Monthly Archives: February 2013
“Providers of outpatient health services who utilize medical interpreting services are now eligible for reimbursement through Medicaid Managed Care and Family Health Plus Plans,” said Theresa Slater, Empire Interpreting Service EIS President.“This reimbursement became available Oct. 1 last year and retroactive billing is acceptable,” Slater said. “Many providers across NY State are still not fully aware of this. The new reimbursement can be a tremendous help to providers who utilize the services of professional Medical Interpreters in order to abide by regulations from the ADA and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Previously, providers have had to bear the cost of Medical Interpreting as a business expense.”
An inconvenient truth: More polar bears alive today than 40 years ago
Author Zac Unger was originally drawn to the arctic circle to write a “mournful elegy” about how global warming was decimating the polar bear populations. He was surprised to find that the polar bears were not in such dire straits after all.
“There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago,” Unger told NPR in an interview about his new book, “Never Look a Polar Bear in The Eye.” “There are about 25,000 polar bears alive today worldwide. In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded.”
Set up in 1956, the Highway Trust Fund uses federal excise taxes on fuel to provide money for the construction and maintenance of federally controlled roads. The government also funds the HTF through truck-related taxes.
“Receipts from the HTF are derived from two main sources: federal excise taxes on motor fuels (gasoline, diesel, and special fuels taxes) and truck-related taxes (truck and trailer sales, truck tire, and heavy-vehicle use taxes)” according to the Jan. 16 report. “Motor fuels tax receipts constitute the single largest source of HTF revenue. The Highway Account receives the majority of the tax receipts allocated to the fund.”
In other words, the more gas taxes a motorist pays to the federal government, the more he or she is paying into the HTF.
According to Treasury Statements from FY 2009-2011, the U.S. government received approximately $106.9 billion in excise taxes that went to the HTF.
A May 2012 report from the Congressional Budget Office noted that for much of the past decade, the Highway Trust Fund’s outlays have exceeded receipts. In recent years, the shortfall has been covered by transfers from the U.S. Treasury’s general fund.
“Policies that are designed to reduce gasoline consumption, including those that would impose stricter standards for the fuel economy of vehicles, could decrease revenues for the trust fund and thus could add to the shortfall,” the CBO said.
On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21), which authorized $40.4 billion from the HTF for highway projects in FY 2013, and another $41 billion for FY 2014.
Although the GAO report only analyzed the use of HTF funds between FY 2009-2011, MAP-21 now requires GAO to report on instances when HTF money is not used for construction and maintenance of highways and bridges.