National / International News
Atlantic City, N.J., once synonymous with gambling, is reeling from the failure of several big-name casinos. Officials hope they can revive the city by recasting it as the Las Vegas of the East Coast.
President Obama is expected to make an announcement as soon as next week on immigration reform that will protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. To find out more, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Michael Shear, White House correspondent for the New York Times.
To sum it up: If you are in the U.S. illegally but have a child who is a citizen, you may be able to apply for deferred action, which means you will not be deported. This may also provide a work permit. And of course, some people will be exempt, especially if they have a criminal record.
“I think a lot of people would say, these folks are largely employed anyways," Shear says. "These are mostly people who have been living in the country for many years – five, 10 years in some cases. They hold down jobs, but they’re holding these jobs in kind of a hidden way. Or in a way that they’re constantly looking over their shoulders, having to worry about a deportation proceeding if they’re caught."
Additional components to the plan include expanding opportunities for immigrants with high-tech skills and adding extra security to the southern border.
“The idea that the administration puts forward is that if you bring these folks out of the shadows in that respect, allow them to sort of hold these jobs in an above-board way, it actually helps the economy instead of [hurting] it,” Shear said.
The new privacy guidelines are one-third their previous length. But experts say it doesn't change how much data the company will continue to gather from users.
Once Claudia Lucero had mastered rapid cheese-making, she knew it was time to tackle cheddar. But cheddar takes months, even years, to age, so Lucero devised a pseudo version: the Smokey Cheater.
So far, it's just scattered unrest. But with peace talks in the deep freeze and the recent scuffling over Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, there's talk about the prospects of another intifada.
A noted photographer talks about a favorite image — from the hundreds of thousands he's shot in the past three decades — that never quite got the attention it deserved.
With the Common Core State Standards' emphasis on "complex texts," some critics worry kids are being asked to struggle too much. We ask: How much is too much?
Obama has said he will take executive action on immigration by the end of the year; now, as NPR's Tamara Keith tells Audie Cornish, there are reports he could act as soon as the end of next week.
A quarter of the dialysis patients who were in New York City when Hurricane Sandy hit missed at least one treatment due to power outages. Yet, not many are prepared for the next disaster.
A report by a German judge examined the actions of countries that bid to stage the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. But the lawyer on whose work the report was based called it "incomplete and erroneous."
Everybody knows shopping for insurance stinks. Not only do we not like it, but we’re not very good at it.
Minnesota state exchange CEO Scott Leitz says he saw consumers struggle last year.
“In many, many cases, it was hours of time that were spent kind of walking a person through what their choices were, answering their questions and helping them make a final decision,” he says.
With millions flocking to public exchanges under Obamacare, this shopping problem – which researchers have known about for years – is coming into focus.
Consumers must sort out co-insurance, deductibles, in-network, out-of-network and medications, then compare it all to screen after screen of health insurance plans. Wharton economist Jonathan Kolstad says don’t forget people also must guess what problems they’ll have over the next 12 months.
“Ultimately insurance is not just about the world as we know it today, it’s about knowing where we are going down the road,” he says.
Kolstad says there are more than 900,000 variables to consider when shopping for health insurance, and so it's no wonder that we tend to make such poor choices. Here’s the thing: Those choices have real world costs.
Kolstad’s research shows when employees don’t know what they’re doing, they leave $1,800 on the table. There’s certainly an opportunity here to both help people and to cash in. Several University of Pennsylvania professors – along with Kolstad – have launched software called Picwell in response.
Company CEO Jay Silverstein says their software is designed to “make the process easier, simpler, faster, better.”
Here’s how it works, according to Silverstein: Consumers first answer the four simple questions, "What is your age?" "Where do you live by zip code?" "What is your gender?" and "What medications are you on?"
Then Picwell’s algorithms cut, slice and dice the responses with a big data buffet that includes medical claims and credit scores. The result is Google-like. Almost instantaneously, the software spits out a list of the plans and ranks them by best fit. It also offers a total monthly cost estimate, which includes all out-of-pocket costs.
Industry consultant Ted von Glahn – who has no ties to the company - says Picwell is taking a lot of the mystery out of shopping.
“The golden rule is 'do the math.' Don’t make me go find that neurologist procedure and 'is it covered or not?' Bring it right to me,” he says.
Compare Picwell to healthcare.gov. The federal exchange, says von Glahn, only offers the most basic tools forcing consumers to still do the math. Picwell is one of a dozen companies including GetInsured and Consumers’ CHECKBOOK in this small consumer choice space.
As these products mature, von Glahn believes, it will force the entire industry – insurers, hospitals and doctors – to become more efficient.
“They can’t compete on the mistakes that consumers make, the dazzle and confusion of choice,” he says.
Change may well be here sooner than it seems. PricewaterhouseCoopers says a third of private companies are considering moving their active employees onto private exchanges within the next three years.
“My gut on this is private exchanges are in the early stages,” says PWC’s Michael Thompson. “The value proposition isn’t as strong as it ultimately will be. As that proposition grows, you’ll see more companies adopt it. I think the uptick rates will be significant.”
Not only do employers need to be convinced they can save money - so do employees. To that extent, whether exchanges take off or disintegrate could turn on the success of outfits like Picwell. CEO Silverstein says business is good: They’ve already lined up private and public exchanges, including Minnesota’s. He says there’s a good chance their clients will grow from 750,000 this year to 40 million in 2015.
Picwell executives believe their tiny industry is moving towards a time when consumers can actually find value - quite a transformation for a product that today many don’t understand or trust at all.