- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Putting Money Where Its Mouthpiece Is: Calif. Outspends U.S. To Market Obamacare
- Heated And Deep-Pocketed Battle Erupts Over 340B Drug Discount Program
- Parents Are Not Liable For Medical Debts Of Adult Children On Shared Insurance
- Marketplace 1
- Contested Insurance Denials Are Skyrocketing, And It's Not Just Because More People Are Covered
- Public Health and Education 1
- Hep A Case Count Still Rising, But No New Deaths Reported In San Diego Outbreak
- Health Care Personnel 1
- Forensic Pathologist For San Joaquin Resigns, Saying Sheriff Made Job 'Unbearable'
Latest From California Healthline:
The state insurance exchange is committing nearly five times more money than the federal government on ads urging people to sign up for health insurance, reflecting conflicting attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act. (Ana B. Ibarra and Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 11/27)
Drugmakers, hospitals and lawmakers are taking sides in a showdown over a discount program that covers drug purchases at some hospitals. (Sarah Jane Tribble, 11/28)
Even though the federal health law allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan, those children are generally responsible for their own debts. (Michelle Andrews, 11/28)
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Summaries Of The News:
Enrollment in California Department of Managed Health Care's plans only increased 38 percent during the five-year window, while the number of cases about denials jumped 175 percent.
Capital Public Radio:
Number Of California Patients Fighting Insurance Denials Is Up, Cases Nearly Triple. Why?
A Capital Public Radio analysis of data from the California Department of Managed Health Care found that the number of contested denials handled by the department has nearly tripled over the past five years — from roughly 1,500 in 2012 to more than 4,200 in 2016. The department said the increase is because of a jump in the number of insured Californians during that time; the state’s uninsured rate has steadily declined since the Affordable Care Act rollout in 2014. (Caiola, 11/27)
Capital Public Radio:
How To Contest A Medical Insurance Denial In California
The number of contested denials handled by the California Department of Managed Health Care has nearly tripled over the past five years — from roughly 1,500 in 2012 to more than 4,200 in 2016. If you have an insurance issue in California there are a few steps to the process. (Caiola, 11/27)
Under Social Security, about 150 million workers are insured not only for old-age benefits, but also for assistance in the event they suffer a serious injury or illness that prevents them from working. But the wait times are so long to get a hearing, that many just want to give up.
Orange County Register:
Is Social Security Cheating The Disabled? The Wait Time To Get A Hearing Is Nearly 2 Years
Under Social Security, about 150 million workers are insured not only for old age benefits, but in the event they suffer a serious injury or illness that prevents them from working before retirement age. ...But since 2010, Congress has squeezed the Social Security Administration’s operating budget, resulting in an 11 percent cut when accounting for inflation. (Roosevelt, 11/27)
Officials say that while the report is good news, the emergency still isn't over.
Los Angeles Times:
San Diego's Hepatitis A Update: Case Count Climbs, But Death Total Holds At 20
Though they continue to see fewer cases and no new deaths have been reported since Oct. 31, San Diego County supervisors on Monday chose to continue the local health emergency status for the region’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. Supervisor Ron Roberts noted that, while he considered the latest hepatitis A report from the county Health and Human Services Agency good news, the emergency won't be truly over until new-case rates shrink further. (Sisson, 11/27)
Dr. Susan Parson said the sheriff, who also serves as coroner, "ultimately undermines the overall competence of the Coroner’s Office in conducting objective death investigations for the county."
Autopsy Doctor Quits, Alleges Sheriff Interfered in Death Probes
A forensic pathologist who conducts autopsies for San Joaquin County resigned Monday, claiming she was denied the independence to do her job. ...But in her letter to the county administrator on Monday, Dr. Parson stated that Sheriff Steve Moore’s “attempts to influence and control our professional judgment and conclusions” had made her “day-to-day experience in the County personally unbearable and professionally unsustainable.” (Small, 11/27)
Among the issues Congress has on its docket in the last few legislative days of the year: an individual mandate repeal, CHIP funding and allocating money to fight the opioid epidemic.
Five Health-Care Fights Facing Congress In December
Health-care issues are at the top of Congress’s hefty December to-do list. Republicans spent much of the year on a failed bid to repeal and replace ObamaCare. That’s left several programs and taxes hanging in the balance as the year draws to a close, in addition to the latest health-care drama thrust into the GOP tax-reform debate. Here are five of the biggest health-care issues Congress will face next month. (Roubein, 11/26)
Lawmakers Making Progress In Talks On Children's Health Care
Congressional negotiators are making progress towards a bipartisan deal to reauthorize children’s health insurance and several other important health-care programs, sources say. Staff from the relevant committees in both parties and chambers met over the Thanksgiving break and are getting closer to an agreement, according to lobbyists and aides. (Sullivan and Roubein, 11/27)
The Wall Street Journal:
Senators Seek Changes To Tax Bill As Busy Week Kicks Off
Senate Republicans began a frenzied week of negotiations to pass a landmark tax overhaul, grappling with several blocs of wavering GOP senators and trying to cobble together enough votes. ... A third group, including Susan Collins (R., Maine) and John McCain (R., Ariz.), helped kill the Republican health-care bill earlier this year and could pose resistance over a variety of provisions, including plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s health-insurance mandate as part of the tax bill. Mr. McCain said Monday that he is still undecided and had “a lot of things” he is concerned about. (Rubin and Hughes, 11/27)
In other national health care news —
7 Questions For Alex Azar, Trump's Health Secretary Nominee
On Wednesday, Alex Azar, the former drug company executive nominated to take over the country’s top health care agency, will face tough questions from the senators who try to keep that department in check. Azar heads first to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, whose members share jurisdiction on health care issues with the Senate Finance Committee, which will ultimately preside over his official confirmation hearing. (Mershon and Swetlitz, 11/28)
How Opioids Started Killing Americans
More than half of all people who succumbed to an overdose between 2001 to 2007 were chronic pain sufferers who filled an opioid prescription and sometimes even saw a doctor in the month before they died. Only 4 percent were ever diagnosed as having an abuse problem, said Dr. Mark Olfson, one of five researchers who conducted a massive study of the crisis and its causes for Columbia University Medical Center. The findings of the new study, published Tuesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, split the epidemic into two groups: those who were diagnosed with chronic pain and those who weren’t. In the year before they died, about two-thirds of those studied were diagnosed with chronic pain and prescribed an opioid. (Rausch, 11/28)