Jim Reed to Ann Hanning re: ORTA, Dr. Leone, CORAS, and Snowbirds
Subject: ORTA, Dr. Leone, CORAS, and Snowbirds
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An average 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need about $215,000 for health care costs for the rest of their lives, according to a Fidelity Investments estimate released on Tuesday, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. Fidelity calculated the estimate assuming that retirees had no employer-sponsored health coverage and that average life expectancies were 82 years for men and 85 years for women. The costs do not include over-the-counter medications, most dental services and long-term care. Fidelity estimated that about 32% of retiree health care spending would be on Medicare premiums for physician visits, outpatient hospital care and prescription drugs. Thirty-five percent of the expenses would come from Medicare copayments, deductibles and other cost-sharing provisions. Out-of-pocket prescription drug costs would account for 33% of retirees' health care spending, according to Fidelity. Fidelity estimated that 65-year-old workers who plan to retire at the end of the year should expect that 50% of their pretax Social Security benefits will be consumed by health expenses within the next 16 to 18 years. The latest estimate is 7.5% greater than the estimate released in 2006. Retiree health care expenses annually have increased by an average of 6.1% over the past five years. Fidelity projects health care costs will increase by about 7% per year, outpacing inflation. Brad Kimler, senior vice president for Fidelity Employer Services, attributes the rising costs to higher-cost medical technologies and prescription drugs, and longer life expectancy. "We don't expect to see this number going down," he said (Jewell, AP/Houston Chronicle, 3/28).
How many times have you heard this phrase?
No, my fabulous pharmacy friends, these items are often considerably MORE expensive than gold… we’re talking Americium expensive.
In no particular order:
Got anything to add?
* All prices are AWP.
** Except this one. ;)
All three were appointed by former Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican; if they leave, Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, could name a majority of the powerful five-member board, which regulates electricity, gas, telephone, water and commercial transportation.
If they don't resign, Dann said last night that he is prepared to file a "quo warranto" with the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus seeking to force them to quit.
"That's an action to remove somebody who is not properly holding office," Dann said. "We already have a draft of it."
Those asked to resign are PUCO Chairman Alan R. Schriber and Commissioners Ronda Hartman Fergus and Valerie A. Lemmie. Dann said their appointments were "tainted" by a nominating process that violated the state's open meetings law.
Dann also informed Strickland that the recent nomination and his subsequent appointment of Paul Centolella is invalid and must be redone.
Donald L. Mason, the fifth PUCO member, was appointed by Taft in 2003, outside the three-year statute of limitations to challenge his appointment, Dann spokeswoman Michelle Gatchell said.
The appointments were improper, Dann said, because the special 12-member PUCO Nominating Council that recommends four people to the governor to fill vacancies met behind closed doors and voted by secret ballot. He said both violate the state's Open Meetings Act, also known as the Sunshine Law. That act requires decisions by public bodies to be made in open meetings.
"They (the commission members) haven't done anything wrong, and we're not suggesting that they have," Dann said. "But public-meetings laws are there for a reason.
"Their appointment was tainted. …The governor's appointment does not cure the taint from the nominating council."
Dann said the problem came to light after his Feb. 28 letter in which he warned Ohio State University Board of Trustees that secret ballots on public issues should be "strictly avoided" because they violate "both the letter and intent" of the Open Meetings Act.
He said the PUCO nominating process was brought to his attention by Duane W. Luckey, a lawyer in charge of his office's public utilities section.The current procedure for nominating PUCO members was developed in the 1980s to cure what was seen as a politicized process for picking state regulators.
Currently, the majority of the PUCO members are either Republicans or independents. The resignations would allow Strickland to quickly name four members to the commission, which affects everyday lives with decisions on how much utilities can charge customers.
Contacted late yesterday, Schriber wouldn't comment on Dann's resignation request. He said he had not been contacted directly by the attorney general or his staff.
Schriber said even if he and his fellow commissioners are forced to resign, hundreds of regulatory decisions they have made would not be invalidated.
"I believe we would be acting de facto," he said, meaning that all commission actions would be considered legal and binding.
Dann agreed: "This would have been a much tougher decision had it resulted in voiding four years worth of decision-making."
Thomas C. Green, chairman of the nominating council, told The Dispatch that while he doesn't consider the process illegal or improper, he will comply with Dann's request.
"There was no intent to violate the law," he said. "Clearly, we are allowed to talk about personnel matters in an executive session.
"In order to arrive at the four names, we write them down on a piece of paper and vote on them to see if we have consensus. Then we vote on the four names in public.
"We don't consider that a secret ballot," Green said.
He added, "I'm not about to challenge it. We'll do what they want to be done."
Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said the governor's office received a letter on Monday from Dann's office regarding his recent appointment of Centolella. He was to replace Judy Jones on the commission on April 12.
Now that nomination and appointment must be redone.
"We're working under the assumption that the Public Utilities Commission will fully comply with the attorney general's determination," Dailey added.