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OPINION
July 25, 2012
Re "How to cure U.S. healthcare," Opinion, July 20 Dalibor Rohac proposes that patients should bear a greater proportion of their medical costs. However, imposing higher cost-sharing on patients will not curb the explosion in health spending. The vast majority of expenditures is concentrated on a small sliver of patients who hit their out-of-pocket limits, causing catastrophic insurance to take effect and costs to rise. Instead of raising cost-sharing on patients, healthcare providers should bear financial risk for the cost and quality of care they deliver, because they determine resource allocation.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
April 14, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
A historic slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending in recent years may be drawing to a close. An industry report published Tuesday and healthcare experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting more prescriptions filled and visiting the hospital. Other factors such as millions of newly insured Americans seeking treatment for the first time and higher prices from healthcare consolidation could also help drive up costs. Experts aren't predicting an immediate return to double-digit increases in medical spending.
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OPINION
February 3, 2013
Re "Small surgery, huge markup," Business, Jan. 31 The article hits the nail on the head when it comes to high costs in California's healthcare system. Consumers ultimately pay the price through extravagant out-of-pocket costs and soaring premiums. As we found in our recent study, "Your Price May Vary," California's priciest hospitals charge 2.7 times more than other regions for the exact same procedures. In the end, this has real impacts on consumers. For example, Anthem Blue Cross plans to raise rates by 26% for 340,000 Californians in February.
OPINION
April 2, 2014
Re "Bickering over Medicare ," Editorial, March 27 Your assertion that the Medicare sustainable growth rate, or SGR, represents only "paper savings" is not supported by the actual history of the SGR and "doc fixes" enacted by Congress. Though it is true that most SGR cuts have not gone into effect as scheduled, the SGR has actually done a great deal to control healthcare costs by keeping physician payment updates modest and pushing policymakers to offset the cost of avoiding cuts.
NEWS
January 4, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
Fewer companies offered health insurance last year, and the ones that did charged employees more for their coverage. That's among the major findings of in an annual California Employer Health Benefits Survey released Wednesday by the California HealthCare Foundation, a research and grant-making nonprofit organization. According to the survey, premiums for employer health insurance plans rose 153.5% since 2002, a rate that's more than five times the increase in California's inflation rate.
BUSINESS
March 8, 2012 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
The largest union representing Hollywood's technical workers has begun contract negotiations with the major studios amid concerns that rising healthcare costs could lead to cuts in health and pension benefits for below-the-line crew members. The largest union representing Hollywood's technical workers has begun contract negotiations with the major studios amid concerns that rising healthcare costs could lead to cuts in health and pension benefits for below-the-line crew members. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — which represents more than 100,000 entertainment industry workers, including cinematographers, set decorators and prop masters — on Wednesday began negotiating a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
NEWS
September 19, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
There are six things that young doctors need to learn during their training period as interns and residents, starting with basics like acquiring “medical knowledge” and honing their “patient care” skills. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Medical Specialties make sure that doctors-in-training master these general competencies before they complete their residency training. One more item should be added to this list, according to Dr. Steven E. Weinberger , chief executive of the American College of Physicians: how to provide high-quality medical care without breaking the bank.
NEWS
May 31, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - In another indication of the impact of slowing healthcare costs, the federal government Friday upgraded its assessment of the financial health of the Medicare insurance program for the elderly and disabled. Medicare's main trust fund will not begin operating in the red until 2026, two years later than projected last year, according to an annual report from the board of trustees that oversees the nation's major entitlement programs. Prospects for the Social Security retirement program, meanwhile, remain largely unchanged from last year, with the trustees estimating that the program's main trust fund, which provides assistance to some 46 million retirees and their relatives, will be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2035.
BUSINESS
May 3, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Healthcare in the United States is the most expensive in the world, but it's not the best, according to new research. For each person, the U.S. spent $7,690 on medical care in 2009, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund research group. That was 17% of GDP at the time and the most of the 13 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. Healthcare spending in the U.S. was three times more than in Japan, the country with the lowest costs.
BUSINESS
November 26, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Healthcare costs for Los Angeles employers climbed 4.5% this year to $11,625 per employee, a new survey shows, and firms expect a bigger increase in 2014. Nationwide, health-benefit costs in the workplace rose just 2.1% in 2013 to $10,779 per worker, which includes employer and employee contributions for medical, dental and other health coverage. The figures come from a survey of employer health plans by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm. Full coverage: Obamacare rolls out Employers nationwide and in Southern California expect their healthcare costs to climb more than 5% next year.
NEWS
April 1, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - In a buoyant Rose Garden event Tuesday to announce that 7.1 million people signed up by the deadline for the first round of Obamacare, President Obama gleefully declared his healthcare law “good for the country” and pledged he would work to perfect it in the months to come. But as his audience whistled and cheered at the number of enrollments - a target the White House previously said it couldn't hit - the president quickly sharpened his message into a critique of those he said have “based their entire political agenda on repealing” the Affordable Care Act. “This law is doing what it's supposed to do,” Obama said.
OPINION
March 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Maybe it was too good to be true. A rare bipartisan healthcare reform proposal backed by leaders of three major House and Senate committees is foundering because Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to pay for it. The irony is that the measure, which would change the way Medicare reimburses doctors, would slow the growth of healthcare spending and taxpayers' costs. Lawmakers should stop the partisan bickering and start working in good faith to find a way to enact the long-overdue and much-needed reform.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2014 | By Catherine Saillant
Los Angeles City Council members Wednesday approved a new contract with the union representing deputy city attorneys that gives no pay raises through 2016 and requires a bigger contribution toward healthcare costs. Under the three-year pact, approved 10-0, deputy city attorneys will for the first time pay a portion of healthcare premiums, about 10%, and also pay more toward the cost of retiree healthcare. Current employees now pay about 7% toward the cost of retiree health coverage.
OPINION
February 7, 2014
Re "CVS' halt on tobacco wins praise," Business, Feb. 6 The following sign was posted in a small drugstore: "Dear Customers, As we are in business for your health, we no longer sell cigarettes. " The year was 1964. I was 13 years old and had helped my father, Harry Labinger, hang that sign after the surgeon general reported on the dangers of smoking. My father, a smoker, also quit smoking that day, cold turkey. It was a lesson in health, ethics and courage I have never forgotten.
OPINION
February 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
In an effort to cut costs, many insurers in the new state health insurance exchanges are offering plans with "narrow networks" that include fewer doctors and hospitals - particularly the costlier ones with famous names, such as Cedars-Sinai. The trade-off has sparked complaints from some policyholders who've had trouble seeing their favorite doctor or, in some cases, any doctor in the right specialty. Although regulators have to address those issues, narrow networks can actually be a good thing for patients if done the right way. Insurers started limiting their customers' choice of providers long before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, steering patients to preferred doctors and hospitals through restrictive HMOs or more inclusive - and popular - PPOs.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Jon Healey
With Republicans hoping to make next year's election another referendum on the 2010 healthcare law (better known as Obamacare), the White House issued a report Thursday aimed at those calling for the law to be overturned. "Repeal Would Raise Costs, Strip Protections from Families Across America," the report declares. As usual, though, the administration left out one no-trivial part of the equation: how much those benefits are costing the public. The Times' editorial board has steadfastly supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, warts and all, because it makes a credible effort to make a more sustainable healthcare system.
OPINION
February 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
In an effort to cut costs, many insurers in the new state health insurance exchanges are offering plans with "narrow networks" that include fewer doctors and hospitals - particularly the costlier ones with famous names, such as Cedars-Sinai. The trade-off has sparked complaints from some policyholders who've had trouble seeing their favorite doctor or, in some cases, any doctor in the right specialty. Although regulators have to address those issues, narrow networks can actually be a good thing for patients if done the right way. Insurers started limiting their customers' choice of providers long before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, steering patients to preferred doctors and hospitals through restrictive HMOs or more inclusive - and popular - PPOs.
BUSINESS
November 26, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Healthcare costs for Los Angeles employers climbed 4.5% this year to $11,625 per employee, a new survey shows, and firms expect a bigger increase in 2014. Nationwide, health-benefit costs in the workplace rose just 2.1% in 2013 to $10,779 per worker, which includes employer and employee contributions for medical, dental and other health coverage. The figures come from a survey of employer health plans by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm. Full coverage: Obamacare rolls out Employers nationwide and in Southern California expect their healthcare costs to climb more than 5% next year.
BUSINESS
November 9, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Californians are more supportive of President Obama's healthcare law than the country at large, but they still worry it will raise healthcare costs and hurt the economy, a new poll of registered voters shows. Statewide, 50% said they backed the Affordable Care Act and 42% opposed it, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. That runs counter to national polls that show more people disapprove of Obamacare than support it. Latinos, who make up about half of California's uninsured population, were even more enthusiastic, supporting the healthcare law by a 2-1 margin.
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