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Old 12-31-2007, 12:46 PM   #15
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by ChiefJohn:
I believe the United States is the only developed nation without a universal healthcare system. Not something to be proud of, but none of our politician's on either side of the fence have the necessary attributes(?) to press for change.

There are too many free-loaders using the system and other public funded programs that need to get off their butts and get a job. I don't see any changes in the near future. We will continue to pay more and more for health care in order to subsidize the system.

Off my soap box--thanks for listening to an aging veteran who was assured of free heath care back in the 60's for 20-30 years of service. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Have you checked out the healthcare system in the UK? That country has been overrun by people from all over the undeveloped world so they can jump on the gravy train of free healthcare and other benefits. Take a look at the the taxes that the working people of England have to pay in order to pay for their universal healthcare system. If you think our taxes are high, just wait until we get universal healthcare! Be careful what you wish for!!

By the way, what does all this have to do with Excel 5th wheel RV's??????????????

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Old 12-31-2007, 01:00 PM   #16
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">By the way, what does all this have to do with Excel 5th wheel RV's?????????????? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Absolutely nothing, thanks for asking. The original topic was posted under the "iRV2.com COMMUNITY/Just Conversation" Forum. I linked it to the Excel forum because I thought it would be of interest to our Excel members.

John & Marilyn Yoder, Sophie & Misha (Bichons)
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Old 12-31-2007, 03:31 PM   #17
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That phoney report has been totally discredited.
Wretched excess is just barely enough.

2002 Itasca Suncruiser - WH Chassis - 35U - 2006 Jeep Liberty
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Old 12-31-2007, 06:02 PM   #18
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">That phoney report has been totally discredited. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I would appreciate it if you could post something to support your statement. I certainly don't believe everything I read....enlighten me.


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Old 12-31-2007, 11:19 PM   #19
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See - http://greatdivide.typepad.com/across_the_great_divide/...why-health-care.html

From what I recall, the WHO report included data in our health care which distorted the findings. E.g., premature deaths which are mostly reported in the US but not in many other countries and I am not sure what effect abortions played in the stats. In addition, violent deaths among certain groups (blacks, gangs, etc) were included in such a way as to sway the findings. We may not be number one, I don't know but we have a very long life span.

I say again, I travelled in Canada last summer and heard nothing but horror stories about their system.
Wretched excess is just barely enough.

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Old 01-01-2008, 10:19 AM   #20
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My cousin died last year from breast cancer in Ont. I have another cousin who is a nurse in MI; she was following the treatment plan and talking with her friends of doctors and nurses.

They all said that the doctors in Canada were not following the plan that they would have followed if she were in MI. They didn't feel they were treating her aggressively enough.

I have other friends in Canada that have told me that when they reached a quota for a certain operation, they were done doing that until the following quarter or year.

I don't believe that universal health care is the answer, as I don't believe that insurance companies should have the power that they do.

Ten years ago, I was friends with an OB/GYN doctor and he got out of the practice because his malpractice insurance INCREASED by $30,000 for that year and he had to maintain his coverage until like 22 years after his last delivery. So the tort reform is something else to look at.

We do not have a perfect system but it ain't bad.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:12 AM   #21
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ChiefJohn and other's,
I too am concerned any time I read about changes that may reduce my employer-provided retirement health benefits. Those changes usually cut into my fixed-income purchasing power. However, in the case of the NY Times interpretation of the EEOC's most recent ruling, I think they got it wrong. Here is information published on the EEOC's website concerning this ruling. Check it for yourself at www.eeoc.gov.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Questions & Answers about the EEOC's Retiree Health Rule
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits age discrimination in all aspects of employment. The Commission has approved a rule that allows employers to coordinate the health benefits they offer retirees with Medicare (or comparable state health benefits), without violating the ADEA. This document answers some common questions about this final rule.

1. What does the rule do?

The rule allows employers who provide retiree health benefits to continue the practice of coordinating those benefits with Medicare, without ensuring that Medicare eligible retirees are receiving the same benefits as younger retirees. Some employers coordinate with Medicare by supplementing the Medicare benefit; others simply provide retirees under age 65 with health insurance to "bridge" the gap between the time they retire and the time they become eligible for Medicare. Thus, the rule allows retirees to continue receiving the benefits they currently enjoy. The rule also allows unions to negotiate for health benefits that coordinate with Medicare.

The rule does not affect the benefits that employers provide to their current employees.

2. Why was the rule needed?

The rule was needed because in 2000, in Erie County Retirees Association v. County of Erie, 220 F.3d 193 (3d Cir. 2000), a federal court ruled that if an employer provides retiree health benefits, the ADEA requires that the health insurance benefits received by Medicare-eligible retirees be the same, or cost the same, as the health insurance benefits received by younger retirees. After the EEOC adopted this interpretation of the ADEA as its enforcement position, labor organizations, employers, and state and local governments told us that it was contrary to existing practice, and that if they were forced to ensure that Medicare-eligible retirees received benefits identical to those of younger retirees, they would comply by reducing or eliminating the retiree health benefits that they currently provide. In fact, that is what happened when the Erie County case was settled in March 2002 the County's plan gives older retirees the same benefit they had prior to the litigation, but requires younger retirees to pay more for health benefits that offer fewer choices.

3. Who urged the Commission to change the Erie County rule?

The groups asking the Commission to reverse the effect of Erie County and preserve the current system included, for example, the AFL/CIO, representing 13 million workers; the American Federation of Teachers, representing 1.2 million workers; the American Association of Health Plans, representing more than 1,000 plans that cover approximately 160 million Americans; and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, representing more than 3 million businesses.

The resulting rule ensures that the Erie County decision does not induce unions, state and local governments, and employers to cut back or eliminate their retiree health benefit programs.

4. Does the rule require that retiree health benefits be cut?

No. To the contrary, the rule simply ensures that the ADEA does not impede employers' ability to provide retiree health benefits.

5. Does the rule affect Medicare benefits or other legal obligations?

No. The rule simply eliminates the ADEA as a factor in coordinating retiree health benefits with Medicare. It does not alter Medicare, other benefits programs, or legal obligations other than the ADEA. The rule also does not require any changes to contractual agreements, including union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements, to provide retiree health benefits.

6. Why doesn't the rule require employers to provide retiree health benefits?

The Commission lacks the authority to impose such a requirement. No federal law has ever required employers to provide any health benefits to employees or retirees. The ADEA requires only that if an employer chooses to provide benefits, it must do so in a way that does not constitute illegal age discrimination.

7. Why is the Commission authorized to adopt this rule?

The ADEA authorizes the Commission to approve exemptions to the law in those instances when applying the law would be contrary to the public interest. Because the Commission was advised that the Erie County decision would contribute to a continuing decline in the availability of employer-provided retiree health benefits, the Commission concluded that it is in the best interest of employers, employees, and retirees to allow employers to coordinate benefits with Medicare-eligibility without having to also consider the ADEA. The Commission did not reach this conclusion lightly it acted only after performing an extensive study that included meeting with interested groups representing all viewpoints, carefully reviewing available information about retiree health programs, and considering comments received from the public.

The Commission's authority to adopt this exemption has been confirmed by a federal district court and the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the same court that issued the Erie County decision. AARP sued the Commission in federal court arguing that it was not authorized to issue the exemption. However, the courts ruled not only that Congress gave the Commission authority to issue the rule, but also that the Commission carefully considered the evidence before it and that the rule was a "reasonable, necessary and proper exercise of [EEOC's] authority."

8. Did the public have an opportunity to comment on the Commission's rule?

Yes. The Commission published a proposed rule in the Federal Register in July 2003 and provided a sixty day period for the public to make comments and suggestions. The Commission received many comments and all were carefully considered before it approved the final rule.

9. When does the rule go into effect?

The rule went into effect when it was published in the Federal Register on December 26, 2007. A copy of the rule is available on the Commission's web site at www.eeoc.gov/policy/regs/index.html.

10. Why was there such a long delay between when the rule was approved by the Commission and when it was published?

After the Commission approved the rule but before it was published, AARP sued to prevent it from going into effect. An injunction preventing publication of the rule was imposed while the courts considered the issue. In June 2007, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Commission had properly promulgated the rule and, in September 2007, it clarified that the injunction was lifted and the Commission could publish the rule. Before final publication, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had 90 days to review it.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:32 AM   #22
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Thanks Paul -- I've included the most recent news article that I've read on this issue. My interpretation is based on the first sentence of the following AP article dated 27 Dec 08.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">EEOC Clarifies Retiree Health Plans
Thursday December 27, 8:05 am ET
EEOC Says Employers Can Continue Coordinating Retiree Health Benefits With Medicare Coverage

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Employers can reduce their health insurance expenses for retired workers once they turn 65 and qualify for Medicare, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has affirmed.
In essence, the rule published Wednesday formally authorizes the long-standing practice used by employers to take Medicare into account when structuring the health benefit packages they voluntarily provide their retired workers. It makes clear they can spend more on retirees under 65 years of age than those over 65 without running afoul of age discrimination laws.

In practice, retirees in both age groups might get essentially the same benefits, but it is less costly to the company for those over 65 because Medicare picks up much of the tab for them.

The EEOC said it proposed the rule in response to a decision in 2000 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit that held that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act requires employers to spend the same amount on health insurance benefits provided Medicare-eligible retirees as those received by younger retirees.

The commission said that after the 2000 decision, labor unions and employers alike maintained that complying with the decision would result in companies reducing or eliminating the retiree health benefits they were providing -- leaving millions of retirees under 65 with less health insurance, or no health insurance at all.

"In fact, that is what happened when the Erie County (Pa.) case was settled in March 2002," the EEOC said. "The county's plan gives older retirees the same benefit they had prior to the litigation, but requires younger retirees to pay more for health benefits that offer fewer choices."

The same federal appeals court that brought the original decision in 2000, ruled last June that the EEOC was authorized to issue exemptions if a strict interpretation of the age discrimination law would be contrary to the public interest.

"We recognize with some dismay that the proposed exemption may allow employers to reduce health benefits to retirees over the age of 65 while maintaining greater benefits for younger retirees," the court said. But it said the commission had shown that the exemption was "a reasonable, necessary and proper exercise" of its authority.

"Implementation of this rule is welcome news for America's retirees, whether young or old," Commission Chairwoman Naomi C. Earp said in a statement posted Wednesday on the commission's Internet site. "By this action, the EEOC seeks to preserve and protect employer-provided retiree health benefits which are increasingly less available and less generous. Millions of retirees rely on their former employer to provide health benefits, and this rule will help employers continue to voluntarily provide and maintain these critically important benefits in accordance with the law."

The EEOC said its ruling had the support of members of Congress, as well as the employer and labor communities, including such organizations as the Society for Human Resource Management, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the American Benefits Council, and other groups.

The commission noted that employers who provide retiree health benefits generally "coordinate" those benefits with Medicare by supplementing the government health care or by offering retirees a "bridge" benefit to cover health expenses after employees retire until they become Medicare-eligible.

EEOC Legal Counsel Reed Russell said, "Our rule makes clear that it is lawful for employers to continue to provide retirees with the health benefits they currently receive. Contrary to what some interest groups have erroneously asserted, the rule will not require any cuts to retiree benefits." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:06 AM   #23
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There is an up-side. All that has no effect on health plans asserted by a union/employer contract.

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