Obamacare Premiums Might Increase by 30% in 2018, Michelle Carter Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in Prison in Suicide Texting Case, Two Killed in Minnesota School Gas Leak Explosion, Trump Plans 17-Day Vacation as White House Renovates, Police Ford Explorers Carbon Monoxide Concerns, Leaked Transcripts of Trump’s Phone Calls to Mexican and Australian Leaders, and Reports of Special Counsel Mueller Using Grand Jury in Investigation
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, August 3. Ready for news?
The costs for Obamacare/Affordable Care Act health insurance premiums could increase anywhere between 8% to 30% for several states in 2018.
New Hampshire is looking at a possible 44% increase.
The states with possible 30% increases are Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, Iowa, Wyoming, Kentucky, and Delaware.
The states with possible 20% increases are New Mexico, Tennessee, North Dakota, and Hawaii.
Texas could see a 23.6% increase.
Illinois could see a 16% increase.
Oklahoma could see a 8.3% increase.
Why the increases? An analysis from the Wall Street Journal said it shows that health insurance companies are not sure about the future — because they don’t know what will happen with the Trump administration and Congress.
How it works — health insurance companies must decide their rates for 2018 by the middle of August. In September they sign federal agreements to offer Obamacare in their areas. The rates could change in the time between. So it is a critical time for insurers to decide rates and they are looking at what is going on in Washington, D.C. and at various reports.
One insurance company in Montana said the main 2 concerns are: will Trump stop federal payments? Will he keep the requirement for everybody to have insurance or get a fine? They said the uncertainty increases risks, which increases the costs.
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Today Michelle Carter (20) was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself three years ago.
In Massachusetts in 2014, Conrad (then 18) killed himself by filling his car with carbon monoxide at a K-Mart parking lot. A police investigation showed that Michelle (then 17) had called him and texted him several times to encourage him to kill himself.
Their relationship was mostly online — both of them lived around 50 miles away from each other in Massachusetts and met each other in 2012 on a family vacation in Florida. Conrad had expressed suicidal thoughts to Michelle, who at first encouraged him to get help, but later said she thought it would be good for him to kill himself. On the day of Conrad’s death, Michelle, over the phone, encouraged him to stay in the truck and did not call police to alert them.
Last month there was a 6-day trial with Michelle found guilty of murder. Now she will be going to prison for 2 1/2 years, but can be eligible for probation after 15 months.
Currently it is a crime in around 40 states to encourage or pressure someone into suicide, but there is no law in Massachusetts. That could change with this case.
Yesterday morning two staff members at Christian private school in Minneapolis died when there was a gas explosion that destroyed a building. 9 other people were injured.
The school’s receptionist Ruth Berg (47) and custodian John Carlson (82) died when the school building exploded around 10 am.
Contractors were working on the campus and it appears they hit a gas line, which ruptured and caused the explosion. The school did not have students because it is still summer break there.
The name of the school is Minnehaha Academy, it was founded in 1913 and has over 800 students from Pre-K to 12th grade.
This morning there was a special service where Minnehaha teachers, staff, and students mourned for the two. Terrible incident.
President Trump plans to take a 17-day vacation starting this Friday at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Politifact reports that since he was inaugurated, he has played golf 21 times, which is 10 more times than Obama did in the same time frame after his inauguration. It’s funny because Trump had often criticized Obama for playing too much golf while being president. I hope someday in the future there will be a televised golf match between Obama and Trump.
While Trump is on vacation, all staff and people at White House will be emptied to replace its heating and cooling system, which is 27 years old. There will be also be minor renovations — painting, carpets and curtains replaced, and fixing water leaks.
Golf.com has recently reported that Trump called the White House a “dump” — but Trump has denied saying it, calling the report fake news. Whether he actually did say this or not, the White House will be renovated by the time he gets back.
There is now scrutiny on how safe Ford Explorer police cruisers are — because there are several police departments reporting their police officers passing out or becoming sick from carbon monoxide exposure.
Recently a Massachusetts police officer passed out while driving a Ford Explorer and rear-ended another vehicle. Both drivers were hurt, but will be okay. Other SUVs were tested and nine had carbon monoxide inside.
Last week the Austin, Texas police department stopped using its entire fleet of Explorers after 20 officers had elevated carbon monoxide levels in their blood with more than 60 officers reporting health problems. The same is happening in Galveston, Texas with 30 Ford Explorers pulled out. Several other police departments nationwide are looking at their SUVS.
Some think there might be leaks in Ford Explorers that have been modified for police use.
Civilians with Ford Explorers are also reporting issues, saying it has caused them to pass out and crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said they got more than 2,700 complaints and reports of crashes and injuries.
There is now a federal investigation in this. It is possible that 1.3 million Ford Explorers between 2011 to 2017 have some level of carbon monoxide issues.
So you are now aware of this, if there’s someone in your family or circle of friends who have a Ford Explorer — to look out for this.
The Washington Post released transcripts of two phone calls Trump made in January to the Mexican President Nieto and to the Australian Prime Minister Turnbull. I will link to the full transcripts below in my transcript, but here’s a summary.
On the call with Nieto, after the two discussed trade and tax issues, Trump told Nieto that they had a “political problem” — that both countries’ leaders and people want the other to pay for the wall. Trump recommended Nieto to not say “we will not pay for the wall” but instead to say “we will work it out.” Trump said if Nieto continued to say, “Mexico will not pay for the wall,” he would not meet with him or his administration anymore. Trump said this was the least important thing they were discussing, but that it was politically the most important thing.
Nieto said Trump put a very big mark on Mexico’s back about who pays for the wall and that he is firm in that Mexico cannot pay for the wall — for economic reasons, as well as Mexico’s national pride and dignity. Later he said he would put the issue aside and hoped that the wall issue would not cause a breakdown in communication between them. Both leaders ended the call with positive remarks.
Now an update on the wall — Republican Congressmen last week approved $1.6 billion in federal funds to start construction on a U.S./Mexican border wall. It will build 60 miles of new wall in Texas and replace 14 miles of fencing near San Diego. But it is unlikely to pass the Senate, because it requires 60 votes and Democrats say they are against any wall funding.
Three Senate Republicans today introduced a plan to fund $15 billion over the four years to build a “smart wall” on the U.S./Mexican border that includes a combination of walls, fences, levees, technology, and other barriers.
Now on the call with Australian PM Turnbull, Turnbull brought up an agreement he had with Obama for the U.S. to accept 1,250 refugees who were detained in camps because they tried to arrive in Australia by boat.
Trump said he just signed the travel ban and that accepting 2,000 people would make him look bad.
Turnbull said he didn’t have to accept all the refugees, but to just look at them and accept a number of people to honor the deal.
Trump told Turnbull that it would make him look like a dope — that he guarantees that those refugees are bad. He said this deal was stupid and was the reason why he won the election.
After urging by Turnbull, Trump said he has no choice but to honor Obama’s deal, but said it was a horrible and disgusting deal. He then said he’s had it, that it was the most unpleasant call all day, that Putin’s call was pleasant. The call closed quickly after that.
Now an update with the Australian refugees — so far none of them have come to the U.S. The Trump administration has delayed their entry, saying they have already let the limit of 50,00 refugees for the fiscal year. The next fiscal year starts October 1, and we’ll see if any of them gets in.
Both calls are from January, a long time ago, but it provides insight in how Trump deals with world leaders. Trump has since met with both Nieto and Turnbull in various meetings and their relations appear to be good.
There were reports today that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who along with a team of 16 lawyers, is investigating possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia to influence last year’s election, has asked for a grand jury to be assembled to support the investigation.
A grand jury is not the same as a jury trial. A grand jury is bigger — their role is to call witnesses, look at evidence, look at possible criminal activity, and ultimately decide whether to indict or not. A grand jury is made up of U.S. citizens (not government employees) who are called to jury duty.
This grand jury, assembled in Washington, D.C., means that the investigation is getting serious and now Mueller has the power to subpoena witnesses.
Another report by CNN says Mueller is starting to look into Trump’s finances to see possible connections to Russia and the election. President Trump had previously warned Mueller in an interview, saying his finances was a “red line” and unrelated to the investigation.
We don’t know if Mueller is actually looking at this or not. But that’s two big developments according to reports.
That is all the news for this week. Be sure to check out the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow! Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light!