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HEALTH
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | June 14, 2013
For three hours each work week, Bert Rice walks laps around Burba Lake at Fort Meade - part of a mission by the federal government to build a healthier workforce. Rice, 76, a retired Army colonel and former Anne Arundel County councilman working as a civilian on the garrison staff at Fort Meade, is one of thousands of federal workers who participate in health and fitness programs designed to lower the government's health care costs, increase productivity and better recruit and retain employees.
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NEWS
July 30, 2014
Between the crises in the Middle East and Ukraine and the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, it's difficult to get domestic news on the front page this week, let alone good news. But the improved finances of Medicare deserve the public's attention, particularly given that the much-maligned Affordable Care Act is involved. Here's the bottom line: Medicare paid out less in hospital benefits last year than it did the year before. This is a fantastic development because, according to projections contained in an annual report released Monday, it means that Medicare will have enough money to continue paying for the hospital care of the elderly and disabled through 2030, which is four years longer than the federal government estimated for the program just last year.
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BUSINESS
By Suzanne Cosgrove and Suzanne Cosgrove,Tribune Media services | October 22, 2006
More and more, open enrollment in company-sponsored benefits can be a confusing time, with a plethora of choices and additional responsibility falling on employees. Workers are given a stack of handouts each fall and are asked to choose among medical plans with varying coverage options, allocate pretax dollars to health and dependent-care savings accounts, and participate in wellness programs to save money. The burden of rising health care costs is shifting from employers to employees.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | July 5, 2014
Anyone who wants a job next year at Anne Arundel Medical Center — whether as a surgeon or security guard — will have to prove they don't smoke or use tobacco. The Annapolis hospital's new hiring policy might be controversial, but it is legal in Maryland and more than half of the United States. And it's a type of job screening that is gaining favor with employers — from hospitals to companies such as Alaska Airlines — trying to control rising health costs and cultivate a healthier, more productive workforce.
NEWS
By Doug Donovan and Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF | October 23, 2003
The city's two largest unions set aside their collective differences with Mayor Martin O'Malley's administration and approved new contracts this week that provide pay raises to offset increases in health care costs. The City Union of Baltimore, whose members ratified the two-year deal Tuesday, signed the agreement yesterday. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 44 approved an identical agreement Sunday and signed it Tuesday. The Board of Estimates is scheduled to formally approve the agreements Wednesday, ending a contentious negotiating season for the city with its five unions.
NEWS
By MELISSA HARRIS | February 19, 2006
The military is proposing raising health care fees and deductibles for its 3.1 million retirees younger than 65 and their dependents, as well as co-pays for prescription drugs for all retirees this year, according to the proposed Department of Defense budget. Military associations have attacked the proposal - one of them sent more than 25,000 e-mails to members of Congress and inserted letters into its magazine that can easily be torn out and mailed to elected officials. The debate over the increases, which would nearly triple premiums for some retired officers between now and 2008, is likely to intensify as veterans accuse the Bush administration of disloyalty and broken promises, and as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon leaders use charts and data on skyrocketing health care costs to make their case.
NEWS
By Gerard Shields and Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF | March 2, 2000
Contract negotiations with unions representing 1,700 Baltimore firefighters went to arbitration yesterday after the two sides failed to reach an early agreement. The firefighters' contract expires June 30. The early snag threatens to complicate scheduled contract talks with other city unions representing 16,000 municipal workers as Mayor Martin O'Malley embarks on crafting his first city budget. Baltimore faces a projected deficit of $153 million over the next three years. "The challenge that is created this year is that they [negotiations]
NEWS
By William Wan and William Wan,SUN STAFF | September 9, 2005
Irate state employees packed an auditorium last night, lining up to express outrage over increases in their prescription drug co-pays and other health care costs that took effect three weeks before the governor announced a billion-dollar budget surplus. Some in the audience of about 175 talked of cutting their pills in half to make them last longer. Others said they have given up their medicine altogether because of prohibitive cost. The increase in prescription co-pays took effect July 1 over the protests of state workers, but what renewed outrage over the issue, they said last night, was Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s announcement July 19 of a $1 billion-plus surplus in the state budget.
NEWS
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Julie Hirschfeld Davis,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | January 27, 2005
WASHINGTON - President Bush, laying out his domestic priorities in the days leading up to his State of the Union address, visited the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda yesterday to promote his plan to control health care costs. Telling an invitation-only audience that putting the federal government in charge of health care would be "bad medicine for the American people," Bush argued for private solutions instead. He pushed his proposals - including widening the use of inexpensive, high-deductible private insurance plans for individuals - with the help of a panel of like-minded citizens from around the country, put on stage by the White House to give testimonials to his program.
NEWS
By Warren Vieth and Warren Vieth,LOS ANGELES TIMES | January 28, 2005
CLEVELAND - President Bush prodded doctors and hospitals yesterday to make better use of computers to share patient information, saying the health care industry's continued reliance on paper records inflates costs and undermines care. Participating in a talk show-style "conversation" with Cleveland-area medical personnel, Bush said the development of a nationwide data-sharing network was an integral part of his agenda for reducing health care costs. "Most industries in America have used information technology to make their businesses more cost-effective ... and the truth of the matter is, health care hasn't," Bush said.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | June 20, 2014
Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland's sole Republican in Congress, said Friday he is seeking the chairmanship of an influential conservative caucus of lawmakers in the House of Representatives. The Cockeysville lawmaker wants to lead the Republican Study Committee, a group that has grown with the wave of conservatives — including Harris — who swept the party to power in the chamber in 2010. The caucus represents more than two-thirds of all House Republicans, giving its leader a powerful bloc with which to influence legislation.
NEWS
April 1, 2014
One last round of website crashes, jammed call center lines, frustrations and delays marked the end of Maryland's first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act and ensured that the launch of the Maryland Health Connection will go down as one of the most expensive failures of governance in the state's history. A full accounting of how Maryland failed so badly while other states handled open enrollment with relative ease can't come soon enough. That said, Obamacare is not a website.
NEWS
March 10, 2014
The conclusion of The Sun's editorial, "Investing in lower health costs" (March 7), is that "unless the hospitals start making immediate and fundamental changes to the way they operate …" Maryland will not be successful under the new waiver from Medicare that allows the state to continue to keep health care costs down by setting hospital rates. Rest assured, Maryland's hospitals have already dived head first into immediate and fundamental changes, with most having agreed with the state to enter into budget arrangements that provide us a fixed budget per year to take care of people and work with other providers and community organizations to keep our communities healthier.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | January 18, 2014
Janis Smith feels a lot healthier - and more confident - since shedding 65 pounds in six months, and that has helped in her job leading employee training for 1st Mariner Bank. "Being in front of a classroom of people … I don't feel like everyone is looking at me, they're listening to what I'm saying versus what I look like," said Smith, 55, a vice president and director for the Baltimore-based bank. "I just have a lot more energy. I have more stamina. I feel like I have a clearer mind.
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | December 21, 2013
During the Christmas season when many celebrate a unique and miraculous birth, what the late Pope John Paul II called "a culture of death" continues its march. Last week, the upper house of the Belgian Senate voted to extend a 2002 law legalizing euthanasia for adults so that it includes incurably ill children. The amended law will now have to be voted on by the Parliament's lower house, a vote expected to take place before elections in May, but if passed, writes The New York Times, children afflicted with "constant and unbearable physical suffering" and "equipped with a capacity for discernment" could then be legally euthanized in Belgium.
NEWS
December 14, 2013
Thomas Schaller's admission that the Obama Administration's rollout of the Affordable Care Act was a "disaster" is the true news of his column ("Obamacare rollout shockingly rough," Dec 11). Of course, the real reason for Mr. Schaller's condemnation of the Obamacare rollout is he knows no matter how he would have applied his liberal spin to the disaster, the public sees reality everyday as hardworking Americans find out the truth. President Barack Obama said that, "if you like your plan, you can keep it, period.
NEWS
By Sara Neufeld and Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF | September 11, 2003
The Baltimore County school board is asking the County Council to reallocate $1.2 million in this year's school budget so that teachers, administrators and nurses can get an extra few dollars a week to offset increased health care costs. Approval of the request would be a small step in smoothing relations between the county and school employees, who are upset that County Executive James T. Smith Jr. did not include cost-of-living pay increases for them in this year's budget while making them foot more of the bill for health costs.
NEWS
November 16, 1997
Last month, the National Coalition on Health Care released studies that examined the issues of cost, access and quality of health care.The problems identified in the three studies are:* Health care costs are increasing at twice the rate of inflation and consuming an increasing share of national spending.* Despite one of the greatest periods of economic growth in U.S. history, the number of uninsured people continues to increase, with more than 40 million Americans without health care coverage in 1995.
NEWS
Susan Reimer | December 2, 2013
It was an accident, really. My saving for retirement. I was in my 30s when I heard about IRAs, individual retirement accounts, and they sounded like a good idea. I was single. No house. No kids. I could afford to put a couple of thousand away each year. I didn't think I'd need it, of course. My dad retired from Alcoa with a pension and full medical coverage for him and my mother, and I figured I would retire that way, too. But I thought it might be good to have a little extra money for, I don't know, world travel.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | November 26, 2013
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler joined union workers picketing a Bowie Safeway Tuesday to pressure the grocery giant to concede on the health benefits that are tying up contract negotiations. "This all about awareness," Gansler, who is running for governor, said during a break in convincing shoppers to sign a petition.  Gansler accused Safeway and Giant, which negotiate with the same union, of trying to use provisions of the new federal health law "to take away" health coverage.  "Companies are using the Affordable Care Act to undermine health care," Gansler said.  The United Food and Commerical Workers Local 400, which represents unionized grocery workers Maryland's D.C. suburbs, Washington and northern Virginia, has objected to how Safeway and Giant have dealt with escalating health care costs and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on employers.
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