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Healthcare Costs

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.
November 1, 2013 | By Seema Mehta and Abby Sewell
The fight between labor and Los Angeles County government intensified Friday, when a coalition of unions representing 90,000 workers banded together to fight county efforts to reduce retirement healthcare benefits for future employees. Until now, the disagreement had been limited to one union that represents county workers, SEIU 721, which has been working without a contract for a month. On Friday, several other unions that have already signed contracts with a 6% raise announced that they would be joining the Service Employees International Union local in its fight over healthcare costs.
October 15, 2013 | By Jane Mansbridge
Two different narratives have been at play in Washington lately to explain what caused the government shutdown. In the first, House Republicans are to blame for trying to hold Democrats and the president hostage over a law that was duly passed by Congress. In the other, Democrats are to blame for their rigid refusal to compromise on Obamacare. But there's a part of the story that seemingly has been lost in history: Democrats have already compromised on healthcare reform by adopting Obama/RomneyCare in the first place.
September 22, 2013
Re "When less medicine is more," Opinion, Sept. 18 We can save some of the $700 billion a year that Dr. Glenn D. Braunstein says is spent on ineffective care by reforming medical malpractice. Much of the reason doctors run too many tests is to practice defensive medicine. No-fault systems like workers' compensation would greatly reduce healthcare costs and protect consumers. Courts should be involved only when gross negligence is a possible cause. Braunstein also discusses unnecessarily long hospital stays.
September 18, 2013 | By Glenn D. Braunstein
This year, 36.6 million people will be admitted to U.S. hospitals. Each patient will stay an average of 4.8 days, and the cost for all those hospitalizations will reach into the billions. Is all that time spent in hospitals good for patients? Hospitals, of course, are vital institutions that save lives. When someone needs intensive, around-the-clock care, there is no substitute. But as physicians and hospital staffs know well, the longer a patient stays in a hospital, the more perilous the hospitalization can become.
September 15, 2013 | By Rahul K. Parikh
Would you be willing to share with your employer how much you eat, drink, smoke or exercise? And would you be willing to make lifestyle changes in return for a break on the cost of your health insurance? The University of Minnesota offered such discounts to its workers. Actions such as completing a health questionnaire, biking to campus or setting personal fitness goals earned insurance discounts beginning at $300. Nearly 6,000 employees accepted the bargain. But do such programs have the intended effect of healthier employees and lower healthcare costs?
August 30, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
As their session draws to a close, California lawmakers are poised to approve at least two hotly disputed measures that could slow the growth of healthcare costs. One would allow nurses with advanced training to deliver more medical care, and another would open the door to less-expensive versions of pricey biologic drugs. Although the nursing bill was weakened in the face of opposition from doctors, it's still an important step in the right direction. The biologic drug measure, on the other hand, strays off course.
August 22, 2013 | By David Zahniser and Catherine Saillant
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emerged from his first labor showdown with some financial concessions on Department of Water and Power salaries but little progress on a key goal: getting employees to pay out of their own pockets for rising health insurance costs. The deal is expected to save $6.1 billion over 30 years, in large part by cutting pension benefits for new hires and having workers go three years without raises, according to budget officials. But the DWP will continue its practice of covering 100% of employees' healthcare premiums, despite Garcetti's call for more concessions.
August 17, 2013 | Steve Lopez
Ordinarily, I don't spend more than an hour or so at a time in Los Angeles City Hall. I get in and out of there, quick as a burglar, to avoid having my judgment impaired. I thought longingly about that approach on Friday, when I attended a windy public hearing on a proposed new contract for employees of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. For the first two hours, public officials explained the contract, in mostly rosy terms. It wasn't perfect, they said, but pretty good.
June 14, 2013 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - Officials who oversee the healthcare plans that cover San Francisco public employees this week excoriated Kaiser executives for failing to adequately explain a proposed rate increase but ultimately voted to back it. The city's public workers have seen their healthcare costs spiral while they have accepted pay cuts and furlough days at the bargaining table. In an unusual move, labor unions teamed up with San Francisco's Health Service System earlier this year to demand greater transparency from Kaiser.
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