- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Quick: What’s The Difference Between Medicare-For-All and Single-Payer?
- Elections 3
- GOP Votes To Repeal Obamacare Hit A Nerve For People Affected By Medical Problems
- Opponents Of Dialysis Ballot Measure Set Fundraising Record
- On The Election Eve, Concern About Protections For Preexisting Conditions Remains A Hot Topic On The Campaign Trail
- Around California 2
- Date Set For Trial In Class-Action Suit Against CalPERS Over Premium Hike On Long-Term Care Plans
- California Mom Sues To Be Released From Union Representing Home Health Workers
- Marketplace 1
- Investigation Raises Questions About How Tesla Workers Seriously Hurt At California Factory Were Treated
Latest From California Healthline:
As politicians across the country toss about such health care catchphrases, sometimes interchangeably, many voters say they’re “just confused.” (Samantha Young, 11/2)
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More News From Across The State
“I'm not going to equivocate on the idea that if you make quality health care harder, you should lose your job,” says Brandon Zavala, whose mother died of a heart ailment when he was 12.
Los Angeles Times:
The Pitched Election Battle Over Healthcare Is Personal For Many Southland Voters
A few short years ago, Kim Adams couldn’t have told you the name of her representative in Congress. That changed last year, when Republican Rep. Mimi Walters voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act as Adams watched live on C-Span from her home in Tustin. News cameras showed a smiling Walters taking a celebratory selfie in the White House rose garden after the vote on the Obama-era healthcare law. That, Adams said, made things personal. After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, Adams lost her small business as her health deteriorated and she eventually got to a point where she could no longer afford her health insurance premiums. For three years, the single mother was uninsured and unable to get treated for her MS — until the Affordable Care Act kicked in. And her congresswoman had voted to take it away. (Kim, 11/4)
The Los Angeles Times profiles one wrestler's unusual efforts to focus attention on health care and other progressive ideals in Appalachia —
Los Angeles Times:
This Wrestling Villain Praises Hillary And Invokes Obamacare. Meet The Progressive Liberal, Who’s Body-Slamming His Way Through Trump Country
[Daniel] Harnsberger is the Progressive Liberal, a professional wrestler whose renewable energy politics and preening arrogance have riled supporters of President Trump across the Appalachian Mountains. He praises Hillary Clinton and invokes the Affordable Care Act. Worst of all he’s an outsider, a real estate agent from Richmond, Va., who drives south on weekends and slips on “blue wave” tights and a conceit that he’s better than out-of-work coal miners and Baptists with rifle racks in their pickups. (Fleishman, 11/4)
And some more coverage of California races —
Candidate For Insurance Commissioner Grew Up Without Coverage
One of the candidates running for California insurance commissioner lived without health insurance as a child. Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara said he is the son of immigrants and lived in East Los Angeles as a child. “As somebody who grew up without health insurance, I’m the only candidate in this position,” he said. He added that he believes health care is a human right. Nurses unions backed Lara’s bill to create health coverage for all Californians. It came with a price tag of $400 billion and stalled in the Legislature. (Luery, 11/4)
Los Angeles Times:
Gavin Newsom Pushes Big-Budget Early Childhood Education Agenda In Closing Days Of Campaign
After months of sparring with President Trump and offering honey-tongued campaign promises to combat poverty, unaffordable housing costs and the state’s other deep-rooted ills, Democrat Gavin Newsom is ending his campaign for governor with a heightened focus on the youngest Californians. The two-term lieutenant governor has vowed to expand and improve early childhood education programs along with prenatal and child care — proposed investments with broad support among California voters and little political risk. (Willon, 11/3)
Forces working to defeat Proposition 8 have raised more money than in any other single ballot initiative in recent history. News outlets also report on other questions Californians will weigh in on during this election.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Opposition To California Dialysis Measure Prop. 8 Hits Fundraising Record
Opposition to Proposition 8, a California ballot measure that would cap revenue at the state’s dialysis clinics, has broken a record for the most money raised to support or oppose a single ballot measure in recent state history. The opposition is being bankrolled by two of the nation’s largest dialysis companies, DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care, which have financed a vast majority of the record-high $111.4 million raised to defeat the initiative. (Ho, 11/3)
Why Is California’s Rent Control Initiative Tanking So Badly?
A California initiative to allow more rent control appears to be failing overwhelmingly, despite the state’s exploding housing costs and ever-rising rents, and its sponsors are already talking about trying again in 2020. Tenant-rights groups and other backers of Prop. 10 always knew they had an uphill fight. (Levin, 11/4)
The Mercury News:
Tech Fight Over Homeless Tax Divides Billionaires
In a city where the massive influx of highly paid technology workers has been blamed for driving up housing prices and exacerbating homelessness, the question of who should pay for a solution has sparked a politically divisive ballot measure to tax big companies to generate $300 million a year for homeless services. San Francisco’s Proposition C reflects a broader phenomenon, rooted in the belief that the Bay Area’s booming technology companies should pay more taxes to help cities battle everything from the growing homelessness crisis to terrible traffic. (Baron, 11/5)
Democrats are hammering congressional Republicans who supported upending the Affordable Care Act, which guaranteed that people with medical problems could get coverage. GOP candidates and President Donald Trump vow that they would not take that away from patients, but they have not offered any plan.
The Washington Post:
In Final Pitch To Suburban Voters, It’s GOP Talk On Economy Vs. Democrats On Health Care
Republicans are entering the final days of the campaign with a message they hope will win over wavering suburban voters — the economy is booming, don’t let Democrats ruin it — while echoing President Trump in stoking fears about undocumented immigrants to try to rile the GOP base. Democrats are focused on female and independent voters angry with Trump, minorities and young people, hoping that coalition will turn out for the midterms and propel them to victory. The party has been especially focused on health care, warning that Republicans threaten a core provision of the Affordable Care Act — the protection for Americans with preexisting medical conditions. (DeBonis, 11/4)
The Washington Post:
Midterm Elections: Mapping Out What Issues Americans Care About
We’re left wondering what issues have an enduring impact. Health care does, it turns out. We’ll get to other issues in a moment, but after Google provided us with search data for more than a hundred politics-related issues, there was one obvious pattern. In almost every county in almost every month for the past year, health care topped the charts. Medicare and Medicaid were perennially popular, as was mental health. (Van Dam, 11/3)
Would Republicans Take Another Shot At Obamacare?
Republicans who just endured months of withering attacks over health care will face an immediate high-stakes decision if, against all odds, they keep control of the House and Senate: whether to mount one more bid to kill Obamacare that's almost certain to fail. The GOP believes it can't just walk away from an eight-year pledge to repeal the law, a promise the party's base still wants Republicans to keep despite Obamacare's relative new popularity. If an election-night shocker keeps Republicans in power — rebuking the conventional wisdom that voters will punish them for their Obamacare attacks — they might be emboldened to mount another repeal push without risking reprisals at the polls next time around. (Cancryn, 11/5)
Republicans Put In Bind Over Preexisting Conditions
New actions from the Trump administration are complicating efforts of vulnerable Republicans to show their support for pre-existing condition protections heading into Tuesday's midterm elections. The Trump administration moved last week to allow states to waive certain ObamaCare requirements and pursue conservative health policies that were previously not allowed under the Obama administration. (Weixel, 11/3)
The Associated Press:
AP Fact Check: Trump's Fabrications On Medicare, Immigrants
In the final days before pivotal midterm elections, President Donald Trump is painting a distorted picture of immigration while exaggerating his record of achieving economic gains for non-whites and improving health care for veterans. ... Meanwhile, on health care, Trump falsely suggests that Democrats would seek to destroy Medicare if they take control of Congress and overstates improvements he made to the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Woodward and Yen, 11/5)
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday set a date for June 10 in the suit, known as Sanchez vs. CalPERS. It is expected to last three to four weeks.
CalPERS Long Term Care Lawsuit Scheduled For June 2019
A class-action lawsuit that could cost CalPERS $1 billion is headed to trial in June, and many of the 122,000 retirees who bought an insurance plan at the center of the case are receiving small checks from an agreement that settled a portion of the claims. ... Michael Bidart, the attorney representing CalPERS members who allege the pension fund carried out a contract-breaking rate hike on their long-term health care plans five years ago, anticipates that the trial will go forward as scheduled. (Ashton, 11/5)
And in another closely watched legal case --
Nevada Likely To Appeal Huge Verdict Over Busing Psychiatric Patients Out Of State, Official Says
The state of Nevada will likely appeal a jury verdict that it must pay $250,000 to scores of people it put on Greyhound buses after discharging them from a mental health hospital, officials said Friday. A Sacramento Bee investigation in 2013 found that Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital purchased bus tickets for roughly 1,500 patients after discharge over a five-year period, sending them to California and other states across the country. (Reese and Hubert, 11/2)
Delores Polk, who cares for her disabled daughter and is among a group of workers paid by Medicaid who provide home care, has filed a lawsuit to have her union membership revoked. In other health care news from around the state: San Diego program aims to help homeless vets suffering from PTSD; more CBD-infused products hit the market; two UC Davis Health leaders recognized for their work; and the health impact of the shrinking Salton Sea.
The Associated Press:
Home Care Aide Claims Union Won't Let Her Cancel Membership
A California mother who cares for her disabled daughter sued a union representing home health care workers, claiming the group won’t let her cancel her membership. Delores Polk said in the lawsuit filed Thursday in Sacramento federal court that a telemarketer with the Service Employees International Union pressured her to join and failed to properly inform her that she could decline membership. The suit is the latest in a string of cases nationwide filed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining. (Melley, 11/2)
VA San Diego Homeless Program Puts Vets Back To Work
The VA San Diego plans to expand a program to keep homeless veterans off the streets. ...The program is designed to bring people into the workforce who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, or have some physical or mental health issue that may have kept them out of the workforce for years. (Walsh, 11/2)
Los Angeles Times:
CBD-Infused Products Are Being Sold Everywhere In California — But Are They Legal?
The state’s Department of Public Health declared this summer that CBD-infused food, drink and dietary supplements cannot be sold by non-licensed retailers, further complicating an already confounding regulatory landscape. According to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, CBD products made from marijuana may be sold at licensed cannabis dispensaries, but CBD pulled from pot’s non-intoxicating relative, hemp, is barred from being peddled at pot shops. (Newberry, 11/4)
National Health Care Organizations Recognize 2 UC Davis Leaders
This past week, leading health-care industry organizations recognized two health-care leaders at UC Davis Health as standouts whose work puts them on the cutting-edge of their profession. (Anderson, 11/2)
The Desert Sun:
Salton Sea Film 'Estamos Aquí' Focuses On A Devastated Community
Four Salton Sea-area residents, all younger than 30, were united in their mission: Produce a documentary for and about their community, which has been devastated by environmental issues. As the Salton Sea in the east Coachella Valley continues to shrink, toxic dust and and other airborne issues continue to affect those in the surrounding areas. More than a decade after California lawmakers promised to fix the Salton Sea, dead fish and abandoned buildings are the images normally associated with the receding shoreline. (Estevez, 11/3)
Former employees voice safety and ethical concerns about how the company handled worker injuries. “The goal of the clinic was to keep as many patients off of the books as possible,” Anna Watson, a physician assistant who worked at Tesla’s medical clinic for three weeks in August, told Reveal. And a daylight-savings time glitch at an electronic health records company impacts hospitals across the country.
Inside Tesla’s Factory, A Medical Clinic Designed To Ignore Injured Workers
The on-site medical clinic serving some 10,000 employees at Tesla Inc.’s California assembly plant has failed to properly care for seriously hurt workers, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found. The clinic’s practices are unsafe and unethical, five former clinic employees said. (Evans, 11/5)
Like Clockwork: How Daylight Saving Time Stumps Hospital Record Keeping
Modern technology has helped medical professionals do robot-assisted surgeries and sequence whole genomes, but hospital software still can’t handle daylight saving time. One of the most popular electronic health records software systems used by hospitals, Epic Systems, can delete records or require cumbersome workarounds when clocks are set back for an hour, prompting many hospitals to opt for paper records for part of the night shift. And it happens every year. (Lupkin, 11/3)
Health experts said the pill isn't needed and will only worsen the opioid epidemic. The Food and Drug Administration endorsed Dsuvia, which can be applied once under the tongue and benefit soldiers on the battlefield where IVs can be impractical. Other news on opioids focuses on the FDA's armed hunt for counterfeit drugs and the continued threat of fentanyl and heroin.
The Associated Press:
FDA OKs Powerful Opioid Pill As Alternative To IV Painkiller
The tiny pill was developed as an option for patients who pose difficulties for the use of IVs, including soldiers on the battlefield. The pill from AcelRx Pharmaceuticals contains the same decades-old painkiller often given in IV form or injection to surgical patients and women in labor. (Johnson, 11/2)
FDA Approves Potent New Opioid, Despite Abuse Concerns
In approving the drug, the agency skirted its normal vetting process, these critics say. Dsuvia is an unnecessary opioid, they say, and its size and potency will appeal to people looking to sell or misuse it. (Harper, 11/2)
The FDA, But With Guns: A Little-Known Team Tracks Down Counterfeit Drugs
But this wasn’t an FBI sting or DEA operation. The lead agent in that hotel room was Spencer Morrison, of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. The OCI, it turns out, is staffed by 300 gun-toting officers, all of them employees of the same bureaucracy that issues food recall notices and verifies that medicines are safe and effective. But it is little-known in Washington or beyond. (Florko, 11/5)
The Associated Press:
Feds Say Heroin, Fentanyl Remain Biggest Drug Threat To US
Drug overdose deaths hit the highest level ever recorded in the United States last year, with an estimated 200 people dying per day, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Most of that was the result of a record number of opioid-related deaths. Preliminary figures show more than 72,000 people died in 2017 from drug overdoses across the country. About a week ago, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said overdose deaths, while still slowly rising, were beginning to level off, citing figures from late last year and early this year. (Balsamo, 11/2)
The FDA also eyes vaping —
Juul Is So Hot It’s Set The Vaping Debate On Fire
The Juul e-cigarette was created to help adult smokers quit, according to the company that makes it. Its developers wanted to make the experience of getting a stimulating hit of nicotine dramatically better than sucking on a stinky, smoking stick of burning tobacco. Their success made Juul the top-selling e-cigarette in the U.S. in two years, but it achieved that position in part by attracting a huge following among kids younger than 18, who aren’t legally allowed to purchase such products. Concerns about the hazards of vaping for the young have provoked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to warn that it will tighten regulations on e-cigarettes unless their makers convince the agency they will combat use by minors. (Edney, Alexander and Zaleski, 11/5)
Outlets report on a range of public health developments, including the latest on daylight savings time, therapy for pregnant women, dementia, CTE and the intersection of exercise and weight loss.
Why Scientists Are Teaching Dogs To ID Malaria From Sniffing Socks
So [British entomologist Steve Lindsay] set out to create the ultimate disease watchdogs — canines that can smell parasites living inside people. Then, as people hop off international flights, these watchdogs could take a few sniffs at each person's skin and paw at the people who might be carrying a parasite. "The person can be taken aside and possibly tested for the disease with a blood test," Lindsay explains. Sound far-fetched? Well, it might not be as far from reality as you would think. (Doucleff, 11/2)
Daylight Saving Time: How 'Fall Back' Could Be Bad For Your Health
Daylight Saving Time ends and clocks will "fall back" an hour this weekend, giving Americans the feeling of an extra hour in the morning, which could negatively affect their health. "Ever since the institution of Daylight Saving Time, there has been controversy regarding whether it accomplishes its goals or not, and if so — at what cost," Timothy Morgenthaler, Mayo Clinic's co-director of the Center for Sleep Medicine, said in an email. Morgenthaler has reviewed about 100 medical papers related to how the time change could affect health. (May, 11/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Therapy For Pregnant Women With Anxiety Offers Alternative To Medication
The group is part of Dr. Green and her colleagues’ treatment program for perinatal anxiety at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. It is one of a small but growing number of psychological therapy programs that are specifically designed for pregnant and postpartum women who struggle with anxiety and depression. They address a critical need. While scientific studies have generally found that antidepressant medications are safe to use during pregnancy and breast-feeding, there are still some concerns about their impact on babies. Some doctors encourage women to avoid the drugs during the perinatal period, especially those patients with mild illness. And many women, even some with severe depression and anxiety disorders, simply refuse to take them while pregnant or breast-feeding. (Petersen, 11/3)
The Washington Post:
Tracking People With Dementia Who Wander And Get Lost.
L.A. Found, which launched in this sprawling county in September, equips potential wanderers with trackable bracelets that, when activated by search crews, transmit a radio signal to handheld receivers placed in several Sheriff’s Department cruisers and helicopters. The battery-operated bracelets are available to anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or autism. The bracelets are nothing new. They are distributed by Project Lifesaver, a nearly 20-year-old nonprofit group based in Florida that has issued the white, watch-sized wristbands — each equipped with a radio transmitter — to hundreds of municipal public-safety agencies around the country. (Kuznia, 11/3)
Study Hints That A Certain Gene May Worsen CTE
In a paper published Saturday, a team from the Boston University School of Medicine identifies a new clue in understanding an illness that has raised worrisome questions about the long-term risks of playing contact sports. Genes had been suspected of playing a role in CTE, and the study is the first to suggest a specific culprit: a common variant of a gene known at TMEM106B. (Freyer, 11/4)
The Washington Post:
Yes Exercise Really Does Play A Role In Weight Loss
“Exercise isn’t really important for weight loss” has become a popular sentiment in the weight-loss community. “It’s all about diet,” many say. “Don’t worry about exercise so much.” This idea crept out amid infinite theories about dieting and weight loss, and it quickly gained popularity, with one article alone citing 60 studies to support and spread this notion like wildfire. The truth is that you absolutely can — and should — exercise your way to weight loss. So why is anyone saying otherwise? (Prologo, 11/4)