Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Outbreaks of infectious diseases such as typhus and hepatitis A are resurging in California and around the country, particularly among homeless populations. Public health officials warn that such diseases could spread broadly.
Health and safety problems at immigration detention facilities throughout California pose a serious risk to detainees, according to two reports released Tuesday. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California State Auditor Elaine Howle concluded that federal and local governments are failing to adequately oversee the facilities, allowing the problems to persist.
California’s highly touted gains in vaccinating schoolchildren against measles stalled last year, possibly related to an increase in the number of students who have been exempted from vaccinations on medical grounds.
Inspired by Los Angeles teachers, who were promised 300 more school nurses after striking last month, unions in Denver, Oakland, Calif., and beyond are demanding more school nurses or better compensation for them.
In an emerging new tactic against the rising toll of opioid deaths, California, Ohio, Virginia and Arizona are among the states requiring physicians to offer patients naloxone when they give them prescriptions for the powerful painkillers. The Food and Drug Administration is weighing a national recommendation to do so.
Xavier Becerra, the state’s first Latino attorney general, is one of President Donald Trump’s most relentless adversaries. He attributes his legal values — and his opposition to the current administration — to his upbringing as the son of Mexican immigrants.
The latest example is Sutter Health and Anthem Blue Cross, whose failure to seal a deal is causing Anthem members to worry they may not have access to one of the dominant hospital chains in Northern California. Across the U.S., the stakes in such contract fights have risen, as health systems and insurers battle to increase their market share.
Delta Dental of California, with more than 36 million enrollees across the country, is looking to buy a stake in a for-profit insurance company based in Oregon. Consumer advocates are calling on regulators to scrutinize the transaction, arguing that it is just the latest questionable move by the nonprofit dental insurer whose corporate practices may be out of step with its tax-exempt status.
Even though the number of people renewing their Covered California health plans increased this year, new enrollment plunged by nearly a quarter compared with last year, posting a bigger drop than the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, which saw a 16 percent decrease. Officials largely blame the elimination of the federal tax penalty for people without insurance.
Some doctors and clinics are proactively informing patients about a proposed policy that could jeopardize the legal status of immigrants who use public benefit programs such as Medicaid. Others argue that because this “public charge” proposal isn’t final — and may never be adopted — disseminating too much information could create unnecessary alarm and cause some patients to drop benefits.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom made health care a priority in his proposed state budget, asking lawmakers to authorize state-funded financial aid for health insurance, impose a penalty on uninsured Californians and expand Medicaid coverage to unauthorized immigrants.
Dr. Gabor Maté of British Columbia recently visited Sacramento and laid out his theories in an interview with California Healthline.
Just hours into his tenure as California’s new governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom proposed major plans to insure more Californians, including state-funded financial aid for health insurance and a requirement for Californians to have coverage.
On New Year’s Day, California joined the majority of U.S. states that require people convicted of drunken driving to install ignition-linked breathalyzers in their vehicles. If the devices detect alcohol above a predetermined level, the cars don’t start.
California’s incoming congressional delegation will be the largest in the U.S. House of Representatives to support progressive health care policies such as “Medicare-for-all.” But the political reality of a Republican Senate and president means that they will need to pursue ideas that “aren’t pie in the sky.”
The leaders of California’s legislative health committees who wield power over state health policy have been showered with money from the health care sector, with drug companies, health plans, hospitals and doctors providing nearly 40 percent of their 2017-18 campaign funds.
The potentially improper payments occurred in 2014 and 2015, when the state says it was under pressure from a massive influx of new applicants due to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
The whistleblower complaint says that Sutter, one of the largest health systems in the U.S., exaggerated how sick certain Medicare patients were in order to collect higher payments from the government-funded program.
The state medical board grants probation in more than a third of cases, a KHN analysis found. Even as other institutions adapt to lessons of the #MeToo movement, the board plans no significant changes, saying it has always prioritized discipline for sexual misconduct.
To keep costs down, Blue Shield of California next year will scale back on a program allowing members to receive a wide range of care beyond the state’s borders. Customers with individual plans mostly won’t be able to get coverage out of state except for emergencies or other exceptional circumstances.