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September 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Doctor: 'Why I decided to join an insurance-free practice'

Val Jones, MD
CEO, Better Health

Ever wonder why your physician only spends 5-10 rushed minutes with you during your office visit? You may think it’s because there are simply too many patients vying for her time, but that’s not the real reason. The root cause is that health insurance companies are stealing time from your visit by requiring excessive documentation from your doctor. She can’t give you the time you need, because doing so would put her out of business.

In a special report on the administrative burden of healthcare, MedPage Today revealed that PCPs spend about one third of their income on documentation required by health insurers. Because they run a business with thin margins, they must increase the volume of patients they treat in order to cover the salaries of the staff required to manage this “paper weight.”

About 49% of all physicians have said that they are considering retiring or quitting medicine in the next two years (the rate is lower for specialists), largely because of increasing documentation requirements and decreasing reimbursement.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care • Medical News
September 30th, 2009
03:51 PM ET
September 30th, 2009
02:57 PM ET

Obama's is vote that matters on Afghanistan

Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the U.S. will fail in Afghanistan without more troops.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the U.S. will fail in Afghanistan without more troops.

Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

Sometimes, even in Washington, there's no way around a central truth: that in governing, there are moments when real, tough decisions must be made. No waffling. None of the usual "on the one hand, on the other hand." No hiding behind the votes cast by others.

There is one vote, and it belongs to the president.

It was that way with George W. Bush in December 2006, when, after conferring for three months with his generals and his Cabinet - not to mention the advice offered by the pooh-bahs in the Iraq Study Group - he decided on a surge strategy in Iraq. It was not a plan highly touted by many of his advisers, but by January, Bush told the nation "America will change our strategy ... [and] this will require increasing American force levels."

As it turns out, the surge worked.

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September 30th, 2009
02:53 PM ET

Interactive: Tsunamis explained

CNN

A tsunami, from the Japanese word for harbor wave, is a giant wave caused by an underwater disturbance, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption.

Energy from the quake creates the initial wave, which splits into two – one wave moves out into the ocean while the other heads toward the shore. Most tsunamis do not create giant breaking waves on shore. Instead, they generate very fast and strong tides that make the sea level rise quickly.

Check out this interactive and learn about how tsunamis form and just what exactly are plate tectonics.


Filed under: Weather
September 30th, 2009
02:30 PM ET

Haters of America are still out there

President Obama is the first U.S. leader to head a United Nations Security Council meeting.

President Obama is the first U.S. leader to head a United Nations Security Council meeting.

Ed Rollins
CNN Senior Political Contributor

The president had his first foray into the byzantine world of U.N. politics last week and walked away cheered on by the anti-America crowd.

He appeased the delegations led by tyrants and petty dictatorships by condemning President Bush and spelling out how his administration is going to be different.

President Obama was applauded by Castro, Chavez, and Gadhafi (no friends of ours) when he said he wanted a "new era of engagement in the world." Are either of those three dictators going to be better world citizens or kinder, gentler leaders as a result of Obama's outreach? Put me in the doubtful column.

No American president has ever stood before the U.N. body and condemned his predecessor or American foreign policy in such a way. President Bush, like every president before him made some mistakes, but he did not deserve this put down. And let's not forget America was attacked on September 11, 2001, and thousands of American lives were lost. President Bush and his team got us through all that and kept us safe for the rest of his terms. And I hope Mr. Obama realizes the "haters" of America are still out there.

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September 30th, 2009
02:25 PM ET

The Health Care Hostage Crisis: The push for health care reform

Editor's Note: This article continues our multi-part series excerpted from the "Healthcare Hostage Crisis" chapter of AC360° contributor David Gewirtz's upcoming book, How To Save Jobs, which will be available in October. To learn more about the book, follow David on Twitter @DavidGewirtz.

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

Our earlier discussion of the insurance mess, of course, leads us to the push for reforming health care. Americans are getting systematically ripped off by our own medical establishment at levels that almost defy comprehension.

Since the American health care industry is far larger than any other industry in America, and America has the largest economy of any country, that makes the American health care industry the largest industry in the world - and the single largest economic interest bloc in the history of mankind.

The single largest economic interest bloc in the history of mankind

So, as you might guess, the members of the health care industry aren't as interested in reform as those of us who aren't siphoning off an excess trillion dollars a year from the American populace.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Gewirtz • Health Care
September 30th, 2009
12:49 PM ET

Hollywood embraces Roman Polanski

Peers of Roman Polanski have praised him for his talent and lamented his arrest.

Peers of Roman Polanski have praised him for his talent and lamented his arrest.

Rachel Wells
CNN

When filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested Saturday in Switzerland, he was on his way to accept an award for Lifetime Achievement at the Zurich Film Festival.

Polanski's friend, Swiss filmmaker Otto Weisser, was among the first to publicly run to his defense.

"This is for me a shock. I am ashamed to be Swiss, that the Swiss is doing such a thing to brilliant fantastic genius, that millions and millions of people love his work," Weisser said upon learning the director had been detained by Swiss authorities. "He's a brilliant guy, and he made a little mistake 32 years ago. What a shame for Switzerland."

By Tuesday, more than 130 heavyweights in the movie industry had taken up Polanski's cause.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
September 30th, 2009
12:18 PM ET

Public option: 'Nothing is ever dead on Capitol Hill'

Sen. Max Baucus says he likes the idea of a public option, but he doesn't think he can get the votes with it

Sen. Max Baucus says he likes the idea of a public option, but he doesn't think he can get the votes with it

By Kristi Keck
CNN

As lawmakers huddled this summer to put together the framework for health care legislation, it quickly became evident that the battle over President Obama's top priority would be neither quick nor easy.

After months of debate and missed deadlines, the public option has emerged as the main sticking point.

From the beginning, some Democrats said they wouldn't pass a bill without a government-sponsored, public option, while other Democrats and most Republicans said they'd say no to any plan that included one.

Republicans say a public option would drive private insurers from the market and eventually bring a government takeover of the health care system. Democratic leaders reject that claim, saying the public option would provide needed competition for private insurers while making health coverage accessible to millions of people currently lacking health insurance.

FULL POST

September 30th, 2009
12:14 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Private sector still losing jobs

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The first of this week’s big employment reports is out and the numbers are a bit of a disappointment.

Payroll-processing firm ADP says private-sector employers cut 254,000 jobs in September, down from a revised 277,000 in August. But that is the smallest monthly total since July 2008, even though it’s worse than the 200,000 loss economists had forecast.

Large businesses, those with 500 or more workers, let 61,000 workers go in September. Medium-sized businesses, with between 50 and 499 workers, shed 93,000 jobs. And small businesses, those with less than 50 workers, reduced payrolls by 100,000.

Small businesses held will continue to shed more workers than larger and medium-sized firms, ADP said. That's because large businesses started shrinking payrolls earlier and therefore will recover sooner.

The report is seen as a precursor to Friday's closely-watched monthly jobs report from the Labor Dept.

FULL POST


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Unemployment
September 30th, 2009
11:09 AM ET
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