Report Suggests Changes for Nebraska Medicaid
Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:07
A new report says computer technology and increased competition could lower the cost of Nebraska’s Medicaid program.
The report released Wednesday by the Platte Institute for Economic Research suggests that the state contract with more than two health plans for each of Nebraska’s Medicaid service regions.
The report says the increased competition would reduce the leverage that any one plan has over the state.
It also calls for new technology to confirm whether Medicaid recipients are eligible for the benefit. Jim Vokal, the group’s CEO, says Pennsylvania and Illinois have realized millions in savings by catching people who don’t qualify.
The Platte Institute released the report in advance of next year’s legislative session. The group opposes efforts to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law.
Scientists: 'Extreme' solar storm heading to Earth
Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:05
A strong solar flare is blasting its way to Earth, but the worst of its power looks like it will barely skim above the planet and not cause many problems.
It has been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. The flare on the sun barely hits the "extreme" on forecasters' scale, but with its worst effects missing Earth it is only looking "potentially strong" at most when it arrives at Earth as a solar storm, he said.
New calculations from satellite data show that the worst of the energetic particles streaming from the sun likely will go north or above Earth this time, Berger said late Wednesday.
So while the power grid may see fluctuations because the storm will cause changes in Earth's magnetic field, it won't knock power systems off line, Berger said. It may cause slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions but nothing major.
"We're not scared of this one," Berger said.
The storm is moving medium fast, about 2.5 million miles per hour, meaning the soonest it could arrive is early Friday, September 12th. But it could be later, Berger said.
Solar storms occur often, especially during peaks in the solar cycle, and don't directly harm people.
"There's been a giant magnetic explosion on the sun," Berger said. "Because it's pointed right at us, we'll at least catch some of the cloud" of highly energized and magnetized plasma that can disrupt Earth's magnetic sphere, which sometimes leads to temporary power grid problems.
On the plus side, sun flares expand the colorful northern lights so people farther south can see them. But don't expect them too far south, Berger said.