- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- A 'Safe' Space To Shoot Up: Worth A Try In California?
- GOP Medicaid Cuts Would Hit Rural America Hardest, Report Finds
- Sacramento Watch 2
- Everyone's Vying For A Cut Of The Money Raised By State's New Tobacco Tax
- Single-Payer May Be Akin To David Fighting An Unbeatable Goliath, But Democrats Are Gung Ho Anyway
Latest From California Healthline:
A bill pending in the state legislature could make the Golden State the first in the U.S. to open establishments where intravenous drug users can shoot up under medical supervision. Proponents say that would save lives. (Stephanie O'Neill, )
States like California, which substantially expanded Medicaid coverage to children and adults in rural counties and small towns, would be most affected. (Phil Galewitz, )
More News From Across The State
A fight is brewing in Sacramento over what to do with the $1.2 billion.
Is The Fight Over Tobacco Tax Money About Helping Patients Or Helping Doctors?
One of the biggest budget fights unfolding behind closed doors in Sacramento this week is over how to spend the $1.2 billion raised by the state’s new tobacco tax, with dentists, doctors, gynecologists, and podiatrists all vying for a cut.The biggest ask comes from the California Medical Association, which wants at least half of the money, $610 million a year, to increase payments to doctors who treat low-income patients on Medi-Cal. The group has long argued that low reimbursement rates force doctors to limit the number of Medi-Cal patients they can see, making it harder for some patients to find care. (Dembosky, 6/7)
The topic is emerging as a campaign issue, and Democrats want to get on the record on where they stand on health care.
Single-Payer Health Care Now Campaign Issue In California
State Sen. Toni Atkins stood on a stage outside the Capitol last month and made the case for a Democratic-backed bid to transform California’s health care system into something that’s never been done in the U.S. “People shouldn’t have to experience anxiety over whether they’ll be covered based on who’s in the White House,” Atkins, D-San Diego, told a crowd of nurses and health care advocates who were cheering her on. “It’s time to cover everybody once and for all.” (Hart, 6/7)
In 2015, California became one of the first states to establish a specialized Military Diversion program for current and former military personnel accused of misdemeanors and suffering from service-related trauma, substance abuse or mental health problems.
Orange County Register:
For Military Veterans Facing Misdemeanors, A 2nd Chance In The Court System
As an explosives expert in the U.S. Marine Corps, Zack Clayton had many close calls diffusing bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. “You always know it’s a possibility that something could go off, but if you let that fear get to you, you can’t do your work,” he said. “You go into survival mode.” After four combat tours, Clayton received an honorable discharged in June 2014, but the experience left him with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. He moved to San Diego and slipped into depression, he said, as he struggled to navigate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system for treatment. (Puente, 6/6)
The defeat marks the third time since 2006 that residents have voted down a measure proposed by the Kern Valley Healthcare District to seismically retrofit its facilities to comply with state law.
The Bakersfield Californian:
Kern Valley Hospital Tax, Measure C, Fails In Special Election
Measure C, a Kern River Valley parcel tax that would have brought $32 million to the region’s only hospital for renovations, including ones that would have helped it avoid closure by 2030, fell short Tuesday night of what it needed to pass. The annual $98 per parcel tax was trailing by about 14 percentage points, securing about 52 percent of the vote at the end of the night with all precincts reporting. It needed two-thirds voter approval to pass...The defeat marks the third time since 2006 that residents have voted down a measure proposed by the Kern Valley Healthcare District to seismically retrofit its facilities to comply with state law. A similar measure lost by about 70 votes in 2006; in 2010 it failed by securing 54 percent of the yes vote, about 12 percentage points short. (Pierce, 6/6)
In other hospital news —
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Voters Poised To Approve $250 Parcel Tax For Sonoma Valley Hospital
Voters in the Sonoma Valley Health Care District were poised to pass a $250 parcel tax Tuesday, three months after rejecting a similar measure to provide additional funding to the Sonoma Valley Hospital. With 31 of 45 precincts reporting at 10 p.m., the “yes” votes for Measure E were at 69.4 percent. Two-thirds of the district voters must approve the measure for passage. Kelly Mather, president and CEO of Sonoma Valley Hospital, had said before the vote the parcel tax was necessary for the hospital’s viability. Measure E increases the parcel tax from $195 a year to $250. (Rahaim, 6/6)
Inside Yue Chen's rental car, officers found two loaded semiautomatic weapons, a white rubber mask and a notebook with the names and addresses of several doctors, according to a Palo Alto police report.
San Jose Mercury News:
Cancer Patient Wanted To Kill Three Doctors: Authorities
A Stage 4 cancer patient angry that Bay Area doctors allegedly treated him like a “laboratory monkey” is suspected of setting out to kill three of them, armed with two handguns and Google maps of directions to their homes, according to authorities. Yue Chen, 58, also planned to kill himself after he carried out what he considered a revenge mission, but he failed to find any of the doctors, got lost and may have been on his way back to his Visalia home when he was arrested May 31 on Highway 101 in San Jose. (Gomez, 6/6)
In other news from across the state —
The Mercury News:
UCSF Study Links Chronic Pain To Dementia In Older Adults
Older people with persistent pain show quicker declines in memory as they age and are more likely to have dementia years later, indicating that chronic pain may be related to changes in the brain that contribute to memory loss, according to a new study from UC San Francisco. The study, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, appears to be the first to make this link. (Seipel, 6/6)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Valley Fever Infected 2,310 In Kern County Last Year, The Worst Year For The Disease Since 2011 Epidemic
More people in Kern County have gotten sick with valley fever than public health officials previously thought, marking the third straight year infections have risen. Kern County Department of Public Health Services officials revised their numbers this week, announcing that 2,310 people were infected with valley fever in 2016 – roughly an 18 percent increase over what they announced in April. The number of fatalities – six – didn’t change. (Pierce, 6/6)
Republicans met on Tuesday to discuss plans to push forward with repeal and replace, but deep party divides over issues such as Medicaid may derail ambitious goals for voting on legislation before the Fourth of July.
The Associated Press:
Senate Republicans Claim Progress On Health Care Legislation
President Donald Trump and GOP leaders insisted Tuesday the Senate will vote soon on legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare." But even as senators headed toward the make-or-break vote before the Fourth of July, deep uncertainty remained about whether the emerging legislation would command enough support to pass. Meeting with Republican congressional leaders at the White House, Trump praised the House for passing its own version of the health legislation early last month, and encouraged the Senate to do to the same. (Werner and Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Crunch Time As Senate Republicans Race The Clock On Obamacare Repeal — And The Rest Of Trump's Agenda
This week was expected to be a pivotal one for the healthcare overhaul, which lawmakers hope to finish before the July 4 break in order to move to other pressing issues. Among them is raising the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on the nation’s bills, always a thorny political lift. But glum senators emerged from a series of closed-door meetings Tuesday no closer to an agreement than they have been after weeks of private talks. (Mascaro and Levey, 6/6)
The Wall Street Journal:
GOP Senators’ Medicaid Clash Jeopardizes Health Deal
Republican senators left their first decision-making meeting on overhauling the nation’s health-care system Tuesday deeply divided over the fate of Medicaid, a fissure that threatens to thwart their ambitions to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The divide among Senate Republicans over Medicaid was wide enough that some GOP lawmakers and aides said they now believe it may be impossible to broker a deal to unwind the health law known as Obamacare. Some senators are already preparing to move to another goal, an overhaul of the tax code. (Peterson and Armour, 6/6)
House Obamacare Repeal Ruled To Be In Compliance With Senate Rules
The House-passed health care bill complies with Senate rules, Republicans said Tuesday, clearing an important procedural hurdle that otherwise could have halted the Obamacare repeal process. The Senate Budget Committee made the announcement Tuesday. The news means the House can send the repeal bill over to the Senate. (Haberkorn, 6/6)
The Washington Post:
Republicans, Stoking Insurer Panic, Cite Uncertainty As A Reason To Pass Health-Care Bill
After Senate Republicans wrapped up their health-care meeting with Vice President Pence, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the body’s few physicians, told reporters that the party got a new sense of urgency after Anthem, an insurer in Ohio’s Affordable Care Act exchange, announced that it was pulling out. Thousands of Ohioans, most in rural areas, could be left uninsured. “We need to stabilize the markets right now,” Barrasso said. “While we were in there, another company pulled out, which shows the continued collapse of the Obamacare market. I mean, it happened during the policy meeting.” (Weigel, 6/6)
The New York Times:
Anthem Will Exit Health Insurance Exchange In Ohio
Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers and a major player in the individual insurance market created by the federal health care law, announced Tuesday that it would stop offering policies in the Ohio marketplace next year. Although its departure would leave a small number of people — roughly 10,500 who live in about a fifth of the state’s counties — without an insurance carrier, the move was seized on by Republicans as more evidence that the markets are “collapsing” under the Affordable Care Act. President Trump, meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, said it was more proof that insurers are “fleeing and leaving” the marketplaces and added that it was essential for Congress to pass a bill repealing the health law this summer. (Abelson, 6/6)
Forbes investigates an annual golf event hosted at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
Trump Profited From Kids Cancer Charity, Report Says
The Trump Organization took in healthy profits in recent years for hosting a charity golf event to benefit children's cancer research, despite claiming the use of the course had been donated Forbes reported Tuesday. Since 2007, President Trump's son Eric Trump has held an annual charity golf event at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., to raise money for the Eric Trump Foundation on behalf of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Forbes reported. To date, Eric Trump has raised more than $11 million — including $2.9 million last year — for the hospital's research, most of it through the golf tournaments, according to Forbes. (Cummings, 6/6)
How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business
The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity's efficiency: Because he can get his family's golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. "We get to use our assets 100% free of charge," Trump tells Forbes. That's not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it's clear that the course wasn't free--that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament. (Alexander, 6/6)
In other national health care news —
The Washington Post:
Francis Collins Will Stay On As Head Of NIH
The White House announced Tuesday that Francis S. Collins will stay on as director of the National Institutes of Health, extending Collins’s tenure even as the administration proposes deep cuts to the government’s premier biomedical research center. Collins, a physician and geneticist, has led NIH since 2009. He is renowned for his leadership of the International Human Genome Project, which in 2003 sequenced the complete human genetic blueprint for the first time. (Bernstein, 6/6)
The Washington Post:
WHO Creates Controversial ‘Reserve’ List Of Antibiotics For Superbug Threats
The World Health Organization on Tuesday released new recommendations aimed at reducing the use of certain categories of “last resort” antibiotics as part of its ongoing efforts to combat the rise of superbugs. Public health officials pointed to the increasing rate of new strains of pathogens that are becoming antibiotic-resistant, saying these “nightmare bacteria” pose a catastrophic threat. Overuse of antibiotics in livestock as well as in humans is the main cause. (Cha, 6/6)
Study: Even Moderate Drinking Might Be Bad For Aging Brains
Here’s one more reason to think before you drink: even a modest amount of booze might be bad for aging brains. A new study published Tuesday in the medical journal BMJ says moderate drinkers were more likely than abstainers or light drinkers to develop worrisome brain changes that might signal eventual memory loss. They also were more likely to show rapid slippage on a language test, though not on several other cognitive tests. (Painter, 6/6)
The Washington Post:
8 Things Doctors Are Buzzing About At The Biggest Cancer Meeting
With 38,000 oncologists converging on the sprawling McCormick Place for the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the halls in the convention center are as crowded as Manhattan sidewalks at Christmastime. Watch out or you'll get run over as attendees rush to the next meeting of the minds. (McGinley, 6/6)