05-20-2024  12:25 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

AP Decision Notes: What to Expect in Oregon's Primaries

Oregon has multiple hotly contested primaries upcoming, as well as some that will set the stage for high-profile races in November. Oregon's 5th Congressional District is home to one of the top Democratic primaries in the country.

Iconic Skanner Building Will Become Healing Space as The Skanner Continues Online

New owner strives to keep spirit of business intact during renovations.

No Criminal Charges in Rare Liquor Probe at OLCC, State Report Says

The investigation examined whether employees of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission improperly used their positions to obtain bottles of top-shelf bourbon for personal use.

Portland OKs New Homeless Camping Rules That Threaten Fines or Jail in Some Cases

The mayor's office says it seeks to comply with a state law requiring cities to have “objectively reasonable” restrictions on camping.

NEWS BRIEFS

Rose Festival Announces Starlight Parade Grand Marshal

The Portland Rose Festival announced today the 2024 CareOregon Starlight Parade Grand Marshal is Jenny Nguyen, founder and CEO of The...

Oregon Community Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

Oregon Community Foundation’s Board of Directors has elected two new members who bring extensive experience in community engagement...

Governor Kotek Issues Statement on Role of First Spouse

"I take responsibility for not being more thoughtful in my approach to exploring the role of the First Spouse." ...

Legislature Makes Major Investments to Increase Housing Affordability and Expand Treatment in Multnomah County

Over million in new funding will help build a behavioral health drop in center, expand violence prevention programs, and...

Poor People’s Campaign and National Partners Announce, “Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C. and to the Polls” Ahead of 2024 Elections

Scheduled for June 29th, the “Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C.: A Call to...

California congressman urges closer consultation with tribes on offshore wind

A congressman who represents California’s north coast has sent a letter to federal regulators asking that they “urgently place” a senior official in the state to respond to tribal needs as wind power is developed offshore. U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman sent the letter as the U.S....

In Oregon's Democratic primaries, progressive and establishment wings battle for US House seats

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two Democratic primaries for U.S. House seats in Oregon could help reveal whether the party’s voters are leaning more toward progressive or establishment factions in a critical presidential election year. The state’s 3rd Congressional District, which...

Defending national champion LSU boosts its postseason hopes with series win against Texas A&M

With two weeks left in the regular season, LSU is scrambling to avoid becoming the third straight defending national champion to miss the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers (31-18, 9-15) won two of three against then-No. 1 Texas A&M to take a giant step over the weekend, but they...

The Bo Nix era begins in Denver, and the Broncos also drafted his top target at Oregon

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — For the first time in his 17 seasons as a coach, Sean Payton has a rookie quarterback to nurture. Payton's Denver Broncos took Bo Nix in the first round of the NFL draft. The coach then helped out both himself and Nix by moving up to draft his new QB's top...

OPINION

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Who is Jacob Zuma, the former South African president disqualified from next week's election?

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former South African President Jacob Zuma was barred Monday from running for Parliament in next week's national election over a previous criminal conviction, the latest twist in his return to politics. The decision by the country’s highest court, the...

Ed Dwight, America's first Black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, finally rocketed into space 60 years later, flying with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company on Sunday. Dwight was an Air Force pilot when President John F. Kennedy championed him as a candidate for NASA’s...

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war, telling graduates of historically Black Morehouse College that he heard their voices of protest and that scenes from the conflict in Gaza break his heart, too. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Free 'Buzz Book' compilation includes excerpts from Dava Sobel, Jami Attenberg

NEW YORK (AP) — New fiction from Jami Attenberg and from young adult authors Kwame Mbalia and Robert Beatty and the latest book on science from best-selling writer Dava Sobel are among the upcoming works excerpted for a free e-compilation. The industry newsletter Publishers Lunch...

Book Review: Veronica Roth taps into her Polish roots for 'When Among Crows,' a lore-packed novella

Dymitr is on a personal mission, and it starts with facing the mythical leszy who’s guarding the fern flower as it blooms for the summer solstice. “When Among Crows,” a novella by Veronica Roth — bestselling author of the “Divergent” series — dives into the world of...

Book Review: 'Challenger' is definitive account of shuttle disaster and missteps that led to tragedy

When the Challenger space shuttle exploded a little over a minute after its launch in 1986, it pierced the dreams of millions about who watched the tragedy unfold live on television. It also eventually exposed the weaknesses of a space program that had been revered by many. In...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, supreme leader's protege, dies at 63 in helicopter crash

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line protege of the country's supreme...

The unstoppable duo of Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos

CANNES, France (AP) — Before a journalist has even lobbed a question, Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos spit out a...

US pediatricians reverse decades-old advice against HIV-positive mothers breastfeeding

People with HIV can breastfeed their babies, as long as they are taking medications that effectively suppress the...

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader heads to reelection as competitors concede early

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader is headed to a second term...

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, a hard-line diplomat, dies in a helicopter crash

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran's foreign minister and a hard-liner close to...

What happened in the UK's infected blood scandal from the 1970s to '90s?

LONDON (AP) — The final report of the U.K.'s infected blood inquiry was published on Monday, nearly six years...

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Raising taxes on millionaires may be a non-starter for Republicans, but they seem to have no problem hiking Medicare premiums for retirees making a lot less.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a year-end economic package that includes a provision raising premiums for "high-income" Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families.

Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don't consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.

Just the top 5 percent of Medicare recipients currently pay higher premiums, a change that took effect a few years ago. The new GOP proposal would expand that over time to include the highest-earning one-fourth of seniors.

On Monday the White House was mum on the Republican Medicare proposal, while AARP said it's tantamount to a new tax. In the Democratic-led Senate, there's not much enthusiasm.

The plan is modeled on a proposal that President Barack Obama submitted earlier this year to congressional debt negotiators, when he was seeking a "big deal" to cut federal deficits. Continuing pressure to curb spending means the proposal eventually could become the law of the land, even if there's no consensus now.

"This is an idea that seems to have some traction," said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

It's also creating a lot of confusion about who is wealthy and who is not.

For example, when Obama talks about raising taxes on the rich, he means individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families above $250,000.

But his health care law fixed the level for paying "high-income" Medicare premiums at the current $85,000 and above for an individual, $170,000 for families.

And the new Republican plan would drop the thresholds to $80,000 for an individual and $160,000 for families.

"If we're considering raising taxes on those with incomes above $250,000, then it seems to me very awkward to raise Medicare premiums on those with much lower incomes," said John Rother, head of the National Coalition on Health Care, an advocacy group.

Baby boomers just signing up for Medicare are more likely to be affected than long-term retirees, since incomes tend to be higher for the newly retired.

AARP calls the proposed premium increases a tax hike. "Most of the time, when you have a payment due to the government because of your income, we call it a tax," said lobbyist David Certner. "It's a form of a tax." High-earning workers already pay more in Medicare payroll taxes, he pointed out.

No way it's a tax, say Republicans. Taxpayers subsidize three-quarters of the cost of Medicare's outpatient and prescription coverage for the typical retiree. Reducing a subsidy for those who can afford to pay more is not the same thing as raising taxes, they contend.

"The proposal doesn't raise taxes," said Michelle Dimarob, spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. "The provision simply adjusts the subsidy they receive."

To back their argument, Republicans are circulating a letter from anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in support of the broader bill containing the Medicare provision.

The premium hikes are to help pay for legislation that would prevent the Jan. 1 expiration of payroll tax cuts for workers and extra benefits for the long-term unemployed, while also staving off a steep cut in Medicare payments to doctors. With time running short, lawmakers of both parties are still far apart on key aspects of the package.

Tax or not, higher Medicare premiums mean less money in the pockets of those who have to pay. Currently the high-income premiums start at 35 percent of the cost of Medicare's outpatient and drug coverage for individuals making $85,000 year, and rise to 80 percent of the cost at the very top income brackets.

Next year, a typical Medicare recipient will pay $131 a month for outpatient and drug coverage combined, according to Kaiser. Those paying the high-income premiums will pay from $183 to $417. That means beneficiaries at the highest income levels would pay nearly $300 a month more.

The House GOP plan would increase the high-income premium by 15 percent in 2017 and lower the thresholds at which the higher fees kick in.

Most significantly, it freezes those income thresholds indefinitely, until one-fourth of Medicare recipients are paying "high-income" premiums. It's unclear how long that would take, but currently only about 2 million out of 47 million Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums. Eventually that number would easily surpass 10 million.

The GOP proposal would reduce taxpayer spending on Medicare by $31 billion over 10 years; Obama's version saved about $20 billion.

"There's a lot of interest in asking higher-income people on Medicare to contribute more," said Neuman.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast