- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Vaccine Drama On Display In California’s Capitol
- Legal Weed's A Growing Danger To Dogs, So Keep Your Canine Out Of Your Cannabis
- Viewpoints 10
Latest From California Healthline:
Hundreds of protesters descended on the state Capitol on Thursday, warning against government tyranny and corporate greed. Their target: not taxes, not high-tech surveillance, but a bill that would determine which kids must get their routine shots. (Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Harriet Blair Rowan, 6/20)
As more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana, dogs are accidentally ingesting the drug and becoming highly intoxicated. (Laura Klivans, KQED, 6/21)
Good morning! How are gun makers getting around California’s restrictions on assault rifles? By simply altering the cosmetic design of the weapons. More on that below, but first here’s a look at your top California health news of the day.
After Heated Hearing, Controversial Bill To Curb 'Doctor Shopping' For Vaccine Exemptions Moves Forward In Calif. Assembly: A state Assembly Health committee approved an embattled vaccine exemption bill Thursday following a heated, five-hour hearing dominated by testimony from emotional parents opposed to mandatory shots and worried about not being able to get exemptions for their children. In the end, the committee voted 9-2 in favor of Senate Bill 276, which aims to bring medical vaccine exemptions under oversight of the state public health department. The legislation underwent some work after Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted that he was unhappy with aspects of it. Added amendments have shifted the focus of the bill toward sanctioning doctors who improperly issue medical exemptions, as well as narrowing when the state would intercede in cases where doctors had allowed children to skip some or all of the vaccinations required to attend school or daycare. While the changes satisfied Newsom, opponents were not swayed.
Hundreds of parents and anti-vaccination activists turned up at the hearing to voice their concerns. The Advocates for Physicians’ Rights said SB 276 still places doctors “under the microscope of the state government.” “The bill’s authors just put a huge target on doctors’ backs, which is worse than a ‘chilling effect’, but a ‘killing effect’ of legitimate medical exemptions in this state,” said Leigh Dundas, the organization’s legal consultant.
The Legislation now heads to Assembly Appropriations, chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, a co-author of the bill. If signed into law, the proposal carries a $50.5 million total price tag for the next five years.
Read more from Hannah Wiley of the Sacramento Bee; Cat Ferguson of The Mercury News; Melody Gutierrez of the Los Angeles Times; Alejandro Lazo and Ethan Millman of The Wall Street Journal; and Andrew Oxford and Don Thompson of The Associated Press.
California Officials Find Insurers Denied, Limited Or Charged Higher Rates For Consumers Taking HIV-Prevention Drugs: The state Department of Insurance announced it has found that major insurance companies have denied policies to Californians who take a medication to shield themselves from contracting HIV. The department said that many insurers have reported that they’ve already stopped discriminating against people who take PrEP. It said it is following up to make sure. “As we embrace PrEP as a vital part of preventing HIV, making sure that there aren't barriers to use or discrimination is critical or people won’t use it,” the department spokesman said. He said there is particular urgency since the federal government recently decided to require health insurers to provide PrEP to policyholders free of charge as part of the fight against the spread of HIV. Read more from James B. Cutchin of the Los Angeles Times.
Medical System Isn’t Built To Handle Influx Of Wildfire Victims: Following the devastating Camp Fire, “there were four beds immediately available in the entirety of Northern California for a burn patient. Everyone else was going to have to wing it,” says Tina Palmieri, director of the Firefighters Burn Center at UC Davis. And that dearth of a burn care is echoed across the country. “There are a lot of trauma surgeons, a lot of trauma nurses, a lot of emergency department doctors. There are a lot of prehospital people,” says James Jeng, a burn surgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital. “But the burn cognoscenti, it’s a small village of mad monks. There are maybe 300 burn surgeons in the US, and maybe 300 burn nurses.” Read more from Adam Rogers of WIRED.
Below, check out the full round-up of California Healthline original stories, state coverage and the best of the rest of the national news for the day.
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More News From Across The State
Often Lost In Health Care Debate, Lack Of Dental Insurance Impacts Millions
While efforts to expand dental insurance rarely receive the same level of attention in the state as battles over universal medical care, the health implications are significant, experts say. An estimated 5.2 million Californians, representing 14% of the state population, lack dental benefits, according to the most recent data from the National Association of Dental Plans. (Amaro and Hayden, 6/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Gun Makers Adjust Rifles To Skirt Bans
California first banned the sale of guns it calls assault weapons, including AR-15 style rifles, in 1989, then updated the restrictions in 1999 and again in 2016. An accused shooter used just such a gun last month to attack a synagogue outside San Diego, killing one and injuring three. He bought it earlier this year in California where, despite the state ban, it is legal, according to law-enforcement officials. The AR-15 style rifle that John Earnest, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is accused by police of using was one of many models the firearms industry has come up with to skirt the regulations put in place by the seven states that outlaw semiautomatic weapons with certain features, which they refer to as assault weapons. (Elinson and McWhirter, 6/21)
Modesto CA Hospital Uses Robotic System For Heart Surgeries
Modesto, California’s Doctors Medical Center has launched a program in which a surgical robot does coronary artery bypass operations. The service is offered in few communities across the country. (Carlson, 6/20)
Los Angeles Times:
Experiment With ‘Lost’ Wallets Reveals That People Are Surprisingly Honest
They say honesty is the best policy — and now there’s scientific evidence to prove it. An unconventional study that offered volunteers the chance to pocket nearly $100 found that the more people stood to gain by hiding the truth, the more likely they were to come clean. The results, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer surprising insights into the ways that money influences honesty. The findings could help shape policies that encourage conscientious behavior in a range of situations, researchers said. The Internal Revenue Service could design its forms in a way that discourages people from cheating on their taxes, for example, while insurance companies could change the way they collect information about a car accident so that lying becomes less appealing. (DeMarco, 6/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Congress Targets China’s Biotech Ambitions
Pentagon funding helped San Francisco startup Twist Bioscience Corp. get off the ground. Then the maker of synthetic DNA got a partner in China, where it now plans to expand manufacturing and set up a subsidiary with the money from its recent initial public offering. In effect, the Defense Department’s nearly $5 million in funding for Twist served as a small boost to China’s rising biotech industry, which will benefit from the firm’s presence and the manufacturing jobs it creates. (O'Keefe, 6/20)
Sacramento County Settles ‘Inhumane’ Jail Conditions Lawsuit
Sacramento County has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by inmates who alleged “inhumane” conditions at county jails, agreeing to make millions of dollars’ worth of changes to jail staffing, facilities, mental health services and custodial practices. The lawsuit, filed last July by Prison Law Office and Disability Rights California, alleged the county’s two jails confined inmates in “dangerous, inhumane and degrading conditions” and subjected inmates “to harsh, prolonged, and undue isolation.” (Yoon-Hendricks, 6/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump To Issue Executive Order On Health-Care Price Transparency
President Trump plans to issue an executive order Monday to compel the disclosure of prices in health care, according to people familiar with the matter. The order will direct federal agencies to initiate regulations and guidance that could require insurers, doctors, hospitals and others in the industry to provide information about the negotiated and often discounted cost of care, sources said. Consumers and employers will benefit because pulling back the secrecy around the prices will allow them to shop for lower cost care and benefits, advocates say. (Armour, 6/20)
The Washington Post:
Trump Administration’s Abortion ‘Gag Rule’ Can Take Effect, Court Rules
A panel of federal appeals court judges ruled on Thursday that a Trump administration family planning “gag rule” that could cut as much as $60 million in Title X funds from Planned Parenthood could go into effect immediately. The decision is a major setback for the women’s health-care provider and for 21 state attorneys general who filed lawsuits shortly after the policy was published in March, arguing it would undermine the patient-provider relationship and endanger the health of millions of women. (Cha, 6/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Court Allows New Rules Blocking Family-Planning Funds For Abortion Providers
The court order, from the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, hands a victory to the White House and social conservatives, and deals a blow in particular to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which has been the largest family-planning care provider under a federal program known as Title X. The Ninth Circuit generally is considered the nation’s most liberal appeals court, but the administration drew a favorable conservative panel for the case; all three judges who participated were appointed by Republican presidents. (Kendall, 6/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Your Employee Health Plan Could Soon Look Like Your 401(K)
A landmark change will soon give more American workers control over their health-care coverage, but be warned: There are pitfalls. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, companies can provide employees with tax-free dollars to purchase an individual policy rather than offer them a traditional group-health plan. The Trump administration laid out the final rules for the so-called Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or HRAs, just this month. (Saunders, 6/21)
The Associated Press:
Migrant Children Describe Neglect At Texas Border Facility
A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they've been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago. Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there's inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station. The bleak portrait emerged Thursday after a legal team interviewed 60 children at the facility near El Paso that has become the latest place where attorneys say young migrants are describing neglect and mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government. (6/20)
Pharma CEOs Didn’t Show Up For A Scolding. So Progressives Shadowboxed
“Is Heather Bresch here?” The mock roll call from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) was orchestrated largely in jest. In front of him stood six empty shares and an empty table, topped by six nameplates without faces to match. Bresch, the CEO of the generic drug maker Mylan, was not there. Nor were the other five pharmaceutical industry executives who progressive lawmakers had “invited” to testify, and whose names Pocan called out to be met by silence and snickers from a room of left-leaning drug pricing advocates. (Facher, 6/20)
Los Angeles Times:
A Plan To Clean Up L.A. And Help The Homeless? Get It Done Already
Finally, Los Angeles city officials are recognizing the urgent need to clean up the trash near homeless encampments. Both the trash that homeless people have nowhere to put and the garbage illegally dumped by businesses are a blight and health hazard for everyone in the city. Too bad our elected representatives had to be shamed into performing one of local government’s most basic duties. Under a $6-million plan laid out by city officials, sanitation workers would place trash receptacles in high-density homeless encampments and provide regular trash collection. In addition, a pilot program would be set up to employ homeless people to clean up trash in encampments, which is a great idea. There are homeless people sweeping dirt and trash away from their encampments right now. (6/20)
Los Angeles Times:
Why On Earth Is It So Hard To Put Out Toilets For L.A.'s Homeless?
Of the 36,300 people who are homeless in the city of Los Angeles, about 27,000 are living outside or in their cars and RVs, according to the most recent count. Yet there are only 31 public toilets operated by the city for the homeless. That’s a lot of people waiting for a bathroom — if there’s one near them at all or open when they need it. That’s a profound problem, obviously, because no one should be compelled to use sidewalks and alleyways as toilets, and the rest of us shouldn’t have to live with the results of that. (6/18)
George Tyndall's 'patients' Turn To The California Legislature For Justice
We span several generations and just about every race, color and creed – black and brown, Asian and Anglo, Gen X and millennial. Superficial differences aside, we share a common background. We are women of Troy, graduates of the University of Southern California. And for far too long we shared a dark secret.Between the late 1980s and into the 21st Century, thousands of us came under the care of Dr. George Tyndall at the USC student health center. (Nicole Haynes and Mai Mizuno, 6/18)
Los Angeles Times:
It’s Not Just The Costco Shooting. Disabled People Are Often Killed By Police
My 19-year-old son has the face of an angel, but he lacks the cognitive ability, if lost, to ask for directions home. I worry about him continually: How will he navigate the world? Where will he live? Will he have a happy, meaningful life? I also worry, now more than ever, about his interactions with police who don’t understand his disabilities. (Marie Myung-Ok Lee, 6/19)
School Bathrooms Need To Be Stocked With Menstrual Products
With the rights of women and girls under attack in many states, we are fortunate in California to have a governor who is willing to take action to expand our rights. For example, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently recently announced a plan to end the sales tax on tampons. This was an important and overdue step to recognize that menstrual products are necessities, not luxury items. But there’s another step that is overdue: California should require that school bathrooms stock free pads and tampons. (Rachel Alper, 6/19)
We Should All Being Working To Provide Shelter To All
The January 2019 Point in Time Count of Sacramento homeless people will soon be released. All available indicators point to a large increase in the number of persons sleeping without shelter since the last count in January 2017. We are concerned some will use the new Point in Time Count as an opportunity to claim nothing is working and no more taxpayer resources should be used to address this crisis of homelessness. Such action would be misguided and contrary to the facts. (Gabby Trejo and Bob Erlenusch, 6/18)
The Mercury News:
Why Alameda Health System Needs More Funding
Across the state, public hospitals and health systems operate under highly challenging financial circumstances and are faced with the herculean task of developing financial strategies that will contain costs yet allow them to provide comprehensive care to California’s large population of low-income, uninsured and underserved residents. Public hospitals face extraordinary shifts in their fiscal landscape that threaten their sustainability. Federal Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments support safety net hospitals, including public health care systems like Alameda Health System (AHS), providing over $1.2 billion in California. Despite the critical role of Medicaid DSH, this funding is at risk for the safety net in California. (Joe Devries, 6/12)
Los Angeles Times:
Worried About The Retirement Savings ‘Crisis’ In The U.S.? Don’t Be
It’s in vogue to catastrophize about the state of retirement savings in the United States. Pundits and academics alike often cite average 401(k) account balances from surveys as evidence that the United States is facing a looming retirement savings crisis. Some go even further and claim the 401(k) system itself is the sinister cause of this calamity. (Josh B. McGee, 6/21)
CA Liability Law Threatens Water Districts By Saddling Them With Fire Costs
In 2008, a fire swept through the Santa Ana Canyon in Orange County. The fire lasted 10 days and burned over 30,000 acres, leveling hundreds of buildings. The fire was started by a car on the side of the freeway–a fluke which gave the fire its name, the Freeway Complex Fire. Ten years later, while firefighters and communities are gearing up for another wildfire season, California’s lawmakers are grappling with tough questions over how to assign financial responsibility for wildfire damages. The Freeway Complex Fire holds important lessons for all. (Marc Marcantonio, 6/20)
California Sheriffs Need Strong Citizen Oversight
There may not be a new sheriff in town, but if Assemblyman Kevin McCarty has his way, at least the sheriff may have some badly needed supervision. McCarty, a Democrat from Sacramento, authored Assembly Bill 1185, which would create citizen oversight boards for sheriffs in each of California’s 58 counties. The bill narrowly passed in the Assembly and is nearing a vote in the Senate. It should be approved and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. (6/15)