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National health insurance; cybersnooping on your kids; ID theft


National health insurance: déjà vu all over again?

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) wants to create a publicly financed, privately delivered single payer health care program for all Americans. The program would cover all medically necessary services, from primary care to mental health services to dentistry. Patients could choose their physician and other providers. The program would set physician fees and prohibit balance billing.

The program, estimated to cost $1.809 trillion a year, would be funded by a payroll tax on employers, in addition to the 1.45 percent Medicare tax employers and employees currently pay.

Cybersnooping on your kids

Want to know what your kids are doing online when you're not home? Several software programs let you track their online chats and instant messages, and they can run surreptitiously so your kids don't know you're watching.

For $29.95, Child Safe ( www.webroot.com ) will monitor online activities, report to you at any computer you choose, and block access to Web sites you object to. The Cyber Sentinel ( www.securitysoft.com ), at $39.95, will filter out sexually explicit or pornographic content and show you what was displayed on the screen. eBlaster (www.spectorsoft.com ) will give you a copy of e-mails, chats, instant messages, Web site visits, and every keystroke your child makes on the computer, for $99.95.

ID theft is still the No. 1 consumer fraud complaint

The amount of money lost by consumers to fraud more than doubled last year to $340 million from $160 million a year before, says the Federal Trade Commission. Identity theft was the most common fraud complaint category, accounting for 43 percent of all complaints filed with the FTC.

Complaints about fraudulent Internet auctions were the second most common, followed by Internet services and computer complaints, advance fee loans and credit protection, shop-at-home and catalog sales, foreign money offers, prizes/sweepstakes and lotteries, business opportunities and work-at-home schemes, telephone services, and health care. To file a fraud complaint, go to www.ftc.gov . To report identity theft, or for tips on how to protect your identity, log on at www.consumer.gov/idtheft .


Joan Rose. Online UPDATES.

Medical Economics


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