FROM Duke Helfand
Blue Shield of California Hands Back Some Profits There's stunning news for individual policyholders with Blue Shield . California's largest nonprofit health insurer is making so much money — and paying so much to its CEO — that it's giving some back. Duke Helfand is writing the story for the Los Angeles Times .
California Regulator Fines Insurers for Underpayment California's seven largest health insurance companies have been fined almost $5 million for late payments and underpayments to hospitals and doctors. The State Department of Managed Health Care says mistakes the companies regard as a "cost of doing business" could cause healthcare delivery "to grind to a halt." Duke Helfand is following the story for the Los Angeles Times .
Insurers Drop Child-Only Policies as Obama Touts Health Reform New federal healthcare protections go into effect tomorrow. In a private back yard in Northern Virginia, President Obama listed some of the benefits . But some insurance companies already are fighting back. Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and other say they'll stop selling policies for children rather than comply with new laws. Duke Helfand covers healthcare for the Los Angeles Times .
Under Pressure, Anthem Drops Steep Rate Hikes As Congress was debating healthcare reform, Anthem Blue Cross raised insurance rates for 800,000 California customers by an average of 25%. President Obama seized the moment to push his program. Yesterday, those increases were cancelled . Anthem Blue Cross has been stung by California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a Republican candidate for Governor, who said their rate-increase plan had " all kinds of methodological mistakes ." Duke Helfand is reporting the story for the Los Angeles Times .
Lawmakers Probe Spike in Health Insurance Premiums Health insurance rates for as many as 800,000 policyholders will rise by as much as 39 percent under a plan announced by Anthem Blue Shield. California’s largest for-profit health insurer blamed rising healthcare costs for the hike, but lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington have called for hearings , and President Obama said this offers more evidence of the urgent need for healthcare reform. Duke Helfand is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times .
LA Episcopalians Shake Up Church with Election of Lesbian Bishop The Archbishop of Canterbury had stern words today for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, which has elected a lesbian bishop , the Rev. Mary Glasspool. The local church acted this weekend in Riverside, but Glasspool must be confirmed by a national body of church leaders. Archbishop Rowan Williams warned today, “that decision will have very important implications. Duke Helfand covers religion for the Los Angeles Times .
Episcopal Church Opens Door to Gay Bishops America's Episcopalians are worried about the reaction of Anglicans worldwide, but they've extended their embrace of gay and lesbian relationships anyway. The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the Church of England , the world's third largest Christian denomination, 77 million strong. Duke Helfand has been covering this week's Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim for the Los Angeles Times .
City Faces Budget Crunch and Expensive Gang Problem Between Echo Park and Eagle Rock last week, several schools were locked down into the evening while the LAPD shot it out with reputed members of the Avenues street gang. Yesterday, 19 alleged gang members were picked up in North Hollywood in a sweep involving some 200 officers.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.