- California Healthline Original Stories 5
- A Tale Of Two States: California, Texas And The Latest ACA Repeal Bid
- GOP Health Bill’s Changes Go Far Beyond Preexisting Conditions
- Medicaid Covers All That? It’s The Backstop Of America’s Ailing Health System
- Everyone Says We Must Control Exorbitant Drug Prices. So, Why Don’t We?
- Facebook Live: What’s Happening With The Children’s Health Insurance Program?
- Covered California & The Health Law 2
- GOP Plan Would Hobble California's Health System, Leave Millions Without Access To Care
- With Clock Ticking, Senators Tweak Health Plan To Shift Money To Reluctant Senators' States
- Campaign 2016 2
- Gubernatorial Candidate Vows 'Firm And Absolute Commitment' To Universal Health Care
- Sanders Champions Single-Player Plan To Receptive California Crowd: 'We're Going To Win This Fight'
- Public Health and Education 3
- San Diego's Public Bathrooms: Ground Zero For City's Hep A Outbreak
- 'Everybody Needs To Be Concerned': West Nile Virus Hitting Peak Season In California
- UCLA Launches Massive Depression Study Focusing On Freshman Students
Latest From California Healthline:
In the GOP's attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, California would lose a lot of federal funding. Texas would gain a lot in the short term, but experts worry Texas would not use the money well. (April Dembosky, KQED and Ashley Lopez, KUT, )
The measure proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would disrupt the existing health system more than any of the measures considered so far this year, according to supporters and critics. (Julie Rovner, )
Those relying on the federal government’s safety net are grandmothers, the kid next door, your supermarket cashier — maybe even you. (Phil Galewitz, )
Any momentum to address prescription drug costs has been lost amid rancorous debates over replacing Obamacare and stalled by roadblocks erected via lobbying and industry cash. (Jay Hancock, )
In this Facebook Live, KHN's Julie Rovner talks to Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, about the current state of play on CHIP reauthorization. ( )
More News From Across The State
Government and health officials warn that because California so fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, it would be hit hardest by the new efforts to repeal the legislation.
Los Angeles Times:
California Would Take Biggest Hit Under Senate Republicans' Latest Obamacare Repeal Plan
California, which has used the Affordable Care Act to extend health protections to millions of its residents and cut in half the number of people without health insurance, stands to lose more than any other state under the latest Republican plan to roll back the 2010 law. The GOP plan, which Senate leaders want to bring to a vote this week, would slash more than $100 billion in federal funding for the state over the next decade and tens of billions more in the years that follow. (Levey, 9/24)
Ventura County Star:
Health Rallies Coming Saturday In Ventura, Thousand Oaks
Rallies supporting the Affordable Care Act will be held Saturday in Thousand Oaks and Ventura. The Thousand Oaks rally will focus on efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act through legislation sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisana. It will be held in front of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., and run from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sponsors include Indivisible: Conejo, Suburban Women's Advocacy Network, the Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley and Indivisible CA-25 Simi Valley Porter Ranch. (Kisken, 9/22)
The changes would send money to Alaska and Maine, homes of Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. Both women will be crucial if the Graham-Cassidy replacement bill is brought to the floor for a vote.
The New York Times:
Senators Revise Health Bill In Last-Ditch Effort To Win Votes
With time running short, the authors of the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act shifted money in the bill to Alaska and Maine, which are represented by Republican senators who appear reluctant to support it. The revised version of the bill, written by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would provide extra money for an unnamed “high-spending low-density state,” a last-minute change seemingly aimed at Alaska and its holdout Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, who has yet to say how she will vote. It would also send money toward Maine, whose Republican senator, Susan Collins, had said earlier on Sunday that she would almost certainly vote no. (Pear and Kaplan, 9/24)
The Washington Post:
A Closer Look At How The Revised Health Bill Would Benefit Key Senators’ States
The revised Republican health-care bill that senators plan to unveil Monday would partly even out wide gaps between states that would win and lose financially, providing more generous funding to states of some reluctant GOP lawmakers, but would give states less freedom to unwind federal health insurance rules. The new version of the Cassidy-Graham legislation eliminates what had been one of the measure’s most controversial features, which would have enabled states to get federal permission to let insurers charge higher prices to customers with preexisting medical conditions. In addition, states now would not be able to allow health plans to impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage, as the original bill would have done. (Goldstein and Eilperin, 9/25)
The Washington Post:
New Version Of Health-Care Bill Will Help Alaska And Maine — Home Of Two Holdout Senators
The plan was distributed among Republicans late Sunday, with party leaders just one “no” vote away from defeat and as Republican senators from across the political spectrum were distancing themselves from the prior draft. Aides to Murkowski and Collins did not immediately comment late Sunday. Some Republicans close to the process have long counted Collins as an eventual “no,” predicting that little could be done to the bill to change her mind. On Sunday night, some were once again privately pessimistic the changes would convince her to vote yes. (Sullivan, Cunningham and Phillip, 9/24)
Graham, Cassidy Revise Obamacare Repeal Bill, Appealing To Holdouts
Under the revised text, the bill's authors now project increases in federal funding for Arizona (14 percent), Kentucky (4 percent) and Alaska (3 percent), which would have seen declines under the previous version, according to a leaked analysis from Trump's health department. In particular, Murkowski's home state would uniquely benefit from Sec. 129, which allows the state with the highest separate poverty guideline — Alaska — to receive a 25 percent hike in federal matching funds for Medicaid. (Pradhan and Diamond, 9/24)
The Wall Street Journal:
GOP Health Push Hits More Snags
The bill by Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would set “block grants” of federal funding for each state to use for health care, including the Medicaid program for the poor. The revised text of the bill gives states broad authority to make changes to coverage mandated under the ACA, and they no longer must seek a waiver to roll back some of those requirements, which was in the earlier text of the bill, health analysts reviewing the new bill said. (Radnofsky and Peterson, 9/24)
The Washington Post:
Sen. Rand Paul Lays Out Demands On Health Care As Talks Continue
The embattled Republican effort to repeal the nation’s health-care law now centers on winning over a hard-line conservative, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who continues to engage with President Trump and Senate leaders, giving proponents of the latest GOP bill a glimmer of hope. While Paul remains wary of that proposal, he signaled Sunday that he is willing to consider a “narrow” version of the legislation, which would give states vast authority over money provided under the Affordable Care Act and waive many federal rules and regulations. (Costa, 9/24)
Paul: Block Grants Can 'Set Up A Perpetual Food Fight'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has said he will vote against the GOP's latest ObamaCare repeal bill, said Sunday that converting health care funding into block grants to states sets up “a perpetual food fight.” “Well I’ve always been a yes for repeal but the bill, unfortunately the Graham-Cassidy, basically keeps most of the ObamaCare spending,” Paul told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referencing the legislation Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) are pushing. (Shelbourne, 9/24)
Los Angeles Times:
Senate Republicans Unsure What Their Healthcare Bill Would Do, Even As They Push Ahead On It
With a vote expected as soon as Wednesday, according to the White House, and backers still talking about potentially major changes, the legislation will get its first and only congressional hearing Monday afternoon. The independent Congressional Budget Office, which lawmakers rely on to assess major legislation, already has said it won’t have time to analyze the bill’s effect on health coverage and insurance premiums. “This is like legislating blind,” said University of North Carolina political scientist Jonathan Oberlander, who has written extensively on the history of major healthcare legislation.“It is really hard to find an example of something where Congress was this reckless.” (Levey, 9/25)
The Associated Press:
Trump Trying To Turn Around GOP Holdouts On Health Bill
Unwilling to concede defeat on a bedrock GOP promise, President Donald Trump on Saturday tried to sway two Republican holdouts on the party's last-ditch health care hope while clawing at his nemesis who again has brought the "Obamacare" repeal-and-replace effort to the brink of failure. Trump appealed to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a possible "no" vote, to swing around for the sake of Alaskans up in arms over high insurance costs, and suggested that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul might reverse his stated opposition "for the good of the Party!" (Lucey, 9/23)
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Sen. Cassidy’s Misleading Claim That Preexisting-Conditions ‘Protection Is Absolutely The Same’
In the dispute between late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), one of the key authors of the long-shot GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a key issue is whether the proposal maintains the ACA’s guarantee that people with preexisting condition can obtain health insurance. That has always been one of the most popular parts of Obamacare, and President Trump has insisted he would not sign a bill without such protections. He tweeted that this version of repeal — co-sponsored by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) — contains such protections. (Kessler, 9/23)
Key Flash Points In The Health Care Overhaul Bill
If Senate Republicans vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, it would affect the health care of pretty much every American. Here's a recap of four key flash points in the health overhaul debate with links to NPR coverage over the past six months, and our chart laying out how the Graham-Cassidy bill under consideration in the Senate addresses those issues compared with the Affordable Care Act. (Shute, 9/24)
The New York Times:
Why The Latest Health Bill Is Teetering: It Might Not Work
Health insurers, who had been strangely quiet for much of the year, came off the sidelines to criticize it. Many state Medicaid directors could not stomach it, either. For months now, proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have risen and fallen in the House and the Senate, almost always uniting health care providers and patient advocacy groups in opposition but winning support among conservatives, including Republican policy makers. But the version drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — and hastily brought into the spotlight last week — went further. (Stolberg and Pear, 9/23)
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor, urged the state's Legislature to move the measure forward.
Gavin Newsom Endorses Senate Bill 562
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom challenged California’s Democratic-run Legislature to pass sweeping universal, government-run health care next year, pledging that if the bill stalls again, he will make it a priority regardless of what happens in Washington. (Cadelago and Hart, 9/22)
The Mercury News:
Gavin Newsom: "Time To Move" California Single-Payer Bill
“It’s time to move 562 along,” he said to cheers and a standing ovation at the California Nurses Association conference in San Francisco. “It’s time to do that now.” While he didn’t explicitly endorse the bill in its current form, Newsom articulated his strongest support for it so far and vowed a “firm and absolute commitment” to pass universal health care if he’s elected governor next year. “No one is saying it’s perfect or complete, but that’s not the point. That’s what the legislative process is all about,” he said. (Tolan, 9/22)
Is Single Payer Becoming A Litmus Test For Democrats?
Single-payer health care has long been the goal of progressive Democrats in California. In 2006 and 2008, the Legislature passed bills to create such a system here, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both of them. This time around, the nurses union seems intent on not letting this moment slip away. (Shafer, 9/22)
Sen. Bernie Sanders also slammed the Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The Associated Press:
Sanders Slams GOP, Touts Universal Health Care In California
Sen. Bernie Sanders pilloried Republican efforts to overhaul the health care system and touted his own Medicare for all plan Friday before an effusive California audience that welcomed him on stage with chants of "Run, Bernie, Run!" Sanders' speech to the influential California nurses' union in San Francisco came shortly after Republican Sen. John McCain announced he would vote "no" on the latest GOP effort to roll back President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. Sanders praised McCain for following his conscience, but he said the fight to preserve — and expand — access to health care is far from over. (9/22)
The Mercury News:
Sen. Bernie Sanders Rallies For Medicare-For-All, Lauds McCain Opposition To GOP Health Bill
As the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act appeared to take a fatal blow on Friday, two liberal heavyweights boosted single-payer health care plans as the best alternative approach amid growing national interest in the once-unlikely system. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders received a hero’s welcome from the California Nurses Association as he urged support for his Medicare-for-All bill in Congress and denounced the latest GOP health care bill. (Tolan, 9/23)
"The city has a heck of a problem to overcome," one homeless man says about the state of the public bathrooms in the city.
Los Angeles Times:
Grim Conditions In Public Restrooms Hurt Fight To Halt Deadly Hepatitis Outbreak In San Diego
One of the most frequently used public restrooms is located just steps away through the doors of St. Vincent de Paul Village, which as part of Father Joe’s Villages is the largest residential service provider for the homeless in the county. The state and availability of such facilities has recently received intense scrutiny as the region grapples with a massive outbreak of hepatitis A that has killed 16 and stricken 444 people. (Emerson Smith, 9/24)
KPBS Public Media:
Mayor Seeks Solutions To Hepatitis A Outbreak, Dismisses Blame
As the City of San Diego prepares to install 19 more handwashing stations and eight more public restrooms to tackle a hepatitis A outbreak that has killed 16 people and infected 444 countywide, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is saying the city’s response to the growing crisis has been immediate. (Cavanaugh and Lipkin, 9/22)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Medical Community Challenged By Hepatitis A Outbreak
For months this outbreak had been largely invisible to the general public. It was spreading among those with no fixed addresses and little visibility outside the downtown streets, service centers and empty lots where most people never go, has been largely invisible to the general public. That changed suddenly this week with a news conference held by city and county officials as well as the region’s main health care providers. More than a dozen television cameras zoomed in on grave-looking public health experts as they announced that the outbreak case total had reached 444 with 16 deaths and two more under investigation. (The county also sent out disinfection guidelines to help businesses to combat hepatitis A.) (Sisson, 9/22)
The virus is the deadliest mosquito-borne disease in California.
Los Angeles Times:
West Nile Virus Has Killed 8 Californians This Year. In Parts Of L.A. County, The Risk Is Especially High
Julie Shepherd ended up in the hospital earlier this month after her neighbor found her on the floor of her West Covina home, unable to move. Shepherd, 84, was paralyzed and had lost the ability to speak. Doctors diagnosed her illness as West Nile virus. Humans contract the virus through a mosquito bite. There’s no vaccine or cure for the disease, so Shepherd’s family could only wait to see if she recovered on her own. (Karlamangla, 9/23)
Los Angeles Times:
Mosquitoes Spread Deadly Diseases, And Public Health Experts Hope To Fight Back With This New Emoji
Mosquitoes are more than a spoiler of backyard barbecues. They threaten more than half the world’s population with their disease-spreading bites. In fact, mosquitoes are deadlier — by far — than sharks and snakes. They are the incubator and chief disseminator of malaria, dengue and yellow fevers, as well as newer scourges like the West Nile and Zika viruses. Their numbers explode with floods, hurricanes and climate change, allowing them to outnumber every animal on Earth during their peak breeding season. Public-health officials fret about them 24/7. (Healy, 9/22)
"We are aiming for nothing less than a transformation in how depression is detected, diagnosed and treated,’’ UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said.
The Mercury News:
Depression: Major Study Of College Freshmen Kicks Off At UCLA
Called the Depression Grand Challenge, UCLA’s initiative — which seeks to cut the incidence of depression worldwide in half by 2050 — is launching the screenings as new students move into their dorms and prepare for the first day of classes on Thursday. (Seipel, 9/22)
In other public health news —
A 'Potentially Powerful Model' For Treating Sickle Cell Disease
Today, he's one of about 30 patients now getting specialized care at the Adult Sickle Cell Clinic at the Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center in South Los Angeles. Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, the clinic brings primary and specialty care providers under one roof to help people with sickle cell live a longer and more comfortable life with the disease. (Plevin, 9/25)
Dr. Mitchell Katz is headed to New York where he will run the corporation that manages the city's public hospitals and other health facilities and he will be able to help care for his parents.
Los Angeles Times:
Head Of L.A. County's Health System, One Of The Largest In The Country, Announces Departure
Dr. Mitchell Katz, tapped by Los Angeles County seven years ago to lead the nation’s second-largest public healthcare system out of a period of instability and mismanagement, has announced he will leave his post at the end of the year. Katz oversees the county’s Health Agency, the umbrella health organization with a budget of approximately $8 billion and 32,000 employees. He will return to his native New York to take care of his two elderly parents and to become chief executive of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., which operates the city’s public hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. (Agrawal, 9/23)
In other news from across the state —
Free Health Clinic Draws 1,500 People
While the number of uninsured Californians has decreased from 8.6 percent to 7.3 percent in 2016, according to U.S. Census figures, millions still can’t afford health insurance or the costly copayments and deductibles that come with their policies. At the California CareForce clinic, about half reported having no insurance, 20 percent said their insurance didn’t cover their needs and 10 percent were insured but couldn’t afford the cost of their deductible. (Sullivan, 9/24)
The Bakersfield Californian:
How Safe Are Carnival Rides At The Kern County Fair?
Frank Polizzi, a spokesman for California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal-OSHA, said the agency's Amusement Ride Section inspects every ride in the state at least once a year — more often if problems are flagged. They not only inspect the structural and mechanical integrity of the rides, they look at the operation of the ride, the maintenance and safety records and the training of the operator. If a ride doesn't pass inspection, no annual use permit is issued until all requirements are addressed and the ride passes a follow-up inspection. (Mayer, 9/23)
Stanislaus County Will Consider Rules For Cannabis
Stanislaus County supervisors could approve what officials are calling a conservative strategy for permitting marijuana dispensaries and other commercial cannabis activities. The Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal Tuesday for allowing no more than seven retail dispensaries in the unincorporated area. (Carlson, 9/24)
Tainted: Can California Solve Pot's Pesticide Problem?
California consumers will soon have two choices in cannabis: clean, legal and pricey — or dirty, illicit and cheap. ... That’s because starting Jan. 2, when California’s vast legal marijuana market opens, all cannabis must be tested — and most chemicals will be banned. (Krieger, 9/24)
“We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart,” says Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about reports that he has spent $300,000 on private airplanes for government travel.
The Associated Press:
Investigators Reviewing HHS Chief's Private Charter Flights
Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business. The HHS inspector general's office said Friday the agency is reviewing Price's charters to see if they violated government travel regulations, which generally require officials to minimize costs. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/22)
Trump: 'We're Looking Into' Price's Use Of Private Planes
President Donald Trump on Sunday said his administration is looking into Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's use of private planes during his tenure in the Cabinet." As far as Secretary Price is concerned, that’s different. We’re looking into it," Trump told reporters in Washington, according to a pool report. He was answering a question that also pertained to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. (Griffiths, 9/24)