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Amid cost concerns, lawmakers delay vote on universal healthcare
Los Angeles Times

A proposal to have the state provide healthcare coverage to all Californians hit another snag Tuesday in a legislative committee amid concerns about its cost.

The measure to create a single-payer California Healthcare System could cost the state general fund $200 billion annually, according to a legislative analysis, so the Senate Appropriations Committee put the proposal on hold for at least a few days so it can be given further consideration.

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California has largest pre-existing condition insurance plan
Sacramento Business Journal

California’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan is the largest program of its kind in the nation, new federal figures show. The state had 4,907 people enrolled on Nov. 30, the last federal figures available. Pennsylvania was second, with 4,379. Texas was third, with 3,644; Florida was fourth, with 3,285. California enrollment was up to 6,307 by Jan. 12. Another 467 new enrollees will begin coverage Feb. 1. About 280 residents in the four-county Sacramento region were enrolled in the program in December.

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Supreme Court lets new plaintiffs join reform law challenge
Modern Healthcare

The Supreme Court has agreed to allow two private citizens to join the litigation opposing to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act following news that the bankruptcy of an existing plaintiff could have created questions about whether a key challenger of the law had standing to bring its case.

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CMSP expands to cover additional 30,000 low-income adults
Willits News

As part of federal health care reform, or “Obamacare” as its detractors like to call it, California’s County Medical Services Program expands health care coverage to an estimated 30,000 low-income adults in 34 mostly rural counties. Mendocino County’s CMSP program currently has between 2,000 and 3,000 “medically indigent” people enrolled each month, said Sharon Hunt, interim branch director for the Department of Public Health. Hunt calls CMSP “our safety net for the working class.”

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Post-Surgical Blood Clot Study Stirs Controversy
Health Leaders Media

A controversial study estimates the risk of venous thromboembolism, or serious blood clot, at 1% for those undergoing knee replacement and .5% for those receiving a new hip during the few days they recuperate in the hospital after surgery.

The authors, Jean-Marie Januel and colleagues from Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland and co-authors in France and Canada, used data from 47 studies, most of them randomized controlled trials.

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Vermont crafts details of universal health plan
Modern Healthcare

Vermont officials are beginning to provide details about how the state plans to carry out its new publicly financed healthcare program. Meanwhile, state representatives Michael Fisher and Ann Pugh introduced a bill proposing regulatory changes for health insurers, health coverage and providers in order to move forward with the development of Green Mountain Care, the state’s healthcare program.

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Obesity rate inches up for males, but levels off overall
USA Today

Obesity in the USA has inched up slightly over the past decade, mainly because of weight gain among men and boys, new government statistics show. The percentage of obese men increased to 35.5% in 2010, up from 27.5% in 2000. About 35.8% of women were obese in 2010, not a significant change from 2000. Adults are considered obese if they are roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. About 16.9% of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, were obese in 2010, up 13.9% from 2000. This was mostly because of an increase in the percentage of boys who are obese.

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Blue Cross cancels Natividad contract; hospital vows to keep costs the same
Monterey Herald

Natividad Medical Center vowed Tuesday to keep out-of-pocket costs for its Anthem Blue Cross patients the same despite the insurer’s cancellation of Natividad’s contract for inpatient and outpatient services.

“We’re telling the public we will protect you,” said hospital CEO Harry Weis. “We hope to do the right thing in terms of partnering with the community.”

The contract ended Sunday after Natividad and the insurance company failed to reach agreement over reimbursement rates for services, the hospital said.

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Sutter Health adds four new board members
Sacramento Bee

Four new members have joined the board of directors at Sutter Health, officials announced today.

The Sacramento-based health network looked to the retail industry, venture investing, real estate and family medicine for the four, who began their one-year terms Jan. 1.

Sharon L.McCollam, who holds the titles of director and executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of specialty home retailer Williams-Sonoma, joins David G. Nasaw, co-founder and managing director of Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC.

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US obesity epidemic shows no hint of shrinking
San Francisco Chronicle

America’s obesity epidemic is proving to be as stubborn as those maddening love handles, and shows no sign of reversing course. More than one-third of adults and almost 17 percent of children were obese in 2009-2010, echoing results since 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. “It’s good that we didn’t see increases. On the other hand, we didn’t see any decreases in any group,” said CDC researcher Cynthia Ogden.

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Poor prognosis for San Francisco health clinics
San Francisco Examiner

The recent closure of Tenderloin Health, which served the neighborhood’s homeless and uninsured population, might only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to free clinics shutting their doors.

Some public health experts have been optimistic that the trend of health clinics consolidating or closing because of the growing gap between the number of uninsured clients and funding would stop under national health care reform that takes effect in 2014.

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Healthcare reform may have unintended consequences for HIV/AIDS patients
HealthyCal.org

Loren Jones was diagnosed with HIV 28 years ago. A relatively low viral load meant that for a long time, Jones, a 59-year-old African American woman, didn’t feel sick at all. “I ignored it completely,” she says of the first few years of her illness. “I was the kind of person who had always been very healthy. I don’t catch cold very much, even now. I basically tried to pretend it wasn’t there.”

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Obesity Rates Stall, But No Decline
New York Times

After two decades of steady increases, obesity rates in adults and children in the United States have remained largely unchanged during the past 12 years, a finding that suggests national efforts at promoting healthful eating and exercise are having little effect on the overweight.

Over all, 35.7 percent of the adult population and 16.9 percent of children qualify as obese, according to data gathered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published online Tuesday by The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Health care workers, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital reach tentative deal
The Californian - Salinas

Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) have reached a tentative agreement on a contract with the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, the union said in a news release issued Tuesday.

The new contract would end 12 months of difficult negotiations between the two sides. The dispute included a one-day strike by union hospital workers and two-day lockout of those workers by the hospital.

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Thomson Reuters IDs 15 Top Health Systems
Health Leaders Media

Thomson Reuters on Tuesday named its “15 Top Health Systems” in the nation based on clinical performance.

The fourth annual study reviewed clinical outcomes at more than 300 health systems across the country and picked the top 15 based on a composite score of eight measures of quality, patient perception of care, and efficiency.

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Health exchanges to help small businesses
San Jose Business Journal

California is implementing provisions of the federal health care law that could significantly help small businesses. State health insurance exchanges in particular are one of the most important elements of health care reform for small businesses. If implemented correctly, health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act could be instrumental in lowering insurance costs, while increasing choices for small employers.

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Obesity rates level off but stay high: study
Modern Healthcare

Rates of obesity appear to have leveled off from increases seen in earlier years, according to 2009-10 data published in a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The authors of the study, to be published in the Jan. 17 issue, found that the prevalence of obesity among men and women in remained statistically the same in 2009-10 compared with the 2003-08 period.

Blogs

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Money Ball for Medicine – Business Models for Healthcare
Tech Crunch

Entrepreneurial epiphanies surface in random places. For Eric Page, it was watching Brad Pitt’s latest movie, Moneyball. The epiphany caused him to shift Amplify Health’s business model from a provider of technology to a heavy user of technology. While there is a wave of disruptive technology in healthtech, as interesting is the wave of disruptive innovation on the care delivery side of healthcare. These companies aren’t technology companies, however technology plays a pivotal role.

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