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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—November 7, 2009

  • Austin American-Statesman: Why do execs share privileged info? Ego gratification among possible motives, experts say. By Kirk Ladendorf and Tim Eaton. Excerpts: Senior executives aren't supposed to blab about their companies' innermost secrets to outsiders — but sometimes they do. Sometimes they get caught. That might be the case for Hector Ruiz, the former chief executive of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported Wednesday that Ruiz was the unnamed AMD executive who federal investigators say disclosed confidential information about AMD's manufacturing plans to New York hedge fund executives last year. ...

    One of the defendants is Robert Moffat, a senior vice president at IBM Corp. who is accused of providing inside information about IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and AMD to a hedge fund employee. Moffat had been seen as a potential CEO. He is now on leave and is no longer an officer of the company, according to IBM. ...

    Why would successful executives risk their reputations — and possibly their careers — by sharing confidential company information with outsiders? One of the possible motivations that experts point to is ego gratification.

  • The Register (United Kingdom): Moffat leaves IBM after insider trading arrest. By Timothy Prickett Morgan. Excerpts: Bob Moffat - IBM's top server, storage, and chip exec - has left the company following his arrest for alleged involvement in an insider trading scam. Moffat was arrested by the FBI on October 16 and charged by the US District Attorneys office in Manhattan, along with five others, in an alleged insider trading scam that allowed hedge funds Galleon Group and New Castle Group to benefit to the tune of more than $20m. The original complaint (PDF) filed on October 16 Danielle Chiesi, of New Castle, indicating that Bob Moffat passed her inside information. ...

    The complaint alleges that Moffat provided information regarding the impending spinoff of Advanced Micro Devices' chip making business and the quarterly financials of IBM and Sun Microsystems ahead of when they became public, thereby helping New Castle engage in insider trading in shares of those companies as well.

  • The Register: Southwark council sues IBM. Pays public cash to lawyers to get it back from Big Blu. By Kable. Excerpts: A London local authority is taking legal action against IBM over a software solution it claims is not fit for purpose. The London Borough of Southwark has issued a writ against the company over the performance of a master data management system, developed by another company, for the cleaning up of information on several databases. It was meant to bring the data together onto one system, removing duplication and ensuring its accuracy. A spokesperson for the council told GC News that the system did not work and has slowed its progress in updating its other systems.

    "We are suing IBM over a matter concerning a software solution which we purchased through IBM and was unfortunately found not to be functionally fit for Southwark's purposes," the spokesperson said. "We did try and work with IBM over an 18 month period to get the problems resolved. However, IBM was unable to find a resolution to the problems that did not involve further significant financial outlay on Southwark's behalf. As the product was bought using public money, we had no option but to try to reclaim the money spent from IBM, as a duty to protect public funds.

  • The Register: LibDem backs IBM staff in pension row... By Chris Williams. Excerpts: Hampshire MP Sandra Gidley has intervened in the row over IBM closing its final salary pension scheme, but hers is a confusing brand of support staff might rather do without. The Liberal Democrat has called on the government to boycott the firm, a move that would guarantee thousands of job cuts. "I have written to the Government to ask that they review their existing contracts with IBM, and do not consider IBM for future contracts until the company promises a fair deal to their longest serving employees," she said on Thursday. ...

    "Many workers at the Hursley site who will be reaching retirement age within the next ten years are rightly furious that IBM bosses are going back on clear verbal commitments made by senior managers in 2006 that the pension scheme will not be reduced," she said. An IBM spokesman declined to comment. The firm cited rising costs and the "volatile economic environment" when it shut the scheme.

  • politics.co.uk: Government should boycott IBM - Gidley. Excerpt: Test Valley MP, Sandra Gidley, has today called on the Government to review their existing contracts to computer giant IBM unless it gives its most experienced, qualified employees, a fair deal on a threatened pension scheme. IBM employees in Hursley, which employs a large number of people living in the Test Valley, along with staff from other sites across the UK are extremely concerned over proposed changes to their pension and retirement plans. Sandra, having recently met with IBM Chief Executive Brendan Riley, said today: "I have written to the Government to ask that they review their existing contracts with IBM, and do not consider IBM for future contracts until the company promises a fair deal to their longest serving employees.
  • The Register: Big Blue red-faced over Congestion charge crash. First day fumble of new systems. By John Oates. Excerpts: Things did not go entirely smoothly for IBM on its first day in control of Transport for London's Congestion Charge systems yesterday. Capita set up the system and ran it for five years before TfL handed the contract to IBM in October 2007. Some staff were moved across and new systems put in place. But sources told The Register on the morning of the first day that the system had not been live tested and staff were overrun with complaints. A TfL spokeswoman said: “We apologise to customers for any problems they are experiencing since the transfer of systems to our new contractor this weekend. There have been some issues with accessing the online Congestion Charging payment accounts this morning, which the contractor is working to resolve as soon as possible.
  • Austin American-Statesman: Elections system pulled from IBM data center contract. Company's failures could have jeopardized 'fair, credible elections,' secretary of state's office says. By Kate Alexander. Excerpts: IBM Corp.'s failure to protect state information under an $863 million data center consolidation contract has prompted the Texas secretary of state's office to pull its elections system from the project. In August, the secretary of state got a "wake-up call" when a server crash led to a 13-day outage of the agency's business records filing system. It exposed serious weaknesses in IBM's ability to recover lost data, said secretary of state spokesman Randall Dillard. ...

    "We reached the point where we were no longer confident that Team for Texas could get servers and software for the elections system installed and properly tested," Cutrone said, referring to the IBM-led partnership. ...

    Under the seven-year contract, IBM is merging the separate data centers of 27 state agencies into two streamlined and updated facilities. The objective of the contract is to save money and improve security. But the project has been plagued with service issues, slow progress and high-profile data losses. A December completion date looms for IBM to get all the agencies' operations running in the consolidated centers but, as of this summer, the process was far behind schedule. In 2008, the loss of some critical state data at the office of the attorney general led Perry to suspend consolidation until IBM ensured that the state's data was protected. Although the consolidation resumed, the problems have persisted. On the heels of the secretary of state outage, the attorney general suffered another loss of data related to Medicaid fraud cases, just as it had in 2008.

    Selected reader comments for the above article follow:

    • "No one (at the agency) will lose their job when IBM takes control of the Data Center." - FACT: Their position 'just went away' when our data center was taken over by IBM. No position = no job. FACT: One Texas agency employee wanted five files restored from tape backup. What would have taken me less than 30 minutes to complete, took IBM SIX WEEKS before they acted on the request but only after they were forced to by our management. By that time the backup tapes had been over written and the files lost. oops!

      Any IBM employees who quit in our Data Center are not replaced. The rest have to try to keep up. good luck! FACT: Our server's hard drive has an error that can be corrected by reseating the drive in the server. 5-10 minute job? Nope. We have to contact our liaison who contacts IBM who contacts Dell who sends a Tech rep who reseats the drive. Around 10 hours.

      Texas Legislature - I hope you need help someday with your server which maybe maintained by IBM. "Please take a number and wait in line." Hmm, [196]. "Now serving number 2." I truly feel sorry for visitors and the citizens of Texas for the contract but, as the old say goes, I’m not allowed to run the train The whistle I cannot blow. I’m not allowed to say How far the little cars can go. I’m not allowed to blow off steam Or even clang the bell. But let it jump the _____ track And see who catches hell. - Unknown

    • Another example of IBM's mushroom treatment of customers.... Keep them in the dark and every once in a while throw a little manure on them. With all this negative publicity, I'm sure the company is crying all the way to the bank to deposit their $800+ million. If they're not performing up to contract requirements (and they apparently are not), throw the bums out.
    • IBM has been losing contracts this year because they get what they pay for -- inferior workers in India.
    • This is just more of Perry meddling with the IBM contract because IBM hasn't greased his palms. Perry has been actively trying to get this contract away from IBM and into the hands of another contractor who will make huge campaign donations to him. The reason why this project is doing so poorly is due to IBM's priorities. They maximize shareholder profits by not hiring enough people to work on the project, mostly using contract employees who are not actual IBM employees. After the last blow up about this contract IBM had to make financial concessions so they did it by cutting the contract workers pay by 10%. Great incentive for the contract workers to do a better job. NOT.
    • Virtually every board or commission member who had any business experience anticipated that the IBM deal would be a massive failure and so advised the staffs of the agencies involved. Yet hard-headed, naive politicos always looking for a simple answer to complex problems drove this fool-hardy effort. Independent agencies with elected Commissioners like GLO used their political heft to avoid this debacle. If you are going to have a management structure like Texas where what are in essence are volunteers are advising/managing major agencies it would serve the politicians well to listen to the gray headed folks on those boards/commissions.
    • Someone must be lying. Privatization is ALWAYS the right thing to do, ALWAYS the cheapest and ALWAYS the most efficient..... Snicker

  • The Australian: Qantas IT staff snub job shift to IBM. ONLY 30 per cent, or 50 workers, with the Qantas IT project delivery team have agreed to move to IBM. By Fran Foo. Excerpts: IBM made employment offers to 178 Qantas staff as part of a seven-year outsourcing deal worth up to $200 million. "We believe only 50 people took up the IBM offer, well short of what they wanted," Australian Services Union assistant national secretary Linda White said. Ms White attributed the low uptake to several factors, including the fear that once they moved to IBM, their roles would in time be sent overseas, leaving them jobless. IBM would not comment on the figures, with a company spokesman saying: "We are unable to disclose specific details about offers of employment."
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: FHA Contribution. By "bimcall_85213." Full excerpt: I noticed in 3rd Qtr 2009 that there were no monthly credits posted by IBM to my FHA account. There were monthly interest credits, but no monthly credits as in past months. Has anybody else noticed the same? Has anyone seen a reason as to why IBM is not contributing to the FHA? Please let me know. Thanks.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: How many retiree's actually qualify for the FHA? by "nyjints5". Full excerpt: Does any know how to determine, (or even have a "guesstimate") of the percentage of retired IBM'ers who actually did qualify to receive The Future Health Account? My thinking is that it's probably a very low percentage.

    Recently, I was formally introduced to someone that I recognized only as a "familiar face" who had previously worked at one of the six different IBM sites where I had worked. This person completed 30 years of service, and has begun receiving a pension. Through the course of our IBM related conversation, I asked them if they were using the FHA, or did they have other medical insurance they were using.

    The sarcasticness in their voice startled me. "FHA?? What FHA?" came the response. Naively, I mistakenly assumed that since they had completed 30 years, like me, they were eligible for the FHA. Nothing could be further from the truth. Apparently there is an age factor involved, and if one does not meet it, even though someone has completed 30 years of service, they do not qualify for the FHA. That leads me to believe that I may be one of the lucky few. While I realize the FHA ain't much, at the very least I have a little something as opposed others who have absolutely nothing.

    I'm convinced that IBM has The FHA rigged so that even if you miraculously do get to 30 years, there's an excellent chance you'll never benefit from it. To think that someone could work for an employer for 30 years, and that employer gets to walk away without providing any healthcare benefits what-so-ever to their employee boggles my mind. To me, that's a criminal act of betrayal.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: How many retiree's actually qualify for the FHA?" by "computagal53@verizon.net". Full excerpt: I have worked for IBM for 36 years and am retiring at year end....I am appalled at the lack of concern for the retirees in regard to health care...When I first was hired the benefits package is what got me hooked as well as the career ahead of me. I have settled for years now for less pay under the mantra "we may pay less but think of all the benefits"...I have taken on more responsibilities in recent years for less pay and now am told 'It's only a benifit'....my senior years are approaching and illnesses will be on the horizon...what's next!!!! Unconscionable!!!
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: Time" by "Tony". Full excerpt: That sure is a fact. I remember my Dad telling me when I was in high school: "Don't ever get tricked into giving you entire life to your job / company - you can devote the best years of your life to a company and all your efforts and work late and sacrifice time with your family - but in the end they will not think twice about throwing you out the door. " A company only has the institutional memory, ethics and morality of those currently in charge - when the regime changes, they can too.

    When I started with IBM, I thought it would be different there , but it really was not. Thankfully I did heed his advice and did not let my job totally interfere with my family life like so many people did and still do. Once I was offered a plum job that involved a lot of travel - and just told them - sorry, no can do and got that manager quite irritated at me though , I ended up taking a relocation to a new location and job to get out from under those folks but the family came with and I didn't have a lot of overnight travel.

    As I heard a Minister say once - I have visited a lot of people in the hospital in their final days and I have yet to hear one say "I wish I had spent more time at work."

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree - Information Exchange message board: "Re: Canada Drugs" by "torbilll". Full excerpt: Yup, I am ashamed. :-) Actually, I am VERY hopeful, because I am so fed up with the game playing of the pharma companies with prices and the insurance companies with prices/formularies/escalating co-pays/prior authorizations/step therapy/quantity limits/etc. I am exceedingly knowledgeable on medical and drug plans and options, and it is getting so complicated that even I have a hard time figuring it out.

    I just want to get to the point where I can go to my doctor, get my prescriptions, get my prescriptions filled without having to go through all of the above, and get on with my life.

    Did you know that Canadians have to pay for their own drugs? I just found this out. They have socialized medicine for the medical and hospitalization, but at least some of them have to buy their own meds. But prices are sane and don't break the bank. I guess I am hoping to become an honorary Canadian, and just pay reasonable amounts of cash money for my drugs, and have my prescriptions something that happens between my doc and me and get the f****** Part D insurance plans out of my life.

    If Canadians start dying of their prescription drugs, somebody please let me know right away! :-) Torbill

  • Bloomberg: IBM to Give Employees 100% Coverage of Primary Care. By Tim Mullaney. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp., the world’s largest computer-services company, will provide U.S. employees with 100 percent coverage for primary care, a policy designed to curb health expenses. Beginning next year, employees will no longer have to pay deductibles for visits to in-network doctors such as internists, general practitioners and pediatricians, Armonk, New York-based IBM said today in a statement. The company said it is one of the first U.S. employers to adopt such a policy.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Brillig..." by "ignatz713". Excerpt: Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. In light of the bad press from the crook Mo Fat and his gal pal Cheesy, and the employees who were PERHAPS THINKING about forming a union, IBM has now squashed ANY thought of there ever ever ever ever ever being a union in IBM. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. IBM is one clever company, aren't they?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Brillig..." by "ibmretiree2006". Full excerpt: Well, sure!!! With 16,000 less employees in the US it made sense to give those remaining a crumb. Heck, my copay as an employee for those services was FIVE FREAKIN' DOLLARS!!!!. Whoopdeedoo!!! A godsend for those employees who have not seen a raise for years or got that FABULOUS 1.3%, eh?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Brillig..." by "ibmretiree2006". Full excerpt: My copay as an employee for preventative exams - physicals, blood, dental, etc was $0.00 annually.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Brillig..." by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: So IBM Is going to pay 100% for my wellness visits to an in-network internist or GP. Not as generous a gesture as I thought from IBM when my IBM monthly premium goes up more and more: the monthly premium went up much more than the co-pay of one visit. I can't understand how any IBMer, ex-IBMer, or IBM retiree can think the latest change to medical benefits is much of anything.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: 100% coverage for check ups" by "workforlife". Full excerpt: Bull !!! They were covered before. My MVP has had no cost check ups for years. This year my FREE check up comes with a 10% increase to the policy. So much for free. Nice to see some still blow for Big Blue.
  • eWeek: IBM Employees in U.S. to Receive Free Health Care. By Don Sears. Excerpts: In an effort to curb rising costs for employees and for the company, IBM will be picking up the tab on health care costs for primary care in 2010. "Employees enrolled in IBM plans will receive full coverage throughout the year--no coinsurance or deductible--for in-network primary care with their internist, family practitioner, pediatrician, general practitioner or primary osteopath," said IBM in a news statement.

    Selected reader comments for the above article follow:

    • IBM scams the media again. The truth is that co pay for employees is going up as high as 47%! Posted by IBMer | October 31, 2009 10:43 AM
    • This article is not accurate and completely distorts the truth. IBM has increased the cost of Healthcare coverage from 30-47%. For example, my family plan covers my family of 3 and costs are $312 a month. Next year that same plan and coverage will cost $459 a month. That's 47% and $147 a month increase. My current co-pays for primary and pediatric care average about $12 to $15 a visit when sick. If we each went to the Doctors once a month (which we don't, more like twice a year at that)....we're only paying $36-$45 a month on co-pays. So what you didn't cover is WHY the huge increase in policy cost to the employees. As the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true it usually is. Posted by Nancy Hegarty | October 31, 2009 11:40 AM
    • While it is true that IBM offers a no monthly fee program for care, there are charges for care such as x-rays, lab tests, maternity, specialists and emergency care with a deductible. Posted by IBM Employee | November 3, 2009 1:41 PM
    • It is FREE if you don't really get sick. Just a few doc visit won't matter much. IBM saves more money on self-insured health care because... more and more seasoned or older employee are gone or the job is replaced by contractor. I guess health care in BRIC country is really cheap. Posted by Former Long Term IBMer | November 3, 2009 10:41 PM
    • This article is way too distorting. IBM has no intention of patching things up with NA employees. They are hiring people locally in Dubuque, and laying off another 1000 across the country in the process. They do not care how good an employee is, only how much they cost. Posted by Future ex-IBMer | November 4, 2009 7:51 PM

  • Wall Street Journal: Pensions for Executives on Rise. Arcane Techniques, Generous Formulas Boost Payouts as Share Prices Fall. By By Ellen E. Schultz and Tom McGinty. Excerpts: Pensions for top executives rose an average of 19% in 2008, with more than 200 executives seeing pensions increase more than 50%, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. The executive-pension growth stemmed partly from generous pension formulas, which are based on executive pay, according to the filings. Also adding to the pension jumps are arcane techniques that have received little scrutiny, including increases triggered when an executive reaches a certain age or when companies change interest rates used to calculate the pensions.

    Executive pensions rose even as the share prices at the companies declined an average of 37% in 2008 and many firms froze employee pensions and suspended retirement-plan contributions. The growth of such supplemental executive retirement plans, or SERPs -- which can be worth tens of millions of dollars to executives -- largely has been overlooked amid a backlash against executive pay, particularly at banks and other companies receiving taxpayer bailouts.

  • ABC News: People With Pensions Sleep Better After Retirement. Excerpt: Retirees have something else to look forward to besides playing golf -- much better sleep -- particularly if they have decent retirement benefits and retire relatively early. That's what Dr. Jussi Vahtera of the University of Turku in Finland and colleagues found in a study of 14,714 people who had retired from the French national gas and electric company. But because the workers in the study had excellent retirement benefits, including generous pensions, the findings don't apply to everyone, Vahtera noted in a prepared statement. "In countries and positions where there is no proper pension level to guarantee financial security beyond working age, however, retirement may be followed by severe stress disturbing sleep even more than before retirement," Vahtera said.
  • New York Times editorial: After 40 Years, Age Discrimination Still Gets Second-Class Treatment. By Adam Cohen. Excerpts: Age discrimination is illegal. But when compared with discrimination against racial minorities and women, it is a second-class civil rights issue. The Supreme Court drove its inferiority home again in June of this year, ruling that older workers must show that age was the decisive factor in their firing — not merely a contributing factor, which can be enough for a race or sex claim.

    Congress is considering overturning the ruling. It should do so. It is particularly important in the current downturn, with age discrimination complaints soaring. But the problem is larger than any one legal standard. ...

    The courts have repeatedly thrown up barriers to age discrimination suits, long before the Supreme Court’s June decision. In 1993, in one of its most damaging rulings, the court decided that if employers fire workers whose pension costs or salaries are high, they are not discriminating — even if the overwhelming number of people fired are older workers.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
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  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 11/02/09 Heard about a new RA coming this AM, that they have actually named BOLD 2. How brazen and disgusting. Counting the days... have joined the Alliance but feel completely hopeless about this and am focusing my energy on outside opps. Why would anyone want to stick around after this? For me, IBM benefits are outweighed by the complete disregard for their own values. As soon as I can find something else I'm out of here. I'm surely gone anyway so using this time to take care of myself and my family. -notnifbutawhen-
    • Comment 11/05/09 The SSR dispatch move to Manila, and wherever else, so far has been a disaster and it's still not completely swapped over until 11/6 or so. -Quimby-
    • Comment 11/06/09 Sent to IGS partners today: "Toward the end of November key decisions will be made that will affect resource availability into January 2010. All updates should be completed by Nov 20th to ensure enough time for proper year end planning. After this date, we will make redeployment decisions based on the system roll-off date. At this time, these redeployment decisions will be final and cannot be reversed." -IGS Slave-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 11/01/09 -Gorya- Moffat retired? What a coward. If he is innocent as his lawyer says then why should he just run and retire? I wonder how many non-executive IBMers can retire if IBM finds them guilty of violating the BCG's. I bet it is a round goose egg. It would have been more fitting if the official IBM reason of Moffat leaving was that he was RAed. So Moffat doesn't get the FHA. Just like the thousands of IBMers he screwed out of it. Good for him. -anonymous-
    • Comment 11/01/09 >>So Moffat doesn't get the FHA. Of COURSE he doesn't get the FHA, silly. He gets the platinum parachute and free lifetime retiree medical and SERP and all the other bennies that his contract brought him when he and Sammy Boy sat down in Armonk, laughed at all of us for our venting and gnashing, and worked out the terms of his 'exit'. You know, like the contracts that the remaining 28% U.S. employees should be looking to sign? Yes, that contract. It worked for Mo Fat, it would have worked for the 16,000 employees fired in 2009, and it will work for the remaining 28% U.S. employees, IF they unionize. -ignatz713-
    • Comment 11/04/09 I'm guessing BOLD=BuyOuts, Layoffs, Dismissals -QTR_CENTURY- (moved from Job Cuts Reports)
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 11/02/09: Retired by RA in 2009. Just received my "retiree" medical benefits choices only to find out that my pension (after 30 years) won't cover the cost. My one regret in life is working for IBM for 30 years. I would have done better retiring from the Post Office. Who knew? -Retired by RA- Alliance reply: Who knew? Actually a lot of people. This didn't happen overnight. It is one reason why we have been pushing for a union and a contract. It is also why we continually remind visitors here: AT WILL EMPLOYEE=no voice=no contract=you are screwed by IBM. It's also why we hear from IBMers RA'd, "retired early" and those just fired: "I should have listened to Alliance@IBM when they told me to ORGANIZE!"
    • Comment 11/06/09: >>The complacency of folks who call or called themselves IBM employees is disturbing. -da_facts- Isn't it incredible, -da_facts-? Just THINK how it would look in the media if 16,000 *SIXTEEN THOUSAND* people who were FIRED for no cause marched in Washington against the tyranny they were subjected to in 2009? But guess what? The firees are still afraid, the retirees are afraid, and the current employees are afraid. The day is coming for all of us firees and retirees to realize what IBM has done to us in terms of COLA (none) and pension benefits (three reductions in formula) and health benefits (raped), especially those raped by the FHA of 1999. We will be dependent on Medicare, if we make it and if it is there, and WE will have to pay for a secondary, since IBM raped us of the secondary insurance, such as it is, provided to those who were grandfathered in 1999, and denied to those of us who were PROMISED a lifetime retiree medical but raped of it in 1999. Yup, -da_facts-, simply incredible. -ignatz713-
  • Raise and Salary Comments IBM CEO Sam Palmisano: "I am pleased to announce that we will not only be paying bonuses to IBMers worldwide, based on individual performance, but that they'll be funded from a pool of money nearly the same size as last year's. That's significant in this economy -- and especially so, given the size of the 2007 pool. Further, our salary increase plan will continue, covering about 60 percent of our workforce. As always, increases will go to our highest performers and contributors. We should all feel good about the company's ability to invest in people in these very concrete ways."
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 11/05/09: here's the skew for GBS/AIS *10% - 20 = 1 performers; *65% - 85% = 2 and 2+ performers with more 2 than 2+; *5 % - 15% = 3 performers. -yes@endicottalliance.org-executive. -Daksh Waterboy-
  • International Comments
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • Washington Post: Republican adviser faces health care's costly bite. Former McCain strategist is about to lose his health insurance. By Philip Rucker. Excerpts: If history had taken a different course, Doug Holtz-Eakin would be inside the McCain White House driving the Republican president's domestic agenda, including health-care reform. But now, one year after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lost the presidential election, the man who was by McCain's side as the campaign's top health-care guru remains unemployed -- and his COBRA health coverage is running out.

    Irony of ironies, it gets worse. Holtz-Eakin, who is about to start shopping for insurance on the individual market, is 51. And he has one of those pesky "preexisting conditions" that insurance companies often cite in denying coverage.

    "A right renal autotransplant," he said, pointing to his abdomen as he described the 1990 transplant surgery he went through after one of his kidneys was damaged in an accident. "They got rid of the artery, moved my kidney and rebuilt me for the 21st century. If you look at my file, any insurance company would go, 'Hmm . . .' "

    Good luck. ...

    "My mother's deeply concerned that I don't have a job," joked Holtz-Eakin, a divorced father of two grown children. Holtz-Eakin said he's been paying about $1,000 a month to extend the private health insurance he received on McCain's campaign through the government's COBRA program, but that will expire in a few months. This is the first time in his life he has not had employer-provided health coverage. "I worry about where I go next in the way many Americans do," he said.

  • New York Times op-ed: Unhealthy America. By Nicholas D. Kristof. Excerpts: The moment of truth for health care is at hand, and the distortion that perhaps gets the most traction is this:
    We have the greatest health care system in the world. Sure, it has flaws, but it saves lives in ways that other countries can only dream of. Abroad, people sit on waiting lists for months, so why should we squander billions of dollars to mess with a system that is the envy of the world? As Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama puts it, President Obama’s plans amount to “the first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known.”

    That self-aggrandizing delusion may be the single greatest myth in the health care debate. In fact, America’s health care system is worse than Slov—er, oops, more on that later. The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland.

    Canadians live longer than Americans do after kidney transplants and after dialysis, and that may be typical of cross-border differences. One review examined 10 studies of how the American and Canadian systems dealt with various medical issues. The United States did better in two, Canada did better in five and in three they were similar or it was difficult to determine.

    Yet another study, cited in a recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, looked at how well 19 developed countries succeeded in avoiding “preventable deaths,” such as those where a disease could be cured or forestalled. What Senator Shelby called “the best health care system” ranked in last place. ...

    I regularly receive heartbreaking e-mails from readers simultaneously combating the predations of disease and insurers. One correspondent, Linda, told me how she had been diagnosed earlier this year with abdominal and bladder cancer — leading to battles with her insurance company. “I will never forget standing outside the chemo treatment room knowing that the medication needed to save my life was only a few feet away, but that because I had private insurance it wasn’t available to me,” Linda wrote. “I read a comment from someone saying that they didn’t want a faceless government bureaucrat deciding if they would or would not get treatment. Well, a faceless bureaucrat from my private insurance made the decision that I wouldn’t get treatment and that I wasn’t worth saving.” ...

    Moreover, there is one American health statistic that is strikingly above average: life expectancy for Americans who have already reached the age of 65. At that point, they can expect to live longer than the average in industrialized countries. That’s because Americans above age 65 actually have universal health care coverage: Medicare. Suddenly, a diverse population with pockets of poverty is no longer such a drawback.

    That brings me to an apology. In several columns, I’ve noted indignantly that we have worse health statistics than Slovenia. For example, I noted that an American child is twice as likely to die in its first year as a Slovenian child. The tone — worse than Slovenia! — gravely offended Slovenians. They resent having their fine universal health coverage compared with the notoriously dysfunctional American system. As far as I can tell, every Slovenian has written to me. Twice. So, to all you Slovenians, I apologize profusely for the invidious comparison of our health systems. Yet I still don’t see anything wrong with us Americans aspiring for health care every bit as good as yours.

  • The Telegraph (United Kingdom): NHS 'better than American health care'. NHS care in Britain is better than private health provision in the United States for quick and effective treatment, according to an American think tank. By Alastair Jamieson. Excerpts: The Commonwealth Fund report, based on a poll of more than 10,000 doctors, suggested the NHS compared favourably with services in other countries, including the United States. Its findings come after a transatlantic row over who has the better health care system as President Barack Obama tries to push controversial new legislation through Congress that will create a system more similar to the British model.

    Republican rivals ran advertising campaigns highlighting the failings of the NHS, prompting Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, and others to hit back with a "We Love the NHS" message through social media including Twitter and Facebook.

    The Commonwealth Fund surveyed more family doctors in 11 countries – including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and America. Britain was the only country where the majority of doctors felt the quality of health care is improving and, in contrast to the United States, the NHS rated highly for fast, inexpensive and readily-available care for all. The UK also scored highly on access to specialist care, out-of-hours provision and use of electronic records. ...

    It found 48 per cent of doctors in the United States reported problems in getting treatment for their patients compared to only six per cent in Britain, while only 29 per cent of doctors in the US offered an out of hours service compared to 89 per cent in Britain.

  • New York Times editorial: The Republican Health Plan. Excerpt: House Republican leaders have produced their own health care reform bill. Here is the first thing you need to know: It would do almost nothing to reduce the scandalously high number of Americans who have no insurance. And it makes only a token stab at slowing the relentlessly rising costs of medical care.
News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.