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September 12, 2017

Apple on Tuesday unveiled the iPhone X (pronounced "ten"), which CEO Tim Cook hailed as the "biggest leap forward since the original iPhone." The 5.8-inch smartphone has a massive, edge-to-edge screen. There's no home button, and the phone will unlock using a facial recognition system. "Every time you glance at your phone, it detects your face — even in the dark," Apple Senior Vice President Philip Schiller said.

The iPhone X will also have two more hours of battery time than iPhone 7. Another new feature is Animoji, which Schiller described as emojis that can be controlled with your face.

During the event, Apple also introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, cheaper iterations which feature wireless charging; the Apple Watch Series 3, which has built-in cellular capability; and an updated Apple TV capable of streaming 4K resolution.

The iPhone X will be available Nov. 3 and starts at $999. The iPhone 8 starts at $699, while the Plus runs for $799. Pour one out for the iPhone 9. Becca Stanek

July 13, 2017

Senate Republicans on Thursday released a revised draft of their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The second draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act puts an additional $70 billion toward covering out-of-pocket costs and $45 billion toward battling the opioid epidemic and adds a provision that would allow people to use health savings accounts to pay their premiums.

The revised bill also enables insurers to provide lower-premium plans that provide less coverage, as long as they offer at least one plan that follows ObamaCare standards. The amendment is similar to one proposed by Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah), though some experts worry that the option will make the more comprehensive ObamaCare-compliant plans prohibitively expensive for the sicker customers who need them.

The new bill also retains two ObamaCare taxes on the wealthy that were axed in the first iteration of the bill. Cuts to Medicaid remain largely intact.

Republican leadership is eyeing a vote on the revised bill next week, following the release of a new score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Read the full text of the bill here. Becca Stanek

November 1, 2016

The 2017 open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act kicked off Tuesday, just seven days before Election Day. Despite increasing prices and decreasing choices on the marketplace, an estimated 11.4 million are expected to re-enroll in or sign up for ObamaCare policies between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, though the Obama administration hopes for closer to 13.8 million enrollees for the year.

Because several insurers pulled out of or restricted coverage in many states' ObamaCare exchanges due to costs, the Chicago Tribune reported the "average increase of the benchmark is 22 percent — but, depending on your location, you may face a higher cost." While there were an average of 47 plan choices per marketplace shopper last year, this year there are only 30.

ObamaCare has already become a big focus of the presidential election, with Hillary Clinton vowing improvements to the existing healthcare law and Donald Trump promising a swift repeal of it. Because the enrollment period ends 11 days after Inauguration Day 2017, Politico reported the "outcome of the 2017 enrollment season could have sweeping consequences for the next administration's immediate priorities," especially if enrollment falls short of estimates. Becca Stanek

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