- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- CVS-Aetna Merger A Bid To Bring Down Costs, Gain Competitive Edge
- Dangling A Carrot For Patients To Take Healthy Steps: Does It Work?
- Around California 2
- Medical Savings From Homeless Housing Program More Than Offset Cost Of Initiative
- Former Assemblyman Charged With Aiding Wife's Suicide
- Public Health and Education 1
- In California, Millennials Have Surpassed Baby Boomers To Become Largest Generation Of Caregivers
Latest From California Healthline:
What will the mega-merger mean for consumers and the health care industry? Senior correspondent Chad Terhune offers insight. (12/4)
Many medical groups and state Medicaid programs are offering gift cards, cash and other rewards to low-income patients if they agree to get preventive screenings and make healthier lifestyle choices. (Anna Gorman, 12/4)
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Summaries Of The News:
For every $1 invested in the program that provided housing for sick homeless people, LA's county government was spared $1.20 in healthcare and social service costs.
Los Angeles Times:
Study Finds L.A. County Saves Money By Housing Sick Homeless People
Los Angeles County’s marquee program to provide housing for very sick homeless people saved taxpayers thousands of dollars by reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits, a three-year Rand Corp. study released Monday found. Considered a national model, Housing for Health uses county and federal money to subsidize rents and intensive case management for acutely ill homeless people. (Holland, 12/4)
In other news from across the state —
San Diego Union-Times:
Computer Analysis To Replace Metal Heart Wires At Scripps La Jolla
Computer calculations are set to replace a common in-the-flesh heart test at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. The facility on Genesee Avenue is the first in the region, and among about 100 medical centers worldwide, to adopt the new approach to determining whether or not coronary artery blockages are severe enough to require stenting, a process that uses a tiny expandable metal scaffolding to push fatty deposits called plaques out of the way, improving blood flow to the heart muscle. (Sisson, 12/3)
Steve Clute's lawyer says that his wife was in pain and hadn't been able to find treatment to ease it. While the state's aid-in-dying law went into effect before the suicide, it only applies to people who are fatally ill.
The Associated Press:
Former California Lawmaker Charged With Aiding Wife In Suicide
A former California state lawmaker was charged with providing a gun to his wife so she could kill herself last year. Former Assemblyman Steve Clute was charged Thursday in Riverside County Superior Court with a felony count of aiding the suicide of his wife of about 40 years. Pamela Clute, 66, a well-liked math professor and administrator at the University of California, Riverside, was found dead in the couple’s Palm Desert home in August 2016. About 500 people attended a campus memorial service for her. (12/5)
Thirty-nine percent of California millennials are caregiving for a child, parent or, most likely, a grandparent.
Who’s Taking Care Of California’s Seniors? Probably A Millennial, Survey Says
Shay Jackson starts her day at 4 a.m, seeking the early morning “me time” with prayer and Bible study before chaos ensues. Before heading to her state job, there’s breakfast to be made for her children, ages 7 and 3. Her grandmother, 79-year-old Audrey Strong, is undergoing treatment for lung cancer and needs assistance getting dressed. Jackson, 32, tag-teams the responsibilities with her husband, Chris Jackson, who gets the children to school in the morning and works afternoons. (Sullivan, 12/3)
The decision comes months after a New York hedge fund shook up Depomed's leadership.
San Francisco Business Times:
Less Than A Year After Hedge Fund Coup, East Bay Drug Maker Cuts Jobs, Looks To Move HQ
A New York hedge fund that earlier this year flipped the board of Depomed Inc. and installed a new CEO to boost the company's value said Monday that it will cut 40 percent of its staff and move the drug company's headquarters out of California. The move is necessary, Depomed said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, because it is turning over sales of its best-selling pain drug, Nucynta, to Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc. and won't need as large of a workforce or as much space at its Newark headquarters. (Leuty, 12/4)
Media outlets take a look at how the potentially groundbreaking merger will impact consumers, shake up the health care landscape and more.
The New York Times:
How Will Consumers Fare If CVS And Aetna Merge?
When CVS Health and Aetna announced their merger on Sunday, their executives painted an image of a dawning health care utopia. The new company, combining one of the country’s biggest pharmacies with one of its largest health insurers, will create a world where patients will get the “human touch,” they said. Fewer people will fall through the cracks, they promised, and getting high-quality, low-cost medical care will be as close as your corner drugstore. (Abelson and Thomas, 12/4)
The Wall Street Journal:
The CVS-Aetna Gamble: A Health-Care Giant Not Built Around Doctors
CVS Health Corp. and Aetna Inc. are attempting to create something with little precedent: an integrated health-care enterprise that isn’t built around doctors. The combination of the two companies, in a deal valued at $69 billion and announced Sunday, is supposed to bring together Aetna’s patient data and CVS’s sprawling network of nearly 10,000 brick-and-mortar sites to squeeze out costs while improving care and convenience. (Wilde Mathews and Terlep, 12/4)
Los Angeles Times:
CVS And Aetna Say Their Huge Merger Will Be Great For Consumers. Here's Why You Should Be Skeptical
The CEOs of drug retailer CVS and health insurer Aetna were marvelously in sync Sunday when they jointly announced their companies’ $69-billion merger deal. The deal will “dramatically further empower consumers,” Aetna’s Mark Bertolini said. It will “create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers,” according to Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health. They repeated these mantras to the press in a series of joint interviews. (Michael Hiltzik, 12/4)
Los Angeles Times:
CVS And Aetna Stocks Slide On News Of Merger Deal
CVS Health Corp. shares dropped Monday as investors expressed uncertainty about the pharmacy giant’s $69-billion deal to acquire health insurer Aetna Inc. CVS stock was down 4.9% at $71.45 around 9:45 a.m. PST. Meanwhile, shares of Aetna were down 0.5% at $180.40 after an early-morning jump. (Masunaga, 12/4)
CVS-Aetna Deal Could Start A Health Takeover Run
CVS Health Corp.’s deal to buy insurer Aetna Inc. for about $67.5 billion could be just the start of a new wave of health-care takeovers. The merger announced Sunday will leave one less independent player in the complex web of insurers, retailers and other middlemen that sit between patients and their care -- and who are under pressure to reduce costs. (Langreth, 12/4)
With Aetna Deal, CVS Looks To Turn Stores Into Health Care Hubs
CVS Health is looking to create a national network of community medical clinics that will serve as "America's front door to quality health care." That's the goal, according to a statement by CEO Larry Merlo on his company's deal for Aetna. It's an ambitious one for CVS, a company better known as a quick stop for Tylenol and a Coke. (Kodjak, 12/4)
The tax bill that Republican lawmakers are finalizing would have wide-reaching effects on health issues. But the GOP still has negotiating ahead to get a bill that both the House and Senate will support.
The Associated Press:
Q&A: Tax Bill Impacts On Health Law Coverage And Medicare
The tax overhaul Republicans are pushing toward final votes in Congress could undermine the Affordable Care Act's health insurance markets and add to the financial squeeze on Medicare over time. Lawmakers will meet this week to resolve differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills in hopes of getting a finished product to President Donald Trump's desk around Christmas. Also in play are the tax deduction for people with high medical expenses, and a tax credit for drug companies that develop treatments for serious diseases affecting relatively few patients. (12/5)
Tax Bill Would Trigger A Major Ripple Effect Through Health Care
The Republican effort to overhaul the tax code could send shudders through the health care system, potentially reshaping Obamacare while altering critical financial incentives affecting everyone from medical students to corporations and retirees with chronic illnesses. (Cancryn, 12/4)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would support passage of the bill sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). In other news, the health industry is about to be hit with a double-whammy from the Republican tax bill and a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services on short-term health plans; and The New York Times looks at where President Donald Trump gets it right -- and wrong -- about premiums.
Collins Doubles Funding Ask For ObamaCare Bill
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has doubled the amount of money she's requesting in her ObamaCare stabilization bill in exchange for her vote on the GOP's tax-reform plan. Collins, a key vote on tax reform, is pushing for the passage of two ObamaCare bills in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the tax bill's repeal of the individual insurance mandate. (Hellmann, 12/4)
Loss Of The Individual Mandate, Loosened Regulation Of Short-Term Plans Feared By Healthcare Industry
Health insurers—and hospitals—soon may be socked by a double whammy that could drive away insurers' healthier customers, induce them to spike premiums and unravel the individual market. First, the Senate Republican tax cut bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act's requirement that nearly everyone get insurance. That provision, which House Republicans support, is projected to reduce the number of insured Americans, particularly healthier people, by 13 million in 2027 and boost premiums each year by an average of 10%, according to the Congressional Budget Office. (Meyer, 12/4)
The New York Times:
Why Trump Is Right And Wrong About Obamacare Premiums
President Trump says that premiums for Obamacare are “going up, up, up.” He is partly correct and partly incorrect, according to a New York Times analysis of new data provided by the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform. (Park, 12/4)