Latest From California Healthline:
A new state law that takes effect Jan. 1 requires employers to provide spaces where women can pump their breast milk comfortably and privately, with access to electricity, running water and refrigeration. (Brian Krans, 11/25)
Good morning! Here are your top California health stories for the day.
Check Labels, Toss Products: Dangerous E-Coli Reported In Romaine Lettuce Harvested From Salinas, Calif.: A total of 40 people in 16 states have fallen ill due to an E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and US Food and Drug Administration. The agencies warn consumers, retailers and restaurants not to purchase or sell romaine lettuce harvested in Salinas, California, about 59 miles south of San Jose. The warning includes all types of romaine lettuce, according to a CDC tweet. Most romaine lettuce products are now labeled with a harvest location showing where they were grown. Officials said to throw out lettuce if it doesn’t have a label specifying where it’s from. Read more from Amir Vera of CNN and Lena Sun of The Washington Post.
San Francisco General Hospital Workers Say They’re Reaching A Breaking Point If More Staffers Aren’t Hired: San Francisco General Hospital’s residents and interns say they are working 80 to 100 hour weeks as they care for the city’s most vulnerable: the homeless, the mentally ill, the drug addicted. “We’re seeing sicker and sicker patients as the situation on the streets gets worse,” said Dani Baurer, a resident in the hospital’s Family Medicine Department. “We are exhausted. We are overworked. And when we suffer, our patients suffer.” The hospital says it is working to add new funding to hire more attending and advanced practice nurses, and ramping up efforts to fill vacant social worker positions. There is no clear timeline for these changes. Read more from Trisha Thadani of the San Francisco Chronicle.
In This California Town, People Live Longer and Healthier Than Most Other Places In The World: Loma Linda, California is one of the five original blue zones, regions in the world where people live longest and are the healthiest. In fact, the people in this community tend to live eight to 10 years longer than the average American. Experts say that's because Loma Linda has one of the highest concentrations of Seventh-day Adventists in the world. The religion mandates a healthy lifestyle and a life of service to the church and community, which contributes to their longevity. Other key factors to longevity: Only 1% of the Seventh-day Adventist community in the study smokes. Little to no alcohol is consumed. Daily exercise out in the fresh air of nature is the norm. The church advocates a life of service, so dedication to volunteering, humanitarian and mission work is typical, which contributes to a sense of community. Read more from Sandee LaMotte of CNN.
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
Gavin Newsom Wants To Shut Down A California State Prison
Gov. Gavin Newsom is talking about an idea that has hung around California for more than 150 years: closing a state prison. Newsom brought up the idea at a meeting earlier this month with The Fresno Bee editorial board as part of a broader conversation on criminal justice reform. (Venteicher, 11/24)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Fatal Stabbing Plunges BART Into Another Crisis. Does It Need More Help?
A fatal stabbing aboard a train has thrust BART into crisis, focusing new attention on how the transit system is no longer a respite from social problems outside, but more and more the place where they play out. Once again, the agency, whose central role is to efficiently shuttle around hundreds of thousands of people a day, is struggling to fulfill a more basic mandate: making customers feel safe. And that’s caused tension over cooperation between leaders at BART and in the Bay Area counties it serves. (Swan, 11/24)
San Francisco Chronicle:
At Age 12, He Watched His Brother Get Killed. Now SF Teen Is Accused Of Revenge Slaying
He was 12 years old when he watched his older brother get stabbed in the heart on a San Francisco sidewalk and then bleed to death during a car ride to the hospital. Five years later, the younger brother of Rashawn Williams is facing a murder charge himself, in what authorities believe is a case of retaliatory violence. The juvenile, whom The Chronicle is not naming because he is 17, was charged in September with fatally shooting Luis Quiñonez, a young man who was once accused of killing Rashawn. (Sernoffsky, 11/25)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Healdsburg Hospital Reopens After Long Closure Since Kincade Fire
The California Department of Public Health allowed the hospital to reopen Wednesday following a 24-day shutdown that began Oct. 26 when the Kincade fire prompted mandatory evacuation orders for much of Sonoma County. The Healdsburg hospital was one of three medical centers countywide that closed during the wildfire, joining Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. While those larger Santa Rosa medical centers reopened in a few days after the fire risks passed, the smaller Healdsburg hospital’s leaner staff prolonged its efforts to resume full operations, officials said. (Baig, 11/22)
Ventura County Star:
Oxnard City Council Approves More Medical Benefits For Top Executives
The city of Oxnard will increase its medical benefit contributions for City Hall's top executives and those who work in the city attorney's office. The benefits hike was approved unanimously by City Council on Tuesday and begins in January. Currently, the city's top managers receive $525 per month in health insurance contributions. With council approval, they will receive approximately $339 extra per month, every year for the next three years. That means the managers will receive $864 per month in 2020, $1,204 in 2021 and $1,543 in 2022. (Leung, 11/22)
The New York Times:
‘Public Option’ Draws Voters Unsure About ‘Medicare For All’
One after another, voters at a recent campaign event here for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed utter comfort with the centerpiece of his health care platform: an idea once so controversial that Democrats had to drop it from the Affordable Care Act to get the landmark law passed. The proposal would allow people of all incomes who aren’t old enough for Medicare to choose health coverage through a new government-run plan that would compete with private insurance, known by the less-than-catchy shorthand “public option.” (Goodnough, 11/24)
The Army Built To Fight ‘Medicare For All’
Chip Kahn took one look at the scene playing out inside the stately Hart Senate Office Building and knew he needed to do something about it. It was mid-September 2017 and Sen. Bernie Sanders had just ascended a stage to the cheers of more than a hundred health care activists, grassroots organizers and political supporters. The packed hearing room had played host to some of the most solemn moments in Washington's modern history: the crafting of a landmark missile treaty with the Soviet Union, the investigation of the 9/11 terror attacks, the consideration of at least five Supreme Court nominees. (Cancryn, 11/25)
'Medicare For All' Talk Misses Cost-Sharing Crunch For Older, Disabled Adults.
When Robert Davis's prescription medication money ran out weeks ago, he began rationing a life-sustaining $292,000-per-year drug he takes to treat his cystic fibrosis. On Tuesday, the suburban Houston man and father of two, got a lifeline in the mail: a free 30-day supply of a newer, even more expensive triple-combination drug with an annual cost of $311,000. The drug will bring him relief over the next month, but he's uncertain what will happen next. Although the 50-year-old has Medicare prescription drug coverage, he can't afford copays for it or other drugs he must take to stay healthy as he battles the life-shortening lung disorder. (Alltucker, 11/25)
The New York Times:
2020 Democrats Unapologetically Support Abortion Rights, Times Survey Shows
The Democratic presidential field has coalesced around an abortion rights agenda more far-reaching than anything past nominees have proposed, according to a New York Times survey of the campaigns. The positions reflect a hugely consequential shift on one of the country’s most politically divisive issues. Every candidate The Times surveyed supports codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law, allowing Medicaid coverage of abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment, and removing funding restrictions for organizations that provide abortion referrals. (Astor, 11/25)
The Associated Press:
Trump Hears Opposing Viewpoints In Debate Over Youth Vaping
President Donald Trump on Friday heard opposing viewpoints in the debate over youth vaping but offered no insight into where he would ultimately come down on the issue after promising two months ago that he would ban most flavored e-cigarettes but later backtracking. He said the administration would announce its plan “very soon.” (11/22)
Trump Says Ban Of Some Flavored E-Cigarette Products Could Lead To Illegal Sales
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday expressed concerns that enacting his administration's proposed ban on many flavored e-cigarette and vaping products would lead to people obtaining them illegally. Trump also raised worries during a raucous meeting with public health and industry representatives that illegal e-cigarette and vaping products could be substandard. (11/22)
The New York Times:
Trump Warns A Flavor Ban Would Spawn Counterfeit Vaping Products
“If you don’t give it to them, it’s going to come here illegally,” Mr. Trump said of flavored products, referring to how a “prohibition” would only increase the use of black-market products. “That’s the one problem I can’t seem to forget,” he said. “You just have to look at the history of it. Now, instead of having a flavor that’s at least safe, they’re going to be having a flavor that’s poison.” But e-cigarettes have been on the market for more than a decade, at least, and have grown increasingly popular, with little scientific evidence or oversight to prove they are safe. (Karni and Kaplan, 11/22)
The Washington Post:
In Apparent Shift, Trump Warns About Dangers Of Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes
At the same time, Trump indicated support for legislation to raise the federal minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21 from 18, which is pending in Congress. While health groups generally support an age increase, they say “Tobacco 21,” as it is called, is not enough to check the increase in teen vaping. “Raising the age doesn’t fix the main problem,” Gary Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, said after the meeting. “As long as the flavors are there, kids are going to be enticed.” (McGinley and Wan, 11/22)
Litigation Funders Eye Billions In Outstanding Obamacare Payments
Health insurers are fielding offers from specialized investors who are betting big that the Supreme Court will force the federal government to fork over billions in unpaid Obamacare funds. Insurance companies and their attorneys say they've been approached with more and more frequency by litigation funding firms and other investors as the December oral arguments approach in the lawsuits over unpaid "risk-corridor" payments, and some investors are increasingly sweetening the deals. (Livingston, 11/22)
The Washington Post:
Crib Bumpers Tied To Dozens Of Infant Deaths. Regulators Haven't Acted.
A paralyzing conflict inside the nation’s product safety regulator has prevented the agency from taking action against a popular baby product that studies have linked to at least 48 infant deaths over 27 years and that public health officials say should be banned, according to a Washington Post investigation. The cause of the breakdown is a small team inside the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that does not believe the product — padded crib bumpers — played a role in most, if any, of the infants’ deaths, derailing the agency’s attempts to regulate or ban crib bumpers. (Frankel, 11/23)
The New York Times:
14,000 Lives: ‘Rare Case Where Racial Biases’ Protected Blacks
When the opioid crisis began to escalate some 20 years ago, many African-Americans had a layer of protection against it. But that protection didn’t come from the effectiveness of the American medical system. Instead, researchers believe, it came from racial stereotypes embedded within that system. As unlikely as it may seem, these negative stereotypes appear to have shielded many African-Americans from fatal prescription opioid overdoses. This is not a new finding. (Frakt and Monkovic, 11/25)
Trump Says He Will Allow States To Import Prescription Drugs To Lower Costs
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he will soon release a plan to let Florida and other states import prescription medicines to combat high drug prices, and he blasted the Democrat-led House for not going far enough in a drug-pricing bill. "We will soon be putting more options on the table," Trump wrote in a series of tweets, adding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn’t do the trick." (11/22)