06-16-2019  7:58 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Photos: Oregon Welcomes Shakespeare Festival’s Newly Appointed Artistic Director

On Wednesday, June 12, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival hosted a reception at the Froelick Gallery to welcome newly appointed artistic director Nataki Garret.

Juneteenth Celebrations Expand Across Metro Area, State

Gresham, Vancouver events join decades-old Portland celebration of the effective end of slavery

Portland Black Pride in June

Midway through Pride Month, there are still a number of events throughout Portland that celebrate LGBTQ community members of color.

Family, Police Seek Answers in Death of Black, Queer Portlander

Otis/Titi Gulley was found hanging from a tree on Rocky Butte May 27

NEWS BRIEFS

Must-See Shows Open in OSF Outdoor Theatre

New shows are Alice in Wonderland, Macbeth and All’s Well That Ends Well. ...

Roosevelt High School Students Earn National Recognition for Resiliency

Students from Roosevelt High School who recently started a storytelling and resiliency-building initiative have been invited to...

Seattle Art Museum Appoints Amada Cruz as New Director and CEO

The Board of Trustees of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) announced today that Amada Cruz has been chosen as the museum’s new Illsley...

The Oregon Historical Society Presents a Lecture on Oregon’s Enigmatic Black History

Join the Oregon Historical Society for an evening exploring Oregon’s enigmatic history in relation to Blacks ...

Lisa Loving ‘Street Journalist’ Reading

On June, 2, Lisa Loving, former news editor of The Skanner News, read from her new book at Powell’s Books on Burnside ...

Oregon city stops jailing poor who can't pay court debts

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — The eastern Oregon city of Pendleton has stopped jailing people unable to pay fines, a city official said, following the settlement of a federal lawsuit contending city officials were running a debtors' prison.The East Oregonian reports in a story on Saturday that city...

North Entrance Road Opens at Crater Lake National Park

CRATER LAKE, Ore. (AP) — The North Entrance Road and West Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park will open for travel Saturday morning.Superintendent Craig Ackerman says visitors now can drive to and from the park using the popular route and access spectacular views of the lake from West Rim...

OPINION

U.S. Attempt to Erase Harriet Tubman

Traitors like Jefferson Davis and other Confederates are memorialized while a woman who risked her life time and again to free enslaved people is simply dismissed. ...

Watching a Father and Son

You must have seen this video of a father speaking with his pre-verbal son about the season finale of Empire. ...

The Congressional Black Caucus Must Oppose HR 246

If every tactic that was used by African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement and/or in the fight against apartheid South Africa was either criminalized or attacked by the US Congress, how would you respond? ...

Jamestown to Jamestown: Commemorating 400 Years of the African Diaspora Experience

We are now able to actualize the healing and collective unity so many generations have worked to achieve in ways which bring power to our communities in America, Africa and throughout our Diaspora. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Mexico vows to help Central American migrants amid crackdown

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday his country must help Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence, even as it increases security and revisions to deter migrants from passing through Mexico on route to the U.S.Mexico plans to...

Democrats favor more access to capital for black businesses

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Four Democrats vying for their party's presidential nomination honed in on the economic concerns of the black community during a forum Saturday in South Carolina, a state where nonwhite voters will play a major role in next year's primary election.Appearing on stage...

Cross-sports push at World Cup for gender pay equality

PARIS (AP) — Venus Williams joined retired soccer star Julie Foudy and ice hockey player Hilary Knight in the Eiffel Tower to highlight the push for pay equality for women athletes.The trio gathered Saturday night for a forum sponsored by LUNA bar and moderated by Catt Sadler, who quit E! in...

ENTERTAINMENT

Aniston to Sandler before kissing scenes: 'Oil up the beard'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it came to their kissing scenes in Netflix's "Murder Mystery ," Jennifer Aniston had one requirement of co-star Adam Sandler."I did have him learn to oil the beard up a little bit," the actress said in a joint interview this week. "Conditioned."Sandler said kissing...

Democratic contenders bash Fox News on Fox News

NEW YORK (AP) — Julian Castro is the latest Democratic presidential contender to follow the trend of criticizing Fox News Channel while appearing on the network for a town hall.The former Housing secretary's scolding of Fox on Thursday for its coverage of Hillary Clinton was mild compared to...

'Gosh!' Cult comedy 'Napoleon Dynamite' turns 15

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite turns 15 years old this month, a milestone for a movie that became an early breakaway hit in today's era of pop-culture geek celebration.The movie created the "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt and made Napoleon's disgusted version of "gosh!"...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Census says more than 60% of US men are fathers

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Fathers in the U.S. tend to be better educated than men without children, and...

Washington state waterfront owners asked to take dead whales

PORT HADLOCK, Wash. (AP) — At least one Washington state waterfront landowner has said yes to a request to...

Alabama orders 'chemical castration' of some child molesters

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Some Alabama sex offenders who abuse young children will have to undergo "chemical...

Aging grand hotel highlights the ethnic division in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — With Italian chandeliers still hanging in the lobby, the Ledra Palace Hotel in...

Notre Dame celebrates 1st Mass since devastating April fire

PARIS (AP) — The archbishop wore a hard-hat helmet, burnt wood debris was still visible and only about 30...

'We are trapped': Zimbabwe's economic crunch hits passports

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — With Zimbabwe's economy in shambles and political tensions rising, leaving the...

McMenamins
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Another unintended consequence of President Barack Obama's health care law has emerged: Older adults of the same age and income with similar medical histories could pay widely different amounts for private health insurance due to a quirk of the complex legislation.

Those differences could be substantial. A 62-year-old could end up paying $1,200 a year more than his neighbor, in one example. And experts say the disparities among married couples would be much larger.

Aware of the problem, the Obama administration says it is exploring options to head off another potential controversy over the health care overhaul. Starting in 2014, the law expands coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people and requires most Americans to carry insurance.

The glitch affects mainly older adults who are too young for a Medicare card but have reached 62, when people can qualify for early retirement from Social Security. Sixty-two is the most common age at which Americans start taking Social Security, although their monthly benefit is reduced.

As the law now stands, those who take early retirement would get a significant break on their health insurance premiums. Part or all of their Social Security benefits would not be counted as income in figuring out whether they can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums until they join Medicare at 65.

"There is an equity issue here," said Robert Laszewski, a former health insurance executive turned policy consultant. "If you get a job for 40 hours a week, you're going to pay more for your health insurance than if you don't get a job."

The administration says it is working on the problem.

"We are monitoring this issue and exploring options that would take into account the needs of Social Security beneficiaries, many of whom are disabled or individuals of limited means," Emily McMahon, a top Treasury Department policy official, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is politically sensitive, said the administration is concerned that the situation could create a perception that hard-working people get a worse deal compared with less-industrious peers.

McMahon doubted the health care discount would start a stampede toward early retirement at a time when many experts are urging older Americans to stay on the job longer. Only a "limited number of individuals" would decide they're better off not working, she said.

To see how the Social Security wrinkle would work, consider a hypothetical example of two neighbors on the same block.

They are both 62 and each makes $39,500 a year. But one gets all his income from working, while the other gets $20,000 from part-time work and $19,500 from Social Security.

Neither gets health insurance on the job. Instead, they purchase it individually.

Starting in 2014, they would get their coverage through a new online health insurance market called an exchange. Millions of people in the exchanges would get federal tax credits, based on income, to make their premiums more affordable. Less-healthy consumers could not be turned away or charged more because of their medical problems.

The neighbor getting Social Security would pay an estimated $206 a month in premiums.

But the neighbor who makes all his income from work would pay $313 for health insurance, or about 50 percent more.

The early retiree can shield half his Social Security income, or $9,750. On paper, he would look poorer, making him eligible for a bigger tax credit to offset his premiums. But the full-time worker could not deduct any of his earnings.

The estimates were produced using an online calculator from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

The disparities appear to be even greater for married couples and families in which at least one member is getting Social Security. With a bigger household, both the cost of coverage and the federal subsidies involved are considerably larger.

The glitch seems to be the result of an effort by Congress to make things simpler. Lawmakers decided to use the definition of income in the tax code, which protects Social Security benefits from taxation.

It's unclear whether the administration can fix the problem with a regulation, or whether it will have to go back to Congress. In case of the latter, it will have to deal with Republicans eager to repeal the health care law.

The decision to use the tax code's definition of income has created other problems.


Medicare's top number-cruncher is warning that up to 3 million middle-class people in households that get at least part of their income from Social Security could suddenly become eligible for nearly free coverage through Medicaid, the federal-state safety net program for the poor. Chief Actuary Richard Foster says that situation "just doesn't make sense."
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