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Charter schools fail, Obamacare lowers costs, Medicaid expansion could help thousands

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Ohio charter school have

largely failed to live up to their promises

, according to The Columbus Dispatch . Charter schools were originally pursued by Ohio lawmakers to help find a suitable alternative to the state’s struggling urban public schools. But in the latest school report cards, charter schools performed just as poorly as urban public schools. Charter schools are allowed to run a profit and skip on certain state rules and regulations, which was supposed to give them some leniency in implementing successful academic models.

Obamacare will

lower average health care costs

in Ohio’s individual market, according to a study from RAND Corporation, a reputable think tank. Although premiums will rise as a result of the law, the tax credits offered in Obamacare will be more than enough to offset the increases. The numbers only apply to the individual marketplaces; anyone who gets insurance through an employer or public program falls under different rules and regulation. Still, the findings are good news for Obamacare as the federal government aims to insure 7 million people — and 2.7 million young, healthy adults among those — to make the individual marketplaces work. As part of Obamacare, states and the federal government will open online enrollment for new, subsidized individual insurance plans on Oct. 1, and the plans will go into effect at the start of next year.

The Medicaid expansion could

insure more than 42,000 people in Hamilton County

, according to the Ohio Poverty Law Center. As part of Obamacare, states are asked to expand their Medicaid programs to include anyone at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for a single-person household). If states accept, the federal government will pay for the entire expansion for the first three years then phase down its payments indefinitely to 90 percent of the expansion’s total cost. Earlier this year, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio released

an analysis

that found the Medicaid expansion would insure nearly half a million Ohioans and save the state about $1.8 billion in the next decade.

Gov. John Kasich says he wants to

slow down Attorney General Mike DeWine’s facial recognition program

and work with the Ohio legislature to review if changes are necessary. Kasich compared the program to federal surveillance programs like the NSA and FISA, which have come under scrutiny in the past few months after leaks unveiled broader snooping and data collection of Americans’ private communications than previously expected. The facial recognition program allows police officers and civilian employees to use a photo to search databases for names and contact information; previously, law enforcement officials needed a name or address to search such databases. The program was criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union because knowledge of the program’s existence was withheld from the public for two-plus months and an independent group never reviewed the program’s privacy-protecting protocols.

Democratic City Council candidate Greg Landsman

backed the second phase of the streetcar

in a column Friday. The endorsement could be vital to the project’s future because Landsman is widely considered a favorite in this year’s City Council race.

JobsOhio’s leaders

plan to launch a public relations offensive

to repair the agency’s image. The privatized development agency has been criticized for its lack of transparency after media outlets uncovered that it was handing out tax credits to companies with direct financial ties to JobsOhio board members. Democrats argue the agency needs more transparency and checks on its recommendations, while Republicans, who created the agency to replace the Ohio Department of Development, claim the agency’s privatized, secretive nature allows it to move more quickly with job-creating development deals.

The University of Cincinnati was

named public university of the year

by The Washington Center. The award recognizes UC for supporting experiential education through its partnership with The Washington Center, an independent academic organization that serves hundreds of colleges and universities by providing internships and other opportunities in Washington, D.C., for school credit.

Police

busted a $1 million shoplifting ring

in Ohio that targeted discount retail stores along the Interstate 75 corridor, such as Walmart, Meijer, CVS and Family Dollar.

State law will soon require vaccine immunizations against several diseases

for children attending school.

Cincinnati-based Kroger is

cutting health care benefits for employees’ spouses on Jan. 1

, but the plan will also increase pay, stabilize the company’s pension fund and provide more benefits for part-time employees. Obamacare apparently played a role in the decision to cut spousal benefits, but Kroger says the most influential factor was rising health care costs all around the nation — a trend that has been ongoing for decades.

Here

is a visualization of the urban heat island effect, which will make cities warm up much faster as global warming continues.

Could you survive the end of the universe? io9 tackles the question

here

.
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