July 12, 2012 |
"Outsourcing" has become such a dirty word that it's hard to believe there could actually be something called the International Assn. of Outsourcing Professionals . What next? The Society of Professional Child Molesters? The IAOP's modest claim is that it is "the leading professional association for organizations and individuals involved in transforming the world of business through outsourcing, offshoring and shared services. " The group promotes a list of the 100 "best" outsourcing companies, and even has an annual "Miss Outsourcing" beauty pageant.
July 6, 2012 |
In the mid-1980s when I was a graduate student in England, my parents came to visit and my mother ended up getting a first-hand look at socialized medicine. It was my dad and mom's one-and-only trip to Europe -- a very big deal -- and I wanted to show them as much as I could. We crossed the English Channel to France and drove to see the cathedral at Chartres. The first night there, Mom slipped and sprained her ankle. By morning, she couldn't walk and was in need of a doctor. We ended up at a hospital where, with no wait at all, she got X-rays and a friendly, highly competent female doctor checked her out and wrapped her leg. As we were leaving, my mother asked where she should pay the bill.
June 28, 2012 |
The Supreme Court is shaking up the political chessboard today by ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - a.k.a. "Obamacare" - and there is one player who will win no matter what the decision may be: the insurance industry. When Congress was debating healthcare three years ago, health insurers were no fans of reform. They were making gobs of money with the system just as it was. For years, their lobbyists managed to kill any attempt to tinker with the status quo, and major tinkering, like instituting a Canadian-style single-payer scheme, was out of the question because it would cut them out of the healthcare equation. Also, for sensible business reasons, insurers had never been especially keen on being forced to offer coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions or to pay for preventative care or various other benefits the Democrats and President Obama wanted as part of a healthcare reform package.
June 25, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- As Congress awaits the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's healthcare legislation, House Speaker John A. Boehner had a stern warning for rank-and-file Republicans he has struggled to keep on message. “There will be no spiking of the ball,” Boehner wrote in a memo to GOP lawmakers. Even though Republicans have opposed the law, and tried to repeal it, there will be no celebrations if the court strikes down the law or parts of it. Republicans have worked to keep their troops focused on what GOP leaders see is their best talking point heading toward the November election: jobs and the economy . “Republicans are focused on the economy,” Boehner went on in the memo circulated late last week.
June 25, 2012 |
In a move that could significantly expand insurance coverage of weight-loss treatments, a federal health advisory panel on Monday recommended that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urged doctors to identify patients with a body mass index of 30 or more - currently 1 in 3 Americans - and either provide counseling themselves or refer the patient to a program designed to promote weight loss and improve health prospects.
June 7, 2012 |
The basic case against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest crusade - to outlaw the sale of extra-large sugared soft drinks - is Libertarianism 101: In a free country, people should have the right to do what they want, even if it's bad for them. The major exceptions and complications to this basic principle don't seem to apply. Unlike secondhand smoke, my consumption of a Pepsi does no direct harm to anyone else. Unlike marijuana, sugary drinks have a perfectly adequate and legal substitute: sugar-free drinks.
June 5, 2012
Re "Dad calls foul over medical bill," Column, June 1 David Lazarus is to be commended for going toe to toe with health insurance behemoth Aetna. Jim Furlan was stonewalled by an insurance company that refused to cover a necessary MRI because he had not gone through Aetna's "prior approval" process. At one point Aetna suggested that the physician who had requested the MRI without prior approval should pay for the test. Lazarus got Aetna to do the right thing. Prior approval, in theory, protects patients and insurance companies against unnecessary procedures.
May 29, 2012
Re "It's the fiscal future," Opinion, May 23 David M. Walker wants Obama and Romney to spell out their tax policies. However, our dysfunctional Congress controls taxes. Our imperial presidents start wars, but they can only hope for tax changes. Obama promised healthcare reform, but Congress produced a patchwork of half-measures without cost controls, leaving us at the mercy of the insurance companies. Walker prescribes a precise 3-1 ratio of spending cuts and tax increases.
May 20, 2012 |
The Supreme Court is about to toss a judicial bomb into the middle of the presidential campaign, and nobody knows what impact it will have. The bomb, of course, is the court's ruling on President Obama's healthcare law, which is expected next month. At first glance, the political implications might look simple. If the court upholds the law, Obama's biggest legislative achievement, the president wins; if the court declares the law unconstitutional, he loses. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012 But as with many things in politics, it may not be that simple at all. If the court upholds the law, Obama will hail the decision as proof that he was right all along.
May 19, 2012 |
I had a routine physical exam a couple of weeks ago and paid a $40 co-pay. I thought it was strange, so I called my insurance company. They said I should not have had to pay a co-pay for a routine physical exam. I called the doctor's office and they referred me to their billing department, who refused to refund me the co-pay until my insurer reimburses them for the full amount of the physical. This doesn't sound correct to me. They collected a co-pay that they should not have collected.