Goooooood Morning Fiatnam!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Review $6 Million Fraud Judgment Against BCBSM; Other Cases May Now Move Forward

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Review $6 Million Fraud Judgment Against BCBSM; Other Cases May Now Move Forward

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not review a $6 million judgment against Michigan's largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, in the case of Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The decision concludes three years of litigation over the legality of Blue Cross's hidden fees. The Hi-Lex matter is the first of nearly fifty cases filed by Varnum over the fraudulent fees. With the nation's highest court refusing to review the case, all appeals are exhausted and the way is now clear for the remaining cases to move forward.
The ruling confirms last year's judgment by a federal court in Detroit, which found that BCBSM collected millions of dollars in hidden fees over a nearly 20-year period from the  employee health plan for Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. and Hi-Lex America, Inc. Varnum attorneys representing Hi-Lex showed that BCBSM marked up employee hospital claims by as much as 22 percent and kept the markup. Reports provided to Hi-Lex did not disclose the hidden fees. Internal company e-mails showed that BCBSM's managers knew customers were unaware of the markups, and that employees were trained to "downplay" the hidden fees if any customers discovered them

Why most Americans are still hesitant to spend

Why most Americans are still hesitant to spend

Bankrate also reported that two-thirds of Americans said they are limiting the amount they spend each month.
Of the majority who said they were limiting their spending, 32 percent cited stagnant income, 29 percent cited the need to save more and only 16 percent said their main reason was their concern about the economy.

Some market plays and targets




Obamacare Causing Big Layoff-offs for Union Nurses

Obamacare Causing Big Layoff-offs for Union Nurses

Kaiser Permanente and other health providers are putting pressure on the powerful California Nurses Association (CAN) in negotiations for reductions in medical staffing and compensation due to the implementation of California’s version of Obamacare. Union nurses on Friday tried to launch a new initiative by demanding an extra compensation supplement and more staffing to be prepared to fight the Ebola virus.  
But just three years after union nurses won huge contract gains by striking, Obamacare rules that cut patient access to care could now result in huge nurse layoffs.   
Nurses are demanding a form of “risk” pay to prepare to fight Ebola. They also are demanding improved training, higher staffing levels, protective gear that exceeds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements, and an added life insurance benefit. 

Sears closing five Pennsylvania stores, including Lebanon and Chambersburg

Sears closing five Pennsylvania stores, including Lebanon and Chambersburg | PennLive.com

Sears is closing five Pennsylvania stores in mid-January, affecting 351 jobs.
In the midstate, the closing of the Sears store at the Lebanon Plaza Shopping Center on Quentin Road will eliminate 51 jobs.
The other stores include Chambersburg, Bloomsburg, Frackville and Pittsburgh Mills, said Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Riefs. 

 Should be good for home sales..

Existing-home sales rise 2.4% in September

Existing-home sales rise 2.4% in September - MarketWatch

 Sales of existing homes rose 2.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million, hitting the fastest pace in one year and rebounding from an unexpected drop in August, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the sales rate to increase to 5.1 million in September from 5.05 million in August. "Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September's healthy increase," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. However, September's pace of sales was down 1.7% from a year earlier, signaling shakiness in the market. The median sales price of used homes hit $209,700 in September, up 5.6% from the year-earlier period. September's inventory was 2.3 million existing homes for sale, a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace. The number of homes available for sale was up 6% from the year-earlier period.

Hong Kong Leader Reaffirms Unbending Stance on Elections


The Beijing-appointed leader of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, said Monday evening that it was unacceptable to allow his successors to be chosen in open elections, in part because doing so would risk giving poorer residents a dominant voice in politics.
Mr. Leung made the statement during a broad-ranging defense of his administration’s handling of pro-democracy protests that have disrupted the city for more than three weeks.

Kimberly-Clark to cut more than 1,100 and 1,300 Jobs

Kimberly-Clark to cut more than 1,000 jobs | Dallas Morning News

Irving-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. reported moderate gains in third-quarter revenue and net income Tuesday and said it planned to cut its workforce by more than 1,000.
The restructuring program, to improve efficiency and offset some overhead costs related to the spin off of K-C’s health care business, is expected to cost between $130 million and $160 million after tax and be completed by the end of 2016. Cumulative pre-tax savings are expected to be $120 million to $140 million by the end of 2017.
In a statement, CEO Tom Falk said the restructuring will give the company additional flexibility to invest for future growth.  ”This effort is further evidence of how we manage our company with financial discipline and our commitment to generate attractive returns to shareholders,” he said.
Total job cuts are expected to be between 1,100 and 1,300 and occur primarily among salaried employees. The company currently employs about 57,000.
K-C expects to spin off its health care business — called Halyard Health — on Oct. 31. After that, K-C employment will be about 42,500.


This move brings us to our next Resistance number 1280

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard indicted on 23 felony corruption charges by Lee County Grand Jury

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard indicted on 23 felony corruption charges by Lee County Grand Jury | AL.com

Mike Hubbard, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives and a powerful leader in the state Republican Party, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with 23 counts, including using his office for personal gain and soliciting things of value. 
Late Monday afternoon, Hubbard reported to the Lee County Jail where he was booked. 
If convicted, Hubbard faces a maximum penalty of two to 20 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines for each count. 
Hubbard, 52, who led a historic Republican takeover of the state Legislature during the 2010 election, was charged after an investigation in his home county that has lasted more than a year.

Four counts of using of his office as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party for personal gain;
One count of voting for legislation with a conflict of interest;
Eleven counts of soliciting or receiving a thing of value from a lobbyist or principal;
Two counts of using his office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for personal gain;
Four Counts of lobbying an executive department or agency for a fee;
One count of using state equipment, materials, etc. for private gain.