5 things for October 13: Pulling the plug on Obamacare?

Your kids may be upset by all of the recent traumatic news events. “Sesame Street” wants to help. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Obamacare

President Donald Trump hasn’t been able to dismantle the Affordable Care Act through legislation, so he’s moving to undermine the health care law via other means. Trump plans to stop crucial Obamacare subsidies that help low-income enrollees pay for their health care. The dramatic move threatens the law’s future, because doing so could force insurance companies to raise rates or even leave the Obamacare exchanges altogether. Almost 6 million people, which is more than half of all Obamacare enrollees, qualify for the cost-sharing payments, which cost the feds about $7 billion this year.

Earlier in Thursday, the President signed an executive order he says will help small businesses and perhaps individuals join together and buy insurance. Trump said the move will bring affordable health insurance to millions more people; critics say it could destabilize the Affordable Care Act by taking younger and healthier people out of the exchanges.

2. Natural disasters

The wine country fires in Northern California are some of the deadliest in the state’s history. At least 31 people are dead and hundreds are still missing nearly a week after this disaster began. Homes searches are starting, and in some cases authorities are finding bodies burned beyond recognition. “Some of them are merely ashes and bones,” Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said. The biggest fires are far from being contained, and the weather won’t be ideal for fighting them this weekend, with winds predicted to be gusty through Saturday.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump raised a ruckus (yet again) when he tweeted that federal emergency responders can’t stay on the hurricane-ravaged island “forever.” That brought more criticism from San Juan’s mayor and others. The recovery on the island is going painfully slow — widespread power outages and cell phone service down — as CNN’s Chris Cillizza points out in two charts.

3. Russia investigation

Russian efforts to meddle in American politics did not end at Facebook and Twitter. A CNN investigation of a Russian-linked account shows its tentacles extended to YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go.

One Russian-linked campaign posing as part of the Black Lives Matter movement used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Pokémon Go and even contacted some reporters in an effort to exploit racial tensions and sow discord among Americans, CNN has learned.

The campaign, titled “Don’t Shoot Us,” offers new insights into how Russian agents created a broad online ecosystem where divisive political messages were reinforced across multiple platforms.

4. Hostage family freed

A family of five held captive by the Taliban for almost five years has been freed. An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children were freed by the Pakistani army. The wife and husband — Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle — were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012. Coleman was pregnant at the time. They had two more children while in captivity. Pakistan was able to free the family after their kidnappers moved them from Afghanistan over the border into Pakistan. It’s unclear when the family will head home; Boyle refuses to board a US military plane over fears he’ll be arrested. Boyle was previously married to the sister of Omar Khadhr, a Canadian who was imprisoned for 10 years at the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and later sued the Canadian government.

5. Harvey Weinstein

The furor over the sex assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is growing. Police in both New York and London are investigating him. And now he faces another public accusation of rape. Actress Rose McGowan, via several Twitter posts, accused Weinstein of raping her. She also alleged she told the head of Amazon Studios about the matter, but nothing came of it. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment from CNNMoney. Amazon and the Weinstein Co. are partners on two forthcoming streaming TV series.


“I don’t think I’m being fired today.”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who made a rare on-camera appearance to put to rest reports of turmoil in the West Wing.

“My mom was tricked.”

When two families learned their adopted daughters were taken from their mothers, they made the journey to Uganda to bring them home. Read more in this CNN exclusive.


People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Say aloha!

You may not fly free (like your bags do on Southwest Airlines), but you’ll be able to get to paradise cheaper now that the low-fare airline will start service to Hawaii.

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose …

Sure, they lost a game 102-0, but members of ragtag high school football team from Missouri say they’re still having fun.

Hearts 4 Vegas

The city of Las Vegas asked for help as it starts to heal after the October 1 mass shooting, and the world responded, via snail mail, with hundreds of cards and letters.

Fur free

Fur is out of style in 2018, at least at Gucci. The luxury brand says it will stop using mink, coyote, fox or any other animal bred or caught for their fur.

Special delivery

Your DHL package may soon come via an assist from self-driving delivery trucks, which the company will start testing out next year.

Nuking the deal

President Trump is expected to formally decertify the Iran nuclear deal, which will send the controversial Obama-era pact back to Congress for a 60-day review

Steam-roller vs. giant gummy bear

You know who’s going to win this one. (Click to view.)


Have a great weekend. We’ll be back Monday … with a whole new look!

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