- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Repeal And Replace Hits A Roadblock. What’s Next For California?
- Covered California & The Health Law 3
- Future Of Medi-Cal Remains Uncertain Even After Defeat Of GOP's Health Bill
- Democrats' Ads Go After Republicans Who Supported Failed GOP Replacement Plan
- Eyes Turn Back To Future Of Insurance Subsidies After Replacement Bill Collapse
- Sacramento Watch 2
- Bill Aims To Control Health Costs With New Rules On Large Hospital Systems
- Hundreds Of Teens Protest Candy-Flavored Tobacco At Capitol
Latest From California Healthline:
California Healthline/Kaiser Health News correspondents take to the airwaves to discuss the future of Obamacare and changes that might ensue after the demise of the Republican health care bill. (3/28)
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More News From Across The State
It's still unclear what administrative changes President Donald Trump might make in the Medicaid system.
California Faces Higher Medi-Cal Costs Despite Trumpcare Failure
With the feds covering most costs, Medi-Cal’s enrollment has ballooned from 7.6 million to more than 14 million in the last five years, or more than a third of the state’s 39 million residents. The Republican alternative would have cost the budget up to $24.3 billion a year by 2027. That said, the future of Medi-Cal remains very dicey because we still don’t know what administrative changes President Donald Trump might make in the Medicaid system, short of congressional action. (Walters, 3/28)
Obamacare Advocates Say Trump Could Still Undermine The ACA
California healthcare advocates are breathing a sigh after the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — also called Obamacare — fell short. But they warn the Trump administration could still weaken the law through a variety of administrative decisions. (Goldberg, 3/27)
Rep. Mimi Walters of Irvine is one target of the ad campaign. "It’s critical that voters in California’s 45th District know where Walters stood on this harmful legislation,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.
Los Angeles Times:
Democrats Out With Ads Targeting Rep. Mimi Walters For Supporting GOP Healthcare Bill
Republicans didn't vote on their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act on Friday, but Democrats already have ads out criticizing vulnerable GOP House members like Rep. Mimi Walters of Irvine for backing the bill. The Internet ads, paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will target 14 Republicans who voted for the bill in the House Budget, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce committees. The ads will run for at least a week on social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram. (Wire, 3/27)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Even Though It Never Happened, Politicial Group Praises Rep. Darrell Issa For Replacing Obamacare
A political organization recently praised Rep. Darrell Issa in a commercial ad for repealing Obamacare. That’s not exactly what happened. The American Action Network television ad that aired on Friday afternoon asked viewers to “Thank Congressman Darrell Issa for replacing the Affordable Care Act with better health care.” The problem is that Issa and other House members did no such thing. On Friday afternoon, a scheduled vote on a bill that would have replaced the existing system with the Trump administration-backed American Health Care Act was canceled after it became clear that there wasn’t enough support for it to pass. (Stewart, 3/27)
Republicans could gut much of the Affordable Care Act by taking action to halt insurer payments, which House GOP lawmakers are already challenging in court.
The Wall Street Journal:
After GOP Bill’s Failure, Health-Law Lawsuit Takes Center Stage
President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers, seeking to regroup following the collapse of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, have an option for gutting the health law relatively quickly: They could halt billions in payments insurers get under the law. House Republicans were already challenging those payments in court as invalid. Their lawsuit to stop the payments, which they call illegal, was suspended as Republicans pushed to replace the ACA, but it could now resume—or the Trump administration could decline to contest it and simply drop the payments. Mr. Trump could unilaterally end the payments regardless of the lawsuit. (Armour, 3/27)
In other news —
The New York Times:
2018 Dilemma For Republicans: Which Way Now On Obamacare?
As they come to terms with their humiliating failure to undo the Affordable Care Act, Republicans eyeing next year’s congressional campaign are grappling with a new dilemma: Do they risk depressing their conservative base by abandoning the repeal effort or anger a broader set of voters by reviving a deeply unpopular bill even closer to the midterm elections? (Martin, 3/28)
The Washington Post:
Paul Ryan: House Republicans Will Continue Their Push For Health-Care Reform This Year
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told Republican donors Monday that he intends to continue pushing for an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system by working “on two tracks” as he also pursues other elements of President Trump’s agenda. "We are going to keep getting at this thing,” Ryan said three days after intraparty opposition forced him to pull the American Health Care Act after it became clear it did not have enough Republican votes to pass. (DeBonis, 3/27)
Gallup: Trump Hits New Low After Health Care Flop
President Donald Trump’s approval rating slipped to a new low Monday in the Gallup daily tracking poll, the first measure of Trump’s job performance following his administration’s failure to move a new health care law through Congress. Only 36 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president in interviews conducted last Friday through Sunday, a time period entirely after Republicans abandoned their bill to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. (Shepard, 3/27)
NPR Fact Check:
Trump Says Obamacare Is 'Exploding.' That's Not Quite True
President Trump is doing his best to put a good face on defeat in his party's attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. His strategy is simple: declare that the law is failing. And he is selling that message in his own distinctly Trumpian way: concocting it out of simple, bold words and then hammering that message home, over and over: Obamacare, in his words, will "explode." (Kurtzleben and Kodjak, 3/27)
The New York Times:
In Health Bill’s Defeat, Medicaid Comes Of Age
When it was created more than a half century ago, Medicaid almost escaped notice. Front-page stories hailed the bigger, more controversial part of the law that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed that July day in 1965 — health insurance for elderly people, or Medicare, which the American Medical Association had bitterly denounced as socialized medicine. The New York Times did not even mention Medicaid, conceived as a small program to cover poor people’s medical bills. (Zernike, Goodnough and Belluck, 3/27)
State Sen. Bill Monning's measure would ban certain contracting practices between large health systems and insurers that some patient advocates say lead to higher costs for consumers.
The Mercury News:
California Bill Would Reduce Anti-Competitive Practices By Largest Hospital Chains
A Bay Area legislator is trying to level the playing field among hospital chains, particularly in Northern California, where he said studies show consolidations have led to some of the highest healthcare prices for consumers and employers in the state. Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, on Tuesday will introduce Senate Bill 538 that he said seeks “fairness, access and affordable healthcare” on behalf of patients. The legislation would, among other things, stop certain anti-competitive practices, such as gag clauses in health plan contracts, which prevent employer groups from sharing pricing data that could encourage more cost-effective care for employees. Monning points to a 2016 study by University of Southern California healthcare economist Glenn Melnick and co-author Katya Fonkych that showed how costs grew at a faster rate at the state’s two largest hospital chains. (Seipel, 3/28)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Bill Aims To Address High Health Care Costs
The bill does not single out any providers by name. But Sutter Health, one of the biggest health systems in the Bay Area, recently asked companies, through their insurance administrators, to waive their right to sue Sutter in court or risk having to pay higher out-of-network prices for Sutter services. Sutter has maintained that arbitration — a standard part of its contracts — is the most cost-effective way to resolve disputes between providers and employers. “The motive behind this legislation is to continue to protect the rights of patients in terms of affordability and access in an ever-changing marketplace,” Monning said. (Ho, 3/28)
The protesters say the the flavored tobacco is deliberately targeting young people.
Candy-Flavored Tobacco Draws Scrutiny From California Counties
While fewer young Americans are puffing on cigarettes, more teens are using flavored tobacco, typically by vaping with electronic cigarettes or smoking tiny cigars known as cigarillos. This year, there’s a renewed push to banish flavored tobacco products, which health officials and others fear are luring the next generation of nicotine addicts by targeting teens and kids. (Buck, 3/27)
California Teens Speak Out Against Candy-Flavored Tobacco At State Capitol
More teens are turning to fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco, raising concerns that sweetened e-cigarettes and cigarillos are a gateway to nicotine addiction. A California anti-tobacco campaign targeting teens has ramped up in high schools and at a recent state Capitol rally on Kick Butts Day. (Buck, 3/27)
The new website is the first time in California that major health insurance companies have aggregated their claims information and worked together with a coalition of physicians and others to create a system that begins to measure physicians in every market up and down the state.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
New Website Part Of Growing Push To Rate Individual Doctors
An unprecedented statewide website takes aim at one of the most fraught issues in medicine: Rating the performance of individual doctors. Newly launched by the California Healthcare Performance Information System, the site scores 10,000 doctors in California, providing ratings of one to four stars in eight medical specialties — from cardiology to pediatrics. Caqualityratings.org is the latest step in a long-running march toward ever-more-detailed public disclosure of information designed to convey the quality, timeliness and safety of treatments that patients receive. (Sisson, 3/28)