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Some European leaders are hailing the summit as the next Bretton Woods - a reference to the historic talks in the latter days of WWII that in effect made the dollar the world's dominant currency and laid the foundation for the economic order of the past 60 years.
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Shares of WellCare Health Plans Inc. plunged to all-time lows Thursday after the health insurer, already the target of multiple state and federal investigations, said it is in default on some debt covenants and is being hurt by higher Medicare costs. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commissions, WellCare said it is in default on a loan facility with a balance of $153.2 million.
WellCare had $1.2 billion in cash on Sept. 30, compared to $1.5 billion in cash on June 30, 2007, the last period for which it filed financial statements with the SEC. The company told the SEC it is in default on a number of covenants contained in a senior secured credit facility with Wachovia Bank and that it has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. to pursue financing alternatives so that it can repay the credit facility when it becomes due in May 2009.
President-elect Barack Obama’s universal health insurance plans would look a lot like the program being tried in Massachusetts. It would cost $75 billion a year and $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a new analysis. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute placed those price tags on Obama’s plans in a report released Wednesday. Obama wants to expand some government health programs and mandate and subsidize coverage in other areas to provide insurance for the 46 million uninsured in the U.S.
In fact, it was hard to name any losers among the flock of elite, dark-suited attorneys from cities across the country who gathered in chancery court Thursday to finish the 5½-year-old litigation.
At the end of the hearing, attorneys for the shareholder plaintiffs – who brought the suit in 2003 to recoup losses allegedly caused by current and former directors – walked out with $13.5 million. The attorneys for the defendants maintained their clients’ innocence and will presumably be compensated by the company. King has implemented a host of governance controls and will add a few additional measures that, both sides argued, have improved its operations and value.
And the millions paid to the plaintiffs’ attorneys? King’s insurance is picking up the tab – mostly.
Investor Wilbur Ross, who made billions turning around distressed steel and textile companies, said a Chapter 11 filing by General Motors Corp. or another U.S. automaker wouldn't work and might devastate the economy.
Opening Statement of Chairman Bart Stupak Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee “Predatory Sales Practices in the Medicare Advantage Program” June 26, 2007
Opening Statement of Chairman Bart Stupak Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee “Predatory Sales Practices in the Medicare Advantage Program” June 26, 2007 Our hearing will examine the program known as “Medicare Advantage” which provides insurance options for Medicare beneficiaries. One of its primary objectives was to provide Medicare beneficiaries a wide array of managed care choices. However, the proliferation of private Medicare insurance plans has come at a price. Investigators forthis Committee have verified countless stories of deceptive sales practices by insurance agents who prey upon the elderly and disabled to sell them expensive and inappropriate private Medicare plans. These shameful marketing practices, targeting our most fragile and vulnerable citizens, are the subject of today’s hearing. As often happens in the process of our investigation - usually just before this Subcommittee holds a hearing - those being investigated make a changes in their practices to appear as though they are addressing the problems at hand. On June 15th, seven major health insurance companies – two of which are represented here today – voluntarily agreed to stop marketing one type of Medicare Advantage plan, Private Fee for Service Plans, in response to complaints about deceptive sales practices, includingforged signatures and the enrollment of dead people. Today we will explore how CMS and the insurance industry reached the pointwhere they had to call a moratorium on marketing the Private Fee for Service Medicare Advantage Plans. We will also hear about the real life consequences of fraudulent marketing practices. Unfortunately, many seniors are coaxed into plans that don’t adequately meet their health care needs. They don’t understand that if they sign up for aMedicare Advantage plan, they no longer have the benefits of traditional Medicare coverage. In some instances, the private fee for service plans being sold to these individuals result in reduced coverage and higher out-of-pocket expenses that seniors on a fixed income can not afford. What most people know about the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (“MMA”), is that it created “Part D” of Medicare and launched Prescription Drug Plans run by insurance companies. But what MMA also did was boost the payments to the insurance companies operating managed care alternatives to traditional Medicare, and call the private plans “Medicare Advantage.” Before MMA, the government was paying these private plans 95% of the cost of traditional Medicare. Now, we are paying them 112% to 119% more. “Medicare Advantage” is aptly named — it is richly funded to out-compete traditional Medicare. 1
The launching of “Part D,” in combination with the boost in payments to “Medicare Advantage” plans has resulted in a dizzying array of choices for seniors and disabled persons. In Houghton, Michigan, one of the small towns in my district in the Upper Peninsula, Medicare beneficiaries have 54 Prescription Drug Plans to choose from plus 14 Medicare Advantage plans. And that is nothing compared to other parts of the country. For instance, in Miami, there are at least 57 Prescription Drug Plans and 55 Medicare Advantage plans available. A May 2006 report by AARP documented the problems faced by seniors sorting through this maze, showing widespread confusion and even anxiety over the new Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans. At what point does consumer “choice” become meaningless? When seniors and their families sit down at the kitchen table to figure out what health care insurance grandma and grandpa need, they should not have to hire an accountant to help them make the right decision Now we have a glut of private plans that end up dispatching fleets of sales agentsracing each other to get to the local retirement community, assisted living facility, or senior center first. We have telemarketers and insurance agents competing for commissions, prizes, and trips to Las Vegas based on who sold the most policies in theshortest time. These abusive sales practices under Medicare Advantage are very similarto the rampant sales problems witnessed with the launch of Medigap insurance in the1980s. The regulatory model which eliminated Medigap sales fraud should be applied to Medicare Advantage. As with the Medigap plans, plans should be standardized, statesshould be able to regulate Medicare Advantage companies and agents, and insurers should be held accountable for their agents’ actions. Our first panel will explore the extent of the problem and the consequences of deceptive sales. We will hear first from David Lipschutz, a staff attorney for CaliforniaHealth Advocates. California has had a lengthy experience with government managed care programs, and has often served the role of “canary in the coal mine.” We are especially grateful today for the testimony of three victims of predatory sales practices. Ms. Barbara Clegg-Boodram, a resident of Judiciary House in Washington, DC, home to a large number of seniors and disabled persons a few blocks from here, will testify on behalf of her fellow residents, Edith Williams, Mary Royal, and Grady Hammonds. Ms. Williams, Ms. Royal, and Mr. Hammonds were victimized by an agent who failed to properly explain the consequences of their enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans. Next we will hear from Kathleen Healey, the Director of the Alabama State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). SHIP is a national program in each state that offers one-on-one free counseling and assistance to people on Medicare. Also on this first panel is Mr. Lee Harrell, Deputy Commissioner of the Mississippi Insurance Department. Mr. Harrell will share with us some of the practical problems state regulators face when they investigate deceptive practices under the current structure.
Originally posted by whiteraven
Who is the new enemy?
What kind of war?
Is the enemy us as in will North America have a war on its soil?
Are we going to have war on our soil with Obama as the leader or will it be in Africa???
Is this why Obama is POTUS? A move to bring Africa into the American fold???
They, Africa, refer to Obama as thier very own President.....
I am still somewhat in the dark over what is next...besides war.