Bill Maher Goes on Gross Oscar Rant Defending ‘Green Book’ Director Flashing Actresses

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The unfortunate thing about Bill Maher is, in recent years, as he’s gotten older his arguments have grown considerably weaker.

Take what happened Friday night.

Maher, the host of HBO’s Real Time, didn’t make as egregious an error as a couple of weeks ago, where he lobbed a racist remark at a Black Republican congressman, but his rhetoric was troubling nonetheless.

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WATCH: World News 02/14/19: Trump To Sign Border Bill And Declare National Emergency

Amazon pulls plug on building Queens HQ; Andrew McCabe speaks out for the first time after being fired from FBI
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McConnell says Trump will sign funding bill, declare a national emergency

President Donald Trump’s aides now say they are less certain he will sign a bipartisan spending compromise that doesn’t include the money he demanded for a border wall — a major shift from earlier this week when officials indicated privately that he would.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Bill to create separate Russian internet gets first approval

MOSCOW — The lower house of Russia’s parliament has passed the first reading of a bill to create a self-standing Russian segment of the internet. Supporters say the proposal is necessary in case Russia was to be cut off from the global internet, but opponents fear the measure would lead to widespread censorship. The bill…
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Proposed bill would ban sugary drinks from kids’ menus

A proposed bill would completely remove sugary beverages from children’s menus and prohibit them from being served in children’s meals.
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‘Groundhog Day’ VR game let’s you revisit Bill Murray’s 1993 adventure as his son

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Groundhog Day has been a movie and a musical, so why not make it a virtual reality game next?

Sony Pictures has teamed up with Tequila Works — the studio behind 2017’s wonderful indie efforts Rime and The Sexy Brutale — for Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son. It’s a……… sequel? To Groundhog Day? Set 26 years later, where you’re playing as Phil Connors’ son as he’s caught in the same kind of time loop as his dad?

Sure, why not?

This game looks completely cuckoo bananas, though it’s not yet clear if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. There’s reason to be hopeful with Tequila Works at the helm though! And Groundhog Day, the 1993 film, is such a wonderful, well-told story. Any chance to spend a little more time in that world is a welcome thing. Read more…

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Man slapped with nearly $5K hospital bill after fainting from flu shot

Worst flu shot ever? A North Carolina man says he had to be hospitalized after fainting from a flu shot, but it’s what happened next that truly made him sick. When Matt Gleason got discharged, he was reportedly hit with a $ 4,692 medical bill — which included a $ 2,961 ER admission fee and nearly $ 1,000…
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Trump signs bill to open the government, ending the longest shutdown in history

The pact, a victory for Democrats, will reopen shuttered government departments for three weeks while leaving the issue of $ 5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall to further talks.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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House and Senate pass bill to reopen government, sending it to Trump for his signature

The Senate approved a measure Friday to temporarily reopen the federal government with a short-term spending bill that does not include President Donald Trump’s requested $ 5.7 billion for a border wall


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Understanding the Impact of Solar Energy on Your Utility Bill

Most home improvement projects, including solar panel installation, are started and completed during the spring or fall seasons—when the weather is more comfortable and predictable. As homeowners watch their utility bills steadily rise when the winter months give way to spring, solar paneling for homes becomes especially enticing. In California, for example, electricity usage is about 50 percent higher in the summer than in the winter, according to the LA Times. However, it’s important to note that installing solar panels does not happen overnight. From finding a contractor and evaluating quotes to ordering and waiting for supplies, the project could last weeks—or even months. For the many homeowners looking to power their homes with solar energy or warming up through solar heating to save on utility bills, the first step is beginning the home improvement journey today.

Powering your home with solar energy is a costly, but worthwhile, investment. As you vet and select the best solar energy contractor for your project, be sure you understand the impact solar energy will have on your utility bill.

The Solar Panels Bill: How Much You Can Expect to Save

There is no one-size-fits-all to describe or break down an electric bill with solar panels. Really, what you will save on your utility bill depends on many factors. The best way to get as close an estimate as possible is through the reliable, local, and expert contractor installing solar panels for your home.

Regardless, prepare yourself with important questions and informed expectations for your solar paneling project as you vet contractors. For example, while a little tongue-in-cheek, you could ask a contractor if you might expect a really good month of savings every once in a while that mirrors the astonishing savings a couple in Long Island, New York, experienced last year.

“A year and a half ago, Melanie and John Maiorca’s electric bill topped $ 200 every month. Last month, they paid [the local utility company] a whopping $ 11,” the local newspaper Newsday reported. And while that amount was uncommon (even newsworthy, in fact), average savings were sizable. The Maiorcas told Newsday their post-solar-panels electricity bill is “$ 80 less a month.”

Interestingly, that figure correlates with California’s savings projections for its upcoming requirement that homes built after January 2020 be equipped with solar panels.

“California projects the new initiative will save consumers about $ 80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills,” according to CNBC. That figure is based on a 30-year mortgage and so the average figure is spread over time, which is how massive savings are calculated when accounting for solar paneling for homes. One reason is the system itself, which is an initially high-price investment, as significant home improvements often are. And even that number has dropped drastically in recent years.

Where the Market of Solar Panels and Electricity Bills Intersect

Today’s solar energy market has contractors stepping up their game to compete in an increasingly saturated arena. For example, consider the 10 states CNBC deemed to be “leading the way in solar.” Each of them has seen a 47 percent drop in solar panel installation prices over the last five years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Learn more about solar panel installation in those states, and find pertinent information to help you save on your solar installation.

Take a look at the 20-year savings detailed in the table below to get an idea of what long-term savings can measure up to.

This data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification. A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you.

When it comes to solar energy, for example, existing financial incentives could further increase the value of that post-solar-panels bill because you’ll hold it against a potentially much lower initial investment.

The Possible (And Massive) Savings of Solar Energy Policy

Chief among the incentives is the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation (that’s hard and soft costs combined). For example, Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would drop from $ 15,428 to $ 10,800 after the rebate is applied. While such a discount is tempting, tax incentives apply during tax season—not before. Some contractors agree to take on the full cost during installation and wait for the rebate themselves. Whatever the case, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how this and other incentives will apply to your present and future solar panel system costs—and your electric bill with solar panels.

With all of these figures in mind, be sure to ask your contractor for an individualized assessment your solar roof panels—or ground-mounted solar paneling if that’s a more favorable route to avoid shade where you live. A trustworthy contractor will examine your current utility bill and study the physical properties and opportunities your house presents to best save you money after installing solar panels for your home.

At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project. In a sea of noise, our tools can help you navigate so you can save the highest amount of money in the short term and see the highest return on your investment in the long-term with a switch to a solar energy-powered home.

The post Understanding the Impact of Solar Energy on Your Utility Bill appeared first on Modernize.

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Renters Rejoice: Here’s 8 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill

Before buying a house last winter, I had rented several apartments in southwestern Ohio, which gets so cold in the winter (and fall and sometimes spring) that I may as well have lived in Alaska. The problem with every single apartment I lived in was the same: It was exorbitantly expensive to heat each one in the winter due to old systems, ancient windows and poor insulation.

Luckily, the house I purchased has great new windows, excellent insulation and doors that actually close properly. And any issues that have caused inefficient heating in my home, I’ve been able to fix cheaply.

It’s much more challenging to combat these issues in apartments because, as a renter, you can’t just invest in new windows or redo the insulation. In my eight years of renting, however, I discovered a number of ways to cut back on my apartment heating bills.

Close Off Unused Rooms

If you live in a two- or three-bedroom apartment but use one of the rooms for storage, exercise or an irregularly accessed workspace, close the door and shut the vents in that room when it is not in use. Otherwise, you will unnecessarily be heating an unused space.

And if the space is so infrequently used, consider downsizing to a smaller apartment the next time your lease is up for renewal. If you stay within the same apartment complex, you often will not have to offer up new deposits.

Turn Down the Heat

An easy way to reduce your electric or heating bill in the winter is to run your heat at a lower temperature.

Obviously, you need to keep your apartment warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing, but if you can stand the chill, keep your apartment in the low- to mid-60s. Bundle up in sweatshirts, thick socks and blankets to stay warm — and don’t forget to cover up your pets, too.

Use a Space Heater

OK, so you’ve turned the heat down, closed off unused rooms and bundled up in blankets, but you’re still feeling chilly. A small space heater might do the trick. Rather than wasting the energy to heat the whole apartment to a warmer temperature, keep a space heater in the area that you plan to spend the day or evening. Running a little bit of heat in one small area is more affordable than heating your entire living space.

Insulate Your Windows

One apartment I lived in shortly after college had a living room with one wall that was entirely windows, overlooking a quaint pond. I toured the apartment in the springtime and was immediately sold. Little did I know that these single-pane windows would be the bane of my existence just nine months later when frost began forming on the inside.

Since renters can’t control whether their landlords install replacement windows (though I spent at least an hour a week in the main office demanding that mine do so, to no avail), finding temporary ways to keep heat from leaking out is crucial.

You can do this by hanging thick curtains in front of the windows, but an even better solution (or a solution to combine with the curtains) is purchasing a window insulation film kit. If it is your first time installing, I recommend asking an experienced friend or family member for assistance; when incorrectly installed, your window will look like it’s been covered in shrink wrap.

Stop Eating Out

Of course, you can save money on meals by eating at home instead of dining out, but in the winter, baking and cooking can have the added benefit of reducing your heating bill.

When you cook in your oven and on the stove top, heat emanates into your kitchen and surrounding rooms. Even after turning the oven off, the remaining heat will eventually filter out to into your home.

Block Out Drafts From Your Door

The bottoms of exterior doors are a major culprit for heat loss in the winter. If you can see daylight creeping in from beneath your door or feel a cool breeze, speak to your landlord about addressing this issue.

If that becomes a dead end or it will take maintenance a few days to get over, temporarily improve the situation by rolling up a towel and blocking the bottom of the door. The solution isn’t perfect, but it will prevent some heat loss for the time being.

Weatherstrip Like Crazy

Weatherstripping for doors and windows is key to retaining heat in the winter (and keeping it out in the summer). If your windows and doors are letting too much heat out, ask your landlord to replace the weatherstripping.

Unfortunately, not all landlords are created equal. If you encounter a landlord who dodges your requests, tell them in writing that you will be replacing the weatherstripping yourself. (Do not make it a question.) It’s a minor cost and will save you big-time on heating bills.

Leave a Review

If you are stuck in a lease at an apartment community that does not take your maintenance concerns seriously, remember that online reviews are your friend. Leave reviews on Google, social media and the Better Business Bureau site if your landlord ignores or refuses your reasonable requests. I’ve had to leave reviews more than once, and conveniently, the landlords took care of the issues the very next day.

Before you know it, winter will come and go. Reduce energy consumption year-round by also reading our tips for reducing utility bills in the summer.

Timothy Moore is a market research editor and freelance writer covering topics on personal finance, careers, education, pet care and automotive. He has worked in the field since 2012 and has been featured on sites like The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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8 Most Controversial Late-Night Moments of 2018: From Sam Bee vs. Ivanka to Bill Maher’s Recession Wish

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“There’s a question I get asked a lot,” Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning of a recent monologue. “Now that we have this president, people ask, ‘Is it easy now? It must be easy to write jokes, there’s so much material, the jokes must write themselves.’ And it’s not true. We still write the jokes ourselves. And in fact, in a way, it makes it harder to be funny when nonsense and stupidity is pouring on your head at all times.”

Kimmel’s comments were merely a set-up to explain that his jokes didn’t write themselves “until today, when Kanye West visited the White House.” But aside from those rare instances, his sentiment echoes what several late-night hosts have expressed during the first two years of the Trump presidency.

And especially in 2018, it seemed, the late-night men and still-too-few women frequently struggled to find the best ways to joke about this president and the madness that surrounds him. The daily onslaught of crazy from the White House, combined with a viewing public increasingly eager to call out any perceived transgression on social media, led to an unprecedented level of outrage, often of the “faux” variety.

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8 Most Controversial Late-Night Moments of 2018: From Sam Bee vs. Ivanka to Bill Maher’s Recession Wish

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“There’s a question I get asked a lot,” Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning of a recent monologue. “Now that we have this president, people ask, ‘Is it easy now? It must be easy to write jokes, there’s so much material, the jokes must write themselves.’ And it’s not true. We still write the jokes ourselves. And in fact, in a way, it makes it harder to be funny when nonsense and stupidity is pouring on your head at all times.”

Kimmel’s comments were merely a set-up to explain that his jokes didn’t write themselves “until today, when Kanye West visited the White House.” But aside from those rare instances, his sentiment echoes what several late-night hosts have expressed during the first two years of the Trump presidency.

And especially in 2018, it seemed, the late-night men and still-too-few women frequently struggled to find the best ways to joke about this president and the madness that surrounds him. The daily onslaught of crazy from the White House, combined with a viewing public increasingly eager to call out any perceived transgression on social media, led to an unprecedented level of outrage, often of the “faux” variety.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Refund On The Way To Latest ‘Bill Of The Month’ Patient

Sarah Witter had to pay for a second surgery to repair her broken leg after a metal plate installed during the first surgery broke. On Friday, she got a more welcome break — a $ 6,358.26 refund from the hospital and her insurer.

Witter’s experience was the subject of December’s KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature. She and her insurer, Aetna, had racked up $ 99,159 in bills from a Rutland, Vt., hospital and various medical providers after she fractured her leg in a skiing accident last February.

A surgeon at Rutland Regional Medical Center implanted two metal plates, attached to her leg bones to help them heal. Less than four months later, one of these plates broke, requiring her to have a second surgery to replace the plate. Witter, who is 63, ended up paying $ 18,442, mostly to the hospital, for her portion of the total cost for all her care from the hospital, doctors, emergency services and physical therapists.

After KHN contacted Aetna about these costs, the insurer noticed that Rutland Regional had billed Witter for the difference between what it charged for its services and what Aetna considered an appropriate price for the first surgery. Those additional charges are known as “balance bills” and occur when a medical provider is not in the insurer’s network and has no contract with the insurer. Rutland Regional is not in Aetna’s network. In our original story, KHN had calculated $ 7,410 in balance bills.

Aetna said it contacted the hospital and negotiated a compromise in which the insurer paid the hospital nearly $ 3,800 and the hospital waived the remainder of the charges to Witter that Aetna considered unreasonably high.

“As part of her benefits plan, Sarah’s claims in question went through a patient advocacy process that allows us to negotiate with the provider on the member’s behalf to resolve any balance billing issues,” a spokesman wrote.

Aetna said it will negotiate disputed bills for any of its customers who request assistance, and also help schedule appointments, get services authorized and deal with other non-medical complications. However, an Aetna spokesman wrote, “we weren’t fully aware of all of the bills that Sarah had received before we received them from you/her.”

On Friday, Rutland Regional again declined to discuss Witter’s account. Witter said she learned of the refund during a meeting, at Rutland Regional’s invitation, with a hospital financial administrator.

“They went through all the costs and I guess treated it [the first surgery] more like it was a hospital service that was within my contract,” she said. The administrator told her they had “reprocessed” the charges from her second surgery, but that her portion of the bill did not change, she said.

“It’s good news — who doesn’t like getting money back? But I don’t quite understand,” she said. “If it’s that easy for them to reprocess this billing to get me this, then it’s obvious that everything is really arbitrary.”

One difference between the two surgeries was the first one was conducted during a crisis after Witter was admitted to the hospital through the emergency room. Balance bills in those circumstances are the most difficult to justify because patients with injuries that require immediate care, such as a heart attack or car accident, are usually taken to the closest medical facility. Patients are not in a position to figure out where the closest in-network alternative is.

Neither Witter’s hospital nor her insurer budged on her underlying complaint: that she shouldn’t have had to pay for second surgery, which cost $ 43,208, because one of the plates — known as a bone fixation device and manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes — broke.

Device manufacturers generally do not offer warranties for hardware devices once they have been implanted, saying that device failure can be due to a variety of factors beyond the company’s control. Those include poor implantation by the surgeon; bones that fail to heal and subject the device to unremitting strain, causing metal fatigue; or patients who apply too much weight or movement on the bone despite instructions not to.

DePuy, which declined to comment for this story, earlier said that device failures occur in “rare circumstances.” In its instructions for surgeons, DePuy noted: “It is important to note that these implants may break at any time if they are subjected to sufficient stresses.”

Witter said her surgeon was present at her meeting at Rutland Regional and told her that “the fact the bone hadn’t completely healed yet was part of the problem.” She said she has not been able to find a contact for the device manufacturer so she can complain about it breaking.

Even after she receives her refund next week, Witter still will have paid $ 12,084 for her broken limb. Asked her advice for other patients dealing with bills they consider excessive, she said: “Don’t break your leg.”

Do you have an interesting or outrageous medical bill you’d like KHN and NPR to examine? Tell us about it!

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Massachusetts Stroke Patient Receives ‘Outrageous’ $474,725 Medical Flight Bill

Kristina Cunningham was in stable condition on an evening in June, when EMTs lifted her gurney into a medical flight, bound for Boston.

The 34-year-old couldn’t use her right arm or speak clearly after a stroke six days earlier, and still had two blood clots at the base of her brain. Cunningham’s dad, Jim Royer, remembers doctors at the small hospital in Wichita, Kan., where Cunningham had attended a family wedding, saying she needed to see a neurosurgeon.

“There was discussion of flying her to St. Louis, there was discussion of flying her to Chicago, there was discussion of flying her to Dallas,” Royer recalled, but “we don’t have family in any of those locations.”

So the doctors arranged to transfer Cunningham, via an Angel MedFlight Learjet, to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she would be diagnosed with a rare blood vessel disease of the brain. MGH is about an hour from Cunningham’s home in Berlin, Mass. — and her 7-year-old son. Cunningham’s doctors and her insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, based in Maryland, agreed the transfer was medically necessary.

“We assumed it would be [covered],” Royer said, “because it was supposedly preapproved by the insurer before any flight took place.”

Royer said he and Cunningham didn’t think about the Angel MedFlight piece of her health scare again until a letter arrived in August. It was a one-page “explanation of benefits” with a jaw-dropping total in a column labeled “other amounts not covered.”
“When I got the bill for $ 474,725, I’m thinking six or seven flights, and you can buy a whole new jet,” Royer said with a wry laugh.

That nearly half-million dollars is the total of four items, the largest of which is a per-mile charge. That figure, $ 389,125, breaks down to $ 275 a mile.

“It’s larger than any surprise medical bill I’ve personally seen,” said Chuck Bell, program director for the advocacy division at Consumer Reports. “It’s really outrageous.”

In a study last year, Consumer Reports detailed some of the reasons excessively high air ambulance bills have become more common. Use of air ambulances is rising as more rural hospitals close, baby boomers age and the use of telemedicine increases.

“The industry has really grown by leaps and bounds over the last 15 years and prices have doubled or tripled,” Bell said. “Most of the operators of air ambulances now are for-profit, Wall Street-type corporations reporting very large profits to investors.”

The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), a trade group, counters that it is not unique, that many hospitals and health insurers across the country are also for-profit and that some are owned by private equity firms.

AAMS said a key reason bills for patients with private insurance plans are often high is this: Companies have to make up for the money they lose transporting other patients.

“Medicare pays about 60 percent of the cost of the flight. Medicaid pays 35 percent or less. Self-paid patients pay a few cents on the dollar. And that has led to a crisis of being able to sustain the service,” Christopher Eastlee, AAMS vice president for government relations, said in a statement, stressing that he has cost data only for emergency helicopter transports, not jets like the one in which Cunningham traveled.

In 2018, Medicare paid $ 8.65 per mile for a fixed-wing aircraft like the Learjet that transported Cunningham. That’s a stark contrast to Angel MedFlight’s $ 275 charge per mile. There are no guidelines for determining reasonable charges in this case.

Cunningham’s insurer, CareFirst, initially paid $ 14,304.55, leaving about $ 460,420 unpaid. In Massachusetts, a ground-based ambulance could not demand that Cunningham pay the balance, as state law doesn’t allow so-called balance billing. But air ambulances are governed by federal aviation laws. There are numerous cases of companies demanding payments from patients. A few states have tried to intervene but been unsuccessful, with courts saying that federal law prevails.

Cunningham has been focused on recovering her speech and preparing for surgery. In January, she will meet with her doctors to decide which type of surgery they recommend for removing or bypassing the blood clots at the base of her brain.

But Cunningham and her father have another worry: what the mail may bring.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Cunningham said, with a shrug.

“It’s a big bill to be sitting out there wondering what’s going on,” said Royer, who contacted KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month on his daughter’s behalf. “It would force her into bankruptcy.”

Angel MedFlight COO Andrew Bess told WBUR the company is negotiating with CareFirst and will not demand payment from Cunningham.

“We’re quite confident we’ll come to a clear resolution despite the insurer placing the patient in the middle of the dispute,” said Bess.

Royer said it was a letter from Angel MedFlight that sounded threatening. As he read it, the company told Cunningham she must sign over the rights for Angel MedFlight to negotiate with CareFirst or risk being held liable if the insurer did not pay. Cunningham signed the request.

Bell, with Consumer Reports, said agreeing to such terms can be risky. Some air ambulance companies ask for detailed information about the patient’s personal finances, information they then use to determine how much the patient can pay if the insurance reimbursement is deemed inadequate.

During inquiries for this story, CareFirst told WBUR it would increase the proposed payment to Angel MedFlight. The insurer said it had discovered an error in its initial reimbursement to Angel MedFlight. CareFirst is now proposing to pay $ 70,864.90, or about one-seventh of the original charge.

“Unfortunately, exorbitant charges like these by air ambulance providers are not uncommon,” said Scott Graham, a spokesman for CareFirst, in an email. “This is an issue because companies like Angel MedFlight typically do not contract with health insurers on negotiated rates.”

WBUR forwarded this update to Bess, who called it a “meaningful offer” in his emailed response.

“We provide a valuable service, and for that providers should be fairly compensated and reimbursed,” Bess said. “We strive to work with our patients and advocate on behalf of them to get coverage rightfully owed to them under their insurance plans.”

Royer, a retired Air Force air traffic control systems manager, knows something about the cost of operating jets. To him, it looks like Angel MedFlight inflated the bill, hoping the insurer would agree to a generous settlement.

“I guess that the way things work nowadays. You ask for the moon and if you only get a large island, that’s what you get,” Royer said.

Bess responded to Royer’s claim in a statement.

“Staffing what is essentially an Intensive Care Unit at 30,000 feet presents unique medical and aviation challenges that may not be apparent to those outside of the medical aviation industry,” Bess wrote. “The amount we receive per flight is a fraction of the billed charge.”

Patients caught up in an air ambulance billing dispute can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A recent push for stricter federal billing regulations was stripped out of the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act, passed in October. The legislation did establish a council of industry representatives, including air ambulance providers and insurance company representatives, among others, to write and re-evaluate consumer protections, including balance-billing practices. It did not add a requirement for more price and other data transparency called for in a Government Accountability Office report on the air ambulance industry.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says federal legislation is needed so that states can intervene to oppose unreasonable air ambulance charges. Lawmakers from rural states, including Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, said they’ll reintroduce such legislation.

The air ambulance trade group says any such change would create “borders in the sky” that would interfere with lifesaving air rescues across state borders.

This story is part of a partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

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Ryan Says Trump Will Not Sign Senate’s Short-Term Spending Bill

Increasing the risk of a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump is purportedly unwilling to sign a short-term spending bill approved by the Senate. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters about Trump’s refusal to sign the bill on Thursday after a White House meeting between the president and House Republicans.
RTT – Top Story

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McConnell Introduces Short-Term Government Spending Bill

With a partial government shutdown looming, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has introduced another short-term government spending bill. McConnell said the continuing resolution introduced on Wednesday would “provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th.”
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Trump torpedoes funding bill over border wall

President Donald Trump will meet with House Republican lawmakers at noon Thursday to discuss the how to avert a government shutdown amid a dispute over border wall funding.


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Congress Passes Stopgap Spending Bill To Avert Government Shutdown

With a potential government shutdown looming, members of Congress voted Thursday to approve a short-term spending bill amid an ongoing disagreement over funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. The two-week spending bill extends funding for several government agencies.
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City Council bill would make companies liable for staff behavior at franchises

The left-leaning City Council wants corporations to take responsibility for the behavior of all employees — even those hired by franchisees and not the parent firms. A bill gaining steam in the council would make McDonald’s and other parent companies liable for discriminatory practices of workers at independently operated franchises. It would be the first…
Business | New York Post

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Bill Maher Exposes Trump’s Trail of Broken Promises: ‘You Can Only Slide So Long on Charm’

HBO

In the season finale of HBO’s Real Time, host Bill Maher began his monologue by thanking his “head writer” Donald Trump, and explaining how he just really “needs a fuckin’ break from this guy,” hence the two-month hiatus (the show returns on Jan. 18).

The political satirist then lashed out at the president for his ugly response to the wildfires that have ravaged California, decimating entire towns and leaving over 66 people dead as well as hundreds more missing.

“Of course, Trump’s response—you saw that—was to blame the victims, threaten to withhold federal funds,” said Maher. “This is what he does every time there’s a disaster. Wildfires? ‘You mismanaged your forests.’ Mass shooting? ‘You should’ve been armed.’ Hurricane? ‘Your island is very inconveniently located.’ His response to every tragedy is, ‘How can I hurt?’ He is to empathy what food courts are to ambiance.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Monica Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton re-examined

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Flake vows not to back Trump’s judicial nominees until Senate votes on Mueller protection bill

The Arizona Republican, who did not seek re-election and will retire at the end of his term, made the announcement on the Senate floor, minutes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., objected to his attempt to bring up the bill.
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Bill Maher on Being Targeted by Pro-Trump Mail Bomber: ‘They’re So Stupid, They Don’t Know Science’

HBO

This past week, we learned that in addition to shipping pipe bombs to the Obamas, the Clintons, Joe Biden, Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN, George Soros, Robert De Niro and a host of others, pro-Trump mail-bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc was also looking to target comedian Bill Maher, whose management firm was evacuated after it received a suspicious package addressed to him (it was thankfully a false alarm).

And on Friday night’s Real Time, the political satirist addressed the controversy as only he could.

Everybody has to vote,” announced Maher to cheers from his in-studio audience, before joking, “We have an election. Democrats, if you’re voting by mail, make sure there’s enough stamps on your thing, and Republicans, the same goes for your bombs.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Bill Maher on Being Targeted by Pro-Trump Mail Bomber: ‘They’re So Stupid, They Don’t Know Science’

HBO

This past week, we learned that in addition to shipping pipe bombs to the Obamas, the Clintons, Joe Biden, Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN, George Soros, Robert De Niro and a host of others, pro-Trump mail-bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc was also looking to target comedian Bill Maher, whose management firm was evacuated after it received a suspicious package addressed to him (it was thankfully a false alarm).

And on Friday night’s Real Time, the political satirist addressed the controversy as only he could.

Everybody has to vote,” announced Maher to cheers from his in-studio audience, before joking, “We have an election. Democrats, if you’re voting by mail, make sure there’s enough stamps on your thing, and Republicans, the same goes for your bombs.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Richard Linklater to Make a Bill Hicks Biopic; Here’s Everything We Know

Richard Linklater to Make a Bill Hicks Biopic; Here's Everything We Know

Richard Linklater has proven himself a versatile filmmaker over the years, but he's never attempted a biopic. He's made a movie about real people, namely Bernie, but he's never depicted the life of a famous figure. Until now. According to Collider, the Boyhood and Dazed and Confused helmer will write and direct a movie about the late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks. 

Here's everything we know about the project so far:

Who was Bill Hicks?

Hicks was a comedian…

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Bill Self Should Be Suspended If Kansas Is Serious About Following the Rules

The picture of Kansas painted in court is the one that has been painted privately in the sport for years, and the players aren’t the ones who should miss time as a result.

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Bill Cosby seeks new sexual assault trial, reduced prison sentence

Citing new evidence, Bill Cosby has asked the Pennsylvania judge who sent him to prison for up to 10 years for sexual assault to grant him a new trial, or to reduce his sentence because of alleged procedural errors.
Reuters: People News

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Omarosa Calls Out Bill Maher for Dropping the N-Word

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

If Bill Maher had some trouble besting Steve Bannon in a political debate last week, he was faced with a less formidable opponent this Friday night in Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

The author of Unhinged was the top of the show guest on Real Time and from the moment she sat down across from Maher, she seemed more at ease than she has been in previous interviews. For the most part, it was a surprisingly congenial interview.

Omarosa laughed as Maher suggested that “the swamp has moved into the White House” with Donald Trump. She was flattered as the host called her a “one-name star” like Cher. But things took a turn when Maher brought up one of her most infamous comments about the president during the 2016 campaign.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Senate committee advances anti-lynching bill

Newsy

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Janice Dickinson – The Alleged Victim Says She ‘Laughed With Joy And Relief’ Upon Learning About Bill Cosby’s Guilty Verdict!

One of the many women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, Janice Dickinson, made it very clear that she couldn’t be any happier about the man’s prison sentence. The retired supermodel, now 63, was in attendance at the Carousel of Hope Ball last night and while there, she talked to ET, opening up about Brett Kavanaugh frustratingly getting onto the Supreme Court despite the accusations brought against him.

But at least Bill Cosby was found guilty, right?

‘I have had a tough week because of the Kavanaugh thing and I really am an activist that is behind women because I was not believed in the beginning. You have to believe the women, so I am going to keep my fight going.’

She went on to share that ‘I am still suing Cosby in a civil case, even if my attorney Lisa Bloom has to go to prison to take his deposition. But, you know what, I feel vindicated. We came out on top and it was just really a good thing for all women for the biggest serial rapist in the United States history gets taken away in handcuffs.’

The outlet’s reporter was curious to know how she reacted when learning about Cosby’s verdict.

‘I just laughed. Others cried. I was laughing just with joy and relief that he will not be able to do that to another woman,’ Dickinson responded.

She also previously talked to the Daily Mail shortly after the sentencing, saying: ‘I have been holding this in since 1982 and it is slowly seeping out of me, the toxicity levels of emotion and the catastrophic pain and the nightmares for so many years. I just bounced out of bed and was like, ‘Wow.’’

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Bill Cosby Seeks To Get Out Of Jail Already

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It’s only been two weeks, and already Bill Cosby wants to get out of jail.

Lawyers for the sexual predator once revered as ‘America’s dad’, who was sentenced to a three-to-ten-year stretch, have filed a motion seeking to have the April retrial thrown out.

Cosby’s lawyers cite a series of supposed errors on the part of Judge O’Neil in both the initial mistrial of 2017, the retrial this spring and the sentencing hearing late last month, according to a report on deadline.com.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

House Passes Bill Denying Visas To Chinese Officials Restricting Access To Tibet

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act that seeks to hold China accountable for its human rights violations in Tibet. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., was passed by a unanimous voice vote. “Today is a great day for human rights,” said McGovern on the House Floor Tuesday night, during passage
RTT – Political News

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Seth’s Favorite Jokes of the Week: Trump Defends Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Cosby’s Sentence

Late Night with Seth Meyers

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