Saturday, November 12, 2011

Obamacare to Cut Jobs of Artifical Hip, Knee Maker

Stryker, the Kalamazoo-based maker of artificial hips and knees, will cut 5% of its global workforce by the end of next year to reduce costs in the face of new fees on device makers required by the U.S. health care law.

The job cuts will reduce annual pretax operating costs by more than $100 million beginning in 2013, when the medical-device excise tax is scheduled to take effect, Stryker said Thursday in a statement. Stryker had more than 20,000 employees as of Dec. 31, according to Bloomberg News data.

Stryker expects to record $85 million to $95 million of the expense in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"These actions are part of our ongoing focus on quality, innovation and cost, and position the company to continue to provide strong, consistent growth in a changing environment," CEO Stephen MacMillan said.

Reposted from Freep

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obama Wants Your Health Records

By Kerri Toloczko, reposted from

The federal government, as part of Obamacare implementation, is trying to figure out how to get its hands on everyone’s healthcare records.

It may seem like a small boat in the ocean of bureaucratic incursion that is Obamacare, but given the construction of the new law and the priority its authors and supporters place on “bending the cost curve,” allowing government access to American’s most personal records is a critical step in its effort to control healthcare costs at the expense of care.

The path to achieving this is to use treatment outcomes and other health data as instruments of rationing and denial of care through the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research — created by President Obama — and based on European rationing boards.

There are several ways for the government to access our health records, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is already contemplating options. One would be for the federal government to collect them directly. Another is mandating that the states, as part of Obamacare’s new healthcare exchanges, collect the information and pass it along to the federal government. A third would be to force private insurance companies to make the data available to the feds.

Notwithstanding any discussion of the government’s right to our private records, none of these are good ideas but not as bad as another option that some have floated; let a private contractor bid on the project to collect and maintain the information on behalf of the government.

Allowing a private company to access everyone’s healthcare records is an open invitation to disaster and a gross invasion of personal privacy. And more so as about the only company that could handle the job with any degree of competency appears to be Google.

Google’s business model is tracking and collecting preferred sites and other information from its users. Everything from favorite restaurants to marital status is fair game for the Internet behemoth, which uses sophisticated algorithms to identify who accesses the web in a given home — capturing birthdates, age, gender, imputed income and other information useful to determining what products and services might be of interest to a person when they go online.

Google collects and utilizes this information whether it has permission from the user or not, which is where the issue of private healthcare records comes into play.

Having those records, even if they are walled off and protected under law, does not mean they cannot be swept for information that is useful in other contexts. Everything from medical procedures you have had and their outcomes, medicines you take, your family health history, and details of your health insurance policy will be open to inclusion in Google data collection and marketing efforts through which the world’s largest search engine already generates much of its revenue.

Under a Google-driven collection of personal health data, there would be no “opt-in,” no “opt-out,” just your private records ripe for Internet picking.

The computerized healthcare record itself is helpful and useful. Many private studies have shown that electronic records can lead to enormous cost savings and cut down significantly on medical errors, helping to streamline costs and improve the quality of care available in hospitals today.

The problem is not that the information exists; it is how it can be used or, in this case, potentially abused. Even if no one can see the records, the possibility that they can be “data mined” if left in private hands is so strong that everyone should be concerned.

Medical records should be the property of the patient, and only the patient – an idea Congress and the states should aggressively seek to enshrine in law. Service providers and insurance companies need access to certain health information, but no outside entity should be allowed to touch them without a patient’s direct permission.

Google has turned the collection, analysis and recycling of personal information into an art form, and it shouldn’t be allowed to practice this art as the handmaiden of government with our health information. When it comes to records containing our private health data, a search engine should not be allowed any where near them. Nor, for that matter, should anyone else.

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Year Later…10 Things You Didn’t Know About Obamacare

Remember a year ago when VP Joe Biden was caught telling his boss that the massive Healthcare Reform Bill the President had just signed was (using Biden’s words) a ‘big f**king deal?’

Well folks, I hate to say this, but Joe Biden was right. This is a big deal. A big and expensive deal that still has not earned the support of more than half of America.
The as the bill was passed a year ago, a Gallup poll said:
only 49% of us think that passing healthcare reform was a ‘good thing.’
40% believe it was a bad thing

11% have no opinion
The people at Gallup asked the same question last week and not a whole lot has changed, except that more people DON’T like the idea:
only 46% support the healthcare reform bill
44% think it’s a bad idea
10% have no opinion
Maybe people just don’t know enough about what is in the bill. Remember then-speaker Nancy Pelosi telling us that we needed to pass the bill to find out what was in it?

As you know, they passed the bill, and now we know what is inside it. Bad stuff. Which might explain why even staunch Obamacare supporters like Congressman Anthony Weiner want a waiver for New York City.
But just how bad is it?

The folks at ‘Americans For Tax Reform’ have combed through the bill and found 10 Expensive Things You Did Not Know About Obamacare:

1. Did you know that . . . since Jan. 1 of this year (2011), you cannot use your flex-account at work (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to purchase over-the-counter medicines?

2. Did you know that . . . since July 1 of last year (2010), Americans have been paying a 10 percent excise tax on all indoor tanning services?

3. Did you know that . . . starting in 2018, if your health insurance is “too good” or considered a “Cadillac” plan, then you will incur a new 40 percent tax on your health plan?

4. Did you know that . . . Obamacare has 21 new or higher taxes in it, totaling over $500 billion in increased taxes going to the government over 10 years?

5. Did you know that . . . beginning in 2014, individuals and families that do not purchase “qualifying” – as defined by federal bureaucrats — health insurance will be forced to pay a yearly tax penalty?

6. Did you know that . . . 7 tax hikes in Obamacare directly break President Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise any form of taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 per year and families making less than $250,000 per year?

7. Did you know that . . . the capital gains tax rate under Obamacare will rise to 23.8 percent starting in 2012? That is a 59 percent increase from its current rate.

8. Did you know that . . . in 2013, those Americans facing the highest medical bills and the least ability to pay for them will find their ability to deduct medical expenses is further limited (medical expenses must be reduced by 10 percent of income under Obamacare, rather than current law’s 7.5 percent)

9. Did you know that . . . beginning in 2014, businesses with over 50 employees will be forced to offer health coverage for everyone, or pay a hefty tax for each employee?

10. Did you know that . . . in 2013, Obamacare caps the amount individuals and families can put in their flexible savings accounts at $2500? Currently there is no cap and these accounts are used for a myriad of health expenses including paying upwards of $14,000 in tuition to special needs schools for some parents?
I don’t know about you, but I‘m kind of nervous about what we will discover when this bill hits the ’terrible twos.’

(Source: The Blaze)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wisconsin Doctors Write Fake Sick Notes For Work-Ditching Teachers

We are seeing a wholesale disregard for the common good, the rule of law, and the right to self-government by the Left in the State of Wisconsin. It's very similar to the way those on the Left have tried to impose counterfeit marriage on other states.

1) An elected governor, and a majority in the State Senate, attempt to carry out their mandate.

2) In response the Democratic legislators flee their jobs and their state so that a vote (which they know they will lose) cannot be held.

3) Wisconsin teachers, and their supports, flood the capitol to try and intimidate the remaining Senators. The teachers walk off their jobs to do this, lying about being sick, thus forcing public schools to close.

4) Now, Wisconsin doctors, who support the public sector unions which are bankrupting the state, have been caught on film writing phony excuses for those teachers who pretended to be sick. It's an ever-growing web of corruption. Watch one of the videos:

USA Today reported: "Doctors from numerous hospitals set up a station near the Capitol to provide notes to explain public employees' absences from work. Family physician Lou Sanner, 59, of Madison, said he had given out hundreds (!) of notes. Many of the people he spoke with seemed to be suffering from stress, he said."

Ann Althouse has another video:

You can voice your concern about this to the Medical Examing Board of the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. The email address is: