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Mitchell: Beyond that congresswoman, you’ve got to go beyond that if you’re going to get anything from the other side.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to her credit, said there was no need to talk about benefits cuts when there was more savings to be wrung out of the health care system. But clearly, Mitchell is channeling the zeitgeist when she says that the Republicans are going to “need” some benefits cuts.
Mitchell, like so many other wealthy, celebrity pundits sees these “popular” programs as something frivolous that Democratic voters are hanging on to out of immature petulance and they just need a stern Daddy to come along and take away their toys for their own good. The fact that these “toys” are equivalent to Andrea Mitchell’s yearly dry cleaning bill doesn’t change the fact that they represent the entire hand to mouth existence of millions and millions of elderly people who are too sick and too old to go out and become wealthy TV stars.
Almost half of U.S. retirees die with savings of $10,000 or less, but that grim finding doesn’t fully describe the variability and uncertainty that characterize retirement in America, according to a recent study.
While some retirees struggle profoundly, living at or below the poverty line, others enjoy wealth and health—in fact, the two are strongly linked—while still others have little in savings but enjoy a decent income, according to the report, based on a survey that tracked retirees from 1993 through 2008.
While 46% of retirees have just $10,000 in savings when they die, “That doesn’t mean their standard of living is very low—they might have a relatively generous pension plan, most of them will have Social Security,” said James Poterba, professor of economics at M.I.T., president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a co-author of the study.
But the findings “suggest something about the financial resiliency of these households,” Poterba added. “They may not have much capacity to absorb a shock, such as an out-of-pocket medical expenditure. They don’t have very much in the way of liquid assets they can access.” Read the study here.
Costly safety upgrades, nitpicky government inspection and resulting fines are often blamed as being bad for business. But a new study shows that when government job-safety inspectors make a surprise visit, they actually enable companies to save money—and jobs—for years to come.
Occupational safety has improved immensely over the decades, but in industries with traditionally high injury rates, such as manufacturing, lumber or food processing, work is still dangerous, putting employees at risk and leaving employers vulnerable to expensive accidents. But how much can just one safety inspection help?
Quite a bit, the new analysis suggests: Just one inspection saved companies 26 percent on workers compensation claims over five years.
Of 818 companies with more than 10 employees, the 409 that were randomly selected for inspections saved an average of $355,000 over five years in worker injury claims and compensation at each firm, compared with the other 409 similar companies that were not inspected.
And that’s no small potatoes for most of these places of business. In the sample, that savings worked out to be about 14 percent of the average annual payroll of these companies. What’s more, this added focus on safety did not lower company profits or workforce size. The findings were published online May 17 in Science.
A clearer way to understand healthcare expenses.
Paying medical bills in the United States is sometimes more painful than surgery. With a labyrinth of codes and billing forms that insurance holders never quite understand, mistakes are being made that cost consumers and their employers big bucks.
Making some sense out of the mess is an unlikely trio of Israeli startup entrepreneurs who have developed Simplee, a healthcare billing management portal tailor-made for the United States.
A user signs up, logs in with healthcare insurance details and in an instant a profile is generated. The system, built on sophisticated algorithms, collects American healthcare insurance data and gives users a friendly interface that points out anomalies and cost-saving measures and allows people to upgrade or choose more appropriate coverage with no or little cost.
For now the service is free to use, with only savings to earn.
Founded in 2010 out of a development center in Hod Hasharon, Israel, and a team in Palo Alto, California, Simplee is already helping Americans save money by making the billing system more transparent.
If the company of 15 employees makes it work, Simplee could usher in healthcare reform, COO Roberto Rabinovich tells ISRAEL21c. While the platform is already in use by thousands of individuals in the United States, the sole focus for the foreseeable future is to partner with corporations looking to save on their employee healthcare plans. Starbucks, notes Rabinovich, spends more money on healthcare policies than it does on coffee beans.
Many people are profoundly misinformed about how much energy they use and how much they can save, according to a study published in PNAS on Monday. A sampling of adults showed that most people incorrectly think that actions like turning off lights and unplugging idle cell phone chargers save more energy than using more efficient appliances, like compact fluorescent light bulbs. They also proved to be poor at estimating differences in energy use between various appliances, suggesting that the public needs a significant re-education on energy use.