His plans, not yet fully fledged, are getting an early trial by fire.
IBM did it again. On June 12, the company cut 697 people from the payrolls of its two Dutchess sites. It was a fraction of the thousands slashed in the early 1990s, but it was a big hit. ...
The big layoffs from Big Blue spurred him to accelerate the as-yet-unfinished project. The first task of the new alliance will turn out to be helping the people who have just been told their jobs end Sept. 10 and whose loss of payroll has been estimated to put a $55 million dent in Dutchess’ economy.
On Monday, the state Department of Labor’s “rapid response” team expects to hear from IBM about whether they can go into IBM’s plants in Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill to brief the workers, Hicks said.
“IBM has not permitted that yet,” he said. The agency staff will advise on topics like unemployment insurance, health insurance and retraining. ...
One rapid action came from the state Department of Labor, which filed an application June 20 for federal aid to individuals under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The program is for workers hurt by foreign trade. It can include income support, retraining aid, job-search help and relocation aid.
But that petition contains a troubling story about what IBM is doing. The petition, filed by labor official Susan Serviss, is based on a worker from IBM Poughkeepsie who reported the product engineering and serving planning are being outsourced to foreign countries. A contract worker for Pomeroy, a company IBM uses to get labor for developing hardware and software for mainframe computers, said he had been training workers in China to take over his job. That worker said most operations at the Poughkeepsie site are going to Brazil, India and China.
This clearly has Hicks and other county officials worried. IBM is the largest private-sector employer in Dutchess by far. It has been shrinking in recent years. ...
That company’s (IBM's) Poughkeepsie site was checked out by Microsoft as a candidate for a large data center, Hicks said. But it didn’t work out because IBM did not want to split off the southern part of the site.
The facilities of IBM, which have vacant space, remain key, though.
“Our economic development strategy has to address those campuses,” Hicks said. “They could be our steel mills.”
That is a reference to America’s loss of huge steel plants to foreign competition. Already, IBM’s former West Campus, once the state of the art in chip development, sits empty and in the ownership of a Chinese company, Linuo Solar Group. It recently let a broker advertise two buildings for lease, but the site must have a sewage solution first.
Don't let that first paragraph fool you. I despise the influence of stock prices over corporate citizenship in these decisions more than I let on. IBM, of course, recognizes this kind of news is not very flattering. But it is also aware that it is just the kind of behavior Wall Street admires.
Very little would be reported on the topic of workforce rebalancing if IBM had its way. It is mostly through the efforts of the Alliance@IBM that it comes to light. The Alliance is a workers' group not recognized as having bargaining power with IBM, but its members feed information through it that then gets wider dissemination through the media. IBM tips its hand just slightly in its financial reporting to alert investors that is making changes that will have a positive effect on earnings. It doesn't want to publicly appear happy that people are losing jobs, but it is well-received news at the highest executive levels.
The job loss number provided by Alliance@IBM is validated through documents IBM delivers to the severed workers, who then share that information with the union. The documents provide details according to work groups and indicate which job titles are being eliminated, how many individuals with that title are being eliminated, and the age of the employees who have been eliminated. ...
Lee Conrad, the national director of Alliance@IBM, told IT Jungle that IBM previously reported job cuts by location, but stopped providing that information a few years ago. He argues the cuts should be transparent because IBM--and other companies--receive tax breaks and tax incentives from many different states based, in part, on employment numbers.
"Beyond the issue of tax breaks and tax incentives, this is about being a good corporate citizen," Conrad says. "Tell people the truth. Why keep it all a secret? It makes the company look bad. It makes them look aloof and uncaring."
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) was put into place in the United States to protect workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs. There is no indication IBM has disregarded this. Conrad, however, claims IBM manipulates the timing of the employee notifications to sidestep the intent of WARN.
"IBM likes to play games with the WARN notifications by keeping just under the threshold for reporting at the big IBM sites," he says. "They give employees 30 to 90 days before they technically have to be out of the building, which allows them to report a number at the end of a 30-day period that is part of the larger group of job cuts and stay under the threshold. It's a matrix with people in various locations reporting to a department that consolidates those employees at possibly a location where there are no job losses." ...
"When we see IBM continue to fire U.S. workers year after year and then keep H-1B workers, or even L-1B workers, we find that unconscionable," Conrad says. "I think that when companies say the foreign workers brought to the U.S. have skills and qualifications that cannot be found in the U.S. labor market, it's a lie. When you look at the job titles of people who have been cut, they are skilled and knowledgeable. Many have been with IBM for many years. They are seeing a change inside IBM and are wondering how is that impacting the business? What is the future of IBM when earnings per share are manipulated by cutting long-time employees? That's a story in itself." ...
The U.S. worker population at IBM is steadily dropping. Before the job cuts, Alliance@IBM estimated it at 91,000. The latest cut brings it to fewer than 90,000. It was 160,000 just 10 years ago.
IBM has confirmed it is assessing how best to use its real estate although there were no present plans to close offices.
IBM sources say the job cuts, which are occurring across the board and in phases, are required because IBM has been "doing it tough" financially and not growing in line with expectations of its US parent company, which has ordered thousands of jobs to be cut globally.
The Australian can reveal that IBM has been relying on employee services firm Manpower to hire workers from India on 457 visas to be based in Australia, replacing IBM employees locally with the same skills.
The 457 visa category should be used in cases where skills are unavailable locally, but sources within IBM say that in some cases Indian workers with commodity IT skills such as with Microsoft Windows and Citrix systems are being hired.
An IBM spokeswoman declined to comment on Manpower's involvement, saying: "IBM fully complies with the 457 visa laws in Australia."
In some cases the 457 workers are about 40 per cent cheaper than Australian hires, according to internal IBM calculations.
Australian Services Union NSW secretary Sally McManus said IBM's actions were "disgraceful". "It's absolutely disgraceful if IBM is using these visas, as we've heard from our members, to train up workers from overseas to take jobs here," Ms McManus said. "It's an abuse of 457 visas." ...
The spokeswoman said IBM would not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans because of the competitive nature of the IT industry. She provided the same response to The Australian in May: "Change is constant in the technology industry and transformation is an essential feature of our business model. Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business."
Sources within IBM said some roles would be moved to lower-cost centres in Asia, such as Malaysia, while others would be assigned to India. ...
It is understood the cuts were beginning to affect customer service levels, but the spokeswoman said IBM's focus "continues to be (on) delivering the most value for our clients by leveraging our entire portfolio to create a seamless, high-value client experience".
Sources within IBM say the job cuts, which were occurring across the board and in phases, were required because IBM had been "having it tough" financially. It was also not growing in line with expectations of its US parent company, which has ordered thousands of jobs to be cut globally. ...
China's ongoing urbanization process represents a massive opportunity for IBM in the post-PC era, according to Ernie Hu, a director of the software group at IBM Greater China.
The company is busy installing next-generation information collection and analysis systems for various local governments.
Analysts, such as Laurence Balter from Oracle Investment Research in Washington, predicted staff cuts could be as high as up to 8,000, or around two percent of IBM’s global workforce of 434,246.
IBM Middle East, which has its headquarters in Dubai, refused to reveal how many staff at its operations in the region would be made redundant as part of the global cost cutting process.
“Given the competitive nature of our industry, we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans,” a spokesperson told Arabian Business.
The world's biggest computer service provider said in an e-mailed reply to China Daily on Wednesday, from its China office, that "change is constant" in the technology industry and that "transformation is an essential feature of our business model".
It added: "Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business."
Although the company avoided giving any actual numbers of potential losses, a report on local Chinese news site tech.qq.com suggested the New York-based multinational is expected to axe at least 500 staff on the Chinese mainland.
The report added that affected staff can expect 14,000 yuan ($2,270) for every year of service as compensation. The US company did not refute the report.
The “days to cover” at 06/14/2013 was 5.33 for IBM, and 5.51 for JNJ; this compares to the average across all Dow components of 3.18. The chart below shows the movement over time of the “days to cover” values of both IBM and JNJ, versus the average Dow component. ...
A stock with a high “days to cover” value compared to its peers would be considered to have a higher level of short interest as compared to those peers. This could mean short sellers are using the stock to hedge a long bet elsewhere, or could also mean that short sellers believe the price of the stock will decline. When short sellers eventually cover their positions, by definition there must be buying activity because a share that is currently sold short must be purchased to be covered. So investors tend to keep an eye on that “days to cover” metric, because a high value could predict a sharper price increase should the company put out some unexpectedly good news — short sellers might rush to cover positions, and if the “days to cover” number is high, it is more difficult to close those positions without sending the stock higher until the higher price produces enough sellers to generate the necessary volume.
Mr. Doernberg worked in chip design, before that industry shrank, and then for a solar energy company, before that industry shrank, and has been unemployed since the middle of last year. By his own account, his skills are not ideal for the current job market. Nor does it help, he says, that at 53, he looks older than he is; youth is at a premium in his industry. So, too, is optimism.
“It’s a question of convincing someone that with these skills, I can do this job, even though I haven’t done it before,” he said. “I’m very optimistic. I know I will find a job.”
The questions of skills, jobs and nationality are a combustible mix these days.
Silicon Valley companies, warning of an acute labor shortage, say it is too costly to retrain older workers like Mr. Doernberg, and that the country is not producing enough younger Americans with the precise skills the industry needs. Their arguments have persuaded a majority of senators to give them what they want: a provision in the immigration bill to let in many more foreign professionals.
But Americans like Mr. Doernberg and the powerful labor lobby say that what the tech industry really wants is to depress wages and bring in more pliant, less costly temporary workers from overseas. If there is such a talent shortage, they ask, why are wages for most engineers not rising faster? Labor groups have pushed for a requirement to offer jobs to equally qualified Americans before hiring foreigners, a provision that the industry has fiercely resisted. ...
At the same time, though, the industry’s claims of a labor shortage may be somewhat overblown. Most H-1B workers hold entry-level positions. Economists say that bringing in more of these workers would serve to keep wages down. It also saves employers the trouble of having to retrain workers.
Selected reader comments follow:
This bill is nothing more than a ruse allowing tech companies to hire cheap foreign labor which they can constantly replace and transferring the 'savings' up the ladder to billionaires like Zuckerman and Gates.
Tech companies should be made to support the local workforce. I don't see that retraining is the real issue. My skills are top notch and so are my credentials as are those of my peers - who have to hide the depth of their experience on their resumes so as not to intimidate the younger people doing the hiring. Most of us are highly skilled. It's about age discrimination coupled with cheaper, foreign options.
This destabilization makes US students avoid these fields and it also injects all sorts of biases in to the picture - including age bias.
This crushes real innovation, thus lowers our standard of living for the long haul. This foolishness makes the US poorer.
I must add that I'm very disappointed with the NY Times' one-sided reporting against US STEM workers in this and other articles. The ramifications of these poor policies have an impact far larger than destroying careers of nerds and geeks.
I bet some of the anecdotal articles mentioned here are from the same departments who completely missed the great recession coming.
If the H-1B workers are truly needed for their rare and valuable skills, they should be paid more than than their American counterparts.
A good way to control the abuse of the H-1B is to issue them to immigrants who: have a 4-year degree from an accredited US university, passed a test to show that he has English proficiency, and is willing to work in economically depressed areas of the US such as rust belt cities. Also, US companies could be given tax incentives for hiring US citizens (and possibly training them) over foreigners and could be penalized for hiring too many foreigners or firing too many US citizens to replace them with foreigners.
The bulk of H1Bs are in banks and brokerage houses. They often work for Indian 'consulting' companies who are little more than cheap outsourcers. A lot of the work they do is basically grunt IT work, grinding out cookie-cutter code, preparing test data, applying routine patches to the servers.
The body shops do not necessarily obey all law. They can give the appearance of paying a fair wage, but get the money back in various ways. They can charge 'placement fees', or 'legal fees', or not pay guys while they are on the beach.
I won't even go into the kind of deal where if you hire my contractors, I will deposit twenty lakh in your dad's account in Mumbai.
This story had been repeated a thousand times over until, for a while it was extremely hard to find a software job in the US. Consequently, students at American colleges stopped majoring in computer science because job prospects were poor. Now we have a shortage and Silicon Valley is blaming the US educational system for the problem they themselves caused.
The idea that H-1B workers are more skilled is mostly bull. All workers, even the most well educated computer engineers here or abroad, require a period of on-the-job training for their particular position within the company. To hear Facebook or other companies state they can't afford to train U.S. workers is a falsehood given the enormous profits of those same companies.
At the same time the tech industry continues to pour a vast amount of cash into the campaign funds of several key Senators and Congressmen. Those campaign donations are certainly not for the greater good, but in an effort to increase the profit margins of the various donors.
Does this sound like a company that is struggling to attract and retain excellent technical talent, or one that is gaming a recession to reduce labor costs?
She uses as an example an unemployed worker who admits his skill set is lacking (as if she couldn't find a single unemployed, older worker who is well qualified by these entry level jobs). She quotes an employer who blames older unemployed workers for not keeping their skills up and an Indian worker who basically states that Indians are smarter and harder workers than Americans (such modesty is impressive). I could care less if this writer wishes to advocate for H1-B workers, but it should be on the Opinion Pages where it belongs.
The "skills shortage" is about one thing: corporations want inexpensive labor. The article correctly states "Most H-1B workers hold entry-level positions". These are not "high-skilled" workers; this is cheap labor.
Schumer is especially concerned with the opinions of the tech industry CEOs while most IT and software shops that I am aware of have already transitioned to an Indian workforce. This bill will deal another major blow to American tech workers, and the real pain will be felt during the next economic downturn when I expect many more will be displaced by cheaper foreign labor.
I find it disingenuous that the lawyers representing us in DC are advocating that more Americans pursue STEM careers while following the advice of the tech industry lobbyists to increase the supply of foreign workers, which will further suppress wages and opportunities. Unfortunately, due to this bill and past and current trends, I advise young Americans to avoid the technology field.
Interesting value order. You don't think American students have taken notice and now avoid CS and IS? We are killing our pipeline. Expect real economic damage. So, "Let them eat cake!"
They are NOT from IITs ; recruited en-masse from 2nd, 3rd, 4th rate engineering colleges in India; lowly paid, no benefits and here comes the WORST part - of
Very poor caliber. I know because I get to oversee their work (any protest is shot down at the upper management level - the consulting company has direct access to the highest state govt. authorities).
Hoards of these H1B guys are being used as cheap, entry level programmers (they are NOT Software Engineers/Developers - there is a difference). The State is stuck with very poor quality work that barely passes the minimum requirements for quality.
If there is such a shortage of technical people the foreigners on visas should train Americans in the skills that are allegedly in demand.
I thought American businesses believed in the Law of Supply & Demand. They claim to when they calculate CEO compensation. Before the Y2K bug when hiring foreign software engineers was rare, Americans were flocking to those jobs by going to night school and changing careers so they could go back to college. They knew they would earn enough to pay back the loans.
The table of contents in Computerworld back then tells the story. People were wondering why students stopped wanting to be software engineers. Another article showed how software companies were lobbying for more H-1B visas. Apparently the students knew the handwriting was on the wall, they weren't wanted anymore and the salaries would never compensate for all the expense, effort, and time they put in to be trained.
The software industry, a major driver of the so-called "New Economy", and the only major industry dominated by America, was basically given away to our competitors. Nobody cared even though the drain on the economy was predicted.
I watched as many good engineers were let go and replaced with these younger, mostly Indian, workers. Some were adequate, but many were incompetent and lacked the experience necessary to do their job. The product quality suffered and as a result several of their factories were shut down by the FDA and they received a substantial fine.
The company absorbed this as the cost of doing business, their CEO retired with a hefty bonus and all this is considered the cost of doing business. This is merely the Walmartization of America. We'll all work for minimum wage and weigh 400 pounds because we can't afford anything but high fructose corn sugar. Corporate America has turned this country into a cheap knock off and congress is in their pocket. It's hard to believe how quickly this has happened.
As for the Intel exec who says that Americans haven't kept their skills current, this may be true in a small number of instances, but technology people are well aware of the need to constantly be training oneself. The problem is that high-tech companies want people with the exact skill set -- the "purple squirrel" in recruiting parlance -- instead of someone who fills the bill to the 90% level. As a tech worker is more than the sum of his programming languages, they simply ignore the soft aspects of the candidate that would be as or more important and use the job description in a highly literal fashion.
Finally, while many H-1Bs are lower level workers, in technology, these are still good paying jobs. Lots of older Americans wouldn't object to moving down the career rung in order to get involved in the next hot technology. Also, H-1Bs eventually become citizens who later on take the high-paying, high-level jobs.
Cons: Old-school sales culture (think "selling is telling","death by PowerPoint"). Unmotivated and recalcitrant sales support staff ("I can't do a client meeting on Wednesdays, I'm picking my kids up..."). Inward looking culture (too many lifetime IBMers with stale ideas). Unrealistic growth targets. Outdated hierarchical and macho management culture. Constant internal conflict where another part of IBM frequently costs you business. Process, forms, more forms, approvals, red tape. Pay below market rates.
Advice to Senior Management: Culture is stale. Get in more leaders from more dynamic parts of the industry, or send leaders outside as part of their development. Deals only get focus when they are forecast to close immediately; take a longer term view of business development and your customers.
Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
State officials adopted the package of benefit cuts and increased taxes for businesses in February, a plan designed to accelerate repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt. Like many states, North Carolina had racked up the debt by borrowing from Washington after its unemployment fund was drained by jobless benefits during the Great Recession.
The changes go into effect Sunday for North Carolina, which has the country’s fifth-worst jobless rate. The cuts on those who make unemployment claims on or after that day will disqualify the state from receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. That money kicks in after the state’s period of unemployment compensation — now shortened from up to six months to no more than five — runs out. The EUC program is available to long-term jobless in all states. But keeping the money flowing includes a requirement that states can’t cut average weekly benefits.
Because North Carolina leaders cut average weekly benefits for new claims, about 170,000 workers whose state benefits expire this year will lose more than $700 million in EUC payments, the U.S. Labor Department said.
Lee Creighton, 45, of Cary, said he’s been unemployed since October, and this is the last week for which he’ll get nearly $500 in unemployment aid. He said he was laid off from a position managing statisticians and writers amid the recession’s worst days in 2009 and has landed and lost a series of government and teaching jobs since then — work that paid less half as much. His parents help him buy groceries to get by. ...
The state’s top business lobby, the North Carolina Chamber, primarily assembled the package of proposals that lawmakers adopted. ...
Wayne Bostick, 58, of Raleigh, said he lost his job in April 2011 and will lose extended federal benefits immediately. He said he earned about $700 a week in take-home pay, often working double shifts at a ConAgra Foods plant until it shut down after a fatal explosion. Since then, he said, the only jobs he’s found matching his skills pay less than $10 an hour and are outside Raleigh. Now he’ll have to revisit those or start a handyman business.
Yet, you have been warned repeatedly that performance means nothing. Years of service mean nothing and so on. All who didn't join had their reasons I am sure. How did that work out for you now? Not very well. You probably eat Tums like candy or Prilosec or prescription stuff trying to quell the acid eating your guts from the stress and worry of working in IBM's toxic environment.
You can't even relax on vacation because its so hard to get a signal for your laptop on the beach. Like a blindfolded prisoner with his hands tied behind him on a chair you wait to the blow to the face of a 3 rating or the bullet to the head of an RA and you never know which is coming. You can end this madness. Why don't you? -Exodus2007-
Your inclusion in the Mass-Firing was initiated by HR, and then approved by Finance, Legal, and Senior Management in your own organization before you were even told about it. Finance has already included not having to pay your salary and benefits in their earnings projections for next quarter. Consequently, the shameful secret that nobody will tell you is that you have essentially been “black listed” and no manager can hire you because that would cause Finance to miss their plan.
Yes, it’s true; firing you is just another cost reduction that has already been baked into the earnings plan. Sure, you may hear about a few people who were actually able to find another job, but that’s because they had some very high level help, and an extraordinary effort was put forth on their behalf. Once you are on the mass-firing black list, finding a new job within IBM only occurs on a very rare and exceptional basis.
So, why am I telling you this? Because I really despise how IBM Management is sending employees on a fool’s errand just because management has neither the honor nor decency to let people know what’s really going on. I’m afraid the sad reality is that finding a new job within IBM just isn’t going to happen. Instead of wasting time looking for a job in IBM, take a look at the Alliance@IBM Job Cut Survival Kit which has a lot of good ideas. -30 Days is a Sham-
Firing employees who have irreplaceable institutional and product technical knowledge with the intent of personally enriching yourself is immoral and unethical, as well as damaging to the long term well-being and stability of the IBM Corporation. IBM employees call upon you to either (a) revoke all IBM stock options held by IBM management, including those held by you personally, or failing that, to (b) cease and desist taking any further actions that are adverse and damaging to the IBM Corporation. -A Concerned IBM Employee-
It goes on to say all the wonderful things the employee had done throughout their career. I am missing something here? That's the same day I retire from IBM! What a coincidence! Does management really think by putting lip stick on the pig, they can fool us naïve and slow witted employees. I guess so! This is what your management thinks of you! Dumb as a bag of rocks, they won't notice all the people retiring on the same day. Join the union and get your rights back, otherwise get the hell out and let management go down with the ship. Good luck to those searching. Life beyond IBM is a reality! Go for it. -FUBAR-
But it is, as Sabrina Corlette puts it, “not the federal government’s first time at the rodeo.”
Eight years ago, the federal government rolled out Medicare Part D, a prescription drug benefit. For the first time ever, Medicare was launching a benefit administered exclusively through private health insurance plans. The benefit was not popular: In the spring of 2005, when enrollment efforts ramped up, polls showed Medicare Part D to be less popular than the Affordable Care Act. Fewer Americans felt they understood how it worked, too. ...
“A few months ago, when we were out at forums and talking to reporters and policy experts, we kept hearing over and over again comparisons to Part D,” Corlette says. “The concerns about whether the federal government would be ready, whether plans would participate and will people know about it.”
They did not have to dig too deep to find similarities between the two, especially when it comes to concerns about participation in the new program and the cost of premiums. To start, neither was especially popular in the months prior to their launch. Part D was even less liked: 21 percent of the public had a favorable opinion of the program in April 2005 compared to 35 percent in April 2013 for the Affordable Care Act.
Since 100 percent of the costs of the proposed expansion would be borne by the federal government for at least the first three years of the program (gradually reduced to 90 percent by 2020), MaineCare expansion under the ACA would also provide significant economic benefits to Maine in the form of federal dollars and the jobs they will create in every county in the state. According to a new study released last week by the Maine Center for Economic Policy and Maine Equal Justice Partners, if MaineCare were expanded under the terms of the ACA it would stimulate more than $350 million in economic activity, lead to the creation of 3,100 new jobs, and result in the generation of up to $18 million in state and local taxes.
Since the Legislature has now refused to override the governor’s veto of the expansion, those federal dollars (including those originating from Maine taxpayers) and their associated benefits will go to other states that accept the deal. ...
This fight could be avoided, and is just a symptom of a more fundamental underlying disease — the way we pay for health care in the U.S. Our insurance-based system requires that we slice and dice our population into “risk categories. ...
Many conservatives still characterize Medicaid as “welfare,” and many think of it as such. Presumably other types of health care coverage have been “earned” (think veterans and the military, highly paid executives, union members and congressional staff). We resent our tax dollars going to “freeloaders.” Until the slicing and dicing is ended, the finger pointing, blame shifting and their attendant political wars will continue.
In sharp contrast, our Canadian neighbors feel much differently. Asked if they resent their tax dollars being spent to provide health care to those who can’t afford it on their own, they say they can’t think of a better way to spend them. “Isn’t that what democracy is all about?” I’ve heard Canadian physicians say, “Our universal health care is the highest expression of Canadians caring for each other.” ...
If everybody was in the same health care system in the U.S., as is the norm in most wealthy nations, we would be having a much different and more civil conversation than what we are now witnessing in Augusta. No other wealthy country relies on the exorbitantly expensive and divisive practice of insurance underwriting to finance their health care system. They finance their publicly administered systems through broad-based taxes or a simplified system of tax-like, highly regulated premiums. Participation is mandatory and universal.
Taxation gets a bad rap in the U.S. and consequently is politically radioactive. Yet it is the most efficient, most enforceable and fairest way to finance a universal health care system. ...
Canada’s tax-financed health care system covers everybody, gets better results, costs about two-thirds of what ours does and is far more popular than ours with both their public and their politicians. There is no opposition to it in the Canadian Parliament.
What’s not to like about that?
The map is aimed at people who may be purchasing health insurance for the first time. One recent trend has been more employers, particularly small businesses, opting not to provide health-insurance coverage for employees to reduce expenses.
Another key factor: Families USA said in April that 869,000 North Carolinians, including about 176,000 in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina, would be eligible for tax credits as part of participating in federal insurance exchanges created through the Affordable Care Act.
The tax credits will be available to uninsured individuals and families who have incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level standards. For individuals, the current income range is $15,860 to $45,960; for a family of four, the current range is $32,500 to $94,200. ...
What makes the insurance marketplace and tax credits a political football is that the federal law was created with the expectation that individuals and families below 138 percent of poverty level would be covered by Medicaid through state expansions of that program, and thus not eligible for the tax credit.
Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly have decided against expanding North Carolina's Medicaid program because of their concerns about its operation and efficiency.
Families USA said that “states that refuse to expand Medicaid, despite the generous federal support offered, will be condemning their most vulnerable residents to remain in the ranks of the uninsured.”
At least five Blue Cross and Blue Shield executives sat at the table of about a dozen CEOs with the president, according to those knowledgeable about the session, first reported by the New York Times. Just as significant is who wasn’t there: chiefs of the country’s biggest and third-biggest health insurers, UnitedHealth Group and Aetna
Those two and most other non-Blue insurers “seem to be proceeding cautiously” in the online marketplaces expected to cover to millions, said David Windley, who follows the industry for Jefferies & Co., an investment firm. “They are evaluating markets state by state and in some cases region by region within the state to assess the viability of all the different pieces.”
Not the Blues. They’re expected to offer health-exchange plans nearly everywhere, ensuring at least a minimum choice for individuals seeking subsidized coverage when the marketplaces open Oct. 1. It also makes them an undeclared Obama ally in implementing the health law.
John Hammergren, the CEO of McKesson Corp., has the distinction of looking forward to one of the wealthiest retirements in corporate history--a record-breaking $159 million pension, according to the Wall Street Journal. Not only that, the 54 year old is one of the highest paid execs, earning more than—wait for it--$50 million a year from a health care business services company that’s ranked 14 on the Fortune 500 list. ...
In April of 2012, McKesson settled a suit filed by the Department of Justice for inflating drug prices. McKesson “agreed to pay the United States more than $190 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by reporting inflated pricing information for a large number of prescription drugs, causing Medicaid to overpay for those drugs,” according to the DOJ.
One thing is certain: Hammergren had one sharp lawyer in 1996 when he made the deal to join McKesson. Forbes reported that if he were let go because of a change in control of the company, Hammergren would waltz away with $469 million. And if he dies or becomes disabled, he or his heirs get a cool $260 million.
Better keep taking your overpriced meds, John…and be nice to your wife.
"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.
In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it. Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, “United States of ALEC — A Follow-Up” explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”
Former health care industry executive Wendell Potter says, “Even though I’d known of [ALEC] for a long time, I was astonished. Just about everything that I knew that the health insurance industry wanted out of any state lawmaker was included in that package of bills.”
At the same time that the budget picture has been improving, we have been missing the mark on the broader economy. Unemployment is a full percentage point higher this year than the CBO predicted it would be by now, while total economic output is 5 percent lower.
Washington’s relentless focus on deficit reduction has made it harder, not easier, to create good middle-class jobs and boost economic growth. In a rational world, Washington would be able to work simultaneously on bringing down the long-term debt and creating good jobs now. But the past three years have proven that lawmakers are not very good at walking and chewing gum at the same time. We’ve enacted nearly $4 trillion worth of deficit reduction since 2010 — when the sequester is included — but few policies to help the economy grow. ...
Despite having no viable partners for compromise, deficit hawks insist that liberals must continue to pursue entitlement reform because, they say, without it health-care and retirement costs will crowd out progressive priorities. But the relentless pursuit of deficit reduction is already crowding out progressive priorities. Federal funding for education, science and technology, infrastructure and a broad swath of other basic public services is on track to decline to just 2.7 percent of GDP by 2022 — lower than at any point in the past 50 years. And that path is the direct result of repeated spending cuts to so-called discretionary programs that were made possible only by the perceived imperative of deficit reduction. Indeed, the sequester is the product of an attempt to force a grand bargain.
Furthermore, there is no inherent tension between safeguarding a dignified retirement for seniors and investing in young people and future prosperity, as CAP’s deficit reduction plans have repeatedly shown. That stark tradeoff exists only because conservatives have refused to consider any serious revenue enhancements. ...
Yes, the nation still has a long-term deficit challenge. And yes, entitlement reform will have to be part of the solution. But rebuilding a strong economy with a vibrant middle class is an urgent problem today, not 10 years from now. Washington has been focused on deficits, not growth. It’s time to shift that focus.
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