Author Archives: DCG

Now There Can Be No Doubt: Obamacare Has Increased Non-Group Premiums In Nearly All States

obamacare

Forbes: Remember this categorical assurance from President Obama?

“We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year. .  .  . We’ll do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States”

OK, it’s probably a little unfair to take some June 2008 campaign “puffery” literally–even though it was reiterated by candidate Obama’s economic policy advisor, Jason Furman in a sit-down with a New York Times reporter: “‘We think we could get to $2,500 in savings by the end of the first term, or be very close to it.” Moreover, President Obama subsequently doubled-down on his promise in July 2012, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.”  Fortunately, the Washington Post fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, honestly awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”).

Unfortunately, this has never settled the debate. When the Society of Actuaries estimated spring 2013 that the ACA would result in increasing claims costs by an average of 32 percent nationally by 2017, such estimates could be dismissed as “projections” since at the time of this study, actual premiums in the Exchanges had not yet been announced.  A subsequent plethora of studies showed there had been double-digit increases in premiums (when comparing actual Exchange premiums to previously-prevailing premiums in the non-group market). However, virtually all of these studies focused only on Exchange premiums rather than premiums in the entire non-group market (only half of which consists of Exchange coverage). As a consequence, Obamacare proponents tended to dismiss these studies either as partisan attacks or methodologically limited, making what amounts to apples-to-oranges comparisons.

However, a new study from the well-respected and non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research (and published by Brookings Institution), overcomes the limitations of these prior studies by examining what happened to premiums in the entire non-group market. The bottom line? In 2014, premiums in the non-group market grew by 24.4% compared to what they would have been without Obamacare.  Of equal importance, this careful state-by-state assessment showed that premiums rose in all but 6 states (including Washington DC).  It’s worth unpacking this study a bit to understand the ramification of these findings.

Non-Group Premiums Rose in 45 States Due to Obamacare

The non-group market can only be accurately assessed on a state-by-state basis. Obamacare. The law creates a single risk pool in each state for non-group coverage. That is, health insurers can sell policies inside or outside the Exchanges but they all are part of the same risk pool.  Unlike virtually all other studies that have been conducted to date, this new study examined premium data from both Exchange and non-Exchange plans, i.e., providing a picture of the complete non-group market rather than one segment.  This is crucially important since in nearly one third of states (16), Exchange coverage constitutes 40% or less of the entire non-group market (Table 1).

PremiumIncreasesKowalski

Of equal importance, unlike prior studies which simply compared pre-Obamacare premiums in 2013 to actual premiums offered on Exchanges in 2014, this new study isolates the causal impact of Obamacare statistically by using trend data in each state to figure out what non-group premiums in 2014 would have been in the absence of Obamacare. Thus, critics could dismiss many other so-called “pre-/post” studies by effectively saying “Well, premiums in the non-group have always gone up by a large amount, so what’s happening under Obamacare is no different.”  Such criticisms cannot be levied at this study. All of the percentage changes shown in the chart below represent the net change attributable to Obamacare after accounting for all the other factors that would have made premiums go up.[1]

Clearly, the adverse impact of Obamacare on non-group premiums varies sizably across states. The law is estimated to result in lower premiums in only 6 states. However, it should be noted that while the author presented premium estimates for California and New Jersey, the data for these two states is incomplete due to anomalous data reporting requirements. Thus, the large estimated premium decline of 37.5% in New Jersey likely would be different were full data available, but there is no way of telling by how much.

What is disturbing is to see premium increases in excess of 35% in 9 states, including some of the nation’s largest states (Florida and Texas). Remember, these are increases above and beyond normal premium trends.  No one can credibly claim that these massive premium increases would have happened anyway since the study was specifically designed to isolate the law’s impacts from all the other factors that have driven up premiums in recent years.

Taxpayers Will Pay About 24% More for Exchange Subsidies Due to Obamacare-induced Premium Increases

Of course, Obamacare enthusiasts will argue that I’m ignoring all the subsidies provided to Exchange members. It’s certainly true that for those lucky enough to qualify for such subsidies, the typical size of a subsidy in any given state would have been sufficient to protect such individuals from the premium increases shown in the chart above.  But that ignores the fact that out of an estimated 13.2 million people covered in the non-group market in second quarter 2014 (Kowalski’s estimate), only about 7 million qualified for subsidies.[2]  Thus, there were 6.2 million in the non-group market who had to absorb these premium increases without the benefit of any help from Uncle Sam.

Moreover, the fact that federal taxpayers were handed the privilege of having to offset such premium increases using their hard-earned tax dollars should in no way obscure the reality that Obamacare caused premiums to rise in the first place. Higher premiums are not what was promised when the law was enacted. Of equal importance, such subsidies represent a transfer that does not improve the welfare of the nation as a whole. A dollar given to an Exchange member to offset these higher premiums is simply a dollar taken out of the pocket of another American taxpayer. Indeed, had premiums not risen in the first place, the amount of subsidies required on the Exchanges could have been roughly 24% lower.  Increasing the tab that taxpayers had to pay for such subsidies by roughly one fourth certainly in no way increased the nation’s welfare.

In short, it is harder and harder for champions of Obamacare to ignore the plain truth that this misguided law has increased premiums in the non-group market, a burden borne by millions who have to buy coverage in that market without the benefit of taxpayer subsidies and by the taxpayers who must bankroll subsidies for those who qualify.  As I’ve demonstrated repeatedly, this law creates many more losers than winners. The many millions in the non-group market who are having to pay higher premiums due to Obamacare are just one slice of a much larger pool of losers. But until this increasingly incontestable reality are acknowledged by the law’s supporters there is no prospect of changing a law that continues (quite sensibly) to be opposed by the majority of Americans.

obama

DCG

Metropolitan Opera highlights terrorism in “The Death of Klinghoffer”

Leon Klinghoffer

Leon Klinghoffer

FoxNews: When the Metropolitan Opera announced in February that it would present John Adams’ “The Death of Klinghoffer” this fall, there was, as Peter Gelb recalls it, “absolutely no reaction” at first. Then the firestorm erupted.

Composer John Adams

Composer John Adams

Starting in May, the company’s general manager said he and board members began getting “hundreds of emails and phone calls in an organized campaign” demanding they cancel the production. Those objecting to the opera, which recounts the murder of a disabled Jewish American passenger by Palestinian hijackers on the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, claim it is anti-Semitic and glorifies terrorists.

“I’ve been attacked as a self-hating Jew, a fascist, a Nazi and members of the cast have gotten emails telling them their names will be stained forever,” Gelb said in an interview in his office last week.

The Met is going ahead with the production — the first of eight performances was on Monday, Oct. 20. But the attacks have had their effect: The company pulled the plug on planned HD and radio broadcasts, canceled a panel discussion out of safety concerns, agreed to include a note in the program from Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters denouncing the opera and arranged for stepped-up security to deal with likely protests both outside and inside the house.

Klinghoffer's daughters

Klinghoffer’s daughters

“Klinghoffer,” which Gelb and many music critics consider Adams’ finest work, has provoked controversy from the time of its premiere in 1991 in Brussels, Belgium. Some later productions were canceled and others were picketed, though the Met clearly hoped that after 23 years the furor had died down.

Many opponents single out a few lines in the libretto by Alice Goodman, who also collaborated with Adams on the earlier “Nixon in China.” In Act 2, one of the terrorists, Rambo, delivers a diatribe that includes the words: “Wherever poor men are gathered they can find Jews getting fat,” and “America is one big Jew.”

What these critics often fail to note is that Rambo’s speech comes directly after an aria in which Klinghoffer excoriates the hijackers for terrorist atrocities: “You pour gasoline over women passengers on the bus to Tel Aviv and burn them alive. … You just want to see people die.”

Gelb said those attacking the opera are “taking some of the words from the text which are obviously anti-Semitic because they’re the words of the terrorists.

“I believe an audience can filter and understand the story, which is clearly not sympathetic to murdering this poor Jewish victim,” he said. In the opera, as in real life, Klinghoffer is shot in the head and his body is thrown overboard in his wheelchair.

A broader objection focuses on the way the opera humanizes the terrorists and shows the historical and emotional background of their actions. Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer write in their program note that the work “presents false moral equivalencies without context and offers no real insight into the historical reality and the senseless murder of an American Jew. It rationalizes, romanticizes, and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.”

Tom Morris, who directed “Klinghoffer” at the English National Opera in 2012 (where it met with almost no opposition) and is supervising a restaging of his production at the Met, takes issue with that argument.

“It’s an opera with a hideous crime at its center, the murder of an innocent man,” Morris said. “While representing that crime and that violence, you need to animate what might be motivating the people who committed it. … It’s the job of dramatic art to allow us to understand why people might do terrible things.”

While taking heat on one side for going ahead with the opera, Gelb has also been accused of cowardice for his decision to cancel the HD simulcast of a live matinee performance to movie theaters worldwide. Gelb said that was especially “painful,” since the HDs are “something I invented and am very proud of.”

But he said, “There is a huge sensitivity on the part of the Jewish community here and abroad about growing anti-Semitism in Europe. So the argument that was presented to me was how can you present this opera with its message outside the U.S.?”

He clearly doesn’t buy the notion that an HD broadcast might foment more anti-Semitism. “The audience for that are not going to be terrorists,” he said. “They’re not going to be Le Pen followers,” referring to a right-wing French political party.

Still, Gelb said, “I needed to make some kind of compromise gesture that would appease a very concerned faction” that included some donors and the Anti-Defamation League. His more extreme opponents have not been placated, however, and several hundred picketed the season’s opening night.

Morris remains convinced that those protesting the production represent “a comparatively small group of people who feel very strongly. “For me,” he said, “any piece of opera programming which connects with a wider conversation in society is a good thing.” And then, in what may be wishful thinking, Morris added: “I hope some of them will see the opera.”

Feel free to contact the Met: @MetOpera or (212) 799-3100 or drop them an email.

DCG

Colorado State bans purchase of most SUVs but governor, family still chauffeured in them

hicken

Watchdog.org: Last year, the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration, in an attempt to improve the state fleet’s environmental friendliness, issued a policy that prevents most departments from buying all-wheel-drive sports utility vehicles.

Yet, Gov. John Hickenlooper and his family are still chauffeured around in two SUVs, which according to government figures get about 22 miles a gallon highway and 16 mpg in city driving in the six cylinder version. The mileage drops to 17 and 12 if the vehicles use E85 fuel, according to http://www.fueleconomy.gov.

The DPA policy exempts law enforcement vehicles from the SUV ban, and state officials argue that the governor’s SUVs are law enforcement because he, and his family, are driven around by state troopers.

“Those are public safety vehicles,” said DPA spokeswoman Sabrina D’Agosta. “The governor does not choose the type of vehicles, and the SUVs are driven by law enforcement agents.”

But Gregory Golyansky, president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, said the governor should be setting an example if he and his cabinet are pushing for green vehicles. “This governor is a proponent of all kinds of green fantasies,” he said. “If they are so useful, the government wouldn’t have to require departments to buy them.”

The Dec. 9, 2013, vehicle ordering instructions has a section titled “Additional Greening State Government Guidelines to follow.” The section restricts “the purchase of four-wheel drive sport utility vehicles (SUV), except where necessary for law enforcement, emergency response, highway maintenance and construction or use in difficult terrain.” All SUVs require the approval of the executive director, but state patrol refused to comment on the governor’s SUVs, citing security concerns, and directed all questions to the governor’s office.

Hickenlooper did not answer questions about his SUVs after an unrelated news conference last month.

But records obtained under state open records laws show the two vehicles labeled “sta wgn midsize 4X4” were purchased in 2011, before the no-SUV policy, for about $26,000 each. One is labeled “Governor’s Vehicle” in the state records and the other is “Governor’s Family Vehicle.”

Taxpayers paid nearly $12,000 since July 2012 to fill up the governor’s vehicle with gasoline almost exclusively and nearly $9,000 for the family vehicle in the same time period, records show. About 60,000 miles were placed on the governor’s vehicle and 42,000 on the family vehicle in the past two fiscal years, records show.

Hickenlooper staff refused to provide the make and model of the two vehicles, but Hickenlooper arrived at a recent event in the Chevy Equinox. “For security reasons, Colorado State Patrol has not authorized us to release publicly the make and model of the Governor’s vehicles,” wrote Ben Figa, Hickenlooper’s deputy legal counsel.

Despite the records saying the vehicle is a station wagon, Consumer Reports, JD Power and Edmunds list the Equinox as a mid-size SUV.

Hickenlooper is not unique in having a personal vehicle and a family vehicle. Those were provided to past governors for security purposes. But his administration set a policy banning the purchase of SUVs for most departments.

“It’s an act of hypocrisy,” Golyansky said. “It’s not the first from this governor and not the last.”

But D’Agosta said Hickenlooper is trying to be more fuel efficient that previous governors. “He’s the first governor to use a mid-sized SUV,” she said. “All previous governors had Suburbans and fueling costs were twice as much.”

do as i say

DCG

Monica Lewinsky: “My life was ruined by Drudge”

Photo of Lewinsky from the 30 Under 30 Summit

Photo of Lewinsky from the 30 Under 30 Summit

At the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit, Monica Lewinsky stated, “My life was ruined by Drudge”. Poor thing suffered so much at the hand of media, she’s now putting her “shame” to good use:

Lewinsky makes emotional plea to end cyberbullying

clinton

CNN: Monica Lewinsky told an audience in Philadelphia on Monday that her new mission in life was to end cyberbullying. Her speech — and her goal — come as the former White House intern steps into the public eye after years of trying to live privately.

“Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too,” she told the audience at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 summit. “I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”

Lewinsky, who as an intern in 1995 had an affair with President Bill Clinton, said she was “patient zero” of online harassment.

“There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she said. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media’.”

Lewinsky became emotional when describing the months after her 1998 scandal with the president, when national attention was fixed on her. “Staring at the computer screen, I spent the day shouting: ‘oh my God!’ and ‘I can’t believe they put that in’ or ‘That’s so out of context,'” she said. “And those were the only thoughts that interrupted a relentless mantra in my head: ‘I want to die.'”

Lewinsky also recapped her affair with Clinton.

“Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a 22 year old intern in the White House — and more than averagely romantic — I fell in love with my boss in a 22-year old sort of way. It happens,” Lewinsky said. “But my boss was the president of the United States. That probably happens less often. Now I deeply regret it for many reasons, not the least of which is that people were hurt. And that is never okay.”

The former White House intern — who since has received a masters from the London School of Economics and tried her hand as a purse designer — said the affair was “my everything.”

clinton

Lewinsky, however, struck a resilient tone, according to Forbes, and focused on what she wants to do going forward: End cyberbullying. The former White House intern has said in past interviews and essays that she feels a connection with people who have been caught up in online scandals that forever changed their lives.

In a May Vanity Fair piece, where she discussed life after her affair with Clinton, Lewinsky cited the 2010 Tyler Clementi case as the reason she was going public with her cause. Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers who committed suicide after his roommate secretly used a webcam to stream his sexual encounter.

“My own suffering took on a different meaning,” Lewinsky wrote about her reaction to the Clementi case. “Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”

In the piece, Lewinsky said her new goal was to “get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”

Lewinsky’s speech comes on the same day that she joined Twitter, a move that is just the latest step in Lewinsky’s re-entry into public life.

She may have been swindled by Clinton, but to call out Drudge for their reporting? Typical liberal:

Victim Card

DCG

Family of Ebola-stricken nurse Amber Vinson say she was ‘in no way careless’ flying while sick

Amber Vinson

Amber Vinson

Daily Mail: The family of a Dallas nurse who cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan then caught the disease herself have angrily denied she was ‘careless’ in flying to Ohio and back while carrying the virus.

Amber Vinson, 29, who works at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, caught Ebola after helping to care for Duncan. She then went on a trip to Ohio and back – and was hospitalized with the virulent illness hours after her return. In the wake of her trip 153 people are being monitored for signs of the disease, and three are in quarantine.

In a statement released by her family today, they say Vinson would never ‘knowingly’ put anybody at risk, was vigilant in testing herself for signs, and followed all the relevant protocols.

The statement attacked any suggestion that she ignored medical or government guidelines. Medical staff dealing with Ebola are allowed to fly provided they wore protective gear while dealing with the virus.

The statement said she reported her body temperature three times before boarding her flight home last week.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged Vinson checked in repeatedly and was cleared for travel.

Cleveland station WOIO reported the family’s statement and said that they feel public comments and media outlets ‘mischaracterize Amber and her actions’. It said: ‘Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful. Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions.”

‘To be clear, in no way was Amber careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else.’

Three people have been quarantined in northeast Ohio following Vinson’s visit to Cleveland to prepare for her wedding. None of the three, quarantined after new monitoring guidelines by the state, has exhibited Ebola-like symptoms.

Initially, only Vinson’s stepfather had been quarantined, in his home in suburban Akron. The two others, in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, and in Summit County, were quarantined after.

Ohio governor John Kasich ordered the new guidelines, which include travel restrictions, on Saturday. A state health official said the guidelines are meant to remove any chance of Ebola spreading. ‘As we’ve seen, travel is a potential problem,’ state epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio said. ‘It’s why the people of Ohio are dealing with the situation we have right now.’

Under the guidelines, anyone who has had direct contact with the skin, mucus membranes, blood or bodily fluids of someone diagnosed with Ebola must be quarantined for 21 days.

Anyone who did not have direct skin contact but reported spending more than an hour in close proximity to an infected person is not to travel commercially for 21 days. Such people also are to seek permission to travel outside the health jurisdictions where they live. People who were in the same enclosed space as an Ebola carrier are not to travel outside the U.S.

Kasich said the federal government should ban travel from West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands of people, mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Vinson cared for a man who died from the disease in Dallas. She was diagnosed last week. She flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back on Oct. 13.

Ebola is spread through bodily fluids. Someone who is infected does not become contagious until he or she shows symptoms of the disease. Health officials have said Vinson exhibited some symptoms while in Ohio.

There are 153 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with Vinson. They include people with whom Vinson had direct contact, those who visited the Akron bridal shop where her bridesmaids tried on dresses on Oct. 11 and those who were passengers on the flights she took.

Vinson is being cared for at a specialized unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Her family said she is a ‘deeply committed nurse driven by a fundamental passion for helping others.’ One of Vinson’s Dallas hospital colleagues, Nina Pham, also is being treated for Ebola.

common sense

DCG

People Magazine has a glaring omission about Thomas Eric Duncan

Thomas Duncan, the First Ebola Victim in the U.S., Remembered as Caring, Compassionate Man

Thomas Eric Duncan (from a Facebook photo)

Thomas Eric Duncan (from a Facebook photo)

People: Thomas Eric Duncan was remembered Saturday as a big-hearted and compassionate man whose virtues may have led to his infection with Ebola in his native Liberia and subsequent death as the first victim of the disease in the United States.

Family and friends gathered at a small Southern Baptist church with a primarily Liberian flock near where Duncan’s mother and other family members live.

Duncan’s neighbors in Liberia believe he was infected by helping a pregnant woman who later died from Ebola. It was unclear if he knew about her diagnosis before traveling to the United States. Duncan denied helping his Ebola-sickened neighbor, but it would be consistent with the caring nature he always showed, said his nephew Josephus Weeks of nearby Kannapolis.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that what’s described in the news is something that Eric would do,” said Weeks, who like Duncan is 42 and grew up in the same households as his uncle. “Eric would have been out there and helped that woman. And he would have done everything that he needed to do for that woman to make sure she was fine.”

Retired United Methodist bishop Arthur Kulah said Duncan attended a high school the cleric helped establish in neighboring Ivory Coast for refugees from the Liberian civil war that raged through the 1990s. To generate much-needed income, Duncan jury-rigged a telephone connection allowing fellow refugees to contact family abroad for help, Kulah said.

“People would go there without any money and appeal to him, and he was willing to give them time to talk to their people. There were some people who paid and some people who didn’t pay,” Kulah said. “He was such a compassionate young man, respectful young man.”

About 40 friends and family members – many women wearing colorful headscarves – collected inside the 100-seat church and listened as speakers remembered Duncan accompanied by an electric piano and bongos. His weeping mother sat in the front row. Weeks’ 3-year-old son dabbed at the elderly woman’s teary eyes with a tissue.

Duncan left Ivory Coast and learned auto mechanics and welding at a United Nations school for refugees in Ghana, relatives said. He came to the United States hoping to work multiple jobs, save money and build a future, said his relative, Harry Korkoya of Woodbridge, Virginia.

Duncan is also survived by four children, none of whom could attend the memorial service, Weeks said. The four people living in the Dallas apartment where Duncan stayed after arriving in the United States are due to leave quarantine next week after the end of a 21-day incubation period for the disease.

Weeks remembered the Duncan he last saw 22 years ago as an athletic youth who was their neighborhood’s best at soccer played with a tennis ball, the only kind available. He drove motorcycles so fast it scared Weeks, and named their pet dog Superstar to reflect the pride he had in the animal. Duncan commonly gave away money, then asked Weeks for a loan, he said.

He cared for everybody, it doesn’t matter who you were. If he was driving he saw you over there, he wouldn’t splash you with dirty water. He’d pull over and let you in his car,” Weeks said.

The glaring omission from the People article: “Thomas Eric Duncan answered “no” to questions about whether he had cared for a patient with the deadly virus. Duncan also answered no to a question about whether he had touched the body of someone who died in an area affected by the disease.”

How respectful…

DCG

A good reason to stock up: Ammunition pulled from Walmart shelves in Ferguson amid violent clashes

riots3

DailyMail: Ammunition has been pulled from the shelves of two Walmarts in Ferguson amid violent clashes over the police shooting of Michael Brown.

Employees were ordered to lock all bullets in a store cupboard on Monday after demonstrators stormed one of the stores and formed a barricade outside another.

riots

Bosses in Ferguson and nearby Maplewood revealed they took the precaution in fear of looting and violence as racial divides in the Missouri city show no sign of resolve.

It is the first time Walmart has taken such action since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, when assault rifles were removed from shelves in Connecticut.

Addressing Ferguson, Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told KMOV-TV: ‘If there is a history of violence and looting and other activity that are going on or things that are putting associates and customers at risk – then yes, decisions can be made based on those circumstances.’

Customers who wish to buy bullets will have to discuss their intended purchase with a sales assistant, he said. 

riots2

The move came just days before a report was leaked revealing Darren Wilson told a grand jury he shot Brown because he feared for his life – a claim that has stoked renewed anger across Ferguson.

Protesters have taken to the streets every week calling for Wilson’s resignation.

On Monday, more than 43 people were arrested amid protests – many inside the Maplewood Walmart. The protests were held in memory of John Crawford, a black man who was killed in an Ohio Walmart days before Brown’s shooting in Missouri.

Demonstrations are expected to escalate today after the news that a grand jury has heard an account of the shooting that shines a favorable light on the police officer.

In it, Wilson claims he was sat in his SUV on patrol when the teenager leaned through the window, punching and scratching his face. He insists he feared for his life, which prompted him to shoot twice from inside the car. However, he does not acknowledge subsequently shooting Brown four times outside the vehicle.

A number of witnesses agree that Brown and Wilson were embroiled in a physical fight through the car window, but few had an accurate vantage point to see what was happening.

They insist, however, the teenager was trying to flee and holding up his hands.

DCG