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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Former village trustee admits health care fraud

Sunday, 10 November 2013 09:31 Published in Local News

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois village's former trustee faces up to a decade in federal prison now that he's pleaded guilty to committing health care fraud.

Thirty-nine-year-old Darron Suggs pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

Suggs admitted he filed fraudulent Medicaid bills on behalf of two people receiving federal aid for home health care. He falsely claimed he acted as their personal health care assistant for seven years beginning in 2006.

The federal government says the fraud netted Suggs nearly $65,000.

Suggs was a Washington Park trustee who also served as a St. Clair County probation officer but left that job in July.

Suggs also faces up to $250,000 in fines when sentenced March 14.

The shutdown's surprise effect on jobs numbers

Saturday, 09 November 2013 09:25 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government shutdown may have affected October's jobs numbers. But not how you think.

In the height of irony, the 16 days of federal worker furloughs and government disruptions may have helped, not hurt, the improved jobs picture.

Because of the shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics delayed the release of the jobs numbers by one week to allow more time to collect payroll and household data. That extra time resulted in an above average response rate for payroll data.

A stronger participation rate can skew the hiring numbers up. As a result, to some economists, Friday's robust jobs number is looking slightly inflated.

Trans fat doesn't stir much 'nanny state' debate

Saturday, 09 November 2013 09:23 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — They are among our most personal daily decisions: what to eat or drink. Maybe what to inhale.

Now that the government's banning trans fat, does that mean it's revving up to take away our choice to consume all sorts of other unhealthy stuff?

Salt? Soda? Cigarettes?

Nah.

In the tug-of-war between public health and personal freedom, the Food and Drug Administration's decision to ban trans fats barely rates a ripple.

Hardly anyone defends the icky-sounding artificial ingredient anymore. It was too decades when health activists began warning Americans that it was clogging their arteries and causing heart attacks.

Mostly, Americans' palates have moved on, and so have their arguments over what's sensible health policy and what amounts to a "nanny state" run amok.

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