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NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia's firefighters have been awarded a four-year contract that increases salaries about 9.5 percent over the life of the agreement. The new contract with the Philadelphia Fire Fighters' and Paramedics Union, Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, was reached through arbitration Friday morning and will cost the city about $70 million, Mayor Nutter said. The contract also contains changes in how the union's health-care costs are managed that should result in long-term savings for the city, Nutter said.
BUSINESS
January 5, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Health-care stocks secured five of the top 10 spots in a ranking of 2014 stock-market performance by members of The Inquirer's Philly50, the list of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the region. It was a strong year overall. Only eight of the 50 stocks saw their values decline last year. Half the decliners were in chemicals and manufacturing, led by a 24 percent drop in the share price of FMC Corp., which had a tumultuous year, announcing and then dropping a plan to split into two companies.
BUSINESS
January 5, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Chief financial officers typically have a solid grasp of costs and how to cut them. It's their job. "Yet when it comes to health care, they leave that at the door," said Stephen P. Kelly, president of ELAP Services, a Chester Springs company with a painstaking approach to cutting hospital bills for self-insured employers. Instead of paying premiums to an insurance company, which then pays medical bills, self-insured employers set aside money to pay the bills themselves through a third-party administrator.
NEWS
January 4, 2015 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
Christine Bergstresser has read the Affordable Care Act. OK, not all 11,588,500 words. But more of the law than most people, including - probably - some elected officials in Washington. "I have read the majority of it," says Bergstresser, 43, a certified application counselor. "Some of it you can really kind of skim through. " Certified application counselors help people enroll in Obamacare. Bergstresser volunteers for Enroll America, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose goal is to get Americans covered by health insurance.
NEWS
January 1, 2015
ISSUE | UTILITIES Reflecting on PGW moves by Council Gas Workers Local 686 lauds City Council's decision to kill the Philadelphia Gas Works sale. While Mayor Nutter excluded stakeholders, Council involved everyone in meetings with its consultant. Council President Darrell L. Clarke and his colleagues had concerns that PGW's privatization would lead to the loss of family-sustaining jobs with health care and put the city's poor at risk. It also was a bad deal for PGW workers, with no protections for jobs, pensions, or health care.
NEWS
December 28, 2014 | By Joseph H. Kanter, For The Inquirer
Even at the age of 91, I can write an opinion piece for this newspaper in about an hour. Data from respected institutions and researchers show that the following things occur in the U.S. during each hour. Sixty-eight people die from heart disease, our number-one cause of mortality for more than 75 years. Sixty-five succumb to cancer, our number two killer during the same decades. Twenty-seven women are found to have breast cancer, and eighteen of them will get treatments that don't work.
NEWS
December 21, 2014 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
For the better part of 52 years, Joseph Rosati Plumbing & Heating has offered its employees fully paid health insurance. "My father prided himself in being able to offer health benefits to his employees," says Regina Weinhardt, who, along with her brothers, Joe Jr. and Anthony, took over the company after their father died in 2007. But when the company was ready to renew its group policy last month, Weinhardt got a bad case of sticker shock - an 87 percent rate increase. Her broker was able to find Weinhardt a more affordable policy with less coverage.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2014 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nurse Shauna Trapani's patient was a deadweight - literally - the last time she injured her back at work so badly that she had to miss a day of work. Trapani, 35, had to roll a deceased patient from the emergency room at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where she works, to the hospital's morgue, a trip that involves pushing a bed up a ramp, around a 90-degree turn, and up another ramp. "It's very physical work, and sometimes you just can't do it," said Trapani, who said she has suffered from work-related back pain for a decade.
NEWS
December 4, 2014
THIS WEEK, the state launched enrollment for its new Medicaid program that provides health care for low-income people. Before lamenting the downsides of "Healthy PA," we must applaud the fact that 600,000 Pennsylvanians who had fallen through bureaucratic cracks last year under the Affordable Care Act will now be able to have health-care coverage. The newly eligible are primarily poor working adults, like home health-care workers, waitresses, construction workers and others who are raising families on low incomes and can't get coverage through their employer.
NEWS
December 3, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Toll-free phone lines were jammed, and low-income workers streamed into sign-up sites as enrollment opened Monday for expanded health insurance coverage under Medicaid. An estimated 600,000 people - most working at low-wage jobs - are eligible for Medicaid through Healthy PA, the state's alternative to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. First-day enrollment numbers were unavailable, Kait Gillis, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, said at the end of the day. Even late in the day, callers to the state's toll-free line were told to call back later because of the high volume of calls.
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