National / International News
Felicia Marcus of the State Water Board said, "We need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don't know when it will rain and snow again, because we don't."
Aspiring doctors at the University of Chicago are learning how to teach patients about healthy eating. Nutrition advocates say this kind of training is critical to fighting obesity and diabetes.
Over the last two decades, Donna Karan International has been one of the biggest brands in the fashion industry. Founder and chief designer Donna Karan announced on Tuesday that she was leaving her namesake company to focus on other projects.
Fashion journalist Kate Betts says that Karan has left a clear impact in the world of fashion.
“She designed for women in a way that was very sensuous and much more feminine than previous looks for women,” Betts says. “It was a revelation for many professional women.”
Karan was later able to spin off this success into DKNY, which Betts says was the first line in what’s come to be known as the contemporary market.
“She covered a lot of different areas of the fashion market with that one line, and it was a huge hit,” Betts says.
The fact that she was such a trailblazer in this field may have played into her desire to step down when her company was at its peak.
“I think it’s kind of ironic that she created that contemporary market, and now that’s the market that’s taking over for the higher end. And you could argue that that’s one of the reasons that she’s kind of leaving her brand,” Betts says.
Karan will still remain as an adviser to her company.
A dozen senators have also called on the Veterans Administration to say why some of the WWII-era troops who were found by an NPR Investigation were denied benefits.
It’s been almost a week since the Supreme Court’s momentous ruling that further cements the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land, and Wednesday President Barack Obama flew to Nashville, Tennessee, to talk about health care.
While some consider this a bit of a victory lap, the president’s choice of Tennessee suggests it’s much more of an overture.
For those of you not keeping score at home, just 29 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, the healthcare program primarily for low-income and disabled people.
The president wants that list to grow.
So how do you convince GOP governors and conservative lawmakers in the wake of the King vs. Burwell decision to do something they’ve sworn to oppose? For years, the Obama administration has made a financial argument.
“When I worked on the Council of Economic Advisers, we did a report and basically demonstrated again and again and again that states would win economically,” says Mark Duggan, now an economist at Stanford University.
That report is from 2009. Since then, study after study has echoed similar themes that go something like this: if Washington picks up nearly the entire tab for expansion, states will see new jobs, budget savings and economic prosperity. With many states still holding out, that argument hasn’t worked on everyone, obviously.
(Courtesy Kaiser Family Foundation)
But until recently those reports have been a bunch of words. Now, the Urban Institute’s Stan Dorn says there are actual results that may grab the budget hawks’ attention.
“Every state that has looked comprehensively at both costs and benefits has found that the state budget is better off than it would have been without expansion,” he says.
Take Arkansas and Kentucky, says Dorn. They’ve expanded Medicaid and stopped spending money elsewhere.
“On mental health programs, Kentucky is saving $21 million this year; Arkansas is saving $7 million this year. On uncompensated care to hospitals. Kentucky is saving $12 million; Arkansas is saving $17 million,” says Dorn.
This is more than pointy heads in Washington running numbers. Even GOP presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says “expanding Medicaid was the right decision for New Jersey.”
While the math may be convincing to some, Stanford’s Lanhee Chen doubts it moves many conservative statehouse types who think Medicaid is a broken program.
“The difficulty is Medicaid expenses continue to increase. So some state lawmakers have a legitimate concern around maybe not what the next five years look like, but what the next 10 or 15 years look like,” he says.
Chen believes the path to expand Medicaid is more about politics than economics. His advice to the president: give states more flexibility in designing their own programs and you’ll see states bite.
From the Export-Import Bank to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, a lot has been happening in the commerce world. We sat down with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to discuss the latest commerce news.
The Export-Import bank officially closed Tuesday — a move Pritzker wants reversed.
“We need to re-establish and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. This is a critical tool to keep U.S. businesses competitive in the global economy," Pritzker says.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has also been making news. The Obama administration has been criticized for being too secretive about the TPP.
“I actually disagree that we’re being secretive." Pritzker says. "Certainly members of Congress have access to the negotiating language. And you know, I’ve been in business for 27 years before I took this job, and it’s not possible to negotiate by committee. Nor is it possible to negotiate where you put everything out for public opinion. I don’t care what deal you’re trying to do, and let alone a deal that requires approval of 12 countries.”
When Pritzker talks to CEOs around the country about the trade deal she says, “They’re saying, ‘We need these trade agreements. And we need these trade agreements because we need access to these markets on a fair and level playing field, and right now we don’t have that.’ ”
Ultimately, Pritzker says passing the TPP will open up U.S. companies to bigger markets and will allow for bigger profits.
“It’s companies of all sizes that really want to see these trade agreements, because they recognize 95 percent of the world’s customers are outside of the United States. While they service the U.S. population, they also want to be able to take advantage of the really dynamic growth that’s going on in Asia.”
Click on the audio player above to hear more.
Greece failed to repay the International Monetary Fund $1.8 billion on Tuesday, becoming the first developed nation to miss an IMF loan deadline. It’s not an official default yet, nor is Greece officially bankrupt, but the missed payment compounds an already fraught financial situation: banks are closed until Monday, ATM withdrawals are severely restricted and other debt payments are coming due.
Eurozone finance ministers have refused to discuss a third bailout until after the Greek referendum Sunday. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras surprised the European community when he announced that Greeks would vote on the bailout package, whose terms he says are unacceptable. A “no” vote would be a clear message to end austerity, Tsipras says.
So how did Greece rack up $360 billion in debt with no way to pay it? Here are a few explanations:
- A “notoriously inefficient tax system” and complex pension system.
- The Syriza political party rise in power in January, promising to reverse austerity measures.
- “Unsustainable debts” amassed by pension payments and other public sector benefits.
And then there’s the human face of the crisis. From sole breadwinners to sandwich-makers to pharmacists, Greeks are struggling to keep afloat. They tell their own stories to Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.