Michael Hiltzik

Michael Hiltzik Columnist
FCC chairman jokes about being a Verizon shill, days before forcing an FCC vote that would be a boon for Verizon

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai probably thought he was adhering to the stand-up comedian’s precept to “know the room” when he launched himself on a jokey, self-deprecating speech last week, complete with a videotaped comedy skit.

After all, he was appearing as the featured speaker at the annual dinner of the Federal Communications Bar Assn.

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Killing the state and local tax deduction may be unconstitutional. Here's why

The debate over eliminating the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes — a linchpin of the Republican tax cut plans now working their way through Congress — has focused on the economic and political effects of the change. But that may be the wrong discussion. The question is whether eliminating the deduction is even constitutional. History suggests that it’s not.

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Paul Ryan makes it official: Republicans are coming after Medicare next

Apparently emboldened by the likelihood that they’ll pass an enormous tax cut for the rich before the year is out, congressional Republicans such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., have been speaking more openly about how they’re planning to eviscerate government programs for the middle and working class.

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Health Net became the favored insurer of drug abuse patients in California. Then it stopped paying their bills.

In 2014, Gary Millman signed up his 28-year-old son James for health coverage with Health Net for a very specific reason. James had been battling drug addiction for close to a decade, and the Woodland Hills insurer offered the best coverage in California for substance abuse treatment.

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A guide to the billions in giveaways to special interests buried in the Senate tax bill

If anyone still doubted that the devil does his best work behind closed doors, the tax measure crafted almost entirely in secret by Senate Republicans last week should prove the point.

Some of the handouts to the wealthy are so obscure that it’s a safe bet that the 51 Republicans who voted for the bill have no idea that they’re in the measure. Others are painfully obvious.

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CVS and Aetna say their huge merger will be great for consumers. Here's why you should be skeptical

The CEOs of drug retailer CVS and health insurer Aetna were marvelously in sync Sunday when they jointly announced their companies’ $69-billion merger deal.

The deal will “dramatically further empower consumers,” Aetna’s Mark Bertolini said. It will “create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers,” according to Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health.

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