Latest From California Healthline:
Capitalizing on the growing popularity of genetic testing — and fears of terminal illness — scammers are persuading seniors to hand over cheek swabs with their DNA, not knowing it may lead to identity theft and Medicare fraud. (Melissa Bailey, 7/30)
Good morning! Californians could be the ones bearing the brunt of President Donald Trump’s proposed food stamp cuts. More on that below, but first here are your top California health stories of the day.
Mass Shooting At Gilroy Garlic Festival Highlights Differences In Gun Control Laws Between States: The 19-year-old gunman who attacked the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday used an AK-47-style assault rifle he had purchased legally in Nevada. Assault weapons like that are illegal to buy or sell in California, with a few narrow exceptions for holders of specialized permits. It’s also illegal to possess them, even if they were purchased legally somewhere else. It is also illegal to sell any type of firearm to someone under age 21 in California, except for police, members of the military and holders of hunting licenses. California had the nation’s third-highest gun murder rate a generation ago, but gun violence in the state has dropped significantly with the proliferation of restrictive laws.
Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed President Donald Trump and Republicans for a “culture of gun violence” during a Monday appearance in Gilroy. The Democratic governor said the president has failed to provide moral leadership on the issue and take on the “machismo” culture perpetuating mass shootings.
And adults are faced with the tough job of having to talk to the classmates of the 6-year-old who died in the shooting. “The most helpful thing for parents to share with their kids is that these events are rare and that adults are there to protect them,” said Dr. Stephen Brock, professor of psychology at CSU Sacramento. “We can’t deny the reality of these things, but kids need to be reassured with these facts.”
Read more from Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle; Richard Winton and Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times; Jaimie Ding and Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee; Sophia Bollag of the Sacramento Bee; and Ki Sung of KQED.
California Hospitals Ranked In Annual Esteemed U.S. News & World Report Analysis Of Best Facilities: The five top-ranking California hospitals placed among the top 20 in the nation: UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles was No. 6; UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, No. 7; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., No. 8; Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, No. 12; and Los Angeles’ Keck Hospital of USC, No. 16. While UC Berkeley had originally been ranked as the second-best public university after UCLA, it was kicked off the list because it had provided several years of wrong information about the size of its charitable contributions — which accounts for 5% of a school’s ranking — the campus of Nobel Prize winners and touted researchers got the boot. Read more from Cathie Anderson of the Sacramento Bee and Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Drugmakers To Fork Over $70 Million To California To Settle 'Pay For Delay' Allegations From State: The "pay for delay" agreements involve one company paying other drugmakers to refrain from producing a generic version after the drug’s patent expires. The practices caused consumers "to pay as much as 90% more for drugs shielded from competition," state Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said. Four settlements were reached with drug companies Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teikoku Pharma over the practices. Part of the settlement will be used to create a fund for California residents who were affected by the practices. California has been at the forefront of legal actions related to pay-for-delay agreements, in part because the state’s antitrust law can be broader than federal law. Read more from Samantha Masunaga of the Los Angeles Times; Arman Azad and Jamie Gumbrecht of CNN; and Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Below, check out the full round-up of California Healthline original stories, state coverage and the best of the rest of the national news for the day.
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More News From Across The State
California Could Bear Brunt Of Trump Food Stamp Cuts
When Antoinette Martinez rolls her cart through the produce section of the FoodMaxx in Watsonville, her 5-year-old son Caden often asks for strawberries and blueberries. Sometimes Martinez bends, but usually she sticks to the produce on sale: Roma tomatoes for 69 cents a pound, cucumbers at three-for-99 cents. And banana bunches are relatively cheap. “If it’s not under a dollar then I don’t buy it,” Martinez said, bypassing $2 lettuce as Caden clambered into her grocery cart. “It’s about stretching the dollar.” (Botts, 7/29)
Los Angeles Times:
For Nurses At Risk Of Suicide, Program Lets Them Seek Help When They Need It The Most
Nurses die by suicide at a significantly higher rate than the general population, according to a recently released study from a team of researchers at UC San Diego. Examining nationwide data on violent deaths from 2014, the only year for which occupation information is included, the team found that suicide rates were nearly 58% higher for female nurses and 41% higher for male nurses. (Sisson, 7/29)
Capital Public Radio:
Paperwork Woes Keep Some Low-Income Moms And Kids From Enrolling In Medi-Cal. Is An ‘Express Lane’ The Fix?
Low-income mothers and their young children have distinct health care needs, but advocates say red tape can prevent them from signing up for insurance. A bill moving through the California Legislature could better sync Medi-Cal enrollment. (Caiola, 7/29)
East Bay Times:
Over 80,000 Kaiser Permanente Workers Begin Vote To Authorize A Strike
More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers began voting Monday to authorize a nationwide unfair labor practices strike that would be the nation’s largest in more than two decades. The employees — ranging from registered nurses and X-ray technicians to phone operators and janitors –are seeking higher wages that can support middle-class families, preservation of existing healthcare benefits and an assurance of adequate staffing. They are represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which includes 11 individual unions. The action arose after contract talks stalled on July 12. Most of the employees’ labor contracts will expire in October. In December, the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser with failing to bargain in good faith and wrongly tying collective bargaining negotiations to a ban on political activity, including picketing the company. The union alleges the healthcare giant has continued to bargain in bad faith. (Smith, 7/30)
Worried About Wildfires, Californians Ready To Spend, Vote To Fight Climate Change
The majority of Californians believe global warming is happening now and that it’s a serious threat to the Golden State’s future, according to the results of a poll released today. What’s more, Californians are ready to cast their votes and spend their money to fight it. The findings from the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan think tank that’s asked Californians for their take on environmental issues for nearly two decades, suggest Californians place a high value on the environment and want the state to fight to protect it. (Becker, 7/29)
The Washington Post:
Candidates Expecting Explosive Faceoffs Sharpen Their Lines For Round 2 Of The Democratic Presidential Debates
Twenty candidates are sharpening memorable lines and crafting strategies for butting into the conversation as they prepare for a second round of Democratic presidential debates that are expected to be explosive, particularly over topics of race, inequality and criminal justice. Former vice president Joe Biden, having concluded he was not aggressive enough in the first clash in June, has practiced criticizing his rivals on health care and other issues as he prepares for Round 2. (Viser and Sullivan, 7/29)
The Associated Press:
Kamala Harris’ New Health Plan Draws Critics From All Sides
Kamala Harris released a health care proposal on Monday that sought to bridge the Democratic Party’s disparate factions. Instead, she drew criticism from rivals across the political spectrum. Progressives took issue with the presidential candidate for stopping short of the full-scale health care overhaul embodied by the “Medicare for All” legislation. Her more moderate rivals, meanwhile, said she was trying to have it all without taking a firm position on one of the most animating issues in the primary. The onslaught offered a preview of the Democrat-on-Democrat fighting that will likely unfold over two nights of presidential debates that begin on Tuesday. (Summers, 7/29)
The New York Times:
How A Medicare Buy-In Or Public Option Could Threaten Obamacare
It seems a simple enough proposition: Give people the choice to buy into Medicare, the popular federal insurance program for those over 65. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is one of the Democratic presidential contenders who favor this kind of buy-in, often called the public option. They view it as a more gradual, politically pragmatic alternative to the Medicare-for-all proposal championed by Senator Bernie Sanders, which would abolish private health insurance altogether. (Abelson, 7/29)
The New York Times:
Hospitals Would Have To Reveal Discounted Prices They Give Insurers, Under Trump Rule
The Trump administration on Monday said it would begin forcing hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurance companies, a requirement intended to help patients shop for better deals on a range of medical services, from hip replacements to CT scans. The plan, issued as a proposed federal rule, would take effect in January, but would likely be challenged in court by an industry that has long held such rates secret. (Abelson and Goodnough, 7/29)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Signs Bill Shoring Up 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund
President Trump signed legislation on Monday that funds medical claims from victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks for the rest of their lives. The legislation, signed during a ceremony at the White House’s Rose Garden, appropriates funds for all current and future approved claims made through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund until 2090, at an estimated cost of $10.2 billion over the next 10 years. (Restuccia, 7/29)