09-24-2022  11:36 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland, Oregon, to Use Microphones to Track Gunshots

The decision to advance a pilot program with ShotSpotter was made after Wheeler met with Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

Oregon Students' Math, Reading Skills Plummet Post-Pandemic

The tests administered last spring were the first reliable comparison to pre-pandemic testing done in 2019.

Faith Community, Activists Introduce ‘Evidence-Based’ Gun Control Measure to Ballot

Proposed law would require permits to purchase, limit magazine rounds.

Seattle Mayor Appoints Adrian Diaz as City's Police Chief

Diaz joined the agency in 1997 and has worked in the Seattle Police Department’s patrol and investigations units, and served as assistant chief before he was promoted to deputy chief.

NEWS BRIEFS

Rep. Janelle Bynum Champions Oregon Business and Sets Sights on Strengthening Key Industries

Rep. Bynum invited leaders and experts to discuss ways the state can champion businesses of all sizes, expand broadband, bolster the...

PPS Renames Headquarters

The central office will be named after Matthew Prophet, Portland Public School's first Black Superintendent from 1982-1992,...

Affordable Housing Plan to Go Before Seattle Voters

If I-135 passes it would create a public development authority ...

Merkley, Wyden: Over $3.2 Million in Federal Funds to Address Domestic Violence and Expand Services for Survivors 

The awful threat of domestic violence undermines the safety of far too many households and communities in Oregon and nationwide ...

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces Partnership to Advance Genomics Research at the Nation's Four Historically Black Medical Colleges

New partnership with Charles Drew University College of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, and...

Coast Guard works to remove sunken ships from Columbia River

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two ships that have been abandoned in the Columbia river for years are being removed and the U.S. Coast Guard is working with state agencies to clean up the fuel and oil that leaked from the vessels. The ships — a Navy tug called the Sakarissa and a Coast...

Crowded campsites, high demand cause fights, 'camp pirates'

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some Oregon parks officials say high demand for crowded campsites is leading to arguments, fistfights and even so-called “campsite pirates.” Brian Carroll with Linn County Parks and Recreation said park rangers have had to play mediator this summer as...

Missouri makes 1st visit to Auburn in SEC opener for both

Missouri (2-1, 0-0 SEC) at Auburn (2-1, 0-0), Saturday, noon ET (ESPN) Line: Auburn by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Auburn leads 2-1. WHAT’S AT STAKE? Auburn and coach Bryan Harsin are trying to keep the season from...

Missouri defeats Abilene Christian in warmup for SEC play

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Tigers made it a clear priority to get wide receiver Luther Burden III more involved in the team’s final tuneup before entering SEC play, and the move paid immediate dividends in Saturday’s 34-17 victory over Abilene Christian. After the...

OPINION

The Cruelty of Exploiting Vulnerable People for Political Advantage

There is always a new low for Trump Republicans. And that is pretty frightening. ...

The Military to American Youth: You Belong to Me

The U.S. military needs more than just money in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well — their wallets, their bodies, and their minds. ...

Financial Fairness at Risk With Proposed TD Bank-First Horizon Merger

As banks grow larger through mergers and focus on growing online and mobile services, serious concerns emerge on how fair and how accessible banking will be to traditionally underserved Black and Latino communities. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Ex-Nevada deputy attorney general indicted on murder charge

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii grand jury on Friday indicted a former deputy Nevada attorney general on charges of second-degree murder in connection with the 50-year-old cold case of a Honolulu woman killed in 1972. Tudor Chirila, 77, is in custody in Reno, Nevada, where he is fighting...

Mississippi man gets hate crime charge in cross burning

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — A Mississippi man has been charged with a federal hate crime for burning a cross in his front yard to threaten his Black neighbors, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday. Axel Cox, 23, has been charged with one count of criminal interference with the...

Mother settles lawsuit over Texas arrest captured on video

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas city has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a Black mother after she and her daughter were wrestled to the ground and arrested by a white police officer following a dispute with a neighbor. Jacqueline Craig and one of her daughters were...

ENTERTAINMENT

Katey Sagal plays mom to son Jackson White in 'Tell Me Lies'

Jackson White’s favorite episode of his new Hulu series “ Tell Me Lies ” was also the hardest for him to film. His real-life mom, actor Katey Sagal, played his mother on this week’s fifth episode. We meet Sagal's character, Norah, when White's Stephen returns home from...

New Mexico allows funds for prosecutions in 'Rust' shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has granted funds to pay for possible prosecutions connected to last year's fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Thursday. The state Board of Finance greenlit more than 7,000 to...

Ari Lennox's 'age/sex/location' revels in infatuation

NEW YORK (AP) — Writer’s block confined Ari Lennox during the creation of her latest album, “age/sex/location,” but her label head and friend, rap superstar J. Cole, suggested she begin journaling to unlock her creativity. “He was like, ‘I just want you to write and just...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Sri Lankans describe abuse as Russian captives in Ukraine

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A group of Sri Lankans held captive by Russian forces in an agricultural factory in...

NASA delays moon rocket launch due to potential hurricane

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA is skipping next week’s launch attempt of its new moon rocket because of a...

Abortion is a matter of 'freedom' for Biden and Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The way President Joe Biden sees it, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade was not just about...

EXPLAINER: Italian election only part of forming government

ROME (AP) — A Sunday parliamentary election will determine who governs next in Italy. But it might take weeks...

As Ukraine worries UN, some leaders rue what's pushed aside

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In speech after speech, world leaders dwelled on the topic consuming this year’s U.N....

Belarus opposition says fate of country, Ukraine intertwined

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The fate of Belarus and Ukraine are “interconnected,” and both countries must fight...

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

After initially downplaying any concern, the Obama administration said late Tuesday it would look for a fix.

Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster says the situation keeps him up at night.

"I don't generally comment on the pros or cons of policy, but that just doesn't make sense," Foster said during a question-and-answer session at a recent professional society meeting.

"This is a situation that got no attention at all," added Foster. "And even now, as I raise the issue with various policymakers, people are not rushing to say ... we need to do something about this."

Administration officials said Tuesday they now see the problem. "We are concerned that, as a matter of law, some middle-income Americans may be receiving coverage through Medicaid, which is meant to serve only the neediest Americans," said Health and Human Services spokesman Richard Sorian. "We are exploring options to address this issue."

Administration officials and senior Democratic lawmakers initially defended the change, saying it wasn't a loophole but the result of a well-meaning effort to simplify the rules for deciding who would get help under the new health care law. Instead of a hodgepodge, there would be one national policy.

But Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, called the situation "unacceptable" and said he intended to look into it.

Governors have been clamoring for relief from Medicaid costs, complaining that federal rules drive up spending and limit state options. The program is now one of the top issues in budget negotiations between the White House and Congress. Republicans want to roll back federal requirements that block states from limiting eligibility.

Medicaid is a safety net program that serves more than 50 million vulnerable Americans, from low-income children and pregnant women to Alzheimer's patients in nursing homes. It's designed as a federal-state partnership, with Washington paying close to 60 percent of the total cost.

Early retirees would be a new group for Medicaid. While retirees can now start collecting Social Security at age 62, they must wait another three years to get Medicare, unless they're disabled.

Some early retirees who worked all their lives may not want to join a program for the poor, but others might see it as a relatively painless way to satisfy the new law's requirement that most Americans carry health insurance starting in 2014. It would help tide them over until they qualify for Medicare.

The actuary's office said the early retirees eligible for Medicaid would be on top of an estimated 16 million to 20 million new people that Obama's law already brings into the program, by opening it to childless adults with incomes near the poverty level.

It's unclear how much it would cost to cover the retirees. Federal taxpayers will cover the entire initial cost of the expansion.

Republicans already see a problem.

Former Utah governor Mike Leavitt said bringing early retirees in will "just add fuel to the fire," bolstering the argument from Republican governors that some of Washington's rules don't make sense.

"The fact that this is being discovered now tells you, what else is baked into this law?" said Leavitt, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George H.W. Bush. "It clearly begins to reveal that the nature of the law was to put more and more people under eligibility for government insurance."

The Medicare actuary's office roughed out some examples to illustrate how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000.

That $64,000 would put them at about four times the federal poverty level, which for a two-person household is $14,710 this year. The Medicaid expansion in the health care law was supposed to benefit childless adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level. A fudge factor built into the law bumps that up to 138 percent.

The actuary's office acknowledged its $64,000 example would represent an unusual case, but nonetheless the hypothetical couple would still qualify for Medicaid.

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