2013年11月04日

The appeal court rules


A federal appeals court ruled police must get a warrant before using GPS to track a suspect's vehicle, Preserver Series tossing out evidence in a Pennsylvania burglary case.

PHILADELPHIA — Police must get a warrant before using GPS to track a suspect's vehicle, a federal appeals court has ruled, throwing out a cache of evidence against three brothers charged in a wave of pharmacy burglaries and going beyond a Supreme Court ruling that left open the question of whether judges have to approve of the high-tech surveillance.

State police investigating the pharmacy burglaries were making progress in 2010 when they found tools, gloves and a ski mask in a search of suspect Harry Katzin's van.

The electrician said they were merely tools of his trade, and police let him go. But police, working with the FBI, soon put a GPS device under his bumper and closed in on the van after another burglary. They found Katzin and his two brothers inside, along with a large stash of pills, cash and other store property.

Three years later, the evidence has been tossed out after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court called the GPS tracking an illegal search. The Katzins, who have pleaded not guilty, are free on bail.

The Supreme Court ruled in January 2012 that GPS tracking amounts to a police search, but left open the question of whether such searches require warrants. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court said they do, unless there's an imminent danger.

Judge Joseph A. Greenaway wrote in a 2-1 opinion for the court last month that a GPS tracker is different than human surveillance because "it creates a continuous police presence" meant to discover future evidence OtterBox Commuter Wallet Case.

"This case in our view is very significant," said lawyer Catherine Crump, who argued on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Where people go can reveal a great deal about them, from who their friends are, to what their daily routine is ...to what doctors they visit. All of that information, especially when considered together, contains a detailed portrait of someone's life."

The Justice Department is weighing an appeal, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer. He had argued that police acted in good faith before the ruling from the Supreme Court. And one of the three judges agreed the evidence should not be suppressed for that reason.

The Katzins — Harry, Michael and Mark — allegedly sold prescription drugs from the house they lived in across from a public school. A police raid turned up $28,000 worth of OxyContin, Xanax, Ritalin, morphine and amphetamines at the house, Zauzmer wrote last year in opposing bail, when he called the evidence "overwhelming."

One law enforcement expert agreed, but said that evidence found during the investigation before the GPS was attached should have been used as probable cause to get a warrant.

"The rule of thumb is, if you have time to get a warrant, get a warrant," said Vernon Herron, a former Maryland State Police commander who now works as a senior policy analyst at the Center for Health and Homeland Security, part of the University of Maryland.

Police used GPS devices during his tenure, but they could only dream of the technology available today, when police can follow someone's every move from a laptop, Herron said.

U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter first ordered the evidence in the Katzins' case suppressed last year, writing that the GPS device recorded information "that investigators could have observed by conducting physical surveillance nu skin."

But police surveillance is costly, and therefore subject to built-in limitations, Crump said. Cheap GPS devices, on the other hand, present no such barrier.

"When we started out, the Supreme Court hadn't weighed in... and the majority of the law was actually contrary to our position," said Mark Katzin's lawyer, Rocco Cipparone, who argued the defense case. "My hope is that the government won't (appeal)."
posted by DO at 12:17| Comment(0) | business | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年10月28日

Refused to delay the Obamacare


A proposal to delay a new $63 Obamacare fee was rejected by Republican senators who said the delay would favor labor unions.

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress don't usually fight for tax increases, g-suite manchester especially ones that are part of President Barack Obama's health care law.

But GOP senators balked when Democrats proposed delaying a new temporary fee on everyone covered by health insurance.

So employers, insurance companies and other health plan sponsors are in line to pay $63 a person next year for everyone who has coverage. The temporary fee covers all workers, spouses and dependents covered by health insurance.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., proposed delaying the fee in recent budget talks with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell and other Republican senators objected; the fee was left intact.

GOP senators complained the delay was basically a favor for labor unions, traditional Democratic allies that oppose the new fee.

"It's beyond ironic that the mantra from the president and the Democrats has been, 'There can't be any changes to Obamacare. After all, it's the law of the land,'" said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. "And then big labor comes along and wants a change and, lo and behold, there's got to be a change."

But also opposing the fee are large employers, traditional Republican allies, even though in many cases the fee probably will be passed on to workers.

"It's a sizable expense. For some of my employers it's millions of dollars a year, and we don't get anything from it," said Gretchen Young, senior vice president for health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, a group that represents large employers on benefits issues. "It's definitely not solely a union issue."

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said the proposed delay was meant to balance Republican demands for other changes to the health law g-suite manchester. Republicans in Congress have been attacking the law since it was passed in 2010, and earlier this month, they forced a partial government shutdown over Obama's refusal to negotiate changes.

Cardin said he didn't want any changes in the law to be part of the deal for reopening the government and extending the country's ability to borrow. In the end, the only change was an income verification procedure for people applying for tax credits to help them purchase health insurance.

The temporary fee on people with health insurance is designed to raise $25 billion over the next three years.

The money will provide a cushion for insurers from the initial hard-to-predict costs of covering previously uninsured people with medical problems. Under the law, insurers will be forbidden, effective Jan. 1, 2014, to turn away applicants who are ill.

Insurance companies hit by unexpectedly high costs for insuring people with medical conditions will be able to tap the fund, which will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The fund will mainly benefit companies participating in state-based health insurance exchanges.

The fee will total $12 billion in 2014, $8 billion in 2015 and $5 billion in 2016. That means the per-head assessment would be smaller each year, g-suite manchester around $40 in 2015 instead of $63.

It is being assessed on all "major medical" insurance plans, including those provided by employers and those purchased individually by consumers. About 150 million workers, spouses and dependents are covered under employer-sponsored health plans.

Large employers will pay the fee directly. That's because major companies are usually self-insured, with the health insurance company that workers deal with basically acting as an agent administering the plan.

Unions that operate multi-employer health plans also will pay the fee. More than 20 million union workers and family members are covered by such plans.

These unions and large employers argue that they shouldn't have to pay the fee because they won't benefit from the fund.

The AFL-CIO passed a resolution at its convention this year calling for the fee to be repealed. Large employers are fighting the fee, too. But, Young noted, the political atmosphere in Congress, especially when it comes to the health care law, g-suite manchester will make it difficult to win any changes.

"The Affordable Care Act is now kind of a third rail," said Young, referring to the law's formal name. "If it wasn't before, it is even more so now."
posted by DO at 10:53| Comment(0) | business | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年10月21日

Obama medical care


At a Monday event, President Barack Obama will declare glitches in a new health care website "unacceptable" and offers ways to sign up until problems are fixed.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new health care website "unacceptable" on Monday and outline ways for consumers to sign up for insurance while his team scrambles to fix problems that have tainted the rollout of his signature health care law.

Fresh from two weeks of budget battles that have consumed Washington, Obama will hold an event at 11:25 a.m. ET in the White House Rose Garden with consumers, small business owners and pharmacists who have been affected by the new law.

The move is the highest-profile step in a broad damage control effort that the administration has launched since technical problems with the website g-suite cardinal, healthcare.gov, have prevented Americans nationwide from signing up for a program that will largely define Obama's domestic policy legacy.

"The president will directly address the technical problems with HealthCare.gov — troubles that he and his team find unacceptable — and discuss the actions he has pushed for to make it easier for consumers to comparison shop and enroll for insurance while work continues around the clock to improve the website," a White House official said Sunday.

The president will say the product itself and the goal behind it - insuring millions of uninsured Americans - are good despite the problems that have plagued its rollout.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a blog post it was bringing in a "tech surge" of people from inside and outside government to help iron out glitches in the online insurance exchanges that are a central part of the program known as Obamacare, which launched on Oct. 1.

Obama's event, the HHS blog, and comments from Democrats on Sunday television news shows demonstrated a full-on push to offset criticism from Republicans and opponents of the law who say its rollout is representative of wider issues.

Republicans in Congress have chastised Obama's top health adviser, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, for declining their invitation to testify about the glitches to an oversight panel on Oct. 24.

Officials stressed on Sunday that the problems were being addressed g-suite in oldham.

"I think that there's no one more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the website," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Obama told aides in a recent Oval Office meeting that the administration had to take responsibility for the fact that the website was not ready on time.

Administration officials are expected to travel the country in the coming weeks to encourage people to sign up on the exchanges, targeting areas where there are high percentages of uninsured, according to one official.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to provide private health coverage to an estimated 7 million uninsured Americans through the new online marketplaces that opened for enrollment in all 50 states on Oct. 1.

But the website, the administration's online portal for consumers in 36 states, was hobbled by problems including error messages, garbled text and delays loading pages.

Administration officials blame the problems partly on an unexpectedly high volume of visitors in its first 10 days. According to HHS, there were more than 19 million visits to the website.

"We are committed to doing better," the department said in its blog post on Sunday.

Despite the problems, it said, other parts of the system were functioning well.

"Individuals have been able to verify their eligibility for credits, enabling them to shop for, and enroll in, low- or even no-cost health plans," the department said.

"We have updated the site several times with new code that includes bug fixes. Our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering."

Late on Saturday, the White House reported nearly half a million Americans had applied for health insurance through the federal and state exchanges provided by Obamacare.

Many Republicans were criticizing the program long before its rocky launch. A 16-day partial government shutdown that ended last week was precipitated by Republican demands to delay or defund Obamacare.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who led that campaign, vowed Sunday to step-up his opposition, even though his tactics have been called a mistake by members of his own party.

"I would do anything, and will continue to do anything, g-suite oldham to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare," Cruz said on ABC's "This Week."

Lew said the program's test would be in January, when the actual coverage starts for people who have enrolled by Dec. 15.

"I think that if we get that right, everyone will regret that the early weeks were choppy on the website. But the test is: are people getting coverage and are they getting the care that they need? And we're confident we're going to be on track to do that," Lew said on NBC.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, acknowledged problems with the Obamacare launch, but said they should be understood in the context of the program's size.

"Any system that deals with that many millions of people frequently does have a glitch," Pelosi told ABC News' "This Week."

"It has to be fixed, but what doesn't have to be fixed is the fact that tens of millions more people had access to affordable quality health care and no longer will have a pre-existing condition bar you from getting affordable health care."

Obama said in an interview with National Public Radio on Oct. 1 that he was prepared for some problems in the early months of Obamacare as health care exchanges were launched.
posted by DO at 11:17| Comment(0) | business | 更新情報をチェックする

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