The daily business briefing: October 13, 2017

Harold Maass
The daily business briefing newsletter
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Trump to scrap key ObamaCare subsidies

President Trump is cutting off payments to insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans get health care, the Trump administration said Thursday. Experts warn the move could throw health insurance marketplaces into turmoil. Earlier in the day, Trump announced that he was "starting that process" of replacing ObamaCare, signing an executive order easing some insurance requirements. "The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "You'll get such low prices for such great care." The unilateral moves came after Republicans in Congress failed to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature reform law. ObamaCare supporters say Trump is merely allowing "junk" insurance — cheaper policies with fewer benefits — that healthy people will buy instead of more comprehensive coverage, likely leading to sharp premium increases for older, sicker people. [CBS News, The New York Times]


Amazon Studios chief placed on leave after sexual harassment report

Amazon announced Thursday that it had put Amazon Studios chief Roy Price on leave after a producer accused him of sexual harassment. Isa Hackett, an executive producer of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle, told The Hollywood Reporter that Price repeatedly propositioned her using explicit language in July 2015. Hackett is the daughter of author Philip K. Dick, whose work is the basis for the series. She said she reported the incident to Amazon. Price's suspension came as actress, director, and producer Rose McGowan tweeted that she had told the head of Amazon Studios that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had raped her, and warned against an Amazon bailout of Weinstein's company, but she was told her story was not credible. [NPR, The Hollywood Reporter]


Google investing $1 billion to prepare U.S. workers for future

Google announced Thursday that it will invest $1 billion in nonprofit organizations that are training people for a transforming job market. "The nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training, and opportunity," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Thursday. "One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren't common today. It's a big problem." The initiative, called Grow with Google, amounts to the company's biggest philanthropic effort to date. Grow with Google will provide resources for organizations working to help Americans learn and teach new technology skills. Google employees will also volunteer 1 million hours to help make that happen. [USA Today]


Equifax takes down part of website over malware

Equifax took down part of its website on Thursday, saying code on the site was "serving malicious content." The code, which the credit reporting agency said came from a third-party vendor, was redirecting users to a malicious URL where they were urged to download malware. Equifax said the vendor's code was promptly removed, and that its "systems were not compromised." The problem came as Equifax is struggling to recover from a massive data breach that exposed the personal information, including Social Security numbers and birth dates, of as many as 145.5 million Americans. [Los Angeles Times]


Stocks struggle to regain records as big bank earnings reports continue

U.S. stock futures edged up early Friday ahead of more quarterly earnings reports from big banks. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up by 0.1 percent, with slightly smaller gains for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. All three indexes inched down from record levels on Thursday. Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup fell even though both banks reported profits that beat expectations despite weak trading. Bank of America shares also inched down in pre-market trading Friday after it also reported per-share earnings that beat expectations. Wells Fargo reports quarterly earnings early Friday. Investors also will be watching new inflation data on Friday. [MarketWatch]