02-08-2023  11:18 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Arrest Made in Stolen Yacht Rescue, 'Goonies' Fish Incident

Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded Friday night with the arrest of a Canadian man.

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

NEWS BRIEFS

Washington State Arts Commission and Department of Veteran Affairs Partner to Support Veterans Through the Arts

0,000 in grants will support arts programming across four Veteran Homes ...

The Black Business Association of Oregon Hires its First Communications Director

Previously, Sommer Martin was director of downtown marketing for the Portland Business Alliance ...

Allen Temple C.M.E. Church Announces Annual Unsung Heroes & Heroines Award Luncheon

The purpose of the award is to acknowledge and honor individuals and/or organizations who are unsung heroes/heroines who make a...

Bonamici Invites Portland Community College President to 2023 State of the Union

PCC recently received 0K to advance semiconductor, advanced manufacturing training ...

Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

Famed Portland goats let loose in protest of homeless sweep

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A herd of city goats well-known in Portland, Oregon, were temporarily set free Tuesday morning in what appeared to be an act of protest against a planned sweep of a nearby homeless encampment. The fence of the goats' enclosure in north Portland was cut,...

Nevada lithium mine wins ruling; green energy fights rage on

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A U.S. judge has ordered the government to revisit part of its environmental review of a lithium mine planned in Nevada, but denied opponents’ efforts to block it in a ruling the developer says clears the way for construction at the nation's largest known deposit of the rare...

Missouri has 4 in double figures, beats South Carolina 83-74

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kobe Brown scored 19 points to lead four in double figures as Missouri rolled past South Carolina 83-74 on Tuesday night. Missouri (18-6, 6-5 SEC), which rebounded from a 63-52 loss at Mississippi State, has won four of its last five games while South Carolina...

DeVries scores 32 as Drake downs Murray State 92-68

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — Tucker DeVries' 32 points led Drake over Murray State 92-68 on Tuesday night. DeVries also contributed six rebounds for the Bulldogs (20-6, 11-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Roman Penn scored 18 points while going 7 of 12 and 4 of 5 from the free throw line, and...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Stella Jean quits Milan Fashion Week over lack of inclusion

MILAN (AP) — The only Black designer belonging to Italy’s fashion council is withdrawing from this month’s Milan Fashion Week citing a lack of commitment to diversity and inclusion, and on Wednesday announced a hunger strike out of concern that other minority designers associated with her...

Arkansas Gov. Sanders slams Biden for 'woke fantasies'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted a dystopian portrait of the country in her rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, leaning heavily into Republican culture war issues and accusing Biden of pursuing “woke fantasies.” ...

Douglas Emmett: Q4 Earnings Snapshot

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Douglas Emmett Inc. (DEI) on Tuesday reported a key measure of profitability in its fourth quarter. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The Santa Monica, California-based real estate investment trust said it...

ENTERTAINMENT

Stars at the Super Bowl: How Gronk and Shaq plan to party

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rob Gronkowski might be retired from the NFL, but the former all-pro football player is still in the game during the league’s championship week. The four-time Super Bowl winner — who calls himself the “MVP of Fun” — will host a music festival called...

Review: Digital tech advances, AI spur hacking of society

“A Hacker’s Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society’s Rules, and How to Bend Them Back” by Bruce Schneier (W.W. Norton & Company) Hacking is universally understood as the exploitation of a software vulnerability by a malicious actor. But hacking encompasses oh,...

At last: Streisand memoir 'My Name is Barbra' coming Nov. 7

NEW YORK (AP) — Barbra Streisand's very long and very long-awaited memoir, a project she has talked about for years, is coming out this fall. Viking, a Penguin Random House imprint, will release “My Name is Barbra” on Nov. 7. Her memoir, fitting for a superstar of the grandest...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

LeBron James makes NBA history on a star-filled night in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bronny James stepped over to his dad's locker and played the phone video he had taken of...

Disney cuts Simpsons 'forced labor' episode in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — Walt Disney Co. has removed an episode from cartoon series The Simpsons that included a...

Stella Jean quits Milan Fashion Week over lack of inclusion

MILAN (AP) — The only Black designer belonging to Italy’s fashion council is withdrawing from this month’s...

IEA: Asia set to use half of world's electricity by 2025

BERLIN (AP) — Asia will for the first time use half of the world’s electricity by 2025, even as Africa...

China says it was smeared in Biden State of the Union speech

BEIJING (AP) — China says it was smeared in U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address that...

Visitors can see famed Florence baptistry's mosaics up close

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Visitors to one of Florence’s most iconic monuments — the Baptistry of San Giovanni,...

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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MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.