- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Rising Health Insurance Costs A Worry For Some Aging People And Early Retirees
- Covered California & The Health Law 2
- California, New York Are Giving It Their All To Save The Health Law
- Bruised And Battered Health Law's Open Enrollment Period Starts Today Amid Much Confusion
- Public Health and Education 2
- Death Toll In Hep A Outbreak Continues To Climb
- It's Not Rare For Those Contemplating Suicide To Deny It, But There May Be A Way To Predict It
- Around California 1
- Interagency Investigation Into Prescription Fraud Nets Three Arrests In Ventura County
Latest From California Healthline:
Higher premiums loom for Americans in their late 50s and early 60s who are still too young for Medicare and don’t qualify for subsidies under Obamacare. The head of California's Obamacare exchange says he's "really worried" about it. (Steven Findlay and Pauline Bartolone, )
More News From Across The State
Amid attacks and confusion over the health law, the two big blue states are going all out with marketing and outreach to try to help stabilize the marketplaces.
The Bicoastal Bid To Shore Up Obamacare
Two big blue states on opposite sides of the country have a mission: Save Obamacare. California and New York, which run their own health insurance exchanges and will spend tens of millions this year on marketing and outreach, don’t expect to have a stellar year in the sign-up season that starts Wednesday. (Colliver and Goldberg, 11/1)
The fifth open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act kicks off today. But many consumers don't even know if the health law is alive or not.
The New York Times:
As Open Enrollment For Obamacare Begins, Confusion Reigns
David Branch knew that his job, helping people sign up for Obamacare, would be harder this year. But Mr. Branch didn’t fully realize the scope of his challenge until a group that he approached with his fliers insisted that the Affordable Care Act had been repealed. “They said: ‘Why are you guys here? Obamacare is done,’ ” Mr. Branch recalled Friday as he finished a training session here. (Goodnough and Pear, 10/31)
Insurers, Ex-Obama Officials Promote Wednesday Insurance Enrollment
Insurers, some states and former Obama administration officials are heavily promoting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment that starts Wednesday to make up for the lack of marketing the law is getting by President Trump's administration. "We are as an industry doing everything we can," says Kelly Turek, an executive director with trade group America's Health Insurance Plans. (O'Donnell, 10/31)
Obamacare's Rising Premiums Will Hurt The Middle Class The Most
For some lower-income people in Obamacare, the rising premiums President Donald Trump has talked so much about will barely be felt at all. Others, particularly those with higher incomes, will feel the sharp increases when insurance sign-ups begin Wednesday. Richard Taylor is one of the people on the wrong end. The 61-year-old, self-employed Oklahoman has meticulously tracked his medical costs since 1994. In 2013, he signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan for the law’s first year offering coverage to millions of Americans. (Rausch and Tracer, 11/1)
The Associated Press:
Trump Ad Incorrectly Blames Dem For GOP Health Care Struggle
President Donald Trump is lashing out at Democrats in a new TV ad that incorrectly blames his critics in the opposing party for blocking fixes to the nation's health care system. The new ad, set to begin airing on cable stations nationwide on Tuesday, seizes on "skyrocketing" insurance premiums "all while Democrats in Washington, D.C., block a better plan to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all — obstructing our president just to score political points with the radical left." (Peoples, 10/31)
The rules required pregnancy centers to inform their patients of all the options available to them, including abortions.
Judge Voids CA 'Pregnancy Center' Abortion Notification Law
A Riverside County Superior Court Judge has voided a California law that requires controversial "pregnancy centers" to notify their clients that the state offers access to low-cost and free abortions. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that he will appeal the ruling. Judge Gloria Trask ruled the law violates the state constitution's guarantee of free speech. (Glickman, 10/31)
Meanwhile, public health officials are keeping an eye on other hep A outbreaks across the country.
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Death Toll From San Diego Hepatitis A Outbreak Rises To 20
San Diego’s hepatitis A outbreak has now claimed 20 lives across the region. The county Health and Human Services Agency published new weekly totals late Tuesday morning, raising by one the number of deaths recorded since the health crisis started in November 2016. The running tally of confirmed cases also continues to increase, up to 536 from the previous total of 516. (Sisson, 10/31)
New research looks at how the brain reacts to certain words when a person is considering suicide.
Los Angeles Times:
How Your Brain Processes Certain Words Can Help Predict Your Risk Of Suicide
When a person’s distress, depression or discouragement appears to have taken a sharp turn for the worse, it’s time to ask him or her a weighty question: Are you thinking of harming yourself? If only the answer were a better guide. One study has found that nearly 80% of patients who took their own lives denied they were contemplating suicide in their last contact with a mental healthcare professional. Friends and family suffer the guilt and anguish of not having divined a loved one’s intentions, but mental health professionals rarely fare much better at doing so. (Healy, 10/31)
And Fresno County has the highest preterm birth rate in California.
Preterm Births In The U.S. Rise Again, Signaling Worrisome Trend
The preterm birth rate in the U.S. has increased for the second consecutive year, according to a new report, and minorities are suffering a disproportionate share of those births. The increases, which follow nearly a decade of declines, raise concerns that gains made in women’s health care are now slipping, experts say. The annual report on preterm births by the March of Dimes, released Wednesday, found that 9.8 percent of U.S. infants were born preterm in 2016, up from 9.6 percent in 2015. And rates found in some parts of the U.S. are on par with those found in undeveloped countries in Africa and the Middle East. (Ross, 11/1)
Preterm Births Up, Says March Of Dimes
For the second year in a row, Fresno County has the highest preterm birth rate in California, putting infants who are born too soon at increased risk of death before their first birthday or of a lifetime of disabilities. And despite a community effort to prevent and reduce prematurity in Fresno County, the rate increased this year, according to the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card that was released Wednesday. (Anderson, 11/1)
Angela Breaux, Daniel Adams and Jaime Galindo were arrested on suspicion of fraudulent prescriptions, identity theft, burglary and conspiracy to commit a felony, police said.
Ventura County Star:
3 Arrested During Prescription Fraud Investigation
Three suspects were arrested following an interagency investigation into prescription fraud throughout Ventura County, authorities said. On Oct. 20, the three people were arrested while attempting to pass a fraudulent prescription in Thousand Oaks, police said. The suspects were later identified as Angela Breaux, 58, of Oakland; Daniel Adams, 21, of Lodi; and Jaime Galindo, 20, of Stockton. (Childs, 10/31)
In other news from across the state —
Los Angeles Times:
On The Town: Women Recognized For Contributions To Cancer Programs
Five women who are dedicated advocates in the fight against cancer recently received Courage Awards at a dinner held at the newly-renovated and very elegant Chevy Chase Country Club. The awards are presented biannually by the Cancer Care Guild, in partnership with the Adventist Health Glendale Foundation. (Rudolph, 10/31)
Capital Public Radio:
Pediatric Patients Help Out With Pumpkin Surgery
Pumpkin surgery is a messy endeavor, as patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children found out this Halloween. About two dozen children gathered to watch a team of surgeons operate on two giant pumpkins - one weighing 72 pounds, the other weighing 106 pounds. (Caiola, 10/31)
The Bee Surveyed Fresno Unified Students About Sex. A Conservative Group Threatens Action
The Fresno Bee recently reported on the results of an anonymous survey of Fresno Unified students about sex education, conducted with the permission of the school district, as part of an investigation into teen pregnancy rates in the Valley. Now, a conservative law group wants Fresno Unified to discipline staff who allowed The Bee to distribute the survey, demand a retraction from the newspaper, and limit reporters’ access to school campuses. (Sheehan, 10/31)
The complaint alleges an industry-wide conspiracy divide up the market as a way to drive up prices.
U.S. States Allege Broad Generic Drug Price-Fixing Collusion
Forty-six U.S. state attorneys general will seek to expand a lawsuit alleging price fixing of generic drugs to 18 companies and 15 medicines on Tuesday, including Novartis AG's generic unit Sandoz and India-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, people familiar with the matter said. The original complaint, being litigated in federal court in Pennsylvania, describes an industry-wide conspiracy in which companies divide up the market as a way to push up prices. (10/31)
Mylan's President Targeted In Generic Drug Pricing Probe
Mylan NV’s second-ranking executive was named in a civil investigation by dozens of states conducting a multiyear probe into alleged price collusion by makers of generic drugs that is now targeting senior managers. State attorneys general said they’re seeking to sue Rajiv Malik, Mylan’s president and executive director, as part of an expanded complaint against pharmaceutical companies from 45 states and the District of Columbia, according to a statement by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen. (Chen and McLaughlin, 10/31)