In a sense, this is to be expected. It was really only a question of when. After all, Google Assistant has already displaced “OK, Google” in smartphones and smartwatches anyway. So why not on Chromebooks? Probably because voice control never really took off on these laptops, something that Google is planning to change.It might actually surprise some that Chrome OS has an OK Google hotword. Not many know about that, not even some Chromebook owners themselves. That discoverability has been the primary reason why few people even use the hotword. Not that it was extremely useful in its earlier incarnations anyway.A recent commit to the Chrome OS codebase reveals that Google is retiring the OK, Google hotword. In its place will come Google Assistant. And to make sure that users know about this feature, Google will present a step-by-step setup wizard the first time users set their Chromebooks up. New Chromebooks will supposedly even a dedicated key to launch Google Assistant.That, however, still doesn’t answer the most important question: when. On the one hand, Google is already paving the way for Assistant’s arrival. On the other hand, the actual implementation hasn’t been added in the code yet. That could come with the next “Eve” Chromebook, whose launch is also still unknown.VIA: Chrome Unboxed Google Assistant is almost in every notable Google product, from the Google Home, Android phones, Android Wear smartwatches, and at least one Android TV. Well, almost. The one remaining holdout is, unsurprisingly, Chrome OS, Google’s desktop-like platform. Worry not, Chrome OS fans, you too will soon get your well-deserved AI assistant. And, no, it won’t be coming via a still in beta Google Play integration but a feature in its own right, displacing the less used and even unknown “OK Google” hotword.
As expected, LG is pretty much confirming almost every leak about the LG V30 a mere two weeks before its announcement. After revealing details about its OLED FullVision display and its f/1.6 Crystal Clear Glass camera, LG is now spilling the beans on the software that will run on the V30. Just as it called the custom skin on the LG G6 the “UX 5.0+”, it is now christening the LG V30’s version as “UX 6.0+”. And like leaked before, it replaces the V series’ former Second Screen with a Floating Bar. But perhaps more curious is the revelation of a face unlock feature that will always work without having to press a button. So, the Second Screen is gone, which isn’t exactly much of a surprise. Whether it will be missed is the question. An even bigger question, however, is whether its replacement will actually be better accepted. While the Floating Bar does stay out of your way most of the time, it requires having a small pull tab always visible at the edge of the screen. Less obnoxious than a floating circle, definitely, but still an obstruction.As predicted, the V30 will have an always on display, courtesy of its OLED properties. In addition to the clock and icon shortcuts, the AOD can also show quick tools, a clock, or a photo. The latter two might not be that advisable since the benefits of having an always on display using an OLED screen really only works with black and white content. Ironically, it doesn’t seem like the Floating Bar will be accessible from the lock screen at all.As for that lock screen, UX 6.0+ introduces two new ways to unlock the V30. Like what seems to be the trend these days, LG is implementing facial recognition features using the V30’s front camera. What’s interesting about it is that LG says the authentication will be instant, with no need to press the power button first to trigger the unlock screen. That would imply that the sensor is also always on or that the V30 will be performing some guesswork, based on motion and light sensors, to detect if the user is looking at the camera to unlock it. Another “no need to press power button” unlocking feature is by voice, but only using a pre-generated word with 3 to 5 syllables.LG has also partnered with photography site Graphy to add camera presets to the LG V30’s camera app. In addition to those already installed on the app, V30 users will supposedly be able to download a photo from Graphy, extract metadata from it, and copy the settings to the camera app automatically.SOURCE: LG
Story TimelineRing Video Doorbell 2 lands with 1080p recordingRing Spotlight Cam comes in three editions: wired, battery, and solarNest Hello video doorbell rings for smart securityNest Cam IQ Outdoor steps outside for some fresh airNest Secure home alarm promises super-sleek protectionNest Secure hands-on plus Nest Hello, Cam IQ OutdoorNoon smart lighting control may offer Nest-like polishRing Protect promises home security with 24/7 monitoring How much to get started?Ring is undercutting Nest significantly. Ring Protect kicks off at $199 for the starter kit, which includes the base station, a separate keypad, a single door/window sensor, a movement sensor, and a Z-Wave extender. In contrast, Nest Secure’s starter kit is a hefty $499. That gets you the Nest Guard hub, two Nest Detect sensors – which double as motion and door/window sensors – and two Nest Tags, the NFC key fobs which can be used to deactivate the system without a PIN.It’s clear, then, that Ring packs the most punch for your dollars. Both systems are intended to be easy to install, without calling on the assistance of professionals. Still, if a few screws and adhesive pads is still beyond your scope, Nest will offer professional installation – for a fee. Home security is one of the first places many smart home upgraders begin, and the past few weeks have had some high-profile entrants to the arena. First came Nest, with its long-anticipated Nest Secure. Today, Ring Protect arrived to offer a competitively priced alternative. So, how do Ring and Nest compare? In contrast, Ring separates out the control panel from the base station. The latter acts as the wireless hub, but also includes the siren (which is actually louder than Nest’s, at 104 dB versus 85 dB). It means you could feasibly put the Ring control panel in your hallway while more centrally locating the base station, maximizing wireless range. Eventually, Ring told SlashGear, you’ll be able to add extra sirens to your system. That’s not something Nest Secure supports. What about extra sensors?Ring offers two separate sensors that work with Ring Protect. Motion sensors are priced at $30 each, while door/window sensors are $20. Nest’s approach to sensors is slightly different. Rather than offering separate motion and door/window sensors, it has combined the two into a single unit. Each is priced at $59.It’d be great if that combination meant that the sensors were cheaper than Ring’s. Really, though, what you’re paying for is convenience of installation and minimal extra clutter in your room. Nest’s do have one bonus that Ring’s do not, mind: 24/7 MonitoringIf you’re happy being the security guard, neither Nest nor Ring need have any ongoing subscription fees. If there’s an alarm, you’ll get a notification on your smartphone. However, both companies have the option of professional, 24/7 monitoring. Nest is partnering with MONI for its service. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. Meanwhile Ring is handling its own monitoring, part of the Protect Plus plan that costs $10 per month or $100 per year. In addition, it also includes unlimited cloud storage for any Ring cameras you might have installed. Nest hasn’t said how it’s MONI service will interact with its own camera subscriptions. Both systems offer cellular connectivity, though it’s an option not included with the basic package. Nest will charge $5 per month or $50 per year for its service. Ring includes cellular as part of its Protect Plus plan. Either way, the idea is that even if your home WiFi connection goes down, your alarm will stay online.Similarly, there’s battery backup for both systems. The Nest Guard will run for up to 12 hours without external power, while the Ring Protect hub and base station will each last 24 hours. Unlike cellular, battery backup is fitted as standard. The bigger smart homeBoth companies offer Z-Wave extenders to help deal with network dead spots in larger homes. It might be some trial-and-error to figure out whether you need one, mind, as factors like the layout of your home and the materials involved are just as significant factors as its sheer size. Nest’s extender is $70, but Ring – which includes an extender in the starter kit – is yet to confirm pricing. As for integrating with other devices, Nest has the edge. Thanks to the company’s Works with Nest program, you’ll be able to hook your Nest Secure system in with compatible connected lighting and more, in addition to its own thermostats and cameras.Wrap-upAlthough Nest Secure has some advantages, not least its potential for integration with the broader smart home, you pay handsomely for that. In contrast, Ring Protect is less than half the price for the starter kit, and its sensors are more affordable too. Although Nest hasn’t confirmed professional monitoring pricing yet, it seems unlikely it’ll undercut Ring, especially with cellular backup sold separately. Meanwhile Ring Protect is making it to market sooner, on sale at Best Buy at the end of October. Nest Secure will follow on in November. Whether Nest takes the time to make its system more cost competitive remains to be seen. Ring’s system has more components, and though that means more things to install it also adds a little flexibility. The Nest Guard hub, for instance, doubles as a motion sensor, the control pad for arming and disarming the system, and the siren itself. That means it’s best located in the entranceway to your home, since you’ll need to either punch in the PIN or tap your Nest Tag against it to shut the alarm off.
Story TimelineGoogle Pixel 2 hands-on (with XL) : Two tones up closeGoogle made a huge mistake with Pixel 2Google Pixel 2 can charge really fast, compensates for no wirelessPixel 2’s unlimited Google Photo Storage isn’t going to last foreverGoogle Pixel 2’s camera gets a making-of video of its ownGoogle: Pixel 2 ‘still comes with a headphone jack’ but… As you’ve probably already heard, Google announced the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones earlier this week, featuring advanced cameras and several other features. On of the smaller additions is an option for the devices’ Do Not Disturb mode to be turned on automatically when a user is behind the wheel of car. This is similar to features that Apple and Samsung launched earlier this year, which are aimed at promoting safe, distraction-free driving. The automatic activation of Do Not Disturb when driving comes via a new app that Google has pushed to the Play Store. Called Pixel Ambient Services, its description says that the app “provides features based on local context for Pixel devices.” While that name and info is fairly vague, a screenshot reveals a “driving” section in the settings that includes the option for the automatic setting.The image states that the phone will use its motion and Bluetooth sensors to determine when a user is in a moving vehicle, and in turn go into Do Not Disturb mode. The downside to this is that it’s likely the phone won’t know if you’re actually driving or just a passenger.Unfortunately, there’s also no mention of the ability to send auto-replies to call and texts received while in Do Not Disturb mode, something Apple and Samsung’s solutions offer. Hopefully this option will be introduced after the Pixel 2 goes on sale later this month.VIA Android Police
Google is perhaps best known for Search, the Chrome web browser, and the Android platform, and all three have one thing in common: the need for an Internet connection, preferably a good and always connected one. That is why Google has directly dived into the ISP industry, in one form or another, especially in emerging markets where Internet connectivity is still pretty much a luxury. The latter comes in the form of its Google Stations, free Wi-Fi hotspots for everyone, which is now adding Mexico as its third beneficiary and the first in Latin America. Google has adopted a rather interesting way of providing Internet services. In the US, it is taking on the role of an MVNO with Project Fi and is riding on the lines of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. With Google Station, it is also partnering with local ISPs to turn the ISP’s hotspots into Google’s high-speed public Wi-Fi platform. In other words, Google Wi-Fi for all.That was the model that Google first launched in India, followed by Indonesia. The arrival in Mexico marks the first time the Google Station has crossed over the Atlantic. Partnering with local ISP Sitwifi, Google Station brings Wi-Fi access to more than 60 high-traffic venues in Mexico City and the rest of the country, from airports to malls to public transit stations. Google’s goal is to go beyond 100 locations before 2018 ends.AdChoices广告Google Station is part of the company’s strategy to address the “Next Billion Users”, placing focus on markets where access to the Internet is inversely proportional to the hundreds of thousands of potential users, and therefore customers. It goes hand in hand with Android Go, which promises to keep data and hardware use down to a minimum, especially on cheap phones.
GoDaddy has taken down the website AltRight.com over what it says were terms of service violations. The site, which was founded by white nationalist Richard Spencer, is still unavailable at this time. GoDaddy gave the site’s administrator 48 hours to transfer the domain to a different host, otherwise it will be lost. The news, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, follows a similar action by GoDaddy last year against white supremacist website Daily Stormer. This time around, the company says AltRight.com “encouraged and promoted violence in a direct and threatening manner,” a violation that earned it the banhammer.The site was taken offline yesterday and remains that way approximately 24 hours later. Spencer told BuzzFeed that he and his team are working on a “permanent” solution to the problem, something that may “take some time.” He didn’t elaborate on that plan, however.The website has increasingly faced troubles. In the recent past, the AltRight.com website was “deplatformed” from WePay, according to a tweet by Spencer, cutting off its ability to process payments. Last month, a pair of Facebook Pages associated with Spencer were taken down by the social network.AdChoices广告White supremacist website Stromfront faced similar problems last year after getting the boot from its domain registrar. That forum has since returned to the open web, however.SOURCE: BuzzFeed
As the image above shows, the updated Roku app for the Google Play Movies & TV service has a modern style that YouTube set-top-box app users will recognize. Google says this redesign puts the focus on content above everything else, making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Among the content is a new page dedicated to television. According to Google, this new page brings only TV content, including next-day new episodes for shows, as well as a Watch Next row to find other television content. Not exciting enough? The app is also getting that simplified navigation via the left-side pane. In it, users find a quick link to the Home screen, as well as icons for the new TV page, Genres, the user’s Library, and the Search function. As for that aforementioned new genre-browsing experience, Google says users are given “deeper recommendations” in the redesign.Users who browse Comedy, for example, will see filters for viewing only comedy movies, as well as collections of things like new releases, award-winning shows, content with the highest ratings, and more. The update will be rolling out in the Roku channel within the next few days.SOURCE: Google Google has announced a new update for its Google Play Movies & TV app on Roku, one that brings a new interface similar to the one found on YouTube. The updated interface will start showing up for users this week, chief among the changes being a simplified navigation system with a nav bar on the left side of the display, as well as a more robust genre-browsing experience.
Those aren’t the only notebook ASUS showed off at Computex 2018. “A lot” would also be an understatement. For example, there’s the ZenBook S, whose premium looks belie its MIL STD-810G ruggedness. The VivoBook Flip 14 expands ASUS’ convertible line with a 17.6 mm thin profile and the latest Core i7 processor. The VivoBoook S15 and S14 offer stylish users more colorful options while the VivoBook S13 hides a gaming-ready GeForce MX150 graphics inside its smaller body. It might be too easy to see this as ASUS aping the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. There’s reason for that if the ScreenPad only offered simple, fixed shortcuts for common actions. But by making it a more conventional rectangular screen, ASUS is opening the doors to more possibilities.The ScreenPad has two types of functionality. One is to extend the capabilities of existing software, like a formula input area for Microsoft Excel or playback controls for YouTube. There are also native ScreenPad apps like a music player, numeric keypad, and calculator. Finally, it can also extend not just the ZenBook Pro’s own screen, like a second monitor, but even mirror your smartphone. ASUS will be providing an SDK to encourage software developers to impress their users with magic tricks.Fancy and useful as those features may be, the biggest question will be whether the ScreenPad will still feel and perform just like a regular touchpad. ASUS makes the promise that it still supports Microsoft Precision Touchpad and has four-finger support. But if smartphone or tablet touchpad apps, or even Lenovo’s Yoga Book Halo Keyboard, are any indicator, there’s still room for some doubt.AdChoices广告Apart from the ScreenPad, the new ASUS ZenBook Pros boast the best that the PC market has to offer in terms of hardware. That includes, at the highest, an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor, a 15.6-in h NanoEdge 4K UHD screen, up to 16 GB DDR5 and 1 TB PCIe SSD, and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics chip. No word on the smaller model, but the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 will launch mid-July with a starting price of $2,299. Productivity gurus these days may frown upon multitasking but computers are just built for that purpose. And given the trend these days, humans are heading down that road, for better or worse. Perhaps those same productivity gurus will frown upon ASUS’ new ZenBook Pro 15 and ZenBook Pro 14 for that same reason. These already powerful laptops are made even more powerful by a 5.5-inch Full HD ScreenPad masquerading as its touchpad. And this “second display” is made for one thing and one thing alone: help you be more efficient by letting you do more things at the same time.
AirPower was announced alongside the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus late last year, as Apple’s official wireless charger for the smartphone. The charging pad was much more ambitious than most third-party chargers. Instead of focusing on a single device, it could charge up to three simultaneously, regardless of where they were placed on the upper surface. Since Apple’s nebulous “in 2018” launch promise for AirPower, however, the pad has been conspicuous by its absence from store shelves. Reports last week suggested the challenges of making the multi-device charger – which is said to run a pared-back version of iOS – had proved more significant than the company expected, forcing a postponement of the original internal launch schedule. Instead, it’s said to be on course for a September 2018 release. Now, Apple’s other charging plans are being discussed. A new report in the Nikkei claims the Cupertino firm is also working on an AirPods case which could double as a wireless charger. That gadget, though only roughly described, would combine not only a holder and charger for the AirPods wireless Bluetooth headphones but also be able to donate some of its battery power to an iPhone. AdChoices广告Apple has confirmed it’s working on a wirelessly-charging version of the AirPods case, and in fact demonstrated it in prototype form at the iPhone X and AirPower launch. Despite the addition of wireless charging hardware, it looked ostensibly identical to the current AirPods case. That contains a mere 1.52 Wh lithium-ion battery, mind. If Apple wanted to use a future AirPods case as a mobile battery for iPhone, it would need to significantly enlarge it. Indeed it could look to combine an AirPods case with something along the lines of the wirelessly-charging portable batteries that Mophie launched back in 2016. They combined a li-ion battery with an integrated Qi charging pad.Such a device would certainly be less portable than the current AirPods case. However it would also fit with what’s believed to be Apple’s eventual goal of removing cables from the iPhone equation altogether. The company reportedly considered doing away with the Lightning port on the iPhone X last year, opting to replace it entirely with wireless charging. The technology was deemed too slow in comparison, and wireless chargers too expensive to include in the box, for that to happen. Nonetheless the assumption is that Apple has merely postponed that, not abandoned it altogether. According to today’s leak, the new AirPods wireless charging headphone case could launch as soon as the end of 2018. At the same time, Apple is believed to be working on a new version of AirPods with active noise cancellation, along with a set of over-the-ear headphones. A new Apple AirPods case could act as a portable wireless iPhone charger, a new rumor suggests, allowing the headphones to deliver an impromptu top-up when your smartphone is running low on power. The whispers come as Apple is believed to be busy trying to iron the lingering bugs out of AirPower, its yet-to-be-launched wireless charging pad.
Google may be under fire again for allegedly working with the Chinese government to create a censored version of its Search engine but it doesn’t actually have to lift a finger for its technology to be used for that same purpose. A new web browser named Redcore has grabbed the spotlight in China for claiming to have developed a browser that has “broken the American monopoly”. Except that now its CEO is admitting that it did, after all, build it using Chrome, an American company technology. It’s no surprise that Redcore would garner that much attention. Its stated goal is to protect its corporate customers when using cloud services through encryption and the like. Given such customers include the Chinese government, among others, you can probably connect the dots on what that might imply. Redcore has become so popular that it has boasted raising 250 million RMB ($36 million) in funding just recently.It’s success, however, is ironically built on the very monopoly Redcore claims to have broken. That claim was challenged when users posted evidence revealing that the company has, in fact, used Google Chrome software to build its popular browser. Netizens naturally called the company out for ripping off Google.AdChoices广告The South China Morning Post reports that founder and CEO Chen Benfeng later went on to admit that it was wrong to have made a claim and that Redcore was indeed built on Chrome. Having to start from scratch to develop a browser to compete with the likes of Chrome would take years, he adds. At the same time, he explains that it doesn’t make Redcore’s innovation any less significant, just as how Google built Android on top of Linux.Redcore most likely used the open source Chromium browser on which the proprietary version of Chrome is based on. That means they’re not exactly doing anything illegal, since many alternative browsers do use that same source code. Unless they’re failing to comply with licenses and copyrights, which is a different matter altogether. But more than legal concerns, this incident raises questions on the true extent of China’s boasted technological prowess, which comes at a time when it is engaged in a trade spat with the US.
Despite the company’s confirmation, a number of conspiracy theories and speculation about deliberate censorship remain live on the site. Some responses to the Twitter Support tweet accuse the company of deliberately suppressing Likes pertaining to posts from certain political parties or groups.Conspiracies remain a hot topic on social media platforms, where individuals and groups alike share posts, articles, and videos surfacing a variety of unusual beliefs and paranoia.YouTube has frequently faced criticism regarding the conspiracy theory videos its system recommends to users. In response, YouTube said in January that it would start reducing the number of conspiracy theory videos it recommends to users. According to the company, its change would impact videos that may “misinform” its users or that feature “borderline content.”That decision has itself proven controversial, however, from both sides of the debate. On one hand, some users have expressed concerns that the change could suppress what they consider to be valid information, though it should be noted that the videos often remain live on the platform. Others have asked YouTube how it will address videos related to conspiracy theories that don’t necessarily promote false information. A valid example would be the difference between a video promoting flat Earth conspiracy theories versus a video exploring a popular conspiracy theory from an entertainment standpoint.YouTube and Twitter aren’t the only social platforms dealing with conspiracy theory content. Facebook has been heavily criticized over past years for misinformation spread on its platform, including everything from popular truther conspiracies to anti-vaxxer content and fake news revolving around politics.In a report on Tuesday, The Guardian pointed toward closed anti-vaxxer groups that verify users before allowing them to participate, the exclusive nature resulting in an echo chamber. According to the report, some of these groups are “large and sophisticated,” including one called Stop Mandatory Vaccination that have more than 150,000 verified users. Officials and experts have called on Facebook to address such groups. Some people around the world are experiencing an issue with notifications, Likes, and Retweets. We’re working on resolving this and will follow up soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) February 12, 2019 The primary issue for some users revolves around the number on tweets that indicates how many users had “liked” the content. A number of Twitter users posted tweets highlighting unexpected large drops in Likes, including conservative political commentator Ann Coulter, who suggested that Twitter was removing Likes from tweets from conservatives. Others have expressed similar sentiments, including Eric Weinstein.In response, the Twitter Support account published a tweet on Tuesday stating that an issue is affecting users globally, and it impacts Likes, retweets, and notifications. The company didn’t elaborate on the problem, nor did it say how long the issue has been happening. Based on complaints from users, it appears the problem has only been around for a day. Story TimelineHuawei’s disappearing Twitter photos problem is less dramatic than you thinkTwitter tests Original Tweeter flair to stop conversation confusionTwitter still figuring out how to let users edit tweets On Tuesday, Twitter revealed via its Support account that the platform is currently experiencing an “issue” with multiple aspects of its service, including Likes. The confirmation follows complaints from users who noticed unusual variations in the Likes on their tweets, the changes having prompted speculation that Twitter was suspending large numbers of accounts or removing Likes for nefarious reasons.
Story TimelineSamsung Galaxy Fold iFixit teardown exposes fragile phone’s big problemSamsung asks iFixit to take down Galaxy Fold teardownGalaxy Fold’s bad press just disappeared: Should you care? What you’ll see here is a collection of ways in which Samsung’s tested functionality for bendy displays. If you were one of the first (and few) users of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, you’ll remember some of this functionality right out the gate. The functionality on the edge of the phone appeared there and it appears here once again.Most interesting is the relatively obvious use for a dual-side display on a smartphone: selfies on both sides. Being able to see yourself in a photo as you’re taking said photo is a very, very modern sort of thing. Aside from mirrors, of course – with mirrors, selfies have been around since the beginnings of photography.But wait, you might be saying, haven’t we seen this before? Yes, sort of. If you’ll look back to the 2017 release of a “new” Galaxy phone patent with a wraparound display, this was quite similar to that. That version didn’t fill both sides of the device, but still: same sort of tech. Now, as always, we must ask whether we need any of this stuff in our lives, or if we’d be just as well off without. For most people, erring on the side of caution is probably best. Most people don’t use their smartphone for much other than reading news and social networking apps anyway – not much more’s needed than what we’ve got already. But for the select few users that’ve got innovation in mind, the two-sided smartphone might be just the component they need to make an innovative new product with requirements we’ve not yet imagined. Is that you, reader? Can you imagine a use for a wraparound display-toting smartphone that’s not yet been revealed? Let’s take a look at a device Samsung planned in around the same time as the Galaxy Fold – a wraparound display-toting phone. This device was discovered in a patent this week published to the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO. There, a patent first filed by Samsung back in May of 2016 was just revealed to the public this week – just in time to remind us that for bendable displays, Samsung’s in this business for the long haul.
More than 2,000 preschools in China have introduced robots used for daily health inspections, according to a new report. The robots, which feature fun designs that won’t frighten children, utilize tech to detect signs of a potential illness. If a robot finds evidence that a child may be sick, it alerts human operators who can then do their own evaluation and decide whether the student should be sent home. Story TimelineTrump’s China tariffs land Tesla in an Autopilot nightmarePUBG replaced in China by gov-approved ‘Game for Peace’Honor 20 Pro may not launch outside China, lacks Google certification The robots are utilized under the premise that catching an illness before it has time to become obviously symptomatic may prevent its spread through the wider school system. Given the rapid speed of its evaluation, the robot is able to quickly inspect a large number of children when compared to humans.The robots have raised privacy concerns, however, particularly in light of China’s increased use of tracking and facial technologies both within and beyond the nation’s school system. It’s unclear how data gathered by these robots is handled, but the potential exists for it to be compromised by hackers.Security concerns aside, the Walklake robot highlights some of the potential benefits robotic technologies offer humans in daily life. Illnesses that aren’t detected early may cause a large number of children to become ill, for example, potentially causing large absences during the school year. This, in turn, may have a negative effect on grades. Details about the health robot inspections were published by New Scientist, which reports the health checkups take only three seconds and support the detection of multiple common conditions, including hand, foot and mouth disease. Kids show the Walklake health robots their face, eyes, throats, and hands; sensors also take the student’s temperature to detect fevers.
The nondescript black puck is 3.48 x 4.85 inches, and supports both dual-band WiFi and cable options. You can plug in a USB-C or ethernet cable and use the MiFi M1000 for tethered browsing instead. On the top is a 2.4-inch color touchscreen, which can show service status, whether you’re in a 5G network or not, and how much data you’ve used. It’s also where you can set up WiFi networks – including both primary and guest networks – and change the passwords for them. A 4,400 mAh battery with Quick Charge support is good for up to 24 hours of use, Verizon says, though it’s unclear how much of that is active streaming. You’ll need a 5G network if you want 5G speeds, mind, and as of today Verizon is lighting up service in St. Paul, Minnesota. It brings the carrier’s 5G areas to five: there are more than 30 it plans to turn on in 2019. AdChoices广告If you’re in St. Paul, the Verizon 5G service is to be found in parts of Downtown, Lowertown, and West Seventh neighborhoods, the carrier says. Outside of 5G coverage, you’ll fall back onto 4G LTE networks, whether you’re using the new MiFi M1000 or a 5G-capable phone. Verizon 5G mobile hotspot plansDon’t go thinking this is a 5G data free-for-all, however. If you’ve got an existing Unlimited smartphone service plan, you can add the 5G MiFi M1000 to that for $30 per month (plus taxes and fees). That gets you 50 GB of 5G data and 15 GB of LTE data. Alternatively, standalone MiFi plans start at $85 per month. Go over those 5G allowances, mind, and Verizon will start throttling you. It’ll cut the download rate to 3 Mbps at most. If you go past the LTE allowance, meanwhile, that’ll be throttled to 600 Kbps at most. As for the MiFi M1000 itself, for consumers it’s priced at $649.99, or $27.08 per month on a 24 device payment plan, or $499.99 if you’re willing to sign a two-year contract. Business customers pay the same, but don’t get the payment plan option. Verizon has its first 5G hotspot, the Inseego 5G MiFi M1000, promising to share out the speed of fifth-generation networks – assuming, that is, you can find one to use. The new MiFi supports up to fifteen devices connected via WiFi at any one time, though you’ll pay handsomely for the privilege.
They’re the first cars in BMW’s line-up to use the new BMW M S58 engine, a six-cylinder in-line with a lofty 7,200 rpm redline. It packs a forged crankshaft so as to deal with high levels of torque, and a closed-deck for the engine block for increased rigidity. That, BMW says, means it can handle higher combustion pressure. Two mono-scroll turbochargers are then strapped on, while upgraded turbo compressor wheels and a water-to-air intercooler are added. Maximum fuel injection pressure is now 350 bar, and there’s Valvetronic fully-variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. BMW’s M division is further spreading its attentions through the automaker’s SUVs, with the 2020 BMW X3 M and 2020 X4 M promising up to 503 horsepower in Competition form. The two new models take the X3 SUV and the X3 “Sports Activity Coupe” and drop in the 6-cylinder M TwinPower Turbo engine for a 3.0-liter blast of power. The result is peak torque of 442 lb-ft between 2,600 and 5,600 rpm in the regular 2020 X3 M and 2020 X4 M, along with the maximum 473 horsepower between 6,250 and 7,200 rpm. It’s enough for 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, with top speed limited electronically to 155 mph.BMW will also have a Competition package, however. With that, peak torque arrives between 2,600 and 5,950 rpm. Maximum horsepower in the X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition climbs to 503 hp, and is enough to trim the 0-60 mph time to 4.0 seconds. Add the M Driver’s Package and top speed rises to 174 mph in the regular cars and 177 mph in the Competition models. Either way, drivers get an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic and paddle-shifters. Three drive modes adjust the transmission logic, from smoother more comfortable shifts through to shorter shift times and the engine being held in the upper rev range. There are also drive Sport and Sport+ drive modes, and the Competition models throw in an M Sport exhausts system with variable exhaust flaps. All-wheel drive is standard, and there’s another new system there too. The 2020 X3 M and X4 M use the M xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive setup, rear-wheel biased to see all of the engine power funneled to the back up until the point where the rear wheels start to lose traction. M Dynamic Mode throws in an M xDrive 4WD Sport option. An alternative to the normal DSC, it allows for some drifting, too. DSC Off mode can be combined with the regular all-wheel drive or 4WD Sport mode. An Active M Differential shifts up to 100-percent of the power between the left and right rear wheels, while an electronically controlled multiple clutch handles transition front to rear. A new M-specific bracing package has been implemented at the front end of the SUVs, including a strut brace in the engine compartment joining the shock towers for greater stiffness. Come August of this year, meanwhile, a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic version will be offered optionally, giving the stiffness improvement but with lower curb weight. Double-joint spring front suspension and five-link rear suspension are standard, with Adaptive M Suspension electronically-controlled dampers. There’s also M Servotronic variable ratio power steering with speed-sensitive assistance. As for the brakes, 15.6-inch front drilled inner-vented discs get four-piston fixed calipers, while the 14.6-inch rear discs have single-piston floating calipers.20-inch polished Orbit Grey wheels are standard on the X3 M and X4 M. The X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition step up to 21-inch wheels with a polished Jet Black finish. As for styling, there’s black treatment for the kidney grille – with high-gloss black surrounds on the Competition models – and integrated Air Breathers on the front fenders. Model-specific rear diffusers are flanked with tailpipes, and there’s a new roof spoiler. Color options include a new Toronto Red metallic and an M-exclusive Donington Grey metallic. Competition cars throw in high-gloss mirror caps. Inside, black or oyster Vernasca leather on sports seats is standard in the X3 M and X4 M, along with embossed M logos and aluminum carbon trim. The Competition variants get extended Merino leather in either black or Sakhir Orange/Black or Adelaide Grey. Carbon fiber interior trim is optional, as is extended leather. M-specific instruments are on the dash, behind an M leather steering wheel with two customizable setup shortcuts; there’s a restyled shift lever. A head-up display is optional, as is adaptive cruise control, heating for the front and rear seats, gesture control, parking assistant plus, wireless charging, and WiFi hotspot support. Navigation and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is keyless entry and adaptive full LED lights, plus a Harman Kardon surround sound audio system. Production of the new cars will kick off in April 2019, BMW says, in the automaker’s South Carolina plant. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the 2020 BMW X3 M and 2020 BMW X4 M’s release. 2020 BMW X3 M and X4 M Gallery Story TimelineThe 2018 BMW X3 is here… and there’s an M Sport version2019 BMW X4 gets official rocking improved aero and improved suspension
Say hello to the Tesla Model Y, the most important car Elon Musk and his EV company have created so far. Taking the current Tesla line-up to four when it launches in 2020, it’s the automaker’s first entry into the fiercely competitive compact SUV segment. The Tesla DNA is clear from the outset. Tesla based the Model Y on the same architecture as the Model 3, and that includes the design language. It’s roughly ten percent larger than the premium compact sedan. In fact, it looks a little like someone took a Model 3, loaded it into Photoshop, and then unchecked the “constrain proportions” option before stretching the car upwards. Taller then, it has a roofline familiar from the Model X, though there are some significant differences between that three row SUV and this new crossover. Most conspicuous is the absence of Falcon Wing doors. Tesla initially planned the Model Y to have them, but had a change of heart and opted for more traditional – and, in terms of engineering and cost, much more straightforward – doors like the Model S. The overall aesthetic is bulked-up-3 rather than the more rugged look that many crossovers in the segment go for. AdChoices广告It’s the electrification that’s the key, of course. Right now pure EV crossovers are in relatively short supply, though that’s likely to change by the time the Model Y reaches buyers. As with the Model 3 there are both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options. Range clocks in at 300 miles from the Long Range model, which Musk describes as “true, usable range.” 0-60 mph takes 3.5 seconds. “It has the functionality of an SUV, but it rides like a sports car,” Musk promises. Inside, there’s a panoramic glass roof, and – in a huge surprise – seven seats, albeit as an option. The standard car will have seating for five. There’s 66 cubic feet of space, too. As you’d expect, all of Tesla’s driver-assistance bells and whistles are onboard. That means Autopilot and Autopark, along with Navigate for Highways and the usual safety features like blind spot monitoring. They’re controlled via a sizable touchscreen in a suitably minimalistic cabin. Why is the Model Y arguably Tesla’s most important car to-date? Certainly the Model 3, with its $35,000 starting price – admittedly only just achieved – is the most affordable Tesla. However it doesn’t play in the same category as the Model Y. Crossovers and SUVs are the hot markets right now, and have been for some years. Whether it’s for cabin space, design preference, the prevalence of AWD, or just the psychological factor of a more rugged “off-road” vehicle, they’re the vehicles that consumers have been shifting toward, over sedans and minivans. That means competition is fierce, but so are the opportunities. If Tesla can get the Model Y right: meet demand, deliver on reliability and quality, and avoid the controversies that have plagued the Model 3 – and indeed the S and X before that – then there’s a vast audience of potential customers out there waiting. It can’t afford to get it wrong, though: the traditional automakers may have taken a while to get up to speed with electrification, but we’re going to see an influx of EVs from all the big names over the next few years, all with the aim of biting off the audience Tesla has been cultivating for the past few years now. The question many have been waiting to have answered is pricing. Musk had promised a car roughly 10-percent more expensive than the compatible Model 3, and that’s pretty much what Tesla has delivered. The Model Y will start at $39,000, though that’s the Standard Range Model with 230 miles range which will launch in Spring 2021. It’ll do 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and have a 120 mph top speed. The Model Y Long Range will be $47,000 before incentives and launch in Fall 2020; it’ll do 300 miles and 5.5 seconds 0-60, with a 130 mph top speed. The Model Y Dual Motor AWD will have 280 miles of range and a 135 mile top speed. It’ll do 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. It too will arrive in Fall 2020, priced from $51,000.Finally, the Model Y Performance will do 280 miles and have a 150 mph top speed. It’ll do 0-06 mph in 3.5 seconds and have a $60,000 price tag when it arrives in Fall 2020.Going for a seven-seat interior adds $3,000 to your bill. Autopilot places an additional $3,000. But since the $5,000 Full self-driving option requires Autopilot to also be present, you are, in effect, tacking on $8,000 more to the price. For the Dual Motor AWD, that brings the total to $62,000. Tesla Model Y Gallery
The survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society says access to primary care is slowly improving, but that it can still take a month or longer to get an appointment. In addition, only about half of internal and family medicine practices are accepting new patients.WBUR: Latest Report On Access To Mass. Doctors: Mostly Stable ConditionThe latest report on access to medical care in Massachusetts is looking just about half-full — or half-empty, depending on your disposition. The good news is, the waiting times to see Massachusetts doctors are not generally getting worse, and some even slightly improved. The bad news is, it can still take a month or more to get an appointment — and only about half of primary care doctors are taking new patients. Half of residents surveyed say affordability is the biggest issue in health care (8/8).Boston Globe: Medical Society Report: Access To Primary Care Improved Slightly in 2012, But Varied By CountyAccess to primary care physicians is only slightly better this year than in 2011, according to an annual survey released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Medical Society. The group found that 49 percent of internal medicine practices and 50 percent of family medicine practices were closed to new patients, a slight improvement from 2011 (Conaboy, 8/8)Modern Healthcare: Mass. Primary-Care Access Improving: ReportAccess to primary care in Massachusetts is improving, albeit slowly, according to an annual study released by the state’s medical society. Fifty-one percent of the state’s internists and 50 percent of family physicians are accepting new patients, up from 49 percent and 47 percent in 2011, according to the report, which relied on survey data from more than 800 physician offices (McKinney, 8/8). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Access To Care In Mass. Improves, But Many Docs Still Don’t Accept New Patients
The New York Times: Fewer Uninsured People The number of Americans who lack health insurance declined last year, the first drop since 2007. This is, in large part, the result of the health care reform law and better coverage under public programs like Medicaid. This also shows why repealing the health care law or revamping and shrinking Medicaid, as many Republicans want to do, would be disastrous moves (9/12). The Wall Street Journal: Grim Census ‘Progress’ The share of the population without health insurance did fall modestly … which liberals are attempting to use as evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working, though the law doesn’t kick in until 2014. But even if these claims were true, the problem is that the gains came largely by government crowding out private insurance. Some 3.9 million people on net joined the public rolls, led by a jump in Medicaid enrollment of 2.3 million, while the number of individuals with normal insurance rose by about 800,000 (9/12). Journal of the American Medical Association: Outcome Of 2012 Election Will Likely Affect Medicaid Far More Than MedicareMedicaid covers more people than Medicare does. … It’s important to remember that although the focus is often on “block granting,” the savings projected to come from Medicaid in the Republican proposal are a result only of this drastically reduced spending. There’s no “innovation” driving them. They will have real consequences, and they’re not hard to predict (Dr. Aaron Carroll, 9/12).The Denver Post: Preventive Care Is The KeyRecent news about the number of people in this country who have out-of-control high blood pressure was astonishing — some 36 million Americans. That condition poses terrible risks for cardiovascular disease, but the real shame in the numbers is that 89 percent of those people reported having regular access to health care. The statistic is one of many that points out the need for better preventative care and a greater awareness of the risks of not seeking treatment and changing their lifestyles. And let’s be candid: This is about cost, too (9/13).New England Journal of Medicine: Recognizing Conscience In Abortion Provision The exercise of conscience in health care is generally considered synonymous with refusal to participate in contested medical services, especially abortion. This depiction neglects the fact that the provision of abortion care is also conscience-based. The persistent failure to recognize abortion provision as “conscientious” has resulted in laws that do not protect caregivers who are compelled by conscience to provide abortion services, contributes to the ongoing stigmatization of abortion providers, and leaves theoretical and practical blind spots in bioethics with respect to positive claims of conscience (Dr. Lisa H. Harris, 9/12). New England Journal of Medicine: There Is More To Life Than Death Physicians and patients alike crave certainty. … In clinical decision analysis, the outcome that is generally measured is death. … Basing decisions on the outcome of death ignores vital dimensions of life that are not easily quantified. There are real complexities and uncertainties that we all, patients and physicians alike, confront in weighing risk and benefit. Wrestling with these uncertainties requires nuanced and individualized judgment. It is neither ignorant nor irrational to question the wisdom of expert recommendations that are sweeping and generic (Drs. Pamela Hartzband and Jerome Groopman, 9/12).New England Journal of Medicine: Punishing Health Care Fraud — Is The GSK Settlement Sufficient? On July 2, 2012, the Department of Justice announced the largest settlement ever in a case of health care fraud in the United States. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to plead guilty to three criminal counts and settle civil charges brought under various federal statutes; the company will pay a total of $3 billion to the federal government and participating states. … Despite the size of the fine and civil settlements, it would be a mistake to assume that GSK was an outlier in the global pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. … questions remain about the efficacy of fines and corporate integrity agreements in deterring corporate misbehavior (Kevin Outterson, 9/12). Detroit Free Press: Don’t Ignore All The Empty Hospital BedsChallenges occasionally arise to Michigan’s Certificate of Need process for new medical facilities, which has worked well for decades. It’s no surprise that with term-limited lawmakers, the challenges are likely to become more frequent. … “If you build it, they will come” is not the appropriate mantra for reining in health care costs in this country (9/13). Viewpoints: Medicaid’s Role In Lowering Uninsured Rate; Need To Protect Physicians ‘Compelled By Conscience’ To Provide Abortions 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: September 24, 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 reports about Senate action on the effort to defund the health law as well as a scheduled appearance by former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama to kick off the roll out of a key part of the overhaul. Kaiser Health News: Swapping COBRA For Obamacare Likely To Be Windfall For Big BusinessKaiser Health News staff writer Jay Hancock reports: “Health-law provisions taking effect next year could save U.S. employers billions of dollars in expenses now paid for workers who continue medical coverage after they leave the company, benefits experts say” (Hancock, 9/23). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Readers Ask: What Options Do Parents Have To Get Coverage For Their Kids?Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews answers questions from parents who have many questions about covering their children as the October launch of the state health insurance marketplaces approaches (9/24). Read the column.Kaiser Health News: Missouri, Illinois Health Insurance Exchanges Gear Up QuietlyThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Virginia Young, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News, reports: “Across the country, states are featuring celebrities, quirky songs and football game-day ads to promote the Oct. 1 debut of the online health insurance exchanges. Minnesota’s multimillion-dollar campaign, for example, stars Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in zany situations in which the lumberjack unexpectedly needs medical attention — and health insurance” (Young, 9/23). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: What Consumers Really Want From An Obamacare PlanThe Philadelphia Inquirer’s Robert Calandra, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News, reports: “It doesn’t have the inherent drama of a space launch countdown, but in T-minus nine days, America will embark on a voyage into the vast, unexplored regions of the health-insurance marketplace. Actually, those regions aren’t that unexplored. Insurers have been running consumers through simulated exchanges for the last several years. While insurers may not be completely comfortable with how things unfold after Oct. 1, they do have a pretty good idea about what coverage consumers want and what they will pay for it” (Calandra, 9/23). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Fight Over Obamacare Is Anything But Over In FloridaThe Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News, reports: “Florida isn’t just a battleground state for presidential elections; it’s ground zero in the nation’s Obamacare wars. It’s all about demographics. And geography. Retiree-heavy Florida has a surplus of voting seniors nervous about Obamacare’s changes. But Hispanics — the state’s least-insured but fastest-growing population — tend to support the Affordable Care Act” (Caputo, 9/24). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Colorado Floods Isolate Hospital At Foot Of RockiesReporting for Kaiser Health News, in partnership with NPR, Eric Whitney writes: “As snow begins falling in Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, the town at its doorstep, finds itself newly isolated. The only year-round road into or out of town now is the Peak to Peak Highway. It traverses a jumble of mountains all the way – not the kind of road an ambulance can scream along at 60 miles an hour” (Whitney, 9/24). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: How Will Obamacare Affect Workers’ Health Coverage?; Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Over Hospital Observation CareNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, watch KHN staff writer Jay Hancock on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Monday morning taking questions about how the health law will affect the health insurance coverage workers get from their employers and what they need to know (9/23).Also on the blog, Susan Jaffe reports on action related to Medicare’s observation care status: “A federal court judge in Hartford, Conn., dismissed a lawsuit Monday which was filed against the government by 14 Medicare beneficiaries who were denied nursing home coverage” (Jaffe, 9/23). Check out what else is on the blog.The Associated Press/Washington Post: Senate Sets Test Votes On Defunding Health Care And Preventing Partial Government ShutdownIn a break with tea party-aligned Senate conservatives, Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday he will not vote to block legislation aimed at preventing a partial government shutdown, even though Democrats intend to rewrite it to restore funds needed to keep the nation’s three-year-old health care law in existence. Referring to a bill the House passed last week, McConnell’s spokesman said the Kentucky lawmaker supports the measure “and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny” (9/23).The New York Times: Senate Democratic Leader Sets Stage For Budget ShowdownThe Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, delivered a broadside this week to advocates of the House plan to tie future government financing to the gutting of President Obama’s health care law, starting the clock on a showdown that could be decided on the eve of the potential government shutdown next Tuesday (Weisman, 9/24).Los Angeles Times: Much Theater, Little Action As Congress Ponders Government ShutdownThis latest round of brinkmanship, led by tea party Republicans trying to block President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, appears to be on that same track. By Monday afternoon, the tea party effort appeared to be losing ground among Senate Republicans, but the schedule showed no sign of speeding up. The tea party conservatives have vowed to block any effort to provide money for federal agencies after the end of the current budget year unless Obama agrees to a measure that would stop his signature healthcare law from going into effect. Obama has rejected that idea (Mascaro, 9/23).The New York Times: McConnell’s Deal-Making Yields To PolitickingDemocrats and, increasingly, Republicans are complaining that the minority leader’s absence from many of this year’s most intense and consequential negotiations — from the immigration overhaul to the budget to a fight over internal rule changes that almost paralyzed the Senate — has created a power vacuum and left Democrats without a bargaining partner. They worry that Mr. McConnell is too hamstrung by political concerns in the Capitol and back home in Kentucky. In Washington, a rebellious crop of new Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, has rejected his compromising brand of politics. Mr. Cruz has led the charge to tie any further government financing to gutting President Obama’s health care law, a movement that has angered many veteran Republicans and brought the federal government to the brink of a shutdown (Weisman and Peters, 9/23).The Wall Street Journal: McConnell Won’t Back Cruz On Health-Law StrategyA push by Senate conservatives to eliminate funding for the new federal health-care law suffered a setback Monday, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t support their strategy when legislation comes before the chamber this week. The announcement by Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) put him at odds with Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and other conservatives allied with the tea-party movement. They have promised to use parliamentary tactics to support legislation that links funding for federal agencies with the conservative rallying cry of “Defund Obamacare” (Hook, 9/23). The Washington Post: Sen. Ted Cruz Happy To Be Outlier In Shutdown ShowdownTed Cruz began a frantic effort Monday to bend the Senate to his will by employing tactics that have earned him mostly enemies in his less than nine months in the chamber. A master of fiery conservative oratory, the freshman senator is trying to block funding for President Obama’s health-care law with a strategy that, if successful, will almost certainly lead to a partial government shutdown next week. The Texan has become the face of an effort variously described as the “dumbest idea,” leading Republicans to a “box canyon” and ending with their political “suicide note” (Kane, 9/23).Los Angeles Times: Karl Rove Calls Out Fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz On HealthcareWhen Karl Rove starts truth-squadding fellow Texas Republicans over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, you know there are some tall tales floating around. On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Chris Wallace of Fox News: “You know what’s interesting? Last week, the Wall Street Journal, for the first time in years, found Republicans are leading on healthcare. Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats on healthcare” (Abcarian, 9/23).Politico: Rand Paul On Obamacare Compromise: ‘Maybe’Sen. Rand Paul acknowledged Monday the uphill battle for Republicans looking to fully defund Obamcare and said “there could be a compromise in the middle.” “The president wants 100 percent of Obamacare, we want zero. Maybe we make it less bad through a compromise. So if the Republicans in the House pass defund, Democrats in the Senate continue to fund, maybe there could be a compromise in the middle where we get some rid of the taxes, and get rid of some of the bad parts of Obamacare,” Paul (R-Ky.) said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” (McCalmont, 9/23).The Washington Post: Health-Care Push Brings Bill Clinton, Obama Together, With Political Benefits For BothIn one of his first acts as President Obama’s new health-care adviser, Chris Jennings traveled to Harlem last month to pay a visit to his old boss, Bill Clinton. Armed with a PowerPoint presentation detailing how the new health-care law will go into effect, Jennings made his pitch: Obama needs your help, both to persuade millions of uninsured Americans to sign up for coverage and to combat Republican attempts to undermine the law (Rucker, 9/23).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama, Bill Clinton Reunite To Discuss Health Care Law A Week Before Key Enrollment DateHealth care is reuniting President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton. The two are set to appear together Tuesday to discuss Obama’s health care law at a session sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, the former president’s foundation (9/24).Politico: President Obama, Bill Clinton Begin Health Care RolloutPresident Barack Obama will kick off his administration’s six-month rollout of Obamacare during a “conversation” Tuesday with former President Bill Clinton. With the Obamacare insurance exchanges set to open Oct. 1, the White House is deploying the president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Cabinet secretaries to encourage consumers to sign up for coverage before enrollment closes March 31, 2014 (Budoff Brown, 9/23).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Poll: Americans Lean Against Defunding ObamacareAccording to a new CNBC poll, 59% of Americans are opposed to defunding Obamacare if it means defaulting and shutting down the government and 19% are in favor of it. Eighteen percent of people polled were unsure. In regards to solely defunding Obamacare, 44% of Americans were against it and 38% were in favor, according to the poll, done by Hart-McInturff, the same pollsters that do the Wall Street Journal-NBC News polls. Broken down by gender, 47% of women are against defunding Obamacare and 33% are in favor (Prang, 9/23).Politico: Obamacare: One Blow After AnotherThe Obamacare that consumers will finally be able to sign up for next week is a long way from the health plan President Barack Obama first pitched to the nation. Millions of low-income Americans won’t receive coverage. Many workers at small businesses won’t get a choice of insurance plans right away. Large employers won’t need to provide insurance for another year. Far more states than expected won’t run their own insurance marketplaces. And a growing number of workers won’t get to keep their employer-provided coverage (Haberkorn and Budoff Brown, 9/23).The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurers Scramble to Keep Healthy CustomersHealth insurers are making a big push to hang onto their policyholders ahead of new government-run exchanges expected to roll out next week, but state regulators have accused some of misleading those customers in the process (Martin, 9/23).USA Today: HHS Starts Features To Help Consumers Learn Insurance The government launched a new webpage, training videos and infographics Monday to help Americans better understand the health insurance exchanges that will launch Oct. 1 (Kennedy, 9/23).Kaiser Health News/The Washington Post: Medicare Penalizes Hospitals In Effort To Reduce The Number Of Patients ReadmittedEvery hospital in the District and five in the Virginia suburbs will be penalized in the second round of Medicare’s campaign to reduce the number of patients readmitted to hospitals within a month, according to federal records. Nationwide, Medicare identified 2,225 hospitals that will have their reimbursements for patient care reduced starting Oct. 1 because readmissions at each occurred more frequently than Medicare believes they should have. Hospitals that treated large proportions of low-income patients were more likely to be penalized than those treating the fewest low-income patients (Rau, 9/23).The New York Times: F.D.A. To Regulate Some Health AppsThe Food and Drug Administration said Monday that it would regulate only a small portion of the rapidly expanding universe of mobile health applications, software programs that run on smartphones and tablets and perform the same functions as medical devices (Tavernise, 9/23).Politico: Lobbyists Roll Up Sleeves For Compounding BattleIf you want to know how nervous the pharmaceutical industry is about the prospect of new federal regulation of compounding pharmacies — like the one involved in last year’s lethal fungal meningitis outbreak — look to K Street. As lawmakers have introduced bills in the House and Senate to regulate these drug-making practices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and trade groups are ramping up their lobbying support for the battle to come (Drusch, 9/24).Politico: Sleep Apnea Bill Crosses The AisleThe tale of a sleep apnea bill shows what just might be the most efficient Congress has been in years. In a few short weeks, two House members went from writing a simple two-page bill to seeing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration committing to a formal rule making on sleep apnea testing and treatment for truckers and other professional drivers (Snider, 9/24).The New York Times: Global Spending To Fight AIDS Has Grown Slowly, Report FindsGlobal financing to fight AIDS has remained essentially flat since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the United Nations AIDS-fighting agency. About $7.9 billion from donors went to poor and middle-income countries last year (McNeil, 9/23).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Company Objects Over Being Disqualified From Bidding For Arkansas Medicaid ContractThe head of a Maryland company disqualified from bidding on a Medicaid contract in Arkansas complained Monday that the state relied too much on the knowledge that Louisiana had terminated a similar contract and didn’t take into account the firm’s performance in other states (9/23).The Wall Street Journal: Amid Push for Clinics, Some Patients Prefer HospitalsHealth-care officials are searching for funds to open smaller clinics as hospitals close. But another obstacle might prove equally hard to overcome: New Yorkers like their local hospitals. Clinics are typically open during business hours, not evenings and weekends. It often takes weeks to get an appointment. Health-care experts say clinics are sometimes perceived as less trustworthy than imposing brick hospitals that have been in the neighborhood for decades. Smaller clinics staffed by local residents create privacy fears in tightly knit cultural communities (Kusisto and Fox, 9/23).The Wall Street Journal: Brooklyn Grapples With Struggling Hospitals And Demand For Health CareA new vision for Brooklyn health care was unveiled two years ago with much fanfare: Several struggling hospitals would merge with others, a state panel proposed, and less-expensive outpatients clinics would spring up in their place (Kusisto, 9/23). 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. Among other things, the proposal would limit the types of antidepressants — and other kinds of drugs — that are available to Medicare beneficiaries. Drug industry and insurer groups are lining up against the change.The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Urged To Rethink Revamp Of Part D Drug Plan Lawmakers from both parties asked the White House Wednesday to scrap a plan that would limit the types of antidepressants and other drugs available to seniors through Medicare. The plan, aimed at reducing drug costs, is part of a broad set of proposed changes to the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program that covers medicines for about 39 million beneficiaries. In January, the agency proposed ending the practice of covering essentially any type of antidepressant, antipsychotic or immunosuppressant drug for consumers in the program (Corbett Dooren, 2/26). Modern Healthcare: Drug, Insurer Groups Battle Medicare Part D Cost-Control MeasureDrug industry and insurance groups are lobbying hard to scuttle a proposed CMS rule aimed at controlling costs, increasing competition and curbing fraud in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program (Dickson, 2/26). CQ HealthBeat: Medicare Prescription Drug Proposal Attacked By House RepublicansA top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday defended several proposed changes to Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program as Republicans blasted the rule and called for its revocation. At a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing, Chairman Joe Pitts, R-Pa., said the CMS-proposed rule would “dismantle the very features of the program that have made it so popular and successful” (Ethridge, 2/26). Medicare Part D Cost-Saving Plan Draws Opposition On Several Fronts