- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Bringing Former Hospitals Back To Life – Ghosts And All
- Why Glaring Quality Gaps Among Nursing Homes Are Likely To Grow If Medicaid Is Cut
- For Some Refugees, Women's Health Care Is A Culture Shock
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- Affordable Care Act Hits Highest Popularity Level In California Since Tracking Began
- Pharmaceuticals 1
- Residents Of San Francisco Eager To Buy Recreational Marijuana Are Going To Have To Wait
Latest From California Healthline:
As the number of hospitals across the country has plummeted, many old buildings are finding new life as apartments and condos. (Anna Gorman and Phil Galewitz, 9/28)
Medicaid covers about two-thirds of nursing home residents, but it pays less than other types of insurance. (Jordan Rau, 9/28)
Refugee women from conservative Muslim countries can be shocked by some U.S. medical conventions — like trusting a male doctor to care for them. (Sarah Varney, 9/28)
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Summaries Of The News:
But Californians are divided on whether to substantially increase government involvement through a single-payer system.
Capital Public Radio:
Poll: Californians Back Obamacare And Dreamers, But Not Single-Payer
Californians appear to be staking out positions on health care that are left of center – but not too far left. The Affordable Care Act draws a 58 percent favorable opinion from likely voters, and the same percentage believes congressional Republicans should work with Democrats to improve health care. That’s compared to 20 percent of likely voters (and half of Republicans) who want the GOP to keep working to pass its own health care plan, and another 21 percent who want Republicans to leave health care behind and move on to other issues entirely. “I think that overall, sentiment is, what we have (is) not perfect – can use improvements – but (it’s) better than the alternatives that we’re seeing out there,” Baldassare says. (Adler, 9/27)
"We've got more than 100,000 people who are depending on us for their day-to-day healthcare and these clinics are located in medically underserved areas," Dr. J. Mario Molina said.
Ousted Molina Healthcare CEO To Snap Up Insurer's Calif. Clinics
Health insurer Molina Healthcare is getting out of the primary care business to focus on insurance, and it's quietly shutting down medical clinics in underserved areas across the country, according to its former CEO. Dr. J. Mario Molina, who was unexpectedly ousted earlier this year from the company his father created, is in the process of buying 17 of those clinics in California that would have closed otherwise. The California clinics serve about 120,000 patients annually. (Livingston, 9/27)
Dr. Wilma Wooten said the overall case count jumped to 461 Tuesday, with 315 hospitalizations since November and 17 deaths.
Los Angeles Times:
Death Toll From San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak Rises To 17, With No Signs Of Slowing
The death toll in San Diego’s hepatitis A outbreak increased Tuesday, and the region’s top public health official said she hasn’t seen any signs of a slowdown in the public health emergency that has now killed 17 people. Dr. Wilma Wooten said there are 49 suspected hepatitis cases and one death still under investigation. A week ago, there were 44 cases, and the number of investigations has bounced from roughly 30 to 50 at any given time for several months, public health officials said. (Sisson, 9/27)
The city has said it needs to figure out how it will regulate the industry before it issues permits to sell anything.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Recreational Marijuana Sales Won’t Start In January In SF After All
People eager to start buying recreational marijuana from shops in San Francisco when sales become legal throughout the state in January are going to have to wait a little longer. The city won’t issue permits to sell recreational marijuana until it passes new laws to regulate the industry and creates an equity program to help low-income entrepreneurs, people of color, and former drug offenders break into the market. (Swan, 9/26)
Hemp In California: Could Marijuana’s Mellow Cousin Be The Next Environmental And Economic Boon?
Marijuana got all the attention last year when voters approved a landmark ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. But buried in the last few pages of the lengthy measure was less noticed language legalizing industrial hemp production. (Edwards Staggs, 9/27)
The funds that are raised from the event will go toward Alzheimer’s care, support, research, awareness and advocacy in the Oxnard community.
Ventura County Star:
Saturday Walk In Oxnard Will Raise Money To End Scourge Of Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic and is now the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Today, more than 5 million Americans — 14,000 of them in Ventura County — have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and, as baby boomers age, that's expected to grow to 16 million by 2050. Saturday's walk is expected to attract more than 500 people, said Mitchel Sloan, vice president of development and communications for the Alzheimer's Association California Central Chapter. Another one is scheduled for Oct. 21 at Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. (Doyle, 9/27)
In other news from across the state —
The Desert Sun:
Rancho Mirage Doctor And Wife Facing Prison Term For Insurance Fraud Have Disappeared With Millions Of Dollars
A convicted Rancho Mirage doctor is expected to be sentenced Friday in a fraud case even though he and his wife apparently are now on the run, officials say. David Morrow and his wife, Linda, were indicted in the fraud case several years ago and David Morrow pleaded guilty to two charges last year. He was set to be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. Linda Morrow, meanwhile, was scheduled to go to trial in November and was facing more than 500 years in prison.But after missing a status conference hearing on July 14, "the Morrows are fugitives at this point," Mrozek said. (Atagi, 9/27)
Several states have tried it, and it's been a bust.
The Washington Post:
Trump Plans Executive Action To Let Insurers Sell Health Plans Across State Lines
President Trump said Wednesday that he could take executive action next week to allow insurers to sell health plans across state lines and make it easier for individual consumers to buy coverage as a group, a policy approach long championed by conservatives. Trump’s comments, which came on the same day that insurers in about three dozen states had to finalize their federal contracts to offer 2018 coverage under the Affordable Care Act, did little to allay their concerns or those of state officials. (Eilperin and Winfield Cunningham, 9/27)
Trump Says He May Sign Executive Order On Health Care Next Week
A day after Congress' last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare failed, Trump said he may soon sign an executive order on health care that would affect millions of people. "I'll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care, and that will be probably signed next week," he told reporters Wednesday. "It's being finished now. It's going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people. Millions of people." (Luhby, 9/27)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Says He’ll Work With Democrats On Health Care
The push to ease interstate health-insurance sales has long been a goal of Republicans. Insurers that operate nationally already can sell plans to consumers in any state as long as they are licensed in that state and follow its rules. Republicans have sought to give insurers leeway to sell policies to consumers in a state where they aren’t licensed; such policies would only need to meet the insurer’s home-state regulations. Groups such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have argued that insurers under such a system might flock to states with the most-limited requirements for the industry. That could result in some plans carrying bare-bones coverage, even if offering cheaper premiums. In recent years, a handful of states passed legislation setting up special agreements that allow insurers in one state to sell coverage to individuals in another state, but participation has been sparse. (Peterson and Hackman, 9/27)
Health Plans, Regulators Pan Trump's Plan To Allow Purchase Of Insurance Across State Lines
Trump didn't elaborate on how he would allow insurance to be sold across state lines. But most insurance experts find it hard to imagine how an executive order could supplant existing state regulations, and believe such a move would likely spark a legal challenge. “Health insurers already have the ability to sell insurance in multiple states as long as they comply with state consumer protection and licensing laws, which many already do,” said Mike Consedine, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in a statement to POLITICO. “The NAIC has long been opposed to any attempt to reduce or preempt state authority or weaken consumer protections.” (Demko and McCaskill, 9/27)
The Wall Street Journal:
Health Insurers Stay In ACA Despite Fears Of Last-Minute Exits
Health insurers appeared likely to offer Affordable Care Act plans in all U.S. counties next year, despite months of drama and worries among some state officials about last-minute exits, ahead of a late-Wednesday deadline. Some major insurers that had signaled that they might pull back, including Cigna Corp., Health Care Service Corp., Molina Healthcare Inc., Highmark Health and Independence Blue Cross, this week said they would stick to the states and regions where they had filed to offer ACA coverage. (Wilde Mathews, 9/27)
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump remains optimistic that there will be movement in the next few months. "[In] the meantime, I have that little period of time, I'll negotiate with the Democrats if we can come up with a fantastic health care bill, that's okay with me. Good for both parties. Bipartisan," the president says.
The Wall Street Journal:
GOP Promises Continued Push On Health-Care Rollback After Collapse
Republicans have a new promise on health care: It’s not over. As the GOP trumpeted the framework of a new tax overhaul plan at the Capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers wrestled with their message to voters after promises to roll back the Affordable Care Act officially came up short Tuesday, when party leaders scrapped a final vote after nine months of failed attempts. Now, Republicans are promising that repeal will still happen before the current session of Congress ends in January 2019. (Peterson and Armour, 9/27)
Trump Predicts Health Care Reform Will Pass In 'A Few Months'
President Trump in a new interview scheduled to air Thursday insisted that Republicans have the votes to repeal ObamaCare and will pass health care reform in “a few months.” “So we'll bring it into a few months from now. We'll vote it - it's block grants. It's going to be great health care,’ Trump told “Fox & Friends.” (Shelbourne, 9/27)
Trump Vows To Try Again After Senate GOP Kills Health-Care Vote
Leaders decided Tuesday that the Senate won’t vote before Saturday’s deadline to use a fast-track procedure to keep Democrats from blocking a GOP-only bill and they said they would turn instead to overhauling the U.S. tax system. “We don’t have the votes” for the health-care bill, co-sponsor Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters in Washington. “We’ve made the decision, since we don’t have the votes, we’ll postpone that vote.” (Litvan and Dennis, 9/27)
A Patient's Guide To Enrolling In Obamacare In The Age Of Trump
In less than six weeks, despite months of Republican attempts to dismantle Obamacare, millions of people will return to HealthCare.gov to buy insurance. Or at least, they should.You might not know it from the political rhetoric, but the Affordable Care Act is still the law. Every American is still legally required to carry health insurance or face a tax penalty of at least $695. There will still be plans available on the exchanges in every county, and the federal government will still provide the subsidies that help more than 9 million people afford their premiums. (Mershon, 9/28)
Senate Dems Demand Investigation Into ObamaCare Website Shutdowns
A group of Senate Democrats on Wednesday called for an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to periodically shut down the federal ObamaCare exchange website in the middle of the next open enrollment period. Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) asked the Department of Health and Human Services's inspector general to investigate plans for hours-long maintenance shutdowns of the HealthCare.gov website. (Weixel, 9/27)
Democrats Welcome GOP Keeping Obamacare Repeal Alive
To the Republicans vowing to keep their Obamacare repeal drive alive for as long as it takes, Democrats say: Please, and thank you. While Senate Republicans abandoned their last-gasp attempt to topple Obamacare before a Saturday deadline, they’re already suggesting they might try again next year. That timing — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Congress would take up repeal again in the first quarter of next year — could keep the threat of upending the health care system front of mind in the thick of the 2018 campaign season. (Schor and Caygle, 9/28)
When asked if HHS Secretary Tom Price would be fired over his use of a private jet that has cost taxpayers more than $400,000 since May, President Donald Trump said, "We'll see." Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee is requesting information on Price's travel.
The Washington Post:
Trump: ‘Not Happy’ About HHS Secretary Tom Price’s Taxpayer-Funded Travel On Private Jets
President Trump on Wednesday said he is "not happy" about revelations that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took numerous flights on government-funded private jets for work and personal trips. But the former congressman from Georgia is likely to keep his job, according to two people familiar with Trump's thinking. Responding to questions from reporters at the White House, Trump said he is “looking into” the situation and that “personally, I'm not happy about it, and I let him know it.” Trump spoke by phone with Price in recent days, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the personnel issue. (Nakamura and Gearan, 9/27)
The Associated Press:
Top Health Official’s Travel Angers Trump
President Donald Trump says he’s “not happy” with his top health official, putting Tom Price’s job in jeopardy after his costly charter flights triggered a congressional investigation of administration travel. Asked whether he’s planning on firing Price, Trump responded Wednesday: “We’ll see.” (Alonso-Zaldivar and Lucey, 9/28)
Trump Fuming Over Price's Charter Flights
Politico has revealed that Price has flown 26 times on private aircraft since last May at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a break with the practice of his predecessors, who generally took commercial flights. Some Trump advisers are urging Trump to get rid of Price, according to three people familiar with the conversations. “His conduct is pretty much indefensible,” one senior administration official said. “I don’t know how you defend it.” (Dawsey, Restuccia and Nelson, 9/27)
On Heels Of Tom Price Private Jet Revelations, House Committee Launches Inquiry
As a Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed for the second time in three months this week, the man tapped to lead the charge found himself at the center of another controversy. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, according to a series of reports from Politico, has racked up a tab of more than $400,000 in private jet travel, despite his predecessors’ longstanding practice of traveling on commercial airlines. (Facher, 9/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Will Health Secretary Tom Price Be Fired Over Use Of Charter Planes? 'We'll See,' Trump Says
The inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department is probing the flights, and the House Oversight Committee has asked the White House and various agencies to turn over information about any private flights. (Decker, 9/27)
Trouble Mounts For Trump’s Health Secretary After Private-Jet Trips
On Wednesday, the the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a letter asking Price for details on his use of “government-owned aircraft for personal travel or private non-commercial aircraft for official travel.” The letter, signed by the committee’s top Republican and Democrat, gives Price two weeks to provide the records. It also drags the former congressman into an inquiry by fellow Republicans, a relative rarity in Washington politics. HHS’s Office of Inspector General is also investigating the trips. (Edney, 9/27)