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Healthcare Spending

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NEWS
January 6, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - Soaring healthcare spending - which helped pave the way for President Obama's health law - continued to moderate in 2012, the fourth year of a historic slowdown in how much the nation pays for medical treatment, according to a new government report. Overall spending on healthcare rose less than 4% in 2012, less than half the rate of a decade ago, independent economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded. And for only the third time in the last 15 years, health spending rose more slowly than the overall economy.
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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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BUSINESS
January 9, 2012 | By Laurie McGinley, Los Angeles Times
U.S. healthcare spending grew at the second-lowest rate on record in 2010 as recession-spooked consumers avoided going to the doctor, taking expensive prescription drugs and undergoing costly elective procedures. Public and private healthcare spending totaled $2.6 trillion, representing 17.9% of the U.S. economy, the same proportion as in 2009, according to a government report released Monday. That was a sharp departure from previous years, when healthcare consumed ever-larger shares of the economic pie. But analysts said spending was likely to pick up as the economy improved and the healthcare law passed under President Obama begins to expand coverage to millions of people now uninsured.
WORLD
April 8, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a law guaranteeing access to birth control and sex education in a country that has high maternal mortality and ranks 53rd worldwide in total fertility rate.  Implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, also known as the RH Law, had been on hold for the last year following challenges to it by the Roman Catholic Church and conservative politicians who questioned the...
BUSINESS
November 20, 2011 | Michael Hiltzik
Here's how healthcare management works in the Hiltzik household as 2011 starts to slip away: We've ordered a year's worth of disposable contact lenses for my son to supplement the year's supply he already has. I've bugged my wife to buy new eyeglasses and sunglasses, although the two pair of designer frames she already has are functional, and plenty stylish too. When the latest statement arrived from my dentist, I cursed my dental plan for...
NATIONAL
January 9, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
Government figures released today show that Americans may be getting a respite from the torrid pace of increases in healthcare spending, but experts cautioned that it was too soon for a national sigh of relief. The data show that in 2005, spending on healthcare grew 6.9%. That was the smallest rate of increase since 1999, and marked the third straight year in which the pace had moderated. In 2004, for example, spending grew by 7.2%.
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.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2010 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
Tom Taylor learned a lesson about healthcare finances when he had both his knees replaced a couple of months apart at separate hospitals in Northern California. The tab at the first hospital was $95,000, but the second cost $55,000. The same doctor performed identical surgeries on both knees, and Taylor says he can't detect any differences between the two. "Nobody knows what it costs," said Taylor, 53, a former health insurance sales executive. "There is a complete lack of transparency in the healthcare system."
BUSINESS
April 22, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
A new study attributes a slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending to the recent recession and predicts more rapid growth as the economy strengthens. The report issued Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation seeks to shed light on the reasons behind the recent drop-off. The analysis found that economic factors related to the recession accounted for 77% of the reduced growth in national healthcare spending, which totaled an estimated $2.8 trillion in 2012. The remaining 23% resulted from changes in the healthcare system, such as higher patient deductibles and other changes made by insurers and medical providers, the study said.
NATIONAL
June 13, 2012 | By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Even as President Obama's healthcare law expands health coverage and transforms the way millions of Americans get medical care, it will have little effect on the nation's total healthcare bill, according to a new government report on national healthcare spending. Total U.S. spending on healthcare is expected to continue to surge over the next decade, hitting about $4.8 trillion in 2021, independent economists at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate.
NEWS
March 23, 2014 | By Jon Healey
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law four years ago Sunday, and contrary to its sponsors' hopes, the measure better known as Obamacare has grown less popular over time, not more. Trying to put the best possible spin on the anniversary, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered "four big reasons to celebrate" in a blog post Friday. Unfortunately, at least three of those reasons are, if not bogus, at least misleading. And I say this as someone who thinks the Affordable Care Act is a good thing (albeit a work in progress)
OPINION
February 21, 2014
After a weeklong stay, the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix sent me on my way on Jan. 5 with five stitches, a titanium alloy plate in my neck and a hard plastic Össur Miami J cervical collar that will remain on my neck until late March. A few weeks later, I learned what I'd been charged for the Miami J: $447. Had I been given the chance, I could have purchased the brace online for less than $100. Allowing that sort of comparison shopping is one small thing policymakers could do to slow the growth of healthcare spending.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown will propose a $106.8-billion budget on Friday, increasing state spending on schools, healthcare and welfare for poor Californians. Brown will also propose stashing $1.6 billion in a rainy day fund as a buffer against future economic turmoil. A copy of the budget proposal was obtained by the Los Angeles Times. DOCUMENT: Gov. Jerry Brown's 2014 budget proposal The document is evidence of California's financial turnaround after years of spending cuts.
NEWS
January 6, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - Soaring healthcare spending - which helped pave the way for President Obama's health law - continued to moderate in 2012, the fourth year of a historic slowdown in how much the nation pays for medical treatment, according to a new government report. Overall spending on healthcare rose less than 4% in 2012, less than half the rate of a decade ago, independent economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded. And for only the third time in the last 15 years, health spending rose more slowly than the overall economy.
NEWS
October 31, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Workers faced with forfeiting unused money in their flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses may be getting some relief under a new federal rule. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service changed the use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs, to allow account holders to carry over as much as $500 from one year to the next without penalty. Many workers have been reluctant to put money into the plans for fear of losing whatever they don't use, resulting in long-standing complaints about how the pretax FSAs work.
BUSINESS
September 18, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
After five years of historically slow growth, the nation's healthcare tab is poised to grow again as the federal healthcare law expands coverage and the economy improves, according to a new government report. Total U.S. spending on healthcare is expected to surge over the next decade, hitting $5 trillion in 2022, independent economists at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate. That's up from $2.9 trillion this year and it will push healthcare spending to nearly 20% of the U.S. economy by the next decade.
BUSINESS
March 12, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Spending on genetic tests has reached $5 billion annually and could top $25 billion within a decade, according to an insurance industry study published Monday. The rise in spending is likely to intensify the debate over genetic testing as policymakers and employers struggle to contain spiraling healthcare costs. The growing availability of genetic and molecular diagnostic tests offers the promise of earlier detection of disease and more personalized treatments that could wring substantial savings from the nation's $2.6 trillion-a-year healthcare tab. But many medical providers and other experts worry that those benefits may be outweighed by indiscriminate use of genetic testing, similar to what has occurred with some spending on popular prescription drugs and expensive imaging tests.
NATIONAL
September 11, 2009 | James Oliphant
In his healthcare address Wednesday night, President Obama proposed a new element in his overhaul plan -- the creation of a so-called trigger to prevent higher medical costs from pushing the budget deficit higher. Here is what he is proposing: How would the spending "trigger" work? In broad terms, it would force cutbacks in government outlays if healthcare spending began to get out of control. Specifically, the trigger -- also referred to as a fail-safe -- would kick in if savings that Obama says his plan would create somehow failed to materialize.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 14, 2013 | By Phil Willon and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - As the Democrats who control the Capitol congratulated themselves over this week's state budget deal, another dynamic emerged: support from across the political divide for Gov. Jerry Brown's thrifty ways. Republicans who a few years ago had enough clout to hold up spending plans and block tax increases now rely on the governor, once the epitome of liberalism, to give them a voice in budget talks. They praised Brown as "conservative" and "restrained" - even if their support lacked a certain warmth - saying he at least attempted to put the brakes on the Legislature's more generous Democratic leadership.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
A new study attributes a slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending to the recent recession and predicts more rapid growth as the economy strengthens. The report issued Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation seeks to shed light on the reasons behind the recent drop-off. The analysis found that economic factors related to the recession accounted for 77% of the reduced growth in national healthcare spending, which totaled an estimated $2.8 trillion in 2012. The remaining 23% resulted from changes in the healthcare system, such as higher patient deductibles and other changes made by insurers and medical providers, the study said.
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