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BUSINESS
March 26, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
A big part of the argument made by enemies of the Affordable Care Act that the Act is hurting Medicare applies to a category of health plan known as Medicare Advantage. New evidence has just come in showing that Medicare Advantage is a ripoff that fattens the health insurance industry while scarcely helping its enrollees , all at public expense. Medicare Advantage plans differ from traditional Medicare by offering its enrollees ostensibly better care and sometimes broader services--free eyeglasses, even gym memberships--in return for reimbursements from the government that are 14% higher than traditional Medicare reimbursements, or more.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
March 26, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
A big part of the argument made by enemies of the Affordable Care Act that the Act is hurting Medicare applies to a category of health plan known as Medicare Advantage. New evidence has just come in showing that Medicare Advantage is a ripoff that fattens the health insurance industry while scarcely helping its enrollees , all at public expense. Medicare Advantage plans differ from traditional Medicare by offering its enrollees ostensibly better care and sometimes broader services--free eyeglasses, even gym memberships--in return for reimbursements from the government that are 14% higher than traditional Medicare reimbursements, or more.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 8, 2009
I couldn't agree more with James Rainey's criticism of the television news media for not devoting time and attention to the administration's campaign for significant healthcare reform ["Health Debate Makes TV Ill," July 29]. In the absence of providing solid, unbiased information, we have intensive lobbying by the health insurance industry and outright misrepresentations -- fear mongering -- of what reform would actually accomplish. Rachel Galperin Encino
BUSINESS
December 1, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
The opportunity to be reborn is a rare gift indeed, granted to few beyond the mythical phoenix and some adherents of the Baptist faith. Them - and the Affordable Care Act, which this week will undergo what its supporters hope will be a second launch much different from its first. Reports are flowing in that HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment website serving residents of 36 states that didn't bother to set up their own sites, is working much better than at any time since its calamitous launch on Oct. 1. There may still be glitches ahead, especially if the Dec. 1 relaunch brings a torrent of attempted enrollments all at once, but the feds' confidence that the worst of the consumer-facing problems are behind them seems reasonable.
NEWS
November 10, 1993 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) joined the Clinton Administration's campaign against the health insurance industry, accusing one organization of using unfair scare tactics in its controversial $6.5-million advertising drive. Kennedy's criticism during a hearing before his committee echoed that of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton last week and was joined by several other Senate Democrats.
NEWS
November 10, 1993 | KAREN TUMULTY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) joined the Clinton Administration's public relations campaign against the health insurance industry Tuesday, accusing one organization of using unfair scare tactics in its controversial $6.5-million advertising campaign. "Do you think you are bringing light or do you think you are bringing heat to this issue?" Kennedy demanded of Charles N. Kahn III, executive vice president of the Health Insurance Assn. of America.
BUSINESS
November 9, 1990 | ROBERT ROSENBLATT
The health-insurance industry must make coverage more affordable and accessible or face an angry Congress that will answer a public clamor about health care costs by eliminating the business in favor of national health insurance, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) warned Thursday. "Congress will be serious about health insurance reform only once--there will be no second chance for the industry," he told a conference on medical spending.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 10, 1999
Re "Managed-Care Ads: Rx for Image Ills?" Aug. 6: The managed care health insurance industry is willing to spend $11.5 million to market to the public that it is selling a good service rather than reaping profits. Where else in the world would limited health care dollars be spent for advertising that benefits the industry? This money is being spent to forestall regulation in addition to the greater amount that is spent on lobbying and campaign contributions. Limited health care dollars that come from government-funded programs, hard-earned consumer dollars and employer contributions are used to persuade consumers to pay up and lawmakers to keep their hands off, while appropriate care is denied to ensure higher profits.
OPINION
November 13, 2007
Re "Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders," Nov. 9 No surprise that Health Net Inc. gave out bonuses to drop sick insurance policyholders. The for-profit health insurance industry will always be the winner, as it has to be.
OPINION
September 13, 2008
Re "Greetings from the energized base," Opinion, Sept. 6 I shudder to think what Meghan Daum's Republican "religious conservative" friends, who once admitted respect for Barack Obama but now feel energized after seeing how "real" Sarah Palin's family is, would have felt if Obama's out-of-wedlock, pregnant, 17-year-old daughter and her 18-year-old soon-to-be husband, using expletives on his MySpace page, had been paraded around the Democratic convention....
BUSINESS
October 11, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Now that the medical device industry appears to be on the verge of snaking out from under its Obamacare-related tax , another industry lobby has stepped up to the plate with the words, "Us too!" We're talking about the health insurance industry, which has launched a campaign to kill a premium excise tax that will start being collected next year. As with the medical device tax, this is an example of pure special pleading. The Affordable Care Act is shot through with fees and taxes affecting almost all stakeholders in healthcare, largely because conservatives in Congress insisted that the law pay for itself.
OPINION
July 28, 2013
Re "Kaiser's rising premiums spark employer backlash," July 25 Why is HMO Kaiser Permanente raising its premiums through the roof? In his book "Deadly Spin," former insurance company executive Wendell Potter wrote that the health insurance industry is dominated by a few large companies that have no reason to keep rate increases reasonable. I say that if insurance companies such as Kaiser Permanente continue to raise rates with impunity, don't be surprised if voters demand the public insurance option that President Obama originally proposed as part of his healthcare reform plan.
OPINION
April 7, 2013
Re "Insurers cry foul as state official hires foe," April 3 I had to chuckle when I read the suggestion by Loyola Law Professor Jessica Levinson that California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones' use of insurance industry critic Consumer Watchdog to review premium hikes "raises serious questions about a conflict of interest. " A conflict of interest arises when industry insiders and lobbyists are hired by the public agencies that are supposed to regulate them. Whether it entails an Elizabeth Warren looking into Wall Street's fraudulent practices or Consumer Watchdog examining price gouging by the health insurance industry, individuals and groups who place the public interest above corporate greed are a prerequisite for good government.
BUSINESS
April 3, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones lashed out Tuesday at another double-digit rate hike for thousands of small businesses getting their health insurance from industry giant Anthem Blue Cross. But this time Jones got some help from a surprising source. He has quietly tapped Consumer Watchdog, his political ally and the state's most outspoken industry critic, to help review health insurance rate increases under a one-year contract worth as much as $88,000. The insurance industry expressed dismay that the state enlisted its longtime nemesis to help review rate increases, and some experts questioned whether it's necessary to further antagonize insurers at a time when state officials are trying to work closely with the industry to implement a massive healthcare expansion.
OPINION
October 18, 2010
The House Energy and Commerce Committee provided more ammunition to supporters of comprehensive healthcare reform last week, issuing a startling report about the market for individual insurance policies. The report found that the four top for-profit health insurers in the U.S. denied coverage to 1 of every 7 applicants from 2007 to 2009 based on their medical histories. This selectivity, which was intended to reduce the companies' costs and protect profit margins, makes sense from a business perspective.
OPINION
August 16, 2010
It's a civics lesson Re "Judging the judiciary," Opinion, Aug. 13 It's about time that people like American Family Assn. President Tim Wildmon read the U.S. Constitution accurately. There are three branches of government, not two. The judiciary has as important a role to play as the executive and legislative branches. When the majority oversteps its bounds, the judiciary has to make decisions when asked whether a law is constitutional or not. It fulfills its role remarkably well when compared with the other two branches.
BUSINESS
October 11, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Now that the medical device industry appears to be on the verge of snaking out from under its Obamacare-related tax , another industry lobby has stepped up to the plate with the words, "Us too!" We're talking about the health insurance industry, which has launched a campaign to kill a premium excise tax that will start being collected next year. As with the medical device tax, this is an example of pure special pleading. The Affordable Care Act is shot through with fees and taxes affecting almost all stakeholders in healthcare, largely because conservatives in Congress insisted that the law pay for itself.
OPINION
April 1, 2010
Greener grass Re "Parents find it harder to ditch L.A. Unified," March 29 It is unfathomable that L.A. Unified has reached such depths that it needs to construct a Berlin Wall to prevent families within city limits from seeking educational opportunities elsewhere. Whose interests is it really taking to heart? This new policy will only increase disparities between the haves and have-nots, as those with resources are already in private schools or will flee there.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 8, 2009
I couldn't agree more with James Rainey's criticism of the television news media for not devoting time and attention to the administration's campaign for significant healthcare reform ["Health Debate Makes TV Ill," July 29]. In the absence of providing solid, unbiased information, we have intensive lobbying by the health insurance industry and outright misrepresentations -- fear mongering -- of what reform would actually accomplish. Rachel Galperin Encino
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