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US internet rule change leaves major streaming companies unscathed for now

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Behind your video stream of a hit like “Stranger Things” is a complicated array of technology and business relationships that will not change very much, at least in the short term, as a result of this week’s repeal of U.S. regulations on internet traffic, industry insiders say.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday repealed its own 2015 rules, known as net neutrality, that required internet service providers like Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) to treat all online content equally, barring high-speed toll lanes and any preferential treatment of one website over another.

The repeal effort has drawn cheers from Comcast and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), who say the net neutrality regulations stifled investment in their networks. But it has been fiercely denounced by many in the internet industry and beyond as a mortal threat to the open internet, with several state attorneys general and others promising a legal fight.

Yet the loud debate has obscured the fact that the biggest streaming companies, including Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube, already pay internet service providers (ISPs) to deliver their videos, while smaller players mostly do not.

The latest net neutrality rules did not erase these business dynamics, people familiar with the arrangements say. The repeal likely will not either, though scuffles could arise as ISPs seek to take advantage of the rule change in the future.

“From the era of having no net neutrality to the era of having it, nothing changed,” said a former video streaming executive on condition of anonymity.

To deliver their services effectively and economically, large video streaming companies spend money sending data directly to different broadband networks, and dominant ISPs at times charge for taking on large volumes of traffic.

Big companies like Netflix and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) also can deliver their video streams far and wide on their own, while many smaller internet companies pay external content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai Technologies Inc (AKAM.O) to do the work for them. Multimedia websites that do not pay for such services are slower in many instances than those that do.

Companies’ “need for someone that sits between their content, whether that’s a website or streaming video, and all the places in the world it needs to go, isn’t going to change,” said Sunil Dhaliwal, founder of venture capital firm Amplify Partners, which has a stake in content delivery network Fastly.

There have been conflicts, notably a 2014 dust-up between Netflix and Comcast, that resulted from the dramatic surge in streaming video traffic in recent years. Netflix ultimately agreed to pay Comcast despite complaining in an online blog post that its partner was “double dipping” by also receiving money from home internet subscribers. Yet this arrangement was not unique.

YouTube, for example, has also paid ISPs as part of so-called “peering” arrangements by which networks connect to one another to deliver video streams more efficiently, said an industry executive familiar with the practice.

In a statement, Netflix said “tolls decreased for us” after the 2015 net neutrality rules were passed – but did not say they disappeared.

The company added: “We support strong net neutrality protections, even if we are at less risk because of our popularity, which keeps our relationships with ISPs stable.”

WALKING ‘A TIGHTROPE’

Chris Van Noy, a digital media executive formerly with Akamai and streaming service Hulu, noted that ISPs would have no reason to interfere with startups and small firms that send little internet traffic over their networks, with the possible exception of a startup posing a strategic threat.

Going after bigger players would not be simple either, he said.

“It’s always a tight rope for the ISPs,” said Van Noy. Blocking video services would undermine their sales of fast-download, higher-margin internet plans that are “pure gravy for them.”

That is not to say ISPs will not attempt to profit from the regulatory change. They may offer bundled internet deals that include their in-house content but charge extra for Netflix or Hulu, experts said.

“They can frame it as a positive. ‘We’re not hurting Netflix. We’re just giving our subscribers a benefit of something we already own,’” said Alan Wolk, lead analyst for TV industry publication TV[R]EV.

But any action that changes how consumers access the internet must be disclosed under the new FCC rules and may face regulatory scrutiny – a possible deterrent.

“I don’t think anyone is going to do anything crazy that will upset public opinion,” said Eric Hippeau, a managing partner of Lerer Hippeau Ventures and former CEO of The Huffington Post. “This is a highly politically charged area.”

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Frances Kerry

How the loss of net neutrality could change the internet

The repeal of net neutrality ushers in a new chapter of the internet that could eventually transform the way Americans communicate, shop and consume information online.

The Federal Communications Commission’s party-line vote Thursday to dump the Obama-era rules, which required internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally, opens the door for companies like Verizon and ATT to experiment with new business models free from government regulation.

Story Continued Below

10eaa_ad-placeholder-300x250-02_480 How the loss of net neutrality could change the internet

ISPs point to an array of possible pro-consumer outcomes like “family friendly” broadband packages that block content not suitable for children, or guaranteed fast speeds for health-related mobile applications. But net neutrality advocates paint an array of troubling scenarios — from smaller websites like the crafts marketplace Etsy and streaming service Vimeo forced to pay tolls to reach consumers, to cable giants like Comcast blocking or slowing disfavored sites while giving priority to their own content.

“You will see fast lanes and slow lanes. You can’t have fast lanes without slow lanes,” said Gigi Sohn, a net neutrality advocate who worked as an FCC aide when the rules were passed in 2015. “That will mean some of your websites are going to load slower, and some you like, mainly the smaller ones, may cease to exist because they can’t pay to get to customers faster.”

Thursday’s move comes amid a rapidly changing media environment in which the internet is hotly contested turf. Big media companies like Disney, which just announced plans to acquire 21st Century Fox film and TV assets in a $52 billion deal, will still have the resources to negotiate deals with internet providers for preferential access to consumers — but net neutrality advocates fear that smaller competitors and innovative startups will find themselves priced out.

“As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new powers. They will have the power to block websites, the power to throttle services, and the power to censor online content,” Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said at Thursday’s meeting. “They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road.”

The FCC’s Republican majority, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, and the major internet providers are adamant that the regulatory rollback won’t change things for Americans.

Claims that the net neutrality repeal will destroy the internet are “a scary bedtime story for the children of telecom geeks,” GOP Commissioner Mike O’Rielly said Thursday. ISPs say they have no plans to engage in some of the nefarious practices the activists are warning about.

“It is not going to end the internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online,” Pai said. “If stating these propositions alone doesn’t demonstrate their absurdity, our internet experience before 2015, and our internet experience tomorrow, once this order passes, will prove them so.”

The hype around net neutrality “has given the public an over-exaggerated and catastrophic image of what is likely and is going to happen,” said Michael Powell, head of the cable industry trade group NCTA and himself a former Republican FCC chairman.

But critics foresee an eventual fracturing of the internet, as some websites and streaming services get a speed advantage over others. And they fear the internet will someday look more like cable TV, with providers acting as gatekeepers, channeling people into bundled packages of websites, apps and services rather than offering unfettered access to the web.

Such changes could take years to become apparent, said Andrew Schwartzman, senior counselor at Georgetown University Law School’s Institute for Public Representation who supports the now-repealed net neutrality rules.

The big internet providers will be on their “good behavior” in the short term, as expected litigation over the FCC’s order plays out, he said. But over the long term he expects them to start making changes, like charging websites to upgrade “interconnection” points between networks or extracting fees from sites for faster access to their online customers — all shielded by non-disclosure agreements.

“This is no longer a debate among tech nerds,” he said. “Over the last few years, as more and more consumers have come to realize the importance of an open Internet, a broad pro-net neutrality consensus has emerged.”

The wireless industry has already flirted with preferential treatment of some web traffic, in the form of so-called zero-rating or sponsored data programs. They offer customers a way to stream video content and access other services without it counting against their monthly data caps. For example, T-Mobile customers can use the company’s “Binge On” program to stream Netflix videos. The previous, Democratic-led FCC warned that some of these practices violate net neutrality principles, a stance that Pai rejected when he took over as chairman earlier this year.

While most of the major internet providers have said they have no intention of blocking or throttling web traffic, the companies are more vague on the issue of “paid prioritization,” or creating fast lanes for businesses that pay more.

Verizon supports a ban on the practice in situations where there is “harm to competition or consumers.” ATT says it will not “unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic.” Charter says it’s never included internet fast lanes in its business plans and has no plans change course. Comcast also has “no plans” to enter into paid prioritization agreements but did not address whether such plans could change in the future.

All four companies declined to make a representative available for an interview last week, pointing instead to previous statements by executives.

The FCC, in its repeal order, argues that eliminating the ban on fast lanes could spur innovation in the marketplace. O’Rielly on Thursday said he thinks such arrangements could be useful to some kinds of driverless cars, which need to transmit and receive data to communicate with transportation infrastructure like stoplights and potentially other vehicles.

“Clearly, there are cases today and many more that will develop in time in which the option of a paid prioritization offering would be a necessity based on either technology or needs of consumer welfare,” he said.

But advocates of the 2015 rules believe the repeal is the beginning of a darker phase of the internet.

“The loss of net neutrality means the loss of your fundamental rights,” said Matt Wood, policy director of advocacy group Free Press. “ISPs shouldn’t discriminate against internet content and your choices online. Now they can.”

The future of how the internet is regulated is about to change

d7647_171212180514-fake-comments-net-neutrality-1024x576 The future of how the internet is regulated is about to change

The future of how the internet is regulated may be decided this week.

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial plan to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections. The repeal is expected to pass on a party-line vote.

The rules, approved by the FCC in 2015, were intended to keep the internet open and fair. Internet service providers like Comcast (CCVCL) and Verizon (VZ) were explicitly prohibited from speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites and apps.

Under the new proposal, the FCC would do away with rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content. The FCC would also eliminate a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content.

Ajit Pai, the chairman appointed to run the FCC by President Trump, has been an longtime critic of the net neutrality rules. Last month, he pitched his repeal proposal as a way stop the federal government from “micromanaging the internet.”

Pai’s plan has been praised by the telecom industry, which argues the earlier regulation was a drag on broadband investment and innovation. But the repeal plan has been loudly criticized by numerous technology companies and consumer advocacy groups.

The concern among net neutrality advocates is that the repeal could give internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered. It may also make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete, if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane.

Related: Trump’s FCC moves quickly to upend internet, media rules

Twitter (TWTR), Reddit, Kickstarter and other websites posted messages on their sites this week ahead of the vote in support of net neutrality. Protesters mobilized in front of Verizon stores around the country. And some of the creators of the internet penned a letter calling on the FCC to cancel the vote.

On Tuesday, three dozen Democratic Senators made a last-minute plea for Pai to abandon what they called a “reckless plan.”

“Your plan gives a broadband provider the ability to significantly alter their subscribers’ internet experience,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Pai. “Once adopted, this proposal will permit that provider to freely block, slow down or manipulate a consumer’s access to the internet as long as it discloses those practices.”

Even some members of Pai’s own party have called on him to rethink his plan. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, asked Pai this week to delay the vote and give Congress a chance to weigh in on the issue.

d7647_171212180514-fake-comments-net-neutrality-1024x576 The future of how the internet is regulated is about to change

The repeal vote comes more than six months after the FCC kicked off the lengthy process to roll back the net neutrality protections. It received millions of comments during a review period, with the majority supporting the current protections.

There has also been mounting scrutiny in recent weeks over rampant fraudulent comments submitted during the review period. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said last month the FCC had been uncooperative in his office’s investigation into the comments.

“The FCC has failed the public,” Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democratic commissioners at the FCC, wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “The public record it’s using to justify the roll back of #NetNeutrality is a corrupted mess and the agency isn’t doing anything about it. That’s not right.”

Related: Trump administration sends mixed messages on big media

Pai hasn’t been shy in pushing back at the criticisms. In a speech late last month, Pai suggested that tech companies like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) are a “bigger actual threat to an open Internet” because they can censor content. He accused Twitter in particular of silencing conservatives.

In the same speech, Pai also went after like musician Cher and actors George Takei, Mark Ruffalo and Alyssa Milano by name for criticizing his proposal to repeal net neutrality.

The net neutrality repeal is just one part of the Pai’s deregulatory agenda. Under Pai, the FCC has moved to allow for greater media consolidation and endorsed Congress’s move to repeal internet privacy protections earlier this year.

Assuming the FCC votes to repeal net neutrality on Thursday, the issue may end up heading to court next.

“Whenever we do anything big and major, people go to court,” a senior FCC official said last month. “I certainly would not rule that out.”

OSR Enterprises CEO Orit Shifman is using computers to change the auto industry

OSR Enterprises CEO Orit Shifman is out to “change the world” with her new computer system for automobiles, but first she has to get one on the road.

Shifman and her team of engineers, developers and mathematicians have been working since 2011 to develop a new computer system for autos. All the small computers that operate autos would be replaced with one computer that has an artificial intelligence system.

The new system would provide more information than current cars, be cyber secure and, at the same time, be more simplified, Shifman told FierceCEO: “This is most definitely going to change the world.”

Steeped in technology

Shifman, a lawyer by trade, also studied math and engineering, and said she comes from a “geek family,” full of engineers, physicists and mathematicians who talked shop at family gatherings. So Shifman said it was natural to get involved in the technology field.

She said she started thinking about the computer system in 2009. “When I looked at the future, it didn’t make sense to me,” Shifman said. “I came up with the idea of how to do this.”

Getting them onboard

Her biggest challenge was getting automakers to listen to her; they didn’t see the logic of the new system. “At the beginning, getting in was very hard,” Shifman said. “I had to change the mindset of the carmakers.”

But recognizing “it is very good technology” and through “reasonable thinking,” they came around, she said.

Shifman also said she made a mistake early on. “I didn’t really listen to my instincts,” she said. “At first I worked slower than I planned.”

Working with carmakers

Right now, she said she is working at some level with 80% of the carmakers around the world. The first newly outfitted car will come off the production line in 2022, Shifman said. She declined to say from which automaker.

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If you thought you missed your chance to major in computer science when you opted for art history in college, there’s good news after all. There are such things as second chances, and thanks to the influx of online learning, gaining a new skill set won’t require you to dip into your savings. This Computer Science training is just $39 — that’s equivalent to just 4.8 months of Netflix.

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A great introduction to tech jobs, this course will walk you through the job interview process for programming and coding careers. The team behind this course has conducted hundreds of interviews at Google and Flipkart, so they know what they’re talking about and will give you the heads up on the kind of programming problems that might come up in an interview.

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The Fintech Omnibus will walk you through risk modeling, factor analysis, numerical optimization, and linear and logistic regression using real models and examples. You’ll learn a ton about value-at-risk, Eigenvalue decomposition, modeling risk with covariance matrices, and the method of least squares.

The Web Development Omnibus: jQuery, AngularJS, and ReactJS

This comprehensive course covers jQuery, AngularJS, and ReactJS, which are essentially the building blocks of many websites. After accessing these 212 lectures and 21 hours of content, you should be able to build interactive websites from scratch. 

Software Testing Omnibus: Sikuli, Selenium, JUnit, and Principles of Testing

This 145-lecture course will teach you all about software testing, with a focus on Sikuli, Selenium, and JUnit. By the end of the class, you’ll be able to write tests and test user interactions with confidence and ease.

Get in on Big Data and Machine Learning

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After these 120 lectures on big data, you’ll be able to install Hadoop in different modes, manipulate data in Spark, run a Storm topology in multiple modes, and use the QlikView In-memory data model. Using these tools, you’ll glean insights from enormous amounts of data in the way both major and minor corporations do. 

Machine Learning and TensorFlow on the Google Cloud

TensorFlow is an open source software library for machine intelligence. Using TensorFlow and Google Cloud, you’ll learn all about neural networks and machine learning principles.

Don’t forget the Cloud

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Image: pexels

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Google Cloud is key for high-end machine learning applications (because TensorFlow is also from Google). This guide will put you on the certification track to become a Google Data Engineer or Cloud Architect through 166 lectures and 22 hours of content.

Tap into product strategy

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Image: pexels

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While it’s important to know all the latest tech, it’s also important to remember the past (lest you repeat it). This Time Capsule course examines trends all the way from 1994 to today and talks about why different sites thrived while others floundered.

Get the Computer Science Advancement Bundle now for just $39 — a massive 97% discount off its $1,492 retail price.

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iPhone 11 Release Date Could Change Due To Three New Models

With the iPhone X now in the can, many Apple fans are wondering when the iPhone 11 release date will be. Of course, the branding for the next-generation smartphone from Apple is not set in stone, but it is believed that it will follow on from the iPhone X next year, with the X obviously referring to the number ten.

238e6_iPhone-X-Successors iPhone 11 Release Date Could Change Due To Three New Models
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

This would mean that the iPhone 9 is skipped completely, and the hot talk in the next year will then focus on when the iPhone 11 release date will be.

Three models

Well, the interesting news on this critical smartphone release is that it will probably result in three new smartphones. The latest rumors from close to the Apple supply chain suggest that Apple will throw something of a curve ball in 2018, and introduce a certain model at the affordable end of the price spectrum.

Whether this will be the iPhone SE2 that has been rumored in some quarters remains to be seen, but Apple seems to be acknowledging the diversification of the smartphone niche.

Nikkei Asian Review asserts that when the iPhone 11 release date rolls round, two of the models delivered by the consumer electronics giants will support the OLED displays that it introduced earlier this year. The third will rely on the LCD technology that has been the foundation of the iPhone range until 2017, and that this device will also spot a more affordable price tag.

Redesign imminent

Interestingly, it is also suggested that this third iPhone 11 model will deliver a significant redesign. Nikkei Asian Review reports that the appearance of the smartphone will differ from either of the two premium models, suggesting that the branding of the device may be different as well.

“The 6.1-inch LCD model will probably sport a metal back available in several colors,” an anonymous Apple source suggested. Interestingly, the same source also hinted that the display size in the iPhone 11 generation will be much larger than current releases, with the premium model attracting a 6.3-inch screen.

In fact, according to the report, the budget version of the iPhone 11 will feature a 5.8-inch screen, which will be equal in size to the existing iPhone X. This shows just how rapidly the goalposts are moving in the smartphone niche, with the 4.7-inch screen of the iPhone 8 seeming a little obsolete at this stage.

Release date

In terms of the iPhone 11 release date, it is likely that it will be somewhat similar to previous devices. But the fact that Apple is apparently considering a massive redesign of the iPhone series, and also intending to deliver three distinct devices simultaneously for the first time, could push back the schedule.

However, Apple may opt for a staggered release for the iPhone 11, as indeed was the case with the iPhone X and iPhone 8. While it could be argued that there were three model releases this year from Apple, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are rather similar, whereas it appears that the three versions of the iPhone 11 will be radically different.

So we can expect the mainstream iPhone 11 release date to be around September 2018, with the two other models to appear at an approximately similar time. It seems quite likely that the unveiling of the three models will happen at a special event, but that the equivalent of the iPhone X will be pushed backwards, possibly to an October slot. What can be said with some confidence is that all three versions of the iPhone 11 will appear well before the key holiday period.

Augmented reality

The iPhone 11 will be a fascinating device when it appears, and it seems that Apple is ready to introduce some exciting new functionality to the smartphone. The corporation is already reportedly working on augmented reality cameras that will sit on the back of its next smartphone generation, according to leaks from close to the mega-corporation.

Apple has, of course, already come out strongly in favour of augmented reality, with CEO Tim Cook explicitly stating that the corporation is excited by this innovation. However, Apple has chosen to retain the Touch ID system that has provided security in the past, while still emphasizing that augmented reality and Face ID is a massive part of its future.

It will be interesting to see the dichotomy between virtual reality and augmented reality develop in the coming years. Already the major players in the tech sphere have thrown their weight behind one technology or the other, and Apple is firmly in the augmented reality camp.

4K resolution

Another possibility for the iPhone 11 release date will be the unveiling of 4K technology in an Apple smartphone for the first time. This possibility is heightened by the revelation that one of the iPhone 11 models will feature a 6.3-inch screen, suggesting that an increased pixel resolution will be particularly valuable.

4K resolution will be one of the issues that will dominate the smartphone sphere into 2018, with Samsung also expected to release a 4K mobile at some point. It is also interesting to note that Apple’s great rival is also readying a smaller smartphone release, which would naturally compete against the existing iPhone SE.

There have been rumors that Apple will also update its diminutive smartphone with an iPhone SE2 release in 2018, but based on the information regarding the iPhone 11 it seems that this is more likely to happen around the release date of the next Apple Watch.

As the smartphone space becomes ever more diverse, we can expect more product releases from the likes of Apple and Samsung, as they attempt to cover all bases. This is bound to have an impact on the iPhone 11 release date.

iPhone 11 Release Date Could Change Due To Three New Models

With the iPhone X now in the can, many Apple fans are wondering when the iPhone 11 release date will be. Of course, the branding for the next-generation smartphone from Apple is not set in stone, but it is believed that it will follow on from the iPhone X next year, with the X obviously referring to the number ten.

238e6_iPhone-X-Successors iPhone 11 Release Date Could Change Due To Three New Models
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

This would mean that the iPhone 9 is skipped completely, and the hot talk in the next year will then focus on when the iPhone 11 release date will be.

Three models

Well, the interesting news on this critical smartphone release is that it will probably result in three new smartphones. The latest rumors from close to the Apple supply chain suggest that Apple will throw something of a curve ball in 2018, and introduce a certain model at the affordable end of the price spectrum.

Whether this will be the iPhone SE2 that has been rumored in some quarters remains to be seen, but Apple seems to be acknowledging the diversification of the smartphone niche.

Nikkei Asian Review asserts that when the iPhone 11 release date rolls round, two of the models delivered by the consumer electronics giants will support the OLED displays that it introduced earlier this year. The third will rely on the LCD technology that has been the foundation of the iPhone range until 2017, and that this device will also spot a more affordable price tag.

Redesign imminent

Interestingly, it is also suggested that this third iPhone 11 model will deliver a significant redesign. Nikkei Asian Review reports that the appearance of the smartphone will differ from either of the two premium models, suggesting that the branding of the device may be different as well.

“The 6.1-inch LCD model will probably sport a metal back available in several colors,” an anonymous Apple source suggested. Interestingly, the same source also hinted that the display size in the iPhone 11 generation will be much larger than current releases, with the premium model attracting a 6.3-inch screen.

In fact, according to the report, the budget version of the iPhone 11 will feature a 5.8-inch screen, which will be equal in size to the existing iPhone X. This shows just how rapidly the goalposts are moving in the smartphone niche, with the 4.7-inch screen of the iPhone 8 seeming a little obsolete at this stage.

Release date

In terms of the iPhone 11 release date, it is likely that it will be somewhat similar to previous devices. But the fact that Apple is apparently considering a massive redesign of the iPhone series, and also intending to deliver three distinct devices simultaneously for the first time, could push back the schedule.

However, Apple may opt for a staggered release for the iPhone 11, as indeed was the case with the iPhone X and iPhone 8. While it could be argued that there were three model releases this year from Apple, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are rather similar, whereas it appears that the three versions of the iPhone 11 will be radically different.

So we can expect the mainstream iPhone 11 release date to be around September 2018, with the two other models to appear at an approximately similar time. It seems quite likely that the unveiling of the three models will happen at a special event, but that the equivalent of the iPhone X will be pushed backwards, possibly to an October slot. What can be said with some confidence is that all three versions of the iPhone 11 will appear well before the key holiday period.

Augmented reality

The iPhone 11 will be a fascinating device when it appears, and it seems that Apple is ready to introduce some exciting new functionality to the smartphone. The corporation is already reportedly working on augmented reality cameras that will sit on the back of its next smartphone generation, according to leaks from close to the mega-corporation.

Apple has, of course, already come out strongly in favour of augmented reality, with CEO Tim Cook explicitly stating that the corporation is excited by this innovation. However, Apple has chosen to retain the Touch ID system that has provided security in the past, while still emphasizing that augmented reality and Face ID is a massive part of its future.

It will be interesting to see the dichotomy between virtual reality and augmented reality develop in the coming years. Already the major players in the tech sphere have thrown their weight behind one technology or the other, and Apple is firmly in the augmented reality camp.

4K resolution

Another possibility for the iPhone 11 release date will be the unveiling of 4K technology in an Apple smartphone for the first time. This possibility is heightened by the revelation that one of the iPhone 11 models will feature a 6.3-inch screen, suggesting that an increased pixel resolution will be particularly valuable.

4K resolution will be one of the issues that will dominate the smartphone sphere into 2018, with Samsung also expected to release a 4K mobile at some point. It is also interesting to note that Apple’s great rival is also readying a smaller smartphone release, which would naturally compete against the existing iPhone SE.

There have been rumors that Apple will also update its diminutive smartphone with an iPhone SE2 release in 2018, but based on the information regarding the iPhone 11 it seems that this is more likely to happen around the release date of the next Apple Watch.

As the smartphone space becomes ever more diverse, we can expect more product releases from the likes of Apple and Samsung, as they attempt to cover all bases. This is bound to have an impact on the iPhone 11 release date.

A Small Change That Could Make Our Phones So Much Better

I’m sure that it’s easier for me to expound on than it would be to technically achieve. Our phones, primarily through apps or assistants like Google Assistant, are only just beginning to learn and customize themselves to our behaviors and preferences. And there’s a lot to consider: your location, your behavior, the weather, the typical brightness in your home and office, and what to do if you go somewhere atypical. To date, the A.I. and machine learning that’s built into our phones is only used for a handful of things. It helps organize and categorize the photos on our camera rolls and learns from our texting habits to fuel autosuggestions and autocorrect. As facial recognition and augmented reality gain popularity, A.I. will fuel those applications too. Phones like the iPhone X even include a “neural engine” specifically designed for accelerating A.I. software. Adding some learning algorithms to our phones’ auto-brightness shouldn’t be that big of a stretch. And perhaps, in learning your auto-brightness preferences based on time of day, location, and what applications you have open, your phone could also fix other issues too—whether your camera should default to the rear-facing or selfie camera, for example, or what volume notifications and sounds should play.

A Small Change That Could Make Our Phones So Much Better

I’m sure that it’s easier for me to expound on than it would be to technically achieve. Our phones, primarily through apps or assistants like Google Assistant, are only just beginning to learn and customize themselves to our behaviors and preferences. And there’s a lot to consider: your location, your behavior, the weather, the typical brightness in your home and office, and what to do if you go somewhere atypical. To date, the A.I. and machine learning that’s built into our phones is only used for a handful of things. It helps organize and categorize the photos on our camera rolls and learns from our texting habits to fuel autosuggestions and autocorrect. As facial recognition and augmented reality gain popularity, A.I. will fuel those applications too. Phones like the iPhone X even include a “neural engine” specifically designed for accelerating A.I. software. Adding some learning algorithms to our phones’ auto-brightness shouldn’t be that big of a stretch. And perhaps, in learning your auto-brightness preferences based on time of day, location, and what applications you have open, your phone could also fix other issues too—whether your camera should default to the rear-facing or selfie camera, for example, or what volume notifications and sounds should play.

Like the internet? That may change with net neutrality gone

Imagine these scenarios: You search for prices of internet service providers (ISPs) in your area, and your ISP denies access to those prices. Or you want to watch YouTube or Netflix videos, but your ISP, which has its own video services, may charge more or throttles the speed.

The scenarios are a possibility if the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, has his way to end the 2015 Obama-era regulation governing broadband internet as a public utility. The new Internet Freedom Act would allow ISPs to prioritize traffic and price services as long as they are transparent in their services and do not engage in anti-competitive activities. The hope is consumers will pick a level of service that best suits their needs.

But doing this would be in direct contrast to net neutrality in which ISPs must treat all traffic and consumer requests equally. There are fears of unintended consequences if net neutrality is removed. These fears include stifling consumer freedom, competition and innovation, increasing consumer cost and introducing censorship.

This fear is further compounded by the fact that in more than half of the U.S. and, in particular Texas, there is one or no broadband service provider. Thus, the transparency required with the Internet Freedom Act is meaningless if consumers have no choice and can be held hostage.

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These fears aren’t irrational. Already, Netflix pays Comcast a fee so its traffic can get priority. There are instances where ISPs acknowledge in courts that they could potentially increase prices, throttle services or deny access.

There is also concern about whether small- and medium-size businesses that lack the resources can compete on equal footing. With internet commerce, cloud computing and online education becoming part of everyone’s daily life, competition can be stifled. Large players who can “pay to play” will get bigger, and ISPs that provide the access can control the consumer. All of these can lead to higher costs for consumers.

But ISPs that are lobbying aggressively for the end of net neutrality have favorable arguments too. They invest billions of dollars each year on capital expenditures. ATT and Verizon are expected to spend $22 billion and $17 billion, respectively. They take enormous risks and expect rewards. In contrast, shareholders of Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet (parent company of Google) who rely on ISPs have seen gains of 1,400 percent, 900 percent, 400 percent and 200 percent, respectively, during the past five years, while generating more than 50 percent of the internet traffic. Service providers, in comparison, have seen no significant appreciation of stock price during the same period.

Few of the companies that use the internet for their business come close to the level of capital expenditures of ATT and Verizon. At the same time, companies that rely on ISPs compete aggressively for video and voice services. In fact, all of the ISPs are losing video customers that they serve. Revenue from traditional voice services has declined dramatically due to internet-based services and mobile technologies.

In the absence of significant rewards for investments, growth and shareholder value, it is natural for these ISPs to want regulations that favor them much like others lobby for favorable regulations.

If net neutrality is repealed, it is possible Alphabet will expand Google Fiber, or a consortium of information service providers may offer broadband services. The broadband mobile technology may advance faster (e.g. 5G), which is less expensive than laying physical infrastructure.

The economy is too dependent on the internet to let ISPs have all the control. If the system is abused, it is just a matter of time before entrepreneurs and innovators will take the control away from the ISPs. In the end, it may be good for the economy. However, given the level of competition for broadband services and the power these services can exert on the rest of the economy today, it is ill-advised to remove net neutrality.

Prabhudev Konana is a Distinguished Teaching Professor and the William H. Seay Centennial Professor in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.

Apple’s 2018 iPhone Could Have This Design Change

At least one of Apple’s iPhones in 2018 could come with a big design change, according to a new report.

Apple may release one model next year would come with a 6.1-inch liquid-crystal display and a metal back panel, Nikkei reports, citing people who have knowledge of the company’s plans. Apple may also sell iPhones featuring 5.8- and 6.3-inch screens that use organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, which is available in the iPhone X and offers better resolution and more vibrant colors than LCD.

The metal version of the iPhone would come with the cheapest of the three, according to the report.

Apple has been rumored to be planning three new iPhones next year including one with minor updates to this year’s iPhone X and with a similar design. A second phone with the 6.3-inch screen would be Apple’s biggest smartphone ever and would also likely resemble the iPhone X, with a screen that nearly covers its face and a glass back panel. The third version would ostensibly replace this year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones, which also come with metal backs and a design that includes larger bezels around the screen and a physical home button—two features Apple’s iPhone X doesn’t have.

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According to the Nikkei source, keeping an LCD model will help Apple keep the price down for one of its models by couple hundred dollars next year compared with the higher-priced OLED and glass models to appeal to a broader customer base. Apple’s iPhone X, for instance, costs $1,000 to start, while a metal-bodied iPhone 8 starts at $699.

For its part, Apple hasn’t commented on its plans and likely won’t until it actually announces new iPhones, as it does every year. And that likely won’t happen until September, if the company’s past release schedule is any indication.

Millennials’ struggle with health bills could push hospitals to change

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a1384_104884108-image1.530x298 Millennials' struggle with health bills could push hospitals to change

Jonathan and Nikia Reynolds are still deciding on a new health plan for 2018, weighing the pros and cons of a high-deductible insurance plan to try to keep their monthly premium lower.

“How it’s supposed to work, I kind of get all that stuff. … In practice, it’s usually less clear,” said Jonathan, a 34-year old Atlanta-based freelance video photographer.

At least, that’s how he felt after a late-night trip to the emergency room a couple of years ago resulted in months of confusing bills in the mail.

“I would get bills way after the fact, and it was never clear exactly what the bills were from, and how they related to what the insurance covered,” he said.

As the first generation to come of age under Obamacare, millennials are finding the new rules of consumer-driven health care tough to navigate.

More than half of millennials, 57 percent, say they have little to no understanding of how out-of pocket health costs such as co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance work, according to a new report from consumer credit firm TransUnion. By contrast, about 40 percent of baby boomers admit to limited knowledge about their benefits.

“Millennials came into the health-care market at a really volatile time, when cost-shifting was really happening … [and] deductibles have quadrupled,” said Jonathan Wiik, principal at TransUnion’s health-care unit.

For hospitals and other health providers, millennial patients — born from 1980 to 1994 — are proving to be a challenge when it comes to collecting payment for bills.

Nearly 3 in 4 millennials, 74 percent, failed to pay their medical expenses in full when first billed in 2016; that’s up from 64 percent in 2014, TransUnion’s survey said.

The vast majority cited limited savings for not paying, but nearly half of those surveyed say they’d be more apt to pay if they could get a cost estimate up front.

“They don’t pay their bills on time because they don’t understand them. That’s pretty typical of that generation — they’re not going to pay until somebody explains it to them,” said Wiik, who consults with hospitals on bill collection.

He says hospitals are starting to change the way they have traditionally billed, by trying to prepare patients for what their out of pocket costs will be ahead of treatment, and working out flexible payment plans to allow patients to pay over time.

But the hospitals have a long way to go.

“I don’t think any millennial pays their bills on paper,” Wiik said. “That’s how hospitals are billing right now. … It’s a big gap that the industry’s going to have to help fill.”

Jonathan Reynolds is hoping not to see any hospital bills in the mail any time soon.

“I know health care is complicated,” he said, but it’s high time for real “simplification of how deductibles and co-pays are explained, and just the process of billing itself.”

a1384_104884108-image1.530x298 Millennials' struggle with health bills could push hospitals to change



How Computer Scientists Can Help Reduce Climate Change

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

The best Android processors are coming to Windows PCs, and it could change laptops forever

At an event in Hawaii today, Qualcomm and Microsoft revealed that the popular Snapdragon line of processors — which run every flagship Android smartphone you’ve ever heard of — is coming to PCs. This is a huge deal for a number of geeky tech reasons, but there’s one huge takeaway for anyone who uses a PC: Battery life is about to get ridiculous.

The architecture of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors is fundamentally much more efficient than the x86 and x64 processor architectures that have traditionally powered Windows devices. We’re talking 20 hours of battery life, rather than 8; devices that turn on as fast as an iPad, rather than taking 20 seconds to resume from sleep; and always-on LTE connectivity that doesn’t drain your battery life.

Qualcomm first announced that Snapdragon system on chips were coming to Windows early this year, but we do finally have news that a real concrete product is going to be released. Asus has the honor of being first, with the Asus NovaGo connected PC. It’s a fairly standard convertible laptop with a hinge that lets you flip the keyboard around behind the screen, but this one has a few impressive spec claims to make: 22 hours of battery life, and gigabit LTE download speeds, thanks to LTE-Advanced technologies like 4×4 MIMO and 4-carrier aggregation.

The Qualcomm SoC is the Snapdragon 835, the same processor that’s powered phones like the Pixel 2 and LG V30. It’s paired with up to 256GB of flash storage and 8GB of RAM, which should be enough for some heavy web browsing sessions.

The Qualcomm-powered Windows devices can run “optimized” versions of regular Windows Store apps, but might feel a little limited compared to full-powered Windows PCs when it comes to the applications you can run. Think of them more as an alternative to Chromebooks or the Retina MacBook than something that’s going to replace your gaming rig.

The Asus NovaGo will start at $600 for the version with 4GB RAM/64GB of storage, or $800 for the full-fat 8GB/256GB version. Interestingly, that means the price is going to be very close to smartphones that have the same internals. A release date wasn’t mentioned, but the fact that we’ve got a price and a full list of specs means we should be hoping for a release date sooner rather than later

HP also announced a new device using Snapdragon, this one a tablet with detachable keyboard like the Microsoft Surface. Qualcomm is also promising a raft of new devices from big PC makers like Lenovo, which we’ll see at CES in January.

The best Android processors are coming to Windows PCs, and it could change laptops forever

At an event in Hawaii today, Qualcomm and Microsoft revealed that the popular Snapdragon line of processors — which run every flagship Android smartphone you’ve ever heard of — is coming to PCs. This is a huge deal for a number of geeky tech reasons, but there’s one huge takeaway for anyone who uses a PC: Battery life is about to get ridiculous.

The architecture of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors is fundamentally much more efficient than the x86 and x64 processor architectures that have traditionally powered Windows devices. We’re talking 20 hours of battery life, rather than 8; devices that turn on as fast as an iPad, rather than taking 20 seconds to resume from sleep; and always-on LTE connectivity that doesn’t drain your battery life.

Qualcomm first announced that Snapdragon system on chips were coming to Windows early this year, but we do finally have news that a real concrete product is going to be released. Asus has the honor of being first, with the Asus NovaGo connected PC. It’s a fairly standard convertible laptop with a hinge that lets you flip the keyboard around behind the screen, but this one has a few impressive spec claims to make: 22 hours of battery life, and gigabit LTE download speeds, thanks to LTE-Advanced technologies like 4×4 MIMO and 4-carrier aggregation.

The Qualcomm SoC is the Snapdragon 835, the same processor that’s powered phones like the Pixel 2 and LG V30. It’s paired with up to 256GB of flash storage and 8GB of RAM, which should be enough for some heavy web browsing sessions.

The Qualcomm-powered Windows devices can run “optimized” versions of regular Windows Store apps, but might feel a little limited compared to full-powered Windows PCs when it comes to the applications you can run. Think of them more as an alternative to Chromebooks or the Retina MacBook than something that’s going to replace your gaming rig.

The Asus NovaGo will start at $600 for the version with 4GB RAM/64GB of storage, or $800 for the full-fat 8GB/256GB version. Interestingly, that means the price is going to be very close to smartphones that have the same internals. A release date wasn’t mentioned, but the fact that we’ve got a price and a full list of specs means we should be hoping for a release date sooner rather than later

HP also announced a new device using Snapdragon, this one a tablet with detachable keyboard like the Microsoft Surface. Qualcomm is also promising a raft of new devices from big PC makers like Lenovo, which we’ll see at CES in January.

How Kubernetes Resource Classes Promise to Change the Landscape for New Workloads

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CVS-Aetna deal will change the way many big employers buy employee health-care benefits

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9488d_104877469-2ED5-BL-CVS-120417.600x400 CVS-Aetna deal will change the way many big employers buy employee health-care benefits


CVS Health’s proposed purchase of Aetna will change the way many major U.S. corporations buy health coverage for employees and raise new questions over the cost of those benefits, benefit consultants said.

CVS on Sunday said it planned to buy Aetna for $69 billion.

Most national companies employing more than 20,000 people keep their prescription drug benefits separate from medical coverage. They believe they are paying less by shopping those contracts around to competitors within each industry.

CVS and Aetna argue that their deal will lower healthcare costs for employees of their large corporate customers, giving the company greater clout to negotiate down drug prices and better manage the use of those medicines.

“It’s the lower overall cost of therapy. It’s not just the drugs. It’s not just the PBM (prescription benefit manager). It’s the overall outcome for the patient,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told Reuters in an interview.



9488d_104877469-2ED5-BL-CVS-120417.600x400 CVS-Aetna deal will change the way many big employers buy employee health-care benefits


But employers are expected to scrutinize that kind of claim closely, according to benefit consultants in touch with hundreds of large employers.

So far, they are taking a “wait-and-see attitude as to whether there is a direct favorable impact on their pricing” of a CVS-Aetna combination, said Jim Winkler, senior vice president for health at Aon, part of Aon.

Last year, large employers’ concerns over two proposed mergers between health insurers Aetna and Humana and between Anthem and Cigna were a major factor in U.S. antitrust regulators blocking the deals.

Industry experts say that is less likely to happen with CVS-Aetna because of their minimal direct overlap, historically the main concern for customers. “By and large they are in separate places in the value chain, so it’s more of a vertical integration,” said Winkler.

CVS is the No. 2 U.S. provider of prescription drug benefits and competes with larger rival Express Scripts. Aetna is the nation’s No. 3 health insurer, competing against UnitedHealth, Anthem and Cigna to provide coverage for doctor and hospital visits.

A new landscape

A combined CVS-Aetna will reorder those options, leaving Express Scripts as the only standalone company big enough to easily provide pharmacy benefits to top employers.

Aon’s Winkler expects this will lead large companies to turn to their insurer for pharmacy benefits the same way mid-sized companies have. About 63 percent of large corporations use a separate pharmacy benefit company, consultant Mercer’s 2016 employer survey found.

In scale, CVS and Aetna offer a much bigger pharmacy benefits manager than UnitedHealth, which expanded its OptumRx business with the $13 billion purchase of Catamaran in 2015.

Anthem in October said it would expand its own pharmacy benefits business, and hired CVS to help do so. That partnership could be thrown into jeopardy by the new Aetna agreement, health industry analysts said.

Insurers say combining the two benefits saves money. Large employers who combine the benefits under one insurer have begun to demand insurers hit a specific dollar figure of medical cost savings per member, per year, said David Dross, national pharmacy practice leader at Mercer, part of Marsh McLennan.

Insurers may also try to make it more pricey for large companies to keep the benefits separate.

Some have started charging mid-size corporate customers, who employ 2,000 to 10,000 people, additional fees for integrating medical claims and pharmaceutical claims when they are managed by different companies, Dross said, and could require those fees for larger clients as well.

“The plans have sort of decided this is the model we need to move to now,” Dross said. He expects that next year, as large companies negotiate their benefits contracts, they will be asking much more than in the past “will a carve-out option look better, or does the carve-in option look better?”

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CVS-Aetna deal will change the way many big employers buy employee health-care benefits

<!– –>




9488d_104877469-2ED5-BL-CVS-120417.600x400 CVS-Aetna deal will change the way many big employers buy employee health-care benefits


CVS Health’s proposed purchase of Aetna will change the way many major U.S. corporations buy health coverage for employees and raise new questions over the cost of those benefits, benefit consultants said.

CVS on Sunday said it planned to buy Aetna for $69 billion.

Most national companies employing more than 20,000 people keep their prescription drug benefits separate from medical coverage. They believe they are paying less by shopping those contracts around to competitors within each industry.

CVS and Aetna argue that their deal will lower healthcare costs for employees of their large corporate customers, giving the company greater clout to negotiate down drug prices and better manage the use of those medicines.

“It’s the lower overall cost of therapy. It’s not just the drugs. It’s not just the PBM (prescription benefit manager). It’s the overall outcome for the patient,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told Reuters in an interview.



9488d_104877469-2ED5-BL-CVS-120417.600x400 CVS-Aetna deal will change the way many big employers buy employee health-care benefits


But employers are expected to scrutinize that kind of claim closely, according to benefit consultants in touch with hundreds of large employers.

So far, they are taking a “wait-and-see attitude as to whether there is a direct favorable impact on their pricing” of a CVS-Aetna combination, said Jim Winkler, senior vice president for health at Aon, part of Aon.

Last year, large employers’ concerns over two proposed mergers between health insurers Aetna and Humana and between Anthem and Cigna were a major factor in U.S. antitrust regulators blocking the deals.

Industry experts say that is less likely to happen with CVS-Aetna because of their minimal direct overlap, historically the main concern for customers. “By and large they are in separate places in the value chain, so it’s more of a vertical integration,” said Winkler.

CVS is the No. 2 U.S. provider of prescription drug benefits and competes with larger rival Express Scripts. Aetna is the nation’s No. 3 health insurer, competing against UnitedHealth, Anthem and Cigna to provide coverage for doctor and hospital visits.

A new landscape

A combined CVS-Aetna will reorder those options, leaving Express Scripts as the only standalone company big enough to easily provide pharmacy benefits to top employers.

Aon’s Winkler expects this will lead large companies to turn to their insurer for pharmacy benefits the same way mid-sized companies have. About 63 percent of large corporations use a separate pharmacy benefit company, consultant Mercer’s 2016 employer survey found.

In scale, CVS and Aetna offer a much bigger pharmacy benefits manager than UnitedHealth, which expanded its OptumRx business with the $13 billion purchase of Catamaran in 2015.

Anthem in October said it would expand its own pharmacy benefits business, and hired CVS to help do so. That partnership could be thrown into jeopardy by the new Aetna agreement, health industry analysts said.

Insurers say combining the two benefits saves money. Large employers who combine the benefits under one insurer have begun to demand insurers hit a specific dollar figure of medical cost savings per member, per year, said David Dross, national pharmacy practice leader at Mercer, part of Marsh McLennan.

Insurers may also try to make it more pricey for large companies to keep the benefits separate.

Some have started charging mid-size corporate customers, who employ 2,000 to 10,000 people, additional fees for integrating medical claims and pharmaceutical claims when they are managed by different companies, Dross said, and could require those fees for larger clients as well.

“The plans have sort of decided this is the model we need to move to now,” Dross said. He expects that next year, as large companies negotiate their benefits contracts, they will be asking much more than in the past “will a carve-out option look better, or does the carve-in option look better?”

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GOP Tax Overhaul Would Change Health Care Policy : Shots – NPR

b92c6_gettyimages-494146669_custom-df68af64424f97ee110c0043327f29b492984c8c-s1100-c15 GOP Tax Overhaul Would Change Health Care Policy : Shots - NPR

Proposed changes to the tax law could eliminate the deduction for medical expenses. Those who use it generally have very high medical expenses, often for a disabled child, a serious chronic illness or expensive long-term care not covered by health insurance.

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Proposed changes to the tax law could eliminate the deduction for medical expenses. Those who use it generally have very high medical expenses, often for a disabled child, a serious chronic illness or expensive long-term care not covered by health insurance.

PeopleImages/Getty Images

Having failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress is now working on a tax overhaul. But it turns out the tax bills in the House and Senate also aim to reshape health care.

Here are five ways the tax legislation could change health policy:

1. Repeal the requirement for most people to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty

Republicans tried and failed to end the so-called individual mandate this year when they attempted to advance their health overhaul legislation. Now the idea is back, at least in the Senate’s version of the tax bill. The measure would not technically remove the requirement for people to have insurance, but it would eliminate the fine that people would face if they choose to remain uninsured.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that dropping the requirement would result in 13 million fewer people having insurance over 10 years.

It also estimates that premiums would rise 10 percent more per year than they would without this change. That is because healthier people would be most likely to drop insurance in the absence of a fine, so insurers would have to raise premiums to compensate for a sicker group of customers. Those consumers, in turn, would be left with fewer affordable choices, according to the CBO.

State insurance officials are concerned that insurers will drop out of the individual market entirely if there is no requirement for healthy people to sign up, but they still have to sell to people who know they will need medical care.

Ironically, the states most likely to see this kind of insurance-market disruption are those that are reliably Republican. An analysis by The Los Angeles Times suggested that the states with the fewest insurers and the highest premiums — including Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming — would be left with either no coverage options or options too expensive for most consumers in the individual market.

2. Repeal the medical expense deduction

The House-passed tax bill, although not the Senate’s, would eliminate taxpayers’ ability to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income.

The medical expense deduction is not widely used — just under 9 million filers took it on their 2015 tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But those who do use it generally have very high medical expenses, often for a disabled child, a serious chronic illness or expensive long-term care not covered by health insurance.

Among those most vehemently against getting rid of the deduction is the senior advocacy group AARP. Eliminating the deduction, the group said in a statement, “amounts to a health tax on millions of Americans with high medical costs — especially middle income seniors.”

3. Trigger major cuts to the Medicare program

The tax bills include no specific Medicare changes, but budget analysts point out that passing the legislation in its current form would trigger another law to kick in. That measure requires cuts to federal programs if the federal budget deficit is increased.

Because the tax bills in both the House and Senate would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, both would result in automatic cuts under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010. According to the CBO, if Congress passes the tax bill and does not waive that law, federal officials “would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion.”

Cuts to Medicare are limited under the 2010 law, so the Medicare reduction would be limited to 4 percent of program spending, which is roughly $25 billion of that total. Cuts of a similar size would be required in future years. Most of that would likely come from payments to providers.

4. Change tax treatment for graduate students and those paying back student loans

The House bill, though not the Senate’s, would for the first time require graduate students to pay tax on the value of tuition that universities do not require them to pay.

Currently, graduate students in many fields, including science, often are paid a small stipend for teaching while they pursue advanced degrees. Many are technically charged tuition, but it is “waived” as long as they are working for the university.

The House tax bill would eliminate that waiver and require them to pay taxes on the full value of the tuition that they don’t have to pay, which would result in many students with fairly low incomes seeing very large tax bills.

At the same time, the House tax bill would eliminate the deduction for interest paid on student loans. This would disproportionately affect young doctors.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 75 percent of the medical school class of 2017 graduated with student loan debt, with nearly half owing $200,000 or more.

5. Change or eliminate the tax credit that encourages pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for rare diseases

Congress created the so-called Orphan Drug Credit in 1983, as part of a package of incentives intended to entice drugmakers to study and develop drugs to treat rare diseases, defined as those affecting fewer than 200,000 people. With such a small potential market, it does not otherwise make financial sense for the companies to spend the millions of dollars necessary to develop treatments for such ailments.

To date, about 500 drugs have come to market using the incentives, although in some cases, drugmakers have manipulated the credit for extra financial gain.

The House tax bill would eliminate the tax credit; the Senate bill would scale it back. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, is one of the original sponsors of the orphan drug law.

The drug industry has been relatively quiet about the potential loss of the credit, but the National Organization for Rare Disorders called the change “wholly unacceptable” and said it “would directly result in 33 percent fewer orphan drugs coming to market.”

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