09-23-2021  1:46 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Man Fatally Shot Outside Bend Nightclub, Man Arrested

A Black man was shot and killed outside a bar by a white man in central Oregon

Cascadia Names New Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Bukhosi Dube will lead innovative “integrative health” model

How to Tell DEQ to Step Up Its Emissions Caps – And Go Further

Two activists created a website to inform the most climate-vulnerable on how to take action.

Washington Governor Inslee Asks Feds for Medical Staffing Help

Washington Gov. Jay Inlsee has asked the federal government for assistance staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

NEWS BRIEFS

Civil Rights Organizations Respond to Congressional Failure on Policing Reform

A joint statement was released after bipartisan negotiations around the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act were ended ...

Seattle Mayor Extends COVID Eviction Moratoriums

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday the city's eviction moratoriums will remain in place through Jan. 15, 2022, rather than...

Oregon House and Senate Democrats Condemn Newberg School Staff Member's Racist Conduct and Use of Blackface

A staff member at Mabel Rush Elementary School in the Newberg School District attended work on Friday in blackface ...

New Plaque Honors Black Pioneer Merchant A.H. Francis

Throughout the mid-1800s, Francis was an active abolitionist, using his position to fight for Black people from western New York to...

IPAC Announces September 21 Kickoff of the Portland Peace Initiative

A new coalition intends to show how peace is possible in Portland ...

Oregon school board won't fire teacher refusing to wear mask

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) — A school board in Redmond, Oregon, has rejected a district recommendation to fire a teacher for refusing to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports Redmond board members were told this was the first time an Oregon...

Washington justices vacate 46-year sentence for teen killer

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington state Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a 46-year sentence for a man who killed his friend’s little sister when he was 17, finding the punishment focused more on retribution than rehabilitation. Timothy Haag of Longview was initially...

Boston College hosts Missouri in juicy ACC-SEC matchup

BOSTON (AP) — ACC vs. SEC. It’s a juicy interconference matchup when Boston College (3-0) hosts Missouri (2-1) on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. BC, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will be hosting the first Southeastern Conference school since...

College Football Picks: Neutral sites for 2 ranked matchups

Last week, college football gave fans one of its tastiest, and unfortunately rare, treats when Auburn visited Penn State. Good teams. Great setting. Entertaining game. What college football is all about. This week, not so much. The...

OPINION

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Louisiana state trooper charged in pummeling of Black man

A former Louisiana State Police trooper has been charged with a civil rights violation for pummeling a Black motorist 18 times with a flashlight — the first criminal case to emerge from federal investigations into troopers' beatings of at least three Black men. A grand jury on...

Azerbaijan files case alleging 'ethnic cleansing' by Armenia

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Azerbaijan on Thursday filed a case at the United Nations' top court accusing neighboring Armenia of a “policy of ethnic cleansing” targeting Azerbaijanis. The case was lodged at the International Court of Justice a week after Armenia filed...

US court order to house LA Skid Row homeless overturned

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a federal judge’s sweeping order that required the city and county of Los Angeles to quickly find shelter for all homeless people living on downtown’s Skid Row. The appeals court found extensive error...

ENTERTAINMENT

Britney Spears court filing says conservatorship should end

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears said in a court filing Wednesday that she agrees with her father that the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money since 2008 should be terminated. The filing in Los Angeles Superior Court from Spears' attorney Mathew Rosengart...

Mayim Bialik's 'Jeopardy!' goal: maintaining its integrity

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mayim Bialik knew she’d be busy around this time of year, but not this busy. Besides starting production on a new season of Fox's sitcom “Call Me Kat,” Bialik was recalled to duty as a “Jeopardy!” guest host — the result of the quiz show's...

Owen Wilson, Sudeikis, Malek, Kardashian West to host 'SNL'

NEW YORK (AP) — Owen Wilson, Kim Kardashian West, Rami Malek and Jason Sudeikis are lined up to host the first four episodes of “Saturday Night Live” this fall. NBC announced Wednesday that Wilson, who is starring in the upcoming film “The French Dispatch,” will host...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?

Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? Experts say there's no strong evidence...

The AP Interview: Don't isolate the Taliban, Pakistan urges

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Be realistic. Show patience. Engage. And above all, don't isolate. Those are the pillars...

The jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself is crumbling

NEW YORK (AP) — Inside the notorious federal jail in Lower Manhattan, small chunks of concrete fall from the...

A Polish bishop punished over abuse cover-up has died

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Edward Janiak, a retired Roman Catholic bishop from Poland punished this year by the...

UK police probe killing of woman walking alone in London

LONDON (AP) — British police investigating the killing of a 28-year-old woman in London said Thursday they are...

Kremlin critics to contest online voting in Duma election

MOSCOW (AP) — Politicians and activists who lost to Kremlin-backed candidates in Russia's parliamentary election...

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Raising taxes on millionaires may be a non-starter for Republicans, but they seem to have no problem hiking Medicare premiums for retirees making a lot less.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a year-end economic package that includes a provision raising premiums for "high-income" Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families.

Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don't consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.

Just the top 5 percent of Medicare recipients currently pay higher premiums, a change that took effect a few years ago. The new GOP proposal would expand that over time to include the highest-earning one-fourth of seniors.

On Monday the White House was mum on the Republican Medicare proposal, while AARP said it's tantamount to a new tax. In the Democratic-led Senate, there's not much enthusiasm.

The plan is modeled on a proposal that President Barack Obama submitted earlier this year to congressional debt negotiators, when he was seeking a "big deal" to cut federal deficits. Continuing pressure to curb spending means the proposal eventually could become the law of the land, even if there's no consensus now.

"This is an idea that seems to have some traction," said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

It's also creating a lot of confusion about who is wealthy and who is not.

For example, when Obama talks about raising taxes on the rich, he means individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families above $250,000.

But his health care law fixed the level for paying "high-income" Medicare premiums at the current $85,000 and above for an individual, $170,000 for families.

And the new Republican plan would drop the thresholds to $80,000 for an individual and $160,000 for families.

"If we're considering raising taxes on those with incomes above $250,000, then it seems to me very awkward to raise Medicare premiums on those with much lower incomes," said John Rother, head of the National Coalition on Health Care, an advocacy group.

Baby boomers just signing up for Medicare are more likely to be affected than long-term retirees, since incomes tend to be higher for the newly retired.

AARP calls the proposed premium increases a tax hike. "Most of the time, when you have a payment due to the government because of your income, we call it a tax," said lobbyist David Certner. "It's a form of a tax." High-earning workers already pay more in Medicare payroll taxes, he pointed out.

No way it's a tax, say Republicans. Taxpayers subsidize three-quarters of the cost of Medicare's outpatient and prescription coverage for the typical retiree. Reducing a subsidy for those who can afford to pay more is not the same thing as raising taxes, they contend.

"The proposal doesn't raise taxes," said Michelle Dimarob, spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. "The provision simply adjusts the subsidy they receive."

To back their argument, Republicans are circulating a letter from anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in support of the broader bill containing the Medicare provision.

The premium hikes are to help pay for legislation that would prevent the Jan. 1 expiration of payroll tax cuts for workers and extra benefits for the long-term unemployed, while also staving off a steep cut in Medicare payments to doctors. With time running short, lawmakers of both parties are still far apart on key aspects of the package.

Tax or not, higher Medicare premiums mean less money in the pockets of those who have to pay. Currently the high-income premiums start at 35 percent of the cost of Medicare's outpatient and drug coverage for individuals making $85,000 year, and rise to 80 percent of the cost at the very top income brackets.

Next year, a typical Medicare recipient will pay $131 a month for outpatient and drug coverage combined, according to Kaiser. Those paying the high-income premiums will pay from $183 to $417. That means beneficiaries at the highest income levels would pay nearly $300 a month more.

The House GOP plan would increase the high-income premium by 15 percent in 2017 and lower the thresholds at which the higher fees kick in.

Most significantly, it freezes those income thresholds indefinitely, until one-fourth of Medicare recipients are paying "high-income" premiums. It's unclear how long that would take, but currently only about 2 million out of 47 million Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums. Eventually that number would easily surpass 10 million.

The GOP proposal would reduce taxpayer spending on Medicare by $31 billion over 10 years; Obama's version saved about $20 billion.

"There's a lot of interest in asking higher-income people on Medicare to contribute more," said Neuman.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events