MCCREADY DINGS BISHOP OVER FAULTY HEALTH CARE PLAN: That’s what health policy experts say could happen under Bishop’s bill. While the ACA requires plans to cover 10 “essential benefits” — from prescription drugs and rehabilitative services to chronic disease management — association plans are subject to looser standards and aren’t required to cover those essential benefits, she said. “As a simple example, you could allow people who have cancer to buy into the plan, but the plan might cover (pay for) zero cancer care — in effect removing coverage for the preexisting condition despite nominally allowing the person to purchase the insurance plan,” Lewis said. The Winston-Salem Journal story points out that Bishop’s bill “does not include guarantees of the essential benefits. An amendment to add the essential benefits to SB86 was tabled by a 28-20 vote in the Senate,” with Bishop voting to table it.
GOP REFUND "GIMMICK" WOULD INCLUDE NOTE FROM DALE FOLWELL: The DOR also figured that the large number of checks would require it to outsource some of the printing, costing about $1 million. Finally, a public relations campaign to help people understand the refund is budgeted at $100,000, the fiscal note states. That is, of course, all assumes the measure gets past the governor. "I'll look at whatever they send to us, but this sounds more like a gimmick to me," Cooper said. "It's going to cost millions of dollars to even do this. So let's use that money to invest in teacher pay and education." Something else would also be included in the mailings: An explanatory letter from State Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican elected statewide and up for re-election next year. The Treasurer's Office confirmed Thursday that writing the note would be their only role in sending out the refunds. The DOR, which operates under the Governor's Office, would do the legwork.
NC DOT AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS REACH AGREEMENT ON RALEIGH TOLL ROAD: North Carolina officials have signed a settlement with environmental groups that clears the path for construction of major highway project south of Raleigh. The state's Department of Transportation said Thursday that the deal with Clean Air Carolina will allow construction to begin later this year on the Triangle Expressway Southeast Extension, a toll road also known as Complete 540. Transportation planners have sought the project for years to complete a highway loop around Raleigh. The settlement requires the department of transportation to take steps to reduce emissions from construction equipment and includes protections for water quality in the area and endangered aquatic species.
G-7 HOST FRANCE IS HAVING TO TAKE STEPS TO AVOID A TRUMP MELTDOWN: Like an annual holiday gathering where the main goal is to get through the day without a family explosion, one of France’s main objectives as host of this weekend’s Group of Seven summit is to minimize the chances that President Trump will blow it up. Subjects on which to tread lightly include some of the biggest problems the world’s major economies are facing — including trade, the system of international rules that has ordered the democratic world for decades and climate change, according to U.S. and other G-7 officials. Already, Trump has shaken up the schedule, calling at the last minute for a special meeting Sunday morning to discuss the global economy. Senior administration officials said he will contrast U.S. growth with Europe’s economic doldrums and press his pro-jobs and “fair” trade messages.
AMAZON WILDFIRES EXPOSE RIGHT-WING GOVERNMENT'S IRRESPONSIBLE POLICIES: The Bolsonaro administration has reacted with indignation to the outrage, claiming without presenting any evidence that nongovernmental organizations could have started the fires to undermine the far-right president. Mr. Karipuna said loggers are striding into protected areas, emboldened by Mr. Bolsonaro’s views that the legal protections granted to indigenous lands are an unreasonable impediment to profiting from the Amazon’s resources. “He empowered them, he told them to invade,” Mr. Karipuna said in a phone interview. Senior government officials in Brazil took aim on Thursday at international news coverage and criticism from Western governments, calling their characterization of the fires intentionally misleading. Data released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research shows that from January to July, fires consumed 4.6 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon, a 62 percent increase compared to last year.