Motorola has just announced the list of its smartphones that will receive the Android 8.0 Oreo update. A dozen handsets have made the list, many of them being exactly what we expected: the moto z and its various variants, moto z2 Play / Force Edition, and more. Motorola also has an online tool that allows its handset owners to select their carrier and phone to find out if/when it’ll be updated. READ: Android 8.0 Oreo: 10 cream-filled featuresMotorola announced the lineup on its blog today, revealing that the phones listed below will all get the Android Oreo at some point. The update will, by all accounts, bring a bunch of improvements including better notifications, split-screen functionality, better battery life, and more. Hit up the link to the right of this paragraph for a rundown of some of its best features.moto zmoto z Droidmoto z Force Droidmoto z Playmoto z Play Droidmoto z2 Playmoto z2 Force Editionmoto x4moto g5moto g5 Plusmoto g5Smoto g5S PlusAs you can see, the lineup covers the major handsets, but leaves a bunch out of the mix. If your moto phone is more than a year old, you’re mostly out of luck when it comes to the Android Oreo update; this includes all of the moto G4 devices, unfortunately. If your phone is on the list for the update, though, you may be seeing it arrive as soon as this autumn season.SOURCE: Motorola Blog
thepriority Theme Blog Text Area
Use this area to highlight something important you want to draw your visitors attention to, or just remove it in the Customize area in the backend.
Blog Title Goes Here
The announcement was kicked off with an example: someone posting a tweet in a language like Japanese, Chinese or Korean is better able to express a thought in 140 characters versus someone posting in English, Spanish, or French. “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves,” the company explained in a blog post, and that is why it has decided to increase the character limit to 280.English users report a high level of frustration at the character limit compared to Japanese users, Twitter explains. As well, English users are more likely to hit the character limit in tweets versus Japanese users. Twitter says that it sees users tweet more often in markets where they’re able to say more.However, Twitter is being cautious about its rollout of this change, saying that it is only introducing the larger character limit to a small group of people for now. It will change this in the future, likely, but not before gathering feedback and data to make sure the change doesn’t cause an uproar among users.When you can expect the larger character limit to roll your way is unclear. The company stresses that it isn’t doing away with brevity on the platform: “That is something we will never change,” it says. Ultimately, it seems the company is hoping this expanded character limit will do away with cumbersome ‘text-speak’ like using ‘bc’ instead of ‘because’ as well as the omission of words in order to express a thought in the limited space.SOURCE: Twitter Blog Rumors about such a change have been around for years, and now it has finally happened: Twitter has just doubled the character limit on tweets from 140 to 280. This change is aimed at reducing the need to ‘cram’ a thought into a tiny snippet of text, something argued as necessary for languages like English that require more characters to convey the same thoughts as other languages like Japanese.
This afternoon – or maybe just a tiny bit later – Litecoin owners will be given free Litecoin Cash. It’s not quite that simple, but that’s the basis for the recent jolt in price of Litecoin across several exchanges. The point at which each Litecoin will be worth a certain amount of Litecoin Cash is at block height 171111 – but what’s that mean? Transactions are made with Litecoin using blockchain technology. As each trasaction is made, a new block height is reached. When this article was first written, Litecoin was recorded at block height 1369920. Once block height 171111 is reached, something magical is supposed to happen. Apparently if you’ve got all your Litecoin held in a Litecoin Cash wallet, only one of which is available to download, you get some Litecoin Cash. Even IF those that are promoting Litecoin Cash mean to give blockchain-based coins to users this afternoon, the circumstances with which they’ve done business thus far are highly suspect.As I wrote back on Valentine’s Day, I believe Litecoin Cash is a scam. Not one single major exchange has announced support for Litecoin Cash, and the creators of this coin suggest that users will only get said coin if they use their Litecoin Cash wallet. For that reason – and the rest of the reasons I listed in that Valentine’s Day article, I believe Litecoin Cash is a scam.Meanwhile Litecoin price continues to climb – until this afternoon, more than likely. Be careful what you do, whatever you do. Especially if what you’re doing has anything to do with Litecoin or Litecoin Cash. OF NOTE: Litecoin and Litecoin Cash are run by different people, and are not associated directly. If you lose all your Litecoin in a Litecoin Cash wallet, don’t blame Litecoin, blame Litecoin Cash.As it is with all SlashGear articles, this article is not meant to be investment advice and/or financial advice. Any action any reader takes before, during, or after reading anything on SlashGear is the responsibility of the action taker – the reader – the you. Stay safe out there!
Facebook will pay for a forensic audit of Cambridge Analytica’s systems over alleged misuse of social networking data, amid a new report that claims executives at the data company used shady business practices. Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica maintains that it is innocent of the allegations, and insists that it complied completely with Facebook’s initial request that the contentious data be deleted. Facebook is paying for Stroz Friedberg, a digital forensics firm, to investigate the servers and systems of Cambridge Analytica, the social network announced today. “This is part of a comprehensive internal and external review that we are conducting to determine the accuracy of the claims that the Facebook data in question still exists,” the company said. The data was passed to Cambridge Analytica by a researcher who had gathered it with from Facebook users taking part in a “psychological test” and who, inadvertently, granted access to their Facebook friends’ data in the process. In total, several hundred thousand people apparently participated in the test. However, because of the way the Facebook API worked, data of approximately 50m users was then extracted from the site. That was then provided to Cambridge Analytica. The audit news comes as British broadcaster Channel 4 released a controversial investigation into Cambridge Analytica, including undercover video of men from the firm’s senior executive team. Filmed between late 2017 and early 2018, the footage shows an undercover reporter meeting with representatives from the data firm. They apparently suggest ways that supposed Sri Lankan politicians could be elected, including bribery and entrapment. Cambridge Analytica, meanwhile, “strongly denies” the allegations from the past few days. In a statement today, about not only the Channel 4 documentary but the newspaper reports, it argues that the supposed revelations are the handiwork of a former contractor misrepresenting himself to the media. The company also insists that it deleted all the contentious Facebook data as soon as it was made aware that it had been shared contrary to the policies of the social network’s research APIs. “In 2014 we received Facebook data and derivatives of Facebook data from another company, GSR, that we engaged in good faith to legally supply data for research,” Cambridge Analytica says. “After it subsequently became known that GSR had broken its contract with Cambridge Analytica because it had not adhered to data protection regulation, Cambridge Analytica deleted all the Facebook data and derivatives, in cooperation with Facebook.”Moreover, it maintains that the data was not used in its political campaigning during the 2016 US presidential election. “This Facebook data was not used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump presidential campaign; personality targeted advertising was not carried out for this client either,” it says. “The company has made this clear since 2016.”As a result of the controversy, Facebook now finds itself facing questions by US lawmakers as to how it handles data privacy. In a letter today from Democratic senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon, the social network has been challenged to explain how it handles disclosures to users, numerate how many such incidents have happened in the past decade, and explain why it took until now for Facebook to bar Cambridge Analytica altogether from its service.Update: You can watch the whole Channel 4 Cambridge Analytica segment in the video below:
If you’re a bit confused about the differences between YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, you aren’t alone. YouTube Music, for lack of a better description, is Google’s (latest) answer to Spotify. Of course, this isn’t the first time Google has tried to carve out a space for itself in the music streaming market, but it seems the company is hoping that the YouTube name pulls in more subscriptions than Google Play Music did.With YouTube Music, you’ll pay $9.99 per month to get ad-free listening along with the ability to download songs and listen to your music in the background. Google is very clear in saying that YouTube Music isn’t just about music videos – you can also use the service to find full albums, live performances, singles, remixes, and “hard-to-find music you can only get on YouTube.” Google has also announced that The Beatles’ full album catalog is available on YouTube Music beginning today, so that’s one less thing the other music services have on it.Like Spotify, YouTube Music will surface recommendations based on the songs you’ve listened to before, and it will also offer “thousands of playlists” that not only encompass genres and activities, but also moods. Smart search is perhaps the distinguishing feature here. With YouTube Music, you don’t need to know the title of the song to find what you’re looking for, as you can instead search in more general terms while Google handles the rest (Google’s example of this functionality involves searching for “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert” to pull up Say You’ll Be There). After launching in early access back in May, Google has officially opened the YouTube Music floodgates. If other music streaming services leave you wanting, you can now see if YouTube Music satisfies in a handful of regions around the world. It isn’t launching alone either, as YouTube Premium is rolling out to 17 regions as well. Story TimelineYouTube Music, YouTube Premium will be included in Google Play Music subscriptionGet YouTube Music “early access” now: Here’s howYouTube Music Premium Review: Top Search, No Ads YouTube Premium, on the other hand, is more of an extension of YouTube Music. Premium takes the ad-free viewing, downloads, and background listening that a Music subscription offers and extends it to all of YouTube. YouTube Premium has already been around for a while as YouTube Red, so here we’re seeing Google do a bit of re-branding to make things a little more consistent.According to the Google Blog, both YouTube Music and Premium are available today in 17 countries around the world. YouTube Music is available to everyone as a free, ad-supported service, with a $9.99 subscription required to unlock the features listed above. YouTube Premium, on the other hand, costs $11.99 per month and includes a YouTube Music Premium subscription. For a limited time, Google is offering three free months to both services, and you can sign up for YouTube Music or YouTube Premium on their respective web pages.
pic.twitter.com/XtAtAeWreH— Максим Хорошев (@khoroshev) August 22, 2018 Google’s Pixel 3 launch isn’t expected until October, but a rogue Pixel 3 XL in the wild has already spilled the design, specs, and impressive camera samples. The third generation of Google’s flagship Android phones, the Pixel 3 – and its bigger sibling, the Pixel 3 XL – has been the subject of numerous leaks over the past few months, but nothing quite so comprehensive as this. It’s a tough leak for Google to stomach, undoubtedly. Interest in the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL has been huge, and as arguably the last big flagship of the year there were high hopes – both internally and among consumers – for the October event. The question now is whether Google will have anything to surprise us with in the post-iPhone aftermath. It’s not great news for Google, indeed. The Pixel 3 was meant to be two months out, and the company’s rejoinder to the 2018 iPhone X reveal that’s likely to happen in mid-September. Among the hopes: by that point, the Pixel 3 XL’s sizable notch in its display would be seen as less of a big deal, with Apple expected to go notched across all of its new iPhones. The best laid plans can’t be counted on, though. Russian site Rozetked managed to get its hands on what’s said to be a Pixel 3 XL from a batch of finished phones, and wasted no time in detailing its hardware and putting the camera through its paces. It confirms a number of reports we’ve seen before. That includes the display, with its controversial notch, that runs at 2960 x 1440 resolution. Inside is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845, unsurprisingly, running Android 9 Pie. In the box, Google is including a set of wired earbuds, a USB-C charger, an adapter to use 3.5mm headphones with the USB-C port, and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. Likely to please Android fans considerably is the inclusion of wireless charging this time around. AdChoices广告Still, it’s probably the camera that has fascinated the most people in the run-up to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL’s release. Unlike its rivals, Google is sticking with a single main camera, instead of a dual or even triple camera array. That means clever computational photography is relied upon for things like portrait mode images. According to this leak, right now that software is still a work-in-progress. Portrait mode in particular is called out for performing “very badly”; given we’re still a couple of months from release, and that camera software is often among the last things to get finalized before a new phone launches, that’s perhaps no great surprise. Nonetheless, regular shots said to be from this early, leaked handset impress. Rich colors and image quality that competes with the recent flagships from Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are name-checked. Again, that’s only likely to improve as Google’s camera team refines the software. Story TimelineDear anyone: Please destroy Google’s Pixel 3 cameraPixel 3 XL Black spied in Toronto with notch and two front camerasIf this is Pixel 3, Google should reboot
What on earth are Silky Blast pits, and what do they have to do with “proper grip feel?” Truly LG’s aims with their latest press release are off the beaten path. But what better way to find one’s way back to the mainstream thoughts of the average consumer than with smartphone features that are new and different? Today LG revealed some details on the LG V40 ThinQ’s physical attributes. According to LG, the LG V40 ThinQ is new and different. It’s got three cameras on its back, two up front, and it’s coming in a variety of colors. Other than that it looks pretty standard for a high-end LG smartphone. Except when you get up close and personal.SEE AS WELL: LG V40 ThinQ teaser time: We have some questionsLG suggested today that they’ve created their own proprietary glass treatment to make the backside of the LG V40 ThinQ unique. They call this treatment Silky Blast, and they suggest that this treatment is done to “etch microscopic pits on the rear glass of the LG V40 ThinQ.” This could take LG’s smartphones out a brand new door.AdChoices广告LG’s release suggests that this treatment “makes the surface less slippery and less prone to fingerprints without affected the durability of the glass.” It’s interesting that they mention this treatment when the versions of the LG V40 ThinQ so far seem to be quite flat on their backside. Are the etches so extremely tiny that they cannot be seen by the human eye?LG revealed a bit more information about their next headline phone before their official reveal event, as well. In their release they suggested that the display of the LG V40 ThinQ was “almost a half inch larger than its predecessor” – whether they mean the LG V35 or the LG G7, we can’t be entirely sure just yet. The LG V40 ThinQ will be revealed in full on October 3rd, 2018. That’s next Wednesday, less than a week from today. Keep your fingers crossed they release even more colors than they’ve already made official: Aurora Black, Platinum Gray, New Moroccan Blue, and a new Carmine Red. This red replaces the red they’ve used in the past, a tone they called Raspberry Rose – and all colors are released according to region, so you might see all, you might see only one.
TT RS buyers can choose from aluminum or carbon fiber trim elements inside the car and the engine start button is on the steering wheel like a racing car. The car has four driving modes from comfort to dynamic for performance and Audi uses an infotainment system that has a WiFi hotspot and navigation system with gas pricing and other POIs.Audi uses a unique hands free phone call system in the car that integrates microphones into the seat belts in the Roadster for better speech quality when cruising with the top down. The TT RS Coupe will start at 66,400 euros with the Roadster starting at 69,200 euros with both cars landing in the fall of 2016.SOURCE: Audi Audi is rolling out the most powerful TT ever with new Coupe and Roadster designs debuting at the Beijing Motor Show. The heart of the TT RS Coupe and Roadster is the new 5-cylinder 400hp engine that makes 354 lb-ft of torque. The 400hp output is 60hp more than the previous model. All that power and torque goes to the road via the famous Audi Quattro all-wheel drive system and a 7-speed S tronic transmission. Between the powerful 5-cylinder and AWD, the TT RS Coupe can reach 62.1mph in 3.7 seconds and the Roadster needs only a couple ticks more than the Coupe at 3.9 seconds. Another cool new feature in the revised TT RS cars is a first for a production Audi with available OLED tail lights. The new TT RS cars are very low to the ground with a height of only 4.4 feet and Audi says this gives the car more control as it enters curves for improved handling. The Roadster can drop the top while cruising at speeds up to 31.1 mph.
Tesla has been tipped in a project to develop its own artificial intelligence chip, and sources claim it is working with AMD to refine this chip. Such a chip may pave the way for a future in which Tesla vehicles are fully autonomous, but details are slight at this time. Sources indicate that Tesla is developing its chip on top of a foundation of AMD intellectual property, and that testing with an early implementation is already underway. Though Tesla hasn’t yet given consumers access to a car that can fully drive itself, the company has made great strides toward that eventual goal. The company has indicated at various times that fully autonomous vehicles aren’t too far into the future — we can count the years on one hand, possibly. But still, there’s work to be done.Speaking to CNBC, sources claimed that Tesla is developing its own artificial intelligence chip specifically for self-driving vehicles. This work is supposedly being done in conjunction with AMD whose intellectual property is in some way involved. Tesla has reportedly already received back samples of the chip which is being tested.The sources go on to state that more than 50 individuals are part of the team working on this project under Tesla’s head of autopilot hardware and software Jim Keller; he joined the company early last year. Keller has a history at both Apple and AMD. However, neither Tesla nor AMD have commented on the report.AdChoices广告The development would represent a distancing from NVIDIA, which provides GPUs for use with Tesla’s current Autopilot hardware. Using its own hardware would offer some benefits, such as better cost controls plus the ability to tailor the hardware specifically to its own needs. When Tesla may begin using these chips in its vehicles isn’t stated.SOURCE: CNBC
Vespa turned heads last year when it revealed its first electric scooter project, the Vespa Elettrica, and now we’re finding out more about the zero-emissions urban ride. The storied Italian marque has been showing off the scooter at the International Cycle and Motorcycle Show this week, promising better performance than what you’d get from a traditional, gas-powered 50cc scooter. Indeed, if you’re familiar with such small beasts, there should be some noticeable improvements, Vespa says. Acceleration is particularly improved, for instance, courtesy of electric motors’ instantaneous torque. The Vespa Elettrica will use a power unit that’s capable of continuous 2 kW, with peaks of 4 kW for bursts of speed. Range is said to be 100 km at least, or around 62 miles. The battery is a lithium-ion system which charges through a cable that’s stored in the seat compartment. Vespa says a charge from a regular outlet will take four hours to fully recharge the scooter. It’s worth remembering, though, that outlets in Europe offer 220 volts rather than the 110 volts in the US. That means, if the Vespa Elettrica ever launches in the US, it’ll take longer to recharge unless you plug in at a commercial station or have a Level 2 charger installed at home. That could present a problem for the urban users likely to find the new electric Vespa appealing, since the possibility of them having a garage to store and charge the scooter is low. AdChoices广告However, Vespa has another idea. There’ll be a Vespa Elettrica X model, which will put a small gas-powered generator alongside the battery and electric motor. Together, the company says, range could be doubled. It’s a similar approach to what we’ve seen BMW do with the i3 with range extender, among others, on four wheels.Between the handlebars, meanwhile, will be the new Vespa Multimedia Platform. That’s built around a color display, with connectivity to the rider’s smartphone. The same display will also be used to show speed, charge, and other information. Vespa is talking up the scooter’s environmental cred, not just its zero-emissions status but its contribution to cutting city noise. Of course, that’s not something especially new: there are plenty of other electric scooters out there, though none have the same brand cachet. On the flip side, there’s a company like Gogoro, the Smart Scooters of which have interchangeable battery packs that work around the absence of dedicated parking in urban spaces. The Vespa Elettrica will go on sale in 2018, the company says. It’ll be offered in a special chrome gray finish with metallic reflections, with a choice of seven color variants around that. It’ll be manufactured in Pontedera, Italy; pricing is yet to be confirmed.
The Acer Nitro 5 bumps up the processor to an AMD Rzyen 7 3750H from a 2700U. That’s a jump from s 2.2 GHz quad-core processor to 2.3 GHz.It may look like a meager update but, paired with the Radeon RX 560X dedicated graphics, it could help alleviate the problems the older model encountered with more CPU-intensive processes. It’s been quite a while since Acer updated its Nitro 5 gaming laptop and its Swift 3 thin-and-light notebook but now that it is, it’s making quite a bit change. Granted, these two new models aren’t exactly the first of their kind to be powered by AMD’s mobile Ryzen processors. But with the jump to AMD’s latest Ryzen chips for portable computers, Acer is promising enough power for HDR visuals for streaming and gaming. For better or worse, nothing else changes for the mobile gaming PC, internally and externally. It still has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen and CoolBoost to keep the system cool while looking red hot. It has a plethora of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi 5 with 2×2 MU-MIMO, USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0, and more.AdChoices广告The Acer Swift 3 also goes up from a 2700U to an AMD Radeon 7 3700U. Unlike the Nitro 5, the dedicated GPU is only optional but with a Radeon RX 540X, the thin-and-light notebook can become a workstation and a gaming station as well. Just like the Nitro 5, the new Acer Swift 3 retains everything else, including its 1.45 kg weight, 17.95 mm thinness, and 180-degree lay-flat 14-inch screen. Acer hasn’t yet announced availability details for these two upgraded models but the company is putting them up on display in Taipei from May 28 to June 2.
Android has the lion’s share of the smartphone market partly because of the wide variety of devices available and the wide range of prices they carry. There may also be one other factor influencing those numbers: early obsolescence of devices. Android phones are guaranteed two to three years of software updates and that is if they’re lucky. If you have a five-year-old or older phone that’s still working, you can only hope there’s an Android ROM for that or, if you’re more adventurous, support from Linux-based postmarketOS. There’s no shortage of attempts at creating alternative mobile operating systems, some of them are even closer to Linux than Android has ever been. Almost all of them, however, either eye making their own device for security and privacy reasons or support recent and more expensive phones. postmarketOS, on the other hand, wants to help reduce electronic waste and save people money by reviving their old phones but with a twist.Instead of trying to force recent versions of Android to run on almost ancient devices, postmarketOS, or pmOS for short, took the opportunity to develop an almost completely free and open source Linux-based platform for those devices. In theory, that could help with the maintenance of the software for posterity since it’s pretty close to “regular” Linux, as long as there is someone willing to do the work of keeping that device updated.The project is two years old now and boasts a list of 139 devices, including some that never ran Android natively, like the Nokia N900. Impressive as that number may be, not all of those work perfectly. Some just boot and stop there.AdChoices广告More than just supporting old phones, however, postmarketOS has also opened the door for free and open source software development on mobile devices. It has become the platform on which other projects have been built. And while it may not boast the same numbers as, say, LineageOS and other ROMS, it at least offers not only a completely new mobile experience but also a future-proof one.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, dental therapists are helping to meet the need for care.Kaiser Health News: In Pennsylvania, Medicaid Cuts Reduce Options For Dental CareMedicaid, a program funded jointly by the federal government and the states, covers the poor and disabled, and coverage varies by state. Most states don’t pay for any dental care. Now, in Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has reduced Pennsylvania’s 2 million adult Medicaid patients to basic dental care — eliminating root canals, periodontal disease work and limiting the number of dentures a patient can receive. The plan now covers little more than cleanings, fillings — and extractions” (Beras, 7/15).Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dental Therapists Bridge GapLaura Dvorak had never heard even heard of a dental therapist until she showed up at a St. Paul clinic last week to get three cavities filled. But after spending more than an hour in the chair with Crystal Ann Baker, a newly hired dental therapist at HealthPartners’ Midway Clinic, Dvorak says she’s a fan. … A year after the first cohort of dental therapists began practicing in Minnesota, the new and controversial breed of dental worker is showing early signs of acceptance (Crosby, 7/15). Penn. Medicaid Enrollees Face Reductions In Dental Coverage This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Officials overseeing the troubled exchanges examine what went wrong this year and debate how to proceed. Meanwhile, a small business exchange in Georgia gets few enrollees and The Denver Post reports that more residents signed up for Medicaid than for private insurance.The Oregonian: Decision To Scrap Or Salvage Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Poses Risks Either WayIn January, Cover Oregon officials told lawmakers that efforts to fix the health insurance exchange had steadily cut the number of most serious programming bugs to just 13. Since then, that tally has grown to about 300. The disturbing trend underlines the uncertainty Cover Oregon and Gov. John Kitzhaber wrestle with as they decide whether to try to salvage the unfinished insurance exchange — or scrap the whole thing and move to the federal exchange. The exchange board will hear an update on the process at its Thursday meeting (Budnick, 4/9). Minnesota Public Radio: Legislative Auditor To Investigate MNsureThe bi-partisan Legislative Audit Commission has directed the state’s internal government watchdog to perform a broad audit of MNsure, Minnesota’s online health insurance marketplace. Legislative Auditor James Nobles’ office already has two limited examinations of MNsure underway. One is a federally required review of how MNsure spent more than $150 million in federal grants. It also is reviewing the security of MNsure’s website (Stawicki, 4/9). Minnesota Public Radio: Health Exchange Enrollment Passes 181KThe operators of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange say enrollment has risen to about 181,000 people as they continue to process applications that were started before the March 31 enrollment deadline. MNsure is working through a backlog of some 36,000 insurance applications from people who started but could not complete the process by the close of open enrollment. The agency says that, so far, 47,697 Minnesotans have enrolled in a commercial health plan; the rest are in MinnesotaCare (37,050) and Medical Assistance (96,610), government-sponsored coverage (Catlin, 4/9). Pioneer Press: MNsure To Undergo Evaluation By Auditor, Analysis Of Its Coverage EffectivenessAs Minnesota’s legislative auditor announced Wednesday a full evaluation of MNsure, state officials revealed plans to address a key question: Did the federal health law reduce the number of Minnesotans lacking coverage. MNsure has asked University of Minnesota researchers to work with insurance companies and the state Department of Human Services to provide a preliminary estimate for the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act on the uninsured rate in Minnesota (Snowbeck, 4/09). Georgia Health News: Small Firms’ Exchange Has A Big Problem: It’s Off To A Very Slow Start The health insurance marketplace for small businesses is now open. But Mom and Pop aren’t buying. Many small employers do not even appear interested in checking out this feature of the Affordable Care Act, which is different from the better-known individual exchange where people buy coverage for themselves (Empinado, 4/9). Meanwhile, on the topic of Medicaid expansion –ProPublica: Medicaid Programs Drowning in BacklogLast week, federal health officials celebrated two milestones related to the Affordable Care Act. The first, which got considerable attention, was that more than 7 million people selected private health plans in state and federal health insurance exchanges. The second, which got less attention, was that some 3 million additional enrollees had signed up for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (public health insurance programs for the poor), many as a result of Medicaid’s expansion. But there are growing signs that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is a victim of its own success, unable to keep up with demand. While about half the states have refused to expand their Medicaid programs’ eligibility, among those that have, some can’t process applications fast enough (Ornstein, 4/9). The Denver Post: More In Denver Signed Up For Medicaid Than For Private Insurance In Denver, 2 1/2 times as many people enrolled in the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program from October through the first quarter of 2014 as those who signed up for private insurance through the state exchange, state figures show. And in Colorado and nationwide, Medicaid enrollments outpace private insurance registrants. Colorado ranked 11th in the nation of states with the highest percentage of Medicaid enrollments compared with private insurance subscribers through marketplaces as of the end of February, a Denver Post analysis of federal numbers shows (Kane, 4/10). Oregon, Minnesota Exchanges Weigh Next Steps This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Research Roundup: Older Consumers’ Spending On Health Care; Hospital Leaders’ Views Of Reporting Quality Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.Employer Benefit Research Institute: How Does Household Expenditure Change With Age For Older Americans? In 2011, households with at least one member between ages 50 and 64 spent 8 percent of their total budget on health items, compared with 19 percent for those age 85 or over. Health-related expenses occupy the second-largest share of total expenditure for those ages 75 or older [behind home and home-related expenses]. … For some, health care expenses can be heavily skewed toward the end of life …. To that extent, the difference between mean and median health care expenses for the oldest age group (85 and above) is important. For example, in 2011, while the median health care expenditure for this group was $2,814, the mean was much higher at $6,603 (Banerjee, 9/29). Annals Of Internal Medicine: Financial Conflicts Of Interest And Conclusions About Neuraminidase Inhibitors for Influenza: An Analysis Of Systematic Reviews Industry funding and financial conflicts of interest may contribute to bias in the synthesis and interpretation of scientific evidence. Objective: To examine the association between financial conflicts of interest and characteristics of systematic reviews of neuraminidase inhibitors [antiviral drugs used to fight influenza]. … Reviewers with financial conflicts of interest may be more likely to present evidence about neuraminidase inhibitors in a favorable manner and recommend the use of these drugs than reviewers without financial conflicts of interest (Dunn et al., 10/7).JAMA Internal Medicine: Attitudes Of Hospital Leaders Toward Publicly Reported Measures Of Health Care Quality We mailed a 21-item questionnaire from January 1 through September 31, 2012, to senior hospital leaders from a stratified random sample of 630 US hospitals …. For each of the mortality, readmission, process, and patient experience measures, more than 70% of hospitals agreed with the statement that “public reporting stimulates quality improvement activity at my institution” …. A similar pattern was observed for the statement that “our hospital is able to influence performance on this measure”; … When compared with chief executive officers and chief medical officers, respondents who identified themselves as chief quality officers or vice presidents of quality were less likely to agree that public reporting stimulates quality improvement (Lindenauer et al., 10/6).Health Affairs: Specialty Drug Coupons Lower Out-Of-Pocket Costs And May Improve Adherence At The Risk Of Increasing Premiums [W]e examined the prevalence of specialty drug coupons and the degree to which these reduced patients’ out-of-pocket costs, focusing on 264,801 prescriptions. … We found that drug coupons accounted for $21.2 million of patients’ $35.3 million annual out-of-pocket costs. In the vast majority of cases, coupons reduced monthly cost sharing to less than $250, a point at which patients were far less likely to abandon therapy with biologic anti-inflammatory drugs or with drugs for multiple sclerosis. However, by reducing cost sharing, coupons may also circumvent efforts to encourage patients to use the most cost-effective drugs (Starner, 10/6). CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Hispanics Or Latinos Living With Diagnosed HIV: Progress Along The Continuum Of HIV Care — United States, 2010 The results of the analysis described in this report indicate that, in 2010, among adult and adolescent Hispanics or Latinos of all age groups and both sexes who were diagnosed with HIV, 80.3% were linked to care, 54.4% were retained in care, 44.4% were prescribed ART [antiretroviral therapy], and 36.9% had achieved viral suppression. Across the HIV care continuum, Hispanics or Latinos have higher percentages of linkage to and retention in care and ART prescription compared with the national population of persons with HIV, but they have a lower percentage of viral suppression compared with the same national population. … Hispanics or Latinos with HIV infection might not seek, receive, or adhere to HIV care or achieve viral suppression for reasons including lack of health insurance, language barriers, geographic differences, and migration patterns (Gant et al., 10/10). Kaiser Family Foundation: Visualizing Health Policy: The 2014 Ebola Outbreak This Visualizing Health Policy infographic provides a snapshot of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It includes key facts about the Ebola virus, shows how the number of Ebola cases in the current outbreak outstrips the case total from all previous Ebola outbreaks, and offers a summary of the key U.S. agencies responding to the crisis and the roles they are playing (Michaud et al., 10/8). Here is a selection of news coverage of other recent research:Politico Pro: Specialty Drugs Could Make Up Half Of All Pharmacy Spending By 2018Spending on high-priced specialty drugs is growing at 15 percent per year and will require a broad range of tools to manage their cost, but they may be worth their money in the value they’re delivering to patients, according to reports in a special edition of Health Affairs devoted to the trend published Monday. By 2018, specialty drugs, often defined as costing more than $600 per treatment, will account for about half of all pharmacy spending in 2018 — or $235 billion — a rapid escalation that the insurance industry warns could make care unaffordable for many if not brought under control (Norman, 10/6).Modern Healthcare: Hospitals Newer To 340B Drug Discounts Found To Serve Less Needy PatientsHospitals that joined the federal 340B drug discount program after 2004 were more likely than other participants to serve wealthier communities with higher rates of health insurance, according to a new study. … The authors of the study, published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, … [who] have been critical of the 340B program – matched data for 960 DSH hospitals and 3,694 affiliated clinics participating in the 340B program in 2012 against socioeconomic data about communities from the US Census Bureau (Lee, 10/6).Related, earlier KHN story: Drug Discount Policy For Hospitals, Clinics Under Scrutiny (Carey, 6/23)MinnPost: ‘Decision Fatigue’ Leads To Overprescribing Of Antibiotics, Study FindsDoctors are much more likely to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily to a patient with an acute respiratory illness if that patient is seen by the doctor toward the end of the doctor’s morning or afternoon shift in the clinic, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine. The finding suggests, say the study’s authors, that doctors are prone to “decision fatigue,” a well-observed psychological phenomenon in which the very act of making repeated decisions erodes the self-confidence of the decision-maker, causing him or her to make easier and safer choices (Perry, 10/7). San Francisco Chronicle: More Parents Turning To Online Reviews For DoctorsAmericans turn to online reviews to decide which gadget to buy, which restaurant to dine in and — increasingly — which doctor to visit. A new study in the journal Pediatrics reveals that almost three-quarters of parents are aware of physician-rating websites, but just more than one-quarter have used the sites to choose their children’s pediatrician. Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed more than 1,600 parents nationwide and found that mothers are more likely than fathers to value physician-review sites, which include Healthgrades, Vitals.com and Angie’s List. Parents under age 30 were more likely to use the sites than those 30 and older (Roethel, 10/8).Boston Globe: ‘Exceptional Responders’ May Point To Personalized Cancer TherapyPhysicians have traditionally viewed the rare cancer patients who bounce back from near-certain death as inspiring anecdotes, not science. But a study published by a Boston team Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights a radical shift in thinking: researchers are harnessing a powerful arsenal of biomedical tools to unlock the secrets of individual “exceptional responders” (Johnson, 10/8). The New Republic: Share Your Chocolate. It’ll Make It Taste Better. If you’ve ever felt like a killjoy when turning down a drink or a dessert, new research may confirm your fear. It’s not just yourself you’re depriving; you may actually make the experience less fun for companions who do indulge. This effect is so strong that even if the person you’re with is a total stranger and you’re both sitting in silence, whether or not you participating in an activity can make a meaningful difference in the amount of pleasure your companion gets out it. A team of Yale psychologists, led by graduate student Erica Boothby, demonstrate this effect in a new paper in the journal Psychological Science (Robb, 10/6).
Black Public Health Leaders Condemn Medical College Decision To Accept Juul’s $7.5M Funding The grant from the e-cigarette company set off a debate about the challenges of taking corporate money and not becoming biased in the funder’s favor. Leaders of Meharry Medical College in Tennessee said the grant allows them to open a public health center to study issues impacting African Americans. Opponents argue that African Americans are targeted with menthol cigarettes and have a higher death rate from smoking. In other news on vaping, a pen exploded and fractured a teen’s jaw. The New York Times: Black Leaders Denounce Juul’s $7.5 Million Gift To Medical School Earlier this month, Meharry Medical College, a 143-year-old historically black institution in Tennessee, proudly announced that it had received the second-largest grant in its history — $7.5 million to start a center to study public health issues that affect African-Americans. But the gift has prompted a vehement backlash from African-American health experts and activists because of the source of the funds: Juul Labs, the fast-growing e-cigarette company, now partially owned by the tobacco giant Altria. (Kaplan, 6/19) Kailani Burton bought a vaping kit for her teenage son Austin, hoping he would use it to quit smoking. In March of last year, she and her husband were sitting in the living room when they heard a loud pop. Austin raced in, holding his bloodied jaw. An e-cigarette had exploded in his mouth. “He was bleeding really bad,” Ms. Burton said in an interview. “It looked like a hole in his chin.” (Kaplan, 6/19) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The New York Times: E-Cigarette Exploded In A Teenager’s Mouth, Damaging His Jaw
Join the conversation → Employment increased by 66,800 in January, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa.Postmedia Share this storyCanada unexpectedly gains almost 67,000 jobs as private-sector hiring hits record Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn advertisement Featured Stories Reddit Canada’s job market began 2019 with an unexpected employment surge driven by jobs for youth in services and record private-sector hiring, a sign of strength in an economy facing several other headwinds.Employment increased by 66,800 in January, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. That was driven by a 99,200 gain in services, which offset falling employment in goods producing industries. The gains were almost evenly split between full-time and part-time positions.The picture is much stronger than anyone expected in an economy hit by stresses in the oil sector, weakening housing markets, volatility in global financial markets and waning consumer confidence. The report could ease some concerns about the extent of a current soft patch. Economists were forecasting only a 5,000 employment increase in January. Get analysis of today’s figures by Kevin Carmichael Even with the gains, Canada’s jobless rate jumped to 5.8 per cent last month, from 5.6 per cent in December. But the reason for the increase was more people looking for work — a sign of strength that could indicate the jobs market is pulling new workers into the labor force. That could give the economy more room to run without fuelling wage pressures.The labour force increased by 103,700, the biggest one-month increase since 2009. The increase was led by a 60,500 increase in the number of youth joining the jobs market. Youth — people aged 15 to 24 — also led the employment gains, with a 52,800 increase.The jump in January brought employment gains over the past 12 months to 327,200, the biggest year-over-year gain since 2017.Private SectorAnother positive was a shift away from self-employment. The number of people employed by the private sector jumped by 111,500, the biggest one-month gain on record in data going back to 1976. The number of self-employed fell by 60,700.Ontario, with an employment gain of 41,400, led the job surge among provinces.There continues to be some weaknesses in the numbers. Wage gains remain depressed. Average hourly wages were up 2 per cent form a year ago, with pay for permanent employees up 1.8 per cent.Alberta, which is struggling with slumping oil prices and production curbs in the sector, posted a second straight monthly decline in employment.There were also broad-based losses among goods-producing sectors, including manufacturing.Total hours worked rose 1.2 per cent in January from a year earlier, which is up from 0.9 per cent in December.Bloomberg.com What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Recommended For You’We were experiencing headwinds’ — Canopy Growth stock heads south on poor sales ramp-upDefining the future of Canadian competitiveness: How partnerships between industry and educational institutions can help lead the way forwardTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016 Canada unexpectedly gains almost 67,000 jobs as private-sector hiring hits record A sign of strength in an economy facing several other headwinds More ← Previous Next → Comment Email Bloomberg News Facebook Theophilos Argitis Sponsored By: February 8, 201911:06 AM EST Filed under News Economy Twitter 133 Comments