California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In This Edition:

Latest From California Healthline:

California Healthline Original Stories

Summaries Of The News:

Hospital Roundup

Deadly Bacteria Infects Critically Ill Infants, And Hospital Doesn't Know How It Happened

None of the babies at UC Irvine Medical Center who were infected have died.

Health IT

Tech Giants Dream Big On Curing Diseases, But Realities Of Health Care May Drag Them Down

Stat looks at three diseases that technology companies are attacking -- and how they might fail.

Stat: How Apple, Google, And Other Tech Titans Aim To Shake Up The Way We Treat Disease
Silicon Valley has audacious plans for shaking up the way we diagnose — and cure — disease. But the life sciences are far more challenging than the tech titans of this world might realize: There are countless regulatory hurdles, health care delivery obstacles, and — most of all — the challenge of untangling the extraordinarily complex biology of the human body. Still, giants like Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft are charging ahead. (Keshavaan, 4/13)

Around California

LA County's Largest MediCal Health Plan To Donate $20M Toward Homelessness Crisis

"The research is showing that if people don't have basic needs like food and shelter, their health-care expenses are going to be higher because you can't really get them into a routine of health prevention or consistent treatments of conditions they might have," said L.A. Care CEO John Baackes.

KPCC: Insurance Provider Wades Into LA's Homelessness Problem
As part of a growing movement that looks at stable housing as a health issue, a local insurance provider is wading into Los Angeles' efforts to end homelessness. L.A. Care, the county's largest MediCal health plan, announced Thursday it will donate $20 million over the next five years to a program that houses homeless people who have medical issues. (Palta, 4/13)

Public Health and Education

Cases Of Type 2 Diabetes In Children Climbing

About 1,500 more kids and teens were being diagnosed annually with type 2 diabetes at the end of the study period (2011-2012) compared with the beginning (2002-2003)

Los Angeles Times: Type 2 Diabetes, Once Considered A Disease For Adults, Is Increasingly Common In Tweens And Teens
For years, health experts have bemoaned the rise of childhood obesity in the United States. About 17% of kids and teens in the U.S. are now considered obese, a figure that has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A report in this week’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine lays out one of the consequences of all this excess weight: a corresponding increase in childhood cases of type 2 diabetes. (Kaplan, 4/14)

In other public health news —

Ventura County Star: Stressed About Health? Don't Read This
Dr. Lewis Kanter, a Camarillo allergist and immunologist, offered the thought before an anxiety-driving lecture on research linking stress to cold viruses, asthma, weakened immune systems, fetal health, blood pressure, heart problems and, ultimately, length of life. "If you have lots of ACEs, you die sooner," he said, referring to adverse events that happen during childhood but stick with a person for life, ranging from physical abuse to watching a parent incarcerated. "It's something that tags along with people." When he started reviewing the burgeoning field of research on the health consequences of stress, Kanter was skeptical. Now, he's a believer who contends stress — and the way people react to it — causes disease. (Kisken, 4/13)

Construction Begins On Suicide Barrier For Golden Gate Bridge

“Today marks the beginning of the end of suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Kymberlyrenee Gamboa, whose 18-year-old son, Kyle, jumped from the span in 2013. “Soon, no family will experience the devastation and tragedy of a suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge.”

National Roundup

HHS Issues Final Rule To Stabilize Marketplaces; Insurers Pleased But Want Even More Changes

The rule introduces several targeted changes aimed at curbing some of the losses insurers have faced in the law’s exchanges. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's renewed focus on passing health care legislation comes with threats to cost-sharing subsidies, but Democrats say they won't be bullied into compromising on the payments.

Reuters: Trump Administration Issues Final Rule On Stricter Obamacare Enrollment
The Trump administration on Thursday issued a final rule that will shorten the Obamacare enrollment period and give insurers more of what they say they need in the individual insurance market, likely making it harder for some consumers to purchase insurance, healthcare experts said. It could also raise out-of-pocket medical expenses, the experts said, because it gives insurers more flexibility in determining the value of their coverage. (Abutaleb, 4/13)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Shifts Back To Health Care
After losing a fight to revamp the health-care system, President Donald Trump said last month he was prepared to put the setback behind him and move on to the next challenge, rewriting the tax code. Three weeks later, he said he is determined to resurrect the health-care bill even if it means delaying the tax overhaul, telling The Wall Street Journal in an interview: “I want to get health care done…I think I will get it done.” (Radnofsky, Nicholas and Rubin, 4/13)

The Wall Street Journal: Democrats Say They Won’t Be Bullied Into A Repeal Of Obamacare
Congressional Democrats said Thursday they won’t be coerced into negotiating a repeal of the Affordable Care Act by President Donald Trump’s threats to withhold federal payments critical to maintaining the stability of the insurance market. But the president’s comments could have a more immediate effect on Capitol Hill, thrusting the payments to insurers into negotiations over a spending bill needed to keep the government running beyond April 28, when its current funding expires. (Peterson and Hughes, 4/13)

Politico: Obamacare Repeal Bill Is The Zombie GOP Can’t Kill — Or Bring Back To Life
Republicans in Congress for the first time are lowering expectations for how much of Obamacare they can repeal and how quickly they can do it. As they meet constituents back home, GOP lawmakers seem trapped between the reality of their failed repeal effort and President Donald Trump’s renewed promises this week to finish off Obamacare before taking on tax reform. Vice President Mike Pence is also still trying to keep the repeal dream alive, working with conservatives on new tweaks to the stalled House bill. But even if the ultra-conservatives come on board, there’s no sign that the moderate Republicans needed to pass a bill are ready to sign on. (Haberkorn and Cheney, 4/14)

In other national news —

The Wall Street Journal: Have You Or Your Loved Ones Been Hurt By This Ad? Congressman Wants To Know
Plaintiffs’ lawyers have long solicited clients through television advertisements that warn of a drug’s potentially harmful side effects. Now, a powerful congressman, backed by the leading doctors’ group and some drug companies, is pushing back, saying the ads are to blame for patients suffering harm or even dying after dropping treatment. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants the ads to include a warning that patients should talk with their doctors before adjusting medication. (Randazzo and Rockoff, 4/14)

Editorials and Opinions

Viewpoints: The Insurance Industry's Approach To Health Law Has Been Not-So-Benign Neglect

A selection of opinions on health care developments from around the state.

Los Angeles Times: IInsurance CEOs Haven't Been Speaking Up For Obamacare — Except For One
President Trump and congressional Republicans finally goaded the health insurance industry into defending the Affordable Care Act this week — sort of. But the industry’s pusillanimous response to the GOP’s point-blank threat to Obamacare’s survival is a reminder that health insurance companies, which have made hundreds of millions of dollars from the law, have in many ways been its worst enemies. (Michael Hiltzik, 4/13)

Los Angeles Times: It's Back To The Future For Trumpcare
When Congress and the Obama administration sought to reform the healthcare system in 2009, they focused on insuring more people, lowering the cost of care and raising the quality. The Trump administration appears to be aiming at a different target: reducing the cost of insurance for healthy people. That may sound like a fine goal, but the administration is going about it the wrong way — by returning us to the bad old days when sick people had to pay exorbitant premiums, if they could get coverage at all. (4/10)

Los Angeles Times: 'Job-Killing' Obamacare Actually Created 240,000 Well-Paying Healthcare Jobs
This attack on the ACA never was based on facts. But a new report from the Altarum Institute, a nonprofit healthcare think tank in Ann Arbor, Mich., adds evidence that, in fact, the law is a job-creator. From 2014 through 2016, the researchers found, the law triggered the creation of 240,000 jobs in the healthcare field alone. The main reason is that increased insurance enrollments spurred more demand for healthcare services. (Michael Hiltzik, 4/7)

East Bay Times: New Tobacco Tax Money Should Go To Help Medi-Cal
While Californians wait for President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to decide what, if anything, to do about the future of health care in the United States, a battle is brewing in California: How the money generated by the state’s $2-a-pack increase in the tobacco tax will be spent. (4/10)

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Give California An A For Its Kindergarten Immunization Rate 
In a win for science and for student safety, school vaccination rates are the highest they have been in California in at least 15 years. A year after the implementation of tougher state-mandated vaccination requirements, a new report by the California Department of Public Health shows that 95.6 percent of kindergartners in the current school year received all their required immunizations. The state called it the highest immunization rate since at least the 2001-2002 school year when the number of needed inoculations expanded to include the varicella vaccine. (4/13)

Los Angeles Times: California Prosecutors Have Turned The Tables On Planned Parenthood's Undercover Video Tormentors
At least seven states and five congressional committees launched investigations, none of which found wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, though the movement to strip its funding is alive and well. How much taxpayer money will be wasted before our elected officials realize that abortion and fetal tissue research are not just legal, but critical to the greater social good? (Robin Abcarian, 4/12)

Sacramento Bee: Planned Parenthood Not Deterred By Illegal Tapes 
The right of privacy is a constitutional right in California. The law prohibiting taping of private conversations without consent was enacted 50 years ago. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt broke the law not once but 14 times. Anyone who breaks the law in California should be held accountable. (Kathy Kneer, 4/11)