- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- 5 Things To Know About The Subsidies At The Heart Of A Capitol Hill Battle
- Pre-Obamacare, Preexisting Conditions Long Vexed States And Insurers
- Severe Shortage Of Home Health Workers Robs Thousands Of Proper Care
- Pharmaceuticals 1
- 'They're Killing Me': Disabled Vet Searches For Alternative To His 10,000 Pills-A-Year Regimen
- Public Health and Education 3
- A Holy Warrior Or A Mastermind Driven By Ideology: The Controversy Of Michael Weinstein
- Potent Batch Of Opioids May Be Cause Of Surge In Overdoses In Sonoma
- When All Else Failed For One Patient, A Bacteria-Hunting Virus Was Brought In To Do The Job
Latest From California Healthline:
Democrats want a bill to fund the government for the rest of the year to include funding for the health law’s cost-sharing reductions for low-income marketplace customers, but Republicans want to keep the issues separate. (Julie Rovner, 4/26)
Before the federal health law guarantee that consumers cannot be turned down because of their medical history, it was difficult to balance insurers’ needs to make a profit and individuals’ needs for coverage. (Elana Gordon, WHYY, 4/26)
A critical shortage of home health care workers in California and across the U.S. threatens care for senior citizens and people with disabilities. (Judith Graham, 4/26)
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More News From Across The State
The hospital had to transfer a number of patients to its new facility because entire departments had been shifted from the older building.
San Diego Union-Times:
Kaiser Now Operating Two Hospitals In San Diego
Ambulance rides usually come before hospital stays, but that was not the case for more than 100 patients who were loaded one by one onto gurneys and transported to Kaiser Permanente’s new hospital in Kearny Mesa on Tuesday — the facility’s first day of operations. (Sisson, 4/25)
Joshua Lee thinks he's found the answer in medical marijuana.
One Veteran, 9,828 Pills, Still In Pain. Send Pot?
The Department of Veterans Affairs prescribes Joshua Lee a lot of pills – 9,828 a year by his count ... Reached for a response, VA spokesman James Hutton, said there was no way the agency could prescribe marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. But the VA has been quietly researching marijuana’s viability as a treatment. (Glantz, 4/25)
In other news —
Cannabis Workers Bill Zooms Through California Assembly
The cannabis workers protection bill is moving swiftly through the California Assembly. At a hearing today, members of the Business and Professions Committee voted to move the bill forward after brief testimony from its sponsor, the UFCW Western States Council. The Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment will hear the bill next. (Walter, 4/25)
ResMed said the device will help those who have been hesitant to bring their large devices with them on trips.
San Diego Union-Times:
ResMed Unveils Travel-Size Sleep Apnea Device For Road Warriors
ResMed, a top maker of bedside sleep apnea machines, is tailoring its technology for the road. The San Diego medical device company said on Tuesday it’s launching the AirMini, a lightweight, pocket-sized Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device designed for travel. (Freeman, 4/25)
In other medical device news —
San Francisco Chronicle:
Novato Oxygen Equipment Supplier Pays $11.4 Million In Settlement
A major supplier of home oxygen equipment has agreed to pay $11.4 million to settle accusations that it profiteered by filing false reimbursement claims with the government and arranging kickbacks with sleep-testing clinics, federal officials said Tuesday. Justice Department and health care officials announced the settlement with Pacific Pulmonary Services, which is based in Novato and has more than 100 outlets in 20 states. (Egelko, 4/25)
The head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation runs the organization in a way that's drawn scorn from his critics and praise from his supporters.
The New York Times:
The C.E.O. Of H.I.V.
Last May, at the height of the Democratic presidential campaign, two weeks before the California primary, Bernie Sanders flew to San Bernardino, Calif., for a meeting with leading AIDS groups. The gathering was arranged by Peter Staley, the esteemed activist and founder of the Treatment Action Group, which in the 1990s helped speed the development of antiretroviral drugs. The meeting was called to secure the Sanders campaign’s support for a spike in federal spending to combat AIDS, but as the session began, those in attendance were puzzled to find the conversation oddly strained. Sanders’s demeanor, Staley recalled, “was very wary — he was very chilly when we shook hands.” Sanders seemed to be churning internally about something until, dispensing with ceremony, he blurted out: “Let me be blunt. Do any of you get money from the drug companies?” The question was met with an awkward silence. (Glazek, 4/26)
The rash of five deaths since mid-April was a marked jump in the county’s monthly totals.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Spike In Suspected Heroin Overdose Deaths In Santa Rosa Spurs Public Warning
Heroin overdoses have caused five deaths in Sonoma County in the past 10 days, according to Sonoma County Coroner’s Office officials, who warned Tuesday the spike in fatalities could mean a particularly potent batch of the drug is on the streets. (Rossman, 4/25)
In other news —
Orange County Register:
Orange County Drug, Alcohol Deaths Soar 82 Percent With Accidental Opioid Overdoses The Primary Cause
Orange County drug and alcohol deaths have skyrocketed 82 percent since the millennium and hospitalizations cost more than $100 million a year, according to a major new OC Health Care Agency report. During 2013-2015, the county averaged about 5,500 drug and alcohol hospitalizations each year, and 700 deaths annually from substance abuse. (Whiting, 4/25)
The creative approach led to a miraculous turnaround for Tom Patterson.
San Diego Union-Times:
How Viruses Beat A Superbug — And Saved A Man After Nine Months Of Near-Certain Death
In the end, it was viruses, not an antibiotic, that saved Tom Patterson’s life after a superbug infection he suffered in Egypt left him hallucinating, comatose and near death for months. (Sisson, 4/26)
In other public health news —
UC Riverside Gets Grant To Study Pacific Islander Mental Health
A UC Riverside researcher has received one of the first grants from the National Institute of Mental Health designed to learn more about the mental health needs of Pacific Islanders... They are the third fastest-growing racial group in L.A. County, but Andrew Subica, an assistant professor of social medicine and population health in the UC Riverside School of Medicine, says the community’s mental health needs remain unclear. (Plevin, 4/25)
“This is a big college town. We should have these resources,” said Parteek Singh, who spearheaded the move to install the vending machine.
Los Angeles Times:
This California University Has A Vending Machine That Sells The Morning-After Pill
Students at UC Davis can now purchase emergency contraception from a campus vending machine. The machine, installed at the school’s Activities and Recreation Center over spring break, dispenses the morning-after pill as well as condoms, pregnancy tests, tampons and over-the-counter medication such as Advil. (Parvini, 4/25)
Conservatives seem to be coalescing behind a health plan that includes waivers allowing states to opt out of major regulations related to essential health benefits and insurance companies to charge higher premiums for patients with preexisting conditions.
The Washington Post:
House Freedom Caucus Leaders Back New Health-Care Plan
White House officials and several Republican lawmakers claimed Tuesday they were nearing a deal on health-care legislation with the House Freedom Caucus, with at least three leading figures in the hard-line group ready to support an overhaul after the dramatic collapse of talks last month. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) — all leaders of the Freedom Caucus and central figures in the latest discussions — signaled Tuesday they are ready to support a new plan, according to two White House officials who were not authorized to speak publicly. A lawmaker close to the Freedom Caucus later confirmed that those members were close to or ready to support the tweaked bill. (Costa and Winfield Cunningham, 4/25)
Republicans Finalize New Obamacare Repeal Proposal
[It] is far from clear that the fragile agreement will provide Speaker Paul Ryan the 216 votes needed for the House to pass the stalled legislation. Optimism is growing among Republican officials on the Hill and in the White House. Leadership will likely need at least 15 to 20 new House Freedom Caucus votes to have any shot at passing the bill. (Bade, Haberkorn and Dawsey, 4/25)
Moderates Chafe At Republican Health Care Compromise
Rep. Tom MacArthur has singlehandedly kept the embers of the failed repeal-and-replace effort burning, huddling with the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus to try to forge a deal. The negotiations have allowed the White House and GOP congressional leaders to insist that despite their embarrassing failure to pass health care legislation last month, they're still making progress. But the MacArthur-as-Republican health care savior narrative has bothered some GOP moderates, who say the New Jersey lawmaker is flying solo in negotiations with the Freedom Caucus. (Cheney, Bade and Jennings, 4/26)
Dems Want ObamaCare Subsidies Funded In Exchange For $15B To Military
An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agreeing to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. (Bolton and Wong, 4/25)
Los Angeles Times:
Obamacare 101 — What's The Big Debate Over Health Insurance Cost-Sharing Subsidies?
As President Trump and congressional leaders scramble to put together a spending bill to keep the government from shutting down at the end of this week, negotiations could turn on the fate of an arcane, but critical part of the Affordable Care Act: cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs. If you’ve never heard of this piece of the Obamacare puzzle, here’s a rundown of what they are and why they’re getting pulled into Trump’s first budget fight. (Levey, 4/26)
The Washington Post:
Trump Has Yet To Signal His Approach To Obamacare Birth-Control Mandate
President Trump had promised religious groups that he would reverse the Obama administration’s requirement that employers provide birth control to their employees under the Affordable Care Act. But his Justice Department indicated Monday that it’s not yet giving up a fight with religious schools and nonprofits that are suing over the contraception mandate. The department has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for an additional 60 days to negotiate with East Texas Baptist University and several other religious groups objecting to a requirement to which they are morally opposed. (Winfield Cunningham, 4/25)