11/09/2013 (9:32 pm)
From the moment Tal Dehtiar started selling the only up-market shoes made in Africa for western markets, the Canadian knew he was onto something special.
Dehtiar’s company, Olibert
From the moment Tal Dehtiar started selling the only up-market shoes made in Africa for western markets, the Canadian knew he was onto something special.
Dehtiar’s company, Olibert
NEW YORK- Fire officials say a 19-year-old New York University student may have been trapped between two buildings for as long as two days.
The victim, Asher Vongtau, was rescued on Sunday.
A fire department spokesman says he’s in serious condition at a hospital.
It’s unclear how Vongtau got stuck between a 5-storey parking garage and a 17-storey NYU dormitory. The buildings are between Lafayette and Franklin streets in lower Manhattan.
The spokesman says rescue workers broke through a concrete wall to reach Vongtau. He was wedged in an area about 15 to 45 centimetres wide. It took about 90 minutes to pull him out.
House Republicans plan to vote as soon as tonight on a debt-limit increase that would delay the medical-device tax for two years and curtail health insurance benefits for lawmakers and political appointees, Representative Darrell Issa said.
The proposal is designed as a Republican alternative to the bipartisan plan emerging in the Senate. Like the Senate proposal, the House measure would fund the government through Jan. 15, 2014 and suspend the debt limit until Feb. 7.
Meanwhile, Senate leaders are poised to reach an agreement as early as today to halt the fiscal standoff, and now must race the clock to sell the plan to lawmakers before U.S. borrowing authority runs out this week.
The emerging Senate deal would stave off a potential default, end the 15-day-old government shutdown and change the immediate deadlines in favor of three new ones over the next four months. It
A 19-year-old man is dead after following a stabbing on Richmond St, near Yonge St. early Sunday morning, police say.
The incident happened shortly before 2 a.m. during the Nuit Blanche art festival. Toronto EMS transported the man to St. Michael’s Hospital with no vital signs. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
Toronto Police’s homicide squad is investigating the incident but have no information on a possible suspects at this time no fax payday loans.
This is Toronto’s 48th homicide for 2013.
Complementary and alternative medicine — a term that encompasses meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic care and homeopathic treatment, among other things — has become increasingly popular. About four in 10 adults — and one in nine children — in the U.S. are using some form of alternative medicine, according to the National Institutes of Health.
And with the Affordable Care Act, the field could make even more headway in the mainstream health care system. That is, unless the fine print — in state legislation and insurance plans — falls short because of unclear wording and insufficient oversight.
One clause of the health law in particular — Section 2706 — is widely discussed among providers of alternative medicine because it requires that insurance companies “shall not discriminate” against any health provider with a state-recognized license.
That means a licensed chiropractor treating a patient for back pain, for instance, must be reimbursed the same as a medical doctor. In addition, nods to alternative medicine are threaded through other parts of the law in sections on wellness, prevention and research.
But because under the health care law each state defines its essential benefits plan — what is covered by insurance — somewhat differently, the wording concerning alternative medicine has to be very specific in terms of who gets paid and for what kinds of treatment, said Deborah Senn, the former insurance commissioner in Washington and an advocate for coverage of alternative medicine.
For example, naturopathic care would not fall under the nondiscriminatory list in Missouri because the state does not recognize it as a licensed practice.
And even if a practice is licensed, that doesn’t mean it will receive coverage, said Afua Bromley, a licensed acupuncturist at the Acupuncture St. Louis and Wellness Center.
“Some people have the misconception that the (Affordable Care Act) means that acupuncture coverage will be mandated, and that’s not the case,” she said.
Insurance companies can still decide not to include acupuncture in their plans, so Bromley cannot bill an agency for acupuncture care if coverage isn’t provided.
However, because she’s licensed, Bromley will be able to bill insurance companies for office visits, just like a medical doctor can bill separately for an office visit, nutritional counseling, exams and more.
Also, if an insurance company reimburses an M.D. for practicing acupuncture on a patient, that company is then required to reimburse licensed acupuncturists as well.
For a practice such as chiropractic care, the benefits are a bit more recognizable in Missouri.
Margaret Freihaut, insurance committee chairwoman for the Missouri State Chiropractors Association, said the state already has a law in place where fully insured plans — employers pay premiums to insurance companies — must provide coverage for chiropractic care cash till payday.
Self-funded companies in which the employer has a separate pool of money to pay for employees’ claims — often state workers — are not required to cover chiropractic care. Many of them do anyway, but they don’t cover as many visits as the law requires.
“But now with this anti-discrimination, unless they’re limiting (everyone), they can’t just limit one profession,” Freihaut said.
This could affect global fees, too. Some insurance companies pay one set fee to chiropractors even if the services amount to more. This, just like Bromley’s acupuncture, differs from the itemized billing at a medical doctor’s office, where many services are billed separately.
“We don’t know how (insurance companies) are going to handle it,” Freihaut said, but “I would assume they can’t keep doing that because they would be paying for the same service at a different fee.”
In the long run, Freihaut and Bromley say including their practices in health care coverage is actually cheaper for insurance agencies, because their care can prevent surgery and expensive drugs.
Proving that alternative medicine has real, measurable benefits has been key to increasing its role in the system, said John Weeks, editor of the Integrator Blog, an online publication for the alternative medicine community. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, created by the health law, is funding studies on alternative treatments to determine their effectiveness.
Weeks said both lawmakers and the general public will soon have access to that research, including the amount of money saved by integrating other forms of medicine into the current health system.
Freihaut said she’s excited about what this means for consumers.
“It’s a very positive thing,” she said. “It’s going to level the playing field so that people can make their own health care choices.”
But Bromley said because acupuncture care receives little to no insurance benefits in Missouri, it’s not likely she will be affected by the Affordable Care Act until the state embraces her practice.
“In theory, it’s great,” she said. “In reality, I continue taking my cash patients.”
Ankita Rao of Kaiser Health News contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON • House Republicans will not simply pass a temporary spending bill from the Democratic Senate after it is shorn clean of a tea party plan to “defund Obamacare,” House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday.
“I don’t see that happening,” Boehner told reporters. He added that “I have no interest in a government shutGdown” and still doesn’t expect one to occur on Tuesday, even though the House move appears to raise the risk of one.
At the same time, the Ohio Republican said House GOP leaders would unveil legislation to lift the government’s borrowing cap, but only if the new health care law is delayed for a year. He defended that measure’s relatively modest spending cuts even as some rank-and-file conservatives pressed for more.
“It does not cut spending significantly. It does not fix the problem,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said of the debt ceiling package. He said he was undecided about whether to support it. “We need to significantly cut federal government spending, or long-term have a balanced budget constitutional amendment.”
Pressure is building on fractious House Republicans as a partial government shutdown looms at midnight Monday if a bitterly-divided Congress can’t send a temporary spending bill to President Barack Obama on time. Republicans are breaking from longstanding tradition by trying to use the short-term spending bill to jam GOP agenda items past the Senate and Obama.
Meanwhile, the Senate trudged ahead toward a Friday vote on stripping the defund Obamacare provision from the House-passed stopgap funding bill. Boehner’s remarks mean the House will return the stopgap measure to the Senate over the weekend, but he declined to describe what measures Republicans might add to it.
A partial government shutdown would keep hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job, close national parks and generate damaging headlines for whichever side the public holds responsible.
The timeline is daunting since delays in the Senate — where tea party favorite Ted Cruz, R-Texas, promises to filibuster any bill that doesn’t block Obamacare — could mean the first partial shutdown since the 1995-96 government closures that bruised Republicans and strengthened the hand of Democratic President Bill Clinton.
“When we send this legislation back to the House, Republicans have got to put an end to the tea party temper tantrums and pass our bill without any gimmicks and without any games,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash.
A 21-hour talkathon by Ted Cruz whipped up the GOP’s tea party wing even as it complicated efforts by House GOP leaders to assemble rank-and-file support for a temporary spending measure.
Cruz wants to derail the spending bill to deny Democrats the ability to strip out the anti-Obamacare provision, a strategy that has put him at odds with other Republicans who say the move won’t work and fear it would spark a shutdown.
Many GOP senators, including the Senate’s top two Republicans, have said they’ll vote to advance the measure rather than filibuster it to death, a vote that promises to give Democrats controlling the chamber a procedural edge in a subsequent vote to kill the tea party’s effort to use the must-pass bill to derail Obamacare payday loans for self employed.
Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., unveiled his version of the stopgap spending bill, which would keep the government running through Nov. 15. He set in motion a key vote on Friday that promises to expose the divide between Cruz and more pragmatic Republicans. Senate passage of the spending bill — stripped of the Obamacare provision — was expected no later than Saturday.
The simplest thing for Republicans to do would be to accept the Senate bill and send it to the White House for Obama’s signature, a prospect that’s unappealing to Republicans because it would make them look like they’re surrendering. Boehner originally preferred a plan to deliver to Obama a stopgap funding bill without the Obamacare provisions.
Now, GOP leaders are exploring adding face-saving options — like the repeal of a tax on medical devices, which many Democrats also oppose — to the stopgap spending bill. There’s also sentiment to take away the health insurance subsidy awarded lawmakers now that they’ll be required to purchase health care on Obamacare exchanges.
The House is expected to approve a measure this week allowing the Treasury to borrow freely for another year, although that legislation, too, would include a provision to carry out the Republican campaign against Obamacare. While no final decisions have been made, party officials said a one-year delay was likely to be added, rather than the full-fledged defunding that is part of the spending bill awaiting action in the Senate.
The GOP’s demands on the debt limit involves far less dramatic spending cuts than Republicans demanded from Obama in a debt showdown two years. Then, Republicans extracted $2.1 trillion in cuts over a decade for a similar increase in the borrowing cap. Now, GOP leaders are mulling a 14-month borrowing increase that would increase the debt ceiling by almost $1 trillion but are considering only modest cuts, like an increase in the contribution federal workers make to their pensions.
Shutdown-averting stopgap spending bills traditionally have been steered clear of these kinds of battles for fear of a politically damaging shutdown. But with the new health care law poised to enroll millions of people into Obamacare starting Oct. 1, there’s a new urgency among opponents to pull out all the stops to try to derail it.
Republicans counter that the legislation is causing employers to defer hiring new workers, lay off existing ones and reduce the hours of others to hold down costs as they try to ease the impact of the bill’s taxes and other requirements.
The subject may be transit, but as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne points out, the real issue is culture.
Riding the GO train from Toronto to a Burlington jobs roundtable Friday morning, however, she admits turning around half a century of assumptions won’t be easy.
“As a society we’re not used to having a discussion about how we’re going to pay for infrastructure,” says Wynne. “We have not confronted that for at least 40 or 50 years.”
But, she adds, the time has come for change, and more important, so has the opportunity.
“People don’t like change,” Wynne says. “They hold on to what’s familiar. I know what I’m saying isn’t popular with everyone. But everywhere I go people tell me they want more transit.”
Yet as the premier knows only too well, among those who don’t like the idea are players such as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has never hidden his belief that streets belong to cars and trucks, not transit, pedestrians or cyclists.
Wynne, who has made it clear she’s no fan of Ford, remains adamant that the time for change has come. Despite what some might think, or prefer, she is convinced that Ontarians, let alone Torontonians, understand that transit is a huge priority and that they must reach deeper into their pockets to pay for it.
She refers to growing acceptance of various revenue-generating measures proposed earlier this year, such as tolls for solo drivers using High Occupancy Vehicle lanes.
Wynne is also insistent that the federal government “has a role to play in transit funding,” and not just on the occasional ad hoc basis preferred by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
As a former transportation minister, Wynne is in a unique position to see how transit and the transit debate have evolved. When she held the portfolio in 2010-11, there was no public discussion about paying for transit through congestion fees, road tolls, increased sales taxes and the like. Indeed, as she likes to say, the transportation ministry was originally called the Ontario Ministry of Highways.
Today, the focus has shifted from roads to rails. As it becomes increasingly obvious that the car has taken us about as far as it can, public transit now tops the agenda.
Still, the issue is contentious. When Wynne announced the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel easier this week, many dismissed it as a delaying tactic. But, she explains, it represents “an extension of what Metrolinx is doing.”
The provincial transit agency consulted on “revenue tools” for several years before releasing its report this year. At some point, whether politicians and the public like it or not, we will all have to pay more. As painful as that might be, the alternatives would be worse.
According to the Toronto Region Board of Trade, congestion costs the region $6 billion annually.
The panel will “give us a broad definition of what people think,” Wynne says. “I’m proud of the discussion we’re having. I had no mandate in 2010 to have that discussion.”
She rejects the suggestion that transit might wait until the province has a surplus as unfeasible. She also dismisses Opposition Leader Tim Hudak’s notion that the $2 billion transit will cost annually over the next few decades can be found simply by enforcing efficiencies at Queen’s Park.
“We’re one of the leanest governments in the country,” argues Wynne, who insists her government will eliminate the provincial deficit by 2017-18.
“I’m absolutely serious about that,” she says. “But I think we are in a cultural shift; people are recognizing that they want that choice.”
Wynne is referring, of course, to transit. It’s doubtful anyone aboard the Lake Shore GO train would disagree. Ask any commuter; there’s never enough.
Stock futures are heading lower after Japan released discouraging growth figures for the second quarter, sending the dollar higher against the yen in early trading.
Dow Jones industrial futures are down 57 points to 15,318. S&P futures have given up 7.4 points to 1,673.80. Nasdaq futures are down 10.25 points to 3,103.
Japan reported annualized economic growth of 2.6 percent, short of the projected 3 percent.
The U.S. is expected to report that the national deficit fell again last month free 3-in-1 credit report. The report is due from the Treasury Department at 2 p.m. Eastern.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the deficit for July will total $96 billion, bringing the deficit for the first 10 months of the budget year to $606 billion, $368 billion better than the same period last year.
That’s a question that consumers — including prominent ones like Arizona Senator John McCain — have angrily asked for years. It sounds reasonable, but paying for cable stations a la carte probably isn’t something you’d want to do. Here’s why:
Your cable bill won’t necessarily go down, even if you want only a few channels. The “I’m paying extra for stuff I don’t want” philosophy is based on the false premise that if only you were able to shed Fox Soccer, Logo, and all the other channels you don’t watch, your bill would definitely fall.
Under an a la carte plan, cable providers would simply charge more for access to individual channels.
“Customers are angry [about paying a lot of money for cable], and they imagine picking their favorite premium channels for $1 or $2 each,” said cable networks analyst Erik Brannon of IHS. “But the math just doesn’t work at that level. There’s a huge disparity between what’s expected and what would be reality.”
If you drop 50% of the channels from your package, that doesn’t mean your cable bill would be cut in half.
“For any channel, even [a big one like] an ESPN, there would be a significant portion of people who wouldn’t buy it,” Brannon said. “ESPN revenue would plummet. , Fortune 500) isn’t going to let that happen. So the remaining subscribers who really want ESPN end up paying more.”
Needham Insights analyst Laura Martin detailed that scenario in a report last month. ESPN currently gets about $6 a month from 100 million homes, but only 20 million of those households are heavy sports watchers. In order to keep revenue steady, then, ESPN would have to charge those heavy viewers at least $30 per month — a figure that doesn’t even include lost ad revenue due to fewer eyeballs watching.
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A la carte viewing could still save money for some very light viewers, but higher prices for individual stations would quickly add up for subscribers who buy even just a few premium channels. They could cost even more than a bundled package.
Niche networks won’t survive. Without the support of popular channels in a bundle, each network would stand on its own. It’s hard to imagine Discovery Fit and Health, for example, surviving in an a la carte world. Martin believes there would only be 20 channels widely available to consumers under such a system.
You may not care if Investigation Discovery slips off the dial, but perhaps you’d be sad to see the Cooking Channel go. And even if you truly watch only five main channels 95% of the time, you’re not paying much for the ability to flip around during other 5%.
A 2010 New Yorker article likened that bundling feature to “what economists call option value: you may never watch those sixty other channels, but the fact that you could if you wanted to is worth something.”
Don’t get your hopes up. Even if you’re still holding out hope for an industry-wide switch to a la carte model, it’s not worth getting too excited about the possibility.
The business of television is deeply entrenched: Networks and cable providers are dependent on one another to survive, and they have no incentive to let customers mess with a good thing. This sums their position up nicely: switching to an a la carte model would cut cable and network revenue in half (to about $70 billion), according to Needham’s Martin.
Despite that, Sen. McCain continues to lead the legislative charge for a la carte pricing. He introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act in May, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., backed it late last month. The bill is eerily similar to a previous McCain proposal that failed.
In 2006, McCain pushed the Consumers Having Options in Cable Entertainment (CHOICE) Act, which would have let cable providers compete nationally for customers in exchange for offering a la carte options. At that time McCain was then a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees regulation of consumer products, and he was previously the chairman of the committee. Even then, McCain couldn’t make a la carte happen.
The environment may be slightly less chilly now, as cable companies continue to hike and standoffs like , Fortune 500) vs. , Fortune 500) crop up every few months.
If bundled cable is one painful extreme and a la carte is the improbable other, it’s possible that providers and customers could reach some middle ground: breaking out expensive sports into their own tier, or creating more options for mid-level blocks of programming.
“They’ll probably have to get creative with bundles or offer a lot more promotions,” said Brannon, the IHS analyst. “But the pay-TV business is very fundamentally sound. A lot of people still walk into the house and turn on the TV, and there’s a lot of money to be made on that long-standing habit.”