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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gig work is spreading – how to negotiate your deal

The coronavirus is accelerating a seismic shift in the employee-employer relationship. An April survey reported that nearly one-third of employers expect to replace full-time employees with contingent, or gig, workers. To save money, of course, because most gig workers don’t receive benefits such as health insurance and a retirement plan.

Study: Drug coverage to vary under health law

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study says basic prescription drug coverage could vary dramatically from state to state under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. That's because states get to set benefits for private health plans that will be offered starting in 2014 through new insurance exchanges.

Gay marriage before Supreme Court? Cases weighed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The running fight over gay marriage is shifting from the ballot box to the Supreme Court. Three weeks after voters backed same-sex marriage in three states and defeated a ban in a fourth, the justices met Friday to discuss whether they should deal sooner rather than later with the claim that the Constitution gives people the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation.

More American workers to pick their insurance

For some American workers, picking the right health insurance is becoming more like hunting for the perfect business suit: It takes some shopping around to find a good fit and avoid sticker shock. In a major shift in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, companies such as Sears Holdings Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc. are giving employees a fixed amount of money and allowing them to choose their own coverage based on their individual needs.

Hobby Lobby asks judge to block health care law

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An arts and craft supply company owned by a Christian family asked a judge Thursday to block a portion of the new federal health care law, claiming that mandated coverage for certain birth control violates its religious freedom rights. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s owners believe the use of morning-after and week-after birth control pills are tantamount to abortion because they prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's womb. At a federal court hearing Thursday, a government lawyer said the drugs do not cause abortions and that the U.S. has compelling interest in mandating insurance coverage for them.

Romney shifts to center as his confidence grows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is shifting sharply to the political center as he begins to deliver a closing argument aimed at a slice of moderate, undecided voters a month before Election Day. On taxes, immigration, his "47 percent" comments and more, the former Massachusetts governor has toned down his heated, campaign trail rhetoric this week, including during his strong debate performance Wednesday night, as he looks to gain ground against President Barack Obama in the handful of states that will determine the outcome of the competitive race.

Sniping from within GOP adds to Romney’s struggles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney struggled to steady his presidential campaign on Friday, buffeted by an outbreak of sniping among frustrated Republicans, fresh evidence of a slide in battleground state polls and President Barack Obama's accusation that he was writing off "half the country" in pursuit of the White House. Republican running mate Paul Ryan drew boos at an AARP convention in New Orleans when he said Romney would repeal Obama's health care law, which closed a gap in coverage for seniors' prescription drugs. The Wisconsin congressman accused the administration of weakening Medicare and flinching from tough measures needed to stabilize Social Security's finances, adding that the president has "put his own job security over your retirement security."

Tax penalty to hit nearly 6M uninsured people

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 6 million Americans — significantly more than first estimated— will face a tax penalty under President Barack Obama's health overhaul for not getting insurance, congressional analysts said Wednesday. Most would be in the middle class. The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises.

Hobby Lobby sues over morning-after pill coverage

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a mandate in the nation's health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs. The lawsuit by the Oklahoma City-based chain claims the government mandate is forcing the company's owners "to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits." Failure to provide the drugs in the company's health insurance plan could lead to fines of up to $1.3 million a day, the company said.

US poverty rate unchanged; record numbers persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's poverty rate remained stuck at a record level last year, while household income dropped and the number of people who don't have health insurance declined. A Census Bureau report released Wednesday provided a mixed picture of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2011 as the nation enters the final phase of a presidential election campaign in which the economy is the No. 1 issue.

Study: Placebo or not, acupuncture helps with pain

CHICAGO (AP) — Acupuncture gets a thumbs-up for helping relieve pain from chronic headaches, backaches and arthritis in a review of more than two dozen studies — the latest analysis of an often-studied therapy that has as many fans as critics. Some believe its only powers are a psychological, placebo effect. But some doctors believe even if that's the explanation for acupuncture's effectiveness, there's no reason not to offer it if it makes people feel better.

Obama hits Romney with new Medicare study

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama is drawing fresh attention to Medicare in all-important Florida, seizing on an election-year issue that's been more favorable to Democrats. Campaigning for a second day in a state where older voters and workers approaching retirement hold sway, Obama was expected to highlight a study by a Democratic leaning group that concluded that on average a man or woman retiring at age 65 in 2023 would have to pay $59,500 more for health care over the length of their retirement under Mitt Romney's plan.

Transgender-inmate ruling is movement’s latest win

Years ago, in a darkened parking lot in the middle of the night, Kathy Padilla would meet with fellow transgender people who sought support from one another in a society that treated them like outcasts. How things have changed since then for transgender men and women in America, who have made great strides in recent years toward reaching their ultimate goal: to be treated like ordinary people. On Tuesday, they won another victory when a Massachusetts judge became the first to order prison officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery for a murder convict, saying it was the only way to treat her gender-identity disorder.

China’s chaotic health care drives patient attacks

HENGYANG, China (AP) — Dr. Chen Yuna had just eaten her lunch and was seated at her desk updating patients' medical records when a masked man entered her office. He pulled out a dagger and stabbed her 28 times in her neck, chest, stomach and elsewhere. Then he left her to die in a pool of blood. He knew the hospital well enough to slip out easily: Before he became Chen's killer, the man had been her patient.

Kinder, GOP lawmakers challenge Mo. ballot summary

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and other top Republican legislative leaders filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the secretary of state's office of writing a health care measure ballot summary that is "blatantly false, deceptive and intended to mislead the people." The Republican-controlled Legislature approved a statewide ballot measure for November that would ask voters whether Missouri officials should be barred from creating a health insurance exchange without approval from voters or the Legislature. It also would prohibit state departments from taking federal money to prepare for the online marketplace that would allow consumers to shop for and compare health insurance plans. The federal health care law requires states to create a health insurance exchange by 2014 or have one operated for them by the federal government.

Seasonal firefighters seek health care coverage

DENVER (AP) — They work the front lines of the nation's most explosive wildfires, navigating treacherous terrain, dense walls of smoke and tall curtains of flame. Yet thousands of the nation's seasonal firefighters have no health insurance for themselves or their families. Many firefighters are now asking to buy into a federal government health plan, largely out of anger over a colleague who was left with a $70,000 hospital bill after his son was born prematurely.