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Nation in brief: Pelosi endorses Medicare ‘buy-in’

Fri., Dec. 11, 2009

Washington – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a proposal Thursday that would allow people in late middle age to buy insurance through Medicare, helping to sustain an idea that sprang unexpectedly from the Senate this week.

But the California Democrat reiterated that she would prefer to create government-sponsored coverage for Americans of all ages, and questions linger in the Senate about the politics and policy of expanding Medicare by allowing people ages 55 to 64 to buy into the federal insurance program for the elderly.

Such an expansion is an old idea among Democrats but one that was largely absent from this year’s congressional health care debate before it made a Phoenix-like appearance in recent days. The “buy-in,” as the idea is known, is intended to help 6.5 million Americans who lack health insurance or purchase expensive policies on their own.

Yale lab tech reported missing

New Haven, Conn. – A lab technician is missing from Yale University, where a graduate student was found slain about three months ago.

John DiNello hasn’t shown up for work in four days and hasn’t been seen at his West Haven home in nearly three days, university spokesman Tom Conroy said late Thursday.

Police are treating the case as a missing person, not a criminal investigation, West Haven police Sgt. Martin Garcia said. The case is unrelated to that of the slain student, Annie Le, he said.

DiNello, 47, takes daily medication and doesn’t have it with him, Garcia said.

The Yale Daily News reported DiNello works at the building where another lab technician, Raymond Clark III, is alleged to have strangled 24-year-old Le and stuffed her body behind a wall.

Son accused in museum break-in

Allentown, Pa. – A Pennsylvania man used a backhoe to break into a museum owned by his father – the pioneering fantasy artist Frank Frazetta – in an attempt to steal 90 paintings valued at $20 million, police said Thursday.

State police charged Alfonso Frank Frazetta, 52, of Marshalls Creek, Pa., with theft, burglary and trespass after they said he was caught loading the artwork into his trailer and SUV.

“Some of these paintings are worth a million apiece,” said Monroe County District Attorney David Christine.

The elder Frazetta, 81, is renowned for his work on characters including Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan and Vampirella. He was in Florida at the time of the theft.

His son’s motive may stem from a family feud over the master illustrator’s assets, according to a law enforcement source.


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