October 11, 2013 |
If your pollen allergies are acting up and getting you down, don't despair. There are steps you can take that can make a real difference. Avoiding pollen altogether is probably impossible (unless you live under a dome, in which case you have plenty of other problems). But there are ways to limit your exposure. Keep your doors and windows closed and run a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Keep your car windows closed and run the air conditioner. Check the pollen count (one good site is http://www.pollen.com/allergy-forecast.asp )
October 3, 2013 |
As the medical device tax begins to look more and more like Obamacare's sacrificial lamb , the invaluable MapLight provides us with a rundown of the device industry's spending to kill the tax. The raw number -- and we do mean raw: Supporters of the repeal have contributed $39.8 million to current members of Congress since the tax was enacted. In the house, the top collector is Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) ($485,428), with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) a close second at $464,974.
October 3, 2013 |
The one piece of Obamacare that seems genuinely to be on the table in the shutdown standoff is the medical device tax, a 2.3% levy mostly on hospital devices designed to produce $30 billion in revenue over ten years. You can mark down the bipartisan opposition to this tax as a triumph of Big Business lobbying. A s we reported in May , the industry, which mostly comprises mega-manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, has attacked the tax with a raft of dubious claims and statistics.
October 1, 2013 |
Annette Diaz, 26, waited quietly Tuesday morning at the health benefits resource center on the grounds of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. Diaz wanted help from her benefits counselor, Maria Zavala, with receiving food stamps through the CalFresh program, but she also wanted to know everything about signing up for Obamacare. It was the first day Diaz could look into medical insurance enrollment through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment kicked off nationwide Tuesday, allowing Americans who don't receive coverage through an employer to shop for insurance in state-based healthcare marketplaces.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 27, 2013 |
Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills Friday aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse but vetoed a third that could have helped the state's medical board identify reckless doctors whose patients died on pills they prescribed. The three bills, which garnered strong bipartisan support, were spurred by a series of investigative reports in The Times that linked drugs prescribed by doctors to nearly half the prescription-involved overdose deaths in Southern California from 2006 through 2011.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 |
A group of medical providers at clinics run by an influential but controversial AIDS-focused nonprofit group have launched a bid to unionize, saying that the organization's leadership has lost sight of its mission and patient care is suffering. Doctors, nurses and physicians assistants in the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Los Angeles and Bay Area clinics have been engaged in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the organization's leadership for the last two months. On July 31, medical staff members submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board, announcing their desire to organize under the National Union of Healthcare Workers.
September 23, 2013 |
So-called concierge medicine - doctors asking their patients to pay an extra fee just to remain under their care - has been around for a while. It's an offensive idea, but I get it, especially when it comes to family practitioners who look after a patient's general well-being. The medical marketplace has room for both Corollas and Cadillacs. Yet when it comes to medical specialists, such as cardiologists, things seem different. "You never know when you'll need to reach your cardiologist," said Mike Oppenheim, 73, who was diagnosed as having a faulty heart valve several years ago. He'll need surgery at some point to fix it. "I have a really good cardiologist at Pacific Heart Institute in Santa Monica," Oppenheim told me. "I'm getting the best care possible.
September 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Access to affordable, quality healthcare for poor Americans varies dramatically among the states, according to a new study that found a wide disparity in measures of health between states with the best healthcare systems and those with the worst. In the highest-performing states, low-income, less educated residents are more likely to be covered by health insurance, to have a regular source of medical care and to get recommended preventive care, such as cancer screenings.
September 16, 2013 |
The Food & Drug Administration on Monday barred the import of any medications made at the premier manufacturing plant of one of the world's largest makers of generic medications, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. The FDA cited Ranbaxy's failure to respond adequately to concerns it raised after two inspections of Ranbaxy's plant in Mohali, India, turned up shortcomings in manufacturing practices ensuring the quality of its products. Until Ranbaxy hires a third-party inspector and assures the FDA that its manufacturing standards are being met, the FDA said the company's products will remain under import alert and may be detained at the U.S. border.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 12, 2013 |
Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to scale back his cut to California's public healthcare program, endorsing legislation that would exempt some nursing facilities from a reduction in Medi-Cal funding. A previous effort to protect funding for such facilities stalled in an Assembly committee earlier this year, but the proposal was revived and inserted into a separate bill (SB 239) this week. The measure is expected to be approved by the Legislature on Thursday. Jan Emmerson-Shea, a spokeswoman for the California Hospital Assn., said the potential loss of funding would have been devastating to nursing facilities and forced patients into more expensive treatment centers.