Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Damon responds to Sondra Stratton's 9/26/06 inquiry on what STRS is doing currently to reduce 2008 HC costs
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Paul Kostyu: GOP candidates dance between party loyalty, distance from scandal
.....(Photo: Paul Kostyu)
Ohio Republican candidates for statewide offices are having a tough time abiding by the commandment because of the various scandals that have rocked state government, which has been controlled by Republicans for 12 years.
In his run for governor, J. Kenneth Blackwell basically ignored the commandment, publicly criticizing current Gov. Bob Taft and his primary election opponent, Attorney General Jim Petro. Now that Petro is out of the way, the commandment is back in play, and we don’t hear Blackwell taking on the lame-duck Taft as much. The governor actually hosted a fundraiser for Blackwell.
New Republican blood is running in three of the four statewide office races — secretary of state, auditor and treasurer. There is recycled blood in the attorney general’s race.
Asked their plans should they be elected, Republicans do a careful dance because fellow Republicans occupy the offices now. The pretenders to the thrones have to distinguish themselves from the public’s perception of Republicans, while staying linked to the party. They don’t want to sound like Democrats criticizing the pay-to-play culture in Columbus. Inevitably, however, they do.
“Ohioans are telling me they’re tired ... of pay to play,” said Sandra O’Brien, the Republican candidate for treasurer. “They’re tired of influence peddling. They’re just tired of it, and that’s the reason I’m running.”
O’Brien said this while trying to criticize Democratic opponent Richard Cordray’s fundraising efforts with financial institutions, until she admitted she had approached the same people he did.
Republican Mary Taylor, who is running for state auditor, said that there needs to be structural changes to the office and that it should have been able to prevent the investment scandals at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Taylor was careful not to mention by name the current auditor, fellow Republican Betty Montgomery, who is running for attorney general.
“We need the structural changes regardless of who is in office,” Taylor said, adding that the public’s trust needs to be rebuilt.
Republican Greg Hartmann, a candidate for secretary of state, said there has to be a nonpartisan approach to running Ohio’s elections and the secretary should not advocate for a particular ballot issue or candidate. Two years ago, Blackwell, the current secretary, co-chaired the George W. Bush campaign in Ohio and very publicly promoted the constitutional ban on gay marriages.
Hartmann said the secretary needs to be more “hands on” with giving boards of elections better and more consistent guidance, implying, of course, that Blackwell is detached from the needs of local officials.
Montgomery and Blackwell are trying to convince voters they danced with different partners in different rooms and are not part of the Statehouse political culture that has Ohioans so upset.
The Ohio two-step is a difficult dance that all Republicans are trying to master this year.
Reach Copley Columbus Bureau Chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
STRS' Gary Russell agrees with CORE's John Bos
Subject: Here is the press release from Wal-Mart
, facing pressure from critics who call its employee health care coverage inadequate, plans to begin selling nearly 300 generic prescription drugs for a sharply reduced price of $4 for a month's supply.The world's biggest retailer said Thursday that it will test the program in
Wal-Mart officials said the reduced price represents a savings to the customer of up to 70 percent on some drugs.
"Wal-Mart is taking this step so our customers and associates can get the medicines they need at a cost they can afford," Bill Simon, executive vice president of the company's professional services division, said in announcing the plan at a
The program will be launched on Friday at 65 Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies in the
Simon wouldn't be specific about why
More states to come
The company said it plans to expand the program to as many states as possible next year.
Simon said the 291 generic drugs include "the most commonly prescribed drugs for the some of the most common illnesses that face Americans today, including cardiac disease, asthma, diabetes, glaucoma, Parkinson's (disease) and thyroid conditions.
"Simon wouldn't give details on how much the plan is expected to cost Wal-Mart or the company's dealings with the drug companies involved.
"We're able to do this by using one of our greatest strengths as a company -- our business model and our ability to drive costs out of the system, and the model that passes those costs savings to our customers," he said. "In this case were applying that business model to health care."
The $4 prescriptions are not available by mail order and are being offered online only if picked up in person in the
In a conference call with reporters, Simon said that the generic drugs would not be sold at a loss to entice customers into the stores, a strategy that has been used in Wal-Mart's toy business.
He said Wal-Mart is working with drugmakers to help them be more efficient, but added, "We are working with them as partners. We are not pressuring them to reduce prices."
Tampa Wal-Mart pharmacy customer Pat Sullivan praised the company's initiative. The retired
"I'm on disability and my benefits run out by the end of the month," he said. "It comes down to where do I go for a $100 prescription? I have no outlet other than to break a pill in half and take half today and half tomorrow
Wally World is finally doing what the majority in Congress prohibited Medicare from doing -- forcing competitive bids
Retailers’ big cut in drug prices is good medicine for U.S.
The move will help millions of Americans.
Already, Target Corp. has said it will match Wal-Mart’s new price for nearly 300 generic drugs, which is as little as $4 for a 30-day supply.
Wal-Mart and Target have the efficiencies of scale to withstand losses or lower profits on drug sales, and they have the bulk-buying power to command price cuts by generic-drug manufacturers.
Whether this will hurt those manufacturers is debatable. Critics say Wal-Mart squeezes the profit margins of its suppliers mercilessly. The company says it is working with 30 participating drug manufacturers "as partners" to help the suppliers cut their own costs.
The head of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association says Wal-Mart’s plan won’t affect members much.
The power of bulk buying is perhaps the most important lesson of all in Wal-Mart’s initiative. Unfortunately for America’s senior citizens, its benefits were lost on a Congress that denied seniors such price advantages. Lawmakers prohibited Medicare from negotiating with drug companies for its prescription-drug program.
The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want to see lower drug prices, and its lobbying clout won the prohibition on negotiation, ensuring that Medicare patients pay more than they otherwise would have to. Fortunately for the people who depend on the drugs on Wal-Mart’s list of 300, Congress can’t prevent giant retailers from getting the best prices for their customers.
Sondra Stratton: A not-so-pleasant experience with our HC insurance
Monday, October 02, 2006
Columbus Dispatch: Richard Cordray for state treasurer
Richard holds up a delinquent tax bill. His mantra: more tax collections mean more money for schools
CORE/STRS Board Meeting: 10/19/06
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Nominations submitted for CORE Officers
Nominations for CORE Officers
President -- Dave Parshall
Vice-President -- Mary Ellen Angeletti
Secretary -- no nominations
Treasurer -- C.J. Myers
NOTE: Voting will occur at the CORE meeting on Thursday, October 19th at 11:45 in the Sublett Rm. at STRS.