This device has a Quad-HD LCD display over 12.3-inches of touchscreen. Google suggests that this is the “first convertible laptop that actually feels natural to use.” While quite a few hardware manufacturers out in the wild today might have another thing to say about that statement – we’ll see when we get one in for review.Have a peek at the timeline below as well as the gallery above to learn more about this piece of hardware. The “release and price” article that’ll appear below immediately if not soon will have all the rest of the details on… well… release and such. With the Pixelbook, Google presents a device that’s ready to roll with Android apps. While previous Chromebooks have had the ability to run some Android apps, this unit is made by Google for Google’s apps on a device that’s made to use in more ways than one. This device has the Google Assistant built in, available for the user with a button tap or by saying “OK Google.” In tent mode, OK Google works best, while in keyboard mode, the Google Assistant key (in the lower left of the keyboard) will allow the user to type their request. The Pixelbook Pen will enable further access to the Google Assistant.Circling any part of the display can call upon Google Assistant to answer any and all questions. The Pixelbook Pen works with Wacom technology, with 10ms of latency, 60-degrees of angular awareness, and 2,000+ levels of pressure sensitivity. The original Chromebook Pixel was just kicked directly in the pants by a newer, more awesome device called Pixelbook. This name suggests what the device does – it runs Chrome on a Pixel-level device. This device can fold all the way back over itself to become a tablet, or just work like a standard Chromebook – but with a touchscreen, just like the original Chromebook Pixel.
iTunes 12.7 consolidated Apple’s narrative for what the iTunes desktop program is really supposed to be. Instead of a free for all syncing program between a Mac or PC and iOS device, it laser focuses on only the parts that have to do with entertainment and multimedia, like music, videos, and podcasts. As such, iTunes 12.7 threw out support for managing apps and many users were up in arms about it. Fortunately, Apple has silently made available a 12.6.3 version of iTunes with that feature, but there are a few caveats to be mindful of. As far as Apple is officially concerned, the iTunes 12.6 line is dead. Only iTunes 12.7 and later will be supported moving forward. This silent release of 12.6.3 is supposedly just for enterprise users who still need app support but, fortunately, it’s available for download for all.When you install version 12.6.3, your computer will no longer pester you to update it to 12.7. It will see it as the newest version until you uninstall it. Which also means you will no longer be notified of any critical updates. It’s like your iTunes will be frozen in time forever.That said, you can actually have both 12.7 and 12.6.3 installed on the same computer, but you will have to do some management to get it to work. You cannot use the same iTunes Library for both version of iTunes and will need to create a copy of your library or revert to a backup. It might sound more work than necessary, but such is the cost of getting back lost features.App support isn’t the only thing being reverted in 12.6.3. Indeed, it’s practically like traveling back in time, with everything where they were before. iTunes U and Audiobooks are now in their old, separate sections and Ringtones also make a return to the program.VIA: Reddit
We may never know what prompted The Boring Company to make this stunt or much of the Boring machine the gamepad can controller. Or if it’s even real in the first place. This is, after all, coming from the company that sold off the hotly-debated (pun obviously intended) “not a flamethrower” incendiary devices. Let’s just hope that no one with access to the machine gets the bright idea to play the game while smoking weed. Best video game ever pic.twitter.com/DlGFsji76l— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) September 8, 2018 AdChoices广告 Some might be questioning Elon Musk’s mental health of late and there will be others who will probably point to The Boring Company as the earliest signs of its deterioration. The grand vision is definitely worth chasing but Musk’s youngest venture has taken a few odd turns along the way. Now it’s showing off something that’s, yet again, purely for fun. But the random demonstration of a gigantic drilling machine operated using an Xbox controller isn’t going to do Musk’s PR any favors. Granted, an Xbox 360 controller is also being used to operate submarines’ periscopes, as first demonstrated on the new launched USS Colorado last March. But it’s one thing to control a simple part of a machine and another to completely operate a huge not to mention dangerous machine.Out of the blue, and just a day before sister company SpaceX makes another important launch, The Boring Company’s Twitter account posted what it says is the “best video game ever”. That video game is titled “Control One of the World’s Largest Drilling Machines with a Gamepad” and you need a wired Xbox One Controller to play it. Hey, at least it’s not an Xbox 360 controller.
It was really only a matter of time. Given how big the Group FaceTime bug has been, it was inevitable Apple would be slapped with a lawsuit. And since that has already happened, the next step would be to put the company under the microscope off the US government. That has also just happened with a letter sent by the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce questioning Apple on its response to such an egregious security exploit. Story TimelineFaceTime is down, bug fix hopefully coming soonFaceTime bug was already reported more than a week agoApple FaceTime bug statement: Group calls return soon It’s not that Apple didn’t respond to the bug. Questions are now being raised on whether Apple actually knew about it before the news actually broke. Apple was apparently notified more than a week before, but its process for reporting bugs has made it extremely difficult to get the message across. Apple has already apologized to the Thompson family and promised to improve its bug reporting system.That said, some have also questioned the way Apple has been trying to fix the bug. At first, it said it would roll out the fix in a week or so but received backlash for the delay. In order to prevent any other exploits, Apple shut down FaceTime until the fix could be distributed. Group FaceTime remains unavailable today and even if the patch has been made available, it is unknown if all users will be aware they need to update iOS immediately.Now US lawmakers want to know the details of the bug, asking whether Apple was made aware of it by other customers or parties and what steps it took to identify and inform users whose privacy may have been already violated by the bug. More importantly, the committee wants to know if Apple knows of any other similar vulnerabilities related to unauthorized mic and camera recording.Apple may be big on privacy but its secrecy on security issues may also be hindering that cause. Sometimes it takes a huge scandal for Apple to even notice something’s amiss but it is sometimes too late to take back data that was already stolen.
There’s some confusion surrounding Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup today, and it’s leading to a lot of anger among those who have pre-ordered the device. When Samsung debuted these phones, it said that the Galaxy S10 and S10+ will come with at least 8GB of RAM, but potentially more depending on how much internal storage users buy. Even though the promise of 8GB of RAM came straight from Samsung, its own website is showing that some Galaxy S10 handsets come with only 6GB of RAM. Story TimelineBixby button remapping won’t be limited to Galaxy S10Galaxy S10+ is best in DxOMark selfie tests but not overall For the record, the Galaxy S10e – the base level offering for the S10 series – is the only phone that’s supposed to come with 6GB of RAM, so obviously, the confusion among prospective buyers is certainly warranted. It gets worse though, as some Galaxy S10 phones that are already out in the wild show only 6GB of available memory in their settings menus.Android Police detailed the mess that is Samsung’s Galaxy S10 specifications pages, noting that those specs say the 128GB and 512GB Galaxy S10 come with 6GB of RAM when really they should come with 8GB. S10+ carrier models, on the other hand, show 6GB of RAM for 128GB variants, which is also incorrect. Finally, the unlocked 1TB S10+, the most expensive phone of the bunch, has a specs page that reads 8GB of RAM instead of the 12GB it should show.On top of all of that, a photo published to the Galaxy S10 subreddit shows the 128GB model with only 6GB of RAM as well, prompting a fair amount of outrage from Samsung fans. They accuse the company of a bait and switch, but Samsung told Android Police that this is all just one giant mix up and that all Galaxy S10 and S10+ handsets will ship with at least 8GB of RAM.Samsung expects to have the specification sheets updated soon (though at the time of this writing, they’re still incorrect), but as Android Police pointed out, that doesn’t really explain the photo that was posted to Reddit. In any case, we’ll keep an eye out for more information on this big, confusing mess from Samsung.
Android has always had a toggle to prevent the installation of apps from outside of Google Play Store, be it individual APKs or through third-party, non-OEM app stores. Over the years, Google has made it less convenient to flip that switch, like having to authorize each app that tries to install unknown apps instead of just one switch to rule them all as shown above.At the same time, however, Google has also made it somewhat convenient to flip those switches. Instead of having to dig through the Settings app, Android will warn users and take them to the appropriate settings to make the change. That’s pretty much all they have to do but Android Q will change that in a small but significant way.Changing that setting usually sticks after the first time you change it but based on the latest Betas, that might not be the case for the next Android version. Each time you’re prompted and make a change, Android Q will revert back to disallowing installation from unknown sources. The one case where the change becomes permanent is when the user explicitly goes into settings without being prompted to.It might annoy the hell out of those who regularly install from unverified but official app stores like F-droid, but such users can always make the changes themselves. For most users, it could give them a few seconds to pause and think before installing what could be a potentially harmful app. Android has had a bad reputation for security against malware. While Google does its best to weed out malicious apps, it only does so via its proprietary Google Play system. Android’s open nature, however, means it’s possible to install apps from “unverified” sources. While Google does have a system in place to at least reduce the impact of that freedom, it seems that Android Q will be taking it further and potentially annoy users enough to give up trying.
Any new technology naturally goes through growing pains. Sometimes, those pains happen behind closed doors. Other times, it is the users that have to grit their teeth in frustration. Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensors in the Galaxy S10 is definitely at the cutting edge but, compared to existing fingerprint sensors, it left users waiting a bit too long. Now an update addresses that pain point while Samsung remains quiet on another perhaps more critical question. The new ultrasonic technology is supposed to making fingerprint recognition faster and more secure but it might not have nailed either in the head just yet. Users have aired their frustrations as the lag between tapping the screen and unlocking it. Presuming, of course, you placed your finger on the right spot.Samsung is now pushing an update that simply says “Biometrics security patch – Fingerprints.” Folks over at Reddit, however, were only too happy to share what it’s all about. Some testify that it has made the fingerprint scanner nearly instantaneous, putting it on par with the more widely-used optical sensors.Sadly, it seems that the update is not something you can manually ask for like the normal system updates. You’ll have to wait for Samsung to push it to your Galaxy S10 or Galaxy S10+ (the Galaxy S10e has a regular sensor). Owners could perhaps use that waiting period to practice placing their finger in the sensor area.AdChoices广告The update probably doesn’t address a recent glaring revelation and Samsung hasn’t issued any statement either. According to one tester, it is possible to spoof the sensor using nothing but a photograph of a fingerprint and a 3D printer, throwing the promise of better security out the window.
Story TimelineApple Watch gets new faces, Apple apps in watchOS 6Sign in with Apple throws privacy shade at Google and FacebookiPadOS official: Multitasking, Files, more for iPad The 2019 Mac Pro brings an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores, 300 watts of power, and 8 internal PCIe slots: four double-wide slots and three single side slots. The new model also features 2933MHz ECC memory and 12 DIMM slots, up to 1.5TB of memory, and more. Apple stresses that it designed the new Mac Pro for ‘maximum performance, expansion and configurability…’Opening the system to access its internal bits is as simple as grasping a handle, which sits flush with the top edge, turning the handle, and then lifting the aluminum housing. Apple says users get 360-degree access to the full system, making it easier than ever to expand the system.The system is uniquely capable of meeting the needs of graphics professionals, boasting up to 56 teraflops of graphics performance. The graphics options start with the Radeon Pro 580X, but there are also options for the Radeon Pro Vega II and Pro Vega II Duo. The Apple MPX Module graphics expansion architecture brings more than 500W of power and Thunderbolt integration to the table. With two MPX Modules, Apple says the new Mac Pro can utilize two Vega II Duos to offer 128GB of video memory and 56 teraflops of graphics performance. The company introduced what it calls a ‘game-changing’ accelerator card, the Apple Afterburner. With the new Mac Pro, video editors can use Afterburner to handle workflows with up to 8K ProRes RAW videos. Apple says its accelerator card enables the system to decode up to three 8K ProRes RAW video streams, or up to a dozen 4K ProRes RAW streams, in real-time.Key to the new system’s appeal is the modular enclosure — there’s a stainless steal space frame with the aforementioned aluminum lift-off housing. Airflow is made possible by the lattice pattern Apple used with its new model — the company promises quiet operation despite the vast power.Customers will have access to an optimized version of the Mac Pro for rack mounting in machine rooms or edit bays, as well — Apple says this option will be available starting this fall. Apple’s newly announced 2019 Mac Pro, the ‘most powerful Mac’ the company has launched thus far, brings a modular design fulfilling promises the company made in 2017 and 2018. Buyers get a tower-shaped machine resembling the classic Mac Pro systems, though Apple has made its latest model easier to open and upgrade than before.
Avast, a security company best known for its antivirus software, has announced that Google removed a number of stalking apps from the Google Play Store found by the security company. A total of seven stalking apps were found in the app store — four on Tuesday and another three on Wednesday — enabling anyone to stalk kids, partners, employees, and others who owned an Android phone without their knowledge or permission. Story TimelineGoogle Play budget tries to control your spending habitsBeiTaAd adware discovered in 238 Google Play Store appsGoogle Play Store counterfeit apps are tarnishing Android’s credibility The apps were created by a Russian developer, according to Avast, which says its mobile threat researchers identified seven stalking apps, four of which were found and reported on Tuesday to Google. The Internet giant removed all four of those apps, according to Avast, followed by another three the security company found and reported on Wednesday.Collectively, the seven stalker apps had been downloaded around 130,000 times by Android users, the most popular apps having been SMS Tracker and Spy Tracker, each with 50,000 downloads. Other removed apps included Employee Work Spy, Phone Cell Tracker, Mobile Tracking, Spy Kids Tracker, and ‘Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free.’These products, according to Avast, instructed stalkers on how to install the apps onto the victim’s phone, after which point all evidence of the app — such as an icon — were removed, offering the victim no indications that they were being watched.AdChoices广告The apps would deliver info about the victim to the stalker’s email address, including things like text message history, location, their contacts, and call logs. This represented a huge privacy violation for victims and could have been a major personal safety risk in the case of spurned ex-lovers or use by dangerous individuals. Avast says the apps were discovered by its head of mobile threat intelligence and security Nikolaos Chrysaidos, who said:These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store. They promote criminal behavior, and can be abused by employers, stalkers or abusive partners to spy on their victims. We classify such apps as stalkerware, and using apklab.io we can identify such apps quickly, and collaborate with Google to get them removed.
Medicare moves to the forefront of House races in Pennsylvania while Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, defends his policies — including his health law vote — against TV ads and record spending brought by outside groups. Kaiser Health News: Medicare Takes Center Stage In Close Pennsylvania RacesGOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan as his running mate may have energized the Republican base, but it has also fired up the Democratic faithful who say that Ryan’s proposals to revamp Medicare would end guaranteed health benefits for seniors” (Werber Serafini, 8/22).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Record Outside Money In Ohio’s Senate Race Has TV Airwaves Humming With AdsHis critics try to tie Brown with presidential priorities least popular in the closely divided state — including the health care overhaul and energy policies they paint as anti-coal. One of the most recent TV spots funded by Crossroads GPS asks: “Who’s the biggest supporter of the Obama agenda in Ohio? It’s Sherrod Brown.” Before Obama bounced back in the polls, (Republican challenger Josh) Mandel called Brown a rubber stamp for the president’s policies. Brown defends his vote for Obama’s health care overhaul and his support for the auto industry bailout (8/22). Senate, Congressional Races Focus On Medicare Positions, Health Law Votes This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Each week, KHN reporter Alvin Tran compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.Health Affairs: Population Aging And Emergency Departments: Visits Will Not Increase, Lengths-Of-Stay And Hospitalizations Will – The authors examined how the growing number of elderly Americans would affect the large and increasing part of non-catastrophic outpatient care. Using Census Bureau and nationally representative survey data, researchers quantified the number of ED visits that would occur if the demographic structure of the U.S. population changed, but everything else remained the same. “We observed that it is actually infants and young adults, not the elderly, who account for the largest number of ED visits,” the authors write, and conclude: However, the data do predict increases in visit lengths and the likelihood of hospitalization. As a result, the aggregate amount of time patients spend in EDs nationwide will increase 10 percent faster than population growth. This means that ED capacity will have to increase by 10 percent, even without an increase in the number of visits. Hospital admissions from the ED will increase 23 percent faster than population growth, which will require hospitals to expand capacity faster” (Pallin et al., 7/8). Annals Of Family Medicine: Telephone Outreach To Increase Colon Cancer Screening In Medicaid Managed Care Organizations: A Randomized Control Trial – As screening rates for colorectal cancer (CRC) increased over time, the number of deaths related to the disease declined. But among Hispanic, African American, low-income, and immigrant populations, the screening rates remain low. Researchers at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center examined whether an 18-month telephone outreach by three Medicaid managed care organizations in New York (MMCO) could increase screening rates. They provided support and information to more than 500 randomly-selected patients. “CRC screening telephone outreach was successfully delivered using internal MMCO resources rather than externally funded research staff, with CRC screening rates from one-third higher to nearly double among women receiving the intervention,” the authors write. They conclude: “This study shows that MMCOs, key players in the delivery of health care to publicly insured and underserved populations, can successfully implement interventions to increase CRC screening, reducing health care disparities among a difficult to reach population”(Dietrich et al., 7/9).American Journal Of Preventive Medicine: Prostate-Specific Antigen Testing: Men’s Responses To 2012 Recommendation Against Screening – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for middle-aged men with no history of prostate cancer. Researchers aimed to assess the level of awareness regarding the new recommendation among men aged 40-74. After surveying 1,089 men, they found that while 62 percent agreed with the recommendation, only 13 percent said they would not get a PSA test in the future, while “54% were non-intenders (they planned to not follow the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation and get a prostate-specific antigen test in the future) and 33% were undecided.” The authors conclude that “consumers are favorably disposed to PSA testing, despite new evidence suggesting that the harms outweigh the benefits. The new USPSTF recommendation against PSA testing in all men may be met with resistance” (Squiers et al., 7/9). Kaiser Family Foundation: The Impact Of Current State Medicaid Expansion Decisions On Coverage By Race And Ethnicity – The June 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the federal health law gave states the choice to expand Medicaid. As of July 1, 24 states are moving forward in expanding their Medicaid programs and six are considering it. In this issue brief, researchers analyzed 2011 survey data to determine the implications resulting from states’ decision to reject or proceed in expanding Medicaid. “[P]eople of color will be disproportionately impacted by state decisions to expand Medicaid; the impact of current state Medicaid expansion decisions varies widely by race and ethnicity, Blacks are at highest risk of continuing to face coverage gaps due to state decisions not to expand at this time; and expansion decisions by a few key states have significant implications for coverage across races and ethnicities,” the authors write (Artiga and Stephens, 7/2).Here is a selection of news coverage of other recent research:Medpage Today: GAO Says No To Ditching Paper Drug LabelingEliminating paper drug labeling such as package inserts in favor of e-labels could compromise the availability of information for some patients, physicians, and pharmacists, a government study found. Stakeholders provided no consensus on the advantages or disadvantages of relying on drug labeling available only electronically,the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report Monday. Drug manufacturers have supported eliminating paper labels, whereas patient advocates suggest it could adversely affect public health (Pittman, 7/11).NPR: After FDA Approval, Drugmakers Often Miss Study Mark Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has had the power to require drugmakers to continue studying the safety of their pills or other medicines as a condition for approving them in the first place. Before then, the studies were largely voluntary and many never got done. So how’s the mandatory approach going? Kevin Fain, a research fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and some colleagues took a look at the five-year period ending in 2011. … before the FDA got new powers there were over a thousand studies — more than half of those the agency expected to be performed— that hadn’t been started by drugmakers. That number fell to 775 studies, or about 44 percent, in 2011. … The analysis appears in JAMA (Naudziunas, 7/11).Oregonian: Residents Who Complete Rural Rotation More Likely To Work In Rural AreasSurgical residents who complete a rotation in a rural area are far more likely to later practice in a rural area, according to a study published this month. Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University looked at data from residents at OHSU who had completed the school’s year-long rural rotation. They found that those who did the rotation were both far more likely to later practice in a rural area, and also to enter into general surgery practice (Karlamangla, 7/10).Related KHN story: Wanted: Mavericks And Missionaries To Solve Mississippi’s Doc Shortage (Hess, 4/26)Medscape: Telehealth Safe for Some Postoperative Evaluations Hands-on ambulatory surgery in some instances can be followed by hands-off telehealth assessments for postoperative patient, according to a new prospective case series from the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Health System in northern California. The study, by certified medical assistant Kimberly Hwa, MMS, PA-C, and Sherry M. Wren, MD, a professor of general surgery at Stanford Medical School in California, suggests telehealth can safely substitute for the standard postoperative clinic visit while maintaining a high level of patient satisfaction. The study was published online July 10 in JAMA Surgery (Brice, 7/10). Medscape: Physicians Urged to Ask Elderly Patients About GunsThe medical imperative to talk to patients about gun ownership and hence gun safety — an imperative challenged by Florida and Wisconsin lawmakers — usually centers on the need to prevent a small child from discovering, say, a loaded Glock in Dad’s dresser. However, physicians also should inquire about guns in the homes of geriatric patients who may be at a higher risk for a gun-related fatality — particularly suicide — because of dementia, delusions, memory problems, and depression, according to an article by a healthcare attorney published online yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Lowes, 7/11). Research Roundup: PSA Testing Recommendations Often Ignored; Medicaid Expansion’s Impact This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s headlines include reports about the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimate of the costs for expanding health insurance.Kaiser Health News: Doctors Overlook Lucrative Procedures When Naming Unwise TreatmentsKaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau, working in collaboration with The Chicago Tribune, reports: “When America’s joint surgeons were challenged to come up with a list of unnecessary procedures in their field, their selections shared one thing: none significantly impacted their incomes. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons discouraged patients with joint pain from taking two types of dietary supplements, wearing custom shoe inserts or overusing wrist splints after carpal tunnel surgery. The surgeons also condemned an infrequently performed procedure where doctors wash a pained knee joint with saline” (Rau, 4/14). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Abortion Coverage Details Hard To Find On Marketplace PlansKaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: When it comes to coverage of abortion services in plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are in complete agreement on one thing: Coverage details need to be clearer” (Andrews, 4/15). Read the column.Kaiser Health News: Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health ClaimCapital Public Radio’s Pauline Bartolone, working in collaboration with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: “Federal rules ensure that none of the millions of people who signed up for Obamacare can be denied insurance — but there is no guarantee that all health services will be covered” (Bartolone, 4/14). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Focus On Marketplace Enrollment Overlooks Millions Who Bought Private InsuranceAPRN’s Annie Feidt, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: “Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the health care law itself, the answer is complicated. The Obama administration is tracking the number of plans purchased on HealthCare.gov and on the state exchanges, and this month reported that they had exceeded expectations by signing up 7.5 million people. In addition, federal officials have said that 3 million people have enrolled in Medicaid this year” (Feidt, 4/15). Read the story.The New York Times: Budget Office Lowers Estimate For The Cost Of Expanding Health CoverageThe insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act will cost $1.383 trillion over the next decade, more than $100 billion less than previous forecasts, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. The nonpartisan budget office’s report, an update to projections from February, shows the law costing less than in previous estimates in part because of the broad and persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs. The news might come as welcome to Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House who are struggling to defend the law in an election year (Lowrey, 4/14).Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Cost Forecast Is Reduced 7% By U.S. Fiscal WatchdogLower-than-expected health insurance premiums under Obamacare will help cut the long-term cost of the program 7% over the next decade, according to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office. The government’s reduction of $104 billion in subsidies for those premiums was the main factor that led the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog to cut its projection of the nation’s federal deficit by nearly $300 billion through 2024 (Memoli, 4/14).The Wall Street Journal: CBO Estimates U.S. Deficit Will Shrink More Than Expected In 2014CBO also reduced the government’s projected 10-year deficit by $286 billion, to $7.6 trillion, mainly because of lower subsidies related to the health-care law. Future Medicare spending was also revised lower. The estimates come during a brief period of rapidly shrinking budget deficits, forcing both political parties to rethink their approaches to taxes and spending heading into the November midterm elections. The White House and Republican lawmakers have battled over the deficit for years, primarily through protracted debates over how much revenue to collect and how to structure government programs (Paletta, 4/14).Politico: Smaller Premium Hikes Forecast In 2014 For ObamacareCoverage through the law will cost the federal government about $5 billion less than expected this year. And overall, the law’s 10-year cost for the coverage provisions is pegged at $1.383 trillion — $104 billion less than prior calculations. Both figures are lower than prior estimates mostly because the CBO and JCT anticipate premium subsidies being smaller (Haberkorn and Norman, 4/14).USA Today: CBO Lowers Estimate Of Health Care Law CostsNet costs in 2014 are due almost entirely to subsidies paid out to those who make less than 400% of the federal poverty level who enrolled in the health insurance exchanges, as well as the Medicaid expansion in some states. The government will pay out $1.84 trillion through 2024 for health exchanges and subsidies, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and tax credits for small employers. But the budget office expects $456 billion in penalty payments from those who do not have health insurance as well as excise taxes on high-premium insurance plans, income taxes for those who make more than $200,000 a year, and payroll taxes that come from changes in employer coverage (Kennedy, 4/14).The Associated Press: CBO: Deficits To Drift Lower ON Lower Health CostsA Congressional Budget Office report Monday said this year’s deficit will now be $492 billion, $23 billion less than previously estimated. Last year’s deficit registered $680 billion, the first year in President Barack Obama’s tenure that the deficit was less than $1 trillion (4/14). Poltiico: Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Do’s And Don’tsSylvia Mathews Burwell will start her new gig with a lot of goodwill. Everyone knows she’s not the Health and Human Services secretary who fumbled the launch of Obamacare, but the competent head of the wonky Office of Management and Budget. And then, something else will break. And then, Burwell could end up the one up on Capitol Hill, taking one for the team at the next round of Obamacare hearings, just like Kathleen Sebelius used to (Nather, 4/15).The New York Times: Tax Preparers’ New Role: Health-Coverage AdvisersThe tax system provides both the carrot and the stick for people to obtain coverage. Tax preparers like Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block say they have helped tens of thousands of people apply for tax credits to help defray the cost of private insurance bought through the exchanges. In addition, the big tax service companies and makers of tax preparation software like Intuit’s TurboTax are calculating potential penalties for those who do not have insurance (Pear, 4/14).Los Angeles Times: Last Chance For Obamacare Ends Tuesday For Most CaliforniansAfter many deadline extensions and grace periods, Tuesday will mark the end of the first open enrollment for Obamacare in California. California’s health insurance exchange is encouraging thousands of people who have started an application to finish before midnight Tuesday (Terhune, 4/14).The Associated Press: Anti-Tax Group Praises Va. House SpeakerAn anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform is applauding House Speaker William J. Howell for his opposition to Medicaid expansion, praise that comes a year after the group advocated for new leadership in the House of Delegates (4/14). The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Medicare Reversed Payment Cuts, And Not Many Are Happy About ItMedicare’s recent reversal of a proposed payment cut to private health plans – the second such reversal in two years – hasn’t won a lot of rave reviews. Insurance analysts say they still anticipate lower payments to private Medicare Advantage plans in 2015. Some editorial pages and supporters have criticized the Obama administration and lawmakers for easing off on Medicare Advantage cuts ordered by the president’s health-care law (Millman, 4/14). Los Angeles Times: More U.S. Consumers Are Seeking Medical Care, Report ShowsA historic slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending in recent years may be drawing to a close.An industry report published Tuesday and healthcare experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting more prescriptions filled and visiting the hospital. Other factors such as millions of newly insured Americans seeking treatment for the first time and higher prices from healthcare consolidation could also help drive up costs (Terhune, 4/14).The New York Times: Prices Soaring for Specialty Drugs, Researchers FindEven as the cost of prescription drugs has plummeted for many Americans, a small slice of the population is being asked to shoulder more and more of the cost of expensive treatments for diseases like cancer and hepatitis C, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by a major drug research firm (Thomas, 4/15).The Wall Street Journal: Medtronic Prevented From Selling Heart Valve In U.S.In what doctors called a surprise ruling, a federal court has barred Medtronic Inc. from selling its new artificial heart valve to most patients in the U.S., despite finding that the device is “safer” and has “a lower risk of death” than a competing device. The ruling, issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Gregory M. Sleet of Delaware, would give Edwards Lifesciences Corp. a near-monopoly on the sale of a new type of aortic heart valve that is implanted via a minimally invasive procedure, instead of through open-heart surgery. Medtronic is appealing the ruling, but for now has stopped training new doctors in how to use the devices, and told surgeons already using the valves not to schedule any new procedures, the company said (Walker, 4/14).The Wall Street Journal: Executive Who Led Wal-Mart Expansion Into Health Care Steps DownThe executive who led Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s expansion into providing health services has left the company, as the retailer plans to make another push at providing care through its stores. John Agwunobi stepped down from his job running the retailer’s health and wellness division after seven years at Wal-Mart, according to an internal memo sent to staff earlier this month. He will be replaced by Labeed Diab, who most recently led Wal-Mart’s U.S. Midwest division (Banjo, 4/14).The Associated Press: NY Gets Final Terms For $8B Medicaid WaiverNew York and federal officials report final agreement allowing the state to reinvest $8 billion in Medicaid savings to support hospital overhauls and expand primary medical care over the next five years. The goal of the Medicaid waiver is to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent while helping financially struggling hospitals shift to more primary and outpatient care (4/14).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: April 15, 2014
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The indictment of anti-abortion activist David Daleiden is a stark reminder that the criminal law is a dangerous animal: Once it’s set free, there’s no telling who will be its target. Yet Daleiden is extremely unlikely to receive anything but symbolic jail time if convicted of the charge of making and using a false California driver’s license in the course of his undercover attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas. And despite what his supporters might say, the indictment doesn’t pose a threat to First Amendment values or legitimate investigative journalism. (Noah Feldman, 1/26) The Baltimore Sun: The Myth Of More Medicine And Better Health Scientists at an International AIDS Society conference recently announced a hopeful discovery: Early treatment reduces the rate of complication and death from HIV/AIDS by more than half compared with delayed treatment. But rather than capitalize on this discovery by expanding access to treatment, lawmakers across the country are moving to cut off the development of new medicines by imposing price controls on lifesaving drugs. (Zaldivar, 1/25) Wichita Eagle: Kansas Failing To Care Properly For Most Vulnerable Democrats have tried to give Medicare this power since at least 2003, when Medicare Part D, which gives beneficiaries prescription drug benefits, passed. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and President Barack Obama all agree with Trump that Medicare ought to have the authority to push back against drug companies that ask for really high prices. Republicans have opposed such policies, saying that lower prices would leave drugmakers with less money for research — and leave Americans with less innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. But Trump isn’t like other Republicans. He talks a lot about how he isn’t beholden to special interests because he is financing his own campaign. This isn’t fully true — Trump does take outside donations alongside his own contribution — but voters like the rhetoric and the idea that he can’t be bought. This Medicare proposal only builds on that narrative. (Sarah Kliff, 1/26) Last year anti-abortion activists released videotapes they said showed Planned Parenthood illegally profited from fetal tissue obtained by abortions. Though secretly recorded and heavily edited, conservative politicians embraced snippets of the recordings to justify renewed attacks on the health provider. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was among them. When he wanted an investigation into a local Planned Parenthood, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson immediately got to work. (1/26) The New York Times: Vindication For Planned Parenthood Bloomberg: How The Planned Parenthood Case Backfired Maryland is the only state testing an “all payer” model for Medicare insurance payments. This model pays hospitals a fixed amount for each patient, in contrast to standard fee-for-service payments for each test or doctor’s visit. A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine showed Maryland’s experiment has resulted in a 26 percent drop in infections, surgical errors and other preventable conditions. The model’s success is counter-intuitive and throws into question our belief that more medicine means better health. (Morgan, 1/26) The Philadelphia Inquirer: Don’t Stifle Incentives Needed To Develop Drugs For many years, most Kansans have shared a belief that we are obligated to provide a basic level of care for the most vulnerable people in our communities. We have relied on a combination of services from our nonprofits and state and local governments. Some of us believe that our most productive pursuits occur when government partners with faith-based organizations to provide services. (Dennis McKinney, 1/26) One after the other, investigations of Planned Parenthood prompted by hidden-camera videos released last summer have found no evidence of wrongdoing. On Monday, a grand jury in Harris County, Tex., went a step further. Though it was convened to investigate Planned Parenthood, it indicted two members of the group that made the videos instead. … Yet despite all the evidence, Texas’ Republican governor, Greg Abbott, said on Monday that the state attorney general’s office and the State Health and Human Services Commission would continue investigating Planned Parenthood. This is a purely political campaign of intimidation and persecution meant to destroy an organization whose mission to serve women’s health care needs the governor abhors. (1/27) Viewpoints: Indictment Vindicates Planned Parenthood; State Lawmakers And The Medicaid Expansion Debate A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. Modern Healthcare: Patient Empowerment Through Shared Decisions Can Lower Costs Vox: Donald Trump Endorses An Idea Liberals Love: Letting Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices Des Moines Register: Get Involved In Medicaid Debate Des Moines Register: Planned Parenthood Foes Need To Move On Concord Monitor: Medicaid Expansion Flaws Are Glaring Iowa is moving quickly to privatize Medicaid. I am deeply concerned for the more than 560,000 Iowans on Medicaid, including 120,000 coping with life-altering disabilities, whose quality of life and future depend upon accessible health care. You can see the numbers: businesses wanting a piece of the $4.2 billion Iowa Medicaid system; four out-of-state companies chosen to decide the future of Medicaid; nearly $500 million in added administrative costs. Well, behind all of these big numbers are real people. And today, tens of thousands of Iowans with disabilities are especially at risk because the current administration decided to outsource Medicaid. I believe we can and must do better. (Chet Culver, 1/26) A lot has been written about empowering patients. Unfortunately, effective tools for making that possible still aren’t widely available.But that may soon change. Over the past 30 years, there has been a movement to develop educational materials that empowers patients to engage in shared decisionmaking with their physicians. (Merrill Goozner, 1/23) This year, the state Legislature will decide the future of expanding the state’s Medicaid program to able-bodied adults under Obamacare. Medicaid expansion – passed in 2014 by a Legislature more sympathetic to Obamacare and growing government – expires later this year, and some of our elected officials are seeking to make it permanent. In early 2013, when Obamacare proponents pursued adding able-bodied adults to the Medicaid program, they offered three reasons for adding thousands of individuals to a program that is already the largest in state government. All three premises have proven to be false. (Greg Moore, 1/27)
Hudson’s Bay Co. store in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.Ben Nelms/Bloomberg Recommended For YouPhilip Morris International Inc. Reports 2019 Second-Quarter Reported Diluted EPS of $1.49 vs. $1.41 in 2018, Reflecting Currency-Neutral Like-for-Like Adjusted Diluted EPS Growth of 15.0%ECB’s Weidmann: Should be vigilant about stablecoins but not alarmedThales says makes sense for Europe to combine fighter projectsSports streaming firm DAZN to show Eurosport in four European countriesGold eases from two-week high on profit-taking after Fed-driven rally Bloomberg News Jonathan Roeder and Scott Deveau Reddit Comment June 10, 201911:19 AM EDT Filed under News Retail & Marketing National Post Share this storyHudson’s Bay offered escape from retail carnage with chairman’s bid Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Hudson’s Bay offered escape from retail carnage with chairman’s bid Stock soars on $1.74 billion offer More 2 Comments Bloomberg Leaving GermanyIn a separate announcement Monday, Hudson’s Bay said it is cashing out of its European operations — to the tune of $1.5 billion. The Toronto-based company said it reached an agreement for partner Signa Holding GmBH to take over the companies’ German real estate and retail joint venture. Part of the proceeds will be used to strengthen the company’s balance sheet by paying down a term loan. Hudson’s Bay Co exploring strategic alternatives for Lord & Taylor, including sale or merger Walmart has unleashed an army of robots in its stores and workers aren’t exactly thrilled about it Ailing Forever 21 is exploring restructuring options to turn around its business The bid to go private is dependent on the deal with Signa, which is expected to close this fall. The shareholder deal would allow Baker and his partners to continue the company’s turnaround efforts outside the glare of public markets.“We believe that improving HBC’s performance will require significant time and patient long-term capital that is better suited in a private company context without the emphasis on short-term results and returns,” Baker said in a statement Monday.Going private will give Hudson’s Bay more flexibility to try new ideas as the company refocuses on North America, said Poonam Goyal, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.“The retail sector is undergoing massive transformations and maybe they just need the flexibility,” Goyal said.Special CommitteeHudson’s Bay said no decision has been made on Baker’s bid, and the retailer has formed a special committee to review the proposal with the assistance of outside advisers.This isn’t the first time shareholders have tried to get involved. Activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management had pushed the company to explore ways to improve value for shareholders last year, including calling for Hudson’s Bay’s insiders to explore taking the company private. The New York hedge fund, run by Jonathan Litt, also called for the company to sell its European division and other real estate.Land & Buildings still owns a sizable position in Hudson’s Bay, according to people familiar with the matter. While the hedge fund is still evaluating the terms of the transaction, initial impressions are that the proposed price undervalues the company, the people said.A representative for Land & Buildings declined to comment.More changes are likely. The sale of the German business to Signa doesn’t include operations in the Netherlands, which will revert to Hudson’s Bay ownership. Hudson’s Bay said it’s reviewing options for the Netherlands business, “which has not performed to expectations.” In the meantime, the company expects to cut costs by measures that include closing stores.With assistance from Sandrine Rastello and Lisa WolfsonBloomberg.com Twitter Baker is teaming up with investors, including Rhone Capital LLC and WeWork Property Advisors, to offer $9.45 a share for the remaining stock of Hudson’s Bay. The group owns about 57 per cent of the company’s outstanding common shares, and the offer represents a 48 per cent premium to the retailer’s closing share price on Friday, the investors said in a statement.The offer, if successful, would be a next step in Chief Executive Officer Helena Foulkes’s everything-is-on-the-table approach to turning Hudson’s Bay around. The company has already divested flash-sale website Gilt, slashed costs by cutting jobs, unloaded a minority stake to Rhone Capital and sold its iconic Lord & Taylor building in Manhattan to WeWork for US$850 million. But it’s been to no avail — through last week’s close, the stock had lost almost two thirds of its value since 2012.Shares surged 43 per cent to $9.09 at 10:45 a.m. in Toronto.Hudson Bay Co’s shares surged 43 per cent to $9.09 at 10:45 a.m. in Toronto. Facebook Hudson’s Bay Co. has tried everything to appease shareholders, from cutting costs to selling off assets. None of it has halted the stock’s steady decline, so Chairman Richard Baker is stepping in with a cash bid valued at about $1.74 billion to take the company private.Hudson Bay Company chairman Richard Baker Email Join the conversation →
BP Ventures has invested in Powershare, a Chinese provider of integrated hardware and software for EV charging, during a Series A funding round.PowerShare offers an online platform that connects drivers, charge point operators, and power suppliers. The company’s cloud-based system allows power suppliers to continuously monitor the power demand from vehicles and balance it with the supply capacity of the grid.“China is the world’s largest EV market and a key market for BP as we seek to expand our advanced mobility offer,” said Lamar McKay, Deputy Chief Executive of BP. “Our investment into PowerShare, BP Ventures’ first direct investment in China, demonstrates our continued intent to provide charging solutions and advanced mobility offers to Chinese consumers both on and off our forecourts.” Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Source: BP
This marks the first time for MidAmerican to acquire a public company . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Username Password Lost your password? Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Remember me
Username Lost your password? Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Remember me Password © 2014 The Texas Lawbook.By Brooks IgoStaff Writer for The Texas Lawbook(May 9) – Washington, D.C.-based National Club Association (NCA) elected Thompson & Knight real estate partner Ted Benn as an officer, the firm announced yesterday. The NCA is a trade association formed to defend, protect and advance the interests and well-being of private, social and recreational clubs. Benn, a Baylor Law School graduate, has experience in the hospitality, golf and private club, multi-family property, real estate development and wind energy industries. Prior to . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.
While Washington lawmakers wrangle over a final budget for the year, a key sticking point’s emerged. The Democratic controlled House and the Republican led Senate are at odds over a requirement to have balanced budget over 4 years. Senate GOP member John Braun contends his chamber’s more focused on following the rule. He says “We think that you’ve got to stick with the four year balanced statute that’s been important to our fiscal discipline for the last three years. And we have to live within our means.” Conversely, House Democrat Pat Sullivan takes issue with GOP member who accuse his party of ignoring the rule. “We are fully compliant with the four year balanced budget law. They like to argue that we’re not. But they don’t argue with the legality, they just say that they don’t like our budget.” Democrats want to dip into an emergency reserve known as a “rainy day fund” to address mental health and homeless needs as well as education and wildfire issues. Republican only want to use such money on wildfire measures. The two chambers are separated by $400 million dollars in expenditures.
Source:https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-joins-hospitals-to-launch-a-not-for-profit-generic-drug-company/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 7 2018Mayo Clinic joins a coalition of seven hospitals in launching Civica Rx, a not-for-profit generic drug company that will help patients by addressing shortages and high prices of lifesaving medications. The company, which is organized as a Delaware nonstock, not-for-profit corporation, will be headquartered in Utah.Other initial governing members of Civica Rx are Catholic Health Initiatives, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Providence St. Joseph Health, SSM Health, and Trinity Health. These seven organizations, representing about 500 U.S. hospitals, will provide leadership for the Civica Rx board of directors and much of the initial capitalization for the company. The Department of Veterans Affairs also will work in consultation with Civica Rx to address its needs. Other health systems participating with Civica Rx will be announced later this year.Three major philanthropies will also join Civica Rx as governing members: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Gary and Mary West Foundation. The engagement of philanthropic members is intended to further support and safeguard the company’s not-for-profit, social welfare mission.Civica Rx, a manufacturer approved by the Food and Drug Administration, will directly manufacture generic drugs or subcontract manufacturing to reputable contract manufacturing organizations. Civica Rx has identified 14 hospital-administered generic drugs as the initial focus of its efforts. Civica Rx expects to have its first products on the market as early as 2019. The company also will provide generic medications to the retail market, offering an affordable alternative to products from incumbent generic drug companies.Civica Rx first will seek to stabilize the supply of essential generic medications administered in hospitals -; many of which have fallen into chronic shortage situations. These shortages put patients at risk. The initiative also aims to lower the costs and enable more predictable supplies of essential generic medicines, helping ensure that patient needs come first.Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyApplication of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CT”This endeavor demonstrates the need for collaboration to solve the most complex health care challenges of today. I am pleased to see our collective commitment to improving the health and well-being of millions of patients come alive through this mission-driven initiative,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic.Martin VanTrieste, former chief quality officer for Amgen Inc., one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, has been named the Civica Rx CEO. He has more than 35 years of experience in pharmaceuticals and was ranked No. 2 on The Medicine Maker’s 2018 Power List of Industry Influencers. VanTrieste has agreed to lead Civica Rx without compensation.”We are creating a public asset whose mission is to ensure that essential generic medications are accessible and affordable,” says VanTrieste. “The fact that a third of the country’s hospitals have either expressed interest or committed to participate with Civica Rx shows a great need for this initiative. This will improve the situation for patients by bringing much-needed competition to the generic drug market.”Research into the actual costs of manufacturing and distributing generic drugs suggests that, in many instances, generic drug prices used in hospitals can be reduced to a fraction of their current costs, saving patients -; and the health care systems that care for them -; hundreds of millions of dollars each year.Since the initiative was announced in early 2018, more than 120 health organizations representing about one-third of the nation’s hospitals have contacted Civica Rx and expressed a commitment or interest in participating with the new company. Civica Rx is collaborating with the American Hospital Association’s newly formed Center for Health Innovation to address inquiries about the initiative.