AM News for Wednesday, 11.27.13
Despite President Obama’s plan for canceled policies, California's health insurance exchange voted against any extension for about 1 million policyholders in the state.
The five-member board of the exchange voted unanimously to keep its current requirement that insurers terminate most individual policies Dec. 31 because they don't meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
"We know this transition is difficult ," said Covered California board member Susan Kennedy. "But delaying the transition won't solve a single problem."
The state did agree to open a special hotline for affected consumers and look into postponing the deadline to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1.
The vote by the state exchange marks a break with the president since California has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Some other Democrat-led states, such as Washington and Minnesota, have also rejected the president's idea on cancellations.
Also, Covered California said 79,891 people have enrolled in private health plans through Tuesday.
From the UDJ comes the story that The iconic, 12-foot tall redwood sculpture of one of Potter Valley's toughest cowboys has gone missing after the statue fell during the windstorm that ravaged the valley last week.
The statue likely went missing Sunday night, according to Carol Hale, whose husband, Noel, carved the statue in 1987 in the likeness of Harry Runnings, who was known for riding the hardest horses to break .
"Whoever took him doesn't understand what they've taken," Hale said. "It's a theft of a community asset, and the community was really attached to it ... He was carved to epitomize Potter Valley cowboys ..." The cowboy stood originally at the former rodeo grounds near Busch Creek and was moved to the Hale's property two years ago for safe keeping.
"We thought he would be safe there," Hale said. "Our hope is that if we can get the word out about it, that whoever has him could just bring him back, no questions asked.."
Despite the rain that fell last week, the stateDepartment of Water Resources issued an ominous water supply estimate that makes it clear that much more precipitation is needed this winter.
The department projects that it will be able to fill only 5 percent of the water requests it has received from the 29 water agencies it contracts with - agencies that serve about two-thirds of California's population. Only once before - in 2010 - did the department issue a similarly low estimate of available water.
"No drought has been declared," said Ted Thomas, a spokesman for the department. The initial allocation is a conservative estimate,, based primarily on water storage in the state's major reservoirs. Lake Oroville, the State's main reservoir, is at 41 percent of capacity compared with a historical average of 66 percent. Other reservoirs are at similarly low levels after the driest rainy season on record.
As rain continues to fall, and reservoir levels rise, and the allocation projections will increase as well. In 2010, when the allocation also began at 5 percent, it gradually rose to 50 percent.
Complying with a state-imposed mandate to curb carbon emissions, California companies shelled out another $297 million this week for the right to spew greenhouse gases, according to auction results released Friday.
The state’s climate-change law imposes carbon emission limits on more than 400 of the state’s oil refiners, food processors and other large industries.
Although prices have steadily declined in the past several months, environmental groups say the California market is functioning well.
Including this week’s results, the five auctions have raised a combined $1.4 billion.