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BUSINESS
March 14, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Orange County and Ventura outpaced Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Bakersfield in a national score card looking at how area hospitals, doctors and insurance companies manage patient care and costs. The Commonwealth Fund, a New York foundation that studies the U.S. healthcare market, ranked 306 communities nationwide on key areas of health system performance, such as whether patients are getting timely preventive care and avoiding unnecessary hospital stays and whether healthcare is affordable.
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BUSINESS
March 10, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Hospitals and doctors have received billions of dollars in government subsidies to upgrade electronic health records, but they have not done enough to make those records shareable, a top federal health official said. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Friday in Los Angeles that the government is proposing that medical providers have the capability for exchanging patient data by 2014. "Is this doable?
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.
NEWS
October 18, 2011 | Noam N. Levey
The U.S. healthcare system is lagging further and further behind other industrialized countries on major measures of quality, efficiency and access to care, according to a new report from the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, a leading health policy foundation. That is having a profound effect on overall health in the U.S., the report found. Americans die far more frequently than their counterparts in other countries as a result of preventable or treatable conditions, such as bacterial infections, screenable cancers, diabetes and complications from surgery.
NEWS
June 30, 2011 | By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau / For the Booster Shots blog
Spending on healthcare in the United States continued to far outpace other industrialized countries in 2009, according to a new tally by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Healthcare spending in the U.S. accounted for 17.4% of the nation's total economic output, nearly twice the average of 34 OECD countries, the OECD found. The next biggest health spender - the Netherlands - spent just 12% of its gross domestic product on medical care. Spending per capita on healthcare, which hit $7,960 in 2009, also far exceeded that of even some of the richest countries in Western Europe.
NATIONAL
April 7, 2011 | By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau
When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan unveiled his blueprint this week for cutting federal spending by $5.8 trillion over the next decade, he argued that a revamping of the government's health safety net would rein in skyrocketing costs. But because commercial insurers cost more to run than government plans, the Wisconsin Republican's proposal to privatize Medicare starting in 2022 would actually spark a dramatic increase in how much the nation spends on healthcare for the elderly, according to an independent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
NATIONAL
September 9, 2010 | By Noam N. Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau
Pushed by a dramatic increase in the number of Americans who will get insurance under the new healthcare law, total U.S. medical spending will continue to gallop upward, consuming nearly 20% of the economy by 2019, according to a new government estimate. But because new savings in the law offset most of the cost of extending insurance to more people, the nation's total healthcare bill is not expected to be substantially larger than it would have been without the overhaul. "It appears that the Affordable Care Act will have a moderate effect on health spending growth," said Andrea M. Sisko, the lead author of the closely watched study by independent economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
NATIONAL
July 2, 2010 | By Jennifer Martinez, Tribune Washington Bureau
The federal government has started a new website aimed at taking the guesswork out of finding a healthcare plan. The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled HealthCare.gov intending to help people navigate their health insurance options and understand the provisions in the recently passed healthcare law. The website, unveiled Wednesday night in time to meet a July 1 deadline, was a requirement in the healthcare law passed in March. In October, the website will launch a tool that will let people compare the pricing of various insurance policy plans they qualify for, a feature that's receiving backlash from some large insurance companies.
NATIONAL
April 22, 2010 | By Noam Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau
The new healthcare overhaul championed by President Obama may result in lower Medicare premiums for seniors and a more sustainable Medicare program, according to an analysis of the legislation issued Thursday night by independent actuaries at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The analysis, the first since Obama signed the law last month, suggests that the Medicare program will remain viable until 2029 – longer than some earlier projections. Before passage of the healthcare overhaul, Medicare had been projected to slip into the red in 2017.
NATIONAL
March 29, 2010 | By Andrew Zajac
Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama's likely pick to run Medicare and Medicaid as the government embarks on a massive overhaul of the nation's health insurance system, has been a sometimes provocative advocate for more efficient delivery of patient care. A professor of pediatrics and healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School, Berwick is best known in healthcare circles for founding and running the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a 19-year-old think tank focused on "cultivating promising concepts for improving patient care and turning those ideas into action."
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