The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands signed a bill Wednesday to refinance more than $800 million worth of bonds following numerous attempts to save a public pension system that officials say faces collapse.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said the savings from improved interest rates would help stabilize the pension system for at least 30 years. Nearly 9,000 government retirees and 8,000 active workers rely on the public pension system, which officials warned could run out of funds by 2024 or sooner without a fix.
Amazon is making its first foray into providing health care services, announcing Wednesday that it will be offering its Amazon Care telemedicine program to employers nationwide.
Currently available to the company’s employees in Washington state, Amazon Care is an app that connects users virtually with doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses who can provide services and treatment over the phone 24 hours a day. In the Seattle area, it’s supplemented with in-person services such as pharmacy delivery and house-call services from nurses who can take blood work and provide similar services.
On Wednesday, the tech giant announced it will immediately expand the service to interested employers in Washington who want to purchase the service for their employees. By the summer, Amazon Care will expand nationally to all Amazon workers, and to private employers across the country who want to join.
The decline in life expectancy was seen across racial and ethnic groups but was most severe in minorities, with Black Americans losing 2.7 years (from 74.7 to 72.0) and Hispanic Americans losing 1.9 years (from 81.8 to 79.9) during the same period. Meanwhile, white Americans lost less than a year (from 78.8 to 78.0), according to the report.
Hispanic Americans traditionally have the most longevity compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., and provisional estimates show they still do. Hispanics saw their “advantage” in this regard compared to Black Americans increase from 7.1 years in 2019 to 7.9. years in the first six months of 2020, the report said.
The full scope of the investigation is not immediately clear, but the sources said there was a particular interest in nursing homes, which have been a source of increasing frustration for Cuomo.
Last week, an aide conceded the administration withheld the nursing home death toll from state lawmakers out of fear it would be used against the state by the Trump administration.
The controversy over nursing home deaths has dogged Cuomo for months. At the onset of the pandemic, state health officials directed nursing homes to accept residents recovering from the virus as they were discharged from hospitals.
The directive was rescinded several weeks later, but Cuomo faced criticism that it contributed to a high level of deaths in nursing homes. The governor said he based the decision on federal guidance at the time and insisted staff members, not residents discharged from hospitals, brought coronavirus into nursing homes.