Government Policy

Elvert Barnes

Maryland To Try Sending Recall Notices With Car Registration Renewals

Your state’s department of motor vehicles already knows what make and model of car you own, and sends you registration documents every few years that you have to open. Safety advocates have suggested including information about important vehicle recalls in vehicle registrations to make sure more people know about recalls and comply. In an experimental program, Maryland will start sending these notices to vehicle owners. [More]


Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Obamacare Open Enrollment

Despite repeated Congressional and Executive branch efforts, the full Affordable Care Act is still in place. That means insurance-shopping season is nearly upon us: Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1 (and ends Dec. 15). But there’s less money being spent on advertising and outreach this year, which means even the basics can be hard to get solid information about. So here’s our when-and-where of getting yourself covered for 2018. [More]

Wade Morgen

5 Things Experts Say You Should Know About Obamacare Open Enrollment

If anything is true of 2017, it is this: Confusion reigns. And nowhere do we see that more than in healthcare, where failed repeal attempts, executive orders, sudden, out-of-the-blue policy changes, and general unpredictable chaos have dominated the news.

But the fact remains that Americans still need access to medical care, and for those who don’t have insurance through their employer or the government, the 2018 Open Enrollment period for individual insurance plans officially begins on Nov. 1. So what are the things everyone should know, but which may have been overlooked amid the maelstrom? [More]

Betsy DeVos May Only Offer Partial Loan Refunds To Defrauded College Students

Betsy DeVos May Only Offer Partial Loan Refunds To Defrauded College Students

Education Secretary and champion of for-profit colleges Betsy DeVos is once again siding with this controversial industry and against students who were defrauded by schools that tricked them into paying top dollar for a bottom-dollar education. [More]

Great Beyond

Your Pumpkin Pie Probably Has No Actual Pumpkin In It

We hate to break it to the pumpkin purists out there, but that canned orange stuff you so lovingly scoop into pie shells every Thanksgiving is probably some other kind of squash dressed up as its gourd cousin. [More]


CVS Reportedly Looking To Buy Aetna Insurance For $66 Billion

Earlier this year, health insurance giant Aetna was left broken-hearted when its $37 billion merger with Humana fell through because federal antitrust regulators apparently hate to see two mammoth insurers so in love with each other. But in this autumn season, there’s a rare bloom of corporate romance peeking out, as Aetna has reportedly found itself a suitor in the form of CVS Health. [More]

Chris Wilson

White House Declares Opioid Crisis Is Public Health Emergency. Now What?

It’s pretty clear to anyone who has been paying attention that the opioid abuse epidemic in America has reached emergency status. But it’s one thing for people to casually use that term and another for the White House to actually declare a “Public Health Emergency.” Here’s why. [More]

Joe Gratz

Judge Won’t Block Trump’s Plan To Halt Billions In Cost-Sharing Payments To Health Insurers

The federal judge overseeing a lawsuit filed by more than a dozen states to stop President Trump’s plan to cut off billions of dollars in payments to health insurance providers has decided to not issue a preliminary injunction preventing the White House from halting the subsidies. [More]

Happy Photo Guy

National Park Service Wants To Charge Up To $70 To Visit Grand Canyon & Other Popular Parks

Most national parks are free to enjoy, but some of the most popular destinations overseen by the National Park Service charge entrance fees of around $25 to $30 for a full vehicle. Today, the Trump administration announced a proposal to more than double some of those fees for visitors during peak seasons. [More]

Mike Silva

Congress: No, We Totally Might Mess With Your 401(k) In This Tax Plan

Even though President Trump recently promised that your 401(k) retirement accounts would not be negatively affected by the ongoing effort to cut taxes, the folks in Congress who are actually deciding what tax laws will be changed say that putting limits on retirement plans is still a distinct possibility. [More]

Senate Votes To Make Sure You Can’t Sue Your Bank Or Credit Card Companies

Senate Votes To Make Sure You Can’t Sue Your Bank Or Credit Card Companies

Lawmakers who regularly claim to love the Constitution and espouse their trust of the American consumer have done both a disservice, passing a resolution that makes sure that bank and credit card customers can be blocked from exercising their constitutional rights to a day in court. [More]


FCC Votes To Let Phone Companies, Cops Identify Anonymous Callers Behind Bomb Threats

There are many legitimate reasons to hide or mask your Caller ID information but there are an increasing number of people who abuse this ability, not just for prank calls or telemarketing, but to phone in bomb threats or make other menacing calls — particularly to schools and religious centers. In an effort to make it easier for law enforcement respond to these threats, the Federal Communications Commission has approved a proposal that will allow phone companies to share certain Caller ID information with the police. [More]


New York State Bans E-Cigarettes From Public Indoor Spaces

In a move that will push e-cigarettes outside with regular cigarettes, New York has banned vaping in any public indoor space that already prohibits traditional smoking. [More]

Treasury Dept. Says You Shouldn’t Have The Right To Sue Your Bank Or Credit Card Company

Treasury Dept. Says You Shouldn’t Have The Right To Sue Your Bank Or Credit Card Company

Forget the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the “right to a speedy and public trial” in criminal matters. And who needs that ancient Seventh Amendment and its fancy “right of trial by jury.” The U.S. Treasury Department has concluded that American consumers can not be trusted to thoughtfully exercise these Constitutional rights — at least not when doing so might be an annoyance to the financial services sector. [More]

What Can Voice-Activated Device Makers Legally Do With Recordings Of Kids’ Voices?

What Can Voice-Activated Device Makers Legally Do With Recordings Of Kids’ Voices?

From your watch to your TV to your crockpot to your kids’ toys, the products we use in our home are increasingly voice-activated. Unlike previous generations of devices, these newer ones are listening, getting smarter, adapting to multiple users with different accents and cadences. To do that, they listen to, record, and often transmit recordings, of everyone in earshot of the device — including kids, whose private details are specifically protected by federal law, but who sometimes end up ordering hundreds of dollars worth of cookies. So how can Amazon, Google, Apple, or any tech company legally make an always-on device that doesn’t violate your little one’s privacy? [More]

238 Places Are Officially Trying To Become Home To Amazon’s Second Headquarters

238 Places Are Officially Trying To Become Home To Amazon’s Second Headquarters

Even though offering massive tax cuts and other benefits to attract corporate headquarters doesn’t always work out, that hasn’t stopped a lot of cities and regions from officially filing requests with Amazon to be considered for the company’s planned second headquarters. If you’re anywhere near any sort of population center, there’s a good chance your city council has put its name into the Amazon HQ hat. [More]

Steven Depolo

Trump Promises Tax Overhaul Will Not Include Cuts To 401(k) Plans

The Republican tax outline currently calls for large scale cuts to some taxes but has not yet provided much in the way of detail about how some of the government would offset some of those revenue losses. Recent reports said that the GOP was looking at lowering the maximum amount you can contribute to your 401(k) retirement savings — a proposal that chafed more than a few Americans. Now, President Trump is claiming that the tax plan will not touch your 401(k). [More]

California Accuses Retailer Of Using Bait-And-Switch Tactics To Lure In Customers

California Accuses Retailer Of Using Bait-And-Switch Tactics To Lure In Customers

A Los Angeles-area chain of retail stores is accused by the state of repeatedly misleading customers into thinking they were going to get a good price on merchandise only to be told after they get into the store that the only way to get that advertised price is if they spend more money. [More]