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Ryan looking to trade decades-long tax benefit break for a capped tax credit system.

The Ryan health tax credit plan is a move away from the traditional employer-based system. While most of the media focus of Ryan’s tax plans has been on the re-working of the Medicare health plan for the elderly, more than three time the number of people are affected by the employer-based tax health care exclusion. The health care tax exclusion runs up a total of over $200 billion in tax breaks per year.  The majorities of U.S. citizens get their health insurance through an employer program and pay no taxes on benefits. Yet, the self-employed get their health care insurance from the open market, which Ryan has presented as being unfair. During 2010, Ryan spoke about transitioning from the employer-based plans to using capped tax credits that could be used by people to take care of their health care expenses. “At the heart of the problem is the federal tax exclusion for employer-provided health coverage,” Ryan wrote in a policy document. “Ownership of health insurance must be sh ...

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Increased healthcare costs likely as estimated uninsured figure are revised higher.

In March, the Congressional Budget Office released its report that addressed how the number of uninsured U.S. residents would change based significant terms of Obamacare going into effect in 2014. The estimate said 32 million U.S. resident would not have health care insurance in 2016. From this figure, health care industry experts estimated the impact this would create by health care providers charging more to insured patients to support the expenses related to servicing the uninsured patients. But, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling struck down a health care reform law provision designed to create financial penalties directed at states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility. As a result, Washington analysts have increased their estimate of the number of uninsured to 36 million in 2016. This, in turn, increases the estimated increase in costs to service the uninsured, which makes it likely the health care providers will charge even more to the insured patients. CBO said it now anticipates "that som ...

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Physician dispensed medications may be contributing to large increases in workers’ compensation expenses

A new study reveals workers’ compensation claims have been growing due to physician policies of dispensing marked up drugs directly to injured workers. The Workers Compensation Research Institute study states that 62 percent of prescription drug spending associated with workers compensation policies came from drugs dispenses a the doctor’s office. But, the drugs were often much more expensive than the same ones sold by pharmacies. As an example, a Vicodin pill dispensed by a doctor averages $1.08 a pill, while pharmacies averaged 43 cents. While the study included the review of 5.7 million prescriptions in 23 states, some of the more revealing insights came from Florida physicians. Florida doctors were more likely to administer prescriptions for Prilosec and Zantac to injured workers, than in other states. Also, the Florida physicians averaged a charge of $7.07 per pill for Prilose and $4.81 per pill for Zantac. These drugs are available at Walgreens for 64 cents and 42 cents a pill, respectively ...

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Agreement Signed with OSHA and FAA to Protect Workers from Retaliation

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have signed an agreement to work together to coordinate enforcement of the Federal Railroad Safety Act's whistleblower provision. The act protects railroad employees from retaliation when they report work-related personal injuries or illnesses, or safety violations. The FRA develops and enforces rail safety regulations—in cooperation with rail labor organizations and rail stakeholders. The FRA plays a key role in railroad safety through enforcement, education and inspection. Railroads are among the safest modes of transportation for both freight and passengers. The FRA has always had authority over rail safety, but does not have the direct authority to handle whistleblower incidents. OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels said, “The safety of railroad employees depends on workers’ ability to report injur ...

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Bosses not be as Concerned about Tardiness as you Might Think

According to a new study of 1,000 U.S., British, French, German and Irish employees and employers, 73 percent of bosses have a relaxed attitude when it comes to timing. This is due to the fact that they trust their staff is working long before they get to the office. On the other hand, this may be surprising to employees because more than half believe their executives definitely would mind if they are late. Mobile technology (including smartphone apps and cloud services) means bosses are now more supportive of a flexible workforce. The research was conducted by data-protection provider Mozy. Mozy General Manager Russ Stockdale said, “Workers everywhere are making the most of the technology available to them to build more flexibility for work and family. Hard work isn’t going unnoticed and mobile working and technology is having more of an impact on employer attitudes than people think.” Here are some additional interesting findings from the study: Mobile technology – This all ...

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