The country's biggest mortgage lenders denied a shade under 30 percent of their Tennessee mortgage applications in 2010, report Nick Timiraos and Maurice Tamman of the Journal. That's a good three percentage points higher than the national average but lower than a number of our neighboring states.
The Supreme Court today denied an expedited review of a Virginia court challenge to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's mandate that individuals have health insurance coverage. The court is requiring the case to make its way through the appeals system before it tackles the topic.
The Journal reports on one to-be-expected result of financial reform legislation limiting what banks can charge on credit cards and other products: A number of lenders are hiking their ATM fees. It's enough to have Shira Ovide compare banking to the airline sector. Ouch.
The Journal has taken a look at the retail trend — led in part, of course, by the boys from Bentonville — of acknowledging the impact of the internet by shrinking square footage. In some cases, the steps are drastic: Office Depot a few months ago began opening mini-stores that are just a fifth of their previous average location. Which raises the question: What to do with the big boxes?
"You have a massive rush throughout retail to get small," says Leon Nicholas of consulting firm Kantar Retail. "Honestly, I am not sure what's going to happen with a lot of these giant boxes. I like to joke that perhaps they can be turned into retirement homes for Baby Boomers."
SEE ALSO: Some big-box reuse ideas from a 2009 competition
“It is not surprising to say that women physicians make less than male physicians because women traditionally choose lower-paying jobs in primary care fields or they choose to work fewer hours,” said Lo Sasso. “What is surprising is that even when we account for specialty and hours and other factors, we see this growing unexplained gap in starting salary. The same gap exists for women in primary care as it does in specialty fields.”
Lazard Capital Markets analyst Tom Gallucci suggested concerns over Medicaid reimbursement rates had triggered profit-taking in a sector that, as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 health-care facilities subindex, is up 57% in the past three months. Medicaid, the government health coverage program for poor families and the disabled, represents about 10% of hospital revenue on average and generally pays less than any other insurance source, he said. "Anticipated state budget gaps for [fiscal 2012] continue to grow, and as a result many states have started proposing preliminary cuts to their Medicaid budgets as a way to balance budgets," he said.Shares of LifePoint Hospitals (Ticker: LPNT) closed Wednesday about 3.4 percent lower than their $37.15 open. Community Health Systems shares (Ticker: CYH) fell 4 percent yesterday.
The majority of the respondents also say that there is a better chance the economy in 2011 will outperform their forecasts than that it will underperform. Thirty-five economists said the risks to their forecasts are more to the upside; 14 said the risk was to the downside.
The most controversial recommendations of the committee — which includes nurses, doctors, academics and other health industry participants and is chaired by former HHS head Donna Shalala — are likely to be those that deal with so-called “scope of practice,” i.e. the authority nurses have to order tests, prescribe medicine and perform other medical services. As Kaiser Health News writes, the report “calls for states and the federal government to remove barriers that restrict what care advanced practice nurses — those with a master’s degree — provide and includes many examples of nurses taking on bigger responsibilities.”
The doctor deficit will occur in both primary care and specialties since many of these new patients will suffer from previously untreated conditions — such as heart disease — for which they will need more complex care, Atul Grover, chief advocacy officer of the AAMC, tells the Health Blog. Over the long haul, however, the projected physician shortfall won’t differ dramatically from the current estimate of 130,000 by 2025. That’s because many of those who are new to the health-care system will move on to Medicare, the government insurance plan for the elderly, says Grover. “As much as we’ve tried to create improvements to the health-care system … it’s going to be real hard to take care of people if you don’t have the bodies to do it,” he says.