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October 19th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should healthy employees have lower insurance premiums?

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Should healthy employees have lower insurance premiums? (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to health care reform, it could pay for workers to lose weight, stop smoking or lower their cholesterol.

The Washington Post reports the bills in the Senate include so-called "wellness incentives”, which may more than double the maximum penalties employers can charge workers who flunk medical evaluations.

This follows a trend among some companies that offer lower premiums to employees who don't smoke, complete health assessments, or meet goals for blood pressure, body mass or cholesterol.

Supporters say incentives like these can make people choose healthier lifestyles, but critics say this discriminates against pre-existing conditions. They say it could make health coverage too expensive for those more at risk for things like diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

Skyrocketing health care costs have left some wondering whether health insurance should be more like auto insurance – where good drivers get discounts and reckless ones pay more.

Meanwhile, it's open enrollment time at offices everywhere, and CNNmoney.com reports that employees will face "shockingly higher" health costs. Companies are increasing everything from deductibles to co-payments and employee out-of-pocket maximums.

Many employers are also moving from a co-pay, meaning a flat fee of anywhere from $10 to $35 per doctor visit, to a co-insurance model, where employees will pay a percentage of the total medical expense.

Companies are also offering fewer health plans, which may mean some people will be forced to switch doctors.

Here’s my question to you: Should healthy employees have lower insurance premiums?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care
October 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is it a good strategy for the White House to go after Fox News?

White House communications director Anita Dunn has called Fox News an arm of the Republican Party.

White House communications director Anita Dunn has called Fox News an arm of the Republican Party.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Obama White House may have started another war it can't win.

On yesterday's Sunday talk shows - Senior Adviser David Axelrod said of Fox News, "It's not really news. It's pushing a point of view.” And he asked that other news organizations not treat Fox like it's news.

The president's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, also said Fox is "not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

This all started when White House communications director Anita Dunn called Fox an arm of the Republican Party and said the Obama administration would treat the cable news network as they would an "opponent."

Dunn is now in a dust-up with Fox News' Glenn Beck, concerning a speech where she quoted Communist leader Mao Tse Tung. Beck calls that "insanity."

There is also a January video of Ms. Dunn where she talks about how the Obama campaign controlled the news media. She says they went around the "filter" of the news media and spoke directly to the American people. Actually, a lot of the time they did.

Fox News says the White House "continues to declare war" on them instead of focusing on critical issues like jobs, health care and two wars.

And they have a point. It could be said that bickering with Fox News is a waste of valuable time and energy that could be better spent solving the nation's myriad problems.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good strategy for the White House to go after Fox News?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Obama Administration • White House
October 19th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should the balloon boy's parents face criminal prosecution?

 Should Richard and Mayumi Heene face criminal prosecution?

Should Richard and Mayumi Heene face criminal prosecution?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They both went to acting school, but they weren't quite good enough to carry this off.

Police say balloon boy was a bust, a made-up story designed to get Richard and Mayumi Heene a reality TV show.

Using their sons as props in a poorly-produced one act play, it took a question from Wolf Blitzer to little six-year-old Falcon to expose the whole ruse. And when the family went on television to talk about it, little Falcon, who knew it was all a lie, got sick and threw up-twice. But that didn't stop the attention-starved Richard Heene from trying desperately to be noticed. Now he has been, but not the way he wanted.

Police say the investigation is still under way and charges are likely for several felonies: conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and attempting to influence a public servant. There could also be a misdemeanor charge for filing a false police report.

The most serious charges carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Federal charges are possible as well. Whatever it adds up to it isn't enough.

Authorities also want the taxpayers' money back that was spent on this wild goose chase. In addition to local police and first responders, the National Guard mobilized two helicopters in a rescue attempt.

A lawyer for the Heenes says they're not "running from the law" and if a warrant is issued they will turn themselves in.

Here’s my question to you: Should the balloon boy's parents face criminal prosecution?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Balloon Boy