- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- State Senate’s Health Chairman Vows To Defend California Coverage Gains
- Study Finds Nearby Retail Clinics Don’t Drive Down ER Visits
- Covered California & The Health Law 2
- Advocates Vow To Defend Covered California: 'What We Have Is Too Important To Lose'
- Poll: Health Care Should Be Trump's Top Priority During First 100 Days
Latest From California Healthline:
Sen. Ed Hernandez said the state’s strides in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act are “too important to lose.” (Ana B. Ibarra, 11/18)
The results suggest that retail clinics may not provide a solution for reducing unnecessary emergency department visits, researchers say. (Michelle Andrews, 11/18)
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Summaries Of The News:
In Covered California's first meeting since Donald Trump's win, lawmakers and health care experts promised to stand by the marketplace in these uncertain times.
California Officials, Health Advocates Say They Stand Ready To Defend Covered California Amid Changing Federal Policies
As President-elect Donald Trump threatens to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care to millions, supporters of Covered California are joining forces to come up with ways to defend the public health exchange they’ve spent the last five years building. (Caiola, 11/17)
The Mercury News:
Covered California Board Addresses Future Of Obamacare
It was all hands on deck at Covered California’s monthly board meeting Thursday as leaders of the state insurance exchange and a panel of experts spent hours trying to divine a health care world according to President-elect Donald Trump. The worst-case scenario is clear: On the campaign trail, Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law that has insured 20 million Americans who had lacked health coverage. Trump back-pedaled a bit last week, saying he would keep two key provisions of the law: allowing children to remain on their parents’ health care plans until age 26, and preventing insurers from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. (Seipel, 11/17)
State Senate’s Health Chairman Vows To Defend California Coverage Gains
A key state health care figure vowed Thursday to defend the coverage gains California has seen under the Affordable Care Act in the face of widely expected efforts by President-elect Donald Trump to overturn much of the health reform law. “I want to assure you, your staff and Californians that we stand ready to fight to keep what is working in this state,” Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, told the board members of Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, in their first public meeting since Trump was elected on Nov. 8. (Ibarra, 11/18)
San Jose Mercury News:
Whither Obamacare? Covered California Board, Experts Address Future Of Healthcare Law
It was all hands on deck at Covered California’s monthly board meeting Thursday as leaders of the state insurance exchange and a panel of experts spent hours trying to divine a health care world according to President-elect Donald Trump. The worst-case scenario is clear: On the campaign trail, Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law that has insured 20 million Americans who had lacked health coverage. (Seipel, 11/17)
Blue Shield, California’s Biggest Obamacare Insurer, Vows It’s Not ‘Running For The Hills’
The chief executive of Blue Shield of California, the largest insurer on the state-run marketplace, says he’s committed to selling coverage there even as Republicans pursue a repeal of the federal health law. In an interview this week with California Healthline, Paul Markovich also criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s support for the sale of insurance plans across state lines in order to boost competition and consumer choice. (Terhune, 11/17)
Americans sound off on what they want Donald Trump to focus on when he first gets into office. Meanwhile, The Washington Post offers a primer on the health law and the president-elect and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander predicts it could take years to draft a replace plan.
Americans Want Trump To Focus On Healthcare First: Poll
Healthcare is the top issue Americans want Donald Trump to address during his first 100 days in the White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, an apparent rebuke of outgoing President Barack Obama's signature reform, Obamacare. Some 21 percent of Americans want Trump to focus on the healthcare system when he enters the White House on Jan. 20, according to the Nov. 9-14 poll, conducted in the week after the Republican won the U.S. presidential election. (Khan, 11/17)
The Washington Post:
The Ultimate Q&A About Health Care Under A Trump Presidency
While it's pretty much a given that the Affordable Care Act won't survive a Trump presidency and Republican Congress in its current form, there are sweeping implications of reversing a law that has reached in so many ways into our health care system. The government has never undone a major benefits program after it has taken effect — and neither the incoming administration nor GOP lawmakers know exactly how they'll replace it. (Cha and Goldstein, 11/17)
Alexander Warns Drafting ACA Replacement Could Take Time, Bipartisan Consensus
Drafting a sustainable replacement to the Affordable Care Act could take years, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander warned Thursday. Alexander said replacing Obamacare could take longer than the education bill he worked to pass last year, which took six years. ... While Republicans will likely be able to repeal major parts of the 2010 health care law with a simple majority using a budget tool called reconciliation, Alexander said he expects passing a replacement would require 60 votes, meaning Senate Republicans would need at least eight Democrats to vote in favor of a replacement law. “Before the process is over, we’ll need a consensus,” he said. “I imagine this will take several years to completely make that sort of transition to make sure we do no harm, create a good health care system that everyone has access to, and that we repeal the parts of Obamacare that need to be repealed.” (McIntire, 11/17)
If the health insurer picks Sacramento over Arizona, Texas or Illinois for its expanded business, it would represent one of the biggest economic development coups for the region in years.
Sacramento Business Journal:
Centene Corp. May Bring 1,500 Jobs To Sacramento
Managed health care company Centene Corp received a $7 million state tax credit on Thursday in return for bringing over 1,500 jobs to Sacramento. The deal is not done, however, as the Fortune 500 company is considering locations in different states, including Austin, Texas."If we win this project, this is one that California takes out of Austin's back yard," said Brook Taylor, spokesman for the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. On Thursday, a state panel awarded Centene $7 million in tax breaks in return for hiring over 1,500 jobs in Sacramento over the next four years. If the company chooses a different location, it would be disqualified from the tax break. (Young, 11/17)
Health Insurer Could Bring 1,500 Jobs To Sacramento
Backed by a state tax credit, the Sacramento region is in the running for 1,500 back-office jobs with a major health insurance company, including about 1,000 information technology jobs. With Sacramento bidding against Arizona, Texas and Illinois, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development on Thursday approved a $7 million tax credit for Centene Corp., a St. Louis-area company that runs Medicaid programs for states. (Kasler, 11/17)
The keyboards, which have a covering that enables them to be scrubbed, wiped or sprayed clean, could help cut back on cross-contamination.
East Bay Times:
Oakland Innovators' Keyboard Could Save Lives
A computer keyboard developed in Oakland has the potential to save thousands of lives, earning Key Source International, the company that developed it, an award for innovation from the American Hospital Association. In U.S. hospitals every year, more than 100,000 people die from hospital-acquired infections, the company says. Computer keyboards, essential tools in the era of electronic record-keeping, are a potential major point of cross-contamination. The federal Centers for Disease Control pretty much confirms that figure, saying that health care-associated infections affect 5 to 10 percent of hospital patients annually, leading to 99,000 deaths and an estimated $20 billion in health care costs. (Hedin, 11/17)
The nurses say it has been contributing to excessive turnover. "Sharp's on track to lose 700 nurses in 2016, up from 605 last year and 514 the year before that. How can they keep denying it?" says Christina Magnusen, president of the Sharp Professional Nurses Network.
KPBS Public Media:
Sharp HealthCare Nurses Announce 3-Day Strike
Nurses at Sharp HealthCare facilities in San Diego County announced on Thursday that they plan to go on a three-day strike Nov. 28, after their union delivered a required 10-day notice to the hospital chain's management. The announcement comes one week after 98 percent of around 2,200 Sharp nurses in the region who cast ballots voted to reject the company's final contract offer. The nurses said they intend to return to work on Dec. 1. (11/17)
In other news —
Orange County Register:
Union Rallies At UCI Medical Center Over Layoffs Of Health Care Workers
Union members on Thursday vowed to continue their protests at UC Irvine Medical Center until workers who lost their jobs are reinstated...The rally in front of the Orange hospital was the second organized by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, since last month. In October, UCI announced that the layoffs, an effort to create long-term financial stability, included 68 of the union’s members. (Perkes, 11/17)
Emanuel was the first hospital in the San Joaquin Valley between Sacramento and Fresno to start using Absorb stents, which were approved by the FDA in July.
The Modesto Bee:
Dissolving Heart Stent Debuts At Emanuel Medical Center In Turlock
Dr. Ali Reza implanted a heart stent in a patient last month that will perform a disappearing act after the artery is healed. The procedure was done at Turlock’s Emanuel Medical Center, one of the first hospitals to use what could be the next generation of stents to treat heart disease. Emanuel’s recent announcement has already sparked debate over how widely the stents will be used at hospitals in the region. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July, the dissolving stent placed in a diseased coronary artery is absorbed by the body over three years, and reduces the chances of further blockage that can cause a heart attack, Emanuel said. (Carlson, 11/17)
In other news from across the state —
Fresno Council Backs New Strategy To Clean Up Slum Housing
The Fresno City Council on Thursday night adopted a new division of code enforcement dedicated to attacking substandard housing. The resolution authored by Councilmen Clint Olivier and Steve Brandau was approved by a 5-2 vote. It is their solution to a problem Mayor Ashley Swearengin has vowed to fix before she leaves office at year’s end. It consists of two initiatives: an Anti-Slumlord Enforcement Team and Landlord-Tenant Ombudsman. Councilmen Oliver Baines and Sal Quintero voted against the Brandau/Olivier proposal, but applauded their efforts to try to address landlords who allow health and safety problems to linger in their rental units. (Castillo and Sheehan, 11/17)
Researchers took the poorest parts of America and put them in one "state" and then put the richest in another. The differences between the longevity and quality of life was alarming.
Los Angeles Times:
In America, The Rich Outlive The Poor By Up To 9.5 Years, Study Says
The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but it would look dramatically different if its 50 states were organized according to income instead of geography. If that were the case, residents of the poorest state in the union would have a median household income that’s just above the federal poverty line for a family of four. They would also expect to live shorter lives than people in more than half of the world's countries. (Kaplan, 11/17)
A selection of opinions on health care developments from around the state.
Los Angeles Times:
Trump Embraces The Cool Parts Of Obamacare — But Not The Part That Makes It Work
When it comes to healthcare, President-elect Donald Trump made it clear Friday that he’s all in favor of dessert but doesn’t want any Brussels sprouts. He said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he’s not against all aspects of Obamacare. He’s in favor of the ban on insurers denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and he supports keeping kids on family policies until they turn 26. (David Lazarus, 11/11)
Repealing Obamacare Won't Be Simple For Trump
When it comes to their oft-repeated vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are like the dog that chased the car. Now that they’ve caught it, what are they going to do? It was easy to blame Obamacare for all the ills in the country’s dysfunctional health care system, even the problems that existed long before Democrats passed the measure expanding coverage to more than 20 million people. (Daniel Weintraub, 11/14)
Los Angeles Times:
Will The Trump Presidency Mean The End Of FDA Drug Regulation?
Donald Trump will be coming into office waving the banner of deregulation. While most of the speculation about his plans has focused on the financial industry and the possibility of eviscerating Dodd-Frank reforms, keep your eyes on the Food and Drug Administration. In a Trump administration the agency, figuratively speaking, will have a big bull’s-eye on its back. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/16)
Trump Could Harm Public Health
While there will be many ripple effects of a Donald Trump presidency, the real loser will be your health and its connection to the health of the planet. Regulations born from decades of sound science look to be rolled back by Trump, a pitch to industry leaders and lower wage earners. The ironic twist is that such regulations were developed to protect ordinary citizens from the negative side effects of industrial and agricultural practices. (Benjamin Z. Houlton, 11/15)
Los Angeles Times:
Paul Ryan Is Determined To Gut Medicare. This Time He Might Succeed
Bursting with the policymaking power that control of both houses of Congress and the White House gives Republicans, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has lost no time in teeing up a favorite goal: gutting Medicare. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/14)
Los Angeles Times:
Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines Is A Favorite GOP 'Reform.' Here's Why It Makes No Sense.
Of all the healthcare reform nostrums in all the world, the most popular among Republicans in the U.S. is allowing the sale of insurance policies across state lines. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/14)
Los Angeles Times:
I Had A Health Crisis In France. I’m Here To Tell You That ‘Socialized Medicine’ Is Terrific
On Sunday, March 29, 2015, two days after my 54th birthday, I came very close to dying. I was sitting in an armchair in my Paris apartment, reading a newspaper, when I became dizzy. The next thing I knew, my heart was beating violently. When the paramedics arrived, it was racing at 240 beats per minute. I was taken to Lariboisière, a major hospital in the north of Paris. ... In the United States, opponents of the Affordable Care Act often raise the nightmarish specter of European “socialized medicine.” For what it’s worth, here is a brief account of my experience with a single-payer system in the face of a life-threatening crisis. (Jake Lamar, 11/18)
Aliso Canyon Doesn't Need To Reopen
Southern California Gas Co. has announced it is seeking approval to reopen the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, the site of one of the state’s worst ever environmental disasters. A massive leak spewed more than 9,000 metric tons of highly polluting methane into the atmosphere before it was plugged five months later. Bringing Aliso Canyon back online before we even know what caused the leak seems like a risky bet, since little has been done to explore safer and cleaner alternatives. (V. John White, 11/16)
3 Actions We Can Take Now To Ensure Kids Are Nourished And Ready For School In California
A parent’s first instinct is to protect their children. Try as we might, we can’t always keep our kids safe from injury, keep them from getting sick, or even shield them from the ugliest aspects of our recent presidential election. The protective powers of low-income parents are especially challenged. Just over 2 million children in California live in a “food insecure” household that struggles to put food on the table. And try as they might, parents in these households are not always able to protect their children from the most damaging aspects of hunger and food insecurity. (Valerie Ruelas and Goerge Manalo-LeClair, 11/16)
California Must Add Cancer Warning On Processed Meats
When you stroll up to virtually any meat counter in any grocery, the “freshly slaughtered” color of red stares back at you. But for many of those products, that deep color is a troubling ruse – a fiction maintained only by the addition of nitrates and nitrites. And a 2015 World Health Organization report has made clear that the chemically induced rosy sheen has an extremely harmful downside: Consumption of processed meat, much of which contains nitrates or nitrites, has been linked to colorectal cancer. (Nathan Donley, 11/14)