January 18, 2008
Quitting Nurses Vindicated
The NY State Department of Health has found that 10 nurses who quit en masse did not jeopardize patients.
A state Department of Health inquiry has found that residents at a Smithtown nursing home "were not placed in jeopardy" by the mass resignation of 10 nurses in 2006, a spokesman said.
The health department's findings come less than two weeks before the nurses - all Filipino immigrants - are scheduled for a Jan. 28 trial in Suffolk County on charges of conspiracy and endangering patients in a pediatric ventilation unit at Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
Should workers have the right to quit their jobs? This is ostensibly a free country and supports free markets so how is it that private sector workers who quit their job could be brought up on charges? Is this a form of slavery? If the nurses were unionized could this have been avoided?
September 15, 2005
More Signs of Convergence in Germany
There are more signs that Germany's Economic system is transforming and becoming more like their liberal counterparts in the US and UK.
Germans Feel Health Squeeze (WSJ Subscription Required)
BERLIN -- Since 2001, the Malteser Social Service has offered free medical care to asylum-seekers, travelers and refugees. Now, the walk-in clinic has a new group of patients: ordinary Germans.
Squeezed by the country's new get-tough welfare changes and its stagnant economy, at least 300,000 Germans went without medical insurance last year, according to estimates by insurance groups and experts. That is up from 188,000 in 2003, according to a government survey. While the figure pales beside the roughly 45 million uninsured in the U.S., it is worrying to a country that has prided itself on universal coverage.
The trend is one of the reasons for the unsettled mood in Germany ahead of this Sunday's general elections. The vote was called by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in part because he lost support of the left wing of his Social Democratic Party for pushing through overhauls. That helped create the first new major political party in Germany in a generation, the Left Party, which polls show as the third-largest party heading into the vote. It could play the role of spoiler, denying the usual left-of-center or right-of-center coalitions a majority.
"The state has pulled back more and more from care of the population," says Thorsten Rudnik, spokesman for the Association of the Insured. "Many people are calling the system into question."
(click link for rest of article)
July 12, 2005
GE Executive on Healthcare
In today's Wall Street Journal a GE executive speaks on the future of healthcare. My only complaint is that it should be a union leader articulating this message:
The Next Generation of Healthcare (subscription required)
The most obvious limitation of 20th century health care is that it was directed at First World markets and diseases. Despite having only 4% of the world's population, the U.S. accounts for over 50% of the world's health-care market and has a pivotal role in determining the prioritization of pharmaceutical research. Mass tropical and niche orphan diseases have been largely neglected. I don't criticize the pharmaceutical industry for this -- if only every industry were as successful in delivering what its customers want. But I do question whether the shortcomings we face in health care are the sign of an incomplete and immature model.
An "Early Health" model may actually be less expensive. Investment in excellent, primary care, with strong attention to lifestyle, environment, early diagnosis and intervention, stands the best chance of limiting the development of the expensive, debilitating late-stage diseases. The investments required depend less on remote hospitals and more on community-based patient-centric services, enabled by integrated electronic health-care records and the best possible screening and early diagnostic programs. We should constantly ask how do we bring care to the individual, not how do we bring the patient to a medical institution.
To make real progress we need to attract distinct investment to the new model of "Early Health," ring-fenced from the already stretched financial burden of addressing today's epidemics of "Late Disease." This will need new money, not just from our health budgets, but from science, education and social programs. Health care needs to move from being our greatest modern cost to our greatest modern asset.
June 23, 2005
UAW President Profiled in Today's NY Times
Today's NY Times features a profile of current UAW President Ron Gettelfinger as well as discussion on the troubles in the US owned Auto industry and upcoming UAW negotiations.
Here is the link:
June 20, 2005
US Healthcare Crisis
Today's LA Times features an excellent piece on the state of Healthcare and its relation to politics. The author contends that the current conflict brewing between General Motors and the United Autoworkers is going to set the stage for the issue in the next political cycle.
Interesting enough it was the UAW and General Motors which set the standard for the US Healthcare regime when in the 40s they negotiated the first ever health and pension clause in a collective bargaining agreement (to be honest I am not sure if this is 100% accurate but this was what I have always been told - corrections appreciated). It seems now 60+ years later it will be the outcome or perhaps the fight itself over healthcare between GM and the UAW that finally puts the nations healthcare crisis front and center.
Check Out the LA times Article Below
June 16, 2005
GM - UAW Showdown Looms
With the South California grocery strike and the troubles faced by unionized airline workers recently it was only a matter of time before the US auto industry took the offensive in its relations with the United Auto Workers.
In an extended interview the union's leader, Ron Gettelfinger, said that while he was willing to make concessions to help General Motors within the terms of their existing contract, the two sides were not yet close to reaching an agreement. G.M., he said, had not presented him with enough information to convince him of the severity of the financial situation.
While many workers and local union officials say they are willing to consider concessions to help G.M., they also express belief that management has not indicated it would make its own sacrifices. Workers and local union leaders say Mr. Wagoner needs to take a step like that of the Ford Motor Company's chief executive, William Clay Ford Jr. Although Ford earned $1.2 billion in the first quarter, Mr. Ford said in April that he would accept no compensation of any kind until the company's automotive profits improved
May 09, 2005
Consumer Outsourcing? Worker Outsourcing?
Marginal Revolution has an interesting post on a different kind of outsourcing. What happens when consumers of medical services go abroad to make their purchases? What about medical workers attracted to leave the United States by better working conditions and arrangements abroad?
May 04, 2005
Federal Workers not Excited For Bush "Health-Savings Accounts"
Out of 8 million eligible Federal workers only 5000 have signed up for Health-Savings accounts being touted by Republicans as a way to hold down healthcosts reports todays Wall Street Journal:
In the federal program, the government pays roughly 75% of health-insurance premiums and employees pay 25%. Workers, retirees and their dependents choose from a menu of private insurance plans. HSA plans in the program have premiums that are close to those of more-popular plans, but a portion of the premium is passed through from the insurer to the worker's account each month.
May 02, 2005
Starbucks & Healthcare
Starbucks has taken out a full page ad in today's NY Times. In says in part:
From the very beginning, Starbucks has been committed to offering comprehensive, affordable health coverage to our employees. In fact, we were one of the first companies to offer coverage to part-time retail workers. And we'll continue to do that, but no company, small business, or individual can sustain a broken system indefinitely.
The ad then promotes Cover the Uninsured Week and the following website: Cover the Uninsured
Here is an excerpt from the about page:
As the price of health care continues to rise, fewer individuals and families can afford to pay for coverage. Fewer small businesses are able to provide coverage for their employees, and those that do are struggling to hold on to the coverage they offer. It is a problem that affects all of us. Cover the Uninsured Week will mobilize thousands of business owners, union members, educators, students, patients, hospital staff, physicians, nurses, faith leaders and their congregants, and many others at press conferences, health and enrollment fairs and other activities held May 1-8, 2005.
I find it interesting that some corporations are being pressured, through economic forces, to recognize the healthcare crisis.