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HEALTH
May 10, 2010 | By Francesca Lunzer Kritz, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The new health reform law will be phased in in pieces over the next four years, but one benefit — for a specific group of consumers —starts June 1. Called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, it's a $5-billion federal subsidy to employers to help them pay for healthcare coverage for some retired workers ages 55 to 64 who don't yet qualify for Medicare. "Rising costs have made it hard for employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance for workers and retirees," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, in announcing the new provision last week.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2014 | By David Zahniser
Nearly a decade ago, lawmakers in Los Angeles took an aggressive step to boost the city's languishing Convention Center, granting tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks to spark construction of a 54-story hotel nearby. The strategy worked, bringing 1,000 new rooms to the sleepy neighborhood. Within a few years, hotel developers in the area had secured as much as $508 million in tax benefits over the coming decades. But as downtown continues to boom, some inside and outside City Hall say Los Angeles should be much more selective in giving out tax breaks to lure new hotels.
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HEALTH
May 3, 2010 | By Francesca Lunzer Kritz, Special to the Los Angeles Times
If you've been laid off from a job that also provided health insurance, we want to alert you to a recent extension to the COBRA subsidy, first announced by President Obama in February 2009. Under COBRA (which stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985), employees of companies that offer health insurance and who were not fired for cause are eligible to continue coverage for themselves and any previously covered dependents. But continuing that coverage can be expensive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 17, 2014 | By Howard Blume
An embattled South Bay school district leader, under investigation for his high compensation, now has a new issue to deal with: insurance premiums that should have been counted as taxable income, but were not. The Centinela Valley Union High School District is being investigated by federal and state authorities for paying Supt. Jose Fernandez $674,559 last year - a figure derived from Fernandez's own calculations. Now, it turns out that he mistakenly understated his taxable earnings.
HEALTH
December 7, 2009 | By Francesca Lunzer Kritz
Will they or won't they extend the COBRA subsidy? That's the question as the nine-month benefit begins to expire. The subsidy, established by the Obama administration earlier this year for people who lost their jobs, and with it their employer-based health insurance, has helped millions pay for the cost of extending that insurance. COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, has long enabled many people who lose their job to keep their insurance, at 102% of the cost.
BUSINESS
April 12, 2009
Re: "Access to healthcare subsidy may expand," March 31: It's great that California lawmakers have voted to expand the subsidy for health benefits under COBRA to folks who have been laid off by small businesses. But for some, coverage under the law that allows workers to keep their employer-provided health insurance for up to 18 months after they leave their jobs may prove too expensive -- even with government aid. Fortunately, the COBRA subsidy allows for some flexibility. Laid-off workers can switch to a cheaper health plan, if available through their employer, when they sign up for COBRA coverage.
BUSINESS
November 30, 2009 | By Kathy M. Kristof
Millions of unemployed Americans face the prospect of a huge increase in health insurance costs, thanks to the looming expiration of a government subsidy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February, launched a temporary government program to subsidize the often crippling cost of buying health insurance through a former employer's plan after a layoff. However, the so-called COBRA subsidy was designed to last no more than nine months for each person who was unemployed.
OPINION
February 24, 2003
Re "Residents, Developer Battle Over Housing Plans," Feb. 18: The homeowners in the El Hoyito neighborhood are sadly misinformed about affordable housing -- and about public subsidy. Instead of being breeding grounds for future criminals, nonprofit-produced housing has a long history of reducing both crime and poverty and increasing community involvement -- a contribution to any community. The construction itself produces jobs, and the on-site services fill gaps left by dwindling state and federal resources.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 14, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
Responding to appeals from an array of construction unions, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a $67.3-million subsidy for a new downtown hotel across from L.A. Live. The council voted 10 to 1 to provide developers of a 23-story Marriott complex on Olympic Boulevard a tax rebate equal to half of the revenue - from sales taxes, property taxes, parking taxes, business taxes, utility taxes and room taxes - generated by the project over 25 years. That money will flow to the developers, Williams/Dame & Associates and American Life Inc., in the form of a hotel tax rebate, said Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 1986 | HEIDI EVANS, Times Staff Writer
It's after 9 a.m. and Nadine Stoops, 76, is ready to do battle with K mart. When the No. 37 bus that will take her there lumbers to a stop on Euclid Avenue, the Garden Grove widow climbs the three steps, smiles at the driver and helps herself to a seat. In most cities, Stoops would have been nabbed for ignoring the fare box. But in Orange County, at least for the last 12 years, senior citizens ride free except during rush hours when they pay a discount fare of 35 cents.
BUSINESS
April 14, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - Lower-than-expected health insurance premiums under Obamacare will help cut the long-term cost of the program 7% over the next decade, according to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office. The government's reduction of $104 billion in subsidies for those premiums was the main factor that led the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog to cut its projection of the nation's federal deficit by nearly $300 billion through 2024. According to the CBO report, released Monday, the average annual premium for the new healthcare exchanges' mid-level Silver plan - used as a benchmark - is expected to be $4,400 by 2016.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Proposed legislation aimed at providing more tax credits to attract so-called runaway movie and television productions back to the industry's birthplace in California won initial approval from a legislative committee Tuesday. The proposal would renew and increase a state tax credit - amounting to as much as $400 million a year - to better compete with generous tax subsidies available in more than 40 states, including New York, Louisiana, New York and Michigan, as well as studios in Canada and Britain.
BUSINESS
February 4, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress gave final approval Tuesday to a nearly $1-trillion farm bill, a hard-fought compromise that sets policy over agricultural subsidies, nutrition programs and the food stamp safety net for the next five years. The Senate approved the measure, 68-32, as a cross-section of farm state senators from both parties fought opposition from budget hawks and some liberals and sent the bill to the White House for President Obama's signature.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
It's a perk wireless customers have come to expect: Sign up for a two-year service contract, and get a new smartphone at a deeply discounted price or sometimes even free. But the reign of cellphone subsidies could be ending as customers demand more flexible mobile plans, forcing wireless carriers to look for alternatives to the long-standing practice. AT&T Inc. hinted this month that it was considering doing away with phone subsidies. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said subsidizing a smartphone every two years was an expensive undertaking that he didn't think the company could afford.
NEWS
October 21, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The launch of Covered California, the state's marketplace for health insurance, has prompted a new line of argument over the 2010 healthcare law among readers of The Times. Some supporters of the law say they've found lower prices for insurance through the new state exchanges; others (some of whom say their premiums are skyrocketing) insist that's impossible. It's not, and I'll explain in a minute. But first, here's an excerpt from the comments on Sunday's editorial about the extremely troubled rollout of the federally run exchanges (edited to correct the occasional typo)
BUSINESS
September 20, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Let's visit again with Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, who distinguished himself a few months back by making it into Rep. George Miller's Hall of Hypocrites by pocketing millions in farm subsidies for his family farm while acting to slash food stamp benefits for the poor. This week, the House of Representatives voted again on food stamps. LaMalfa voted with the Republican majority to cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years. That would be devastating, if the Senate concurred.
BUSINESS
June 20, 1987 | DONALD WOUTAT, Times Staff Writer
Unocal said Friday that it has dropped plans for a major modification of its oil-shale operations in western Colorado and won't use a controversial $500-million federal subsidy earmarked for the project. Company officials said they decided the changes, designed to capture and recycle excess heat from the current mining and oil-producing complex, would have cost about $352 million--or 35% more than expected. They also said they were not sure the technology would work.
NEWS
June 19, 1994 | DON PHILLIPS, WASHINGTON POST
The wind-swept airport on the plains south of this little town is a lot quieter these days. No longer do the small Beech 1900 turboprops of GP Express Airlines roar off toward Denver or Alliance, Neb., twice daily. As of early March, the 6,000 residents here in the arid hills of western Nebraska were erased from the country's aviation map when the company determined that its service made no economic sense, even with large subsidies. Fewer than two people a day, on average, used the service.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 16, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
The financial backer of a petition drive that would force a public vote on a Sacramento basketball arena subsidy was unveiled Friday. Chris Hansen, a  member of an investor group that tried unsuccessfully to have the Sacramento Kings moved to Seattle, is the contributor who paid signature-gatherers on the initiative challenging the competing Sacramento arena project, according to documents released Friday. The state Fair Political Practices Commission had sued the Los Angeles law firm Loeb and Loeb to force disclosure of those giving money to hire signature-gatherers for an initiative.
OPINION
July 16, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
After holding public hearings around the state, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to propose improvements to California Lifeline - a program that offers discounted phone service to the poor - by year's end. But state lawmakers, backed by phone and cable companies, are trying to rush through their own update for the program before the commission acts. Their bill has the right goal: giving low-income consumers more choices, including wireless and Internet-based phone service.
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