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    A Florida man wanted in a campaign finance case involving associates of Rudy Giuliani is in federal custody. Federal authorities say they took David Correia into custody Wednesday at Kennedy Airport in New York City. Correia is named in an indictment with two Giuliani associates arrested last week on charges they made illegal contributions to a congressman and a political action committee supporting President Donald Trump. Giuliani is Trump's personal lawyer. He says he had no knowledge of illegal donations. Prosecutors say Correia conspired with other defendants to make political donations with the aim of trying to get support for a new recreational marijuana business. Four defendants are expected to appear Thursday in federal court in Manhattan. A lawyer for Correia is not yet listed in court records.
  • President Donald Trump says U.S. troops are 'largely out' of a region of Syria where Turkish forces are attacking Kurdish fighters. Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. after Trump pulled troops from the region this month. As he met Wednesday with Italy's president, Trump said: 'If Syria wants to fight to take back their land, that's up to them and Turkey.' Trump adds: 'There's a lot of sand that they can play with.' But as Trump defends removing troops from northeastern Syria, he's talking up his recent decision to send more troops to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom defend against Iran. Trump says the U.S. is sending missiles and 'great power' to the Saudis, and adds: 'They're paying for that.
  • Eager to make changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, President Donald Trump toyed early on with issuing an executive order to close parts of the VA health system without consulting Congress, according to an upcoming book by his former VA secretary. In the book, obtained by The Associated Press, David Shulkin describes a March 6, 2017, conversation in the Oval Office where Trump explored ways his administration could act quickly to shutter government-run VA medical centers that he viewed as poorly performing. Trump was fresh off his 2016 campaign in which privatizing VA had become a political hot button after he pledged to steer more veterans to private-sector doctors outside the VA. He had said the VA was the 'the most corrupt' and 'probably the most incompetently run' Cabinet department. Democrats and major veterans' groups oppose 'privatization' and say VA facilities are best-suited to treat battlefield injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder. At the meeting, Trump asked whether 'we should begin to close the VAs,' according to the book. Legislation prohibited that, so Shulkin responded that the VA was working with Congress to set up a system-wide review to address underperforming facilities, whether by fixing or closing. 'But this takes time,' Shulkin said. Trump exclaimed, 'So let's just do an executive order!' 'This is a legislative issue,' Shulkin said. Trump then offered, 'Can't we just declare a national emergency?' At that point, according to the book, Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, chimed in, 'Yes. We're still in a war, so we could.' Shulkin told the AP that ultimately he dissuaded Trump from pursuing that route, persuading him to sign executive orders for changes with wider support, such as expanded telehealth options for veterans. The 2017 Oval Office conversation is illustrative of Trump's early intentions toward the VA and remains significant as he pushes for reelection, citing in part his accomplishments in expanding Choice and boosting mental health care for veterans. Veterans as a group have largely backed Trump throughout his presidency, despite lingering questions about his intentions about preserving the VA. Shulkin, a former Obama administration official, was fired by Trump in March 2018 amid an ethics scandal over a trip to Europe that Shulkin took with his wife that mixed business and pleasure, as well as mounting rebellion by political appointees in his agency. His book, 'It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country,' will be released next Tuesday. He said the expansion of the Veterans Choice program under his successor, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie , has put the agency at risk 'as never before.' Shulkin cited political forces inside and outside the administration that are more interested in putting 'companies with profits' over the care of veterans, and suggested that only new leadership — at the department, probably at the White House, too — could save VA. Yet, as VA secretary, Shulkin pushed a plan to give veterans wider access to doctors outside the VA medical system. Veterans should get 'more choice in the say of their care,' he told the House Veterans' Affairs Committee in October 2017. 'Nobody should feel trapped in the VA system.' Shulkin says Trump's plans regarding 'privatization' were still an open question when Shulkin was fired. A few weeks before, Shulkin said he was explaining to Trump in an Oval Office meeting why an aggressive expansion of private care for veterans could be very costly for the government, at more than $50 billion. Trump decided to call Pete Hegseth, a Fox News commentator who was once considered for the VA secretary job , to ask his opinion. 'We can find the money from within the VA,' Hegseth told Trump, according to the book, suggesting significant cuts to VA care. 'Much of my narrative deals with the factions pushing me to simply close the VA or at least large parts of it that weren't working well,' Shulkin wrote. 'But I didn't see how shutting down a system specifically designed to care for veterans could be in the veterans' best interests.' The legislation that Trump ultimately signed last year gives veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the VA in an effort to cut wait times, paving the way for new rules that Shulkin says will 'lead to the rapid dismantling of the current VA system.' Recent studies have actually found that veterans got into a VA facility for an appointment faster on average and received better care than if they went to a private facility, raising questions about the value of steering veterans to the private sector if it results in inferior care. The legislation expanding the Choice program includes a provision for a presidentially appointed commission to be set up in 2021, after voters elected the next president, to compile a list of VA facilities nationwide to be closed or reconfigured. If the president approves, closures would then begin unless Congress voted down the entire list, giving lawmakers no input on individual facilities to be added or removed. Wilkie in recent months has been urging Congress to pass legislation to allow the commission to start before the November 2020 election, citing market assessments the VA will have completed by then to judge which facilities to keep. Wilkie insists he's opposed to privatizing VA. 'I am convinced that the path now chosen, if allowed to continue, will leave veterans with fewer options, a severely weakened VA, and a private health care system not designed to meet the complex requirements of high-need veterans,' Shulkin wrote.
  • President Donald Trump has welcomed Italian President Sergio Mattarella to the White House for talks. The leaders are expected to discuss trade, digital taxes and countering Chinese trade practices they consider unfair during meetings Wednesday. White House officials declined to say whether Trump and Mattarella will discuss Turkey. Vice President Mike Pence is set to depart later Wednesday for Turkey to try to negotiate a cease-fire after Turkey began attacking Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria. Turkey launched the military operation after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of harm's way. Mattarella is scheduled to participate in a joint news conference with Trump, and later join Trump at a reception celebrating Italian Americans.
  • Hong Kong's leader expressed 'frustration and disappointment and regret' Wednesday over steps by the U.S. Congress to support pro-democracy protesters in the territory and warns they'll hurt American companies operating there. Reinforcing that criticism, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stressed Beijing's indignation over Congress' move and promised unspecified countermeasures. The House passed three bills Tuesday supporting the right of people to protest and opposing Chinese intrusions into Hong Kong's affairs. It follows months of increasingly violent protests over Beijing's aggressive attempts to enforce control over the semi-autonomous territory. China has vociferously opposed all criticism of the Hong Kong government's handling of the protests as unwarranted interference into its domestic affairs. The territory was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997 while retaining greater freedoms that those permitted on the Communist Party-ruled mainland. In Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, 'This Hong Kong human rights and democracy act is totally unjustified and unwarranted.' The legislation would 'hurt not only the Hong Kong business. It will hurt American interests in Hong Kong. They have 1,400 companies, 85,000 citizens in Hong Kong,' Lam said. One of the U.S. bills condemns China's intrusions into Hong Kong's affairs and supports the right of people to protest. Another requires annual reviews by the U.S. secretary of state of Hong Kong's special economic and trade status, providing a check on Beijing's influence over the territory. A third bill would ensure that U.S. weapons are not being used against protesters by police. All three bills were approved on separate voice votes. In his remarks to reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing, Geng said, 'We express strong indignation on and firm opposition' to the legislation. 'I would like to stress again that in response to the U.S.'s wrong decisions and wrong practice harming China's interests, we will definitely take strong countermeasures to defend our sovereignty,' Geng said. Under U.S. law, Hong Kong receives special treatment in matters of trade, customs, sanctions enforcement, law enforcement cooperation and more. China has benefited from this special status and used it to evade U.S. export controls and sanctions, according to U.S. lawmakers, including speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. The administration Xi Jinping, China's authoritarian party leader and president without term limits, has increasingly pounced on foreign criticism and perceived slights to rally nationalism and support for the party. That comes amid a slowing economy and increasing repression at home, along with pushback from the U.S. and others on China's assertions of its territorial claims in the South China Sea and a growing international backlash at perceived Chinese meddling in foreign political systems. Under pressure from China, tech giant Apple removed a smartphone app that enabled Hong Kong protesters to track police, while the National Basketball Association has seen its once-thriving relationship with China become strained after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters. Other firms have been punished for failing to toe China's line on Taiwan, human rights and other sensitive issues. The three bills passed in the House now head to the Senate. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he had no scheduling announcement. McConnell chided the NBA, saying in a tweet last week that 'the people of Hong Kong have risked much more than money to defend their freedom of expression, human rights and autonomy. I hope the @NBA can learn from that courage and not abandon those values for the sake of their bottom line.' The Senate Appropriations Committee last month advanced an amendment that McConnell said would ensure 'the U.S. maintains a watchful eye on the Chinese government's aggressive encroachment on Hong Kong.' ___ Bodeen reported from Beijing.
  • The House impeachment inquiry is exposing new details about unease in the State Department and White House about President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine and those of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. One witness said it appeared 'three amigos' tied to the White House had taken over foreign policy. Another quoted national security adviser John Bolton as calling Giuliani a 'hand grenade' for his back-channel efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden's son Hunter. On Wednesday, a former aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived to speak to the House impeachment panels behind closed doors. Michael McKinley, who resigned last week, is a career foreign service officer and was Pompeo's de facto chief of staff. He is expected to discuss concerns held by career State Department officials about the treatment of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and others who worked on the Ukraine portfolio, according to a person familiar with his testimony. A Latin America specialist, McKinley wasn't directly involved in Ukraine policy, but as a senior adviser to Pompeo was generally aware of the situation, the person said. McKinley expects to talk about demoralization in the ranks of career foreign service officers and what many have lamented as the politicization of the once-apolitical bureaucracy, according to the person, who was granted anonymity to speak about his remarks. The 37-year veteran of the diplomatic corps was known to be unhappy with the state of affairs although his farewell note to colleagues mentioned nothing about the reason for his departure other than it was a 'personal decision.' Another key figure in the impeachment investigation, special envoy Kurt Volker, returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. He and his lawyer were to review the transcript of his Oct. 3 testimony to investigators, according to a person familiar with his appearance who was not authorized to discuss it. Republicans say all the transcripts from the investigation should be released to the public. Volker provided text messages to lawmakers that revealed an effort at the State Department to push Ukraine's leader into opening an investigation of the gas company Burisma, connected to Joe Biden's son, in return for a visit with Trump. That effort soon escalated into what one diplomat feared was a quid pro quo for U.S. military aid. Trump has denied that, saying assistance to Ukraine was delayed to pressure the country into addressing corruption. The testimony so far from the witnesses, mainly officials from the State Department and other foreign policy posts, is largely corroborating the account of the government whistleblower whose complaint first sparked the impeachment inquiry, according to lawmakers attending the closed-door interviews. Trump's July 25 phone call in which he pressed Ukraine's president to investigate the Bidens is at the center of the Democrats' inquiry. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite intensifying calls from Trump and Republicans to hold a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, showed no indication she would do so. She said Congress will continue its investigation as part of the Constitution's system of checks and balances of the executive. 'This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious. We're on a path that is taking us, a path to the truth,' Pelosi told reporters after a closed-door session with House Democrats. Democratic leaders had been gauging support for a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry after Trump and Republicans pushed them for a roll call. Holding a vote would test politically vulnerable Democrats in areas where the Republican president is popular. Trump calls the impeachment inquiry an 'illegitimate process' and is blocking officials from cooperating. The inquiry is moving quickly as a steady stream of officials appears behind closed doors this week, some providing new revelations about the events surrounding the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It is on that call that Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate a firm tied to political rival Joe Biden's family and Ukraine's own involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Career State Department official George Kent testified Tuesday he was told by administration officials to 'lay low' on Ukraine as 'three amigos' tied to the White House took over U.S. foreign policy toward the Eastern European ally. Kent was concerned about the 'fake news smear' against Yovanovitch, whom Trump recalled in May, according to emails obtained by The Associated Press. Kent told the lawmakers that he 'found himself outside a parallel process' and had warned others about Giuliani as far back as March. He felt the shadow diplomacy was undermining decades of foreign policy and the rule of law in Ukraine and that was 'wrong,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. Connolly said Kent described a May 23 meeting at the White House, organized by Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, where three administration officials — U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland, special envoy Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry — declared themselves the people now responsible for Ukraine policy. 'They called themselves the three amigos,' Connolly said Kent testified. Kent also told them that Trump, through the Office of Management and Budget, which Mulvaney previously led, was holding up military aid to Ukraine while pressing Zelenskiy to investigate a company linked to Biden's son. Another witness, former White House aide Fiona Hill, testified Monday that Bolton, then national security adviser, was so alarmed by Giuliani's back-channel activities in Ukraine that he described him as a 'hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up.' In 10 hours of testimony, Hill, the former White House aide who was a top adviser on Russia, recalled to investigators that Bolton had told her he was not part of 'whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,' an apparent reference to talks over Ukraine. She testified that Bolton asked her to take the concerns to National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg. As White House lawyers now try to learn more about the handling of the Ukraine call, Eisenberg is coming under particular scrutiny, said one White House official. He was both the official who ordered that the memorandum of the call be moved to a highly-classified system and the one who involved the Justice Department in a complaint from the CIA general counsel. The latter caught the attention of the president, according to the official. Trump's team won't comply with the Democratic inquiry. Giuliani and Vice President Mike Pence became the latest officials refusing to cooperate. The Defense Department said in a letter to the panel Tuesday it, too, could not comply with the request for documents. Among the grounds it cited was that the House hadn't taken a formal vote authorizing the impeachment inquiry. ___ Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker, Matthew Lee, Padmananda Rama, Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in Dallas contributed to this report.
  • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren don't just lead the Democratic presidential primary in fundraising. They've stockpiled millions more than their rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who burned through money at a fast clip over the past three months while posting an anemic fundraising haul. Sanders held $33.7 million cash on hand on his third-quarter fundraising report. Warren had $25.7 million during the same period, while South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg came next $23.3 million. Biden, meanwhile, held just $8.9 million, a small fraction of what his leading rivals have at their disposal. With the first votes of the Democratic contest just months away, the candidates are entering a critical and expensive period when having an ample supply of cash can make or break a campaign. Biden's total raises questions about his durability as a front-runner. 'Can he do better at fundraising? Absolutely. And I think he will,' said Biden donor and fundraiser Steve Westly. While many contenders in the crowded field will be triaging resources and making difficult spending decisions in the coming months, the advantage enjoyed by the Vermont and Massachusetts senators means they will have the luxury of spending when and where they want. That will allow them to buy large amounts of advertising, respond to attacks and boost their ground games in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. 'If you are sitting at fourth, fifth or even seventh place and you don't have the money to have a real paid media campaign, the future for you is probably pretty bleak. You will get drowned out by the rest of the noise,' said Grant Woodard, a Des Moines attorney who is a veteran of John Kerry's and Hillary Clinton's Iowa campaigns. 'It's still a fluid race. But to be competitive in this thing you are going to have to be on TV, digital and you are going to have to be on direct mail. The fundamentals still matter.' Biden has built a formidable campaign, but it's come at a cost. The $17.6 million he spent over the past three months was more than the $15.7 million he took in, according to his fundraising figures that were submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday's reporting deadline. Despite his lackluster totals, he still remains a favored candidate in recent public opinion polls, along with Warren. And in recent weeks, both Biden and his wife, Jill, have kept up a busier fundraising schedule. 'People focused on the minutia and the details,' said Westly, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. 'The reality is this is quickly boiling down to a two-person race — and that's between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.' Still, Biden is not alone in the sprawling field. California Sen. Kamala Harris had $10.5 million cash on hand but deferred paying consultants including her pollster nearly $1 million, records show. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker held $4.2 million, disclosures show. And the situation was far more dismal for others. Former Obama housing secretary Julián Castro had just $672,000 cash on hand, while Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan had even less, $158,000, records show. The advantage Warren and Sanders have was evident in the way they have been able to spend. Sanders' $21.5 million in spending between July and the end of September topped the list. It enabled him to spend $3.8 million on advertising and online fundraising, drop nearly $1 million on campaign merchandise and pay his staff a combined $5.6 million, records show. Warren's $18.6 million in spending during that period allowed her to fund a sprawling staff operation that includes well over 500 people on the payroll, in addition to financing a more than $3.2 million digital operation, records show. Buttigieg, too, has hired roughly 100 staffers in Iowa, where his campaign is betting on a strong performance. But just because they have a massive cash advantage doesn't mean the other candidates are doomed. Even though time is running out, candidates could still see their financial picture improve, particularly if they have a viral online moment to boost their online fundraising. 'The question is: Do you have enough money to run a strong campaign? North of $5 million and you have the ability to get through the fourth quarter,' said Democratic donor and Wall Street financier Robert Wolf, who was an economic adviser to Barack Obama.
  • A dozen Democratic presidential candidates participated in a spirited debate over health care, taxes, gun control and impeachment. Takeaways from the three-hour forum in Westerville, Ohio: WARREN'S RISE ATTRACTS ATTACKS Sen. Elizabeth Warren found Tuesday that her rise in the polls may come with a steep cost. She's now a clear target for attacks, particularly from more moderate challengers, and her many plans are now being subjected to much sharper scrutiny. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg slammed her for not acknowledging, as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has, that middle-class taxes would increase under the single-payer health plan she and Sanders favor. 'At least Bernie's being honest with this,' Klobuchar said. 'I don't think the American people are wrong when they say what they want is a choice,' Buttigieg told Warren. His plan maintains private insurance but would allow people to buy into Medicare. Candidates also pounced on Warren's suggestion that only she and Sanders want to take on billionaires while the rest of the field wants to protect them. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke told Warren it didn't seem as though she wanted to lift people up and she is 'more focused on being punitive.' And they piled onto her signature proposal, a 2% wealth tax to raise the trillions of dollars needed for many of her ambitious proposals. Technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang noted that such a measure has failed in almost every European country where it's been tried. Sen. Kamala Harris of California even went after Warren for not backing Harris' call for Twitter to ban President Donald Trump. ___ THAT 70s SHOW The stage included three 70-something candidates who would be the oldest people ever elected to a first term as president — including 78-year-old Sanders, who had a heart attack this month. Moderators asked all three how they could do the job. None really addressed the question. Sanders invited the public to a major rally he's planning in New York City next week and vowed to take the fight to corporate elites. Biden promised to release his medical records before the Iowa caucuses next year and said he was running because the country needs an elder statesman in the White House after Trump. Warren, whose campaign has highlighted her hours-long sessions posing for selfies with supporters, promised to 'out-organize and outlast' any other candidate, including Trump. Then she pivoted to her campaign argument that Democrats need to put forth big ideas rather than return to the past, a dig at Biden. ___ ONE VOICE ON IMPEACHMENT The opening question was a batting practice fastball for the Democratic candidates: Should Trump be impeached? They were in steadfast agreement. All 12 of them. Largely with variations on the word 'corrupt' to describe the Republican president. Warren was asked first if voters should decide whether Trump should stay in office. She responded, 'There are decisions that are bigger than politics.' Biden, who followed Sanders, offered a rare admission: 'I agree with Bernie.' The only hint of dissonance came from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who was one of the last Democratic House members to back an impeachment inquiry. She lamented that some Democrats had been calling for Trump's impeachment since right after the 2016 election, undermining the party's case against him. ___ KLOBUCHAR: MINNESOTA NOT-SO-NICE Klobuchar has faded into the background in previous debates, but she stood out on the crowded stage. She also went on the attack. She chided Yang for seeming to compare Russian interference in the 2016 election to U.S. foreign policy. But her main barbs were reserved for Warren. 'I appreciate Elizabeth's work but, again, the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done,' she said. After Warren seemed to suggest other candidates were protecting billionaires, Klobuchar pounced. 'No one on this stage wants to protect billionaires,' Klobuchar said. 'Even the billionaire doesn't want to protect billionaires.' That was a reference to investor Tom Steyer, who had agreed with Sanders' condemnation of billionaires and called for a wealth tax — despite the fact that his wealth funded his last-minute campaign to clear the debate thresholds and appear Tuesday night. Klobuchar also forcefully condemned Trump's abandonment of the Kurds in Syria. ___ BOOKER THE PEACEMAKER New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been trying to campaign on the power of love and unity. It hasn't vaulted him to the top of the polls, but it drew perhaps the biggest cheers from the crowd Tuesday night. As candidates bickered over their tax plans, Booker shut it down. 'We've got one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president and how we talk about each other in this debate actually really matters,' Booker said. 'Tearing each other down because we have a different plan is unacceptable.' Later, as candidates tussled over foreign policy and Syria, Booker again tried to bring the debate back to morals. 'This president is turning the moral leadership of this country into a dumpster fire,' he said, before launching into a furious condemnation of Trump's foreign policy. The New Jersey senator's inability to break out of the pack has puzzled Democrats who long saw him as a top-tier presidential candidate.
  • House Democrats are showing no signs of easing up on the fast-moving impeachment inquiry targeting President Donald Trump. Lawmakers attending closed-door interviews say testimony from State Department officials and those in other foreign policy posts is largely corroborating the account of the government whistleblower whose complaint sparked the probe. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears not to be willing to give in to Republican demands for a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry. Pelosi told reporters Tuesday that the investigation is raising new questions about Trump's relationship with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. She says that with Trump, 'all roads seem to lead to Putin.' Trump calls the impeachment inquiry an 'illegitimate process.' Scheduled to appear on Wednesday is a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley.
  • Health care memo to Democrats: There's more than one way to get to coverage for all. A study out Wednesday finds that an approach similar to the plan from former Vice President Joe Bide n can deliver about the same level of coverage as the government-run 'Medicare for All' plan from presidential rival Bernie Sanders. The study from the Commonwealth Fund and the Urban Institute think tanks concludes that the U.S. can achieve a goal that has eluded Democrats since Harry Truman by building on former President Barack Obama's health care law. Health care has sparked sharp exchanges in the Democratic presidential debates, and Tuesday night was no exception. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was challenged for being unwilling to say whether her support for Medicare for All would translate to higher taxes for the middle class. Warren said 'costs' would be lower, but Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota suggested that was a dodge. 'I'm sorry, Elizabeth,' said Klobuchar. 'I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're going to send the invoice.' She urged Democrats not to 'trash Obamacare' but build on it. The study suggests such heated discussions may have more to do with differences over the scope and reach of government than with the ultimate objective of providing universal coverage. 'A goal that they all share — universal coverage — can be reached in different ways,' said Sara Collins, the Commonwealth Fund's vice president for coverage and access. The researchers modeled a range of health care overhaul scenarios from tweaks to Obama's law to a full government-run single-payer plan like Sanders is proposing. Collins said the options studied are not carbon copies of the candidates' proposals, partly because many details are still in flux. However, they are generally similar. The study found that a full government-run plan like Sanders' would cover all U.S. residents, including people in the country without legal authorization. That adds up to more than 30 million currently uninsured people. However, it would increase U.S. health care spending because of generous benefits with no copays and deductibles. Expanded benefits would include home and community-based long-term care services. Assuming the plan was fully effective in 2020, total U.S. health spending would grow by nearly $720 billion. The federal government, which would take on costs now paid by employers and individuals, would have to raise nearly $2.7 trillion more in revenue in 2020. Such amounts would require a mix of broad-based taxes, the researchers said, although the report steered clear of how the plans would be financed. 'It is a big lift to get this kind of money, for sure,' said John Holahan, a top Urban Institute health policy expert. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll out this week found slippage in public support for Medicare for All. Fifty-one percent support such a government-run approach, down 5 percentage points since April. Opposition has risen significantly, from 38% in April to 47% in the latest survey. The Commonwealth Fund-Urban Institute study also modeled options resembling the plan that Biden is pushing. It starts with more generous subsidies for 'Obamacare' plans and Medicaid expansion in states that have so far refused it. Then it adds a 'public option' plan based on Medicare. People with employer coverage would be able to pick the public plan. There would be a mechanism to sign up all those eligible for coverage. Such an approach would reduce the number of uninsured by about 80%, the study estimated. That would still leave nearly 7 million U.S. residents without coverage, mainly people who don't have legal permission to be in the country. Under Biden's plan taxpayer subsidies would only be available to U.S. citizens and legal residents. Employer coverage would decline by about 10% as some low-income workers switch to the public option. Assuming the plan was fully effective in 2020, total U.S. health care spending would decline by about $20 billion, a relatively small amount considering the nation's tab is now more than $3.5 trillion a year. The decline would be partly due to the public option paying hospitals and doctors less than what private plans do now. The federal government would have to raise from $108 billion to $147 billion more in 2020 to cover the additional cost of expanding subsidized coverage options, a fraction of the cost of Medicare for All. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's plan overlaps in many details with Biden's. The two think tanks are nonpartisan research organizations that have long supported expanded coverage. Their health care work is particularly influential with policymakers on the political left.

The Latest News Headlines

  • In a shocking video that may be difficult for some to watch, a WSOC-TV viewer captured footage of hundreds of birds scattered across the ground near the entrance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, after flying into the side of the building. >> Read more trending news  Hollie Cameron's disturbing cellphone video shows dozens of birds lying on the ground outside the building and captures other birds crashing into the large windows. WSOC reporter Gina Esposito spoke with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, who said their rehab team responded to the NASCAR Hall of Fame around 11 p.m. and treated hundreds of birds. They said a total of 310 birds hit the windows of the building. Roughly one-third of those birds were dead when they arrived, and another third was seriously injured. The rest appeared to be stunned but will be OK, the organization said. >> Watch the clip here (WARNING: Some viewers may find the video below disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.) In the video, Cameron watched as a bird crashed into the window and then fell to the ground, joining dozens of others. Cameron told WSOC that she was working in the area when she started recording on her phone around 9 p.m. You can hear her talking with a security guard who claims the phenomenon had been going on for about an hour. 'Oh my God, look at them all,' Cameron says in the video. 'There's something wrong with them. This is not OK.' Carolina Waterfowl Rescue posted more video on Facebook of the birds at their facility. About 100 of the surviving birds are being treated for broken wings and fractures. The rescue group said the birds are chimney swifts and that the colony lives in a roost. They think something disturbed the colony Tuesday night, causing the birds to fly into the windows at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue officials told WSOC that this was not a naturally occurring event and the birds' migration could not have been a factor because the swifts only migrate during the day. They plan to investigate more on Wednesday. CMPD reportedly responded to the scene to begin cleaning up the birds. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said rehabbing the injured birds is expensive, and they desperately need volunteers since the birds will need to be hand-fed. Visit their Facebook page for more details on how you can help.
  • Plan to drive through times of scattered showers today ahead of a cool front that will bring drier, more refreshing air to end the week.  Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says some rain may be heavy at times with a few rumbles of thunder.  Overall rainfall totals are not expected to be great, but the rainfall is needed.  By Thursday morning you’ll begin to feel a change with drier air and high temperatures only in the upper 70’s.  Friday morning lows may fall into the upper 50’s in some neighborhoods, and high temperatures will only be in the upper 70’s.  The weekend is looking a little warmer and wetter at times with a few showers on Saturday and scattered showers on Sunday. 
  • Four separate shootings over a 24-hour period in Jacksonville has left at least six people wounded and, so far, no arrests have been announced by police.  Early this morning a man was shot on W. 17th Street, near RV Daniels Elementary School.  He was taken to a local hospital with a single gunshot wound to the leg. JSO had no suspect description and was asking for tips to Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.  Just after 10 pm on Tuesday, two young men between the ages of 17 and 20 were shot while sitting in a vehicle on Timmerman Lane. Both shooting victims had non-life-threatening injuries. JSO had no evidence to confirm if this was a drive-by shooting.  Around 5:20 pm on Tuesday, police were called to a shooting on Orton Street, where two men were treated and transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No suspect information was given at the scene by detectives.  On Miss Muffet Lane on the westside just after 6 pm on Tuesday, police responded to reports of shots fired. An off-duty officer was called about a gunshot wound victim at Park West ER. He was taken to Orange Park Medical Center in critical condition.  According to JSO, two groups of people in two separate cars that left the area were being questioned by detectives.  
  • A Pennsylvania mom is in critical condition after police said she killed her children and husband, then shot herself, Philadelphia police said. >> Read more trending news  Here are the latest updates: Update 5:49 a.m. EDT Oct. 16: Authorities have identified the woman accused of killing her children and husband late Monday in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to WPVI-TV, Damyrra Jones Alcindor, 28, also shot herself, police said. As she was rushed to a nearby hospital, she reportedly told officials she did not want to be resuscitated. Philadelphia police Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said Alcindor admitted to fatally shooting her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their father, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday afternoon. Although police did not release the victims' names, a family member identified them as Max Alcindor, 38; Maxilla, 4; and Damaya, 10 months, WCAU-TV reported. Investigators said Alcindor, who legally bought the handgun earlier Monday, is facing murder charges in the case, according to WCAU. Original report: According to KYW-TV and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the deadly shooting occurred just before 10 p.m. Monday at a home in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood. Police said the 29-year-old woman fatally shot her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their 35-year-old father. All three victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head, authorities said. When police arrived at the Hegerman Street home, they discovered the woman outside 'lying on top of a gun,' the Inquirer reported. Authorities said the woman, who apparently shot herself, was taken to a nearby hospital. Philadelphia police have not released the names of the woman or the victims, the news outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • Authorities in Indiana said a baby is alive and well after someone discovered the child inside a plastic bag near a fence in Seymour. >> Read more trending news  According to the Tribune and WAVE-TV, police responded to a call about the infant just before 4 p.m. Tuesday. A resident, who had been walking a dog off South Jackson Park Drive, found the child about 60 feet away from the street, investigators said. Crews rushed the baby to a nearby hospital, the news outlets reported. Doctors said the child is healthy, according to WAVE. Seymour police said they made contact Wednesday with a person of interest in the case. They emphasized the person was not a suspect in the investigation. Authorities have not yet made any arrests in connection with the incident, the Tribune reported. Read more here or here.

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