Just about every automaker out there is going to electrified cars to help improve fuel economy. This means that some sports car makers are following suit with Ferrari and McLaren already offering some insanely fast cars that use hybrid technology inside. It now appears that Porsche is officially ready to bring an electrified version of its iconic 911 to market. A redesign of the 911 is set to bow in sometime in 2019. The plug-in version of the car is expected to land around 2023. Word of the plug-in 911 hybrid comes from Porsche CEO Oliver Blume. He has stated that the plug-in hybrid version of the 911 will land midway through the next 911 generation.Blume has said that a 911 hybrid is very important and that in his opinion Porsche “will go for it.” That means this isn’t a flat confirmation, but more of a “likely to happen” from on high. Porsche rumors pointed to a plug-in hybrid 911 being a non-starter because of battery weight making performance unacceptable. It seems that Blume thinks Porsche can get around that issue but offers no indication of how performance might be addressed. Blume did note that the 911 platform had been prepared to accommodate a battery in the next generation of the car.The target right now is for a 47-ampere-hour battery system allowing for up to 43 miles of driving on battery alone. Blume noted that the new generation of batteries gives the plug-in 911 a good potential for range.SOURCE: Automotive News
Nissan is working on cars that can read your mind, promising brain-scanning technology that could make performance cars more responsive and autonomous cars more relaxing. The technology, dubbed Brain-to-Vehicle or B2V, is the handiwork of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility lab, the project within the Japanese automaker exploring next-generation transportation. YOKOHAMA, Japan (Jan. 3, 2017) – Nissan unveiled research today that will enable vehicles to interpret signals from the driver’s brain, redefining how people interact with their cars. The company’s Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, technology promises to speed up reaction times for drivers and will lead to cars that keep adapting to make driving more enjoyable. Nissan is upfront about the fact that B2V can’t read minds: you won’t be able to simply think of a destination, for instance, and have your self-driving car take you there. However, there are clear possibilities for improving the autonomous vehicle experience if you have a tap on the mood of the people being transported. Indeed, Nissan says, it could help assuage some anxieties about handing over control to an artificial intelligence. By spotting discomfort in the driver, for example, B2V could encourage an autonomous car to drive more sedately. If you’re concerned that your robo-taxi is taking corners too quickly, or not leaving enough space between you and the car in front, Nissan’s system could identify that stress and have the vehicle switch into a more cautious drive mode. Conversely, the AI might choose to drive more aggressively if the driver was impatient and the conditions to do so were safe.AdChoices广告Reassuring those inside the vehicle as to the talents of the robotic driver isn’t a new theory in autonomous vehicles. Back in 2014, mapping specialist HERE – since acquired by a consortium of German automakers – was pushing the idea that self-driving cars would need to model human behaviors behind the wheel if they were to build trust with their flesh & blood occupants. Delphi, last year, demonstrated an autonomous car which could be switched between different “aggression” modes, each affecting factors like rate of acceleration, tightness of turns, and braking force.Indeed, Nissan believes the Brain-to-Vehicle technology could also be a boon to those who don’t want to hand over the steering wheel to a computer. The headset could identify signs that the driver is about to make a movement, such as turning the wheel or pressing the accelerator down. That way, driver-assist technologies could begin the action more quickly, improving reaction times. The automaker says that, by anticipating such movements, the car can shave anything from 0.2 to 0.5 seconds off the usual, unassisted reaction time. Despite that, the technology remains “largely imperceptible” Nissan promises. Of course, having to strap on a headset in order to get B2V to work might not be how you want to start out your morning commute – nor, indeed, if the headset is a communal one in a shared autonomous taxi. Nissan would probably need some sort of less intrusive version if the technology was be practical for the market. Nonetheless, as a diagnostic measure to evaluate how passengers acclimatize to driverless vehicles, it could prove very valuable in assisting Nissan to tune the drive modes its autonomous technology offers. It uses a brain wave monitoring headset, which can track activity within the wearer’s brain. That activity is then fed through Nissan‘s autonomous systems, which then make inferences about what the driver is feeling or intending to do. It’ll be demonstrating the technology next week, at CES 2018. YOKOHAMA, Japan (Jan. 3, 2017) – Nissan unveiled research today that will enable vehicles to interpret signals from the driver’s brain, redefining how people interact with their cars. The company’s Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, technology promises to speed up reaction times for drivers and will lead to cars that keep adapting to make driving more enjoyable.
Story TimelineElectric car chargers across the USA: Target, Walmart, and moreOne of the big headaches in EV charging is about to get easierPorsche Taycan gets 3 years free charging – and it’s super-fast The upside to a 350 kW connection is clear. An electric car able to take advantage of such a high powered charge could, in theory, add 20 miles of range per minute plugged in. In the process, it would significantly reduce one of the lingering pain points for EVs, namely that filling up a gas or diesel vehicle’s tank with gas can be done in around five to six minutes on average. The downside, though, is infrastructure and price. Drawing such a large amount of power at any one time leaves Electrify American dependent on the current price of electricity at the time, not to mention reliant on the local grid being capable of supplying such power. Considering each of the company’s stations is expected to have multiple DC fast charging units, that can present an even greater challenge. Its solution is an array of on-site batteries, and that’s where Tesla comes in. More than 100 of Electrify America’s locations across the US will be outfitted with Tesla Powerpack batteries in 2019: they’ll be used to store energy which could be delivered to a charging EV rather than tapping directly into the grid. The advantages of the system are various. For a start, Electrify America will be able to charge up the Powerpack batteries when electricity is at its cheapest, even if that power is then used when the grid’s fees are higher. If multiple vehicles are present and requesting rapid charging rates, Electrify America could combine the Powerpack battery’s power with the grid. Initially, each site will use a 210 kW battery system from Tesla, with approximately 350 kWh of capacity. That would be enough for roughly three full charges of a current long-range EV. However the design is modular, which means that Electrify America could theoretically add more batteries over time should a particular site demand it. “With our chargers offering high power levels, it makes sense for us to use batteries at our most high demand stations for peak shaving to operate more efficiently,” Giovanni Palazzo, CEO of Electrify America, said of the deal. “Tesla’s Powerpack system is a natural fit given their global expertise in both battery storage development and EV charging.”Although they do not have Tesla-specific charging plugs, Electrify America stations are compatible with Tesla vehicles with the correct adapter. Although the Model 3, Model S, and Model X are not capable of accepting a full 350 kW charging rate, the fact that the automaker’s Supercharger network is being augmented by even more public locations to charge can only be a good thing for drivers of the EVs. Now, Tesla too is seeing some of the benefit of Electrify America’s significant investment in electrification infrastructure in the US. The company, wholly owned by Volkswagen, was set up as part of the automaker’s reparations following the so-called “dieselgate” scandal, in which diesel engine cars across a number of VW Group brands were found to cheat when in emissions testing conditions. While Volkswagen faced a significant fine after the behavior was discovered, it was also required to make an investment into EV adoption. One element of that is Electrify America, which will see $2bn spent over the course of ten years in infrastructure for Zero Emission Vehicles, along with education and access. While it may have been mandated, that investment is working out in VW Group’s favor. With cars like the Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, and Audi e-tron GT due to arrive on dealership forecourts across the next few years, making sure owners have a straightforward – and preferably fast – way to keep their luxury EVs charged up is essential. Meanwhile, Electrify America has been able to ink deals with other automakers to provide them with bundled charging support, expanding the company’s business. Electrify America will install Tesla Powerpack batteries across more than 100 of its electric vehicle charging stations in the US, the VW-owned startup announced today. The ambitious charger network includes DC fast charging stations that can deliver up to 350 kW of power to a compatible EV, but that can present serious issues depending on the nature of the grid connection serving it.
To be fair, the Galaxy M40 is a pretty impressive phone for its tier. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 675 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The 6.3-inch Full HD+ screen is almost completely bezel-less thanks to an Infinity-O design. Yes, that means it has a punch hole camera like a Galaxy S10 but on the upper left corner instead.It’s headlining feature is really the three cameras on its back. One is a 32 megapixel f/1.7 camera that serves as the Galaxy M40’s main shooter. That’s assisted by an 8 megapixel f/2.2 123-degree wide angle camera and a 5 megapixel depth sensor. To some extent, it’s pretty much the same as the Galaxy A50 launching in the US but with a lower main sensor.What might catch most people’s attention, however, is what’s not there or mentioned at all. The Galaxy M40 is perhaps one of if not the first Samsung phone to ditch that port. With both ends of Samsung’s line removing the 3.5 mm connection, it’s only a matter of time before it makes it a standard “feature”.The change is not that surprising considering how the industry seems to be moving in that direction. It’s just unusual that Samsung would give its lower mid-range line the same treatment this soon. This is usually the tier targeted at consumers that usually aren’t keen on “upgrading” to Bluetooth headsets. The rumors about the changes that Samsung will be making to its smartphones are starting to flood in. The Galaxy Note 10 has been rumored to ditch the headphone jack but it might not be alone. The Galaxy S11 might face a similar fate and now it seems the trend won’t be limited to the high-end. Samsung just announced the Galaxy M40 in India and China and, more than having triple cameras, it will go down in history as the first mid-range Samsung phone without a headphone jack.
Today’s headlines include details regarding how Medicare and Medicaid, as well as funding for the health law’s implementation, fared in President Barack Obama’s budget plan. Kaiser Health News: HHS Seeking $1.5B In Funding To Run Federal Health Insurance ExchangesKaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey reports: “The Obama administration is trying once again to convince Congress to provide more funding for the health law’s insurance exchanges, which are set to begin enrollment this fall. According to figures released in the fiscal 2014 budget request Wednesday, the administration estimates that the federal government will spend about $4 billion on those federal- and state-run marketplaces for individual and small businesses purchasing insurance coverage” (Carey, 4/10). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Insurers Battle Over Federal Employees’ Health CoverageKaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: “The Obama administration, in its fiscal 2014 budget proposal released Wednesday, said it favors allowing more plans to compete to cover federal employees. The Blues are fighting the change, saying there is already sufficient competition with 230 plans participating in the program” (Galewitz, 4/10). Read the story.The New York Times: Health Care And Military Spending Bear The Brunt Of Proposed CutsPresident Obama’s effort to control federal spending would require the largest cuts from the government’s biggest programs — health care and the military — while preserving or increasing spending on favored initiatives like early education, manufacturing and research. … The budget would require $57 billion in higher payments by Medicare beneficiaries, cut $306 billion in projected Medicare payments to health care providers and squeeze $19 billion out of Medicaid, the program for low-income people (Pear and Shanker, 4/10).The Washington Post: Obama Releases A Budget Plan With A Simple Goal: Ending The Debt StandoffBut barely five months after winning a decisive reelection victory, Obama proposes nothing on the scale of the $1.2 trillion initiative to extend health coverage to the uninsured that he pursued after taking office in 2009. Instead, with sharp automatic spending cuts threatening to slow the economic recovery and another showdown over the federal debt limit looming this year, the blueprint establishes a budget deal with Republicans as Obama’s top fiscal priority. For the first time, he is formally proposing to trim scheduled Social Security benefits — a GOP demand that is anathema to many Democrats. He is also offering to make meaningful reductions in Medicare benefits, including higher premiums for couples making more than $170,000 a year (Montgomery, 4/10).The Wall Street Journal: Obama Reaches For Middle Ground With New Budget PlanPresident Barack Obama took a political gamble Wednesday by proposing to curb the growth of Social Security and Medicare, hopeful that the concessions would draw rank-and-file Senate Republicans into a budget deal that has so far proven elusive. … Congressional Republican leaders mostly dismissed the package and described it as a nonstarter because of proposed tax increases. But other Republicans said it contained measures that could show promise (Paletta, 4/10).The Wall Street Journal: Social Security, Medicare Face HitsAs President Barack Obama’s new budget indicates, the two political parties actually have agreed in the last two years to some significant steps to reduce deficits down the road. One big question is whether the budget points a way toward restraining the largest long-term drivers of the deficit, which are government entitlement programs, particularly for health care. The White House says its budget blueprint represents a good start down that path by offering proposals to curb the growth of Social Security, Medicare and other federal benefits programs (McKinnon and Radnofsky, 4/10).Los Angeles Times: Obama Says His Budget Has ‘Manageable’ Cuts To Entitlement ProgramsPresident Obama argued for “manageable” changes to Medicare and other social safety net programs as he released his budget proposal, a plan aimed at staking out the middle ground in the stalled deficit reduction talks. “If we want to preserve the ironclad guarantee that Medicare represents, then we’re going to have to make some changes. But they don’t have to be drastic ones,” Obama said in remarks in the Rose Garden on Wednesday morning. “… Obama’s remarks intended to draw a contrast with House Republicans’ budget proposal, fashioned by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which would balance the federal budget in 10 years in part by transforming Medicare into a voucher-style system and cutting government spending on Medicaid (Hennessey and Mascaro, 4/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama’s Budget Seeks Cooperation On Deficit Deal While Hoping To Keep Faith With DemocratsObama’s stated goal is otherwise, namely that his $3.8 trillion budget should lead to the completion of a slow-motion grand deficit-cutting bargain by offering to save billions from programs previously sheltered from cuts. Medicare, Social Security and even military retirement are among them. Perhaps to reassure Democrats unsettled by this approach, the president said his offer to trim future benefit increases for tens of millions of people is “less than optimal” and acceptable only if Republicans simultaneously agree to raise taxes on the wealthy and some businesses (4/11).The New York Times: Obama Budget Opens Rift For Democrats On Social BenefitsPresident Obama’s new budget has opened a debate over what it means to be a progressive Democrat in an age of austerity and defines him as a president willing to take on the two pillars of his party — Medicare and Social Security — created by Democratic presidents (Calmes, 4/10).The New York Times: Budget Embodies Obama’s Vision For Remaking EconomyTo pay for a series of programs he deemed crucial to the future and reduce the long-term budget deficit, Mr. Obama also called for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, putting him at odds with many other Democrats. They instead see those programs, created by previous Democratic presidents, as sacrosanct (Lowry and Rich, 4/10).The Washington Post’s WonkBlog: The White House Wants To Reverse $500 Million In Medicaid CutsThe White House wants to reverse $500 million in cuts to the Medicaid program meant to start in 2014, aiming to ensure that states have adequate funds to assist those that remain uninsured under the Affordable Care Act. A bit of history is helpful here. For decades now, Medicaid has sent states billions of dollars in something called Disproportionate Share, or DSH, payments. These funds, which totaled $11.3 billion in 2011, go to the hospitals that provide a higher level of uncompensated care and are meant to help offset the bills of the uninsured (Kliff, 4/10).Politico: HHS Seeks Obamacare Funds – But Is Ready To ScrambleThe landmark health law may have survived the Supreme Court, countless repeal efforts and a presidential election — but none of that required Republicans to shower money on Obamacare. And with at least 33 states refusing to build the critical health insurance exchanges, the federal government is unexpectedly on the hook to set them up — and short of money to do so. The White House requested $1.5 billion more for the health law implementation in its budget Wednesday, but health officials know they’re not likely to get it (Millman and Norman, 4/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: What Health Care Overhaul? Tracking Costs Of Obama’s Health Law In Budget Isn’t EasyIt turns out that the costs of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare to its unyielding Republican foes— are sprinkled here and there through hundreds of pages of budget books. It’s partly due to the arcane ways of government budgeting. It may also be an effort to avoid giving foes more of a target. … Even some of the major spending in the new law isn’t easy to find. Starting Jan. 1, people who don’t have health insurance through their jobs will be able to get coverage in two main ways. Low-income people will be eligible for an expanded Medicaid program, provided their state government accepts. Uninsured middle-class people in every state will eligible for subsidized private plans through new state health insurance marketplaces that go live online this fall (4/11).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: HHS Budget Aims to Boost Mental-Health ProgramsThe Obama administration is proposing to increase spending for mental health programs and the children’s Head Start program while cutting funding for low-income energy assistance and community service grants. The 2014 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services released Wednesday totals $80.1 billion, about $4 billion above the enacted budget for fiscal year 2012. It calls for $1.5 billion for the government to build an insurance exchange that will allow certain Americans to shop for health insurance, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday. The federal exchange is targeted to begin operating Oct. 1. and sell insurance coverage that kicks in Jan. 1 (Dooren and Burton, 4/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Health Care: Cover Uninsured, Trim Medicare, Hike Tobacco TaxesPresident Barack Obama’s new budget offers Medicare cuts to entice Republicans into tax negotiations, while plowing ahead to cover the uninsured next year under the health care law the GOP has bitterly fought to repeal. But the biggest health consequences of any new proposal in Obama’s plan could come from nearly doubling the federal tobacco tax. If enacted by Congress, it could make young people think twice about the cigarette habit (4/10).The Wall Street Journal: Obama, GOP Senators Talk ‘Grand Bargain’ Over DinnerOne person familiar with the dinner conversation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the group talked about reaching a bipartisan agreement on what the president calls a “grand bargain”—a sweeping budget deal that would shore up Social Security and Medicare while reining in deficits. It was clear from the dinner that divisions persist, participants said (Nicholas, Hook and Peterson, 4/10).The Wall Street Journal: Some Drug Makers Cut Payments, Meals Provided To DoctorsTwo pharmaceutical companies that are among the biggest payers of fees to doctors reduced such spending last year by double-digit percentages, as greater transparency sheds light on the hundreds of millions of dollars the industry pays physicians for marketing and research efforts (Loftus, 4/10).USA Today: Rate Of Employer-Based Health Insurance Keeps DroppingThe availability of employer-sponsored insurance has fallen by about 10% over the past decade, which has spurred an increase in the overall number of Americans without health insurance, according to a report released today (Kennedy, 4/11).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Report: Fewer In Virginia Getting Health Insurance Through Employers; Less Offer CoverageA new report shows fewer Virginians are getting health insurance through their employer. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report released Thursday says 66 percent of Virginia residents got their insurance through a job in 2011. That’s down from 75 percent in 2000 (4/11).Los Angeles Times: Blue Shield May Lose Exclusive CalPERS HMO ContractBlue Shield of California may be losing its longtime grip on one of the healthcare industry’s most coveted insurance contracts. Officials at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System are recommending breaking up Blue Shield’s current statewide HMO contract and replacing it with as many as four health plans for more than 400,000 public workers and their families (Terhune, 4/11).Los Angeles Times: L.A. Jury Sides With Doctor In Anthem Blue Cross CaseIn a rare case, a Los Angeles jury awarded $3.8 million in compensatory damages to a Porter Ranch doctor who contended insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross retaliated against him for being a strong patient advocate. The jury ruled late Monday in favor of Jeffrey Nordella, 58, an urgent-care and family-practice doctor who alleged that Anthem barred him from its network in 2010, when he applied to be a preferred provider. The damages could climb higher Friday, when the 12-person panel reconvenes and considers punitive damages against Anthem, a unit of insurance giant WellPoint Inc (Terhune, 4/10). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. First Edition: April 11, 2013
CNN Money reports that some consumers may be surprised by the out-of-pocket costs — including deductibles and co-payments — these plans include. Other news outlets report on developments related to online marketplaces in California, Minnesota and Colorado. CNN Money: Obamacare: Is A $2,000 Deductible ‘Affordable?’Until now, much of the debate swirling around Obamacare has focused on the cost of premiums in the state-based health insurance exchanges. But what will enrollees actually get for that monthly charge? States are starting to roll out details about the exchanges, providing a look at just how affordable coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be. Some potential participants may be surprised at the figures: $2,000 deductibles, $45 primary care visit co-pays, and $250 emergency room tabs (Luhby, 6/12). Los Angeles Times: Backers Of Rate Regulation Aren’t Satisfied With Health ExchangePresident Obama singled out California last week for getting better-than-expected rates in its rollout of the health insurance overhaul for millions of consumers. Yet some Obamacare supporters say those premiums are still too high, and they are continuing to push for a California ballot measure to regulate health insurance rates (Terhune, 6/12).Los Angeles Times: Kaiser’s Obamacare Rates Surprise AnalystsIn California’s new state-run health insurance market, Kaiser Permanente will cost you. The healthcare giant has the highest rates in Southern California and some other areas of the state, surpassing rivals such as Anthem Blue Cross and other smaller competitors. The relatively high premiums from such a strong supporter of the federal healthcare law surprised industry analysts, and it has sparked considerable debate about the company’s motives (Terhune, 6/12).MPR News: Call Center Coming To Answer Questions About MNsureA call center will be open later this summer to provide information to consumers about health plans, enrollment choices and procedures regarding MNsure, Minnesota’s new online health insurance marketplace. MNsure’s executive director April Todd-Malmlov says Minnesota looked at the best practices of other states to develop the call center. If a phone staffer called can’t answer a consumer’s question, the staffer will conduct a “warm transfer” to someone who can (Stawicki, 6/13). The Associated Press: For Minn. Health Insurance Marketplace, Operators Will Be Standing By Starting In SeptemberThe call center for Minnesota’s new health insurance marketplace will be operational Sept. 3 to help prepare consumers for buying coverage when open enrollment begins a month later, officials said Wednesday (Karnowski, 6/12).Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Health Guides At 55 Sites Receive $17 Million For OutreachFifty-five community groups and hospitals throughout Colorado have received $17 million in grants from Colorado’s health exchange to assist people in signing up for health insurance. Altogether 74 applicants had asked for more than $57 million, so the grant committee had to dramatically cut requested funds and some of the proposed assistance sites have backed out. … Many had made large requests for marketing, advertising and other outreach efforts that the exchange may already be doing statewide (Kerwin McCrimmon, 6/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Details Emerging About Costs For Health Plans Available Through Health Exchanges
First Edition: October 10, 2013 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 a new Associated Press poll that offers the public’s early reviews of the first days of the health law’s online insurance marketplaces. Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Health Law Fight Complicated By Shutdown, Debt Ceiling BattlesKaiser Health News’ Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call’s Emily Ethridge discuss the latest developments on Capitol Hill. For instance, fights over defunding the health law remain at the center of legislative battles eight days into a federal government shutdown and just a week before the nation hits its debt ceiling (10/9). Listen to the audio or read the transcript.Kaiser Health News: Five Lessons From Massachusetts About Obamacare RolloutWBUR’s Martha Bebinger, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: “A lot of the Affordable Care Act supporters point to Massachusetts as proof that signing up the uninsured is a big, but doable task. Here, in 2013, that’s a reasonable conclusion. But back in 2007 and 2008 things were a lot messier, and some advocates for universal coverage were worried” (Bebinger, 10/10). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Hawaiians Still Unable To Shop On State ExchangeNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Phil Galewitz reports: “Ten days after the Hawaii Health Connector was supposed to allow consumers and small employers to shop and enroll for coverage, officials are using paper applications and referring people to insurers’ websites to check prices. About 100,000 people are uninsured in Hawaii. It is the only one of the 14 state-run marketplaces, also called exchanges, that has no major functions online. Oregon’s marketplace does not yet allow online enrollment, but consumers can shop for health plans on its website” (Galewitz, 10/10). Check out what else is on the blog.The Associated Press/Washington Post: Poll: Health Care Exchange Rollout Gets Poor Reviews; 7 Percent Of Americans Have Tried It OutThe government’s new health insurance marketplaces are drawing lots of rotten tomatoes in early reviews, but people are at least checking them out. Seven percent of Americans report that somebody in their household has tried to sign up for insurance through the health care exchanges, according to an AP-GfK poll (10/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: New Wrinkle: Deadline To Avoid Health Law Will Fall Around Valentine’s Day, Not March 31You’ll have to get coverage by Valentine’s Day or thereabouts to avoid penalties for being uninsured, the Obama administration confirmed Wednesday. That’s about six weeks earlier than a March 31 deadline often cited previously. The explanation: health insurance coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications (10/9).The Washington Post: Some Say Health-Care Site’s Problems Highlight Flawed Federal IT PoliciesProblems with the federal government’s new health-care Web site have attracted legions of armchair analysts who speak of its problems with “virtualization” and “load testing.” Yet increasingly, they are saying the root cause is not simply a matter of flawed computer code but rather the government’s habit of buying outdated, costly and buggy technology (Timberg and Sun, 10/9).USA Today: Got A Health Concern? Insurance Advocates Can HelpBeginning last week, uninsured Americans could begin signing up for insurance at HealthCare.gov because of the Affordable Care Act. The law prohibits insurance companies from charging people more or denying them coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions, or setting lifetime spending limits. People who make less than 400% of the federal poverty level, or about $94,200 for a family of four, may be eligible for insurance subsidies to help pay for their insurance, or obtain free coverage through Medicaid (Kennedy, 10/9).The New York Times: Obama To Meet With Congressional Democrats And RepublicansOn Wednesday afternoon, it is the turn of the House Democratic minority, for what some Democrats characterized as a likely pep rally in the East Room for Mr. Obama’s hard-line position. Democrats are united behind the president’s stance of not negotiating with Republicans about his health care law or anything else until House Republican leaders agree to fund and reopen the government, and increase the debt limit so the Treasury can keep paying the nation’s bills. Mr. Obama has invited the Senate’s Democratic majority and its Republican minority as well as, of course, the House Republicans, a White House official said. Times and dates were being worked out (Calmes, 10/9).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Seeks Opening On Shutdown With House GOP Leaders Eyeing Short-Term Debt Limit ExtensionObama had House Democrats over to the White House, while Republican conservatives heard a pitch from the House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on his plan to extend the U.S. borrowing cap for four to six weeks while jump-starting talks on a broader budget deal that could replace cuts to defense and domestic agency budgets with cuts to benefit programs like Medicare and reforms to the loophole-cluttered tax code. Curbs to “Obamacare” were not mentioned. At the White House, Obama told House Democratic loyalists that he still would prefer a long-term increase in the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing cap but said he’s willing to sign a short-term increase to “give Boehner some time to deal with the tea party wing of his party,” said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. (10/10).The Wall Street Journal: Shutdown Standoff Shows Signs Of A Thaw Solving an immediate impasse over the debt ceiling wouldn’t necessarily resolve the spending fight that has closed the government. Many of the same conservatives who backed a short-term extension of the country’s borrowing authority said they are willing to keep parts of the government shuttered in order to keep fighting over the health law. Mr. Obama said Tuesday—and again in a Wednesday meeting with House Democrats—that he was open to a short-term debt-limit increase. White House officials view Thursday’s meeting as an opportunity for Mr. Obama to make his case directly to lawmakers who are leading the fight to try to win policy changes, among them curbs to the health law, a senior administration official said (O’Connor, Hook and Lee, 10/9).The New York Times: As Pressure Mounts, House GOP Weighs Short-Term Debt DealHouse Republicans, increasingly isolated from even some of their strongest supporters more than a week into a government shutdown, began on Wednesday to consider a path out of the fiscal impasse that would raise the debt ceiling for a few weeks as they press for a broader deficit reduction deal. That approach could possibly set aside the fight over the new health care law, which prompted the shutdown and which some Republicans will be reluctant to abandon (Weisman, 10/9).Los Angeles Times: Rep. Paul Ryan Fails To Close Republican DivideThe complaint: His plan, which centered on trimming back spending on government entitlement programs, failed to mention the demise of Obamacare as a top Republican objective. Conservatives accused him of abandoning their cause and caving in to Democrats (Mascaro and Memoli, 10/9).The Washington Post: Key Republicans Signal Willingness To Back Down On Effort To Defund Health-Care LawKey GOP figures on Wednesday sent their clearest signals that they are abandoning their bid to immediately stop the federal health-care law — the issue that forced the government to shut down — and are scrambling for a fallback strategy. Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure. The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt (Tumulty and Hamburger, 10/9).Politico: GOP Quietly Backing Away From Obamacare A fight over Obamacare? That’s so last week. With the government shutdown firmly in its second week, and the debt limit projected to be reached next Thursday, top House and Senate Republicans are publicly moving away from gutting the health care law — a practical move that could help resolve the stalemate and appear more reasonable in the eyes of frustrated voters (Sherman and Raju, 10/10).The New York Times: House Republicans Argue For Delay In Health Law PenaltiesHouse Republicans said Wednesday that chaos in the first nine days of open enrollment under President Obama’s health care law would justify a delay in major provisions of the law, including tax penalties for people who go without insurance in 2014. The comments came at a hearing of a House committee, where a senior official of the Internal Revenue Service said that its work on the new insurance marketplaces was “going fine,’’ just as planned (Pear, 10/9).The Wall Street Journal: Medical-Device Tax Repeal Gains New LifeMedical-device makers are finally gaining traction in their three-year effort to repeal a tax on their products that helps fund the Affordable Care Act. In recent weeks, House Republicans had made repeal of the 2.3% tax a proxy for their bigger fight against the health-care law championed by President Barack Obama, and device makers stepped up their lobbying efforts (Mundy and Walker, 10/9).The New York Times: Republicans Using Shutdown To Stake Positions For Potential 2016 BidsEager to regain favor with conservatives as he considers running for president, Mr. Rubio has fully embraced Mr. Cruz’s effort to block financing for the new health care law, standing with him at news conferences and through procedural maneuvers that led to the shutdown (Martin, 10/9).The Associated Press/Washington Post: A Look At The Bruising Basics Behind The Struggle Over The Shutdown, Debt And Health CareThese are complicated times in the affairs of Washington and the nation, with death stars everywhere and all of them a struggle to comprehend. The partial government shutdown, the debt limit squeeze just around the corner, sequestration, how they fit with the health care law, how they don’t — it just goes on. So we’ve cooked up some questions about this grim galaxy and taken a stab at answers (10/9).The New York Times: Kochs Deny Pushing For Shutdown Over Health LawKoch Industries, whose co-founders, Charles and David Koch, are major donors to Tea Party-inspired conservative causes, accused Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, on Wednesday of spreading “false information” about the brothers by suggesting they are behind the move to end financing for President Obama’s healthcare law and the partial shutdown of the federal government (Stolberg, 10/9).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Lawmakers Hear Differing Views On Health Care Law’s Effect On BusinessSome businesses say they’ll be forced to hire fewer people or cut employee hours to avoid having to offer insurance coverage to workers under the new health care law. But an economic researcher says there’s too much misinformation circulating about the law and that there’s no data to support claims that companies have already been cutting workers hours. These views were expressed Wednesday at House Small Business subcommittee hearing to look into the part of the law that requires companies with 50 workers or more to offer an affordable insurance plan to those working an average of 30 hours a week in any month (10/9).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: IRS Official: Not ‘Consorting With Devil’ On ObamacareSarah Hall Ingram, who oversees the Internal Revenue Service role in the health-care overhaul, hasn’t been “consorting with the Devil,” she testified at a hearing on Wednesday. But Republicans suggested she has been doing a few other bad things, notably discussing taxpayer information in emails with the White House, contrary to IRS rules. That’s clear from the fact that the IRS itself redacted the taxpayer identities before turning over the email conversations, citing confidentiality rules, lawmakers said (McKinnon, 10/9).Politico: IRS Obamacare Official: Rollout Smooth On Our EndA House panel finally got to question the Internal Revenue Service official running the agency’s Obamacare office today — and she calmly maintained that her part of the health law rollout is going just fine. At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, Sarah Hall Ingram stepped into a political hotbed and was plied with questions from Republicans about her former leadership of the IRS department that targeted tea party groups last year (Cunningham, 10/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Aon Hewitt Predicts That More Employers Will Offer High-Deductible Health InsuranceMore workers at big U.S. companies will likely start paying a greater share of their doctor’s bill because of a health insurance shift forecast by benefits consultant Aon Hewitt. Consumer-directed health plans, or CDHPs, could become the most common form of coverage offered by companies with 500 or more workers in the next three to five years, Aon Hewitt said Wednesday, as companies continue trying to cut health-care costs (10/9).Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill To Increase Access To AbortionsGiving California women more access to abortion, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday that allows nurse practitioners and certain other non-physicians to perform the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy. The governor acted on 32 bills in all, approving measures that will cap drug costs for cancer patients, expand the number of people on CalFresh, the state’s food stamp program, and promote breastfeeding (McGreevy and York, 10/9).The New York Times: California Expands Availability of AbortionsGov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday expanded access to abortion in California, signing a bill to allow nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to perform a common type of the procedure, an aspiration abortion, during the first trimester. Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Hampshire allow nurse practitioners to perform such abortions, which use a tube and suction, while several other states, including California, permit nonphysicians to provide drugs to terminate pregnancy (Lovett, 10/9).Los Angeles Times: State Mental Hospitals Remain Violent, Despite Gains In SafetyIt has been nearly three years since psychiatric technician Donna Gross was strangled on the fenced grounds of Napa State Hospital — a slaying that helped expose a systemwide problem with patient violence. Although safety has improved since then, violence is still far too high, exacerbated by an increasingly prison-savvy population with predatory tendencies, an Assembly committee was told Wednesday. The committee focused its attention on the Napa facility, but will also be examining the other four state-run mental hospitals (Romney, 10/9). 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Rental house demand still outpacing supply as national vacancy rate falls again Twitter Housing market no longer considered highly vulnerable after prices ease, CMHC says CMHC says Canadians’ debt levels hit record highs even while mortgage growth slowed Balances for credit cards and lines of credit grew at a faster pace, especially in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto Comment Facebook Join the conversation → More 3 Comments Share this storyCMHC says Canadians’ debt levels hit record highs even while mortgage growth slowed Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Email CMHC will share equity losses, gains in Trudeau’s first-time homebuyer plan Related Stories May 22, 20192:44 PM EDT Filed under News FP Street Reddit The Canadian Press TORONTO — Canadian household debt reached a record high at the end of last year even as mortgage activity slowed, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in a report out Wednesday.The debt to income ratio of Canadians hit a record high of 178.5 per cent in the fourth quarter last year as mortgage holders continued to take on non-mortgage debt.The ratio increased as average monthly required payments rose 4.5 per cent compared with a year earlier, while disposable income rose only 2.5 per cent, the agency said. CIBC says drop in big-city mortgage markets has been larger and longer than expected Mortgage stress test is keeping Toronto home buyers on sidelines, says real estate board Vancouver’s housing market is dismal — but you still need six-figure income to get your foot in the door Debt levels rose as average balances for credit cards and lines of credit grew at a faster pace than in 2017, especially in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, it said.Delinquency rates, however, remain low and stable, said CMHC senior market analyst Genevieve Lapointe in the report.“Despite high debt levels, delinquency rates remain low and the number of highly indebted and more vulnerable consumers has decreased.”The mortgage delinquency rate came in at 0.3 per cent, up 0.01 of a percentage point, while the share of mortgages held by those with credit scores below 600 continued to trend lower.The total number of new mortgages issued in the quarter came in at 223,000, down 4.8 per cent from a year earlier.The slower volume came as the market slowed and average prices fell on slightly higher interest rates, slower economic growth and stricter mortgage regulations.The new mortgage regulations, which set higher stress-tests for would-be borrowers in an effort to slow the market, have come under criticism in some corners for making real estate less accessible.The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that Canada should maintain the regulations because household debt remains high, and a gradual slowdown in the housing market is desirable.The average value of new loans in the quarter was 3.8 per cent lower than a year ago at $264,000 as house prices remain historically elevated, while the average value of all mortgages rose 3.1 per cent to $209,570 in the quarter, said the CMHC.The agency said debt issues are increasing for older consumers as the share of mortgage holders 55 and older continues to grow. It said mortgage delinquency rates in the 65-and-above age group have been rising and have been the highest of all age grounds since late 2015, while still relatively low.
More Facebook Ontario cuts small business taxes to ease transition to higher minimum wage The corporate tax rate for small businesses will fall from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent effective Jan. 1, 2018 TORONTO — With an eye to next spring’s election, Ontario’s Liberal government will slash small business taxes as part of $500 million in new investments aimed at easing the transition to the province’s increasing minimum wage.Finance Minister Charles Sousa unveiled the government plan in the province’s fall economic statement Tuesday afternoon. The corporate tax rate for small businesses will fall from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent effective Jan. 1, 2018, the same day the province will increase its minimum wage from $11.60 to $14.Critics of the government’s sweeping labour reform package introduced in May have called for the tax offsets for months to allow businesses to absorb the cost. The government plan will eventually see minimum wage jump to $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2019.Business coalition urges five-year implementation of minimum wage hikeOntario heading into ‘uncharted waters’ with $15 minimum wage, study warns“We will not back down from these commitments,” Sousa said. “An increase to minimum wage cannot wait. People cannot wait … delaying an increase is delaying an increase.”As part of the $500 million package for small business, Sousa said the province will designate that one-third of its procurement spending on goods and services will come from small and medium-sized businesses by 2020.The government will spend $124 million over three years to help companies with fewer than 100 employees who hire youths aged 15 to 29. The government will pay incentives of $1,000 for each worker hired and another $1,000 for each worker retained for at least six months by a small business.“We also want to help young people find meaningful employment,” Sousa said. “To find their first job, or take their first steps towards building their career. And we want to support small businesses that hire these young people.”The province’s economic watchdog, the Financial Accountability Office, has estimated more than 50,000 people could lose their jobs due to the minimum wage increase. A report from the FAO said job losses would be concentrated among teens and young adults, while the number of minimum wage workers in Ontario would increase from just over 500,000 to 1.6 million in 2019.Business groups have argued that needed offsets for business should have comes months ago.“Businesses will have started to increase costs, they will have started to let people go, they will have stopped hiring people that they might have hired because they’re planning now under the presumption there is no offset,” Karl Bauldauf spokesman for the The Keep Ontario Working Coalition, which includes the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has said.A report from the coalition released in September said the risk of job losses due to the minimum wage increase could be significantly reduced if the government extended the policy phase-in period. An economic analysis of the wage increase by the coalition concluded over 185,000 jobs could be impacted by the hike.However, many economists support the government move, saying hiking the minimum wage boosts economic activity and increases people’s purchasing power.Tuesday’s economic statement also covers a number of previously announced government programs including its seniors strategy, opening applications for free tuition for post-secondary students early and creating 1,200 new hospital beds across the province.Sousa also confirms Ontario’s 2018 budget will be balanced — as will budgets over the next two years. Recommended For YouSPECIAL REPORT-How judges added to the grim toll of opioidsOrganigram Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2019 ResultsSNC-Lavalin delays jury decision in corruption trial until June 28CIBC buys boutique firm Cleary Gull to expand footprint in U.S.Jury: Monsanto to pay $2 billion in weed killer cancer case Twitter Comment Sponsored By: ← Previous Next → Share this storyOntario cuts small business taxes to ease transition to higher minimum wage Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn The Canadian Press Join the conversation → Featured Stories Email 0 Comments What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation November 14, 20175:23 PM ESTLast UpdatedNovember 15, 201710:08 AM EST Filed under News Economy advertisement Shawn Jeffords Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa.Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network Reddit
Hyundai Kona electric will make its India launch in July 2019For Hyundai Kona, there’s no sign of letting off considering the stream of good news this car is receiving. According to Financial Express, the EV is set to enter a rather big market. The Hyundai Kona electric is set to make its India launch in July 2019 and electric SUV will be assembled in India, at Hyundai’s Chennai plant. The South Korean carmaker is slated to invest in an all-new assembly line at its plant to assemble the Kona electric SUV which will debut in India as Completely Knocked Down (CKD) units.Hyundai Kona For Hyundai, the goal is to sell approximately 1000 electric SUVs in India in the first year of its launch. Since the vehicle will be India’s first fully electric vehicle, the carmaker aims to ramp up the production as and when required since India is only now getting ready for the electric vehicle market. For the most part, the Hyundai Kona SUV will be sold only in top-10 metro cities before expanding further. Hyundai confirmed that the price of the Kona will be less than Rs 30 lakh, around $40,000.00 with today’s exchange rates.Hyundai Kona ElectricThe Hyundai Kona comes with a near-300-mile WLTP range and real-life tests yielded around 250 miles of range – while driving under normal road conditions. The Kona is able to utilize fast 50kW DC chargers, but those may come in rather scarce in India these days. However, that will change quickly once more EVs start rolling on the streets of Calcutta and Chennai.Definitely, the first signs of electrification in a country who badly needs cleaner air around its major cities is a big move forward. How fast will EVs catch on in India, still remains to be seen. However, for Hyundai, firmly capturing the higher-end of the EV market will allow them to establish their footprint in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. And if that happens, the Korean carmaker is in for some rather smooth sailing altogether. Source: Electric Vehicle News Source: Financial Express Hyundai Kona Electric Gets Driven: Watch Hour-Long Video Autocar Tests 64-kWh Hyundai Kona Electric: Offers Verdict 17 photos Hyundai Kona Electric In-Depth Walkaround, First Drive, More: Videos Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 6, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News
Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine As EVs proliferate, there’s an increasing need to establish protocols for sustainably procuring battery cells. BMW plans to collaborate with battery maker Northvolt and materials specialist Umicore to develop a sustainable lifecycle for European EV batteries.From cell chemistry to usage to recycling, the project seeks to optimize every step of a battery’s lifecycle around sustainable goals. The batteries will be created from environmentally and socially responsible raw materials, manufactured with renewable energy, used as stationary energy storage once they reach the end of their driving lives and, finally, recycled. The process, Umicore CEO Marc Grynberg explains, “demonstrates a closed loop for high performance, EU-based batteries.”BMW plans to open a battery cell competence center in Munich early next year. Northvolt and Umicore will supplement BMW’s manufacturing expertise with sustainable development, sourcing, manufacturing and recycling methods.“Batteries are becoming a key strategic question for car manufacturers,” said Peter Carlsson, co-founder and CEO of Northvolt. “This partnership highlights the importance of sustainable battery cells in the coming wave of electrification.” Source: BMW Group
Source: Charge Forward Google is no stranger to Lime or its popular electric scooters and bikes. The company already invested in Lime’s last $335 million investment round this summer.But now Google is going even further to help put riders on Lime’s micro-mobility vehicles. Starting today, Google Maps will feature Lime’s electric scooters, e-bikes and pedal bikes as a transportation option in its transit tab. more…The post Google teams up with Lime to put more people on electric scooters and bikes appeared first on Electrek.
Check Out This Radically Rendered Tesla: Roadster Meets Model S Watch Tesla Model S P100D Race Lamborghini Aventador S: Video Rad may be an understatement.Seen here is a render of the next-generation Tesla Model S. It’s radically different from today’s Model S, but we must admit we’re truly in love with the shape and sportiness of the S seen here.It is by far the most striking render of a Model S we’ve ever laid eyes on. More Model S Source: Electric Vehicle News What we see here a super sleek sedan that seems highly focused on performance. It’s got that widebody appearance and it’s definitely very low slung. Let’s just call it what it is – a Model S on steroids.Just the other day, we presented a Tesla Roadster rendered as a shooting brake (wagon). We followed that up by showing a Model S interior render with the curviest dash screen ever seen.But these renders take top honors. This is what the next-gen Model S should look like. At least that’s what we think. Do you?Next-Gen Tesla Model S Renders Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 17, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Check Out This Wild Tesla Model S Interior Render With Curvy Screen Source: Emre Husmen via Behance 4 photos
The driver of the car who rear-ended the Model S doesn’t appear to have been paying attention at all.Source: Electric Vehicle News
Is an older Model S still the real deal?Source: Electric Vehicle News
Perhaps you can partake in free charging?Source: Electric Vehicle News
Twitter was the chosen platform to spread the word.Source: Electric Vehicle News
Texas business bankruptcies jumped significantly in 2015, but lawyers and financial experts say last year’s increase is nothing compared to the tidal wave of corporate failures headed this way. Forty-eight oil and gas service companies and exploration and production companies filed for bankruptcy during the past 13 months, according to a report by Haynes and Boone.Eighteen prominent bankruptcy experts interviewed by The Texas Lawbook say they expect the number of oil and gas companies in Texas that file for bankruptcy in 2016 to double and that those bankruptcies will cause a domino effect that will . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Remember me Password Username Lost your password? Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.