California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Sacramento Watch

Brown Presents Budget That Doesn't Take Repeal, Replace Into Account

Gov. Jerry Brown says it's going to be a "rough ride" as he lays out his fiscal vision for the state.

Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown Presents 2017-2018 California Budget Proposal
California Gov. Jerry Brown, warning about the double-barreled fiscal risk posed by Republican-controlled Washington and an impending economic downturn, presented a $177.1 billion proposed budget Tuesday that assumes the state will take in billions of dollars less than lawmakers previously estimated. But the Democratic governor refrained from laying out how the state might react if it loses federal funding, saying it’s premature to predict how the Trump administration will act on climate change, illegal immigration and health care. (Miller and Cadelago, 1/10)

Los Angeles Times: California Counties Will Get Stuck With A $622-Million Bill As The Governor Cancels A Healthcare Pilot Program 
County officials across the state on Tuesday criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's move to cancel a program that attempted to streamline health services for seniors and low-income families, a decision that will hit locals with a $622.6-million price tag beginning this summer. The plan, unveiled as part of Brown's state budget , seeks to cancel a 2012 program called the Coordinated Care Initiative. The effort allowed Medi-Cal, Medicare and the state's in-home support services to be offered through a single delivery system in hopes of reducing costs. (Myers, 1/10)

Mercury News: Gov. Jerry Brown’s Budget At A Glance 
The state would spend $154.6 billion for all human services — roughly the same amount it’s spending this year. California would spend about $800 million more to cover the loss of some federal funding for the projected 4.1 million people added to the Medi-Cal rolls since 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The budget does not take into account the possibility that Congress will repeal and replace Obamacare with a law that provides less federal funding. (1/10)

KPCC: Brown's Conservative Budget Calls For Build-Up Of Rainy Day Fund
As expected, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a fiscally restrained state budget on Tuesday with a large rainy day fund, citing the uncertainties over local revenues and possible erosion of federal funding driven by a Republican-controlled White House and Congress. Brown and state lawmakers have pledged to defend California's liberal policies and programs in areas like immigration, healthcare and climate change that have drawn criticism from conservatives, many of whom are aiming to reduce federal funding and pare down taxes. (Oshiro and Plummer, 1/10)

National Roundup

Trump Taps Shulkin, An Obama Pick, For VA Secretary

David Shulkin is currently the under secretary for health.

Politico: Trump Names Obama Official To Run VA
Donald Trump said Wednesday he will nominate David Shulkin, a medical doctor and the Obama's administration's top veteran health official, to take on the job of secretary of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin, who was nominated by Obama in 2015 and is currently the under secretary for health, was a surprise choice after Trump interviewed a number of veterans advocates, former politicians, and health care executives, including some who turned down his overtures. (1/11)

USA Today: Trump Picks VA Health Official David Shulkin To Take Over Agency
During his tenure, Shulkin told USA TODAY recently that he had cut the number of veterans waiting for urgent care from 57,000 to 600. At the same time, he spearheaded an effort to provide same-day care at all 167 VA medical centers across the country by the end of last year. It’s unclear whether he reached that goal. Shulkin is a physician who previously ran hospitals in New Jersey and New York and was named among the 100 most influential people in American health care by Modem Healthcare. (Slack, 1/11)

NPR: Trump Announces David Shulkin As Pick For Secretary Of Veterans Affairs
Trump considered a series of possible VA secretaries before deciding on Shulkin. Quil reported that he met with Iraq veteran Pete Hegseth, who favors privatizing VA health care, as well as former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who's a National Guard veteran. Just-retired Republican Rep. Jeff Miller, who was the head of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, was a Trump adviser who was also considered a candidate. Both Politico and The Washington Post report that several possible candidates for VA secretary rejected Trump's overtures. (Domonoske, 1/11)

Trump Insists On Quick Replace Vote: 'Long To Me Would Be Weeks'

To meet that timetable would be nearly impossible for lawmakers who took years to pass the health law in the first place, and have no detailed plan as of yet for replacement. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan promises GOP will work on repeal and replace "concurrently."

The New York Times: Trump Tells Congress To Repeal And Replace Health Care Law ‘Very Quickly’
President-elect Donald J. Trump demanded on Tuesday that Congress immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass another health law quickly. His remarks put Republicans in the nearly impossible position of having only weeks to replace a health law that took nearly two years to pass. “We have to get to business,” Mr. Trump told The New York Times in a telephone interview. “Obamacare has been a catastrophic event.” (Haberman and Pear, 1/10)

And in other health law news —

The Associated Press: Obama Health Law Posts Solid Sign-Ups Despite GOP Repeal Vow
Congress may be moving to repeal "Obamacare," but millions of people are still signing up. The administration said Tuesday that 11.5 million enrolled nationwide through Dec. 24, ahead of last year's pace. Administration officials said about 290,000 more people have signed up than at the same time last year, evidence that the Affordable Care Act is on sound footing despite rising premiums, dwindling choice and healthy people holding back from getting coverage. (1/10)

Anti-Vaccine Crusader Says Trump Tapped Him To Lead Vaccination Safety Commission

The meeting between Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Donald Trump is alarming scientists. “It gives it a quasi-legitimacy that I frankly find frightening,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University. However, Trump's transition team has released a statement saying he is only exploring the option of forming a committee on autism.

The New York Times: Anti-Vaccine Activist Says Trump Wants Him To Lead Panel On Immunization Safety
A prominent anti-vaccine crusader said on Tuesday that President-elect Donald J. Trump had asked him to lead a new government commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity — a possibility that spread alarm among medical experts that Mr. Trump could be giving credence to debunked conspiracy theories about the dangers of immunizations. The vaccine skeptic, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, said that Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly embraced discredited links between vaccines and autism, had asked him to lead the commission during a meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower on Tuesday. (Shear, Haberman and Belluck, 1/10)

In other administration news —

The Associated Press: Trump's HHS Pick Faces Calls For Probe Of Stock Trades
President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to be the nation's top health official is facing calls for investigation of whether his stock picks were guided by insider knowledge gleaned as a senior member of Congress. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., was chosen by Trump in part because of his plan to repeal "Obamacare," and his confirmation hearings are expected to be a spirited debate about the future of federal health insurance programs. (1/11)

The Associated Press: Veterans Care Still 'High Risk' As Trump Mulls VA Head
Veterans health care remains a "high risk" issue threatening the federal budget and quality of care for former service members, auditors say in a forthcoming report. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office will place the Veteran Affairs Department's health system once again on its "high risk" list when it's released next month. (1/11)

Health IT

With Merger, Medical Record Companies Hope To Offer '360 Degree View' Of Patient

The goal would be to give hospitals and doctors a single place to get patient information culled from medical records and insurance claims.

KPCC: A Bid To Expand Sharing Of Californians' Medical Records 
Seeking to jump-start an initiative to share Californians' medical records among different providers, two medical database companies are hoping to join forces to create a new organization with millions of patient records. The merger of Cal INDEX and Inland Empire Health Information Exchange would create an organization with an estimated 16.7 million medical and insurance claims records accessible to healthcare providers. (Lavender, 1/11)

California Healthline: Merger May Revitalize California’s Flagging Effort To Pool Medical Records
After a sluggish start, the Cal INDEX medical database has agreed to a merger that would create one of the largest repositories of patient records in the country. The nonprofit California Integrated Data Exchange, launched by insurers Blue Shield of California and Anthem Inc. with much fanfare in 2014, announced Tuesday that it intends to merge with the Inland Empire Health Information Exchange. Together, they would have insurance claims and medical records of 16.7 million people. (Terhune, 1/10)

Hospital Roundup

About 100 Picket Near UC San Diego’s Hospitals

The workers, who are administrative assistants, collection representatives, child-care assistants and public safety dispatchers, say their wages have not kept up with inflation.

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Teamsters Strike At UC San Diego Hospitals 
Administrative and clerical workers picketed near UC San Diego’s hospitals in Hillcrest and La Jolla on Tuesday as part of a one-day strike that unfolded at University of California facilities statewide. About 1,500 of the 12,000 workers at UC campuses across the state work in San Diego County, most of them at UC San Diego’s main medical centers. On Tuesday morning, a university spokeswoman said there were about 100 picketers spread across the two campuses. The activities have not forced surgeries or other medical work to be rescheduled, she said. (Sisson, 1/10)

Public Health and Education

LA Police Commission Issues New Guidelines For Officers Who Have Fired Their Guns

The new process would require officers to meet with psychologists more often.

And in other news —

Panel: Trump Should Prepare For Public Health Crisis

“When you’re building roads, build sidewalks and safe crosswalks. Put some of that incredible economic investment that will go into our cities and even some our rural areas into things that build a healthier environment and nudge people into better health," says Julie Geberding, an executive vice president at Merck.

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Health Care Opportunities And Perils In Trump Presidency, Panel Says 
President-elect Donald Trump can make significant improvements in health by planning for emergencies such as Ebola and by following through on a new bipartisan law to improve development of new disease treatments, according to panelists at this week's massive biotech convention in San Francisco. While critical of Trump to varying degrees -- no one who endorsed Trump for the presidency were on the panel — the speakers said Trump has an unusual opportunity to fix important issues that have bedeviled both major parties. (Fikes, 1/10)

Abuse-Deterrent OxyContin Pills Simply Redirect People To Seek Out Heroin

A new study finds that the reformulated pills have not reduced overdose deaths.

Los Angeles Times: Heroin Resurgence An 'Unintended Consequence' Of Attempt To Curb OxyContin Abuse, Study Finds
In an attempt to stem abuse of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma spent a decade and several hundred million dollars developing a version of the painkiller that was more difficult to snort, smoke or inject. Since those “abuse-deterrent” pills debuted six years ago, misuse of OxyContin has fallen and the company has touted them as proof of its efforts to end the opioid epidemic. (Ryan, 1/10)

Consequence-Free Gun Violence Running Rampant In PG-13 Movies

The movies, which are consumed by a younger audience than R-rated ones, whitewash the damaging effects of gun violence, a new study finds.

Around California

Brea Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Medicare Fraud Scheme

Authorities say that Simon Hong recruited Medicare beneficiaries for massage and acupuncture treatments.

Orange County Register: Brea Man Gets Decade In Prison In $2.9 Million Dollar Medicare Fraud 
A Brea man who used his rehabilitation clinics to submit millions of dollars in false Medicare claims was sentenced this week to more than a decade in federal prison, even as he awaits sentencing in a second health care fraud case. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, during a hearing at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, ordered Simon Hong on Monday to spend 121 months behind bars and to pay nearly $3 million in restitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. (Emery, 1/10)

In other news from across the state —

Orange County Register: Orange County Considers How To Regulate Marijuana In Unincorporated Land 
In the wake of Prop 64’s passage legalizing recreational marijuana use in California, Orange County has formed a committee to help decide how the county might regulate and police cannabis cultivation and related businesses on its unincorporated land. County supervisors said Tuesday that they hope the committee – which comprises the county’s lawyers, law enforcement agencies, agriculture commissioner and public works department – can advise them on the potential impact of marijuana businesses. (Graham, 1/10)