- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- UC Cancer Centers Join Forces To Fight One Of California’s Top Killers
- If You’re Blindsided By Health Plan Changes, Learn The Root Causes — And Your Rights
- Sacramento Watch 2
- Despite Pharma's Strong Opposition, Drug Price Transparency Bill Moves Forward
- What You Need To Know About Universal Health Coverage In California
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- Small-Business Exchange A Steady Ship In Otherwise Tumultuous Marketplace
- Public Health and Education 1
- Academic Cancer Centers Form Alliance To Leverage Individual Strengths Into Powerful Tool
Latest From California Healthline:
Doctors and researchers at the five University of California centers will pool their expertise and resources to tackle an illness that kills 60,000 Californians each year and costs $14 billion in medical care and lost work days. (Anna Gorman, 9/12)
Insurers can reduce benefits or change cost sharing, but they are generally supposed to tell enrollees about the change beforehand. And although plans must tell patients when they are denied coverage, sometimes treatment is affected for other reasons. (Michelle Andrews, 9/12)
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Summaries Of The News:
The measure would require pharmaceutical companies to notify health insurers and government health plans like Medi-Cal at least 60 days before scheduled prescription drug price hikes that would exceed 16 percent over a two-year period. It would also force drug companies to explain the reasons behind those increases.
The Mercury News:
California Assembly Passes Drug Price Transparency Bill
The California State Assembly on Monday overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 17, controversial legislation that could soon become the nation’s most comprehensive law aimed at shining a light on prescription drug prices. ... It would enable health insurers to negotiate lower prices for drugs or, in many cases, replace those drugs with cheaper alternatives, according to its supporters. (Seipel, 9/11)
In other news from Sacramento —
Sex Offender Lifetime Registration Scaled Back In CA Bill
California’s sex offender registry is broken, according to law enforcement officials. ... The registry has become so large, police and prosecutors say, that it often produces too many potential suspects to be useful in solving sex crime cases. (Koseff, 9/11)
This Bill Is Designed To Help CA's Sweaty Indoor Workers
Last year, the California legislature passed a law requiring the state to develop rules to protect warehouse, restaurant and other workers who toil in hot indoor conditions. Regulators have until 2019 to develop the rules, but lawmakers this week could pass a bill that would speed up the process by as much as a year. (Bernstein, 9/11)
KPCC explains more about what universal health care coverage is and what its possible next steps forward might be.
3 Paths To Universal Health Care In California
The Republican push to repeal the Affordable Care Act has had some unexpected consequences: Not only has it strengthened public support for the health law, but it has led to heightened interest in ending the U.S.' status as the only major industrialized nation in the world without a universal health care system. That dynamic is playing out in California, where the state legislature this year considered a bill that would create a single-payer system. (Faust, 9/11)
Booker Signs On To Sanders's 'Medicare-For-All' Bill
Sen. Cory Booker is throwing his support behind a "Medicare for all" bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), becoming the latest Democrat floated as a 2020 contender to back the legislation. The New Jersey senator told NJTV News that he would sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, which is scheduled to be rolled out on Wednesday. (Carney, 9/11)
Despite upheaval elsewhere the increase in premiums for California's small-business exchange is less than last year's increase.
Capital Public Radio:
Covered California For Small Business Remains Immune To Market Uncertainty
Covered California for Small Business recently announced a 5.6 percent increase in premium rates for 2018, down from a 5.9 percent increase last year. The general Covered California exchange will see a 12.5 percent jump next year. Unlike the rest of the exchange, the small business category is not federally subsidized. If President Donald Trump eliminates subsidies for Covered California, individual market enrollees on some plans could see up to a 24 percent spike in out-of-pocket costs. (Caiola, 9/11)
The new partnership — believed to be the largest such consortium created by a public university system in the U.S. — will bring together scientists and researchers from Davis, Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco and UCLA.
The Mercury News:
UC Aligns Cancer Centers To Battle Deadly Diseases
For the 176,000 Californians diagnosed with cancer this year, Monday’s announcement that the University of California’s five academic cancer centers are forming an alliance to stem the disease’s rising toll here couldn’t come soon enough. Experts say cancer is on its way to overtake heart disease as the Golden State’s leading cause of death. (Seipel, 9/11)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
UC Cancer Collaboration Seeks Combined Clout
Taken together, the UC centers care for more than 16 percent of Californians diagnosed with a disease projected to kill nearly 60,000 Californians this year, according to the American Cancer Society. While that number is daunting, there is more hope these days than there has been perhaps at any time since President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971. In recent years, breakthroughs in immunotherapies — drugs that activate or piggyback on components of the body’s immune system — have brought significant increases in survivability and seen to generate new headline-worthy advances every single week. (Sisson, 9/11)
UC Cancer Centers Join Forces To Fight One Of California’s Top Killers
“Until now we haven’t thought of these centers as a collective,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano, who underwent treatment for cancer last year. “In the current economic and political climate, there is no time like the present to bring this expertise and stature together to drive advances in research for patients.” (Gorman, 9/12)
In other public health news —
Los Angeles Times:
Get Up At Least Once Every 30 Minutes. Failure To Do So May Shorten Your Life, Study Finds
ou can spend a lot of accumulated time on your bottom in the course of a day. Or you can sit for lengthy spells without a break. Both, it turns out, are very bad for you. Whether you’re a heavy sitter or a binge-sitter, racking up prolonged sedentary time increases your risk of early death, according to a study published in Tuesday’s edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. (Healy, 9/11)
The software looks at the number of patients and doctors in the hospital, the length of wait times, and where slowdowns are occurring, so that, for example, more nurses can be sent to the area of the hospital where they are most needed.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Software Strives To Shrink Emergency Room Waits
Qventus’ software helps health care institutions manage staffing in hospitals and pharmacies. It processes data, including the number of patients and doctors in the hospital, the length of wait times, and where slowdowns are occurring, so that, for example, more nurses can be sent to the area of the hospital where they are most needed, or managers can get the latest information on what rooms need to be cleaned. (Salian and Thadani, 9/11)
Sovereign is questioning the legality of the government’s searches and seizures, but the affidavit offering the justification for the raids remains under seal by a court order.
Orange County Register:
O.C.-Based Sovereign Health Demands That FBI Release Document Justifying Raid On Its Treatment Centers
The FBI was hunting for evidence of health care fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, “laundering of monetary instruments” and illegal payments for patient referrals in June when more than 100 agents raided Sovereign Health’s offices and treatment centers, according to paperwork filed in federal court by attorneys for the company. ... With outpatient facilities and dozens of licensed beds, it’s a big player in Southern California, home to one the densest concentrations of drug and alcohol rehab centers in the nation. (Sforza and Saavedra, 9/11)
In other news from across the state —
Ventura County Star:
9-Year-Old Battle Over Clinic Hits Mitigation Stage
Leaders of a Ventura neighborhood group that won its lawsuit against the county of Ventura over the height of a clinic building said proposed measures to mitigate the clinic's impact appear woefully inadequate. "Almost everything that we've suggested they've said is infeasible," said Jackie Moran, leader of the neighbors who live in the foothills above the Ventura County Medical Center campus and its family medicine residency and specialty care clinic. Nine years ago, the neighbors sued the county, alleging the 90-foot-tall clinic in Ventura was being built without proper notice or required environmental review. They said it was much taller than the 75-foot building that was originally planned and on a different part of the campus, blocking their hillside views and intruding into their lives. (Kisken, 9/11)
Modesto, San Diego Health Care Companies Have The Same Name. They’re Headed To Court.
A company that calls itself one of the fastest-growing health care businesses in the United States is suing a Modesto-based company that has grown rapidly itself in the last four years. The case entitled “American Specialty Health Incorporated v. American Specialty Healthcare Inc.” was filed last week in the U.S. District Court in Fresno. (Carlson, 9/11)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Scripps And Proton Center Part Ways
Three and a half years after putting its name on the region’s first and only proton therapy center, Scripps Health has agreed to step aside from day-to-day management as the facility’s owners reorganize in bankruptcy court. Jointly announced Monday by Scripps and owner California Proton Therapy Center, the change will take place on Dec. 6 with a new group of doctors assuming responsibility for operating the $220 million Sorrento Valley property that started treating patients in February of 2014. Protons have increasingly gained favor for treating cancerous tumors, especially in difficult-to-reach areas of the body but are still more expensive than X-ray-based radiation therapy. (Sisson, 9/11)
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan bill last week providing $36.1 billion for the health institutes. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said it was the third consecutive year in which he had secured a $2 billion increase for the agency, and, in a separate hearing the audience erupted in applause when Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, announced the boost in funding.
The New York Times:
Congress Rejects Trump Proposals To Cut Health Research Funds
Back in March, when President Trump released the first draft of his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, he asked lawmakers for deep cuts to one of their favorite institutions, the National Institutes of Health — part of a broad reordering of priorities, away from science and social spending, toward defense and border security. Six months later, Congress has not only rejected the president’s N.I.H. proposal; lawmakers from both parties have joined forces to increase spending on biomedical research — and have bragged about it. (Pear, 9/11)
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill —
Dems Call For ObamaCare Hearings In The House
Democrats are calling on House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to hold bipartisan hearings on stabilizing ObamaCare markets. The committee's Democrats in a letter to Brady dated last Friday request that the panel hold hearings, and cite the Senate Health Committee’s hearings this month as an example. (Sullivan, 9/11)
Paul: Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill Not 'Going Anywhere'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Monday that he opposes a new Republican ObamaCare replacement effort, saying it does not go far enough to repeal the law. Paul told reporters that the bill from GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) would “probably” be worse than doing nothing at all on the health law. (Sullivan, 9/11)
Dems Worry GOP Pulling Health Care Negotiations In Partisan Direction
It's unclear whether Republicans and Democrats on the Senate's Health Committee will be able to reach a deal by the end of the week on a bill to shore up ObamaCare's insurance markets. But Democrats are worried Republicans are digging in with conservative ideas, ruining changes at negotiation, a senior Democratic aide told The Hill. (Hellmann, 9/11)