supporters hosted by Organizing for Action, Obama said the problems with Healthcare.gov have led to “misinformation” about the health-care law, although he did not offer specific examples (Goldfarb, 11/18).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Not Just The Website: Obama Asks For Health Enrolling By Mail, On Phone, In PersonPresident Barack Obama urged his supporters Monday to help Americans enroll for health insurance by mail, in person and over the phone, seeking to tamp down expectations that the error-riddled HealthCare.gov website will ever be a panacea for the uninsured — even once it’s fixed (11/18).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obama Seeks Help From Supporters For Health LawPresident Barack Obama on Monday sought help from his former campaign supporters in implementing the troubled health law, urging them to get people enrolled in insurance plans and telling them that doing so will save lives. “My main message is, I’m going to need your help,” Mr. Obama said in a call with Organizing for Action, previously named Obama for America, the campaign group that helped him win re-election. “As a consequence of that work, you’re going to save somebody’s life” (Favole, 11/18).Los Angeles Times: Obama, Admitting Problems, Asks Backers To Rally For Healthcare LawPresident Obama told supporters to tune out the “noise” and the “setbacks” to his floundering healthcare law on Monday as he tried to motivate his network of activists to join a campaign to boost enrollment. During an online call hosted by Organizing for Action, Obama acknowledged problems with the federal health insurance website, saying he believed the bugs and errors on healthcare.gov had “created and fed” a lot of misinformation about the law. Obama asked his backers to fight against criticism and spread the word about the benefits of the law (Hennessey, 11/18).USA Today: Obama To Backers: Don’t Depend On Healthcare.gov Alone President Obama said Monday that his backers will play a crucial role in whether implementation of his signature health care law is a success. Obama again acknowledged problems with the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov website, but framed the battle for his troubled health care law as one he’ll fight with his supporters. Obama’s comments came in a call organized by Organizing for Action, a political group founded by alumni of his two presidential campaigns (Madhani, 11/18).The New York Times’ The Caucus: Another Website, Another Problem For ObamaSome supporters who tried to log in to hear President Obama defend his embattled health care law on Monday night were unable to hear him because the website of the group behind the call, Organizing for Action, failed to work for them. The website problems were an inconvenient moment for a president who has spent the last six weeks trying to explain the failure of HealthCare.gov, the online marketplace for Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Shear, 11/18).The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: How Much Did Healthcare.gov Cost? (Part 2)At the hearing, held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Powner repeated the $600 million figure several times. He made clear he was speaking about all IT funding for the health care exchanges, including what was spent at the Internal Revenue Service. One lawmaker lauded him as the “$600 million man” and several other lawmakers, including Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), cited the number as well. The Fact Checker contacted Powner and asked how he came up with this figure, and he shipped us a document that he said appears on the federal government’s IT Dashboard for the health-insurance exchanges. He also made it clear that he believes any cost-figure for the Web site should include back-end and front-end expenses necessary for it to run, such as creating the data hub (Kessler, 11/19).Politico: President Obama To Insurers: No BailoutPresident Barack Obama had some bad news for the insurance company CEOs who met him at the White House: His “fix” might cost them. Obama asked the CEOs to reinstate millions of Americans’ health insurance plans that were cancelled because they fell short of coverage requirements under the law, according to two executives who attended the session Friday (Cheney and Haberkorn, 11/19).Politico: Brokers Feel Pain Of ObamacareAdd insurance brokers to the list of people stymied by HealthCare.gov. And it’s not just a headache. It’s their income. Some brokers are waiting for the site to be fixed before they deal with clients using it. But those that are sticking with the arduous online enrollment journey are facing a new question: Will I get paid for this? (Villacorta, 11/19).The Washington Post: Alaska Says No To Medicaid ExpansionAlaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) said Friday his state will not expand Medicaid under President Obama’s signature health-care law after a report estimated it would cost the state about $200 million over seven years. “I believe a costly Medicaid expansion, especially on top of the broken Obamacare system, is a hot mess,” Parnell said at a news conference on Friday. “The bottom line is: Obamacare failed to launch, is failing to deliver on its promises, and remains in disarray. We simply cannot bail out this failed experiment by expanding Medicaid” (Wison, 11/18).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Christie Predicts Health Care Overhaul Will Not SucceedNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is a “failure” and predicts it “will not succeed — it just won’t.” The potential 2016 presidential candidate says the leaders of both political parties, including Obama, are to blame for a 16-day partial federal government shutdown in October. He says the effort by some Republicans to defund the so-called Obamacare law by shutting down the government failed and “absolutists” from both parties hurt the process (11/18).The New York Times: Bill On Drug Compounding Clears Congress A Year After A Meningitis OutbreakA bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration more power to police compounding pharmacies passed its final hurdle in Congress on Monday, in what experts said was an important step to a safer drug supply in the United States (Tavernise, 11/18).Los Angeles Times: State Says 3 Health Insurers Denied Medically Necessary TherapyCalifornia officials said three of the state’s largest health insurers illegally denied speech and occupational therapy to patients, and regulators fined one of the companies, Health Net Inc., $300,000 for repeated violations. The state Department of Managed Health Care said Monday that it ordered Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California to stop denying medically necessary therapy in cases of developmental disabilities, autism and other medical conditions. The state said the three insurers will be required to reimburse patients who paid out of pocket for these improperly denied treatments (Terhune, 11/18).Los Angeles Times: O.C. Ambulance Company Pays $3 Million To Settle Fraud SuitAn Orange County ambulance company has paid $3.05 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it billed Medicare and other federal healthcare programs to transport patients who didn’t need an ambulance, federal prosecutors said. The suit was filed on behalf of the United States by two former employees of Lynch Ambulance, which is based in Anaheim, under whistle-blower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, according to a written statement by the U.S. attorney’s Central District of California office (Esquivel, 11/18). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.
A leading state senator says she will propose tougher safeguards against unethical behavior by those involved in awarding contracts to the private vendors who increasingly deliver medical care and social services to vulnerable Texans. Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, is calling for stronger conflict-of-interest laws. They would prevent the state from issuing health and human services contracts to companies that have ties to agency employees. (Garrett, 1/8) State Highlights: Vt. Single-Payer Advocates Disrupt Gubernatorial Inauguration; States Scrutinize Contracting, Ethics Issues A selection of health policy stories from Vermont, California, Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas and Wisconsin. Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles County Weighs Merger Of Health Agencies Arizona Central-Republic: Ducey Keeps 4 Agency Directors; Hires Medicaid Critic Health care costs are increasingly squeezing American workers, especially those in Georgia and the South, a new [Commonwealth Fund] report released Thursday finds. Nationally, workers’ out-of-pocket costs for premium contributions and deductibles in 2013 accounted for a higher percentage of median family income in all states compared to 2003. (Miller, 1/8) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. [Republican] Gov. Doug Ducey is sticking with four directors who have overseen state agencies during Jan Brewer’s administration. The retention of the directors comes as Ducey continues to fill out the roster of his top staff, adding a vocal critic of the state’s Medicaid expansion as his policy advisor for healthcare and human services. (Pitzl, 1/8) A $10 million payment to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – approved Thursday without going through the legislature, and despite a state budget deficit – sparked questions about legal precedent and fairness. The $10 million approved by the Finance Advisory Committee comes on top of $15.8 million the state already planned to pay the hospital this year, a 64 percent increase. (Phaneuf and Levin Becker, 1/8) Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Failing Rural Hospitals Turn To Taxpayers The Philadelphia Inquirer: Terminated Computer Contractor To Pay N.J. $7.5M More than 100 demonstrators rallied at the State House on Thursday — some disrupting the governor’s inauguration — to let him know that they were upset with his decision not to ask lawmakers this year for a plan to pay for a new universal health care system. Twenty-nine protesters were arrested on charges of unlawful trespass after they were asked to leave but didn’t. (Gram, 1/8) California Healthline: Will Twin Medi-Cal Cuts Affect Access? The Associated Press: 11 Kansas Hospitals Penalized For Rates Of Infections Connecticut Mirror: Children’s Hospital Gets $10M Extra From CT, Raising Eyebrows Reimbursement rates dropped Jan. 1 for Medi-Cal primary care providers in two ways. A provision of the Affordable Care Act temporarily set primary care reimbursement rates at Medicare levels, significantly higher than Medicaid payments. The increase lasted two years and expired on Jan. 1. A state reduction in Medi-Cal reimbursement for primary care providers hit on the same day. (Gorn, 1/8) Dallas Morning News: Nelson Proposing Tougher Ethics Rules In State Contracts California’s budget, which bounced back after years of deficits, is now being squeezed by rising healthcare costs for the poor and for retired state workers. The mountain of medical bills threatens to undermine Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to strengthen state finances — his central promise of the past four years. Enrollment in the state’s healthcare program for the poor, known as Medi-Cal, has exploded by 50% since President Obama’s signature law took effect. Although the federal government picks up most of the tab, state costs have also been growing, and faster than expected. (Megerian, 1/8) Doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Tomah, Wis., hand out so many narcotic painkillers that some veterans have taken to calling the place “Candy Land.” They call the hospital’s chief of staff, psychiatrist Dr. David Houlihan, “the Candy Man.” The number of opiate prescriptions at the Tomah VA more than quintupled from 2004, the year before Houlihan became chief of staff of the hospital, to 2012, according to data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. (Glantz, 1/9) Amid a change in top leadership at Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors is considering a major overhaul of the way the county provides health services to its 10 million residents. Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich wants to merge the county’s public health department — which is responsible for preventing and responding to disease outbreaks, running substance abuse programs and inspecting restaurants, nursing homes and other facilities —- and a separate mental health agency with the Department of Health Services, which runs county hospitals and clinics. (Sewell, 1/8) A contractor hired to replace New Jersey’s antiquated computer network used for welfare programs has agreed to reimburse the state $7.5 million as part of a termination agreement. The state hired Hewlett-Packard in 2009 to build a new computer system that would assist eligibility and enrollment functions for Medicaid and other benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. (1/8) Statewide, dozens of rural hospitals are struggling to survive in the face of declining populations, fewer paying patients and decreasing payments from the government and private insurers. Eight have closed since 2001. Nearly two-thirds of the remaining 61 hospitals have experienced significant losses in the past five years, state data shows. Dodge County Hospital is a rare success story — one of only seven rural hospitals to consistently make a profit in recent years. But that success may be short-lived. (Williams, 1/8) The Associated Press: Single-payer Health Backers Disrupt Shumlin’s Inauguration Georgia Health News: Workers Face Increased Burden On Health Costs Los Angeles Times: California’s Soaring Healthcare Costs Bode Ill For The Budget Eleven Kansas hospitals are among more than 700 nationwide that have been penalized for having high rates of infections or patient injuries, leading to a 1 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursements since the current fiscal year began in October. Medicare evaluated 51 Kansas hospitals, 40 of which were not penalized after scoring below 7 on a 10-point scale for hospital-acquired conditions. (1/8) The Texas Tribune: Texas Lawmaker Asks For Audit Of Second Health Contract The Chicago Tribune: Painkillers Handed Out Like Candy At Wisconsin VA Hospital, Vets Say A state senator wants the Texas auditor to review how a private firm was selected to operate a state psychiatric hospital in Terrell. The request from state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, is the second recent call for an audit of the way the Texas Health and Human Services Commission strikes a deal with a private contractor. (Langford and Satija, 1/8)
Share this story’Stop the unreasonable crackdown’: China calls on Washington to withdraw extradition request Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Facebook Joe McDonald The Associated Press ← Previous Next → Comment Reddit Twitter ‘Stop the unreasonable crackdown’: China calls on Washington to withdraw extradition request Huawei Technologies Ltd., which has spent a decade battling U.S. accusations it is a front for Chinese spying, denied committing any of the violations cited in Monday’s indictment Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, center, smiles at a question from a reporter after an announcement of an indictment of Chinese telecommunications companies including Huawei, on violations including bank and wire fraud, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at the Justice Department in Washington. At left is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, at right.Jacquelyn Martin / AP Featured Stories More Recommended For YouOman urges Iran to release seized tankerDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016The storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them through BEIJING — China called on the U.S. government on Tuesday to “stop the unreasonable crackdown” on Huawei after the United States stepped up pressure on the tech giant by indicting it on charges of stealing technology and violating sanctions on Iran.The Chinese ministry called on Washington to withdraw its request for Canada to extradite a Huawei executive to face charges of lying to banks about possible dealings with Iran.The Chinese government will “firmly defend” its companies, a foreign ministry statement said. It gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate for the charges against Huawei, China’s first global tech brand and the biggest maker of switching gear for phone and internet companies.U.S. pressure on China is set to intensify further when intelligence chiefs brief Congress Tuesday on worldwide threats, which are expected to include Chinese cyberespionage and Huawei.Huawei Technologies Ltd., which has spent a decade battling U.S. accusations it is a front for Chinese spying, denied committing any of the violations cited in Monday’s indictment.The foreign ministry complained Washington has “mobilized state power” to hurt Chinese companies “in an attempt to strangle fair and just operations.”“We strongly urge the United States to stop the unreasonable crackdown on Chinese companies including Huawei,” said the statement read on state TV. It said Beijing will defend the “lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies” but gave no details.The difference in understanding will bring about complicated problems Join the conversation → What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation 8 Comments Sponsored By: January 29, 20192:22 AM ESTLast UpdatedJanuary 29, 20191:43 PM EST Filed under News Email The charges unsealed Monday by the Justice Department accused Huawei of trying to take a piece of a robot and other technology from a T-Mobile lab that was used to test smartphones. Huawei passed Apple in mid-2018 as the second-biggest global smartphone brand after Samsung.The U.S. charges included no allegation Huawei worked at the Chinese government’s direction. But the U.S. government has previously accused China of involvement in cyberspying and theft of industrial secrets. It has charged several Chinese hackers and intelligence officials.Huawei also is charged with using a Hong Kong front company, Skycom, to trade with Iran in violation of U.S. controls. Prosecuters allege Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, lied to banks about those dealings.Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested Dec. 1 in Vancouver, a development that set off a political firestorm between China and Canada.China detained two Canadians shortly after Meng’s arrest in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release her. A Chinese court also sentenced a third Canadian to death in a sudden retrial of a drug case, overturning a 15-year prison term handed down earlier.“We urge the U.S. to immediately withdraw the arrest warrant against Miss Meng Wanzhou and stop making such kinds of extradition requests,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. “We urge Canada to take seriously China’s solemn position, immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and protect her legitimate and legal rights.”his is not just the matter of Huawei. It involves the whole nation of China advertisement Huawei, headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, has rejected the U.S. accusations.“The company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of U.S. law set forth in each of the indictments,” a Huawei statement said.Huawei is “not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng, and believes the U.S. courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion,” it said.Meng is out on bail in Vancouver and is due in court Tuesday as she awaits extradition proceedings.Huawei’s U.S. market evaporated after a 2012 congressional report said it and Chinese rival ZTE Corp. were security risks and told phone companies to avoid them. But Huawei says the scrutiny has had little impact on its business elsewhere.The company says it serves 45 of the 50 biggest global telecom carriers. It forecasts its 2018 global revenue should exceed $100 billion for the first time despite the tension with Washington.Huawei said U.S. prosecutors rejected a request to discuss the investigation following Meng’s arrest. It also noted the allegations in the trade secrets charge were the subject of a U.S. civil lawsuit that already has been settled.The latest charges could dim prospects for U.S.-Chinese trade talks due to start Wednesday in Washington.President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed Dec. 1 to put off any further sanctions against each other’s exports while they negotiated. A breakdown would likely lead to higher tariffs, a prospect that has rattled financial markets for months. U.S. levels 13 charges against Huawei for stealing secrets, evading sanctions John McCallum forced out as Canada’s ambassador to China after comments on Huawei case U.S. confirms it will ask Canada to extradite Huawei executive as China protests The entirely state-controlled Chinese press has portrayed Huawei as the victim of U.S. government efforts to cripple a potential industrial challenger.“This is not just the matter of Huawei. It involves the whole nation of China,” said Qin Xiaohua, who works in the finance industry in Beijing. “We have to unite no matter as individuals or as an integrated country.”While U.S. authorities stress the independence of courts, “ordinary Chinese people all believe it is a deliberate crackdown on Huawei,” said Lu Feng, an economist at Peking University. He said Beijing will see a “link to Chinese-U.S. trade relations.”“The difference in understanding will bring about complicated problems,” said Lu.Asked about the possible effect of the Huawei case on trade talks, the foreign ministry spokesman, Geng, said, “as for the China-U.S. trade talks and our position on this, I think the U.S. is also quite clear about that.”The Justice Department officials provided details from a 10-count grand jury indictment in Seattle, and a separate 13-count case from prosecutors in New York.The Seattle charges allege that beginning in 2012, Huawei plotted to steal information about T-Mobile’s robot, known as “Tappy.” It says Huawei engineers secretly took photos of the robot, measured it and tried to steal part of it from T-Mobile’s lab, according to prosecutors. T-Mobile declined to comment.
The Canadian Press advertisement Comment Email Reddit Sponsored By: Facebook Join the conversation → Recommended For You’This keeps us in the game’: GM throws Oshawa plant a lifeline with $170M investment that will save 300 jobsTrans 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 Featured Stories Share this storyCanada Goose targets world’s fashion centres with six new stores, two in Paris and Milan Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn April 9, 20198:35 AM EDTLast UpdatedApril 9, 20193:47 PM EDT Filed under News Retail & Marketing TORONTO — Luxury parka maker Canada Goose announced plans today to open six new stores including two in Europe.The retailer says it plans to open a store in Milan, Italy, and in Paris as well as an additional store in the United States and three more in Canada.The Milan store will be on Via della Spiga in the city’s fashion district, while the Paris store will be on Rue St. Honore, which is also home to some of the world’s top luxury retailers.The new U.S. store will be in Minneapolis, Minn., at the Mall of America.The new Canadian locations will be in Toronto at the CF Sherway Gardens mall, in Edmonton at the West Edmonton Mall, and in Banff, Alta.Canada Goose currently operates 11 company stores. Twitter More 0 Comments Canada Goose’s new Canadian locations will be in Toronto at the CF Sherway Gardens mall, in Edmonton at the West Edmonton Mall, and in Banff, Alta.Bloomberg What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Canada Goose targets world’s fashion centres with six new stores, two in Paris and Milan New Canadian stores in Toronto, Edmonton and Banff ← Previous Next →
Source: Charge Forward Tesla has been talking about demonstrating the full capabilities of its second generation Autopilot system with a fully self-driving cross-country road trip for 2 years now, but it has yet to happen.Now CEO Elon Musk gives a new timeline for the fully self-driving cross-country road trip: ‘probably’ with the release of version 10 ‘alpha’. more…
Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Source: GM, Automotive News, Electrek The Trump administration is determined to roll back US fuel economy standards, but for now at least, it will have to go through a complex legally mandated process, including a period of public comments, a customary formality that ended last week.Also last week, GM issued a press release in which it made no comment on the EPA’s proposed changes to fuel economy rules, but proposed a National Zero Emissions Program modeled on the program that California and nine other states currently follow.A number of media outlets took the bait and reported GM’s proposal as a rejection of the EPA’s plan to water down the standards, but most EV and environmental journalists were not fooled. Electrek’s Fred Lambert called GM’s PR move “greenwashing,” and the NRDC called it “a distraction.” Another term that comes to mind is “non sequitur.”Federal fuel economy standards and the California ZEV mandate are both on the administration’s hit list, but they are two different things.Reversing progress on fuel economy rules is a move that GM and other automakers demonstrably support. In November 2016, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes GM, contacted the new US president-elect to urge him to “reform” federal fuel economy, emissions and safety standards, and the industry has been quietly helping the process along since then. More recently, in a federal filing (as reported by Automotive News), GM said the existing federal objective of increasing efficiency to more than 50 mpg by 2025 is “not technologically feasible or economically practicable.”When it comes to the ZEV mandate, automakers’ positions are more nuanced. Despite years of lobbying, they have been unable to persuade lawmakers in California and the other ZEV states to abandon the mandate. What the industry is pushing for now is for the federal government and the ZEV states to reach a negotiated compromise, and avoid the prolonged legal battle that seems to be in the offing. Honda has joined GM in calling for a national standard. “The industry is united in its request that the agencies work out an agreement with California,” Honda wrote.Pragmatic proponents of electrification would also like to see an agreement, but preferably a more ambitious one than what GM is proposing. The automaker says it has “a bold vision” that “will take bold actions.” From an EV supporter’s standpoint, “better than nothing” might be a better summation.GM’s plan calls for “[establishing] ZEV requirements (by credits) each year, starting at 7 percent in 2021 and increasing 2 percent each year to 15 percent by 2025, then 25 percent by 2030.” GM’s PR also includes a musteline phrase specifying that its program could be terminated “based on a determination that the battery cost [$70/kWh] or infrastructure targets are not practicable within the timeframe.”That’s tremendously timid even compared to what other automakers are predicting: Audi says electrified vehicles will make up a third of its sales by 2025; Daimler says EVs will be 15 to 25 percent of sales by 2025; VW is aiming for 25 percent of sales to be fully electric vehicles by 2025.GM’s vision seems to be one in which the US auto industry falls further and further behind the rest of the world. China has mandated 12% ZEVs in 2020 – about 4 years ahead of GM’s pusillanimous proposal. In GM’s bold new world, by the time 25 percent of vehicles in the US are electric, several other countries could be well on their way to 100 percent: Norway hopes to phase out ICE vehicles by 2025; Denmark by 2030; France and the UK by 2040.For better or for worse, GM’s pavid plan is probably DOA. It’s conceivable that the feds and the Left Coasters will reach a settlement quickly, as the automakers would like, but at this point, it seems more likely that a putative National Zero Emissions Program will emerge from an ugly legal battle that will take months or years, and will drag state governments into the fray (8 governors recently signed a letter supporting the EPA’s proposed rollback, while 20 states have expressed opposition). On the bloody morning after, few are likely to remember a one-page 2018 press release from GM.
Source: Charge Forward Rivian has filed for a patent to expand the energy capacity of its upcoming R1T electric pickup truck through a novel auxiliary battery which can be added to the truck’s bed after manufacture.The patent was filed last year, published last month and today is marked as “pending” by the US patent office. more…The post Rivian patents “removable auxiliary battery” for its R1T electric pickup truck appeared first on Electrek.
Source: Charge Forward This week on the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy, including more Tesla price changes, a Supercharger update, Tesla’s stock (TSLA) in focus, and more. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Electrek Podcast: more Tesla price changes, Supercharger update, TSLA, & more appeared first on Electrek.
Training, new tools and equipment as well as charging points are required when introducing EVs.Source: Electric Vehicle News
M&A activity involving Texas businesses fell to near recessionary lows during the first six months of 2013, but experts say there are signs for a solid rebound for M&A activity in the months ahead . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Password Remember me Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Username Lost your password?