U.S. health insurers said on Tuesday they still expected cuts in government reimbursements for privately managed Medicare health plans for the elderly next year even after the Obama administration rolled back the steepest reductions. The government agency that oversees Medicare said late on Monday that on average, reimbursements to insurers for private Medicare plans would rise 0.4 percent, reversing what it said was a proposed cut of 1.9 percent. Republican and Democratic lawmakers had broadly opposed further cuts as well, adding pressure on the administration at a time when President Barack Obama's healthcare law was also under attack. After analyzing the final rate notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and comparing it with their own models, health insurers said on Tuesday that the 2015 Medicare Advantage payment rates represented a cut to payments from 2014 levels.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Twitter-like Cuban social media network that the U.S. government built to stir unrest was a "cockamamie" idea doomed to discovery and failure, the chairman of a Senate panel that oversees the U.S. Agency for International Development declared Tuesday. He said the agency didn't adequately describe to Congress the program it was secretly operating.
Iran is two months away from breakout capability to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb should they resume their mothballed enrichment process, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday. Tehran is in the thick of international negotiations over its nuclear program, with a fresh round of talks beginning on Tuesday in Vienna aimed at starting a draft of an historic final deal. Under a temporary deal which took effect January 20, Iran froze certain nuclear activities for six months in exchange for minor relief from sanctions hurting its economy. A full-bore resumption of enrichment -- a gross violation of the temporary accord -- could see Tehran move swiftly toward nuclear breakout.
President Barack Obama will visit the Washington state town struck by a deadly mudslide to meet families affected by the disaster and view the devastation, the White House said on Tuesday. Obama will stop in Oso, Washington, on April 22, before starting out on a week-long trip to Asia. Obama will "view the devastation from the recent mudslide and meet with the families affected by this disaster, as well as first responders and recovery workers," the White House said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that Russia was sending agents into eastern Ukraine to "create chaos" the Kremlin could use as a pretext for more military intervention. With tensions again on the boil in Ukraine, Kerry said he would meet next week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as Washington seeks to tamp down the most serious East-West crisis since the Cold War. But Kerry bluntly accused Russia of mounting an "illegal, illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state."