The second-generation Sony Digital paper features a 13.3-inch display with a 1650 x 2200 resolution, making it possible to read full-sized 8.5 x 11-inch documents at their proper resolution. The device packs 16GB of internal storage space, which Sony says is large enough to accommodate up to 10,000 PDFs. All of this is despite its very small size: it is less than a quarter-inch thick and weighs 12.3oz.Much like ordinary ereaders, Sony’s Digital Paper boasts very long run times, being able to last up to 3 weeks on a single charge. The slate isn’t just for reading, of course, also being suitable for taking notes. As with real paper — which the display and pen simulate — users can erase items, highlight things, add annotations to existing documents, and even put their palm on the display without causing marks.Users are able to add documents to Digital Paper via a ‘Print to Digital Paper’ functional available in various applications like Word and Excel. Documents can also be transferred from a Mac or a PC using USB, Bluetooth or WiFi. Finally, documents can be synced from some of the popular cloud services like Google Docs and Dropbox.As mentioned, the second-gen model brings some improvements over the original, including the inclusion of a Marvell 64-bit quad-core processor, MIMO Wireless Technology, encryption technology, and things related to notes including parallel reading, advanced search, and side notes. The model can be ordered for $699.99 USD and will start shipping in June. Sony has announced that the second-generation version of its Digital Paper, model DPT-RP1, is now available to preorder in the US. This model builds upon the original, bringing with it everything we liked about the first model, only with an easier-to-read higher resolution display, wireless document transfer functionality, and more. Sony Digital Paper is targeted at academics, lawyers, medical professionals, and anyone else who needs a big, clean, and paper-like slate for taking and reading notes. Story TimelineSony launches New Digital Paper with Worldox
Smartphones and tablets may have cannibalized a large chunk of the PC market, but there is still one segment where the venerable desktop remains unchallenged: gaming and content creation. Unsurprisingly, Intel is working overtime to cater to these user groups, as can be clearly seen in its launched of its new generation of desktop processors. Billed as being designed for what’s coming next, the new 8th gen Core i7, i5, and down to the i3 are being marketed with higher frame rates, more immersive experiences, and more control over performance. Browsing the web, keeping tabs on social media, and even watching Netflix in 4K can all sufficiently be addressed by smartphones, let alone tablets. But when you’re craving for higher quality graphics or the muscle to actually produce that 4K content, you really have no choice but to sit down in front of a laptop. Or better yet, a desktop.While Intel’s new Coffee Lake processors won’t be able to directly help with the graphics processing, you’ll want a dedicated NVIDIA or ATI for that, the chip makers is pushing the new processors as the perfect pair for those hulking cards. In fact, is boasts that the new Core i7-8700K is its best gaming chip ever. Its claims of 25% more frame rate while playing Gears of War 4 is somewhat backed by Intel’s move from 4 cores, 8 threads in the 7th gen family to 6 cores, 12 threads this year.That increase in cores trickles down even to the less endowed lines. For the first time, the Core i5 processors are getting upgraded from four cores to six. While the Core i3 processors aren’t getting that many, it does double the number of cores from last gen’s two to the 8th gen’s four cores. With this, Intel is making the desktop processor race about the numbers game of cores once more.Intel is also launching a new Z370 chipset platform in order to support the new hexa-core processors. As with any new Intel generation, there will also be unlocked “K” series that will allow hardcore users to better overclock their rigs. Prices for the new Intel 8th gen processors start at $117 for the 4 core, 4 thread Intel Core i3-8100, all the way up to $359 for a 6 core, 12 thread unlocked Core i7-8700K. Sales start on October 5.SOURCE: Intel
Apple’s Face ID may be dividing opinion among iPhone X fans and critics, but for family users the iOS security system is causing more immediate headaches. Those parents using Family Sharing on their iPhone or iPad have discovered that granting approval is a little tougher on the iPhone X than it has been on previous iPhones. What’s unclear at this stage is whether that’s a bug, or an intentional feature. Specifically, it’s the Ask to Buy part of Family Sharing that is causing issues. Added in 2014 as a way to help avoid kids racking up hundreds of dollars or more of app downloads and in-app purchases, it allows parents to control whether their children can buy something in the App Store or not. When a purchase attempt is made, a notification pops up on the registered family organizer device. That has details of what they’re trying to buy, and how much it costs; if approved, it’s automatically shared with the rest of the family group. Approving requires signing in with an Apple ID and password.Up until now, the organizer has been able to use Touch ID to streamline that process. Rather than typing in their password each time, tapping their registered finger against the home button gives the green light to the Ask to Buy purchase. Of course, the iPhone X doesn’t have a home button, or a Touch ID sensor.AdChoices广告Instead, it has Face ID, which uses the TrueDepth camera array in the “notch” at the top of the screen to scan the user’s face. Unfortunately, as a number of Family Sharing users are complaining about on Apple’s support forums, that hasn’t been integrated with the Ask to Buy system. Complaints there started around November 11, not long after iOS 11.1.1 was released, with some users suggesting that they’d been able to use Face ID to approve their children’s requests but that feature had suddenly disappeared. Instead, they’re now having to enter the password manually, which can be frustrating if you’ve followed security guidance and made it a complex one with letters, numbers, and special characters. Ask to Buy won’t re-request approval if a purchase has already been made, such as if the same app is installed to multiple devices, but it will ask every time a new paid app is downloaded. For a child that’s received a new iOS device over the holidays, that could add up to a whole lot of Ask to Buy requests being fired through to their parents’ device. Family Sharing allows for another device to be registered as able to give approval – including a Mac – which offers a workaround, but if it’s the iPhone X that’s nearest to you at the time, you’re stuck punching in the password manually. Right now, there’s no indication as to whether this is an oversight by Apple or a conscious decision. The Cupertino firm has been adamant that Face ID is far more secure – and prone to fewer false-positives – than Touch ID, and the system is expected to gradually replace the old fingerprint system in 2018 with the launch of a new iPhone line-up. Some Family Sharing users have speculated that Apple decided to not use the system as the faces of related people could be more prone to “fooling” Face ID; indeed, Apple does warn that identical twins could be confused for each other.
Story TimelineSurface Book 2 hands-on: 13.5″ and 15″ take fight to AppleSurface Book 2 Review (15-inch): The MacBook Pro eaterSurface Book 2 15-inch goes up for pre-order in 17 new markets However, this Surface Book 2 refresh takes a slightly different approach. Whereas the $799 Surface Laptop hits that price by switching to a slower, Intel Core m3 processor, this new Surface Book 2 leaves that chip alone. Instead, it makes a compromise on storage. $1,199 gets you a 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 with the same Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM as the previous entry-level model in the line-up. However, the solid-state storage drops to 128 GB, half of what you’d get in the $1,499 model. You still get the Surface Book 2’s trick 2-in-1 design, with its removable touchscreen display that turns into a standalone tablet.There’s also Surface Pen support, of course, though you still need to buy the digital stylus separately. Unsurprisingly you only get the integrated Intel HD Graphics 620, rather than the NVIDIA discrete GPUs that more expensive Surface Book 2 versions offer. However, the ports remain the same: two USB 3.0 Type A, a single USB Type-C, and an SDXC card reader. AdChoices广告That leaves plenty of options for filling in this new model’s storage shortfall with external drives. Most discreet would be a sizable SD card, though you could also drop a fairly compact USB Type-C external drive into your bag and simply plug it in as needed. Microsoft, undoubtedly, would rather you look to OneDrive for your storage needs, though cloud capacity won’t work so well if you’re expecting to use the new Surface Book 2 for video editing and such. All the same, at $300 cut is a welcome one. That buys you a 500 GB external SSD using a USB Type-C port, after all, and still leaves you with $120 or so to play with. If you don’t mind reserving a little bag space for peripherals in that way, and you want Microsoft’s clever design, impressive build quality, and excellent keyboard for minimal outlay, the Surface Book 2 is now even more attainable. Microsoft is filling in the gaps for buyers on a budget still wanting some Surface style today, with a new, cheaper Surface Book 2 joining the line-up. It follows in the footsteps of the new Surface Laptop that Microsoft also announced this morning, trimming specs to hit a more affordable price-point.
Story TimelineHere’s how Apple’s new MacBook Pro keyboard actually performs2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar might have a data recovery problemApple releases software fix for MacBook Pro thermal woes In fact, there isn’t a whole lot that this rumor tells us. The report comes from DigiTimes, which spoke to industry sources who claim that this new MacBook will be priced at $1,200. That’s less than the 12-inch MacBook Apple offers, but more expensive than both MacBook Airs that are currently available.DigiTimes also says that the new 13-inch MacBook will feature Intel CPUs built with the company’s 14nm Kaby Lake process. Apple originally intended for this MacBook to use 10nm CPUs, but when Intel delayed the roll out of those processors to 2019, Apple decided to go for Kaby Lake architecture instead.Apple’s September event is shaping up to be a big one. Aside from this MacBook, Apple is also widely expected to reveal three new iPhones – two with OLED displays and a third with an LCD display. The LCD iPhone is said to be the least expensive of the bunch, and will therefore be the device targeted at the mainstream, while the two OLED iPhones are tipped as follow ups to last year’s iPhone X.AdChoices广告We’ve also heard that Apple could finally give us a release date for its AirPower charger at this event. On top of all of that, DigiTimes suggests that Apple may also reveal two new iPad Pros, but we’ve also heard that new tablets may not be announced until a separate event in October. We’ll see if this report holds water soon enough, so stay tuned. It seems that Apple’s iPhone reveal event in September could be a packed one. In addition to revealing 2018’s lineup of iPhones, Apple is now also said to be planning to introduce an entry-level MacBook. This new MacBook would be priced on the lower end of the spectrum, but it’s unknown which model (if any) it’ll replace in Apple’s current lineup.
Naturally, your first line of defense will be the lock on your door. But while the Nest x Yale Lock isn’t exactly new, it hasn’t exactly worked with Google’s own smart assistant before. Ironic right? Well, that changes now and you can finally have some peace of mind, knowing that Google Assistant now doubles as your chief of security.Whether you’re at home or elsewhere, you can easily check whether the Nest x Yale Lock is actually locked. Perfect when you’re running late for work and couldn’t remember if you did it yourself. All you need is to ask Google Assistant. You can also ask it to lock your door for you. But why waste energy talking when it can all be automated? That’s what Google Assistant’s Routines are for, after all. So now you can also just bid it good night and it will know to lock the door just as it turns off the bedroom lights.Of course, the Nest x Yale Lock isn’t the only smart lock that Google Assistant works with. If you have an August Smart Lock, a Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt, or a Candy House Sesame Lock, you can also get some smart assistance from Google Assistant. You’ll also get an alert when someone locks or unlocks the door, whether or not you’ve shared access with them.Google Assistant is also integrating with new smart security products that are hitting the market. With the Arlo Security Lights, you can be notified when motion is detected. Same goes for the ADT Pulse and the Honeywell Smart Home Security solution. And then there’s the Nest Cam and Nest Secure alarm system, which is probably what Google would prefer you buy first. As houses become increasingly smarter, so too does the temptation to break into them increase. And we’re not talking about some hi-tech hacking of IoT products. Just plain old breaking and entering will do. It would be almost too ironic if your newly set up smart home wasn’t smart at protecting you. That’s why Google is now announcing a new set of integrations that can help homeowners monitor and control their house’s security, even and especially when they’re far away.
Story TimelineiPhone Xs official: Release Date, Price, DetailsiPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xs hands-oniPhone XR hands-on: A matter of balance That’s probably not going to sit well with some iPhone users, especially in light of news that Apple won’t ship a Lightning to 3.5 mm jack adapter with its newest iPhones. Dropping the headphone jack has always been a controversial move and not everyone has accepted that it is the only path forward. Some OEMs, in fact, have been praised for still sticking with the decades-old connector.Even more surprising, however, is Apple’s discontinuation of the iPhone SE. While not exactly a fast-selling model, the small iPhone has quite popular for the way it stuck to Apple’s classic design and size. Its 4.7-inch screen and affordable price offered a haven for iPhone fans who want nothing to do with notches large sizes. And, yes, it has a headphone jack too.The iPhone X does stand out as the odd one out when it comes to this batch, but it’s not surprising either. The iPhone X and this year’s iPhone XS have the same starting price so it doesn’t make much sense to keep the older model with slightly outdated specs. It also lets Apple focus its production lines on the newest models.AdChoices广告While these models are no longer sold on Apple’s own stores, there will still be some retailers that will still have them available. With the discontinuation of these iPhones, Apple is effectively removing legacy features and design and closing a chapter of its iPhone history. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. With the introduction of three new iPhones today, it’s not really shocking that Apple would decide to stop selling the oldest models it still has in stores. But while not unexpected, it almost feels too soon. And more than the timing, the motive seems to also be a bit unusual. Because by discontinuing the iPhone 6S and the iPhone SE, Apple has effectively removed the last iPhones that have a headphone jack.
Story TimelineSony aibo robot dog returns, finally looks, moves like a dogSony aibo is back: 5 things to knowSony Aibo hands-on at CES 2018: In the USA to make us enviousSony aibo robot dog USA release date locked in for adoption The Sony aibo First Litter Edition weighs in at 4.85 lbs and is a “limited, all in one aibo bundle specifically made for the US market.” In the box is the aibo itself, one aibone, paw pads, a pink ball, an aibo charging station, and a certificate of adoption. Just like you’re getting a Build A Bear, but much, much more expensive. This aibo comes with an individually numbered commemorative dog tag, too.Included with this aibo is 3 years of AI cloud service, according to Sony. Sony suggested that “Your aibo robotic dog includes 3 years of Cloud and Wireless Services necessary to take advantage of aibo’s full functionality and learning capabilities.” At the end of that 3-year period, the owner of aibo “will be responsible for any periodic fees” that come from service with aibo. This is “pursuant to a separate agreement between you and a third-party service provider.”Credit cards are needed to order an aibo from Sony, but credit cards will not be charged until aibo is shipped. So it’s sorta like this is a pre-order, but also sorta not. Sony suggested on the sale page for aibo that they might need to re-collect credit card information at the time of shipping “to complete your purchase.” AdChoices广告This version of aibo is SKU ERS-1000 and will cost a cool $2,899.99 USD over at Sony direct. Sony limited purchases to 3 units per person at the start of the sale, and it’ll be interesting to see if they sell out in quick fashion. Have a peek at the timeline below to learn more about this little monster. Sony released the aibo 2018, the “First Litter Edition” to the United States today for the first time. This robot dog was made available for order and shipping to every one of the 50 United States except for one: Illinois. We don’t know why Illinois, just yet, but we’re certainly aiming to find out. Everyone else can get their robotic puppy shipped to them by mid-December, 2018.
AcuraWatch, the company’s suite of active safety tech, was standard on the old RLX and that’s carried over to the 2018 model too. However, it’s joined now with Traffic Jam Assist. Building on the adaptive cruise control, it can follow a car head and keep the sedan in the correct lane. Inside, there are all-new seats with updated trim, and a new Espresso color option. Acura says the materials have been upgraded as well, particularly where you’ll commonly touch. Feature like ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, a Krell audio system, surround view camera, and remote engine start are all standard. Outside, there are three new color options, including a new Brilliant Red Metallic and Majestic Black Pearl. NOW READ: 2018 Acura TLX First DriveThey’ll contrast well with the “diamond pentagon” grille that Acura first previewed on the 2016 Acura Precision Concept. It’s flanked with LED lights, and there are new LED taillights too, together with dual exhaust finishers and a gloss black rear diffuser. The hood has been given a more sculpted finish, and the wheels are updated for the 2018 model year. Pricing for the 2018 Acura RLX hasn’t been confirmed, but the current, model year 2017 car is priced from $54,450. Acura says the updated version will go on sale in November this year. If gas-only is your preference, there’s a 310 horsepower 2018 RLX with Acura’s all-wheel steering technology. Out goes the old 7-speed automatic that used to be paired with that engine, and in its place is a new 10-speed automatic. According to Acura, it’s a more refined gearbox, but also should improve on both acceleration and passing times. Should you be swayed by electrification, though, there’s the RLX Sport Hybrid. That pairs a V6 direct injection gas engine with three electric motors, in a similar setup to Acura’s NSX supercar. Throw in the company’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system and you’re looking at 377 horsepower to play with. Acura’s 2018 RLX is the next in line to receive the automaker’s distinctive new grille, with the refreshed luxury sedan also getting performance changes under the sheet metal. The largest sedan in Acura‘s line-up, the RLX will now be offered in just two variations, cutting the number of options buyers need to consider. The two powertrains will give the choice of either gas or gas-hybrid.
Story TimelineUber gets permission to restart self-driving road tests in PennsylvaniaUber forms new robotics team for autonomous scooters and bikesProsecutors: Uber not criminally liable in autonomous car crash The crash saw Uber temporarily put its autonomous research on hold, but efforts resumed later in the year. This newest vehicle takes the lessons learned by that incident – along with other testing in select US cities – and rolls it into an SUV that’s said to be ready for production. It’s based on the Volvo XC90, itself refreshed recently. Volvo and Uber inked a deal back in 2016 on driverless vehicles, with the Swedish automaker agreeing to produce a base vehicle for the firm. Although at first glance it may look like a regular XC90, in fact there are numerous differences. Most significant is the hardware redundancy. The car has back-up systems for several of the key components, including steering, braking, and battery back-up. Should the primary brakes fail, for example, the secondary system kicks in automatically to bring the SUV to a halt. AdChoices广告Cameras and ultrasonic sensors have been built into the front, rear, and sides of the XC90. There’s a camera built into the Volvo badge on the front grille, for example, and further cameras underneath the side mirrors. Each gets its own water-jet washing system, so that road dirt or bugs don’t occlude the car’s systems. Together with the other sensors, it gives the car a 360-degree perspective. That, though, isn’t enough to make it fully autonomous. For that, Uber adds its own self-driving system, which installs on the top of the SUV. It includes LIDAR, along with more cameras and other sensing technology, plus the computational processing to crunch through all that data generated. The deal between the two firms has been an interesting one. Back when Uber’s car crashed last year, Volvo was clear that the autonomous technology involved was Uber’s own, not the automaker’s. However, Volvo will be using the base car design for its own driverless efforts, only with different software, among other changes. “Volvo Cars plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s,” the company says. “These technologies, to be introduced on the next generation of Volvo models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture, will include features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads.”If all goes to plan, Uber aims to buy tens of thousands of the cars from Volvo to build out its driverless fleet. For the moment, though, there’ll still be a “Mission Specialist” – Uber’s term for the human safety driver who sits, poised, ready to take over in the case of an emergency – behind the wheel. Uber has revealed its new autonomous car, a self-driving Volvo SUV that the ride-hailing company says is finally production ready. The reveal comes after controversy around Uber’s driverless development, which included a collision in mid-2018 that saw a pedestrian killed by a prototype vehicle.
The New York Times: Updated Warnings For Generic Drugs Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed sensible regulations that would authorize the makers of generic drugs to update safety labels independently, without waiting for F.D.A. approval, to warn of newly discovered risks. The change is strongly opposed by the makers of generics out of fear of being held liable for damages to patients harmed by their products. But the change is needed, both to give patients and doctors more timely warning of emerging risks and to enable patients to sue (3/26). Los Angeles Times: Congress Can’t Get Out Of Its Own Way On Medicare Maybe it was too good to be true. A rare bipartisan healthcare reform proposal backed by leaders of three major House and Senate committees is foundering because Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on how to pay for it. The irony is that the measure, which would change the way Medicare reimburses doctors, would slow the growth of healthcare spending and taxpayers’ costs. Lawmakers should stop the partisan bickering and start working in good faith to find a way to enact the long-overdue and much-needed reform (3/27). Los Angeles Times: New Evidence That Medicare Advantage Is An Insurance Industry Scam A big part of the argument made by enemies of the Affordable Care Act that the Act is hurting Medicare applies to a category of health plan known as Medicare Advantage. New evidence has just come in showing that Medicare Advantage is a ripoff that fattens the health insurance industry while scarcely helping its enrollees, all at public expense (Michael Hiltzik, 3/26). WBUR: Economic Abuse: Recognizing It In The Doctor’s Office And BeyondEconomic abuse can also affect a victim’s access to health care and medicine. A victim of abuse may resist leaving an abusive partner because his or her children are dependent on that partner’s health insurance. Additionally, the victim may avoid medical care altogether because transportation options have been withheld or limited, or because he or she cannot afford co-payments while a partner controls the finances. Victims of domestic violence may not seek out necessary health care services for fear of revealing an abusive situation to medical professionals (Paul Medis, 3/26). The New England Journal Of Medicine: Diagnosing Depression In Older Adults In Primary CareWith the looming shortage of geriatric mental health care providers, general medical clinicians’ role in managing older adults’ mental health problems will probably increase. A nuanced approach to depression diagnosis and treatment may improve the management and outcome of geriatric depression in primary care settings. Incorporating the stepped-care approaches into generalists’ training and making low-intensity psychosocial interventions more widely available may help prepare clinicians to more effectively meet future needs (Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, 3/27). Viewpoints: Generic Drug Warnings; Medicare Advantage ‘Scam’ 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 the latest reports on various states’ challenges related to expanding the Medicaid program. Kaiser Health News: Patients Lose When Doctors Can’t Do Good Physical ExamsReporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with The Washington Post, Sandra G. Boodman writes: “Doctors at a Northern California hospital, concerned that a 40-year-old woman with sky-high blood pressure and confusion might have a blood clot, order a CT scan of her lungs. To their surprise, the scan reveals not a clot but large cancers in both breasts that have spread throughout her body” (Boodman, 5/20). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: What Happens To A Consumer Who Gets Exchange Plan Buyers’ Remorse?Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews answers questions from reader who are confused about the health law (5/20). Read her responses.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Study: Limited Competition Raised Obamacare PricesNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Jay Hancock reports: “Many insurers only dipped a toe into the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces for their first year. Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurers, offered 2014 plans to individuals in fewer than half a dozen states. Humana is only in a little more than a dozen states. The biggest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, didn’t offer any policies through the federally run online portal and only a few elsewhere. The result: substantially higher premiums than otherwise would have been the case, according to a new paper” (Hancock, 5/19). Check out what else is on the blog.Politico: Free Preventive Care Can Still Cost“Free” preventive health care is one of Obamacare’s chief selling points. But as millions of newly covered people begin to seek that benefit, some are still getting stuck with bills. The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to pay the full cost of services like cholesterol checks, women’s birth control, immunizations, colonoscopy screenings and a host of other items. It also covers “well visits” for children and adults — periodic checkups not triggered by a particular health complain (Norman, 5/19).The Washington Post: Pence Promotes Alternative Health Care ProposalThe Republican governor introduced his state proposal that he says would act as an alternative to Medicaid. In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Pence said his plan would help expand health coverage for low-income residents but provide more flexibility to allow people to manage their own health care needs (5/19).The Washington Post: Virginia Budget Situation WorsensThe dire budget news seemed only to drive the House and Senate further apart, as each side used the bleak financials to bolster its case for or against Medicaid expansion. The central sticking point in the budget impasse is whether to open the health-care program for the poor to an additional 400,000 Virginians. Senate budget leaders, who like McAuliffe support expansion, say the shortfall shows how much Virginia needs the federal Medicaid money, which initially would amount to $5 million a day. But House budget leaders, already skeptical that Virginia can afford expansion, says the bleak financials are another reason to keep it at bay (Vozzella, 5/19).The Associated Press: $300 Million Budget Gap Possible For Va. BudgetRepublican and Democrats haven’t been able to pass a roughly $96 billion biennial budget for several weeks because of disagreements over whether to expand Medicaid eligibility to as many as 400,000 low income residents. McAuliffe and most Democrats favor expanding eligibility, most Republicans do not. Republicans said Monday they’ve always had a sense of urgency about passing a state budget. But they said the projected shortfall bolsters their case for passing a budget without Medicaid expansion, saying more reforms of current Medicaid spending are needed first (5/19).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: California’s Medicaid ConundrumTwo recent articles on California’s fiscal situation illustrate the mixed messages coming from some states, which face rising costs from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act even as they grapple with a reduced, and frequently fickle, tax base. … Some states opted to expand Medicaid under the health-care law, raising costs and budgetary pressures at a time of volatile tax revenue. In some cases, the result has been cognitive dissonance. California Gov. Jerry Brown was quoted in Thursday’s Journal saying: “We can’t spend at the peak of the revenue cycle—we need to save that money, as much of it as we can.” But two days earlier, Mr. Brown had expressed pride in the “huge social commitment” that health-care expansion represented in his state—even as it caused a billion-dollar overspend (Jacobs, 5/19).The Associated Press: For Obama, A 2nd-Term Focus On Following ThroughRepublicans and Democrats alike have voiced anger over troubling allegations of preventable deaths and treatment delays at VA hospitals around the country. While Obama is so far standing by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, officials say there is urgency in getting the matter under control. As it seeks to shore up its response, the White House is turning to the same playbook it used during the health care enrollment debacle, when Obama dispatched longtime aide Jeffrey Zients to the Health and Human Services Department to oversee efforts to fix the woeful HealthCare.gov website. Obama made a similar move last week, temporarily assigning deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors to the VA to lead an internal review of agency policies (5/20).The Wall Street Journal: White House Defends VA Nominee MurawskyThe White House on Monday defended President Barack Obama’s nominee for a high-ranking Department of Veterans Affairs position, as the administration scrambles to control the fallout from wide-ranging allegations of misconduct at the VA. Just days after the forced resignation of Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health at the VA, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney faced questions about its nominee to replace him, Jeffrey Murawsky, who has served for more than a decade in the VA system. Mr. Murawsky currently oversees a hospital network that includes a Chicago-area VA hospital which allegedly used unauthorized appointment waiting lists that made official wait times seem to fall within VA targets (Kesling, McCain Nelson and Lee, 5/19).USA Today: Bundled Payments Could Cut Medicare Fraud, Experts SayHealth and policy experts are pushing for a system that pays doctors a lump sum for medical care or allows them to share in savings, saying it will save millions of dollars over current fee-for-service payments that can lead to fraud and over-use of medications. In the new system, doctors would not be entitled to extra pay should they prescribe costlier medication (Kennedy, 5/19).The Associated Press: Nunn Skirts Question On Health Care VoteDemocratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn in Georgia declined to answer questions Monday about whether she would have voted for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, as candidates in six states went through the final paces of bruising primary campaigns for congressional and statewide offices. Seven Georgia Republicans — all of whom have called for repeal of the law Republicans deride as “Obamacare” — are in their own scramble ahead of a Tuesday primary vote that is expected to whittle the field to two runoff candidates (5/19).Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Supervisorial Candidates Lay Out Visions For HealthcareBut whoever emerges from the field of 11 candidates competing in two districts will have to take a big-picture approach when they assume office in December if they hope to help the county navigate federal healthcare reforms. In separate interviews, District 1 candidate Hilda Solis and District 3 contenders John Duran, Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver described their visions for the second-largest public healthcare system in the nation, with four hospitals and 19 regional clinics (Brown, 5/18). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: May 20, 2014
The New York Times: Questions For President Obama’s Nominee To Lead The F.D.A. [Ben Carson’s] warm, self-assured voice spoke to me, in a campaign robo-call, to tell me everything he is eager to do for the country. … I wondered if he remembered me: the woman in the hallway outside the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the one who grabbed his hands and kissed them when he told me the tumor was removed and my 10-year-old daughter would be just fine. … On his recorded call, he promised to turn his talents toward what ails the United States; from saving the economy to stopping terrorists and — “for heaven’s sake!” — repealing “Obamacare so you can make your own health-care choices.” … I’ve wanted to talk to him about exactly this for eight years. Because Ben Carson the doctor saved my daughter’s life, but now I worry that Ben Carson the president could put others’ lives in jeopardy. (Bethany Karn, 11/13) STAT News: FDA Nominee Robert Califf Must Prove His Independence From Industry For all the talk about new opportunities for consumers to make their own healthcare decisions, much remains out of their control. Nowhere is that more evident than in the prescription drug market, where stratospheric prices can sometimes keep patients from obtaining lifesaving therapies. That’s why major drug companies have instituted programs to cover co-pays or other cost-sharing burdens for needy patients. And it’s why Amgen Inc. has triggered an uproar among cardiology specialists for imposing unusually onerous preconditions on its program to provide financial help for patients prescribed Repatha, a new drug that treats chronic high LDL cholesterol (that’s the “bad” cholesterol). Repatha costs more than $14,000 a year; many of its users are likely to need it all their lives. (Hiltzik, 11/13) Raleigh News & Observer: The Many Agonies Of Our Health Care Nonsystem The Hill: We Are All On The Government Dole In a positive signal from Congress, bipartisan majorities in both houses are on record as approving permanent renewal and financing of the emergency health care and compensation programs needed by thousands of first responders to the 9/11 attacks who are suffering illnesses as a result of their labors at the devastated sites. Unfortunately, just as this filibuster-proof momentum gathers force, two House committees have made moves to crimp the programs with lower funding and an extension of only five years, despite a strong majority view that the programs should not have an end date. (11/14) The Washington Post: Ben Carson The Doctor Saved My Daughter’s Life. Ben Carson The President Might Put Others’ In Jeopardy. November 2015 marks the beginning of the third enrollment for the purchase of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or ObamaCare. Many on the right contend that the ACA represents an unacceptable government intrusion into private markets and that the tax credits, or subsidies, under ObamaCare are yet another government welfare program destined to promote learned helplessness and dependency. Although that line of thinking makes for great political fodder, in reality, we are all recipients of government largesse. Let’s begin with employer-sponsored health insurance, the flagship of our voluntary private health insurance system and where about 150 million of us (including members of Congress) get health coverage. (Carolyn Long Engelhard, 11/16) Bloomberg: Treatment Alone Won’t Stop Heroin Epidemic As a US Senate committee meets on Tuesday to consider Dr. Robert Califf for the top job at the Food and Drug Administration, an open question remains whether he is biased toward industry. Califf is held in high regard by drug makers and academics alike. A cardiologist by training, he spent years as a professor at the Duke University School of Medicine and is one of the most influential biomedical authors in the world. … Califf was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, which conducts studies for companies. Last year, six drug makers — including Merck and Novartis — partly supported his salary …. No other commissioner in the recent past has held such close ties to pharmaceutical manufacturers. (Ed Silverman, 11/16) Los Angeles Times: Need Help Paying For Amgen’s Repatha? Get Ready To Give Up Your Privacy Politico: Why the GOP Candidates Are Hooked on Addiction Stories The GOP’s softening on drug addiction has quickly become one of the most striking themes of the 2016 campaign, even if it gets less attention than illegal immigration or repealing Obamacare. Suddenly, in a crowded and topsy-turvy primary season that seems to be rewarding outsiders who have torn up the political script, a number of Republicans are dispensing with the antiseptic bios and have found that voters are engaging with the messiest episodes of their lives. What’s going on here? This is not a coincidence, or parallel “messaging.” In fact, if you look under the hood, you’ll find this is a convergence of important trends in both political style and demographics that could signal a rewrite of the American playbook on drugs and crime. (Jeff Greenfield, 11/12) Congressional Republicans are facing a slight problem in their drive to send an Obamacare repeal bill to the president’s desk that bypasses the Senate filibuster process: Some Senate Republicans from states that have expanded Medicaid under the law don’t want to repeal its big Medicaid expansion, according to the Hill newspaper. … they would be voting to preserve federally subsidized health insurance for poor people while yanking it away from working- and middle-class people who receive premium subsidies for private exchange plans. That’s highly problematic for politicians who tout their support for the hard-working middle class. (Harris Meyer, 11/13) President Obama’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration has a long history of close ties to industries the agency regulates. At Dr. Robert Califf’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday, senators will need to ask whether those connections will influence his judgment about the safety or effectiveness of prescription drugs. (11/16) Modern Healthcare: Senate Republicans Face Split Over Repealing The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion The New York Times: Don’t Let The Aid For 9/11 Responders Expire Democratic and Republican politicians seem to agree on one big issue: government policy needs to be reformed to offer alternatives to incarceration for drug offenders. … As an addiction psychiatrist, I fully agree with the president and others that treatment is far preferable to jail for a drug-involved offender. Of course, the incarceration-to-treatment diversion isn’t a new idea. As early as 1919, cities operated short-lived morphine maintenance clinics that were supported by local police departments to deal with heroin and morphine users. But we know from experience that referral to treatment alone isn’t enough. (Sally L. Satel, 11/13) Now it’s time to calculate my insurance choice for next year by adding the chances of another emergency to the variables of monthly premiums and individual deductibles while factoring in the complexities of a Health Savings Account and tax ramifications. Is this algebra or geometry? All I know is there ain’t no Pythagorean theorem to solve it. … A large reason it’s this complicated, costly and exasperating is because we refuse to just cover everyone. … It’s unfathomable that critics seem unwilling to acknowledge that they are paying for others anyway. They are paying for it in headline-grabbing higher insurance premiums. They are paying for it in $100 IV bags in the ER. They are paying for it in Affordable Care Act subsidies. And they are paying for it when a beloved son leaves $1 million in unpaid medical bills that must be absorbed in 100 hidden ways when a $1,000 colonoscopy might have saved his life had he been able to be insured. (Burgetta Eplin Wheeler, 11/12) Viewpoints: Tough Issues For FDA Nominee; A Mother’s Questions For Ben Carson A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Trump Rule Will Allow Small Employers To Use Tax-Free Accounts To Help Workers Pay For Health Insurance The health reimbursement arrangements are already available to employers and workers, but the administration finalized new rules that potentially could boost their popularity. Critics fear that some of the changes could undermine traditional workplace insurance, or raise premiums for individual plans. The Associated Press: White House Expands Health Accounts Aimed At Small Firms Meanwhile, in other health law news — Politico Pro: Verma Warned Against Obamacare Changes In Confidential Memo The tax-free individual accounts are called “health reimbursement arrangements,” or HRAs, and starting next year employees will be able to use them to buy their own individual health insurance plans. Employers that offer regular workplace coverage can also set up another type of HRA account — limited to $1,800 a year — that will allow workers to get additional benefits such as dental and vision care. This second type of account can also be used to purchase lower-cost, short-term insurance that comes with limited benefits and doesn’t have to cover pre-existing medical conditions. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/13) The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a rule aimed at expanding health insurance options for small businesses and others, the latest action stemming from President Trump’s health care executive order in 2017. The White House framed the move as part of its efforts to expand health care choices for people now that efforts to repeal ObamaCare have come up short. (Sullivan, 6/13) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A top Trump health official last summer privately warned that a trio of regulatory changes to Obamacare weighed by the administration could immediately push over a million people off coverage and disrupt the insurance markets, according to an internal memo obtained by POLITICO. CMS Administrator Seema Verma projected that Obamacare sign-ups would drop 10 percent in 2020 if officials followed through on proposals ending automatic reenrollment, banning a “silver loading” practice employed by insurers to keep premiums low and trimming the law’s subsidies. (Cancryn, 6/14) Conservatives and employers have been pressing for the change, which the Trump administration said will increase consumer choice. The administration said the rule is expected to expand coverage by 2029 to an estimated 800,000 who were previously uninsured. According to the rule, some people could lose insurance if employers drop coverage or the influx of new consumers causes premiums on the individual market to rise. The rule is also expected to lead to a $51.2 billion drop in federal tax revenue between 2020 and 2029. (Armour, 6/13) The Hill: Trump Officials Issue New Rule Aimed At Expanding Health Choices For Small Businesses The Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Expands Pre-Tax Accounts For Health Insurance Employers will be able to hand their workers a chunk of tax-sheltered health reimbursement money and send them off to buy an individual health plan under a controversial rule issued by the Trump administration Thursday. The final rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, will prompt an estimated 800,000 large and small employers to fund individual coverage through health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) for about 10 million workers, nearly 800,000 of whom would be newly insured. (Meyer, 6/13) Modern Healthcare: Employers Can Fund Workers’ Individual Plans Under New Trump Rule
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Veterans Groups Say VA Should Have Done More To Alert Rejected Applicants During Efforts To Shrink Backlog Of Requests The Department of Veterans Affairs sent out one rejection letter to each of the 208,272 applicants in 2016 before purging them from the backlog, despite requests that the agency send an additional letter. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Veterans Affairs Axed 208,272 Health Care Applications This Year In other veterans’ health care news — Modern Healthcare: Case Western Reserve, Cleveland VA To Train More Nurses For Primary Care Though nurses have traditionally been employed in inpatient acute-care settings, more and more nurses are now playing a larger role in providing and coordinating care across the continuum of care. As services move from inpatient to outpatient services, Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center are teaming up to help address that shift. (Coutre, 7/15) An arm of the Veterans Affairs Department in Atlanta eliminated 208,272 applications from across the country for health care early this year amid efforts to shrink a massive backlog of requests, saying they were missing signatures or information about military service and income, according to records reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Veterans groups say the VA should have done more to communicate with the veterans before closing their applications, some of which date back to 1998. (Redmon, 7/15) The Wall Street Journal: VA Names First AI Director The Department of Veterans Affairs last week named Harvard Medical School professor Gil Alterovitz as its first director of artificial intelligence, putting him in charge of coordinating and building capacity for the agency’s AI research-and-development activities. (McCormick, 7/16)
13 photos Let’s take a look back upon the Model Y revealNow that the long-awaited Tesla Model Y has been revealed, we can continue to debate, discuss and deliberate it ad nauseam until it finally arrives, because hey, that’s what we do here, especially when it comes to Tesla.Model Y News Tesla Model Y Delivery Timing Raises Concerns: Video Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 17, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News I was one of the lucky ones to score an invite to the Model Y event on Thursday, and afterwards, I sat down with Alex from E For Electric for our weekly “Plugged In” discussion on the world of electric vehicles. Since Alex was also at the event, we were able to do it in person, as opposed to over Skype as we usually do. If I look a little lethargic, it’s because we did it after the event, and it was like 3:00 am for me on East Coast time.OverviewMaybe I’m just getting used to Tesla’s reveal events, but this one didn’t seem to have the same pizzazz as the previous unveiling events have. It seemed like Elon used 95% of his time talking all about what Tesla has done in the past, and then at the end just added: “Oh yeah, and here’s the Model Y, thanks for coming – good night all”. We wanted more!I would have really liked if he spent more time talking about the Model Y, and showing us more of it. How about talking a little about producing a vehicle at Gigafactory 1 for the first time? How’s tooling up for production going there? How about opening the hatch and letting us see what the rear cargo space looks like, with and without the 3rd-row seats up.Third row seatsSpeaking of which, how about letting us see the 3rd-row seats? I did get to take a ride (about 2-3 minutes) in the same blue Model Y that came out on the stage but the 3rd-row seating was folded down so we couldn’t see it.It didn’t look like there was nearly enough room for a 3rd row, and I still don’t know how it will have enough headroom because the rear hatch window slopes down pretty aggressively. I know it has the 3rd row, but I’ll be very surprised if it ends up being large enough for adults to sit comfortably.There was also a white Model 3 on display but it wasn’t a functioning car. At one point, I saw an event employee push it forward about two feet. He simply pushed it with one hand and it just rolled forward. The windows were completely blacked out; I’m sure it was just a shell without any interior or drive unit.With a base price of $39,000, Tesla will have a very hard time keeping up with Model Y demand once it’s available.Model Y is basically a Model 3As others have noted, The Model Y is more of another version of the Model 3, than worthy of its own model name. Everything about it looked and felt like a Model 3, and that’s not a bad thing, because the 3 is a great car. Tesla has said that a majority of the parts used in the Model Y come directly from the Model 3. That should really help Tesla get it into production much faster than their previous vehicles. Comparing the Model 3 to the Model Y is a lot like comparing the BMW 3-Series sedan to the 3-Series GT. It’s the same model, just a different version.Elon said that they would begin manufacturing in late 2020, and I think it’s really important that they manage to hold that aggressive timeline. As I say in the video, I believe that the Model Y will greatly outsell the Model 3 once it’s available. Crossovers are all the rage, and the Model Y will fit right into a category that’s very popular with today’s consumer. Just look at GM & Ford’s recent decisions to stop producing sedans in favor of crossovers, SUVs and trucks. It’s just where the market is.Cannibalize Model 3?Yes, the Model Y is going to cannibalize Model 3 sales, because it’s basically a more versatile Model 3. It looks to be another great addition to the Tesla product line, and with a starting price of only $39,000, the Model Y will appeal to a much wider audience than Tesla’s larger crossover/SUV, the Model X. However, Tesla needs to get the Y to market as soon as possible. Even with the Model 3 in relatively high production, Tesla still hasn’t been able to sustain profitability. The future of the company may very well depend on getting the Model Y in customer’s hands as soon as they can. Video Blitz: Let’s Welcome The Tesla Model Y To The Stage Tesla Model Y Comparison: Range, Performance, Options, Prices Source: Electric Vehicle News
Here is an announcement that we shouldn’t see just yet.Source: Electric Vehicle News
Good news – it’s actually happening.Source: Electric Vehicle News