HealthNews February 2015
Hire More Heroes Act of 2014
Hire More Heroes Act of 2014 (Congress.gov – H.R.3474), “amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit an employer, for purposed of determining whether such employer is an applicable large employer, and thus required to provide health coverage to its employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to exclude employees who have coverage under a health care program administered by the Department of Defense, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
This bill extends an exception to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to employers of ex-military personnel, which could technically reduce the number of employees a company has, for purposes of compliance with PPACA. The Congressional Budget Office has stated that federal revenue could be offset by over $850 million.
The bill is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed by Obama. The House unanimously approved its version in January.
February is American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month and it’s an important time to re-evaluate the way you take care of your heart by learning about your risks for heart disease, stroke and a “heart healthy” lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones.
CVD (cardiovascular disease) – including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities. Cardiovascular disease costs the United States over $300 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity. Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from preventable cardiovascular disease.
Many CVD deaths could have been prevented through healthier lifestyle habits, and better management of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Many risk factors can be controlled including: diet, physical activity, tobacco use, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Throughout February and the year ahead, keep these things in mind:
- Get a checkup at least once each year even if you feel healthy
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Get your cholesterol checked at least once every 5 years
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise Regularly – the Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate – intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week.
- Don’t smoke
Limit alcohol useVisit 28 days to a healthier heart for tips that can inspire and motivate you to a healthier heart!
Possible PPACA Alternative: “CARE Act” Unveiled By GOP
The GOP recently unveiled an alternative plan that would abolish the individual and employer mandates, but still offer up tax credits to those buying private insurance. It was debuted the same week the House cast its first vote of the year to repeal Obamacare.
The plan is titled the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, or “CARE Act”. An outline was made public by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senate Finance Chairman, Fred Upton (R-Mich), House Energy and Commerce Chairman, and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The calls for PPACA being repealed and replacing it with a “common-sense, patient-focused reform that reduces health care costs and increases access to affordable, high-quality care,” the senators said in a press release recently.
Items outlined in the CARE act are as follows:
- The individual and the employer mandates would be discarded- individuals would no longer be required to buy health care coverage and employers would no longer be required to offer it. Most minimum health plan requirements that are mandated to be included in PPACA, like what benefits must be offered, would be scrapped as well.
- Medicaid would be restructured. People who currently have insurance through Medicaid would be given tax credits in order to buy private health insurance, and upper income families would no longer qualify for financial help.
- Health plans would be allowed to sell across state lines and caps the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice litigation.
- The CARE Act keeps two of the most popular PPACA provisions: the protections for consumers with preexisting conditions and the rule allowing young adults to say on their parent’s plans until age 26. The preexisting condition provision is less generous than the one offered by PPACA as it protects only consumers who maintain continuous health coverage.
- To help fund the CARE Act, the three senators propose taxing the value of health insurance plans above $30,000 a year as regular income.
- The senators said that this outline is just a blueprint and they would work with other lawmakers to develop it further
“We can lower costs and expand access to quality coverage and care by empowering individuals and their families to make their own health care decisions, rather than having the federal government make those decisions for them,” Burr said. While critics say the new proposed plan is nothing new and still won’t have the same benefits as PPACA, the CARE Act does alleviate the pressure the party has been receiving about proposing an alternative to PPACA. As the Supreme Court’s case challenging PPACA’s subsidies nears, alternatives are especially necessary. In the subsidy case, the justices will consider an appeal filed by four Virginia residents seeking to block the subsidies in 36 states. If the judges rule in favor of cutting off subsidies for millions of Americans, it could essentially unravel PPACA.
Measles Outbreak: 92 Cases in California
The number of confirmed measles cases in California grew to 92 by the end of January, according to the California Department of Public Health. The recent outbreak started in mid-December 2014, when at least 40 people who visited or worked at Disneyland contracted measles. It has now spread to at least half a dozen other states.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is widespread in many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. It begins with a fever that lasts for a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and a rash. The rash typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears and then affects the rest of the body. Infected people are usually contagious from about four days before their rash starts to four days afterward.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get two vaccine doses: the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. Public health experts say the measles vaccination protects not just those being vaccinated, but the community around them as well. Babies are especially susceptible to the virus as they cannot be vaccinated if they are under 12 months of age. Adolescents and adults also should be up date on their vaccinations. People born before 1957 are considered immune as they likely had measles as children and developed natural immunity.
If you have any questions about your vaccination status, consult your doctor, who may elect to give you another MMR shot or perform a blood test to check you for immunity to measles.
For additional information on measles or the outbreak please visit: www.cdc.gov/measles/
5 Tips For Long Term Staffing
In an article published on HR.BLR.com, recruiting expert, Miranda Nash, outlined the importance of long term staffing included below:
- Access each postilion for its strategic vs tactical value. Many companies make the mistake of treating every open spot at their organization with equal importance. Instead, try this approach: examine every position within the organization and decide if the postilion is to lead the organization and give vision and insight or if it is to execute that vision. Identifying this will help with a more strategic staffing prioritization.
- Identify the ideal candidate for each position. HR should have personality work-ups for each position at the company.
- Conduct supply and demand research. Every year, HR should conduct research to determine in-demand positions and the competitors who are also looking to fill those positions and plot them on a competitive matrix. Being able to see the challenges can help to see more clearly how difficult or simple it could be to fill a certain position.
- Build a pipeline. Strategic HR teams know that building a pipeline of ideal candidates is critical to meeting long term staffing needs.
- Plan for Millennials. The majority of the newest generation of workers have used the Internet, cell phones, and are accustomed to the constant barrage of information available at their fingertips. They search for jobs differently than prior generations, and are more concerned about having a purpose vs having a job than their predecessors. Social media plays a huge role in their lives and they need to be engaged by HR in like fashion.