- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- California Winces At Trump’s Turn Back To ‘Bad Old Days’ Of Health Plan Associations
- Covered California & The Health Law 2
- Pace Of Health Law Sign-Ups Dips In Third Week, But Percentage Of New Enrollees Creeps Up
- Individual Mandate Repeal May Cause Already-Struggling Rural Markets In Red States To Collapse
- Public Health and Education 2
- The Wildfires Are Burned Out, But Many Still Struggling With Mental Health In Aftermath
- Before Flu Season Really Ramps Up, Officials Urge People To Get Their Shot
Latest From California Healthline:
State leaders vow to protect consumers from a presidential order to resurrect a health plan model that they say could destabilize the insurance market. (Pauline Bartolone, 11/27)
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Summaries Of The News:
In the first three weeks of the abbreviated open enrollment period, nearly 2.28 million people signed up for a plan through the federal exchanges. In California, however, consumers have until the end of January to sign up.
The Washington Post:
Enrollment In ACA Health-Care Plans Is Still Running Ahead Of Last Year
The number of Americans signing up for health-care plans under the Affordable Care Act continues to run ahead of last year in states relying on the federal insurance exchange, according to federal figures released Wednesday that span nearly half of an abbreviated enrollment season. Between the start of the current sign-up period on Nov. 1 and Saturday, nearly 2.28 million people chose health-care plans for the coming year — slightly more than during the first four weeks of the ACA enrollment period a year ago, reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show. (Goldstein, 11/22)
Sign-Up Pace Slows in Third Week of 2018 Obamacare Enrollment
The pace slowed in the third week of enrollment for 2018 Obamacare individual insurance as nearly 800,000 people signed up through the federal government website HealthCare.gov, down about 75,000 people from the previous week, a U.S. government agency reported on Wednesday. There was an increase, however, in the number of new consumers to the program created by former President Barack Obama, to 220,323 from 208,397 in the previous week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said. (Hummer, 11/22)
Republican states with one insurer offering coverage through the exchanges are particularly vulnerable to the GOP's plan to scrap the individual mandate.
Los Angeles Times:
Republicans' Latest Plan To Repeal Obamacare's Insurance Requirement Could Wreak Havoc In Some Very Red States
The Senate Republican plan to use tax legislation to repeal the federal requirement that Americans have health coverage threatens to derail insurance markets in conservative, rural swaths of the country, according to a Los Angeles Times data analysis. That could leave consumers in these regions — including most or all of Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming, as well as parts of many other states — with either no options for coverage or health plans that are prohibitively expensive. (Levey, 11/27)
Therapists and other mental health professionals are seeing an increasing number of people seeking help, and Sonoma County officials are bracing for what could be an unprecedented wave of mental health care issues.
The Press Democrat:
Mental Health Issues Increasing As Sonoma County Enters New Phase Of Fires’ Aftermath
October’s deadly wildfires have left an untold number of North Bay residents battling new levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that experts say are anticipated in the wake of such a profound tragedy. Therapists and other mental health professionals are seeing an increasing number of people seeking help, and Sonoma County officials are bracing for what could be an unprecedented wave of mental health care issues stemming from the historic disaster and its ongoing aftermath. (Espinoza, 11/25)
In other mental health news —
Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic To Open Nov. 29
After years of mental health patients inundating Sacramento area emergency rooms, Sacramento County will open a new mental health urgent clinic to provide an intermediate level of care for people struggling to find the right treatment, county officials said. (Sullivan, 11/27)
If people "wait until we really see the flu, then it's going to be too late," said Dr. Steve Jones, an urgent care doctor in Oxnard.
Ventura County Star:
'Tis The Season For ... A Flu Shot, Docs Say
As a trickle of flu cases hack and sneeze their way into Ventura County, doctors and public health officials urge people to get vaccinated. Most flu cases are not mandated to be reported to public health but physicians in the county have volunteered information on about a half-dozen cases since Oct. 1, said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County public health officer. In Los Angeles County, public health officials reported this month that a middle-aged woman and an elderly man died in cases related to flu. Both people also had underlying health conditions. (Kisken, 11/24)
In other public health news —
Capital Public Radio:
Group Warns Parents Of Toys To Avoid
A consumer advocacy group is warning holiday shoppers that some toys, including certain types of the popular fidget spinners, may be hazardous to kids. In researching for it's annual "Trouble In Toyland" report, the California Public Interest Research Group found high levels of lead in two fidget spinners sold at Target. (Schilling, 11/24)
"I don't think it was clear to many of us that our supply was this vulnerable," said Dr. Angela Scioscia, chief medical officer of UC San Diego Health.
San Diego Hospitals Grappling With Shortage Of IV Bags
A nationwide shortage of small IV bags has forced hospitals in San Diego to come up with other options. The disruption was caused by the September hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico. (Goldberg, 11/27)
In other news from across the state —
The Ventura County Star:
Port Hueneme Firm Farms Limpets For Medicine
For now, the snail-like mollusk lives in one of the 20 large tanks in an expanding Stellar Biotechnologies complex at the Port of Hueneme. The 18-year-old publicly traded company raises the limpets and extracts a protein in its blood, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, in a process designed not to harm the animal. The KLH protein is sold to companies researching and developing vaccines and other drugs. ...Concerns about the continued availability of the limpet’s protein to pharmaceutical companies pushed [Frank] Oakes and his wife, Dorothy, to start Stellar in the late 1990s on land once owned by the Navy. He said the standard practice before Stellar came along was to harvest the animals from the ocean, kill them and take their blood for the protein. “It was exploitation of a very limited California resource,” he said. (Kisken, 11/25)
Stanislaus County Planners Concerned About The Safety Risks, Adverse Impacts Of Legalized Pot
The statewide initiative to legalize pot in California passed by a comfortable margin a year ago. But that same initiative allows local jurisdictions to control the industry and even ban commercial marijuana within their boundaries. (Carlson, 11/25)
During Alex Azar's tenure at Eli Lilly the drugmaker instituted steep price increases on insulin and other medicines.
The New York Times:
He Raised Drug Prices At Eli Lilly. Can He Lower Them For The U.S.?
Alex M. Azar II, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has expressed concern about the soaring cost of prescription drugs for many consumers. This week, Mr. Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, is expected to face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing over why his own company raised prices. Democratic senators say that, as a top manager at Eli Lilly and Company, he was responsible for steep increases on insulin and other drugs. How he would now tackle that problem as secretary, along with the future of the Affordable Care Act, promises to dominate the hearings. (Pear, 11/26)
More and more, health companies are broadening their security and their reach by moving beyond their traditional boundaries.
The New York Times:
As Health Care Changes, Insurers, Hospitals And Drugstores Team Up
They seem like odd couples: Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, is in talks to combine with CVS Health, which manages pharmacy benefits. The Cleveland Clinic, a highly regarded health system, joined forces with an insurance start-up, Oscar Health, to offer individuals a health plan in Ohio. Aetna also has new partnerships with large health systems that include hospitals and doctors’ groups in Northern California and Virginia. (Abelson, 11/26)