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Scientists study children's TV habits

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            TODAY'S CONSUMER - Friday, November 10, 2006
                       "News You Can Use"


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          WSJ survey: Seniors happy with Part D

NEW YORK, -- A Wall Street Journal Online-Harris Inter-
active survey suggests most U.S. senior citizens enrolled 
in a Medicare drug plan are satisfied with their plan. The 
poll of 2,766 adults, which included 177 seniors enrolled 
in a Medicare Part D drug-benefit plan, indicated three-
quarters of respondents said they were satisfied with the 
plan, compared with 24 percent who said they weren't sat-
isfied, the Journal reported. The survey suggests many 
seniors are saving money because they switch to generic 
medications and don't plan to switch plans at the start 
of the year, when such changes are allowed. The Journal 
said the poll indicated the least popular component of 
the federal drug-benefit plan is the prohibition against 
importation of less-expensive drugs from Canada. The 
survey found 82 percent of senior respondents and 78 per-
cent of all adults asked disapprove of that measure.
The survey has a sampling error of 3 percentage points.

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            U.S. officials hunt Medicare fraud

WASHINGTON, -- U.S. federal investigators are hunting in-
cidents of Medicare fraud, using sophisticated computer 
technology to determine unusual patterns. In one case, 
investigators found a patient who had reportedly under-
gone a diagnostic rectal-probe procedure 118 times in a 
year at 21 medical facilities. As one official told USA 
Today: "It's unlikely that could have occurred. This per-
son would not have been able to sit on a plane." The use 
of computer programs to find suspicious patterns is 
designed to help discover insurance fraud before payment.
Medicare investigators said they have also discovered 
cases in which improperly obtained Medicare patient iden-
tification numbers were used to bill for examinations 
that were likely never performed. Such discoveries have 
resulted in 83 diagnostic centers losing their Medicare 
billing privileges this year, with $163 million in pay-
ments denied. Fraud is estimated to account for as much 
as 10 percent of the nation's $2 trillion healthcare 
spending bill.

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           Scientists study children's TV habits

GLASGOW, Scotland, -- A Scottish study has found disturb-
ing data regarding TV viewing, including the fact a 6-year-
old would rather look at a blank screen than human faces.
The University of Glasgow study, co-written by psychology 
researcher Markus Bindemann, found children ages 6 to 8 
respond to the image of a television as alcoholics do to 
pictures of an alcoholic drink. In a series of experiments 
conducted in primary schools, most youngsters looked at a 
picture of a blank television screen as soon as it flashed 
up on a computer next to a smiling face, The Times of 
London reported. "Faces are important social stimuli and 
it is surprising that children prefer to look at television 
instead," said Bindemann. "We learn social interaction -- 
how to deal with people and how to read them -- from look-
ing at their faces," he told the newspaper. "If you just 
stare at a box you don't get any genuine interactions."

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Copyright 2006 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International.

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