- California Healthline Original Stories 4
- Alzheimer’s Looms Large For Latinos
- Sprint To Find Zika Vaccine Could Hinge On Summer Outbreaks
- Geriatricians Can Help Aging Patients Navigate Multiple Ailments
- Popular Charity Heart Screenings For Teens May Cause More Problems Than They Solve
- Covered California & The Health Law 2
- After Representatives Duck Town Halls, Protesters Bring Vigil To Their Doorsteps
- Even With Rising Premiums, There's Little Evidence Of A Marketplace 'Death Spiral'
Latest From California Healthline:
In this broadcast by KPCC radio in Los Angeles, California Healthline’s Heidi de Marco reports on the challenges of a daughter caring for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. (Heidi de Marco, 2/23)
In a paradox, researchers say testing for a vaccine will depend on the outbreak recurring this year. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 2/23)
Aging adults with complex needs can get special assistance from doctors trained as geriatricians. (Judith Graham, 2/23)
The screenings with an electrocardiograms are often set up after a tragic death of a local athlete, but researchers say there is no evidence that they prevent deaths and may lead to false alarms and further unnecessary testing. (Mary Chris Jaklevic, 2/23)
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Summaries Of The News:
Other states have tried and failed to implement a state-run single-payer health system, but with Democrats holding the power in the state that has the world's sixth largest economy, some say it might actually be possible.
A Radical Idea Revived: Single-Payer Health Care Bill Introduced
As lawmakers in Washington move to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker is reviving a radical idea: transform California's private health insurance system into a state-run single-payer model. State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) has introduced the Californians for a Healthy California Act, which proposes "a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program." Under this approach, private health insurance would be replaced with a single state-run program. Lara said his plan would guarantee coverage to all Californians and would bring down the cost of health care. (Lavender, 2/22)
KPBS Public Media:
Sen. Atkins Discusses Single-Payer Health Care For California
State Sen. Toni Atkins has co-sponsored a bill to explore the establishment of a single-payer health care system in California. Under single-payer health care, the government, in this case California, would operate a health insurance plan for all residents that would be funded by tax dollars. (Cavanaugh and Ruth, 2/22)
Single Payer — Could California Pull It Off?
When liberal California looks beyond the repeal of Obamacare, it sees a glimmer of single-payer on the horizon. Single payer or “Medicare-for-all,” the universal health care system long favored by the left and championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders as he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, is getting another look in California as political leaders and health experts grapple with what post-Obamacare health coverage could look like under President Donald Trump. Legislation to create a Medicare-for-all system was introduced in the state Senate last week. (Colliver, 2/22)
Los Angeles Times:
With Obamacare's Future Uncertain, Hundreds Rally At State Capitol For Single-Payer Healthcare In California
The details of their plan are still hazy, but proponents of a single-payer healthcare system in California are already ramping up pressure on lawmakers to back publicly funded universal coverage. Hundreds rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday to back SB 562, a measure introduced last week that would establish a single-payer system in California. (Mason, 2/22)
Protesters plan to show up at lawmakers' homes to express their concerns with the future of the Affordable Care Act.
California Protesters To Hold Vigils At Congressmen's Homes
California protesters plan on Thursday to bring their criticisms of Republican policies on health and immigration directly to their representatives’ doorsteps. Health advocates, union members and liberal activists have organized evening candlelight vigils in front of the homes of seven congressional Republicans throughout the state, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. An eighth demonstration will be held at a district office. (Colliver, 2/22)
Orange County Register:
Obamacare Supporters Speak On Behalf Of The Law At Santa Ana Forum
More than 150 Obamacare supporters gathered Wednesday night to discuss the future of the law and share stories of how access to health insurance has brought security to their lives. The forum at the Delhi Center in Santa Ana was organized by nonprofit health groups and labor unions in response to President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Critics of the law say that premiums are too expensive and that health insurance should be a choice, not a requirement. (Perkes, 2/22)
Vista Town Hall On Health Care Proceeds Without Congressman Issa
With standing room only, hundreds of people, including District 49 constituents, local groups and others, gathered Tuesday night at the Jim Porter Recreation Center in Vista for an "Emergency Town Hall On Health Care." Their guest, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, did not attend, as expected. Earlier this month, a coalition of local and statewide groups, including faith leaders, community health advocates and labor groups organized the event to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Issa's plans to repeal it. They called on Issa to attend. The groups crowdsourced money to pay for a full-page advertisement in the San Diego Union-Tribune inviting the congressman. (Gonzalez and Murphy, 2/22)
Enrollment this year has been steady despite the turmoil with the law.
Los Angeles Times:
Obamacare 101: Are Health Insurance Marketplaces In A Death Spiral?
Even if you’re not one of the roughly 11 million Americans who rely on these online exchanges to get your health insurance, you’ve probably seen the headlines about rising premiums and insurance companies pulling out of the system. Last week, national insurance giant Humana announced it would stop selling plans on the marketplace. Aetna’s chief executive officer claimed the marketplaces are in a “death spiral.” Republicans say the marketplaces are Exhibit A that Obamacare is collapsing. So what’s the real story? (Levey, 2/23)
The California-based startup is also facing federal civil and criminal probes, and lawsuits brought by former retail partner Walgreen Co., investors and patients, including some who had tests done at the Arizona facility.
The Wall Street Journal:
Second Theranos Lab Has Blood-Testing License Revoked
An Arizona lab run by blood-testing firm Theranos Inc. put patients at risk and failed to quickly fix its deficiencies, the main U.S. lab regulator found, triggering a new round of sanctions last month against the company. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services imposed some of the harshest penalties in its arsenal on the Arizona lab. The agency revoked the lab’s U.S. testing license, barred it from billing Medicare and ordered it to alert customers of its problems, according to a Jan. 27 letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal in a public records request. (Weaver, 2/22)
The new software would shift focus from just counting users' steps to coaching them to meet their fitness goals.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Fitbit Fell Short In 2016, Now Looks To Smartwatch, Health Care
After failing to meet its financial goals for 2016, Fitbit is shifting its strategy to focus more on health care services and developing a smartwatch, marking a departure for the San Francisco company, which got its start making basic fitness trackers that counted steps. The company reported $2.1 billion in revenue in 2016, up from $1.9 billion in 2015. But growth slowed throughout the year, indicating that Fitbit is hitting market saturation. (Ho, 2/22)
In other news —
San Francisco Business Times:
How This Startup Is Using The Uber Model To Bring Doctor House Calls Back — Reaching 16,000 Appointments, 4 New States
After taking over the Bay Area and Los Angeles, this health startup providing doctor house calls is rolling out its services in other states. (Siu, 2/22)
It was believed that the Senate would be the chamber where efforts to dismantle the law faced the most challenges, but as Republicans become more divided on how to move forward with repeal, the House might be the problem child.
The New York Times:
Repeal Of Health Law Faces Obstacles In House, Not Just In Senate
Ever since Republicans got down to the business of repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Senate has been singled out as the likely problem. Any plan that could zoom through the House would hit roadblocks among Senate Republicans, many of whom have resisted a wholesale repeal of the health law without a robust replacement plan. But after weeks of loud protests, boisterous town hall meetings and scores of quieter meetings with health care professionals, patients, caregivers and hospital managers in their districts, it is becoming increasingly likely that a consensus in the House may be just as hard to reach. (Steinhauer, 2/23)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Health Care's Future: Turning Patients Into Savers, Shoppers
The U.S. government may soon lean on someone new to help lower health care costs: you. The idea is that when your money is on the line — and not the insurance company's — you'll look for the best value and do your part to curb national health care spending. (Murphy, 2/22)
The New York Times:
Trump Vowed To Protect The Safety Net. What If His Appointees Disagree?
Two days before Election Day, Donald J. Trump traveled to Sioux City, Iowa, and proclaimed that he was the protector of federal programs aimed at helping elderly and low-income Americans. It was Hillary Clinton, he said, who was an untrustworthy steward of the working class and who would slash vital benefits. “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare,” Mr. Trump said. “You made a deal a long time ago, a long time ago.” The pledge followed earlier promises to enact a new paid-maternity-leave benefit and not to make cuts to Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. (Alcindor, 2/23)
Biotech's Next Alzheimer's Test May Answer '$25 Billion Question'
Moving on from biopharma’s latest setback in Alzheimer’s disease — and the four that preceded it last year — the industry is turning its attention to a tiny pill made by a small company with hopes to succeed where so many have failed. In the third quarter of this year, Axovant Sciences will release Phase 3 data that will determine whether its drug, intepirdine, can improve cognition and function in patients with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s. Axovant’s readout will follow an outright failure from Merck, disappointing results from Eli Lilly, and a vexing setback for TauRx. (Garde, 2/22)
Lawmakers Urge US Army Not To Issue Exclusive License To Sanofi For A Zika Vaccine
Nearly a dozen members of Congress are urging the US Army not to issue an exclusive license to Sanofi Pasteur to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus over concerns the product may be priced too high for many Americans, even though it was developed with taxpayer funds. “In order to ensure that the investment made by taxpayers was worthwhile, it is critical that we ensure the vaccine to prevent against the Zika virus is accessible to anyone who requires it,” the lawmakers wrote on Wednesday in a letter to Robert Speer, the Acting Secretary of the Army. (Silverman, 2/22)