With our new website launch, we're going try a "news recap" format, where we pick a few articles in the state and national news space and share them with you here, every Friday.
November 18th- 24
Ohio News Recap
Ohio Utility Bailout
The federal criminal investigation into the Ohio utility bailout scandal continues. Five individuals were charged and four convicted in a bribery and money-laundering case. Akron-based FirstEnergy, a central figure in the scandal, has been cooperating with federal prosecutors. The conspiracy involved FirstEnergy and its then-subsidiary paying over $60 million to secure a $1.3 billion bailout, mainly to support two nuclear plants. FirstEnergy Solutions, now Energy Harbor, emerged from bankruptcy in 2020, no longer a FirstEnergy subsidiary. The scandal has also led to multiple civil lawsuits, including a class action by large investors
Read more from the Ohio Capital Journal
Voters Passed Abortion Protections... Courts Decide When and How They Take Effect.
Ohio's new constitutional amendment, effective December 7, strengthens abortion access and reproductive rights. Passed with a 57% majority, it marks a continuation of national trends supporting abortion access. However, it doesn't repeal existing Ohio laws, leading to legal uncertainties and intensified efforts by anti-abortion activists to challenge or weaken the amendment. The full impact of this change remains to be seen. Read more from the Associated Press
National News Recap
Biden's Thanksgiving Message
President Biden, during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, urged Americans to prioritize unity over politics. He emphasized the importance of coming together, particularly during the holiday weekend. This message aligns with the broader theme of unity and reconciliation that has been a consistent part of Biden's presidency, especially during times of national holidays and celebrations
Read more from The Hill
Moms for Liberty Candidates
The Moms for Liberty, a group advocating for "parental rights," endorsed several candidates for school board positions in Iowa's Des Moines and Cedar Rapids metro areas. However, in a significant electoral outcome, 92% of their endorsed candidates lost. This result has been interpreted as a reflection of Iowans' attitudes towards educational politics and policies promoted by the group, such as school vouchers, bans on certain books, and restrictions on LGBTQ topics in classrooms. Experts suggest that the focus on politicizing education and culture war issues in schools didn't resonate with voters. This election cycle also witnessed heightened involvement from major advocacy groups across the state, indicating a shift in the dynamics of typically low-profile school board elections
Read more from KCRG
Medicare Advantage Plan
There are growing bipartisan concerns in Congress about Medicare Advantage plans, which now enroll over 30 million older Americans. These concerns focus on frequent care denials and potential exploitation of seniors by insurers. Medicare Advantage plans, offering lower premiums and more benefits than traditional Medicare, are criticized for their use of prior authorization and network restrictions. There's a push for reform, particularly in the prior authorization process, viewed as a barrier to care. Legislation to speed up routine care approvals has faced hurdles in the Senate. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed new rules to improve standards and consider the impact of denials on underserved communities. Surveys reveal widespread delays or denials in medically necessary care due to prior authorizations, causing treatment delays and increased staffing needs in medical practices. Insurers defend prior authorization as a tool to prevent wasteful spending, but the pressure for a balance between patient care and administrative processes is mounting.
Read more from Politico