In brief | Nation & world 102713


Vermont pushes to go beyond federal health law to launch universal public care system

MONTPELIER, Vt. — As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they’re a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model.

The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation’s first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals.

The plan is especially ambitious in the current atmosphere surrounding health care in the United States. Republicans in Congress balk at the federal health overhaul years after it was signed into law. States are still negotiating their terms for implementing it. And some major employers have begun to drastically limit their offerings of employee health insurance, raising questions about the future of the industry altogether.

In such a setting, Vermont’s plan looks more and more like an anomaly. It combines universal coverage with new cost controls in an effort to move away from a system in which the more procedures doctors and hospitals perform, the more they get paid, to one in which providers have a set budget to care for a set number of patients.

The result will be health care that’s “a right and not a privilege,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

Jay-Z defends partnership with retailer after store accused of profiling

NEW YORK — Jay-Z — under increasing pressure to back out of a collaboration with the luxury store Barneys New York after it was accused of racially profiling two black customers — said Saturday he’s being unfairly “demonized” for just waiting to hear all of the facts.

The rap mogul made his first statement about the controversy in a posting on his website. He has come under fire for remaining silent as news surfaced this week that two young black people said they were profiled by Barneys after they purchased expensive items from their Manhattan store.

An online petition and Twitter messages from fans have been circulating this week, calling on the star to bow out of his upcoming partnership with Barneys for the holiday season, which will have the store selling items by top designers, inspired by Jay-Z, with some of the proceeds going to his charity. He is also working with the store to create its artistic holiday window display.

But Jay-Z — whose real name is Shawn Carter — defended himself, saying that he hasn’t spoken about it because he’s still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

“I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” the statement said. “I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys.”

Marcia Wallace, voice of ‘The Simpsons’ teacher Edna Krabappel, dies

LOS ANGELES — Marcia Wallace, the voice of scoffing schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons,” whose wise-cracking characters on “The Bob Newhart Show” and other prime-time hits endeared her to generations of TV viewers, has died.

“Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean called said in a statement Saturday that her “irreplaceable character,” the fourth-grade teacher who contended with Bart Simpson’s constant antics, would be retired from the show. Wallace was 70.

“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace. She was beloved by all at The Simpsons,” Jean said. It’s “a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

The statement did not provide a date for her death, or a cause.

By wire sources

The longtime TV actress’ credits ranged from playing a receptionist on “The Bob Newhart Show” to appearances on Candice Bergen’s “Murphy Brown.”

By wire sources