Consumer Confidential

Consumer Confidential With David Lazarus
How you can cash in — or do some good — with your unused gift cards
Disney streaming venture could make bloated pay-TV bundles obsolete

In the end, bloated, costly pay-TV bundles, which consumers have despised for years, could be killed off by a mouse.

Disney’s announcement this week that it will launch two Internet-based streaming-TV services — one for sports and one for family fare — is a declaration of independence from cable and satellite companies that would have subscribers pay for hundreds of channels they may never watch.

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Drug companies are growing less generous in helping patients pay for meds

For 14 years, Encino resident Ed Wright received an expensive prescription medication for free through a drug-industry program intended to assist people with limited or fixed incomes.

Now he’s rationing his doses after a change to the program that imposed a $1,100 deductible before he can get a refill.

“I can’t afford that,” Wright, 75, told me. “When I run out in a few weeks, that’s going to be it.”

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The guy who stole my identity 15 years ago just resurfaced in my life

Ten years ago this week, I wrote my first column for the Los Angeles Times. The topic was the huge mess that ensued after a guy in Connecticut stole my identity and ran up unpaid bills with credit card companies and Indian casinos.

I wrote about how I had to investigate the case myself — police nab fewer than 5% of identity thieves — and serve up my findings to law enforcement authorities.

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On people's right to sue, Trump's hypocrisy matches that of businesses

President Trump has been party to nearly 4,100 lawsuits over the last three decades. About half the time he was the one doing the suing; the other half he was the one being sued.

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If Trump wanted, he could take steps to lower soaring drug prices

After last year’s election, Donald Trump declared his determination “to bring down drug prices.” As president, he’s now reportedly cooking up an executive order aimed at cutting regulations for drug companies, which probably won’t do much to lower prices but should please industry execs.

It’s worth asking, though: If Trump really wanted to bring down drug prices, could he?

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