The battery pack itself charges fastest with a MacBook-style 27W charger, but works with regular wall chargers, too. You can charge both the charger and your phone at the same time – handy if you’re short on time. Interestingly, it can also reverse charge, meaning you can use your phone to charge up the battery pack.
The MagSafe Battery Pack is only available in white (so far) but in true Apple style, looks premium with its sleek rounded corners. It comes at a premium price, too. For £99 on the Apple Store, if you order one now it should arrive by the end of July.
However, you’ll need to buy the USB-C power adaptor and USB-C to Lightning charging cable separately.
The Football Association have been charged by UEFA over the crowd trouble that ensued outside Wembley Stadium before the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy on Sunday.
UEFA have charged The FA with four separate counts as chaos marred the occasion at the national stadium.
Fans forced their way into the stadium, clashed with each other and officials before England’s first-ever European Championship showdown.
They also breached security cordons and charged into the perimeter area surrounding Wembley.
UEFA have now opened proceedings for an investigation.
A UEFA statement read: “Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA EURO 2020 final match between the national teams of Italy and England (1-1, Italy won 3-2 on penalties), played on 11 July at Wembley Stadium, London.
“Charges against The English Football Association:
• Invasion of the field of play by its supporters – Article 16(2)(a) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR) • Throwing of objects by its supporters – Article 16(2)(b) DR • Disturbance caused by its supporters during the national anthem – Article 16(2)(g) DR • Lighting of a firework by its supporters – Article 16(2)(c) DR
“The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) in due course.
“Separately, and in accordance with Article 31(4) DR, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium.
“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”
The Metropolitan Police Federation said: “These people should be ashamed of themselves.
“They are not fans. They are thugs. We wish our injured colleagues well.”
Football Association chief executive, Mark Bullingham, telling BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “We will do a full review and we will work with the police to catch anyone involved and make sure we can prevent it ever happening again.
“Anyone caught will obviously be banned and have the right action taken against them.”
England lost following a penalty shootout defeat against Italy in their first major tournament final since 1966.
Luke Shaw’s first international goal handed the Three Lions the lead in the second minute, prompting jubilant scenes around the country.
However, Leonardo Bonucci equalised in the second half and the game advanced to a penalty shootout.
Marcus Rashford struck the post while Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka had their attempts saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, leading to a crushing defeat.
All three players were racially abused on social media in the aftermath.
Head coach Gareth Southgate has told supporters that they have a responsibility to act responsibly while cheering on the team.
“We can only set the example that we believe we should and represent the country in a way we feel we should when representing England.
“Everyone has to remember when they support the team that they are also representing England and they should represent what we stand for.
“The players have done that brilliantly and we can only continue to try to affect the things we can. We have had, I think, had a positive effect on lots of areas of society but we can’t affect everything.
“Other people have responsibilities in those areas. We’ve got to work collectively to improve those things.”
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Since April, the gap in vaccination rates between counties that voted for Biden in the 2020 election and those that went for former President Donald Trump grew by five times. | AP Photo/Steven Senne
The Biden administration is running out of ideas for jumpstarting the pace of coronavirus vaccinations, raising the prospect that more than a quarter of American adults could still be vulnerable to the virus into the fall.
The federal immunization campaign has slammed into rising partisanship and deep resistance among the 91 million adults who remain unvaccinated, turning what was once an all-out sprint into a marathon with no clear end in sight.
Even as President Joe Biden vows a “neighborhood-by-neighborhood” vaccination effort, a half-dozen federal and state officials working on the Covid-19 response acknowledged in interviews that none of their outreach efforts are likely to supercharge vaccination rates — and that there are few remaining options to try.
The administration is now strategizing over how to manage a nation with 68 percent of the population at least partially vaccinated, where pockets of the country will be subjected to periodic outbreaks while the majority of Americans move on.
Officials foresee a grinding effort to convert people one shot at a time that could last for months, and that risks being complicated by growing Republican resistance to what was once a largely bipartisan bid to get the country immunized.
“We are under no illusions that each person in this stage will take longer to reach,” said a senior administration official. “The first 180 million were much easier than the next 5 million.”
The shift comes as the more transmissible Delta variant is driving a resurgence of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations within unvaccinated communities across the U.S. In the days after Biden celebrated a July Fourth he said marked “independence” from the virus, daily new vaccinations reached six-month lows.
It’s a slowdown that administration officials argue was inevitable, and a side effect of the government’s largely faster-than-anticipated vaccine rollout. The rapid deployment left a surplus of shots by summer and prevented possibly hundreds of thousands of additional deaths while easing the pressure on local health departments and hospitals.
Yet as the pandemic recedes and officials concentrate on the holdouts, their efforts are being made increasingly difficult by conservative politicians and pundits who’ve ramped up criticism of the vaccination drive.
Most recently, the administration scrambled to tamp down backlash to Health secretary Xavier Becerra’s insistence that “it is absolutely the government’s business” to know which Americans have been vaccinated — an episode described as frustrating for officials already trying to combat misinformation surrounding the vaccines.
Since April, the gap in vaccination rates between counties that voted for Biden in the 2020 election and those that went for former President Donald Trump grew by five times, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.
The White House in the meantime is redoubling efforts to convert the unvaccinated by intensifying outreach programs and further expanding the vaccines’ availability, all while adopting an increasingly urgent tone.
Still, there is little expectation of major breakthroughs or sharp increases in the vaccination rate. Nearly everyone eager to get a vaccine has already gotten one, polling shows. Within the White House, officials believe that only about a third of those who remain unvaccinated are in the “wait and see” mode most likely to be persuaded to get a shot.
“We were spoiled in a sense by the early numbers, because that really represented all of this pent-up demand for the vaccine,” said Richard Besser, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a former acting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director.
And while there’s still opportunity for progress, “there is a core group in every segment that has lower vaccination rates where there’s just not going to be any movement,” he added.
Biden officials are embracing a mantra that the senior administration official described as “every single shot matters.” After hitting a series of high-profile vaccination milestones, the focus isshifting away from speed and toward a less quantifiable measure of success: the returning feel of normalcy.
“Every person we can get vaccinated at this point is another person protected,” the official said. “You’ve got to be realistic that people in this phase are going to take a little bit longer.”
It’s a tacit admission that, outside of an anticipated surge of vaccinations when young children become eligible for the shot, there’s little left to drive fresh demand.
Though a range of prominent health experts contend the Food and Drug Administration could prime demandby fully approving the vaccines, there’s skepticism within the administration that millions are holding out until the agency gives its final endorsement.
And while the White House has taken pains not to get involved in the FDA’s processes, officials said they don’t expect the vaccine approvals to come through until at least the fall, as the agency evaluates data submitted on a rolling basis by the drug manufacturers.
Another potential conduit for accelerated vaccinations — primary care doctors — has not expanded as quickly as some had hoped, with some physicians hesitant to turn their practices into vaccine distribution points when the shot is already widely available elsewhere. Others have embraced the effort, only to be forced to throw away much of the multidose vials after vaccinating only a couple patients in a day.
Biden’s Covid-19 response team has instead turned its recent focus on driving up the vaccination rate for younger Americans. Officials believe a significant number are still open to getting the shot but haven’t gone out of their way to seek it.
Jeff Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, and other federal officials have met privately in recent weeks with various school associations to encourage them to turn their individual schools into vaccination sites — and get eligible students their shots well before classrooms open up in the fall.
“Schools are trusted places, not only for the children and the youth but for the parents and community members,” said John Bridgeland, the co-founder of COVID Collaborative, which has worked with the administration on vaccine messaging efforts.
The administration has similarly coordinated with business groups, in a bid to convince more employers to encourage their workers to get vaccinated.
But the process is already fraught with politics.Universities in GOP-led states have already faced intense blowback for mandating that students get vaccinated before returning to campus, and similar requirements instituted by hospitals have drawn protests.
At some high schools and businesses, even the prospect of administering vaccines voluntarily has become a political flashpoint.
“It’s just: We’d love to do it, but I’ve got parents that are up in arms against it, or my board is not for it,” Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, said of the lament he’s gotten from some superintendents.
The one option sure to spark mass vaccinations is also the one federal and state health officials are loath to discuss: widespread mandates. In public and private, administration officials have stressed thatthey’llonly go as far as encouraging people to get the shots, wary of hardening opposition and fueling conspiracy theories.
State officials, meanwhile, are bracing for the community-by-community debate over mandates likely to break out once the vaccines are fully approved.
“What we’d like to do is get another 10 percent quickly done,” said Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “Maybe mandates would do that. But I don’t know that it’s worth it for the amount of backlash we’d get.”
Within the White House, there’s little discussion of a defined end game for the Covid-19 response — even as cases drop and Biden pivots increasingly toward revving up a post-pandemic economy.
Rather, Biden’s team expects the vaccination effort to gradually fade into the background over the long term, as the splashy rollouts and big ideas that marked the first six months morph into a slow, steady campaign to get more shots into arms.
“We’re at a point in the pandemic where things are a little bit more one by one,” the senior administration official said. “It’s definitely not as sexy to routinize Covid vaccinations, but it’s just as important.”
This controversial tax charge was introduced in 2013, following initial proposals announced by the then Chancellor George Osborne in October 2010 for withdrawing Child Benefit from higher-rate payers. The tax charge enables the Government to claw back Child Benefit through the tax system, from families where earners have an individual income of more than £50,000.
If two people in a household have an individual income of more than £50,000, then the person with the higher income of the two would be responsible for paying the tax charge.
So, what counts as income?
To calculate if the income is over the threshold, a person will need to work out their “adjusted net income”.
This is the total taxable income before any personal allowances and less things such as Gift Aid.
It’s possible to use the Child Benefit tax calculator to get an estimate of adjusted net income on the GOV.UK website.
If a person’s income is over the threshold, they will have two options.
This is either get Child Benefit payments and pay any tax charge at the end of each tax year, or to waive Child Benefit payments, and not pay the tax charge.
Those who opt for the latter can still fill in the Child Benefit claim form, allowing them to waive the payment but still claim National Insurance credits, which count towards one’s state pension.
On April 6, 2021, changes to Income Tax rates and bands came into effect, as the new tax year got underway.
It was the final increase ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s four-year freeze coming into force.
This will last from 2022/23 to 2025/26.
Now, taxable income of up to £12,570 fits into the Personal Allowance, and this amount can be earned without Income Tax being payable.
The basic rate tax band covers taxable income of £12,571 to £50,270, and this portion of income is subject to a 20 percent tax rate.
As such, some basic-rate taxpayers may find themselves subject to the High Income Child Benefit tax Charge.
Meanwhile, the higher rate band covers taxable income of £50,271 to £150,000 – charged at a 40 percent tax rate.
The additional rate band applies to taxable income over £150,000, and it is subject to a 45 percent tax rate.
Child benefit can be claimed by most parents but for those on high incomes, certain costs may arise. People may have to pay the HICBC if they have an individual income over £50,000 and either they or their partner gets child benfit or, someone else gets child benefit for a child living with them and they contribute at least an equal amount towards the child’s upkeep.
Claimants who earn between £50,000 and £60,000 per year will have to repay a portion of their child benefit as extra income tax.
One percent of the family’s child benefit will have to be paid back for every extra £100 earned over £50,000.
If either parent has an income of more than £60,000 a year, they’ll have to repay all their child benefit payments.
These repayments are usually paid through a self assessment but recently, a decision from the Upper Tribunal may impact how the process works, affecting thousands of families in the process.
This ruling could have drastic ramifications for child benefit claimants as Kay Ingram, a Public Policy Director at national financial planning group LEBC, detailed.
Ms Ingram said: “While the ruling may be welcome news for the many taxpayers who have paid the HICBC under discovery assessments, the threshold income of £50,100 at which this charge applies is far too low, not having been increased since it was introduced in 2013.
“It hits single parent families particularly hard as it is based on one individual exceeding the threshold, not on total household income.
“It would be timely for the Chancellor to remove this charge in his next Budget as it appears to be causing administrative problems for HMRC and taking money away from children.
Ms Ingram concluded: “In both cases the individual can also benefit from tax relief on the amount given or saved at the highest marginal rate of income tax they pay.
“So doing good or saving for retirement can enable child benefit to be paid tax-free without having to pay the High Income child benefit charge.”
Child benefit itself can be claimed by anyone who is responsible for raising a child who is under 16 or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training.
Claims for eldest or only children will generate £21.15 per week, with additional children bringing in £14.
The ninth installment in the “Fast & Furious” franchise opened only in theaters and had the widest release of any movie since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
LOS ANGELES — In the strongest sign yet that life is left in movie theaters, “F9″ sped to a box office take of $ 70 million in its first weekend, the biggest opening for a film since the pandemic began, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The ninth installment in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, starring franchise regulars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, opened only in theaters and had the widest release of any movie since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
The domestic total for Universal Pictures’ “F9” topped the previous pandemic-best of $ 48.4 million for “ A Quiet Place Part II ” four weeks ago. It was the biggest opening of any film since “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in December 2019.
“We couldn’t be more gratified to see that the audience embraced the ‘Fast’ family and came out to see ‘F9’ in tremendous numbers,” said Jim Orr, head of distribution for Universal. “The debut this weekend has really ignited the domestic box office and set it on a tremendous path for the rest of the year.”
“A Quiet Place Part II” came in a very distant second with $ 6.2 million. But it has now earned $ 136.4 million since its release. “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” brought in $ 4.88 million in the third spot.
“F9,” whose release was delayed several times, looks to have landed on just the right weekend to open in North America. It seemed to be a fitting film for the industry moment, with young audiences eager to be in theaters for a movie that emphasizes a loud, action-packed, immersive experience.
“It’s the perfect intersection of growing consumer confidence and vaccinations in North America, with movies that have already been released creating momentum,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “I don’t think you could have imagined a better scenario for the industry, with a few speed bumps in there. With ‘Furious 9’ being really the first summer blockbuster in two years.”
“F9” debuted internationally on May 19, and has now grossed more than $ 400 million globally.
Universal eschewed the hybrid approach of combining theatrical and streaming releases, as Disney did earlier in the year with “Cruella” and Warner Bros. did with “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
It also came after most major theater chains have significantly loosened restrictions on capacity and masking.
The trends suggest that Hollywood might have something resembling a regular summer movie season, albeit one that starts months late and won’t be setting any industry records.
Releases in the coming weeks include Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow” and Warner Bros.’ “The Suicide Squad.” Studios are using a variety of hybrid release plans. While the time movies spend between theaters and streaming has shrunk, probably permanently, there is an increasing emphasis back on the big screen.
“It’s a delayed start to a summer that’s been a long time coming. To have late June be ostensibly the start of summer is unusual, but better late than never,” Dergarabedian said. “A big Fourth of July weekend is coming up, with virtually every genre represented, and a week later we have ‘Black Widow,’ so we’re on the road to recovery.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.
“F9,” $ 70 million, ($ 334.9 million international).
“A Quiet Place Part II,” $ 6.2 million, ($ 112.1 million international).
“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” $ 4.88 million, ($ 14.5 million international).
“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” $ 4.85 million, ($ 79 million international).
“Cruella,” $ 3.7 million, ($ 112.5 million international).
“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” $ 2.9 million, ($ 101.5 million international).
“In The Heights,” $ 2.2 million, ($ 5.9 million international).
GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A Georgetown man is facing a murder charge after an investigation into his wife’s disappearance this past February.
At last check, Travis Hall is being held in jail on a $ 1 million bond.
His wife, Julie Hall, reportedly disappeared Feb. 19. She was last seen at her apartment and didn’t report for work the following Monday. She was a Hutto Independent School District special education aide.
KXAN has reached out to the District Attorney’s Office to see if Hall’s murder charge is connected to Julie’s disappearance.
According to a previous arrest affidavit, Hall was caught lying about where she and he were and what he did in the days leading up to and after she was reportedly missing.
Hall lied about Julie’s whereabouts to his children and police, the affidavit says, saying she went to visit her sister the day she disappeared. Her sister told investigators there were no such plans and Julie didn’t visit her. He also told police he had gone to Houston on Feb. 20 for a plumbing job, but later admitted to police he had been unfaithful and used a debit card in Julie’s name while in Houston after having dinner with the woman he admitted to having an affair with, the affidavit says.
Hall said he deleted text messages from his phone that detailed the affair and used Julie’s phone to send text messages and lie about her status to other family members, according to the affidavit.
The Texas Rangers found a confession letter in the couple’s apartment days after Julie’s disappearance, which read, “I’m sorry! I killed your mother in her sleep.” The letter was signed, “Dad.”
That letter, which led to a search warrant, also led to the discovery of blood spatters in the bedroom and evidence of a cleaning agent used on the floor.
Hall’s previous charges included tampering with evidence.
Author: Chelsea Moreno
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin
Queen is ‘very down to earth’ says Sir Paul McCartney
Ten years after The Beatles had split up in 1970, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had all gone their own ways. Each member of the band had begun working on some solo music, or worked with new musical groups. McCartney created a band with his wife, Linda McCartney, called Paul McCartney and Wings. They started performing in 1971, but nine years into their journey, a Japanese tour brought them to their knees.
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH PAUL MCCARTNEY TALK ABOUT GETTING ARRESTED
On January 16, 1980 McCartney and his entourage landed in Tokyo, Japan, to continue their ongoing tour of Asia.
As soon as he reached customs, McCartney was arrested by the Tokyo police for possessing nearly half a pound of marijuana.
The criminal justice system is very harsh on drug offences in Japan, so McCartney was looking at a staggering seven-year sentence in prison.
Despite the enormous amount of cannabis in his suitcase, the rock star assured the authorities it was intended for personal use, and not distribution.
The Beatles: Paul McCartney was arrested for possessing drugs (Image: GETTY)
The amount of weed McCartney had in his suitcase was enough that it would warrant a smuggling charge.
As soon as he got out of customs, the former member of the Fab Four was placed in a Tokyo jail.
He remained in prison for nine days before he was eventually released, avoiding any real punishment.
After being released from prison, McCartney was deported from Japan and did not return for a decade.
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH PAUL MCCARTNEY GET ARRESTED
The Beatles: The drugs seized in Paul McCartney’s suitcase (Image: GETTY)
What do you think? Should Paul McCartney have suffered the full seven-years imprisonment? Join the debate in the comments section here
McCartney went back to Japan in 1990 on The Paul McCartney World Tour.
All the money he earned from the tour in the country he donated to charity.
In 2004 McCartney commented on his arrest. He said: “We were about to fly to Japan and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything to smoke over there … This stuff was too good to flush down the toilet, so I thought I’d take it with me.”
Speaking about the moment he got caught, he added: “When the fellow pulled it out of the suitcase, he looked more embarrassed than me.”
The Beatles: Paul was ushered away and put in prison for nine days (Image: GETTY)
Strictly: Idris Elba and Paul McCartney praise ‘excellent’ series
McCartney went on: “I think he just wanted to put it back in and forget the whole thing, you know, but there it was.”
Speaking in 2018 to James Corden, the star recalled the situation once again.
He said: “I still am hazy as to how that happened but it did. I had some marijuana in my suitcase and I ended up in jail [for] nine days. Scary!”
Speaking once again about getting caught, the star continued: “The guy goes: ‘Oh! [makes incoherent sound]’ I said: ‘Well, what did he say?’ He says: ‘Seven years hard labour.’ And actually, that was the sentence for what I’d done.”
Despite spending over a week in prison, McCartney was quite jovial about the whole situation.
He said: “By the end, I was like: ‘Come on! In for a penny. I’m going in with the boys.’
“So we all went in there and it was fun, y’know, being in the tub with all these Japanese guys.”
Responding to pressure from doctor and hospital associations, United Healthcare has postponed the start of its controversial emergency room visit review policy, which was scheduled to go into effect in 35 states on July 1.
Nevertheless, the nation’s largest health insurer says it still plans to stop paying for ER visits it decides are unnecessary.
“Based on feedback from our provider partners, we have decided to delay the implementation of our emergency department program until at least the end of the national public health emergency period,” United spokeswoman Tracy Lempner said in a statement to WebMD. “We will use this time to continue to educate consumers, customers and providers on the new program and help ensure that people visit an appropriate site of service for non-emergency care needs.”
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the second largest health insurer, launched a similar program in 2017 in five states. Anthem is now defending this “avoidable ER” policy in a federal lawsuit brought by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Medical Association of Georgia. If Anthem wins that case, “they know that they can do it across the country,” says Ryan Stanton, MD, a member of the ACEP board and an emergency doctor in Lexington, KY.
So, despite the temporary victory for opponents of United’s new policy, millions of insured Americans may eventually face a new reality every time they go to the emergency room: If their health plan later decides they didn’t need to visit the ER, they’ll be on the hook for the entire cost of the visit.
“UnitedHealthcare is expecting patients to self-diagnose a potential medical emergency before seeing a physician, and then punishing them financially if they are incorrect,” ACEP President Mark Rosenberg, DO, said in a press release.
ACEP is not alone in its opposition to United’s move. A June 16 letter from 32 healthcare associations to United CEO Brian Thompson demanded that the insurer permanently rescind its new policy. Among the signers were specialty societies, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Federation of American Hospitals, the California Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the Texas Medical Association.
“Prudent Layperson” Argument
The argument made by critics of United’s policy is that it violates the federal “prudent layperson” rule that goes back to 1997 and was restated in the Affordable Care Act. Under this rule, no one can be denied coverage for an ER visit if they think they’re having a medical emergency.
“Both Anthem and United Healthcare have said they’re complying with the prudent layperson rule. They’re not,” says Stanton. “The definition clearly says that a person of sound mind determines their emergency. The insurers are now saying that the prudent layperson isn’t smart enough to determine that this wasn’t an emergency. And they are going to try to save money off this by denying the truly non-emergent cases, such as the acne visit or the stubbed toe. But if they do what Anthem did, they’ll deny claims related to chest pain, abdominal pain and headaches — things that clearly need significant clinical evaluation.”
Stanton recalls that Anthem denied coverage when a friend of his in Lexington visited an ER.
“She went in with right lower quadrant abdominal pain, which could be appendicitis or something else. I advised that she should get a full evaluation, and it turned out that she’d ruptured an ovarian cyst. Anthem came back later and said, ‘That’s not an emergency.’ Well, she was balled up on the floor in the fetal position in extreme pain with a differential diagnosis that could have been surgical. So, they let us do all the work, and then they said it wasn’t an emergency.”
Good! The AG also needs to look at United health care’s proposal on not paying for emergency room visits if they determine it was not an emergency! That is really wrong!
Under United’s policy, an ER physician can attest that a patient had an emergency condition after the carrier denies the claim. But in the meantime, the patient may get billed for the ER visit and may have to go back and forth with the insurance company, says Stanton.
Ateev Mehrotra, MD, an associate professor of healthcare policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School, says patients get stuck in the middle when insurers decide to second-guess their decisions to visit the ER.
While there is a real cost issue for hospitals and insurers when people go to the emergency room for non-emergencies, “I don’t believe that a retrospective policy to not pay for these visits will likely be effective,” he says.
“The most important reason is that patients don’t know before they make the [emergency room] visit whether this is a [non-emergency]. When you go in, you’re having symptoms, and you don’t know whether it’s a big deal or not. Then everything turns out to be fine, you go home, and your health plan won’t pay for it,” he says, adding that such a policy might discourage patients from going to the ER in the future
“If you get burned once, and you pay a ton of money for a visit, the next time you have similar symptoms, you might not to go the [ER], and that might result in harm to your health,” says Mehrotra
Alternative Care Settings
Insurance companies have long tried to get their members to avoid the ER when possible and to make less expensive visits to primary care offices, urgent care centers, or retail clinics, and to use telehealth services. According to an Anthem brochure for employers, the average ER visit costs $ 1,404, compared to $ 143 for an urgent care center, $ 124 for a walk-in doctor’s office, $ 72 for a retail clinic and $ 49 for a telehealth visit.
As Mehrotra noted, consumers understand that their out-of-pocket cost is also higher in the ER, with co-pays that can range from $ 100-$ 300. Already, an increasing number of people have switched to urgent care centers or other alternatives.
“The number of [ER] visits is falling, but the cost per visit has increased so significantly that the total spending … has gone up dramatically,” he says.
A 2018 study he co-authored showed that from 2008 to 2015, ER visits for non-emergencies plummeted 36% for Aetna members. During the same period, however, the average cost of ER visits for such conditions rose 79%. The insurer’s per-member cost increased by 14% from $ 70 to $ 80 per year, and that trend has continued, Mehrotra says.
Impact on Health Outcomes
The bigger question for patients and doctors is how these kinds of review policies may affect patient health. The COVID-19 pandemic offers some clues.
ER visits dropped about 35% during the early phase of the pandemic, primarily due to patients’ fear of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital. According to a study of Boston emergency medical services data, “delays in seeking emergency care stemming from patient reluctance may explain the rise in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and associated poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Even without COVID-19 in the picture “we’ve found that when people pay more for emergency care, both low-acuity and high-acuity ED visits fall,” Mehrotra says. While he wouldn’t say that this reluctance to go to the ER may lead to increased deaths, he reiterated that the denial of ER visit coverage is not the solution to increased emergency care spending.
Decentralized exchange Uniswap successfully launched version 3 of its platform in May — resulting in high trade volumes despite a downturn across the cryptocurrency markets.
The latest version of the hugely popular decentralized finance (DeFi) automated market maker (AMM) has quickly attracted a sizable amount of trade volume, seeing it move into the top five decentralized exchanges alongside Sushiswap, PancakeSwap v2 and its predecessor, Uniswap v2.
The success of v3 cannot be understated, as the cryptocurrency space has been under pressure due to a market correction in May that has cast shadows over what has been the most prolific bull run that the space has seen.
Uniswap v3 is now the leading dex in terms of trading volume, recording an average of $ 1.2 billion in daily transaction volume, while Uniswap v2, which was leading until very recently, currently processes just under $ 1 billion in 24-hour transaction value.
Furthermore, a number of fellow DeFi tokens led a rally in the markets after last week’s tumultuous correction, which has since been dubbed the biggest capitulation in the cryptocurrency markets. However, the overall market saw a $ 400 billion increase in value shortly after as several altcoins surged, with Maker’s MKR token gaining 91% and Yearn.finance’s YFI seeing a 72% increase. The native token of the Uniswap exchange, UNI, and AAVE also saw significant increases in value.
As a result, some analysts believe that Uniswap v3 could see increased use by liquidity providers and retail users given its improved functionality. But what changed, and is it ready to replace the previous version?
The nature of software development means that applications and platforms are in a constant state of improvement, and Uniswap is no exception. The first version of the booming DeFi AMM was released back in 2018 and has garnered thousands of users and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transaction volume in the three years since.
Given the nascent state of the DeFi ecosystem, changes come quick and fast, and developers are constantly looking to improve current protocols and offer new products and services on their platforms.
Uniswap v2 was launched in May 2020 and introduced direct token swaps and other features that improved the overall performance of the AMM. In the year since, Uniswap has facilitated around $ 135 billion in trading volume and has established itself as one of the biggest cryptocurrency spot exchanges worldwide.
While the platform continued to contribute significantly to the popularity and use of DeFi, developers began work on Uniswap v3 behind the scenes, introducing improved control for liquidity providers on the platform and multiple fee tiers.
V3 is a success?
Uniswap v3’s launch in May has been heralded as a success, with the trading volume on the platform racking up some eye-popping numbers despite its inferior total value locked (TVL) compared with Uniswap v2.
Johannes Jensen, product and project manager at eToro, told Cointelegraph that the improvements made to critical issues existing in the designs of constant function market makers (CFMMs) have been a key driver in the immediate success of Uniswap v3:
“The primary contribution is the ability for liquidity providers (LPs) to offer bounded liquidity in a certain price range. With the custom liquidity provision feature, trading fees are collected and held separately, rather than automatically reinvested as liquidity in the pool. An interesting consequence of bounded liquidity positions is that the systemic implications of LP shares are inherently mitigated.”
Jensen noted that Uniswap’s v2 model essentially gave liquidity providers proportional ownership of a liquidity pool, which created a complex payout function due to impermanent losses, making the feature more similar to an options contract than a direct claim to the underlying asset.
Elias Simos, protocol specialist at Bison Trails, believes that the early success of Uniswap v3 and its innovations will continue to attract capital from liquidity providers given its improved efficiency:
“With Uniswap V3, we are seeing the emergence of capital-efficient DeFi. For reference, since its launch in early May, Uniswap V3 has ended up printing something like 120% TVL utilization vs Sushi trading at 20%.”
Aniket Jindal, co-founder of transaction infrastructure firm Biconomy, highlighted the fact that despite high fees, Uniswap v3 has attracted new users, which suggests that the improvements brought by the latest version of the AMM have been met positively: “What’s even more surprising is even after gas prices went up to insane levels, Layer 2 DEXs became more popular.”
Liquidity providers chase improved returns
The cryptocurrency ecosystem has become accustomed to things moving at breakneck speed, and the prospect of bigger, better returns could well be the catalyst to drive more liquidity providers to Uniswap v3.
Simos believes that the inherent complexities of moving across to v3 will be a short-term barrier to entry, but the bottom line, better yields and new products will drive the migration to the newest version of the AMM:
“Yes, concentrated liquidity provides new challenges, perhaps even more overhead for LPs, but firstly the yield is better, and secondly there will soon be an ecosystem of products around Uniswap V3 LP positions that will abstract some of the complexity away.”
While Jindal agreed with Simos’ sentiments that v3 could continue to attract liquidity providers, there are some factors that might create some friction in the migration of users from v2 who will have to reapprove their tokens for v3 and also for “liquidity providers who now need to select a ‘price range’ which can be complicated for many to understand.”
Jensen believes that the increased capital efficiency of the Uniswap v3 model will continue attracting new liquidity providers and traders: “The ability to provide bounded liquidity for a desirable price-range becomes an interesting tool in volatile markets, as LPs can use the model to price the inventory risk of holding less-known or volatile assets.”
As a consequence, Jensen suggested that liquidity providers using specialized CFMMs like Curve might migrate to Uniswap v3, depending on the relative depth of stablecoin pairs and trading activity in competing pools. He also added that some might not necessarily want to deal with the added demand of managing their risk:
“Maintaining a consistent income during volatile markets with Uniswap V3 will require an active effort from LPs, as they will need to adjust their pricing ranges accordingly. Decidedly passive LPs may opt for lower capital efficiency to reduce the chance of suffering impermanent losses in highly volatile markets.”
DeFi powers the comeback
2021 has proven to be another monumental year for the cryptocurrency space, with major moves happening across the ecosystem. DeFi has become a major focal point, and the most recent market correction has added credence to DeFi’s influence and role.
Nevertheless, Simos highlighted the fact that DeFi has seen prolific growth since the beginning of 2020 and that important data shows that: “DeFi has been printing positive signs for over 1.5 years right now. The growth in fundamentals (TVL, volumes, users) continues to be on a hockey stick trajectory. […] Will there be short-term volatility? For sure. But the fundamentals persist.”
Jensen pointed to the role that DeFi and AMMs are playing in capital allocation from liquidity providers and their general use by everyday cryptocurrency users, so much so that they have “increasingly become an intrinsic part of how capital is allocated in crypto today.”
He also highlighted the yin-and-yang relationship of DeFi and Ethereum, with the latter still the smart contract blockchain of choice for the space. This has inevitably led to problems around high fees, but Jensen believes v3 could help alleviate some of these pain points while Ethereum continues its evolution toward a proof-of-stake future:
“Uniswap V3 may attract a more sophisticated breed of LPs which will build new features for algorithmically adjusting price-ranges based on market volatility or even sentiment data.”