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June 27, 2007
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Family/Medical Leave Program Generally Popular, According to DOL
Excerpt: "The Labor Department, after sifting through 15,000 comments on the 14-year-old Family and Medical Leave Act, says it's working well but causing problems for some industries that say too many employees are taking intermittent, unscheduled time off." (AP via The New York Times; free registration required)

Flex-Time, Time Off; Who Benefits Most from These Perks?
Excerpt: "The payoff for the firm is huge. Deanna Bassett, the accounting firm's Inclusion and Flexibility Leader, . . . 'The cost of our flexibility practices is nothing compared to the cost of losing good people and hiring and training new ones.'" (CNN.Money)

Overview: IRS's Additional Guidance on HSA Comparability Rules (PDF)
Excerpt: "The IRS has issued proposed regulations that provide additional guidance on the comparability requirements that apply to HSA contributions made by employers that do not provide employees the opportunity to make HSA contributions through a cafeteria plan." (Buck Consultants)

Government Sector One of the Largest Users of the 9/80 Workweek
Excerpt: "[A perk called a 9/80 workweek is] standard at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, which has its headquarters at Waterton Canyon facilities in Jefferson County and employs about 3,800 in the Denver area. Employees get every other Friday off, working 80 hours over nine days in a two-week period." (The Denver Post)

Opinion: New Jersey Governor's Secret Giveaway on Retiree Health Care
Excerpt: "We find out after the fact that Corzine reopened contract negotiations so that retirees in public employee unions won't have to pay even a small share of the costs for their lifetime health care if they sign up for a 'wellness' program when they retire. Apparently, signing up for 'wellness' is all it takes. No one cares if anyone participates in it." (Asbury Park Press)

Hospital Compare - A Quality Tool for Adults, Including People with Medicare
Excerpt: "This tool provides you with information on how well the hospitals in your area care for all their adult patients with certain medical conditions." (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Massachusetts Health Reform Tracking Survey
Excerpt: "This survey finds that, with a July 1 implementation milestone approaching, most Massachusetts residents support a new state law to provide health coverage to almost all residents, including the individual mandate that requires residents to obtain coverage or pay a penalty." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Skimping on Drug Benefits Doesn't Pay for Employers
Excerpt: "Employers that shift too much of the cost of drugs to workers in their company health plans could wind up losing more than they save, through absenteeism and lost productivity, according to a study by health policy researchers." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Testimony: Universal Health Insurance Is Essential to Achieving a High Performance Health System
Sara R. Collins presented invited testimony titled: Universal Health Insurance: Why It Is Essential to Achieving a High Performance Health System and Why Design Matters, for the Committee on the Budget, United States Senate Hearing on 'Health Care and the Budget: The Healthy Americans Act and Other Options for Reform,' on June 26, 2007. (The Commonwealth Fund)

Audio and Text: Moore's 'Sicko' Lands Blows on U.S. Health Care
Excerpt: "Melissa Block sizes up Sicko -- as entertainment and expose -- with film critic Bob Mondello and science correspondent Joanne Silberner, who covers the health industry for NPR." (All Things Considered via National Public Radio)

Audio Interview: Michael Moore Trains Eye on Health Care
Excerpt: "Madeleine Brand spent a few minutes with Moore at the posh Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, hours before he moved on to attend a premiere on Skid Row, which has become known as a location for so-called 'patient dumping' by local hospitals. (The text version of the interview has been edited for clarity.)" (Day to Day via National Public Radio)

Opinion: Sicko and the Politics of Health Care
Excerpt: "If Moore is serious about getting 'real change,' as he phrases his goal, he will have to make at least two more contributions. First, he will need to make a comprehensive effort to get many of the 6 million or more people, who will see the film, to sign up as they enter or leave the theatres so that they can be given a chance to connect with each other for a cohesive change constituency." (Ralph NaderPhysicians for a National Health Program)

Michael Moore Likes the Austrian Health Care System
Excerpt: "Michael Moore has a suggestion to help California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger bring universal health care to the nation's largest state: Just do it the Austrian way." (AP via The New York Times; free registration required)

Opinion: Health Care for All? A Taxing Burden
Excerpt: "When it comes to health care -- and government involvement therein -- there is an abundance of disinformation. Even the 'facts' being used by those promoting more government healthcare mandates paid for by taxpayers are in serious question." (theOneRepublic.com)

U.S. Unions Move Toward Health-Care Reform Deal
Excerpt: "Although unions have long publicly supported universal coverage, during the last abortive attempt at U.S. health-care reform in 1994 led by then-first lady Hillary Clinton some unions focused more on defending their own hard-won private benefits than backing universal coverage, said Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale University." (Reuters via Medscape)

Senators Recommend Passage of Legislation to Create 'Universal, Market-Driven Health Care System'
Excerpt: "'It's been 13 years since the Senate has taken up bipartisan health care reform,' but, provided that 'enough Americans start clamoring for action, this Congress and this president could defy the odds' and establish a 'rational system that guarantees good quality and affordable health care to all Americans,' Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) write in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

GAO Presentation: The Challenges and Opportunities of Demographic Change in America (PDF)
35 slides. Presentation by the Comptroller General David M. Walker before the Center for Productive Longevity's National Conference on the New Human Resources Frontier: Utilizing Older Workers for Competitive Advantage, in Washington, D.C., June 7, 2007. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Congress Says NFL Should Improve Benefits
Excerpt: "Aging NFL retirees told Congress Tuesday that playing professional football left them with broken bodies, brain damage and empty bank accounts. Lawmakers said they may get involved if a better pension and disability system isn't created." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

CFO Compensation Excluded from $1 Million Deduction Limit, but for How Long? (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "On June 4, 2007, the IRS issued Notice 2007-49, which changes the group of executive officers who are considered covered employees for purposes of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. Attorneys Cooley Godward Kornish ask 'for how long?' since Congress is considering a number of legislative proposals regarding Section 162(m). As such, Congress may decide to amend the ruling." (Cooley Godward Kornish LLP)

Court Rules Administrative Remedies Exhaustion Requirement Does Not Apply to Fiduciary Breach Claims
Excerpt: "United States District Court Judge Lawrence M. McKenna handed down another ruling in the American Medical Ass'n v. United HealthCare Corp litigation, granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment on several issues including standing and exhaustion of administrative remedies." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Documented Confusion II: The IRS Rewrites 6-Year Cycle Rules
Nationwide on July 17, 2007
presented by SunGard Relius


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Companies Aim To Transform HR Delivery Strategy To Meet New Employee Needs, Watson Wyatt Study Finds
Watson Wyatt

Poll Finds Most Mass. Residents Support New Health Reform Law, Including Individual Mandate, As Initial Deadline Nears
Kaiser Family Foundation

Family Caregiving Valued at $350 Billion
AARP

Old Mutual Capital Added to CPI Retirement Platform
CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc.

National Committee For Quality Assurance and Pfizer Inc. Publish Strategies To Promote Health and Wellness
National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

7 Steps for Complying With Deferred Compensation Plan Rules
Grant Thornton LLP

New Integrated Benefits Institute Report Finds Pharmaceutical Cost Shifting Leads to Increased Disability and Lost Productivity
Integrated Benefits Institute

Uncorrected Vision Problems Cost Employers Billions
Vision Council of America


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