National / International News
In the Senate, a committee hearing on Wednesday is scheduled to look at the idea of having colleges pay part of the cost of student loan defaults, which totaled $99 billion in 2014.
Some seven million Americans have defaulted on their student loans, and 70 percent of them are college drop-outs. They average about $14,000 in student debt.
"You want people to care about the debt beyond the day after they issue it, and to make colleges somewhat financially responsible," says Ben Miller, who studies education policy at the Center for American Progress.
To do that, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions is considering whether colleges should pay back the federal government a portion of any defaulted debt. It's also considering what that payback should look like: whether it should be a set fee, or a percentage of the loan amount, for example.
Pauline Abernathy, vice president of The Institute for College Access and Success, supports the idea of college debt default accountability. Her organization has provided feedback to the Senate committee on what form that should take. But, she says there are also risks to consider in crafting any future legislation.
"We don't want to provide any disincentive for schools to enroll low- income students, who may in some cases have a higher risk of default," Abernathy says.
While a potential bill could be a couple of years away, Abernathy says there does seem to be increasing bipartisan support for the concept of having colleges share in the risks of student loans.
In the 2015 fiscal year, the U.S. government's college grants and loans will total about $138 billion.
Among people 65 and under, almost two-thirds are covered by private health insurance plans, according to the CDC. But that doesn’t mean health care is affordable. A report released today by the Commonwealth Fund shows that rising deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses are a serious problem for more than 30 million underinsured working-age adults.
Knee replacements, hysterectomies, even getting prescriptions filled, are all things people with insurance are opting not to do, simply to cut down on out-of-pocket costs, says Jeffrey Rice, CEO of Healthcare Bluebook. “As deductibles have gone up, patients’ expenses have gone up,” he says.
A mid-range health insurance deductible can be $1,200. What’s more, Rice says, over the past 20 years, the cost of healthcare has shot way up.
“What used to be $150 visit to the ER to get a few stitches now turns into a $2,000 or $3,000 bill,” Rice says.
So a lot of people are thinking long and hard before going to the doctor. Dylan Roby, of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, says many health plans try to steer people toward preventive care. But here’s the catch: “If there’s not enough education and awareness about it, people still are going to see the deductible upfront as a big cost barrier,” he says.
Roby says if people take time to learn what’s free under their health plans, they might avoid bigger problems later.
We're launching a series called Pro Tool: Tools of the Professional. What we're looking for is that must-have device in the possession of anyone in the workforc, be they hair dresser, welder or writer.
The second item in our series? A notebook.
Courtesy of the author
Pro Tool: A Seven Seas journal, bound by Nanami Paper of Irvine, California.
Lennon stamps the front of his notebook with his chop to signify which side is the front.literambivalence
Why it's a Pro Tool: "It's made with this amazing Japanese paper called Tomoe River paper. It's very thin and glassy. If you like to write with a fountain pen ... it's the perfect surface." - J. Robert Lennon
Cost: $19 and up.
That's how much iTunes music sales dropped last year, and that means Apple is using its remaining pull in the music industry to set up its next big move, Harvard Business Review reported. The tech giant wants labels to pressure Spotify and other streaming services to drop their "freemium" model ahead of its rumored relaunch of Beats Music.12 percent
The share price for auto supplier Takata fell as much as 12 percent on Wednesday, following Tuesday's announcement that many of its airbags — about 34 million — are faulty and require a recall. The problem has to do with the airbags rupturing when deployed, causing several deaths and many more injuries. As the New York Times reports, it's the largest recall related to automobiles ever.$99 billion
That's the total amount of defaulted student loans in 2014. With such high figures, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions is considering legislation that would force colleges to pay back some of that defaulted debt. But some experts worry that such a requirement might discourage universities from accepting low-income students who may be a statistically higher risk for default.$19
That's how much a Seven Seas journal costs. Made with Japanese Tomoe River paper, it's a little pricier than your average pad or notebook. But writer J. Robert Lennon says it helps him do his job well. Find out more over at "Pro Tool: Tools of the Professional," our series on the must-have devices in the hands of working professionals.30 million
That's the number of underinsured, working-age adults in the U.S. And according to a new report, many of these people are opting not to seek out expensive treatments in spite of being insured. The reason? Rising deductibles and out-of-pocket costs force people to second guess when is the right time to call the doctor.$19.35 per hour
That's how much, on average, a household would have to earn at a full-time job to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. That's according to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The report lays out required household pay by state, some of them many times the minimum wage there.