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Since 2010, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services has threatened to crack down on billing abuses in the popular health plans, which now cover more than 30 million Americans.

Medicare Advantage plans for seniors dodged a major financial bullet as government officials gave them a reprieve for returning hundreds of millions of dollars or more in government overpayments — some dating back a decade or more. Read more»

Smoky conditions, similar to the haze covering San Francisco, continued in the Midwest and on the East Coast in 2021, as the West Coast fires continued to burn.

Scientists are finding in an ongoing study that despite the haze from far-off blazes, enough indirect sunlight was available to fuel the nation’s burgeoning solar panel industry in 2020 - good news as the U.S. government is seeking to quickly ramp up solar energy production. Read more»

In March 2022, the FTC sued Intuit over deceptive ads for its so-called 'Free' edition.

After both Intuit and H&R Block left the Free File program, the future of the program is unclear, and it’s still difficult to find truly free tax filing options. The IRS created a tool to help you find this year’s Free File options as it looks into creating a public filing system. Read more»

For all of its wide-ranging examinations, there are two topics the Oversight Committee won’t be raising: the 2020 election results and police reform.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer says his priorities will include a heavy focus on the handling of classified documents, the origins of the COVID-19 virus, and what he described as possible “influence peddling” by Hunter Biden. Read more»

It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S, according to the EPA, and investing in the clean up of these sites both improves and protects the environment.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe is set to receive more than $166,000 in funding to help it address contaminated brownfield sites that threaten environmental and public health of the tribe. Read more»

Lawmakers and state officials will have to somehow bridge the gap between the priorities of the two parties and pass a budget by June 30 to avoid a government shutdown.

With a possible recession on the horizon and amid great economic uncertainty, the state of Arizona will have quite a bit of extra cash in its general fund this year — but that excess will quickly dwindle in the next few years with current spending. Read more»

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Apartments in Downtown Tucson are among the few that accept federal Section 8 housing vouchers in Tucson.

The city of Tucson received 15,000 pre-applications for housing and Section 8 voucher waitlists in January. About 2,000 residents will be randomly approved to move ahead with full applications this year, with the first to be notified by Feb. 15. Read more»

The publicly-owned Salt River Project’s Coronado Generating Station -  set to shut down in the next decade - was one of six coal plants’ whose requests to keep dumping toxic ash into unlined or inadequately lined pits were denied. The Apache Generating Station was granted an extension.

The EPA denied the requests of six coal plants - including the Salt River Project’s Coronado Generating Station - to keep dumping toxic ash into unlined or inadequately lined pits, signaling the agency’s commitment to enforce the 2015 federal coal ash rules. Read more»

Immigration advocates have lobbied Democrats for weeks to pass a last-effort piece of legislation to give DACA recipients a permanent pathway to citizenship.

A decision on the legality of DACA - when it eventually goes to the U.S. Supreme Court - is not expected to be issued until 2024, and while Congress appears unlikely to take action, participants in the program are left uncertain if they will be protected from deportation. Read more»

Advocates fear that HB2169 could preempt judicial discretion in complicated cases, leading to more kids in jail for having intimate relationships with their peers.

A proposal in the Arizona House to target predators who were able to plead felony offenses down to a misdemeanor and increase the punishments for sexual offenders could put teenagers in prison for having intimate relationships with their peers. Read more»

If federal courts a ban on mail-order abortion medications to take effect, legal experts predict the laws will be difficult to enforce without punishing the patient.

Medication abortion has become more common since the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to abortion this summer - but in federal courts and state legislatures, abortion opponents are trying to limit the use of abortion-inducing pills. Read more»

The resolution also proposes to stop the funding of law enforcement agencies through mainly fines, fees and forfeitures, which can cause tension between officers and their communities.

One state lawmaker wants Arizona police departments to focus on increased policing and deterrence programs to combat what he said is an out-of-control surge in violent crime, but critics say that his recommendations will only lead to increased incarceration for low-level crimes. Read more»

A district court judge struck down the use of Title 42 in November, but a month later the U.S. Supreme Court decided to keep the policy in place until the justices can review whether the pandemic-era program should be lifted or continue.

Nearly 80 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the White House expressing their “great concern” that the Biden administration is walking back on its promise to restore migrants’ access to asylum and condemned the administration’s expansion of Title 42. Read more»

Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert keeps plodding toward a restored school accreditation.

The PCC Governing Board will discuss the next in a long line of action steps required to get right with the Higher Learning Commission, which put the college on probation in 2013. Plus, OV wants bigger parks, and more in local government meetings this week. Read more»

Armed vigilantes wearing tactical gear were captured by security cameras on Oct. 21, 2022, outside Maricopa County’s drop box in Mesa.

A federal judge on Friday preliminarily declined to block members of the group Clean Elections USA from gathering within sight of ballot drop boxes following complaints that armed and masked members intimidated potential voters during the 2022 election. Read more»

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