Latest From California Healthline:
Legionnaires’ disease cases hit an all-time high in 2018, with eight times more cases than 20 years ago. Even though many facilities in Missouri and elsewhere have water management plans in place to deal with the potentially deadly disease, they are still finding the underlying bacteria that causes it in their water. (Lauren Weber, 11/5)
Good morning! San Franciscans will weigh in today on the fate of a ban against the sale of e-cigarettes. More on that below, but first here are some of your other top California health stories of the day.
California’s Strict Vaccination Law Is Only Expected To Have ‘Modest’ Impact On Rates, Study Finds: Using state vaccination data, researchers projected that under SB 277, the percentage of children who would remain unvaccinated in 2027 because they are exempt from the law will be 1.87%. Without the law, researchers found, the percentage of kids exempt from vaccination requirements would have been 2.36%. “The laws aren’t going to change people’s beliefs about vaccines,” said University of North Carolina geography professor Paul Delamater, the study’s lead author. “People who are truly opposed to vaccination are going to find a way to get around it if the law lets that happen.” Supporters of the law, known as SB 277, contested the findings, pointing out that the law has already pushed up the state’s kindergarten vaccination rate to never-before-seen levels. Read more from Soumya Karlamangla of the Los Angeles Times.
State Earns B Grade On March Of Dimes’ Annual Report On Pre-Term Births: The preterm birth rate in California has increased to 8.8%, reaching a 10-year high and earning the state a “B” grade for its preterm birth rate, one key indicator of maternal and infant health, the March of Dimes said Monday. In California, as in many other states, health disparities within the African American community are a critical issue, according to a March of Dimes statement. While there is no single cause of preterm birth, research shows that chronic inequities and unequal access to quality health care do have a negative impact on these rates. Read more from the Press Enterprise.
Anti-Abortion Advocates Reap Unintended Windfall From Attorney Fees In Legal Fight Over Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Court documents show that reproductive rights advocates have paid a steep price for the failure of legislation that sought to compel anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to disclose their license status and let women know that public family programs provide abortions. Backed by abortion rights activists and overturned last year by the U.S. Supreme Court on free speech grounds, the law has generated an unintended bounty of attorney’s fees that now help underwrite conservative litigation and lawyers. Assemblyman David Chiu, the law’s author and a lawyer, noted that the legislation was upheld by most lower courts only to be reversed when the five justices appointed by Republican presidents prevailed over the four justices who are Democratic presidential appointees. “This was constitutional until it wasn’t,” Chiu said. Read more from Dan Morain of CalMatters.
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.
Sign up to get the daily edition in your inbox
More News From Across The State
Should San Francisco Ban The Sale Of E-Cigarettes? Your Guide To Proposition C
San Franciscans will head to the polls Tuesday, and voters will decide on Proposition C, which would overturn a ban on the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city. If you feel like you've been getting mixed messages about the proposition, you're not the only one. In a strange turn of events, the company that pushed to get the issue on the ballot, San Francisco-based Juul Labs, abruptly pulled its support a month ago. (Klivans, 11/4)
The Associated Press:
California Cannabis Group Wants Tighter Vaping-Safety Rules
An alliance of major legal marijuana businesses in California urged the state Monday to adopt tougher safety rules for ingredients and devices used in vaping and get tougher with illegal shops, amid an outbreak of a mysterious illness apparently linked to vaping. The recommendations from the industry group — Legal Cannabis for Consumer Safety — come as health officials continue to investigate a wide range of products and chemicals that could be causing the illness that have sickened over 1,600 people nationwide. (11/4)
The Washington Post:
How Bad Is The Air In California? As Wildfires Rage On, It's Hard To Tell
As wildfires raged in Northern California, Bay Area residents checked websites and apps last week to nervously monitor an approaching smoke plume roughly the size Rhode Island. What some people found were multicolored maps showing contradictory information, or in some cases no information at all. The problem: Many of the air quality measurement stations supplying the information had been shut off when Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to the area, leading to inaccurate and confusing information. (Albergotti, 11/4)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Why Head Of SF’s Transgender Office Stays Hopeful Despite Trump’s ‘Anti-Trans’ Push
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed in the United States last year — and 22 have been slain this year. And here in San Francisco, transgender people are 18 times more likely than the general population to be homeless, partly because it can be hard to get jobs if they don’t pass as their true gender and because they may not have financial help from family if they’ve been kicked out at home. (Heather Knight, 11/5)
Suicide Watch At CA Jails Causes Mental Health Concerns
Each year, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office sends hundreds of people into this kind of suicide watch isolation. Inmates awaiting trial spend weeks and sometimes months in solitary, according to state and county records. When those cells fill up, deputies place people into “overflow” areas, rooms with nothing more than four rubberized walls and a grate in the floor for bodily fluids. They receive no mental health treatment, only a yoga mat to rest on. (Pohl and Gabrielson, 11/5)
Capital Public Radio/KXJZ:
Dealing With Pain, One Year Later: Mental Health Resources For Those Coping After The Camp Fire
After a disaster like last year’s Camp Fire, many people struggle with distress, depression and anxiety. These feelings are normal and help is available. If you're feeling like you may need help, mental health professionals say the best thing to do is to reach out, and there are many resources available. (Sycamore, 11/4)
‘Intense’ Anti-Drug Program At Waterford CA School
As their fourth- through sixth-grade classmates watched, the kids stole drugs, were convicted and sentenced in juvenile court, and were put on probation. Lessons not learned, they overdosed on alcohol and drugs at a party, died in an emergency room and heard their parents read their eulogies at their funerals. None of it was real, except the fears and tears the experiences generated, and the message kids left with: Nothing good comes from alcohol and drug abuse. (Farrow, 11/4)
Los Angeles Times:
Almost 1 Million Illegal Marijuana Plants Seized In California
Three years after Californians decided to legalize and license marijuana farms, state law enforcement raids this year seized nearly 1 million pot plants from illicit grows, a jump from last year highlighting that the black market remains a persistent problem. The just-concluded growing season saw the state’s main enforcement program conduct 345 raids of illegal grow sites throughout California and the eradication of 953,459 marijuana plants, up from 254 raids last year that seized 614,267 pot plants, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Monday. (McGreevy, 11/4)
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Warren’s Plan To Pay For Medicare-For-All: Does It Add Up?
When The Fact Checker evaluates campaign policy proposals, we’re often reminded of the story of the man who claimed he sold a dog for $50,000. How did he do that? “I traded him for two $25,000 cats,” he replied. Campaign proposals are not easy to fact-check unless you figure out that the numbers don’t add up. But if they do add up, then you are left with experts picking holes in the assumptions that are behind those numbers, which the campaign will vigorously dispute. (Kessler, 11/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
Scrutiny Grows Over Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare-For-All Plan
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call for a Medicare-for-All health plan drew heightened scrutiny from her Democratic presidential rivals after she released a highly anticipated plan to pay for it. Two leading Democratic candidates—former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg —had criticized Ms. Warren’s plan to expand government-run insurance to all Americans. They also found fault with her proposal to pay for it with $20.5 trillion in new funding, largely generated from employers and the wealthy. (Jamerson, 11/4)
5 Ways Opponents Are Going After Warren’s 'Medicare For All' Plan
Warren’s Democratic primary rivals immediately pounced on her calculation of the cost of Medicare for All, noting that it clocks in much lower than the figure Sen. Bernie Sanders has been citing on the campaign trail — a difference Warren attributes to how her plan would aggressively bargain down the price of prescription drugs, eliminate a huge amount of waste in the system, and slash payments to doctors and hospitals, among other differences. Pete Buttigieg called her $20.5 trillion estimate “controversial,” while Joe Biden’s campaign accused her of “lowballing the cost of her plan by well over $10 trillion while overcounting the revenue that would be gained from the sources she identifies.” (Ollstein, 11/4)
The Associated Press:
1 In 2 Seriously Ill Medicare Enrollees Struggles With Bills
More than half of seriously ill Medicare enrollees face financial hardships with medical bills, with prescription drug costs the leading problem, according to a study published Monday. The study in the journal Health Affairs comes as legislation to curb drug costs for seniors languishes in Congress and the growing financial exposure of patients with insurance is getting more attention in the nation's health care debates. (11/4)
The New York Times:
Why Didn’t She Get Alzheimer’s? The Answer Could Hold A Key To Fighting The Disease
The woman’s genetic profile showed she would develop Alzheimer’s by the time she turned 50. She, like thousands of her relatives, going back generations, was born with a gene mutation that causes people to begin having memory and thinking problems in their 40s and deteriorate rapidly toward death around age 60. But remarkably, she experienced no cognitive decline at all until her 70s, nearly three decades later than expected. (Belluck, 11/4)
The Washington Post:
Patients Face Severe Shortage Of Immune Globulin, A Livesaving Drug Used To Treat Patients With Cancer, Immune Disorters, Epilespy.
A severe shortage of immune globulin — a popular medicine used to treat epilepsy, cancer and immune disorders — is forcing doctors nationwide to cancel patients’ lifesaving infusions, even as hospitals and treatment centers are resorting to rationing and dose-cutting. Immune globulin helps protect patients from infections, and it is used to treat many medical conditions including seizures, leukemia, autoimmune diseases, organ transplants, acute muscle illnesses and nerve disorders. (Rosenkrantz, 11/4)
Can Makena Prevent Premature Birth? FDA Panel Votes No, But Some Doctors Disagree
An independent panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended last week that a medication to prevent preterm birth be taken off the market because, the advisers decided, the preponderance of evidence suggests it doesn't work. But some other leading OB-GYNs say they hope the FDA won't take the panel's advice this time. The medication is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, brand-named Makena. (Neighmond, 11/4)