June 2013

US 30 Year Mortgage Rates Close At Two Year High

US mortgage rates remained near record lows over the last eight months, but appear to finally be on the rise.  According to Freddie Mac, rates ended this week at their highest recorded level in two years, and average a full point more today than at the beginning of May.

The Financial Highlights Of The Week

The fallout from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s statement of sooner-than-forecast stimulus withdrawal was reflected through the highest mortgage rates on record in two years.  A Supreme Court ruling on the insurance rights of same-sex married couples also topped the headlines this week.

Viableware Launches Self-Serve Credit Card Checkouts For Restaurants

A startup company in Washington named Viableware is making dining out a more enjoyable experience for diners, and less stressful for servers.  Viableware is building a portable device that provides diners with digital versions of restaurant checks, allowing them to automatically swipe their credit cards and collect receipts, without waiting on a server.

Supreme Court Assures Equal Rights For Gay Couples By Repealing DOMA

The US Supreme Court repealed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a highly anticipated ruling yesterday.  The court’s decision marks another step towards legalized gay marriage, and ensures same-sex couples that they are entitled to the same life and health benefits as heterosexual couples.

AMA Under Fire For Calling Fat People “Diseased”

Last week, the American Medical Association (AMA) labelled one-third of the US population as diseased for being overweight.  The declaration was immediately criticized by many self-identified “fat” people, who proudly advocate their lifestyles through organizations like ‘Health At Every Size’ (HAES).

The AMA is criticized by health advocates for putting business ahead of promoting good health.  Groups like the HAES argue that taking a dogmatic approach to weight loss often results in a person eating poorly, which in many cases increases the likelihood of anorexia.

Federal Government Launches Online Health Exchange PR Campaign

The federal government launched a new public relations campaign yesterday to inform Americans about the upcoming health insurance reforms.  The campaign will last for 100 days, and includes a new website with a questionnaire, along with a call center to handle inquiries.

Lawmakers Unite Against Flood Insurance Reform

Outrage over higher flood insurance rates was the catalyst for an unusual alliance between Democrats and Republicans.  Bipartisan lawmakers near the Gulf Coast are challenging reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program, and demanding proposed premium hikes be shelved to help homeowners who are still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina.

The National Flood Insurance Program is run by FEMA, which charged flood insurance premiums that averaged around 45 percent of their full cost.  State and federal taxes financed the rest of the premiums. 

Drivers Validate Auto Insurance Using Smartphones

Drivers and auto insurers are increasingly sharing documented information using 21st century technology.  According to the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America (PCIAA), nearly half the country legally allows drivers to use their smartphones to show proof of auto insurance rather than keep the registration slip in the glove compartment.

The Financial Highlights Of The Week

The housing market was awaiting an update from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke regarding the country’s QE3 stimulus spending.  The tone taken by the Fed, and Bernanke’s suggestions of an early withdrawal of stimulus sent stock markets tumbling near the end of the week.

Kaiser Family Foundation Debunks Myth About Young Adults

Adults between the ages of 18 and 30 are widely perceived to feel immune from health risks, but the latest Kaiser Health Tracking poll says young Americans are in fact quite concerned about medical care and health insurance.

The tracking poll analyzed how young Americans consider their needs for health insurance. According to the results, over 70 percent of young adults feel that health insurance is very important to them personally, while fewer than 25 percent of respondents said health insurance was of little, if any concern.