Tennessee’s Obamacare health insurance co-op announced Wednesday that it would close at the end of 2015, becoming the sixth of 23 such plans to collapse in the past year.
The 27,000-member co-op, known as Community Health Alliance, said that the decision came “after careful analysis of the company’s current and future financial condition” and “lengthy discussions” with federal and state regulators.
Last winter, Tennessee’s plan became the only one in the country to stop signing up new customers before the end of the Affordable Care Act’s period of open enrollment. Officials said the plan had begun to grow so fast that they were uncertain it would be able to afford to cover all its members’ health-care claims if it expanded further.
— Susan Levine and Amy Goldstein
A prominent astronomer resigned Wednesday from the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation found that he sexually harassed female students over many years, two top administrators said.
The university immediately accepted professor Geoffrey Marcy’s resignation, according to a statement from Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele.
The university has not released details of a six-month investigation into one of the world’s leading experts on planets outside Earth’s solar system. The inquiry involved incidents dating as far back as 2001. Marcy apologized last week, but the university faced growing pressure to fire him.
— Associated Press
A North Carolina man accused of trying to join al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Syria should be forcibly injected with anti-psychotic medication to see if that will make him competent to face trial, a federal judge ruled.
Basit Sheikh faces serious charges that require a trial and prison doctors could medicate him with limited side effects, U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle in Raleigh said in his order Tuesday. He put the order on hold to allow an appeal, which was filed Wednesday. Sheikh, 32, of Cary, is charged with attempting to join Jabhat al-Nusra militants. He was arrested almost two years ago in an FBI sting.
— Associated Press
Graphic crime scene photographs and audio of 911 emergency phone calls made after a gunman killed nine people in a Charleston church in June will not be released to the public, a South Carolina judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge J.C. Nicholson said releasing the sensitive materials collected as evidence in the prosecution of the accused shooter would harm the victims in the case.
Nicholson in July blocked the release of all investigative materials gathered in the state’s case against Dylann Roof, 21, a move challenged by news media organizations that argued the gag order was too broad. On Wednesday, the judge lifted the gag order for the bulk of the other evidence in the case.
Nine black churchgoers died in the June 17 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
A New York couple were charged with manslaughter in the death of their 19-year-old son after allegedly beating him for hours during a family counseling session inside the “sanctuary room” of an upstate church, police said Wednesday.
The victim’s parents, Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, were arraigned Tuesday and pleaded not guilty. They were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each.
In addition, four of the couple’s fellow parishioners were charged with assaulting the teenager’s younger brother on Sunday at the Word of Life Church in Chadwicks, about 50 miles east of Syracuse.
The brothers were subjected to “physical punishment over the course of several hours in the hopes that each would confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness,” New Hartford Police Chief Michael Inserra said.
The older brother, Lucas Leonard, died Monday afternoon after being driven to a hospital by family members, who falsely told doctors the teenager had suffered a gunshot wound, police said. Leonard’s injuries were consistent with blunt-force trauma to his torso and extremities. Church members told police that Leonard’s 17-year-old brother, Christopher, had also been severely beaten during the counseling session.
Customs computers go down briefly at airports: U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the computer systems used to process international travelers at airports across the United States went down for about 90 minutes Wednesday evening. Passengers reported long lines at airports in New York, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth and other ports of entry into the country. The agency said Customs agents processed international travelers using “alternative procedures” until the systems were back online.
— Associated Press