theNewsWorthy: Wednesday, March 27th, 2019


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All the news stories mentioned in today's episode are listed with links below, so you can spend as much -- or as little -- time as you want perusing the latest happenings...

ObamaCare Debate:  Republicans and Democrats are debating the Affordable Care Act (AKA ObamaCare) again, and healthcare is set to be a major topic heading into the 2020 election. The latest? The Trump Administration says it now wants to repeal ObamaCare completely. Democrats want to leave the law as-is or even extend health care assistance to more people. It looks like it'll be up to the courts, so stay tuned. Btw: if the ACA is repealed, it could mean about 20 million people could lose health insurance. Critics of the law say it raises prices for people who don't qualify for the program.
Read more: The Hill, AP

Mueller Report Update:  Attorney General William Barr says an edited version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report will be released within “weeks, not months.” So far, we've only see Barr's short summary. Many people, especially Democrats, want to see the full report for themselves. This is far from over.
Read more: Reuters

Smollett Charges Dropped:  An unexpected twist in the Jussie Smollett case: all charges against the Empire actor have been dropped. But here's the thing: prosecutors say the decision does not exonerate him. Police still believe he staged the attack in Chicago, but prosecutors say Smollett isn’t a threat to public safety, has agreed to community service, and is letting Chicago keep his $10,000 bond payment. Smollett still says he's innocent, but Chicago’s mayor, police superintendent and local police union are not happy about the decision to let him off the hook.
Read more: NYT, Variety, NBC News

Drugmaker Lawsuit:  The maker of OxyContin will pay $270 million to the state of Oklahoma to settle a lawsuit. The state said that Purdue Pharma made billions of dollars while fueling the country’s opioid epidemic with shady marketing. Purdue denies any wrongdoing. Some of the settlement money will go to create the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment.
Read more: WSJ, Reuters, CNBC

NYC Congestion Charge:  New York will likely become the first U.S. city to charge you for driving on the most crowded streets. It would mean new electronic tolls that drivers would pay as they enter the most congested areas of Manhattan. The money would then help improve the city’s public transit system. While NYC may be the first to do it, it probably won’t be the last. LA, San Francisco and Seattle have considered something similar.
Read more: NYT
NFL Rule Changes:  New rules are coming to the NFL, including one meant to make the game safer. NFL owners voted to eliminate blindside blocks, which reportedly cause one third of the league’s concussions. The league also voted to expand the use of instant replay, and to allow reviews of more pass interference calls and non-calls for at least one year.
Read more: USA Today, CBS Sports, SB Nation
UPS + Drones:  UPS is teaming up with a drone delivery startup to test out deliveries of medical supplies. The drones will have to fly along fixed routes because of FAA guidelines; they can only carry about five pounds and travel ten miles. The hope is to use them for many different hospitals in the future, but for now, UPS is testing them in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Read more: The Verge
Uber Deal:  Uber just made its largest deal ever, buying rival company Careem for more than $3 billion. Careem is a ride-hailing app in the Middle East with 30 million users. It will still operate under its own name after the change in ownership. Uber is preparing for its initial public offering later this year; the company could be valued at as much as $120 billion.
Read more: WSJ, CNBC
McDonald’s Tech Menu:  McDonald’s is making plans to use technology to create more personalized drive-thru menus. It's acquiring a startup called Dynamic Yield in its largest deal in two decades. The new menu will reportedly be able to change based on things like weather, restaurant traffic and popular items.
Read more: TechCrunch, Engadget, CNBC