Category: Cronkite News

Protesters urge ‘no’ vote on GOP health care bill, as details emerge

Brianna Stearns and Devin Conley Friday, June 23, 2017 Protesters urge ‘no’ vote on GOP health care bill, as details emerge Angry protesters rallied outside Sen. Jeff Flake’s Phoenix office Friday, demanding that he vote against a Republican health care bill that new analyses claim could hit Arizona particularly hard. The Senate plan to replace Obamacare would cost the state as much as $7.1 billion through fiscal 2026, according to an estimate released Friday by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid office. Those costs would come from the federal government shifting Medicaid costs to states, withholding payments for uncompensated care at hospitals and imposing new caps on per capita reimbursement rates for health care, the AHCCCS report said. Separate reports released Friday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank in Washington, highlighted many of the same areas of concern in the Senate bill for states. The center estimates that the proposal to shift the cost of Medicaid payments to states could cost Arizona an additional $243.2 million by 2021, a number that could grow to $773 million by 2024. Those were higher than AHCCCS’s estimates of an additional $146 million in costs to the state in 2021 and $537 million in 2024. The center’s analysis said the funding formula in the GOP bill would reward states that spend less on Medicaid...

Read More

Feds remove Hualapai Mexican vole from endangered species list

Ben Moffat Friday, June 23, 2017 Feds remove Hualapai Mexican vole from endangered species list WASHINGTON – Federal officials said Friday they will remove the Hualapai Mexican vole from the endangered species list after 30 years, a move that one environmental group criticized as “premature” for an animal it says could still be at risk. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that the original 1987 decision to protect the Hualapai Mexican vole in Arizona as an endangered subspecies of other Mexican voles was made in error. Subsequent studies have indicated that it is not sufficiently different from other Mexican voles – of which there are many – to be considered a subspecies. But an official with the Center for Biological Diversity said the issue is far from settled. “They’ve basically cherry-picked one genetic study to try to remove protections, and they’ve ignored the contradictory studies,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the center. Miller said the decision to “delist” the Hualapai Mexican vote was based on an unpublished 2001 study that he said was not definitive, and that its premise that the vole is not a subspecies has not been supported in several peer reviews. He called it “fishy” to delist a species without solid scientific consensus. “There’s no valid justification for removing the protections,” Miller said. “Conflicting scientific information is not a valid reason.” But...

Read More

Suns pick Jackson addresses ‘two mistakes,’ promises versatility

John Arlia Friday, June 23, 2017 Suns pick Jackson addresses ‘two mistakes,’ promises versatility PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns took the next step toward building what they hope will grow into a championship contender Friday as General Manager Ryan McDonough and Coach Earl Watson introduced Josh Jackson, Davon Reed and Alec Peters as its 2017 NBA Draft class. “We think it was a great night for us in terms of the talent we added,” McDonough said. “But more importantly in terms of the people we added, who they are and probably more importantly, what we think they can become in this league as players and as men.” After plenty of trade speculation, the Phoenix Suns decided to hold onto the fourth overall pick in Thursday night’s 2017 NBA Draft and used it to select Kansas freshman Josh Jackson. The 6-foot-8, 207-pound small forward averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on his way to becoming a Wooden All-American and the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in his only season with the Jayhawks. McDonough said the team thought Jackson was the best player in the draft and believe his all-around game will fit in perfectly with the Suns’ young core. “We think Josh’s defensive ability and athleticism, his length, his passing ability all really complement two very talented offensive wings in Devin (Booker) and T.J. (Warren),”...

Read More

Arizona reaction to Senate health bill ranges from lukewarm to hostile

Brianna Stearns Thursday, June 22, 2017 Arizona reaction to Senate health bill ranges from lukewarm to hostile WASHINGTON – The Senate Republican plan to replace Obamacare was quickly attacked by Democrats and kept at arm’s length by Arizona’s Republican senators, who seemed less than eager to comment on a bill few had seen before its release Thursday. The 142-page “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” would cut deeply into Medicaid funding and do away with the current mandate for coverage, but would also preserve some subsidies to help taxpayers afford health insurance. Critics said the Senate bill is strikingly similar to the American Health Care Act that the House passed last month, a bill the Congressional Budget Office said would cost as many as 23 million Americans their health insurance over 10 years, with most of the losses in the first year. The Senate version of the bill is not expected to get a CBO “score” until next week, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he plans to have a vote before senators leave for the July Fourth recess. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said in a tweet that he planned to “take time to thoroughly read and review it.” Sen. John McCain called the bill a step in the right direction, but said he planned on “consulting with Gov. Doug Ducey and seeking input from Arizonans before...

Read More

Chemical attraction: Scottsdale teen in national chemistry competition

Emma Lockhart Thursday, June 22, 2017 Chemical attraction: Scottsdale teen in national chemistry competition WASHINGTON – You might not know which chemical element in the Hope Diamond has the largest molecular mass, but an eighth-grader from Scottsdale does. Isaiah Hazelwood faced that and other questions faced earlier this week when he squared off against other middle school students from around the country as part of the “You be the Chemist” National Challenge in Washington. The lanky 13-year-old who’s in the eighth grade at Basis Scottsdale won the state competition in February to advance to the nationals on Monday, competing against 41 other students representing 39 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The competition drew a total of 55,000 students at the local and state levels, according to a prepared statement from Dwayne Sattler, executive director of the Chemical Education Foundation, which sponsored the contest. “Students like Isaiah, who are excited about particular subject areas, certainly dive a little bit deeper and our teachers help work with them to foster that excitement,” Basis Scottsdale Principal Kristen Jordison said by phone this week. Between rounds, Isaiah spoke quietly and looked away during interviews – until the conversation turned to chemistry. Then, he lit up. “I’m excited about chemistry because it just tells us so much about how the world works and how we work,” Isaiah said Monday. The competition,...

Read More