- Sacramento Watch 1
- Nurses Association Fires Back At Assembly Speaker Following Single-Payer Criticism
- Veterans Health Care 1
- Administration Has Plans To Cut Veteran Suicide Rates, But Calif. Advocates Ask: Where's The Money?
- Around California 1
- Rescued Perris Children Face Long Road Of Recovery For Physical, Mental Well-Being
- National Roundup 3
- Shutdown Watch: Republicans Offer Democrats Six-Year CHIP Extension To Force Them To Table
- Doctor Credits Genetics For Trump's 'Excellent' Health, Dismisses Concerns Over Cognitive Decline
- Workers Who Object To Abortions, Treating Transgender Patients Would Be Legally Insulated Under HHS Rule
Latest From California Healthline:
A federally funded program is partnering with a Latino grocery chain to reward people who use their food stamps to put more fresh produce on their tables. (Courtney Perkes, 1/17)
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More News From Across The State
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon originally stoked the California Nurses Association's ire when he shelved single-payer legislation over the summer. When asked two weeks ago if he was going to reconsider it, he responded that the sponsors had don't nothing but sit on their hands for the past few months. In a tweet, executive director RoseAnn DeMoro blasted “corporate Democrat” Rendon for “pushing alternative facts.”
Single Payer Sponsors ‘Sat On Their Hands,’ Rendon Says
Time has not healed all wounds between Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and the California Nurses Association. Rendon, a Paramount Democrat, infuriated the nurses last June when he abruptly shelved Senate Bill 562, the measure they sponsored to create a government-run universal health care system in California, calling it “woefully incomplete.” (Koseff, 1/17)
The bags have been in demand all over the country after a hurricane hit Puerto Rico, where many of them are manufactured.
Shortage Of IV Bags Straining Hospitals
A severe flu season is increasing the need for intravenous fluids for patients in the central San Joaquin at a time when they are in short supply. The demand for IV fluids has been outstripping their availability for several years because a limited number of manufacturers produce them. But the shortage has become critical in the past five months since Hurricane Maria caused a major manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico to go offline. (Anderson, 1/16)
Advocates also see other issues, like the stigma of seeking help the exists in the veteran community, that will likely become obstacles to the Trump administration's ambitious goals.
A Trump Executive Order Aims To Bring Down Veteran Suicides. Will It Help?
Since taking the top job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary David Shulkin has pledged to bring the number of veteran suicides down. President Trump helped boost this effort with an executive order signed last week. It guarantees one year of mental healthcare to all troops separating from the military. (Denkmann, 1/17)
“There’s a degree of ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ that this doesn’t really work as well as advertised,” said New York University professor Charles Seife. “A lot of this stuff is really for entertainment only.”
The Mercury News:
23andMe's Ancestry Results 'Most Confounding': New Report
Silicon Valley ancestry-testing firm 23andMe claims to have DNA from more than 2 million consumers, and its spit tests for insights into family history and health were top sellers on Amazon this past holiday season, but its ancestry test and those from three other companies produced drastically different results, a new report said. (Baron, 1/16)
Deputies who discovered the six minors and seven adults Sunday inside the dark, smelly home initially believed that all 13 were minors because they appeared so small. “You can imagine the post-traumatic stress disorder if you’ve been deprived of nutrition, if you’ve been deprived of normal childhood activities ... that is going to cause some psychological damage,” said Sophia Grant, of the Riverside University Health System.
Physical, Psychological Recovery For Perris Children Expected To Be Long-Term
The 13 Perris children who authorities say suffered stunted growth because of torture and neglect by their parents likely face a long rehabilitation, both physically and psychologically, an expert suggested. (Rokos, 1/16)
In other news from across the state —
Orange County Register:
Dana Point Narrowly Passes Citywide Smoking Ban
The Dana Point City Council on Tuesday night, Jan. 16, passed a citywide smoking ban, joining Laguna Beach as the only two cities in Orange County to prohibit smoking on all public sidewalks, in alleys and in parking lots. The ban passed on a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Rick Viczorek and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Muller opposing. (Ritchie, 1/16)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Sheds For Homeless In Oakland Are Proving To Be A Useful Tool
Oakland’s shed site plan is working — so far. ...Instead of tents, residents live in modular units — storage sheds with sloping, ranch-style roofs. Each of the 20 sheds has two cots and can house two people. There, the residents have access to health care, addiction treatment and employment resources. (Taylor Jr., 1/17)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Teen Gets 'Supernatural' Help In Cancer Fight
On Nov. 9, Kira Stanley’s world went dark. That’s the day the Encinitas teenager was diagnosed with a rare, deadly and inoperable form of brain cancer. Her parents, Wendy and Robert, frantically searched the U.S. for a clinical trial that could save their daughter. Instead, they found a promising, but experimental study in Monterrey, Mexico. Insurance wouldn’t cover the more than $300,000 price tag for the potentially years-long treatment. But then Kira got some unexpected help from a supernatural source. Kira’s great-uncle is veteran character actor Jim Beaver, who co-stars in the long-running TV series “Supernatural.” On Nov. 18, he asked for help from his more than 1.3 million social media followers and they came through. (Kragen, 1/17)
Orange County Register:
Fountain Valley Doctor Surrenders Medical License After Pleading Guilty To Writing Illegal Prescriptions
A Fountain Valley doctor who was sentenced in September to six years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of illegally prescribing drugs, has surrendered his license to practice medicine. An order issued by the California Medical Board accepted Dr. Victor Boon Huat Siew’s surrender of his physician’s and surgeon’s certificate, which means Siew won’t be able to practice medicine. (Bharath, 1/16)
The bill would set up another possible showdown in mid-February, with government funding set to expire Feb. 16, but it would give lawmakers room to negotiate on tricky topics like immigration.
The New York Times:
G.O.P. To Use Children’s Health Insurance As Lure For Averting Shutdown
With little hope of an immigration agreement this week, Republicans in Congress are looking to head off a government shutdown this weekend by pairing another stopgap spending measure with long-term funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, daring Democrats to vote no. (Kaplan and Pear, 1/16)
House Republicans Coalesce Behind Plan To Avert Shutdown
Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a plan at a House GOP Conference meeting to fund the government through Feb. 16, and numerous rank-and-file members quickly endorsed it despite their frustration with another short-term patch. To further sweeten the pot, the Wisconsin Republican’s bill also includes a delay of several Obamacare taxes and a six-year extension of a popular health care program for children. (Bade, Ferris and Scholtes, 1/16)
Lawmakers Weigh Measure To Fight High Drug Prices
Lawmakers are considering adding a measure aimed at fighting high drug prices to an upcoming spending deal, in what would be a rare defeat for the powerful pharmaceutical industry. The measure, known as the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act, is intended to prevent branded drug companies from using tactics to delay competition from cheaper generic drugs. It is co-sponsored by a set of unusual bedfellows in both parties. (Sullivan, 1/17)
Dr. Ronny Jackson, who has served as the presidential physician since 2013, said he recommended President Donald Trump lose 10 to 15 pounds, who at 6 feet 3 inches tall with a body mass index of 29.9 is just shy of officially being obese.
The New York Times:
Trump Has Perfect Cognitive Test Score, White House Physician Says
President Trump’s White House physician said Tuesday that the president received a perfect score on a cognitive test designed to screen for neurological impairment, which the military doctor said was evidence that Mr. Trump does not suffer from mental issues that prevent him from functioning in office. “I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy and the White House physician, told reporters on Tuesday. (Shear and Altman, 1/16)
Los Angeles Times:
White House Doctor Says Trump Scored Perfect Marks On Cognitive Test, Needs To Lose Weight
"There's no indication whatsoever that he has any cognitive issues," Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the chief White House doctor, whose tenure treating presidents began with George W. Bush, told reporters during a lengthy White House briefing. "He's very sharp. He's very articulate when he speaks to me." "Absolutely, he's fit for duty," Jackson said. Jackson also said Trump should try to lose 10-15 pounds — he's at the borderline of obesity — and added that he's trying to encourage the president to start an exercise routine, perhaps with some help from First Lady Melania Trump. (Bierman, 1/16)
The Media Poke And Prod At Trump’s Health
Plenty of important questions were posed Tuesday to Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s personal physician, during his nearly hourlong briefing on Trump’s health. But the longer it went on, the more opportunity it gave reporters to exhaust every question they could think of — leading some on the right to paint the media as unwilling to accept that the president is in good health. Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on Twitter, saying, “Watching media trying to ask the Rear Admiral Jackson (The White House Dr) questions in ways that leaves an opening to attack @realDonaldTrump's health after an amazing report, cognitive & otherwise, is like watching Dumb & Dumber 1:1,000,000 ‘So you're saying there's a chance!’” (Schwartz, 1/16)
Ronny Jackson: The White House Doctor Who Oversaw Trump's Physical
The presentation was both folksy and matter-of-fact, as Jackson described the president's eyesight, cognitive skills and heart function as excellent, despite Trump's lack of exercise and fondness for fast food. "It's called genetics," Jackson said. "Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years he might live to be 200 years old." (Horsley, 1/16)
The Trump administration aims to expand protections to workers who "morally" object to being involved with certain procedures or treatments with a proposed rule that's been kept tightly guarded at the agency.
Administration To Shield Health Workers Who Refuse To Perform Abortions Or Treat Transgender Patients
The Trump administration is planning new protections for health workers who don't want to perform abortions, refuse to treat transgender patients based on their gender identity or provide other services for which they have moral objections. Under a proposed rule — which has been closely guarded at HHS and is now under review by the White House — the HHS office in charge of civil rights would be empowered to further shield these workers and punish organizations that don’t allow them to express their moral objections, according to sources on and off the Hill. (Diamond and Haberkorn, 1/16)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Kentucky Governor Readies For Medicaid Legal Challenge
Gov. Matt Bevin says he will end Medicaid benefits for more than 400,000 Kentuckians if the courts stop him from requiring many of them to work. Kentucky was among 32 states that expanded Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many more people signed up than forecast. The program now covers more than a quarter of the state's population. Federal spending covers almost all the cost of the expanded program. But the state's share is poised to grow and Bevin, a Republican who took office after the expansion, says Kentucky can't afford to maintain it without changes. (1/16)
The Associated Press:
Tax Break Helps UnitedHealth 4Q Earnings, 2018 Guidance Soar
UnitedHealth Group's earnings more than doubled in the final quarter of 2017, and the nation's largest insurer hiked its forecast well beyond expectations largely due to help from the federal tax overhaul. UnitedHealth said Tuesday that it added $1.2 billion in 2017 non-cash earnings, as its fourth-quarter and full-year corporate tax rates were cut. (1/16)
The Washington Post:
FDA To Release More Clinical Trial Information For Newly Approved Drugs
The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to make it easier for doctors, patients and researchers to get access to clinical trial data amassed during the process of approving new drugs, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Tuesday. Gottlieb announced the actions just before a speech on FDA transparency at a Washington forum. The meeting, attended by researchers and academics, focused on 18 recommendations for making the agency's decision-making less opaque. The suggestions were part of a report called Blueprint for Transparency. (McGinley, 1/16)
Opioid Crisis Blamed For Sharp Increase In Accidental Deaths In U.S.
Accidental deaths in the United States rose significantly in 2016, becoming the third-leading cause of fatalities for the first time in more than a century – a trend fueled by the steep rise in opioid overdoses, the National Safety Council reports. Accidents — defined by the council as unintentional, preventable injuries — claimed a record 161,374 lives in 2016, a 10 percent increase over 2015. They include motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, chocking and poisoning, a category that encompasses accidental overdoses. (Neuman, 1/17)
Kaiser Health News:
If Poor Neighborhood = Poor Health, Relocation Is One Solution
When low-income Americans are concentrated in substandard homes in struggling or violent neighborhoods, it has tangible consequences for well-being. Research confirms that moving families into less segregated neighborhoods improves overall health, and some communities are giving families vouchers to relocate. Kaiser Health News correspondent Sarah Varney and PBS Newshour producer Jason Kane filed this story that begins in St. Louis. (Varney, 1/17)
The Washington Post:
Calling Out Racists Is Actually Good For Your Health, According To Science. Here’s How To Do It.
Reports that an exasperated President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting last week with lawmakers about immigration prompted widespread condemnation. In the days that followed, the leaders of many nations demanded that he apologize for the remarks. But what reportedly happened in that room in that moment was a high-stakes version of a dilemma faced by anyone who has heard a friend, a family member or even a stranger say something objectionable: remain silent or speak up in that moment? And if opting for the latter, how to do it? (Klein, 1/16)