- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Spurred By Convenience, Millennials Often Spurn The ‘Family Doctor’ Model
- Health Care Personnel 1
- In Second Day Of Strike Against University Of California, About 500 Workers Show Up To Picket Line
- Marketplace 1
- Potential Competitor To San Diego-Based Genomic Sequencing Giant Illumina Emerges From China
- Public Health and Education 1
- Questions About Race, Sexual Orientation Surprise Meals On Wheels Recipients, But Survey Is Part Of A New State Law
- National Roundup 4
- Trump Plans To Curb High Drug Prices By Overhauling How Medicare Pays For Medications
- President Attempts To Claim Preexisting Conditions As Republican Issue, Ignoring Years Of GOP's Attacks On Health Law
- Trump Signs Sweeping Opioid Package Touted By Lawmakers But Criticized By Advocates For Not Going Far Enough
- New Single-Dose Flu Medication Approved By FDA After Last Year's Vicious Season
Latest From California Healthline:
These young adults are looking for medical care that is convenient, fast and offers cost transparency. They frequently seek treatment at retail clinics, urgent care centers or other options. (Sandra G. Boodman, 10/25)
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More News From Across The State
A gubernatorial race, controversial ballot initiatives and battles over congressional seats that could help create a national blue wave are all things to watch with the election just short of two weeks away.
East Bay Times:
Ten Things To Watch For In California’s Biggest Elections
Barring any October surprises or a major upset, [Lt. Gov. Gavin] Newsom will be looking to claim a mandate for some of his ambitious and liberal policies, including a move to a single-payer health care system, more funding for education, and efforts to fight childhood poverty. Brown’s successor seems likely to lack his domineering influence in Sacramento — so racking up a big win could help Newsom show his political muscle. (Tolan, 10/25)
At UC Davis Medical Center on Wednesday, officials said 76 percent of employees represented by the striking unions had crossed the picket lines and come into work.
500 Pickets Vent Frustration At UC On Day 2 Of Strike
Buoyed by the mid-morning arrival of a busload of employees from University of California, Merced, roughly 500 pickets spilled out four astride onto city sidewalks Wednesday from the rotary at UC Davis Medical Center. It was the second day of a three-day strike against the University of California health systems. Roughly 39,000 workers in AFSCME Local 3299 and UPTE -CWA Local 9119 are on strike Tuesday through Thursday of this week at the UC’s five academic hospitals around the state. (Anderson, 10/24)
If the Chinese company's technology can do what executives say it can, then the competition it brings into the marketplace could drive down the already-plummeting cost of genome sequencing. Other industry news focuses on hospices, health care systems, and hospitals.
Can A Chinese Company's Powerful New Genome Sequencer Compete In The U.S.?
Nearly two years ago, the San Diego-based genomics giant Illumina reaffirmed its dominance of the DNA sequencing market when it announced a fast and powerful new machine, called the NovaSeq, that’s since been adopted in labs all over the world. (Robbins, 10/25)
The council agreed to move forward with a vote on the ban as well as other tobacco-related measures. Opponents of the regulations have begun pushing back against the threat.
Snuffed Out? City Council To Vote On Flavored Tobacco Ban
The Sacramento City Council will vote on whether to [outlaw] the sale of hookah, vape cartridges, menthol cigarettes and all other forms of flavored tobacco within city limits after a unanimous committee vote Tuesday night. The proposed ban would also bar tobacco-selling shops from opening within 1,000 feet of each other, which would thin the herd of retailers considerably. (Egel, 10/24)
In other news from across the state —
Los Angeles Times:
Advocates And County Close To Settlement To Help O.C. Homeless Get Housing And Services
After the high-profile removal of an illegal tent city in February followed by months of legal drama, advocates and Orange County officials are close to a settlement in civil rights lawsuits that could help homeless people obtain easier access to housing and services. The proposed agreement follows lengthy negotiations between the county and lawyers representing people who once lived in an encampment along the Santa Ana River trail. (Do, 10/25)
The legislation's goal is to collect demographic information on vulnerable populations. Studies on same-sex couple poverty, hate crimes and health disparities have found that members of the LGBTQ community have a higher risk of cancer, mental illness, substance abuse and other adverse health conditions.
Meals On Wheels Asks The Elderly About LGBT Status, Per CA Law
Carol Alexander received a phone call from Sacramento County’s Meals on Wheels program last Friday and it wasn’t her usual case worker. Alexander, 83, said she was hit with a barrage of about a half-dozen questions she considered invasive or unnecessary: What is your sex? Do you still associate with your gender? Are you heterosexual? Are you white or Hispanic? “I was in shock. I took offense to that,” she said. (McGough and Dickman, 10/23)
In other public health news —
UC Davis Researchers Studying Health Effects Of Wildfires On Pregnant Women
Researchers are still recruiting women who were pregnant during and after the wildfires last year to participate in a study of the health effects of the polluted air on them and their babies. Studies of pregnant women exposed to traffic-related air pollution show an association with respiratory and developmental problems in their children, including autism. (Dembosky, 10/24)
San Jose Mercury News:
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Is Saturday
Law enforcement agencies throughout the Bay Area are urging households with unused pills to toss them out Saturday to mark National Prescription Drug Take Back Day .The annual event, held locally by agencies in Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, will occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It has resulted in 8.1 million pounds of prescription pills, patches and sealed original-container liquids being tossed out out homes nationwide, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. (Hurd, 10/24)
President Donald Trump will speak today about the proposal, described to Politico by three individuals with knowledge of it. The Trump administration will say that Medicare could save more than $17 billion over five years, but officials also expect blowback from the industry and hospitals.
Trump To Propose Sweeping Changes To Medicare Drug Prices
President Donald Trump on Thursday will unveil a plan to overhaul how Medicare pays for certain drugs, attacking “foreign freeloaders” that he says have driven up costs in the U.S. The bold move addresses a Trump campaign pledge to lower drug prices, just days before the tightly contested midterm elections in which health care is playing a pivotal role. Trump is scheduled to outline the details in a speech at HHS at 2 p.m., his first address at the health department. The proposal, described to POLITICO by three individuals with knowledge, still needs to be refined and put through a federal rulemaking process. (Karlin-Smith and Diamond, 10/25)
Trump Set To Give Thursday Speech On Drug Prices
The remarks come on the heels of two major drug pricing wins for the administration. HHS unveiled a proposed regulation last week that would require drug companies to include prices in their TV ads, and earlier in October, Trump signed into law a bill banning gag clauses, which prevent pharmacists from telling customers when it’s cheaper to pay cash for a drug rather than using insurance. (Florko, 10/24)
The topic has been a trouble spot for Republicans on the trail and now President Donald Trump is trying to frame his party as the one that will keep preexisting conditions protections in place. At the same time, he and Republicans are backing a lawsuit that would overturn the health law, and all of its popular provisions.
The Washington Post:
Trump’s False Claim On Health Care Ignores Years-Long GOP Effort To Repeal Obamacare
President Trump celebrated with House Republicans in the White House Rose Garden last year when they passed a bill to undo the Affordable Care Act and its protection for Americans with preexisting medical conditions. On Wednesday, less than two weeks before the midterm elections, Trump falsely claimed that ensuring coverage for those with asthma, diabetes, pregnancy and other conditions was a Republican priority, rather than a Democratic one. (Sonmez and Wagner, 10/24)
Trump Fights Uphill GOP Battle On Pre-Existing Conditions
Trump offered a similar argument in a tweet last week, stating that “all Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them.” At rallies, Trump has been offering a similar argument. The statements are an effort to fend off a barrage of Democratic attacks in the campaign. “Poll after poll shows that voters tend to trust a candidate with a D next to their name rather than a candidate with an R next to their name when it comes to the issue,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. (Sullivan, 10/25)
GOP Alarmed Obamacare Attacks Could Cost Them The House
For weeks, vulnerable Rep. Glenn Grothman had been getting pummeled by his Democratic opponent for voting to curb protections for people with pre-existing conditions — most recently with an attack ad depicting a little boy with an oxygen mask over his face gasping for air. So on a conference call with GOP leaders last week, Grothman pleaded with party leaders to invest in a nationwide TV ad that could run in competitive districts like his, defending the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill that passed the chamber last year, according to three sources on the call. (Bade and Schor, 10/24)
Dem Analysis: More Than 15 Million Could Lose Coverage If Trump-Backed Lawsuit Succeeds
If a Trump-administration backed lawsuit against ObamaCare succeeds, more than 15 million people could either lose their health coverage or face premium increases as a result of their pre-existing conditions, gender or age, according to a new report released by congressional Democrats on Wednesday. The report, released by Democratic staff on the House Oversight Committee, serves as a counterpoint to claims by Republican claims heading into the midterms that they will protect people with pre-existing conditions. (Weixel, 10/24)
The massive package to try to address the national opioid epidemic was a rare bipartisan accomplishment by Congress this year. But many advocates, while saying it's a good first step, also predict that it's not nearly enough to make a significant dent in the crisis.
The Associated Press:
Trump Signs Bipartisan Measure To Confront Opioid Crisis
President Donald Trump pledged on Wednesday to put an "extremely big dent" in the scourge of drug addiction in America as he signed legislation intended to help tackle the opioid crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country's history. Nearly 48,000 people died last year from overdoses involving opioids. Overall, U.S. drug overdose deaths have started to level off, but Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says it's too soon to declare victory. (10/24)
Signing Opioid Law, Trump Pledges To End 'Scourge' Of Drug Addiction
"Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America," Trump said at a White House event celebrating the signing. "We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem." (Rascoe and Horsley, 10/24)
The Washington Post:
Trump Signs Sweeping Opioid Bill. Expect To Hear About It On The Campaign Trail.
The bill addresses numerous aspects of the opioid crisis, including prevention, treatment and recovery. It knits together bills sponsored by hundreds of lawmakers, many of whom are embroiled in tough reelection battles and can now tout their support of the law in the run-up to Election Day. “Together we will defeat this epidemic — it’s a true epidemic — as one people, one family and one magnificent nation under God,” Trump said. Drug overdoses killed about 72,000 people last year, and opioids have become a major campaign issue for both Democrats and Republicans. (Zezima and Kim, 10/24)
Trump Signs Sweeping Bill Aimed At Tackling Opioid Crisis
A hallmark provision of the bill aims to stop the flow of deadly synthetic opioids into the U.S. from other countries by requiring the U.S. Postal Service to obtain electronic data on international mail shipments that can be used to target suspicious packages for inspection. (Hellmann, 10/24)
Trump Basks In Recognition For Washington’s Response To The Opioid Crisis
The bill “is an important step forward,” Dr. Kelly Clark, the president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said in a statement. “[But] there is much work ahead to ensure that all Americans living with addiction have access to treatment that is standardized and evidence-based, as well as comprehensive insurance coverage.” The legislation extended the ability of nurses to prescribe addiction-treatment medications, made it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to access the addiction treatment drug methadone, and allowed more flexibility for doctors wishing to prescribe those treatments via telemedicine. (Facher, 10/24)
The treatment is the first new influenza drug with a novel mechanism of action that the FDA has approved in nearly 20 years. If patients see their doctors within 48 hours of symptom onset one dose of Xofluza may significantly reduce the duration of flu symptoms.
FDA Approves Genentech's Fast-Acting Single-Dose Flu Medicine Xofluza
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a new, single-dose flu medication to treat people 12 and older who have had the flu for no more than 48 hours. Baloxavir, to be sold by Genentech under the brand name Xofluza, is the only single-dose oral medicine approved to treat the flu. It has been shown to significantly reduce the duration of symptoms. It's expected to be available within weeks. (O'Donnell, 10/24)
The New York Times:
F.D.A. Approves New Drug For Flu
Xofluza works in a new way, by blocking an enzyme the virus needs to copy itself. So, at least in theory, circulating flu strains resistant to earlier drugs should not have any resistance to it. It has been shown to work against both A and B strains, which circulate each year, and it is expected to work against dangerous bird flus known to occasionally infect humans, such as the A strains of both H5N1 and A H7N9. (McNeil, 10/24)
The Associated Press:
US Approves First New Type Of Flu Drug In 2 Decades
Xofluza is a pill that can reduce severity and shorten duration of flu symptoms after one just dose. It was developed by the Roche Group and Shionogi & Co. It works about as well as Tamiflu, Roche's older flu treatment, which is also available in cheaper generic versions. Tamiflu is taken twice daily for five days. (Johnson, 10/24)