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OPINION
April 22, 2014
Re "Patients lose in insurers' games," Column, April 18 David Lazarus tells of the ordeal a young female patient and her doctors went through to have breast reduction surgery covered by insurance, only to be denied. In the 1980s, I worked in a unit that reviewed appeals of medical claims denied under the group policies issued by my company. Many of the denied claims were for breast reduction. We reviewed these appeals carefully, as we recognized that the term "illness" included physical pain or limitation caused by something other than disease or injury.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
City officials are starting to pore over thousands of signatures to determine whether a proposal for a Los Angeles city health commission could make it to the ballot -- the latest step in a battle by AIDS activists who argue Angelenos need more leverage over services provided by the county. The petition calls for a 15-member commission, appointed by members of the Los Angeles City Council, to monitor how county departments provide health services to the city. It would also examine whether the city should keep contracting with the county or create a health department of its own. The proposal emerged after a court struck down an earlier bid by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to create a city health department, an idea that was vehemently opposed by city and county officials.
SCIENCE
April 22, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Among the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act, few are as controversial as the one requiring health insurance providers to include coverage for contraception. A new survey finds that support for this rule is widespread, with 69% of Americans in favor of the mandate. Among 2,124 adults surveyed in November 2013, 1,452 agreed that “health plans in the United States should be required to include coverage” for “birth control medications,” according to a research letter published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
With open enrollment for Obamacare wrapped up, insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross stayed ahead of the pack in California sign-ups and widened its lead over rival Blue Shield of California. Anthem signed up 425,058 people through April 15, or 30.5% of Covered California's exchange market under the Affordable Care Act, new data show. Anthem is a unit of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurer. San Francisco insurer Blue Shield of California trails Anthem with a 27.3% share, or 381,457 enrollees.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 19, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
Visibility was 10 miles and the morning sun had pushed the temperature close to 90 as Danny Joe Hall guided his mile-long Union Pacific freight train east through the grasslands of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Near the farming town of Goodwell, federal investigators said, the 56-year-old engineer sped through a series of yellow and red signals warning him to slow down and stop for a Los Angeles-bound train moving slowly onto a side track. The 83-mph collision killed Hall and two crewmen.
HEALTH
April 18, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Maria Rodale is the third generation to lead Rodale Inc., the independent publisher of health and environmental books and magazines in Pennsylvania. Her grandfather started Organic Gardening Magazine, and she is a longtime organic advocate but says she drinks coffee and wouldn't describe herself as a "purist. " She has three daughters, ages 7, 16 and 32, and these days is focused on the e-commerce site Rodales.com. You've written a whole book on organics ("Organic Manifesto"), so this may not be easy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 17, 2014 | Bloomberg News
Gene Estess, a broker who gave up the pay and perks of Wall Street for a second career helping New York City's homeless, has died. He was 78. He died April 9 at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to his wife, Pat Schiff Estess. The cause was lung cancer, diagnosed about six months ago. Raised in Illinois on the Mississippi River, Estess found himself unable to ignore the inequality on the streets of New York. He remained interested in poverty and homelessness while living in the leafy suburb of Armonk in Westchester County and working as an options specialist at L.F. Rothschild & Co., an investment bank and brokerage firm.
BUSINESS
April 17, 2014 | David Lazarus
Dr. Theodore Corwin, a plastic surgeon in Thousand Oaks for the last 30 years, has had run-ins with insurers before, but never one so aggravating - and pointless - as this. A 26-year-old woman recently came to his office complaining of back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as numbness in her hands and arms, resulting from her unusually ample bust. She's 5-foot-6, not overweight, Corwin said. She wanted a breast reduction. "There seemed to be no question that her pain and numbness was caused by her carrying this excessive weight," Corwin told me. "It seemed like a straightforward diagnosis.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
After website troubles sparked a two-week extension, California officials wrapped up the first open enrollment for Obamacare coverage with nearly 1.3 million consumers signed up since October for the state-run exchange. Sign-ups ahead of Tuesday's enrollment deadline appeared to run more smoothly than they did March 31, the previous cut-off date. The state's Covered California website was overwhelmed that day by a last-minute surge of applicants and it repeatedly crashed. In response, officials extended a grace period until Tuesday for anyone who had already started an application or ran into technical problems.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 15, 2014 | By Bettina Boxall
The state Department of Public Health is adopting the nation's first-ever drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen found in water supplies across the state. The department announced Tuesday that it has submitted a final regulation setting a limit of 10 parts per billion in public drinking water supplies, a level that will require more than 100 water systems to treat for the contaminant. If approved as expected by the Office of Administrative Law, the standard would take effect July 1. Public health Director Ron Chapman said the limit "will protect public health while taking into consideration economic and technical feasibility as required by law. " Known as chromium 6, the toxic heavy metal makes its way into groundwater naturally from geological formations.
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