Archives January 2018

ED Issues Could Be Early Indicator of Serious Heart Problems

Currently, there are over 30 million reported cases of erectile dysfunction throughout the United States. In addition to those 30 million reported cases, there are countless more unreported cases of U.S. males struggling with ED problems.

Unfortunately, there is no easy cure for these issues and they can actually lead to much more serious problems as well. Erectile dysfunction can lead to relationship issues, career problems, and negatively affect a person’s self-esteem. There are a few additional health concerns that ED can cause.

According to Reader’s Digest, ED could actually be an early indicator for atherosclerosis, a condition that builds up plaque inside a person’s arteries, raising the risk of potential heart attack and stroke.

A new study published in the journal Vascular Medicine analyzed 28 studies that previously took a look at the link between ED and heart disease.

Researchers found that people who suffer from ED also have thickening of one of the inner two layers of the carotid artery, which is another early indicator of heart disease.

“The presence of erectile dysfunction portends a higher risk of future cardiovascular events, particularly in intermediate-risk men, and may serve as an opportunity for intensification of cardiovascular risk prevention strategies,” said Naomi Hamburg, MD and Matt Kluge, MD, Boston University heart specialists. “The findings add to the growing evidence supporting additional trials to determine the clinical impact of erectile dysfunction screening and the appropriate cardiovascular directed evaluation and treatment of men with erectile dysfunction.”

Hopefully understanding some of the symptoms of ED can help prevent further health concerns down the road. Here are some of the symptoms of ED:

  • Trouble getting an erection.
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection during sex.
  • Reduced interest in sex.
  • Premature or delayed ejaculation.
  • Anorgasmia (the inability to achieve orgasm after sexual stimulation).

Proposal to Repeal Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System

Florida legislatures have revived a bill, SB 150, that could potentially terminate the requirement that Florida drivers must obtain $10,000 mandatory personal injury protection coverage.

For nearly half a century, the no-fault state has required motorists to buy the $10,000 of personal injury coverage under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) system in order to cover a driver’s or passenger’s own injuries, regardless of who is at fault.

Efforts have increased in Tallahassee to replace the no-fault system with a tort-based system. The bill is sponsored by Senator Tom Lee.

“I’m trying to make sure we don’t raise premiums on Floridians, but at the same token that we protect as many options for consumers to get medical care in the event of an accident,” Lee said. “It’s a balancing act.”

The 2012 law required those involved in car accidents to seek treatment within 14 days after the crash, put a $2,500 cap on coverage for non-emergency injuries, eliminated acupuncturists and massage therapists from getting paid for medical coverage, and set additional requirements for those who visited a chiropractor. With three million people getting injured in car accidents in the U.S. every year, these requirements lead to a quick increase in expenses for those involved in accidents.

State Rep. Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice, and an orthopedic surgeon, explained that the House plan fails to ensure medical providers are compensated for treating injuries that occur from accidents. He wants to see reliability in reimbursement.

According to a 2016 actuarial study commissioned by the state, under the House bill, HB 19, drivers could save up to $1 billion collectively. These savings would be a net saving after expected premium increases for bodily-injury liability coverage. The House plan would require $25,000 a person and $50,000 an accident.

Of the 218 million people in the U.S. who had driver’s licenses in 2015, about 90% of Florida drivers already carry some level of BI coverage. The savings would come because they would no longer have to pay for PIP, whose premiums have increased by double digits in recent years.

According to a Senate staff analysis, drivers’ savings would dry up and overall premiums are expected to rise after SB 150 is implemented.

The Senate bill repeals PIP and requires bodily-injury liability coverage in amounts that are implemented gradually over several years. However, it also requires drivers to buy $5,000 of “medical payments” coverage regardless of how much health insurance drivers already have.

Mark Delegal, a lobbyist representing State Farm, claims this bill amounts to “PIP version 2.0” and is inefficient and costly.

Both the House bill and the Senate bill would end the lack of requirement of bodily-injury liability insurance, which covers injuries to others.

Florida drivers pay more than $1,200 in yearly car insurance premiums. Repeal supports have called PIP “a failed social experiment” and has caused drivers who already pay for health insurance to have to pay unnecessary expenses.

The proposal to repeal the no-fault law must still go before two more committees before reaching the Senate floor.

North Carolina Residents Urging Lawmakers to Fund Mandatory Class Size Reductions

In Raleigh, North Carolina parents, teachers, and public school students are fighting back against too-big class sizes and lack of funding.

A recent rally that lasted nearly two hours in subfreezing temperatures hoped to raise awareness about an issue that could put school districts throughout the state in a difficult and unfair position of having to cut arts, physical education, and library programs.

The General Assembly passed a law in 2016 that set the average class size for kindergarten, first, second, and third grades to be no more than 17 students. Those who participated in the rally were upset that lawmakers had not provided school districts with the necessary funding to meet the lower goal.

Unfortunately, many schools in North Carolina, as well as other states, are facing issues within their school districts. Common issues include reducing class sizes, finding funds to hire more teachers, and focusing on diversity to make a school’s identity multinational in order to help students in the globalization of today’s society.

Expenses to meet these lower class sizes are a major concern. Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leaders announced that it could cost $23 million to hire the 353 more K-3 teachers needed to meet the desired class sizes. In Wake County, it would cost $24.6 million in order to hire 431 new teachers to reduce class sizes.

These costs would be in addition to other actions like increasing class sizes in grade four through 12 to be able to shift more teaching positions to lower grades, limiting how many students are allowed to go to certain schools, and combining children of different grades into the same class to have two classes share the same room.

Furthermore, some school districts have said that they may be required to lay off art, music, physical education, and computer science teachers in order to have the necessary funding to pay for teachers needed to teach kindergarten through third grade.

Governor Roy Cooper is urging the General Assembly to take the pressure off of the school districts and provide funding for the required smaller classes.

“I believe smaller class size can be a good idea, but we can’t force this on our schools without the funding to do it,” Cooper explained.

According to Senate Leader Phil Berger, Senate Republicans will be continuing to work with the school systems to provide parents clarification about what will happen next school year while ensuring taxpayers are getting the smaller class sizes they’ve paid for.

Trump’s New Estate Tax Law Helping The Wealthy

The new and final tax bill has some major advantages for wealthy Americans.

In late December, President Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law, delivering $1.5 trillion dollars of tax cuts to various areas of the economy, including business entities, individual taxes, gift taxes, and more.

The estate tax exception will likely change under these new tax outlines, as well. For 2015, an individual could leave bequests (gifts to other individuals upon their death) worth up to $5.43 million free of any federal estate tax, which is the estate tax exception. But now, the new law doubles the estate tax exemption to $11.2 million and $22.4 million for couples.

“It’s a huge benefit to the wealthy,” said Beth Kaufman, an estate lawyer with Caplin and Drysdale in Washington, D.C.

According to, the new tax provisions will expire at the end of 2025. These new exception policies, however, will eliminate estate tax liability for individuals with estate assets between $5.6 and $11.2 million (plus double for couples). Unless Congress votes in the future to extend it, the estate tax would likely revert close to the previous level by 2025, too, although slightly higher because of the substitution of the chained Consumer Price Index for the current CPI formula.

“Most estate tax is paid by extremely wealthy people, so even doubling the exemption leaves most of it in place,” added Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center.

Forbes adds that the tax bill doesn’t affect the changes to the rules in terms of step-up basis at death. Meaning, when a person dies, their heirs’ cost basis in the assets left to them will be reset at the specific value after death.

There should be many more legislative battles over the course of the next few years in terms of these new tax provisions, but critics of the estate tax are celebrating a long awaited victory this January.

Recent Study Shows the Importance of Company Culture

A recent study found a direct link between company culture and employee performance and retention. Additional data shows a link between company culture and profitability.

While it’s clear that company culture is important, there is a fine line between dictating a company culture and allowing it to develop naturally. Leaders who try to control too much risk stifling change while too little control can create a cultural vacuum.

The study confirms that organizational integrity in hand with a clear sense of belonging and purpose is crucial to a positive employee experience. Because of this, company culture needs to be consistent throughout.

With $11 billion lost each year as a result of employee turnover, it’s more important than ever to ensure employees feel needed and happy with their jobs. With a strong company culture, employers can save money on recruiting and training costs.

Other studies show that there is also a correlation between a company’s culture and its profits. When employees feel a sense of purpose, there are more engaged in the business, which results in an increase in profits.

However, employers must take a thoughtful approach to developing a positive culture. While employers should not control every move, if they have no part of the development of culture, it may form into something they don’t want.

In order to develop a positive company culture, an employer should ensure all employees feel like they’re part of a team. Whether it’s within departments or geographically, employees should be encouraged to work in teams.

Additionally, all employees should be treated fairly. This means that people who are putting in real effort should get noticed by higher-up employees.

Fairness also boils down to things like time off and sick days. With 37% of families saying that vacations make them happy, employees should be given adequate time to do those types of things. Employees should not only be given time off, but they should be encouraged to take it. Burnt out employees do nothing but decrease productivity, and that’s not good for them or the company.

Along with time off, employees should be given opportunities to learn new things. With the implementation of development programs, training, and new technology, employees can be encouraged to learn something new. This not only keeps them engaged in the company but helps them grow personally as well.

And lastly, a great company culture includes the executives and managers. At large businesses, it can be difficult for executives to find time to really engage with their employers. However, when employees see their managers being productive and involved in the company, it makes them want to do the same.

Overall, the study confirmed when many employers already know: culture matters. With a poor culture, a company will continue to decrease profitability over time and continue to lose employees at a steady rate.