Labor Law Guy

12 Steps Every Employer With A Health Plan Should Do Now To Manage 2012-14 Health Plan Risks & Liabilities

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on August 2, 2012

None dare call it fascism.

August 1 marked the effective date of yet another Affordable Care Act mandate:  the controversial contraceptive coverage and other women’s health preventive coverage benefits mandates.  Although many mandates have taken effect over the past two years, few employer plans are adequately updated.  Here’s some suggestions about what employers and fiduciaries responsible for group health plan sponsorship or administration and their vendors should do now to manage exposures arising from current Affordable Care Act and other federal health plan rules.  Following the Supreme Court’s June 28, 2012National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius ruling, most employers and insurers of employment based group health plans now are bracing to cope with radical changes in their health plan related responsibilities scheduled to take effect in 2014. 

While anticipating and preparing to cope with these future changes health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, administrators and advisors need to manage the substantial and growing health plan…

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Sneezing Pollsters Cause People to Hate U.S. Health Care

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on November 5, 2009

A University of Michigan study, which sent a poll-giver to a mall, elicited different responses when the pollster sneezed before giving out the surveys and when the poll-giver didn’t sneeze.

In the sneezing scenario, poll takers were far more likely to hate the state of U.S. health care. Without the sneezing, the results were more favorable to health care. Interestingly, the sneezed-in-front-of (but not upon) also thought they were more likely to get a heart attack soon, or even get murdered.

My, some effect from just sneezing (and coughing)!

Many Companies Suddenly Facing First-Ever EEOC Claims

Posted in Federal Labor Law by laborlawguy on November 3, 2009

With unemployment soaring and the job marketing languishing in the doldrums, laid-off and even currently working employees are turning to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) for redress of wrongs, real or imagined.

Many companies are reporting their first-ever EEOC complaints springing from allegations of various forms of discrimination, usually in the workforce reduction process.

No statistics exist yet for 2009, but for 2008 overall EEOC claims jumped 28 percent from 83,000 to 95,000. Discrimination claims were likewise up by 28 percent, while retaliation claims jumped 22 percent. Retaliation, employment lawyers say, is the new lawsuit du jour.

Employees are no longer waiting for the proverbial axe to fall before filing EEOC complaints. Some are using EEOC claims as a pre-emptive strike to avoid being laid off. As one lawyer explained: “If I’m causing a fuss about something, you won’t pick me to lay off…and, if I am let go, then I’ll claim retaliation.”

The EEOC is more than happy to oblige the claimants. The agency this year has already hired 170 new field investigators to check out the claims.

‘Tis the season of “employer, beware.”

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If Immigration Reform (Amnesty) Passes, Be Ready for the Deluge

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on October 14, 2009

Nancy Reagan purportedly once quipped as she looked out into a rally crowd, “Look at all those lovely white people.” Of course, this was probably a liberal-media-fabricated quotation used to portray the Reagans as racist, but when it comes to immigration reform in the Obama administration, the Democrats may well be cooing, “Look at all the lovely brown people,” as they envision the votes they can get through amnesty–even way off into the future.

With about 12 million Latins here illegally already (maybe more), that’s a pretty big influx of Democratic votes coming down the pike, or so the thinking goes, but ask the Mexican people what the result of amnesty will be and they’ll tell you–even more illegals crossing the border.

According to a Zogby poll, 56 percent of Mexicans say amnesty will spur further border crossings, not less.

And now comes the whopper: If they could, 36 percent of all Mexicans, or roughly 39 million people, would move to the U.S. in a heartbeat.

A few million here and a few million there, to paraphrase Everett Dirksen, and pretty soon you’re talking Democratic dictatorship.

As they would say in the Obama White House, “Precisely.”

Workplace Suicides on the Rise

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on October 12, 2009

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has revealed a stunning finding: Workplace suicides are on the rise, with 251 occurring in 2008, up 28 percent from 2007’s total of 196.

Of the 2008 total, 94 percent of the victims were male, 78 percent white and 14 percent managers. Almost half (48 percent) died from gunshot wounds.

The findings are part of BLS’s annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (COFI).

The United States is not the only nation with this problem. France Telecom has seen 24 of its staffers commit suicide in the past 18 months, while 13 more attempted suicide. In Japan, tabs are kept on “death by overwork” (karoshi),  and so far this year there have been 377 karoshi deaths in Japan.

I Had No Idea We Finish So Many of Our Co-Workers Off

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on September 18, 2009

I’ve been following the case of the murdered Yale medical student Annie Le with some interest, developed  mainly from speculation about the incident that I stumbled upon in the blogosphere.

At first I bought into the theory that she was done away with by a jealous lover when she tried to break off the relationship to get married, but now the New Haven, Conn., police have squished that scenario, attributing it all to workplace violence.

Then just today I stumbled on another account of Ms. Le’s murder, which included this paragraph about murder as part of the wider problem of workplace accidents and fatalities:

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration, workplace violence in its most extreme form, homicide, is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the U.S. Statistics indicate there were 564 workplace homicides in 2005 in the United States, out of a total of 5,702 fatal work injuries.

So, nearly 10 percent of all fatalities at work are workers slaying one another? That’s a startling statistic to me. I wonder if the stats include off-site gack jobs, or if it’s just workplace-based murder. Either way, this is an alarming and shocking stat.

Time to retire.

Guess Who Pays If/When Obamacare Passes

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on September 17, 2009

I still get a laugh out of all the people out there who think health care reform=free health care. Just walk into an office, get treated, and walk out. No bills, no copays–Uncle Obama gave it to you for free!

Let’s look at the employer mandate coming under Obamacare; the mandate  says that employers must buy insurance for all their employers or pay a fine into a government pool.

Your boss is just going to suddenly start paying for your health care, right? Mostly wrong. A survey by Towers Perrin found that 87 percent of employers were ready to cut salaries or employees to pay for higher costs associated with health care; only 11 percent said they’d accept reduced profits.

That’s one way to get free health care: Get terminated and go on Medicaid. So I guess is one sense, Obamacare might be free. But at a huge cost.

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Marketing Gone Awry? Controversy Over Flying Swine Flu Pig

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on September 9, 2009

Swing-Flu-Flying-PigWhile developing an e-mail flyer to market their Swine Flu Preparedness Poster, people at Personnel Concepts ultimately nixed the image pictured here of an ailing pig flying around the globe.

Some thought it humorous, but others found it insensitive to people who were actually suffering (and even dying) from the disease. (On the flyer, the image appeared as a much smaller image, to be accurate.)

We’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to see what you think. Let us know via comments if you approve or disapprove.

The QALY Nightmare: Nation of ‘Useless Eaters’ Rejects the Concept

Posted in Federal Labor Law by laborlawguy on August 28, 2009

While Barack Obama, Ezekiel Emanuel and the AHRQ (U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) are licking their chops in anticipation of foisting quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) on our health care delivery system–to deny us treatment when we’re in our non-productive years, or when we’re non-productive by birth (i.e., productive=ability to work and pay ((huge)) taxes)–the Germans have thoughtfully rejected the concept as “unethical” and “unconstitutional.”

This bit of wisdom on the Germans’ part no doubt exhibits a deep-seated visceral reaction based on Adolph Hitler’s regimen of gassing away the country’s “useless eaters,” its citizens (other than Jews, who were subject to a different program) who were disabled, mentally ill or too sick or weak to work.

Meanwhile, as I noted here recently, in Great Britain QALYs are used as a yardstick to determine how much, if any, the nation’s health care system will spend on you. Presumably, if a treatment or operation will extend your life and its quality (ability to work and pay taxes, or if in retirement, live without being a drain on social resources) by a year minimum, then they’ll fork over up to $50,000 for health care. Otherwise, take two aspirin and enjoy your life–or death.

As the AHRQ notes in anticipation of fully embracing and adopting the QALY concept: “The quality adjusted life year (QALY) is a widely used measure of both quality and quantity of life that is applicable to all individuals and diseases.”

Says who? Hitler?

Sarah Palin was right to object to “death panels.” As I’ve noted all along, the Democrats’ plan for so-called health care reform is all based on the unspoken “R” word–rationing–and as Zeke Emanuel and Barack Obama have both intimated, what better place to start rationing than with non-taxpaying senior citizens?

How dare they expect a return on their Medicare and Social Security taxes–especially when they’re not even working and contributing to society (read: the federall government) anymore?

Useless eaters indeed.

See What the Democrats Are Blocking From Health Care: Free Choice to Start

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on August 21, 2009

Some guy named Giovanni has put together a list of the amendments blocked by House Democrats that would’ve guaranteed individual Americans free choice in their health care, along with a host of other details that Obama is pitching as being in his plan when in fact they’ve been consistently and consciously blocked in favor of top-down (government-mandated) health care decisions.

Read it and weep: “Obama’s Lies About Obamacare.”