Latest From California Healthline:
The vaping hoodie. The vaping watch. The vaping phone case. Each ready to deliver a puff of nicotine (or marijuana) anywhere, anytime. The vaping market is crowded with sleek, camouflaged devices that have teachers and parents struggling to monitor illicit usage of a product that has surged in popularity among high schoolers. (Anna Maria Barry-Jester, 9/18)
Good morning! Here are your top California health stories for the day.
California Leaders In Uncomfortable Position Of Agreeing With Trump On Homelessness. But That Doesn't Mean They'll Support His Plans: President Donald Trump is visiting California and using the trip as an opportunity to once again talk about the homelessness crisis in the state. His descriptions of the issue don’t always sound far off from what California’s own leaders have said. But the similarities are likely to stop there. California’s politicians are not only wary about Trump’s new focus on the crisis, but also mistrustful about his intentions.
On Monday, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers released a 40-page report on homelessness that was full of grisly and true statistics, such as California being home to one-twelfth of the country’s people but about half of the nation’s unsheltered homeless. The report also blamed many of California’s own policies, like its strict building and environmental regulations, for creating it. That is a fact that the state’s legislative analyst’s office and politicians from Gov. Gavin Newsom on down routinely affirm.
Administration officials have considered razing tent camps for the homeless, creating temporary facilities and refurbishing government facilities, according to two senior government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. It is unclear what legal authority the federal government has to clear the streets and how that might be accomplished, however.
Read more from Philip Rucker and Jeff Stein of The Washington Post; Conor Dougherty of The New York Times; and Benjamin Oreskes, Susanne Rust, Colleen Shalby and Jaclyn Cosgrove of the Los Angeles Times.
In related news from Dakota Smith of the Los Angeles Times: Is Trump Trying To Make This Historic Building A Homeless Shelter? Locals Are ‘Baffled’
California’s Heavily White Anti-Vaccination Movement Appropriates Civil Rights Rhetoric For Its Own Cause: In the nation's most diverse state, protesters opposed to childhood vaccine mandates — many from affluent coastal areas — have co-opted the civil rights mantle from the 1960s, insisting that their plight is comparable to what African Americans have suffered from segregationist policies. The approach reflected the level of desperation among families staunchly opposed to vaccinating their children — a desperation that peaked Friday night when an activist threw a menstrual cup with what appeared to be blood at several state senators during floor session. But the civil rights claim shocked lawmakers, especially those representing minority communities that have suffered generations of racism and economic injustice. Read more from MacKenzie Mays of Politico.
Below, check out the full round-up of California Healthline original stories, state coverage and the best of the rest of the national news for the day.
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More News From Across The State
Elderly Often Face Neglect In California Care Homes That Exploit Workers
An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that some operators of senior board-and-care homes that violate labor laws and steal workers’ wages – previously exposed by Reveal – often also endanger or neglect their residents, sometimes with dire consequences. Reveal analyzed thousands of licensing records and hundreds of U.S. Department of Labor cases in California and conducted two dozen interviews with workers, residents and their family members. (Gollan, 9/17)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Suit By Transgender Man Initially Refused Surgery Reinstated By Appeals Court
A state appeals court reinstated a transgender patient’s suit against the Catholic hospital chain Dignity Health on Tuesday for refusing to perform transgender surgery, and then allegedly relenting and referring the patient to another hospital only after the story hit the local airwaves. Evan Minton’s claims, if proven, would show that “he was subjected to discrimination” based on gender identity, at least for the three days between the hospital’s rejection and his surgery, said the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. (Egelko, 9/17)
Transgender Man Can Sue Mercy San Juan, Appeal Court Says
The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that a Sacramento-area transgender man can sue Mercy San Juan Medical Center over the last-minute cancellation of his hysterectomy, overturning a lower-court ruling that dismissed the case. Dignity Health, which operates Mercy San Juan, arranged for Evan Minton to have the procedure at Methodist Hospital in south Sacramento within 72 hours of the denial, court records state. The procedure was canceled, the lawsuit stated, after Minton mentioned to a nurse that he is transgender. (Anderson, 9/18)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Protesters Shut Down Commission Meeting As Fight Over SF Mental Health Policies Intensifies
Loud protesters shut down a San Francisco Health Commission meeting Tuesday over the city’s decision to stop admitting patients into a long-term care facility for the mentally ill, and instead turn many of the beds into a temporary respite facility. The protest — which involved about 80 people, including facility staff and patients — came one week after the Department of Public Health told The Chronicle that it decided to stop admitting patients to the Adult Residential Facility on San Francisco General Hospital’s campus due to staff negligence and errors. That decision, made in September 2018, left more than 20 beds empty every night. (Thadani, 9/17)
Kaiser CEO Says Members Will Get Care During October Strike
Just before more than 80,000 workers announced Monday they planned an October strike against Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson talked with The Bee about the union’s concerns about pay inequity, labor strategy and concerns voiced by workers. Leaders of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions said their strike will begin Oct. 14 and will last seven days in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. (Anderson, 9/18)
Trump To Revoke California’s Authority On Air Pollution
President Donald Trump’s administration is expected Wednesday to rescind California’s unique legal authority to set air pollution rules that are stricter than the federal government’s, as a battle escalates over greenhouse gas emissions from cars. The move is certain to trigger another round of litigation between the two antagonists — and represents one of the most dramatic developments yet in the more than two years of disputes over issues ranging from immigration to water policy. (Kasler and Wilner, 9/17)
Los Angeles Times:
Abortion Rate In The U.S. Falls To A 46-Year Low, Data Show
The abortion rate in the United States hit a 46-year low in 2017, a drop experienced in both conservative-led states that have restricted the procedure and liberal-led states that have expanded access, according to a report released Wednesday by a research group that supports abortion rights. The nationwide rate dropped to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 girls and women ages 15 through 44 in 2017, from 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women in 2011, a decline of 20%, according to data analyzed by the Guttmacher Institute, which conducts a survey of abortion providers that is widely used by both sides of the debate. It continues a decades-long trend in declining abortion rates. (Haberkorn, 9/17)
The Washington Post:
Vape Maker Overhauls Packaging To Counter Fakes
A short walk from police headquarters in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, a cluster of bustling shops are openly selling packaging and hardware that can be used to produce counterfeit marijuana vapes that have infected California’s cannabis market. Bootleggers eager to profit off unsuspecting consumers are mimicking popular, legal vape brands, pairing replica packaging churned out in Chinese factories with untested, possibly dangerous cannabis oil produced in the state’s vast underground market. (Blood, 9/17)
Los Angeles Times:
L.A. County Files Brief To Overturn Boise Case On Homelessness
On Tuesday, the supervisors voted to direct lawyers for Los Angeles County to draft an amicus brief, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a challenge to Martin vs. City of Boise. The case, decided by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last September, found that arresting or otherwise punishing homeless people for sleeping on the sidewalk when there are not enough shelter beds or housing was unconstitutional. (Stiles, 9/17)
Seniors Forced Out By Higher Rents In Stanislaus County CA
Renting an apartment without assistance is now virtually impossible for Modesto seniors like Carol Gilbert, whose income is less than $1,000 a month. The monthly rent for her one-bedroom was $650 when she moved into Stardust Villa Apartments about 10 years ago. Following gradual increases, the rent jumped from $950 last year to $1,300 per month. (Carlson, 9/17)
Capital Public Radio:
Sacramento Fined Homeowners $94 Million For Illegal Cannabis Grows — But Many Claim They’re Innocent
CapRadio spoke to a dozen defense attorneys representing property owners who received these fines. They acknowledge illegal grow houses are a danger and should be mitigated. But they argue the city’s penalties violate the California and U.S. constitutions, which prohibit excessive fines. (Rodd, 9/16)
Under Trump, Health Insurance With Less Coverage Floods Market
Early one Friday morning two years ago, David Diaz woke up his wife, Marisia, and told her he didn’t feel right. He asked her to pray with him. Their son called 911, and within minutes, Marisia was tailing an ambulance down the dirt road away from the couple’s house on the outskirts of Phoenix to a hospital in the city. David had had a massive heart attack. Before being wheeled into surgery, he whispered the PIN for his bank card to Marisia, just in case. But the double-bypass operation was successful, and two weeks later he was discharged. (Faux, Mosendz and Tozzi, 9/17)
The Washington Post:
Biden And Sanders Take Fight Over Health Care To Union Workers
Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) clashed sharply over health care in separate appearances before union members on Tuesday, intensifying one of the central policy disputes in the Democratic presidential race. Speaking at a forum hosted by the Philadelphia Council of the AFL-CIO, Biden touted his plan to expand the Affordable Care Act with an optional public insurance program. Without naming Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), he eagerly criticized the competing proposal they have championed as injurious to organized labor. (Sullivan and Weigel, 9/17)
The Associated Press:
McConnell Says Congress In 'Holding Pattern' On Gun Control
Six weeks after a pair of mass shootings killed more than 30 people, Congress remains "in a holding pattern" on gun control as lawmakers await proposals from the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. While President Donald Trump has said he would veto a House-passed bill to expand background checks for gun purchases, McConnell said he is hopeful there are other gun-related proposals that Congress can approve and Trump can support. (9/17)
Swing-State Voters Oppose 'Surprise' Medical Bill Legislation, Trump Pollster Warns
President Trump’s campaign pollster is warning that swing-state voters oppose a bipartisan bill meant to protect patients from “surprise” medical bills they receive when going out-of-network for emergency care, according to a polling memo obtained exclusively by The Hill. A survey of voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania conducted by Tony Fabrizio, the president’s campaign pollster, found that a majority of voters in three battleground states believe that health insurers should be on the hook when patients receive “surprise” medical bills for out-of-network emergencies. (Easley, 9/17)
The Associated Press:
'Blood Money'? Purdue Settlement Would Rely On Opioid Sales
The tentative multibillion-dollar settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma would raise money to help clean up the opioid mess by ... selling more OxyContin. That would amount to blood money, in the opinion of some critics. And it's one reason two dozen states have rejected the deal. (9/17)