FROM Lisa Girion
Do Painkillers Do More Harm than Good: A Doctor's Dilemma The federal Centers for Disease Control produced a surprising finding today about the epidemic of deaths in America from prescription pain-killers. Drug overdoses kill 16,000 people a year. Previously, it had been thought that abusers got their pills from friends and family. The CDC says 27% of chronic prescription drug abuses got them directly from a physician. A recent study by the LA Times showed that doctors' prescriptions lead to 47% of fatal overdoses in Southern California.
Tighter FDA Regulations on Prescription Painkillers For 15 years, increased usage of Vicodin, Oxycontin and similar medications has led to reports that narcotic painkillers cause abuse and addiction. Some members of Congress have proposed new restrictions. Drug company lobbyists have fought back, while patient groups and medical providers have been divided. Now the Food and Drug Administration has recommended new rules for prescriptions of painkillers containing Hydrocodone be re-classified as Schedule II, rather than Schedule III drugs. Lisa Girion of the Los Angeles Times explains what that means.
Is California Ready for National Healthcare Reform? The idea of the federal government providing an alternative to health insurance has been adamantly opposed by Republicans and so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats. One proposed way out is to allow the states to provide "public options" of their own. So what about California? How does this state regulate health insurance now?
Why Is LA Healthcare More Costly than San Diego's? The cost of healthcare in America is rising so fast that it threatens economic recovery. While millions lack health insurance, some experts claim that other people get too much medical treatment. There are regional variations in medical costs, with the places that spend more not always achieving better outcomes. We hear more about the remarkable difference between certain health costs in Los Angeles and San Diego.
White House Forum on Healthcare Reform Comes to Town The Obama White House says it's in “a listening mode,” but as recently as yesterday, some invitees to today's Los Angeles forum on healthcare didn't know if they'd be asked to speak or allowed to ask questions. Was it an open window on the process of healthcare reform ? What are the prospects for single-payer?
Will Health Insurance Be There When You Need It? LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has sued Blue Shield for illegally rescinding coverage of 850 policy holders. Blue Shield calls it a “cheap political stunt…without merit.” But without agreeing to wrongdoing, Blue Shield will pay 3 million dollars to settle an investigation of such practices by Governor Schwarzenegger’s Department of Managed Health Care. Anthem Blue Cross will pay 13 million. It’s all about polices sold to individuals not protected by group benefits.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?