Finance news. My opinion.

June 30, 2012

Doctors: We could go out of business

Filed under: business, finance — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:24 pm

As the nation awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care reform, America’s doctors are debating a serious issue of their own — the possibility of going out of business.

Doctors, especially those operating private practices, said their financial hardship is increasing, making it "harder for them to earn a decent living," according to a new survey of 673 physicians across 29 specialties by MDLinx, a medical reference website for physicians.

Among the reasons doctors cited: significant school debt, rising business expenses and administrative hassles, shrinking insurance reimbursements and costly malpractice insurance. (Read: Exchanges may survive even if law falls)

The survey revealed that doctors operating private practices — both small and large — are feeling more financial pain than those employed by hospitals, said Stephen Smith, chief marketing officer for MDLinx.

In fact, 17% of all doctors with a private practice said they could foresee closing it within a year if their financial situation doesn’t improve, the survey said.

Related: Doctors going broke

"For consumers, the coming retraction from small practices to large clinics that this survey hints at would mean longer drives and less personal, higher cost of medical care for millions of Americans," said Smith.

The survey also revealed a marked disparity on physicians’ financial situation and morale tied to the size of their current work environment.

While a third of smaller practice physicians forecast that 2012 will be one of their worst earnings years ever, Smith said only 13% of doctors at larger practices or hospitals reported the same expectation.

Health reform a hot topic: The survey showed that health reform also remains a hot topic for doctors, with some cheering reform and others lambasting it.

"I support Obamacare completely in theory," one doctor wrote in an anonymous comment in the survey.

"I feel strongly that we need a single payer to compete with insurance companies. [Still] I think the relative lack of physicians in the decision-making entities is a major problem for fixing health care."

"If Obamacare continues, I will leave the field of medicine!," another doctor said.

Related: What health reform could cost you

Yet another physician wrote: "The current state of finances for doctors is getting worse and will continue if Obamacare is not changed."

The Supreme Court, which is reviewing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, is expected to issue a ruling Thursday.

The court could uphold the law, overturn it partially or completely strike it down.

The MDLinx survey, conducted in early April, polled physicians across all specialties, including those who own small and large private practices or work in hospitals. 


June 29, 2012

European Leaders Seek to Overcome Divisions at Summit - Bloomberg

Filed under: loans, prices — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 5:16 am


June 27, 2012

Japan Sales Tax Risks Growth Grinding to Halt in 2014: Economy - Bloomberg

Filed under: lenders, uk — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 2:24 pm


June 26, 2012

Germany to Confront United Euro Bloc at Summit - Bloomberg

Filed under: Uncategorized, house — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 12:44 am

Germany will confront an increasingly united bloc of euro-area nations demanding more ambitious policies to fight the financial crisis this week, as European leaders prepare for a summit setting the course for their currency

June 23, 2012

Greek Government to Seek at Least 2 Year Extension to Bailout - Bloomberg

Filed under: Uncategorized, online — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 7:04 pm


June 22, 2012

Made in China Not Worth Hassle for Small Firms Returning to U.S. - Bloomberg

Filed under: loans, marketing — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:52 am

When Sonja Zozula and Jerry Anderson founded LightSaver Technologies Inc. in 2009, everyone told them they should make their emergency lights for homeowners in China.

After two years of outsourcing to factories there, last winter they shifted production to Carlsbad, California, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from their home in San Clemente.

June 20, 2012

IMF: Europe must focus on growth

Filed under: finance, loans — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 1:04 pm

Europe needs urgent reforms to revive economic growth and improve competitiveness, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.

The call comes as world leaders gather in Mexico for the Group of 20 summit, at which Europe’s debt crisis will be at the top of the agenda.

The IMF said in a research paper that a revival of growth in Europe is required to reverse "the vicious cycle of poor confidence, flagging growth, fiscal weakness and bank vulnerability."

European countries must undertake coordinated reforms to re-balance demand and competitiveness across the continent, the IMF said. That means allowing for higher inflation and wages in the north, in stronger economies like Germany, while holding down wages in the south, in struggling nations like Italy.

In addition, the paper calls for pension reforms and more flexible labor markets, and says monetary policy should "remain supportive payday loan lenders."

"This is not a recommendation of simple fiscal stimulus — fiscal consolidation is inevitable — but of a combination of efforts to alleviate headwinds," the IMF said.

The IMF’s analysis comes amid increasing complaints that Europe’s leaders have been choking off recovery by pushing austerity measures.

European leaders signed an accord earlier this year that aims to promote greater fiscal discipline by holding countries to budgetary targets.

But many of the continent’s economies have tumbled into recession as austerity measures — budget cuts and tax hikes — take a toll on growth and fuel popular resentment. Countries like Greece and Spain are suffering from unemployment rates over 20%, which have led to worries about social unrest. 


June 18, 2012

Samaras Gets Mandate to Form Government as EU Presses on Timing - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, money — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 10:00 pm

Greek election winner Antonis Samaras began his second bid in six weeks to build a coalition as euro-area finance chiefs pressured him to form a government that would keep bailout aid flowing.

European officials indicated a willingness to ease the terms of rescue loans as long as Greece, with just weeks of cash in the bank to pay its bills, re-commits to their austerity demands. The win by Samaras over anti-bailout leader Alexis Tsipras sent Greek stocks and bonds higher. The euro pared an advance on concern the debt crisis will deepen in Spain.

June 16, 2012

CPI: Lower gas prices tame inflation in May

Filed under: mortgage, technology — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 4:52 pm

Consumers felt some relief at the gas pump in May, as falling prices slowed overall inflation during the month.

The government’s key measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, showed consumer prices fell 0.3% in May, the deepest monthly drop since December 2008.

Declining gas prices were the biggest factor, plunging 6.8%. Gasoline started the month off at a national average of $3.81 a gallon and fell to $3.62 by the end of May, according to separate data from the Oil Price Information Service.

Lower gas prices are a welcome sign for consumers and can often act as a small economic stimulus, because consumers have more money to spend on other goods. But swings in gas prices typically take a few months to trickle through to prices on other goods and affect consumer behavior.

Food prices, for example, were unchanged in May.

Check gas prices in your state

Meanwhile, a separate report released Wednesday showed retail sales declined in May, mostly because consumers spent nearly $1 billion less at gas stations. Excluding gas, food and autos, retail sales were still down for the second month in a row no faxing payday loans.

While the decline in retail sales has been disappointing, some economists expect it to be merely temporary. Lower gas prices could boost spending later in the summer, said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients.

"Gas prices have plunged over the last two months and are still falling fast, so allowing for the lag, we hope to see much stronger spending in July and August, and beyond," Shepherdson said.

Consumers on ‘auto’ pliot. But can solid car sales last?

Stripping out gas and food, so-called core inflation rose 0.2% from month to month.

Over the last year, Americans have seen a 1.7% inflation rate. Core inflation is up 2.3% year-over-year, slightly above the Federal Reserve’s target for a 2% rate.

The Consumer Price Index measures price changes on a broad basket of consumer goods, including food, energy, housing, cars, apparel and medical expenses. 


June 15, 2012

Irish Tell Spain to Imagine the Worst in Banking Bailout - Bloomberg

Filed under: debt, news — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 2:04 am

Ireland has this banking advice for Spain: imagine the worst and double it.

Like Ireland, Spain sought a bank bailout after being felled by a real-estate crash. Now, just as the Irish did, the Spanish are awaiting the results of outside stress tests gauging the size of the hole in the banking system.

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