Latest California Healthline Stories
The top 12 states using antibody therapies produced by Regeneron and Lilly — which research shows don’t work against the omicron variant — include several Southern states with some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, but also California, which ranks among the top 20 for fully vaccinated residents.
Just 18% of 5- to 11-year-olds are fully vaccinated, with rates varying significantly across the country, a KHN analysis of federal data shows. Pediatricians say the slow pace and geographic disparities are alarming, especially against the backdrop of record numbers of cases and pediatric hospitalizations.
Medicare officials tentatively plan to restrict the use of a controversial Alzheimer’s drug to only those patients participating in clinical trials, while the Department of Health and Human Services looks into lowering the monthly Medicare Part B premium. Meanwhile, covid confusion still reigns, as the Biden administration moves, belatedly, to make more masks and tests available. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
On Jan. 1, California started buying prescription drugs for its nearly 14 million Medicaid enrollees, a responsibility that had primarily been held by managed-care insurance plans. State officials estimate California will save hundreds of millions of dollars by flexing its purchasing power, but some health clinics expect to lose money.
Predominantly Black and Hispanic urban areas are more likely than white neighborhoods to see local pharmacies close and are more likely to be pharmacy deserts. In Chicago, one pharmacist is bucking the trend, operating the drugstore his father opened in the 1960s in a Black neighborhood.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) dealt a blow to congressional efforts to pass President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda bill, forcing Democrats to regroup starting in 2022. Meanwhile, the omicron covid variant spreads rapidly in the U.S., threatening the stability of the nation’s health care system. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more, plus a look back at the year in health policy. Also this week, Rovner interviews Ceci Connolly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans.
Stores like Walmart and Shopko opened pharmacies in small towns, either buying out the local pharmacy or driving it out of business. What happens when those chains later withdraw, leaving communities with no pharmacy?
Independent pharmacists who want to retire often have trouble attracting new pharmacists to take over their practices, particularly in rural areas. That can cause smaller towns to lose their pharmacies. With many pharmacists near retirement, the problem may only get worse.
Even before the omicron variant of covid starts to spread widely in the U.S., hospitals are filling up with post-holiday delta cases. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court signals — loudly — that 2022 will be the year it rolls back abortion rights in a big way. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
Harm-reduction groups say that requiring a doctor to sign off on their orders of the overdose reversal drug is one of the biggest barriers they face in obtaining the lifesaving medication.