Health & Fitness Benefits Expand Generative Potential of Businesses

Generative economics is rooted in a simple insight: that economic activities can have corrosive or generative impacts on future available resources. The dynamics of an economic environment can add another layer of corrosive or generative potential to the activities in question. Analysis can be subtle, however, because generative qualities are often not the focus of conventional thinking or play out over the long term.

New trends in corporate benefits offerings show evidence of the substantial generative potential of health and fitness benefits for employees. Even as major corporations have cut jobs and reduced pension offerings, major employers have increased funding for employee access to fitness facilities. And there appears to be substantial value added, over time, from doing so.

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Individual Mandate Upheld in Federal Court

A federal appeals court has ruled that Congress acted within its Constitutional authority when it passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, last year. Importantly, the three judge panel voted two to one, with one Republican nominee and former Scalia law clerk in the majority, that the individual mandate is in line with Congressional authority to regulate interstate commerce.

It is the first time a Republican judge has sided with the individual mandate, in the ongoing wave of legal challenges to the law, and many conservatives see the ruling as a setback. Others say the challenge to the individual mandate will continue until it reaches the Supreme Court. But critics of that view warn there may be unintended consequences of pushing the challenge too far, consequences which might require more, not less, government intervention.

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Non-profit Private-run Health Plan Must Never Deny Coverage

Democrats in the United States Senate, in hopes of reaching a compromise on health reform legislation, are reported to be considering a plan that would scrap the so-called “public option” for low-cost, full-coverage health insurance, in favor of a non-profit plan that would be run by the private insurers themselves, but regulated through the Office of Personnel Management. Calls to Sen. Reid and Sen.

Lieberman’s offices suggest the plan is little more than a framework proposal and is not yet written into any specific legislative language. Sen. Reid (D-NV) offers no comment on whether he favors this plan, and Sen. Lieberman (I-CT) continues to refuse to say whether he will support healthcare reform legislation, even with this compromise included. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is said to be considering the plan, her support being necessary to get at least one Republican vote.

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House Passes Health Bill 220 to 215

At 10:59 pm Saturday evening, a 15-minute vote was called. Members of the House were then to vote yea or nay by electronic device. By 11:01 pm, the vote was 197 to 184 and moving quickly. The vote tally will not be final until the Speaker drops the gavel to close the vote. By 11:03 pm, 36 Democrats had voted against the measure, making the special Saturday vote a case of high legislative drama.

At 11:05, there remained fully 10 Democrats not having cast their vote, with rumors that one or two Republicans might also “defect” and join the Democratic majority in voting for passage. At 11:07 pm EST, the tally of yea votes reached 218, the threshold necessary to pass the comprehensive healthcare reform bill. The voting would remain open for 15 minutes, allowing for the possibility of a change in one or more votes.

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Any Healthcare Exclusion for Condition or Care Option is Failed Reform

Pres. Obama used his prime-time press conference last night to dive straight into the fray on healthcare reform, pledging commitment to bold action, demanding cost-cutting measures and promising to bring affordable coverage within reach of all Americans. He did not specify if he wanted an “individual mandate” that all Americans buy into one plan or another, and he did not promise that no insurer would be allowed to deny treatment under any circumstances.

But since we’re talking tough and being straightforward about what constitutes success and failure, it must be said: any amount of leeway for insurers to deny coverage or to limit treatment options will be a failure for the healthcare reform movement. Insurers are not substitutes for doctors and hospitals; they are insurance companies and payment systems, and that is all they should be involved in: they should have to survive without the market being rigged through allowances for denial of coverage and denial of care.

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CBO Never Reported Patients’ Healthcare Costs Would Go Up

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported last week that the healthcare plan currently being debated in Congress would likely cause federal expenses related to healthcare to increase. But it did not report that the plan would cause average per-patient costs to increase across the entire healthcare market, as opponents of healthcare reform are alleging. In fact, that philosophical point has not been disproven by any budgetary analysis to date.

Douglas Elmendorf, the CBO director, told Congress last Thursday that reform proposals currently under consideration would likely increase costs for the federal government. He never said they would fail to bring costs down across the market as a whole; nor did he, for that matter, comment on whether the federal cost increases would materialize if costs did, in fact, come down in the marketplace.

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Why Healthcare Needs a Cure: Tens of Thousands Dying, System Failing, Despite Rising Profits

The US system of healthcare is fundamentally broken. Nearly 50 million people have no coverage at all. Add to that the 13 million undocumented immigrants who are unable to buy healthcare or qualify for government programs, and we have over 60 million inhabitants of the US with zero access to affordable healthcare. Every single uninsured inhabitant of the US pushes costs up, as the system has to absorb unpayable emergency healthcare costs for those individuals. So, for practical reasons as well as moral, we need to take seriouly that every person has a right to medical treatment.

20% of the population of the wealthiest nation on the planet is unable to access regular medical treatment or preventive care. Emergency health situations, such as heart attack, cancer or accident, are leading to rising numbers of bankruptcies. Each year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Americans die specifically from lack of coverage.

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How to Solve Healthcare: Focus on Coverage, Cost & Cure

We don’t have a good answer for how to solve healthcare in America. Let’s start there. Every interest group sees the problem differently, depending on immediate interests, learned perceptions, or advertised distortions. But the fact is, every interest group has some overlap with others, and there is a lot of common ground to be had, if we put ideology aside and try to focus on the problem itself.

The problem is severe enough that neary 50 million people are without healthcare coverage, and another many millions are underinsured, not guaranteed to have necessary treatments covered, for one reason or another. Some blame malpractice insurance costs, some blame pharmaceutical drug costs, some blame malpractice lawsuits, some blame greedy insurers, greedy doctors, or stingy public-funding programs. And they are all right. But the one group that is not ripping anyone off and that has no interest in costs continuing to escalate, is the average patient.

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How to Solve Healthcare: Focus on Coverage, Cost & Cure

8 crucial ideas for solving the healthcare crisis

We don’t have a good answer for how to solve healthcare in America. Let’s start there. Every interest group sees the problem differently, depending on immediate interests, learned perceptions, or advertised distortions. But the fact is, every interest group has some overlap with others, and there is a lot of common ground to be had, if we put ideology aside and try to focus on the problem itself. The problem is severe enough that neary 50 million people are without healthcare coverage, and another many millions are underinsured, not guaranteed to have necessary treatments covered, for one reason or another.

Some blame malpractice insurance costs, some blame pharmaceutical drug costs, some blame malpractice lawsuits, some blame greedy insurers, greedy doctors, or stingy public-funding programs. And they are all right. But the one group that is not ripping anyone off and that has no interest in costs continuing to escalate, is the average patient. Others fall into the category of innocents, but we have to recognize that the average person has zero control over these egregious failings of the system and does not want to see them prolonged.

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