Posts Tagged ‘Government Accountability Office’

Violence against emergency room staffers seen as increasing

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

By Eli Wolfe
Slaps, kicks, bites and curses are daily hazards faced by staff in hundreds of emergency rooms. And the threat of workplace violence seems to be getting worse.
The post Violence against emergency room staffers seen as increasing appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Amid dramatic growth of U.S. drone fleet, federal safety oversight lags

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

By Paul Feldman
As the nation’s fleet of small recreational and commercial drones keeps soaring — the government projects nearly 3 million will be in the skies by 2022 — safety concerns are rising even as federal enforcement stalls.
The post Amid dramatic growth of U.S. drone fleet, federal safety oversight lags appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Amid rush to deploy driverless cars, federal regulators urged to keep hands on the wheel

Friday, December 8th, 2017

By Paul Feldman
The era of driverless vehicles appears to be rapidly approaching, raising a bevy of urgent questions about how to prevent the emergence of new hazards on the nation’s roads.
The post Amid rush to deploy driverless cars, federal regulators urged to keep hands on the wheel appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Fraud and billing mistakes cost Medicare – and taxpayers – tens of billions last year

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

By Fred Schulte /b>
Kaiser Health News
Federal health officials made more than $16 billion in improper payments to private Medicare Advantage health plans last year and need to crack down on billing errors by the insurers, a top congressional auditor testified Wednesday.
The post Fraud and billing mistakes cost Medicare – and taxpayers – tens of billions last year appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Dennis Ross: Responsible solutions to repaying student loans

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report stating that federally issued Direct Student Loans placed in Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans will cost the government $74 billion, which is higher than previously estimated.
According to the GAO, as of June of this year, 5.3 million student loan borrowers are repaying their loans in IDR plans. This means 5.3 million borrowers are repaying their loans with smaller monthly payments, thereby extending the time in which they will actually repay the entirety of these loans. All the while, loan interest continues to accrue, holding borrowers underwater even longer. Couple this with the usage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and other forgiveness programs, it is clear the federal government, and the taxpayers backing these loans, will never see the money it has lent.
I believe all who desire to obtain an education should have the opportunity to do so. Education, particularly higher education, has the ability to raise individuals and families from less than desirable situations in life and open the door to greater opportunities. Education prepares us for much more than just work. It gives us the ability to better contribute to our families and society, and enables us to more effectively help others and ourselves.
Loans are, indeed, an important component in helping students obtain an affordable education. Unfortunately, most students today are saddled with extraordinary debt and have entered one of the weakest economic recoveries in history. Such a dangerous combination limits students’ ability to start paying back their taxpayer-backed loans after graduation. This is a serious problem we cannot continue to ignore.
Throughout the past 25 years, the cost of attending college has quadrupled. About 60 percent of students take out loans to finance their education, and more than half borrow over $10,000. In fact, more than 43 million Americans owe nearly

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A moving story: Crooked movers victimize customers and usually get away with it

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

By Brian Joseph
About 35 million Americans will make local or long-distance moves over the next year, and many are at risk of coming into contact with a scammer. The problem, however, is particularly acute for moves made across state lines. States regulate local moves within their borders, but the federal government oversees interstate moves – and it devotes few resources to regulation and enforcement.
The post A moving story: Crooked movers victimize customers and usually get away with it appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Marco Rubio: After Pulse: Lessons from the response

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Fifteen years ago this month, on Sept. 11, 2001, our nation suffered the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil when al-Qaida hijacked four airplanes and murdered thousands of innocent people.
Three months ago, Orlando became a new ground zero when a radical Islamic terrorist opened fire inside Pulse nightclub, and Floridians witnessed firsthand the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Recovering from such a terrible event presents many challenges. The immediate emergency response must be swift because lives hang in the balance. The perpetrator and anyone who helped him must be brought to justice. Families and communities must heal and receive the assistance they need.
Lessons big and small are learned, and public officials have a responsibility to listen, learn and improve the government’s response.
As my office and I worked closely with survivors and families of the victims, the City of Orlando and federal agencies, we identified at least three areas where government could do more, better and faster.
These areas of concern include: The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s policy on intake forms filled out by individuals in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack; financial challenges faced by survivors with student loans; and potential shortcomings in how the federal government provides security grants to cities.
FBI intake forms provided to survivors after the Orlando attack contained both the FBI and City of Orlando logos, as well as a long list of services. City officials and most of the nearly 1,000 applicants believed filling out these forms would be enough to coordinate resources for the victims and affected families.
However, only later did the FBI inform the city that it would not share copies of the intake forms, leaving local officials with no way of obtaining information regarding the victims’ needs. This resulted in unnecessary confusion and delays in people receiving the assistance they requested.
This was a classic

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Barney Bishop: Self-promoting physician-owned hospitals will put patients at risk

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

It’s important for the public to know what legislative change means for our everyday lives. All too often common-sense policies are influenced by special interests and therefore compromise public benefit.
For example, Acts H.R. 976 and H.R. 2513 appear to help improve our healthcare system, but in reality they would re-establish a bad policy for the public and hospitals in Florida. These Acts would reinstate physicians’ ability to recommend a physician-owned hospital to more affluent patients rather than offer the best facility to treat a patient for their health condition(s).
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) originally raised concerns about cherry-picking and rapid growth within physician-owned hospitals. As a result the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 placed a ban on referrals to new physician-owned hospitals. Bipartisan legislation also was passed in 2010 that prospectively banned physician self-referrals, required grandfathering to provide better financial and patient safety and transparency, and permitted such grandfathered arrangements to expand only if they meet certain criteria.
Those policies continue to help level the playing field between community hospitals and physician-owned hospitals.
Imagine if all hospitals could choose their patients and refuse service to persons with certain types of insurance or simply decline service to patients who do not have insurance at all. That would not be a reasonable or responsible process for our government or our healthcare system.
Patients should receive advice from their doctor irrespective of business conditions and certainly the doctors’ monetary benefit. That seems to be a logical enough reason for lawmakers to vote “no” on this legislation.
Consumer protections in the healthcare industry ensure stability for the provider, patients and their families. We have enough to worry about during a stay at the hospital, before and/or after a procedure or surgery. We should not add insult to injury and create bad policy that will generate angst between hospitals

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Mark Ferrulo: Fight over infrastructure funding will reverberate in Florida

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

America’s roads and bridges are slowly crumbling and, to make matters worse, the fund that pays to maintain and improve our nation’s transportation needs is on the verge of going broke. But as Congress rushes to replenish the fund, it should not make a big mistake that will cost us hundreds of billions of dollars.
Here in Florida, we depend on safe, efficient transportation to accommodate our growing population and about 100 million tourists who flock here annually. America’s infrastructure, however, is rated a “D,” the National Association of Civil Engineers says. More than 250 of Florida’s bridges are considered “structurally deficient.”
The politicians in Washington can’t keep kicking this can down the road.
The good news is that Congress has the ability to fund the maintenance and restoration of America’s transportation system right now by making corporations pay what they owe on the $2.1 trillion in profits they have stashed offshore, avoiding payment of U.S. taxes. Right now, though, large corporations are fighting tooth and nail in Washington to avoid paying their fair share in taxes on that money.
Because of a tax loophole called “deferral,” American companies are able to postpone paying taxes indefinitely on profits they earn offshore. As a result, large corporations have increasingly been hoarding profits overseas to defer tax payments they owe to the U.S. government. It’s thanks to that unnecessary and indefensible deferral tax loophole that the $2.1 trillion is going untaxed here at home.
The corporate tax rate on those offshore profits is 35 percent, less whatever they pay to foreign governments. But since most of the money is in tax havens corporations have paid next to nothing. Now they want to use the must-pass highway funding bill working its way through Congress to bring their profits back at a fire-sale tax rate. Their plan would slash

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