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Health Magazine

There Are More Americans Joining “Physicians Against Obama Care”

Leave it to politicians to make a health insurance issue into a penalty against those in the medical field and the poor Americans that can’t afford health insurance. Instead of health insurance reform, the new Obama Care health care bill became a penalty against those that can’t afford health care and limits the amount of money that surgeons and medical specialists can make. While a brain surgeon or cancer specialist are limited in annual salary, executives at large insurance companies still make millions of dollars in salaries, despite the glaring salary abuse of the executives at insurance companies, like AIG.
While nobody argues that the insurance industry needs to be reformed because their supervisors and management make more than the most skilled cardiologist, the government is forcing millions of Americans to purchase health insurance or face fines and penalties. It hurts small businesses and the individuals that will see rising premiums, while it also hurts the medical field that will be limited by what fees can be charged, especially when it comes to surgeons and other medical specialists, including anesthesiologists. The Obama Care health care bill is a massive amount of fine print that is going to overload the already overloaded medical field while the deceitful insurance industry is going to benefit.
When you consider that the AAPS, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has already filed a lawsuit against the Obama Care health care bill, there are many conservative Americans that don’t want to be forced to pay for health insurance that might not even cover their health care needs and the tremendous budget deficit it creates. The Obama Care health care bill is unconstitutional and it doesn’t help the majority of the American people or those in the medical field, except maybe primary care doctors or pediatricians, who will see increased business. Of course, the patients that really need care will be waiting in line with those that are going to the doctor for minor issues, just because their insurance company will pay for it.
There are many states that have Attorney Generals looking into the legality of forcing Americans to purchase health insurance and small businesses will incur large penalties, if they don’t offer health insurance policies for their employees. The bill covers a few people at a tremendous cost and penalty to the majority. The only reason the Obama Care health care bill passed the house by 4 votes was that Democrats pushed it through because Obama and Pelosi demanded it and they were sick of having it forced down their throats. Instead, what should have happened was reform of the health insurance industry, who has been abusing the public, small businesses, doctors and the system for far too long.
Concerned Americans and the medical field have joined the AAPS in efforts to over-turn this massive health care bill that nobody has read with any comprehension. Even the politicians that voted for it can’t tell you much about it except the highlights. If you are a medical specialist, surgeon, anesthesiologist or concerned American, you can let your voice be heard against the Obama Care health care bill by VOTING in the polls and signing the iPETITION on the home page of .…

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Health Care Reform – How Are You Affected? – Part 3

If you are an employer with fewer than 50 full time and “full time equivalent” (FTE) employees, you will enjoy the luxury of being exempted from the most onerous provisions discussed in the previous article. If you offer health insurance coverage to your employees you will still have a few issues affecting your health plan.
Effective for tax year 2013, an additional Medicare Part A tax of 0.9% will be assessed on incomes above $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for joint filers. This works out to a 62% increase over the current Medicare tax rate of 1.45%. Another tax of 3.8% will be assessed against unearned income for “high income” taxpayers.
Other taxes will go into effect on or before January 1, 2014, that relate to HSA account distributions. The so-called Cadillac tax on rich health plans will begin then as well, but perhaps one of the most notable tax increases actually began March 23, of this year. All tanning bed operators began paying an additional 10% tax surcharge for customer rental of tanning beds.
If you offer group health insurance, your plan will have to eliminate lifetime caps on Essential Health Benefits (EHBs). As was discussed previously, EHBs will be further defined by Health and Human Services. It is believed EHBs will include certain wellness, outpatient and hospitalization benefits. That is, all health insurance plans must offer these benefits and can not place caps on how much can be paid out under the plan. A few of the EHBs may be required to be offered exclusive of a plan deductible, such as routine physical exams.
The most important issue for small groups is the 35% tax credit that is available for tax year 2010. This credit is available through tax year 2013 if the employer contributes at least 50% of the total premium cost. The debate continues at present if the 50% contribution rate must apply to dependents’ premiums as well. The larger the business becomes, the smaller the credit becomes. Consultation with a knowledgeable tax professional is recommended.
The credit will stop after 2013. At that time a two-year tax credit will then be available if the small group plan is purchased through the government health insurance exchange.
Children of employees are eligible as dependents until age 26, regardless of marital or student status.
By January 1, 2010,annual caps on EHBs must be eliminated. Too, the small business will not be able to extend a waiting period for enrolling new employees beyond 90 days. Texas state law already requires no more than a 3-month wait.
Pre-existing health conditions must be fully covered by January 1, 2014 for adults. The mandate for children under 19 years must be in effect by September 23, 2010. Insurance companies are challenging the child provision however saying, the time frame is too soon for the mandate to be implemented.
As you shop for better deals for small group insurance or even individual insurance, HCR is supposed to open the door to expanded competition. You will be able to continue to shop for insurance as you have in the past, but you may also go direct with insurance carriers, or look at Consumer Owned and Oriented Plans (CO OPs), or even through a state run health insurance Exchange.
The exchanges, in conjunction with purchasing from carriers directly through third parties, will most likely be the same insurance carriers, similar plans and comparable premiums. Although, the Exchanges will require insurance companies to offer plan designs that satisfy unresolved minimum benefit levels. Only the CO OPs may be able to offer a little diversity in plan design, and because they are supposed to be owned by the individual group employers, the idea is that premiums will generally remain stable.
HCR will provide initial seed money to start up the CO OPs and Exchanges, but no one knows yet any details on how these programs must be structured. Some important questions remain to be answered.
-Can CO OPs cross state lines?
-Can CO OPs include different industry types?
-Who actually will run the program?
-Will multiple plan options be available to different employers’ unique needs?
Individuals will also be able to shop through the Exchanges, but will not be allowed the opportunity to enroll in CO OPs unless 1-person groups are allowed to participate. Eventually, the small group market and individual market probably will merge into just an individual market.
A lot more of the “fun” begins for small groups and individuals January 2014. As mentioned earlier, the Medicare tax begins. Also on that date, individuals must enroll in a health insurance plan that is equal to or better than EHBs or pay a penalty. The penalty is $95 or 1% of household income in 2014; $325 or 2% in 2015; or $695 or 2.5% in 2016 …

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Good Health

Changes in Qui Tam Whistleblower Cases Under the False Claims Act – A Review For Lawyers & Attorneys

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“PPACA”) and the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (“HERA”) (collectively, the PPACA and HERA are referenced as the “Legislation”), passed in the spring of 2010, enacted sweeping changes to health care, including important changes to the federal False Claims Act that will affect prosecution of qui tam cases by the federal government, relators and whistleblowers. Health care fraud lawyers, attorneys and law firms and their clients must be aware of these significant changes in cases involving fraudulent claims against federal government healthcare programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare. Health care fraud defense attorneys will be disheartened, and federal government prosecutors, whistleblower lawyers and qui tam plaintiffs will be pleased, because these changes have lowered the bar for prosecutors and qui tam whistleblowers with respect to False Claims Act cases.
The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733 (the “FCA”), is an important tool used by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), U.S. Attorney’s (“USAOs”) and private whistleblowers to bring civil prosecutions against those individuals and entities who perpetrate frauds upon the United States through false and fraudulent claims for payment. The FCA provides for treble damages and civil monetary penalties to be awarded to the federal government, and the qui tam whistleblower plaintiff, often called a “relator,” may recover up to 30% of the award, plus statutory attorney’s fees.
The recent FCA amendments make it easier for whistleblowers to bring qui tam suits on behalf of the federal government by lowering the “public disclosure” standard. Prior to the amendments, a qui tam plaintiff who was not an original source was jurisdictionally barred from bringing an FCA suit if the fraudulent conduct of the defendant had been previously disclosed in the public domain through the media, federal, state or local reports, audits and investigations, or criminal, civil and administrative hearings and proceedings. For instance, in Graham County Soil & Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson, 130 S.Ct. 1396 (2010), the United States Supreme Court recently upheld the dismissal of an FCA claim for lack of jurisdiction based on prior public disclosure of fraud in California county’s audit reports. See United States ex rel. Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, et al., Case No. 09-55010 (9th Cir. July 1, 2010).
Under the amendments of the Legislation, publications deemed as public disclosures under the FCA are now more limited. They only include a federal criminal, civil and administrative hearing in which the government or its agent is a party, a congressional, Government Accounting Office (GAO) or other federal report, hearing, audit or investigation, or a disclosure in news media. See 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A). This means that state and local audits, reports, investigations and hearings, as well as litigation between private parties, can now be used as the sole source of information for an FCA suit for defrauding the federal government, and the Legislation has abrogated this part of the Graham County Soil & Water Conservation Dist. decision.
The Legislation’s amendments also changed the jurisdictional nature of the public disclosure provisions. Before the new law was enacted, a violation of the public disclosure requirements of the FCA was a jurisdictional defect which could be raised by a party at any time or sua sponte by the court. Now, a qui tam whistleblower complaint which violates the public disclosure provision can be dismissed pursuant to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, unless such dismissal is “opposed by the Government.” Id.
The Legislation also amended the “original source” provisions of the FCA. Prior to the amendments, a whistleblowing relator who was an original source could bring an FCA suit regardless of whether there was a previous public disclosure. This meant that the whistleblower had to have “direct and independent knowledge” of the information on which the fraud allegations were based and had voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing an FCA action which was based on the information. Under the Legislation, the “direct and independent knowledge” requirement has been eliminated, and an original source is an individual who voluntarily discloses the frauds to the government prior to a public disclosure or “has knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions.” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(B). Therefore, as long as the qui tam whistleblower has information about the government frauds which are independent of publicly disclosed information, even if the qui tam whistleblower did not have “direct” information usually derived from personally witnessing the fraudulent conduct, an FCA suit may be pursued.
By broadening the original source provisions and limiting the public disclosure provisions of the FCA, Congress has encouraged an increase in the filing of qui tam whistleblower lawsuits. While the change in the jurisdictional aspect of the public disclosure provisions ostensibly helps qui …

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General Article

Getting Fit With Rowing Machines

Getting Fit With Rowing Machines

Rowing machines are popular in gyms and for a good reason. They give you a great full body workout, something few if any other machines claim. Everything from your calves to your shoulders and arms gets a workout, and it’s a great aerobics workout as well.

Although they’re popular, they aren’t nearly as popular as other machines like treadmills, stationary bicycles, and stair climbers. Consequently there are typically fewer of them in the gym. Mine has only two rowing machines but a dozen bikes and over 20 treadmills. This may be because rowing isn’t as natural as walking, biking, or climbing stairs. Occasionally I may need to wait to use a machine, but this is pretty rare.

Some people instantly get bored with rowing. You can’t read, it’s hard to talk to others, and I get dizzy if I try to watch TV, but I can listen to music just fine and I normally do. I can get a more intense workout rowing than from any of the other machines at the gym, and that alone keeps me from boredom. In particular my back and especially legs get an intense workout, and it’s easy to reach and maintain my target heart rate.

Although rowing looks easy, especially when you see a regular doing it, it does require a bit of coordination. Remember your legs are doing most of the work, don’t hunch your back, and when fully extended your knees should still be a little bit bent and your back at approximately a 45 degree angle to the ground.

If you haven’t tried a rowing machine, you should, as you may love it. I can get an intense workout faster with one than any other way in the gym. One warning though: many people find them nearly addictive!…

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General Article

A Way to Keep That New Years Resolution

A Way to Keep That New Years Resolution

It finally hit me. I wasn’t really expecting it to hit me as hard as it did, but like a sledgehammer to the side of the face, I found myself really getting a jolt and taking notice. I don’t typically exercise and I admit that I eat too little vegetables, but I am conscious of at least recognizing that there is a better way to live. I can’t say that I feel bad about not doing it, but I do admit that if I was able to get myself motivated enough, I could finally resist that last donut on the rack. And, like I’ve been saying, it hit me.

Yoga has become a new drug that I have grown addicted too only after three times engulfed in its grasps. Admittedly, I am a full fledged rookie when it comes to this style of stretching and contorting your body, but the natural high that it leaves it its wake is nothing short of mind blowing. The people are welcoming and the instructor, incredibly patient. It is harder then it looks and after leaving the studio, I felt more compelled to tell my friends and family about this new drug that I found.

Throughout my younger years, I was always active in sports and thought that I was able to do just about any exercise that was out there. I have tried power lifting in college, mainly because I was a college athlete and figured that was just what they did and in my after college life I was seen at certain palates studios, which I felt was an added necessity, but then after that I pretty much let myself take a new of roundness and I’m not very impressed with it. In my inbox at work I discovered a coupon for a company in Coconut Creek, Florida. And, like I said, I was hooked.

There is one caveat to this whole yoga place and experience. Its done in a 105 degree room – so that whole warm-up session that everyone tells you to do before you start your workout – its already taken care of. You build up a sweat thanks to the brainchild of Bikram Choudhury who invented this style of hot yoga – or Bikram Yoga – whose goal is general wellness. I can say that is exactly what it does.

I felt every bit as strong mentally as I did physically. I welcome anyone of any age to come out and try it, just be forewarned that it will kick your butt. My instructor and owner of of the club, will guided me through all the steps needed to begin my “therapeutic” healing. The equipment consists of a mat – that’s pretty much it – although you might want to bring like a gallon of water a few towels, because you will need them.

I have turned a few people on to hot yoga. I am, after all still a rookie, but I don’t feel that awkward anymore. This New Year I’m hoping to keep a resolution of living well – mentally, spiritually and physically – and after witnessing the rush that I get after only a few exhausting sessions in hot yoga – I’m sure that I will keep this New Year’s promise. Hot Salutations is a great place to meet some new friends and get a one of a kind workout.…

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Affordable Health Insurance Quotes and How to Get Them

Most Americans don’t know that you can buy medical insurance in much the same way that a lot of people now buy their car insurance – online. You can find affordable health insurance quotes online and get yourself into a policy that is specifically built just for you and your family in a matter of minutes and have the health care coverage that you need.
Living in today’s world without some form of medical insurance is a recipe for disaster. Without medical insurance, you will put off going to the doctor until things get really bad. You will also not take care of some of the preventative matters and testing that everyone should have done. You will find that when you shop for affordable health insurance quotes online that getting coverage is a lot cheaper than you might think.
People have long thought that getting health insurance through your employer as the cheapest way to do it, but that is not always the case. Especially if your employers requires you to help fund the insurance program, then you are probably paying a lot more than if you got your policy individually. So before you sign up for a high-priced medical insurance policy at work, you should shop for affordable health insurance quotes online.
Because not all families are alike, not all insurance policies are, either. You can design your own health insurance policy so that is perfect for your health, the amount of regular visits you make to a doctor, and your budget. Some people find that a low level of coverage is enough, while others want to be able to go to the doctor on a regular basis without paying a high office co-pay. The choice is really up to you, but remember that having coverage of some kind will always be beneficial for your family’s health.…

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General Article

Relaxation Strategies for the Busy Professional

Relaxation Strategies for the Busy Professional

America is a productive nation with an impressive gross national product. However, this overall success may come at a cost. Many busy professionals sacrifice their peace of mind and ability to relax to accomplish and/or maintain success. Consider the following relaxation strategies for stress reduction and to increase relaxation:

Deep breathing: Deep breathing correctly can reduce the heart rate and relax the body. It is very difficult to experience stress if the body is very relaxed. Yoga has been found to be helpful for some individuals in learning to breathe correctly and rhythmically therefore relaxing the body.

Reconstruct negative thoughts: Believe it or not, negative automatic thoughts are a common part of everyday life. Those who learn to challenge their negative automatic distorted thoughts and replace them with more positive realistic ones, experience improved mood states overall.

Exercise: Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise plan. Exercise

Nutrition: Consult with your doctor about cutting back on sugar, caffeine, and any other stimulants that may produce adrenaline in the body. Adrenaline can cause stress and anxiety in the body thereby making it difficult to relax.

Visual imagery: Visual imagery has been proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation. There are many guided visual imagery exercises on audio CD’s available for purchase. Some people find it particularly helpful to listen to guided imagery while trying to sleep.

Journaling: This can be a great way to externalize stressful or other difficult feelings. Many people report that journaling their difficulties and intense emotions assists in providing relief.

Progressive relaxation: Progressive relaxation involves focusing on different parts of the body and their relaxation. Progressive relaxation exercises are widely available for purchase on CD.

Massage: There are many different types of relaxing massage available. Perhaps the most popular is the Swedish massage. Massage can assist in loosening and relaxing tense muscles.…