MANAGED CARE July 2005. ©MediMedia USA
Stop the presses! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want you to know that being obese or overweight is definitely not good for you. Why point out the obvious? Because it turns out that a recent CDC study that indicated that overweight people might live longer than normal weight people may have been based on skewed data. Hence, the counterintuitive results. Critics pointed out that the normal-weight group contained people with heart disease and cancer who weigh less because of those diseases. CDC Director Julie Gerberding held a news conference in which she apologized for any possible confusion and added that obesity is indeed a "serious epidemic" in this country.... Who's pointing fingers? The AMA called on state attorneys general to require health insurers to provide patients with updated and accurate physician listings. Managed care companies must provide patients with a realistic choice of network physicians that offer services in a broad array of locations and specialties."Physicians are concerned that managed care companies are misleading patients with erroneous or artificially inflated lists of participating physicians," said AMA President-elect William Plested, MD, during the annual meeting.... Tough times at General Motors. The auto manufacturer lost $1.3 billion on North American operations in the first quarter of 2005. The company plans to cut 25,000 jobs by 2008, and close some factories. CEO Rick Wagoner pins much of the blame on escalating health care costs. GM wants its unionized workers to pay a bigger share of health care costs. The United Auto Workers responds by saying that any unilateral action by GM to reduce benefits would be a "huge mistake." Stay tuned.... Profits are surging at the nation's HMOs, according to Weiss Ratings. HMOs earned $8.9 billion during the first three quarters of 2004. That's an increase of $2.3 billion, or 33.6 percent, over the $6.7 billion earned in the same period in 2003.