02-23-2024  1:37 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Amid Fentanyl Crisis, Oregon Lawmakers Propose More Funding for Opioid Addiction Medication in Jails

Democrats are looking to counterbalance restoring criminal penalties for possession with expanding access to treatment for a potentially growing number of people in the criminal justice system. The proposal would create a million grant fund for jails looking to provide opioid addiction medication. Federal data shows only 24% of jails provide such medication to people with prior prescriptions.

KGW Apologizes After Airing Racist Image

Television station KGW says it deeply regrets inadvertently showing a racist image during a segment called “The Good Stuff,” which invited viewers to share “cheesy, silly, or memorable” photos from the past. The 1950s image showed children throwing balls towards a sign prominently displaying a racial slur. KGW apologised for “the profound hurt this image inflicted upon our viewers and staff, particularly members of our Black community.” Leaders of the Portland NAACP chapter said they were appalled

Rep. Blumenauer Talks Retirement from Congress and His Plans to Help Put Portland Back Together

U.S. Representative for Oregon has held his seat for nearly 30 years.

NEWS BRIEFS

Black Community Input Helps Fuel George Park Project

The effort is an innovative partnership between the City, Portland Parks Foundation, and The Kidz Outside ...

Renewal of School Local Option Levy Will be on May Ballot

If approved by voters, the levy renewal would maintain the current tax rate and continue to fund approximately 660 teachers and other...

Wyden, Merkley Announce $70,000 for the Oregon Food Bank

“Nothing is more important than making sure folks in need have food to eat, and the resources to thrive,” Wyden...

Historic Church in Seattle Hosts Free Black History Month Film Series for All

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, located in Seattle’s historic Central District, will host “Freedom Fridays: A Black History...

Remains found over 50 years ago identified through DNA technology as Oregon teen

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The remains of a teenager found more than 50 years ago have been identified through advanced DNA technology as a young woman who went missing from Portland, Oregon State Police said. The remains are that of Sandra Young, a high school student who disappeared...

Amid fentanyl crisis, Oregon lawmakers propose more funding for opioid addiction medication in jails

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kendra Sawyer spoke with her dad from the Deschutes County jail and told him she loved him. Six hours later, in the throes of opioid withdrawal, the 22-year-old took her own life. A year later, Sawyer’s father, Kent, is left wondering whether his daughter,...

Mark leads Arkansas against Missouri after 26-point game

Missouri Tigers (8-18, 0-13 SEC) at Arkansas Razorbacks (13-13, 4-9 SEC) Fayetteville, Arkansas; Saturday, 12 p.m. EST BOTTOM LINE: Arkansas hosts the Missouri Tigers after Tramon Mark scored 26 points in Arkansas' 78-71 win over the Texas A&M Aggies. ...

Deen scores career-high 35, makes program-record 9 3-pointers as Bradley downs Missouri State 86-62

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Duke Deen scored a career-high 35 points and made a program-record nine 3-pointers as Bradley beat Missouri State 86-62 on Wednesday night. Deen shot 13 for 17, including 9 for 12 from beyond the arc for the Braves (19-9, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference)....

OPINION

Message from Commissioner Jesse Beason: February is 'Black History and Futures Month'

I am honored to join the Office of Sustainability and to co-sponsor a proclamation to mark “Black History and Futures Month” ...

Ending Unfair Contracts Harming Minority Businesses Will Aid Gov. Kotek’s Affordable Housing Goals

Senate Bill 1575 will protect small businesses from state and local government’s unfair contract practices while also allowing the building industry to help the governor meet her affordable housing project goals. ...

February is American Heart Month

This month is a time to recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially in the African American community ...

Thrilling History of Black Excellence in Our National Parks

In every facet of American life -from exploration; conquest; defense; economy; resistance; conservation and the pursuit of human rights – I can show you a unit of the National Park System where the event took place, where African Americans made the...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

A love affair unraveled before a Black transgender woman was fatally shot in rural South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A Black transgender woman and the guy she was secretly dating had just been pulled over in rural South Carolina. Dime Doe, the driver, was worried. She already had points against her license and didn't want another ticket to stop her from getting behind the wheel. Daqua...

Native American tribes gain new authority to stop unwanted hydopower projects

Federal regulators have granted Native American tribes more power to block hydropower projects on their land after a flurry of applications were filed to expand renewable energy in the water-scarce U.S. Southwest. Previously, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted developers...

HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent, known for her inspirational talks as a young child, dies at 39

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Hydeia Broadbent, the HIV/AIDS activist who came to national prominence in the 1990s as a young child for her inspirational talks to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus she was born with, has died. She was 39. Broadbent's father announced on Facebook that she...

ENTERTAINMENT

Dreaming of summer peaches? Some gardening tips for growing a peach tree in many climates

I planted my first peach tree last June, five months before Pantone named Peach Fuzz the 2024 color of the year. How serendipitous! Today peachy tones are showing up everywhere, from TV backdrops to home furnishings, clothing and brand logos. But for me, it’s not about the trend but...

FuboTV files lawsuit over ESPN, Fox, Hulu, Warner Bros. Discovery sports-streaming venture

Streaming service FuboTV has filed an antitrust lawsuit against ESPN, Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery and Hulu, which are planning to launch a sports-streaming venture in the fall. The lawsuit has been filed in the Southern District of New York. FuboTV, which focuses primarily on live...

Far from gloomy, darker paints create a cozy, more welcoming room

Dark hues have a bad rap as gloomy and depressing. More likely, they're bringing home the good vibes, all year long. One weekend when I had the house to myself, I painted our family room Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal, a deep, earthy gray. I waited till I had two...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

A love affair unraveled before a Black transgender woman was fatally shot in rural South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A Black transgender woman and the guy she was secretly dating had just been pulled over in...

Belarus cracks down on clergy who supported protests of its authoritarian leader

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The Rev. Viachaslau Barok was a familiar face in Rasony, a town in northern Belarus near...

AP PHOTOS: Ukraine endures a second year of war with scenes of grief, suffering and also joy

The second year of Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion brought no respite for Ukrainian...

Albanian Parliament approves controversial deal to hold migrants for Italy

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s Parliament voted Thursday to approve a deal for the country to hold thousands...

Sweden and Hungary move to smooth over tensions ahead of vote on Sweden's NATO accession

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Nearly two years after Sweden formally applied to join NATO, its membership now hinges...

UK and EU agree to cooperate on tackling illegal immigration as post-Brexit relations thaw further

LONDON (AP) — Britain and its former partners in the European Union have struck a deal to cooperate more on...

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