Obama budget proposes increasing tobacco taxes
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has proposed increasing federal taxes on cigarettes, drawing criticism from tobacco companies and praise from anti-smoking groups.
As part of his proposed budget, Obama proposed raising the tax on cigarettes by 94 cents per pack, with similar increases on other tobacco products. The current tax is $1.01 per pack.
Published reports quoted spokespeople for tobacco companies like Reynolds American and Altria Group as saying the proposed tax increase was unfair because it would target low- to middle-income consumers. Still, according to the Office of Management and Budget, the proposed increase would raise $78.1 billion in federal revenue over the next decade for early childhood education, and a study by the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing tobacco taxes by 50 cents would prompt nearly 1.4 million adult smokers to quit by 2021.
"We urge Congress to support this proposal, which would have as great an impact in reducing tobacco use among kids as any action the federal government has taken," Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers said.
Kalorama survey: Retail clinic patients satisfied with service
NEW YORK — Patients who use retail-based health clinics are satisfied with their visit, according to the findings of a new Kalorama Information report.
The healthcare market research publisher, which is a division of MarketResearch.com, has been covering retail clinics for six years and conducted a survey of U.S. adults to determine retail clinic use and satisfaction. According to the Retail Clinics: Consumer Attitudes Results of the 2013 Kalorama Survey, 91% of those surveyed who had used a retail clinic were either satisfied or very satisfied.
"Visitors to clinics are happy with the experience," stated Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "That is an indication that even if they may not revolutionize health care the way you may have thought a few years ago, they have a place in the healthcare system for a niche of customers."
Kalorama Information’s study sought to identify and describe that group of customers. The firm conducted an online panel of 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older nationwide from Feb. 20 to March 9, 2013, querying on a variety of topics related to retail clinics. The panel was apportioned to match U.S. Census demographics.
The survey found that 54.6% of those adults who had used a retail clinic (about a quarter of the full survey) reported they were "very satisfied" with their visit; 36.3% said they were "satisfied." Only a small percentage, less than 8%, reported they were "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied."
A cornerstone of the convenience clinic business model is low cost services enabled by high throughput and cost containment, said Kalorama, but Information didn’t find that low cost meant the customers using retail clinics were just those seeking discounts.
"We found a lot of things about retail clinic visitors that may surprise some in the industry," added Carlson. "For instance, they aren’t low income overwhelmingly and the clinics play to higher income levels."
Many more observations about retail clinic visitors and potential clinic visitors are contained in the report, including reasons for visits, gender breakout of retail clinic visitors, best targets for retail clinics and demographics of retail clinics users.
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Walgreens pays dividend for 322nd straight quarter
DEERFIELD, Ill. — The board of directors at Walgreens on Wednesday declared a regular quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share, a 22.2% increase over the year ago dividend. The dividend is payable June 12, 2013, to shareholders of record May 21, 2013.
Walgreens has paid a dividend in 322 straight quarters (more than 80 years) and has raised its dividend for 37 consecutive years. Over the last five years, Walgreens annual dividend rate has increased from 38 cents per share to $1.10 per share, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of nearly 24%.