08-25-2019  8:01 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Records: Portland Spent $1,100 per Night for Aide's Hotel

Documents show that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's office billed city taxpayers jumi,123 a night for an aide's hotel accommodations while at a conference

Money Crunch After Planned Parenthood Quits Federal Program

Clinics begin charging new fees, tapping financial reserves and intensifying fundraising

New Hate Crime Law Kicks In

SB577 requires state to better track bias crimes

Mayor: Show Extra Love at Portland Businesses After Protests

The City of Portland and more are offering deals and free parking downtown this weekend in an effort to generate some of the revenue lost during last weekend's political protests

NEWS BRIEFS

Local Actors Star in Haunting, Stripped-Down Macbeth

This fall, Chantal DeGroat, Dana Green, and Lauren Bloom Hanover star in a stripped-down production of Macbeth, directed by Adriana...

Albina Ministerial Alliance to Host Community Forum on Police Association Contract Aug. 26

Forum will take place at Maranatha Church beginning at 6 p.m. ...

Travel Portland Opens New Director Park Visitor Center

Hosts “Celebrating All Things Portland” grand opening weekend celebration ...

Police are Trying to Connect Floyd Leslie Hill to His Loved Ones

The Portland Police Bureau is asking for the community's help in locating the loved ones of Floyd Leslie Hill who passed away on...

Book tries to show how US democracy hurt Native Americans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new book by a noted historian attempts to show how expanding American democracy hurt Native Americans in the early days of the nation and how tribes viewed the young United States as an entity seeking to erase them from existence.University of Oregon history...

Cougar sightings reported on Lewis & Clark campus

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Lewis & Clark College officials say there have been numerous cougar sightings on or near the Portland school.KOIN-TV reports a notice went out to the campus community alerting people of the sightings at the private college. According to the notice, there was a...

Ex-Clemson star Kelly Bryant takes over at QB for Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Barry Odom never seems stressed about the future, whether the Missouri coach is pondering tough sanctions handed down by the NCAA over a recruiting scandal or the fact that one of the most prolific passers in school history is now in the NFL.When it comes to the...

Missouri DE Williams pleads to misdemeanor, put on probation

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri defensive end Tre Williams pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation after prosecutors dropped a felony domestic assault charge.The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Williams pleaded guilty to peace disturbance and was...

OPINION

Why I’m Visiting the Border

People of color are feeling less safe today and any day when we see the realities of domestic terrorism and racially-motivated acts of violence ...

Why Lady Liberty Weeps

The original concept was to have Lady Liberty holding a broken shackle and chain in her left hand, to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. ...

Avel Gordly's Statement in Advance of Aug. 17 Rally

'All we have on this planet is one another' ...

A National Crisis: Surging Hate Crimes and White Supremacists

Our history chronicles the range of hate crimes that have taken the lives of Latinos as well as Native Americans, Blacks, Jews, and the LGBTQ community ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Book tries to show how US democracy hurt Native Americans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new book by a noted historian attempts to show how expanding American democracy hurt Native Americans in the early days of the nation and how tribes viewed the young United States as an entity seeking to erase them from existence.University of Oregon history...

Belgian parade goes ahead despite racism objections

BRUSSELS (AP) — A Belgian street festival featuring a character called "Savage" played by a white person in blackface makeup has gone ahead amid objections from anti-racism activists.The character moved through the streets of the town of Ath, southwest of Brussels, on Sunday, chained and...

Race and the death penalty: Arguments ongoing in N Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Four death row prisoners will argue to North Carolina's highest court that racial bias so infected their trials that they should be resentenced to life in prison as attorneys revive arguments about a repealed law on race and capital punishment.The state Supreme Court...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jolie shares pride in son Maddox, joining Marvel movie

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Angelina Jolie says she's "so proud" that her 18-year-old son is leaving home to study biochemistry in South Korea.The actress was seen in video released several days ago dropping her son Maddox off at Yonsei University in Seoul, and holding back tears."I didn't...

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson takes honeymoon to D23

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Rock is honeymooning at a Disney convention.Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson got married last weekend in Hawaii to longtime partner Lauren Hashian — and then spent Saturday promoting "Jungle Cruise" at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.He says his new wife didn't...

Fund backed by DiCaprio pledges M to Amazon amid fires

NEW YORK (AP) — A new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging million in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires .Earth Alliance was created last month by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. On Sunday, it launched the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

McIlroy ends season with a million bang at East Lake

ATLANTA (AP) — Rory McIlroy marched to the 18th green Sunday at East Lake with victory in hand and ...

Hawaii or Spain? Telescope experts say it may not matter

HONOLULU (AP) — When starlight from billions of years ago zips across the universe and finally comes into...

Employees of Big Tech are speaking out like never before

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When Liz O'Sullivan was hired at the New York City-based artificial intelligence...

AP Interview: Sudan PM seeks end to country's pariah status

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan's new prime minister said in an interview Sunday that ending his country's...

Hezbollah leader: Israeli drones over Lebanon will be downed

BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah said Sunday that his group will confront and...

Drone war takes flight, raising stakes in Iran, US tensions

From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across...

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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