- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- California’s Top Lawyer Cements His Role As Health Care Defender-In-Chief
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- Deadline Is Today To Sign Up For Health Plans Through Covered California
- Sacramento Watch 1
- Newsom's Budget Would Allocate Money Toward Helping Identify Childhood Trauma Victims
- Around California 1
- As Temperatures Dip, Fremont’s Warming Center For The Homeless Announces It Will Stay Open Nightly
- National Roundup 3
- Court Issues Nationwide Injunction Against Trump Rules Easing Health Law's Contraception Coverage Requirements
- House Dems Open Investigation Into Pharma's Drug Pricing Strategies, Calling The Probe One Of The Broadest In Decades
- FDA Brings In Furloughed Workers To Resume Safety Inspections For High-Risk Foods
Latest From California Healthline:
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra scores a win for California and other states in his effort to block Trump administration birth control rules. It is one of many suits he has filed to defend the Affordable Care Act from efforts to erode it. (Samantha Young, 1/15)
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More News From Across The State
Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee, who was in Los Angeles Monday to promote open enrollment, also said time is of the essence. “The clock is ticking for consumers who need quality health care coverage because this year’s deadline is earlier than it has been in the past."
Sierra Sun Times:
Governor Newsom Urges Uninsured To Get Covered Before Midnight Deadline Tomorrow As Covered California Continues Promoting Enrollment
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday urged Californians who need health insurance to enroll as Covered California continued promoting coverage statewide before the deadline to enroll on Jan. 15. “Covered California is in the final two days of open enrollment. That means if you are without health insurance, you need to sign up by Tuesday, Jan. 15, to secure health coverage,” Newsom said. (1/14)
Experts in the field of childhood trauma say that screening for adverse experiences early can change the course of these children's development. Childhood trauma has been shown to affect a person's health throughout their lives.
Capital Public Radio:
How Governor Gavin Newsom’s Plan To Identify Early Childhood Trauma In Kids Might Make Healthier, Smarter Students
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, released last Thursday, could allocate $45 million for screenings to identify these experiences among children and adults on Medi-Cal. A growing body of research shows that if ACEs are spotted early, doctors and teachers can intervene to change a child’s trajectory. (Caiola, 1/14)
Chico Fire Department Division Chief Jesse Alexander told the station it was the largest mass casualty incident he had seen in years.
Mass Drug Overdose In California Kills 1 Person And Sends 14 More To Hospitals
A mass drug overdose at a home in Chico, California, has killed one person and sent more than a dozen people to hospitals, police said. Chico Police Chief Michael O'Brien said the main substance involved is believed to be fentanyl -- the most commonly used drug in overdoses, according to a recent government report. (Boyette and Yan, 1/14)
One Fatality, 12 Hospitalized In Chico Due To Apparent Overdoses
All 13 victims were found at a home in the 1100 block of Santana Court after a call came in at around 9 a.m. from someone inside the residence, Chico Police Chief Michael O’Brien said during a press conference. The city responded with all of its fire resources, Chico Fire Department Chief Steve Standridge said, including every ambulance. O’Brien said the mass overdose incident was probably caused by fentanyl, a highly potent opioid. (Dickman, 1/12)
In other news from the crisis —
Fresno Man Snorted Cocaine But It Was Really Fentanyl. He Died.
The fetanyl drug overdose crisis that first erupted back east has come to Fresno County in a case where a Fresno man died of an overdose, Sheriff Margaret Mims said Monday. It’s unclear if this is the first fentanyl death in the county, but it is definitely one of the first and the trend is worrisome for first responders, she said. (Griswold, 1/14)
CA Pharmacies Reject Some Pain Medication Prescriptions
Doctors around California are complaining that the state did not send them notice of a Jan. 1 change in prescription forms and that pharmacies are rejecting prescriptions for controlled substances on forms they used just last year. Dr. Richard Buss, a family practice physician in Jackson, said this is the second year the state made changes to prescription requirements without notifying doctors directly. (Anderson, 1/14)
“The winter is miserable for homeless people in general. The temperatures are cold, the weather is miserable, the ground gets wet, and we just have a lot of people sleeping all over the place,” said Suzanne Shenfil, the city’s director of human services.
The Mercury News:
Fremont's Warming Center For Homeless Now A Nightly Shelter
Fremont’s Warming Center for the Homeless, previously open only on winter nights with expected rain or temperatures below 40 degrees, is now open nightly through the winter. Every night since Nov. 15, the shelter has offered roughly 40 people a place to eat a hot meal, sleep, and access other services like a shower and occasional medical consultations. (Geha, 1/14)
The decision came a day after a separate judge in California blocked the rules for a handful of states and D.C. Pennsylvania and New Jersey had challenged the exemptions by arguing that the burden would fall to the states to provide contraception to women who lost coverage. “The states’ harm is not merely speculative; it is actual and imminent,” U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone wrote.
The New York Times:
Court Blocks Trump Administration Restrictions On Birth Control
A federal court issued a nationwide injunction on Monday that prevents the Trump administration from interfering with women’s access to free birth control guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. The decision, by Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the Federal District Court in Philadelphia, extends a losing streak for President Trump, who has repeatedly been set back in his efforts to allow employers to deny insurance coverage of contraceptives to which the employers object on religious or moral grounds. (Pear, 1/14)
Second U.S. Judge Blocks Trump Administration Birth Control Rules
U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia issued a nationwide injunction preventing the rules from taking effect, a day after another judge issued a more limited ruling blocking their enforcement in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The rules would let businesses or nonprofits lodge religious or moral objections to obtain exemptions from the Obamacare mandate that employers provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance with no copayment. (1/14)
The Washington Post:
Judge Blocks Trump Effort To Roll Back Birth Control Mandate Nationwide
In a 65-page opinion, Beetlestone concludes the Trump administration’s effort to carve out coverage of contraceptives for stricter limits than other types of preventive care “is inconsistent with the . . . text” of the ACA. And she rejects the contention that broader exemptions for birth control are required under a 1993 law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The judge said states would bear expenses from women seeking state-funded contraceptive services and from unintended pregnancies. Noting that federal health officials estimate 70,500 women would lose coverage under the policy, Beetlestone wrote: “The only serious disagreement is not whether the states will be harmed, but how much.” (Goldstein, 1/14)
The Wall Street Journal:
Judge Blocks Rules Allowing Employers To Opt Out Of Covering Birth Control
The rulings were early steps in what is likely to be a long court battle that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Officials in multiple states, including California, have sued the Trump administration over the contraception rules. “Until these discriminatory rules are blocked for good, the health and livelihoods of millions across the country are still threatened,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, a liberal-leaning nonprofit that advocates for women and families. (Hackman, 1/14)
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings sent letters to drugmakers requesting detailed information about their pricing practices, focusing on drugs that are the costliest to Medicare Part D as well as drugs that have had the largest increases over a five-year period. The move is just the latest in a flurry of legislation and congressional action taken on the topic of high drug prices this year.
The Associated Press:
House Dems Announce Sweeping Investigation Of Drug Pricing
House Democrats announced a sweeping investigation Monday of the pharmaceutical industry's pricing practices, jockeying for the upper hand with the Trump administration on an issue that concerns Americans across the political spectrum. Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said he's sent letters to 12 major drugmakers seeking detailed information and documents about pricing practices for brand-name drugs to treat diseases including cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and nerve pain. (1/14)
U.S. Lawmaker Launches Investigation Into Pharma Drug Pricing
AbbVie Inc, Amgen Inc, AstraZeneca PLC, Celgene Corp, Eli Lilly and Co, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt PLC, Novartis AG, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer Inc, Sanofi and Teva Pharmaceutical all received letters seeking information about their pricing practices. Novo Nordisk, Amgen, Celgene, and Novartis said they were reviewing the request. The other drug companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (1/14)
In other national health care news —
Medicare Part D Could Have Saved $14.4B In 2016 By Negotiating As The VA Did
As Congressional lawmakers push to negotiate prices for Medicare Part D, a new analysis finds the federal government could have saved $14.4 billion on the top 50 pills that were covered two years ago if the program obtained the same prices as the Department of Veterans Affairs, which already haggles for discounts. For instance, the VA spent roughly $1.7 billion on the Harvoni hepatitis C treatment sold by Gilead Sciences (GILD) in 2016, compared with $3 billion spent by Part D, which spent more on this particular pill that year than any other oral medicine. (Silverman, 1/14)
The New York Times:
Opioids, Car Crashes And Falling: The Odds Of Dying In The U.S.
The opioid crisis in the United States has become so grim that Americans are now likelier to die of an overdose than in a vehicle crash. That’s according to a new report by the National Safety Council that analyzed the causes of preventable deaths in the country in 2017. The probability of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the report, is one in 96. The chances of dying in a vehicle crash? One in 103. (Mazzei, 1/14)
Anti-Abortion Leaders Are Rebranding As "Pro-Science." Are They?
In recent months, anti-abortion advocates have advocated for the cancellation of a federal research contract for fetal tissue procurement and pushed to halt other research they view as immoral. The results: a $2 million project to test HIV drugs derailed and another pair of studies, including one to develop cancer immunotherapies, left in limbo. The movement’s latest objective: to force President Trump to fire the renowned director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, the country’s top biomedical research scientist. (Facher and Thielking, 1/15)
Rand Paul Headed To Canada For Surgery, But Will Pay Out Of Pocket
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is going to Canada for surgery — but don't accuse the staunch opponent of all things socialist of seeking public health care. He'll be paying for his care in full. "This is a private, world-renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” a spokesperson told POLITICO. While the U.S. and Canada are often portrayed as having opposing health systems — one private, one public, the reality is more nuanced. Canada also offers some for-profit services, while the U.S. has federal health insurance programs. (Panetta, 1/14)
The inspections, which have been halted because of the government shutdown, will focus on risky items like cheeses, produce and infant formula. The FDA oversees about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply. Meanwhile, the shutdown could derail the timetable for some highly anticipated drugs.
The Associated Press:
FDA Resuming Some Food Inspections Halted By Shutdown
The Food and Drug Administration said it will resume inspections of some of the riskiest foods such as cheeses, produce and infant formula as early as Tuesday. The routine inspections had been briefly halted as a result of the partial government shutdown. (1/14)
The New York Times:
F.D.A. Says It Will Resume Inspecting Some High-Risk Foods
But Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said that he was asking employees to return from furlough to conduct some of the inspections and other agency functions involving surveillance of certain drugs, devices and potential outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. About one-third of all food safety inspections are for high-risk foods, he said. It was unclear when more routine inspections would resume. (Kaplan, 1/14)
A Longer Shutdown At FDA Could Put Anticipated New Drugs In Jeopardy
The government shutdown could soon jeopardize highly anticipated new drugs from Janssen, Sanofi and Novartis for depression, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, as well as a host of other potential new therapies, according to a STAT analysis of upcoming regulatory decision dates. President Trump has warned that the shutdown — already the longest in history — could stretch on for “months or even years.” And though the Food and Drug Administration can retain more than half of its workforce thanks to application fees paid by drug and device makers, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has cautioned the agency only has about three more weeks’ worth of funding to draw down. (Florko and Swetlitz, 1/14)