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Companies focus on worker health to curb costs
San Francisco Chronicle

More employers are giving workers the option to tame health insurance costs for next year if they provide a blood sample and reveal details about their health habits. As they present employees with benefits options for 2012, some companies also are offering lower rates to those who quit smoking, lose weight or take other measures to improve their health.

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Chamber asks high court to review health care law
San Francisco Chronicle

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been a fierce opponent of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, is taking a more nuanced approach in urging the Supreme Court to take up review of the law. The chamber said in a legal brief filed Tuesday that it takes no position on the constitutionality of the contested provision at the heart of the law, the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.

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Ed Lee vetoes SF health care bill – antibusiness
San Francisco Chronicle

Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday issued his first veto since taking office in January, describing legislation intended to close a loophole in San Francisco’s law requiring employers to provide some funding for their workers’ health care expenses as bad for business. “This legislation aims to solve an important problem, but imposes an overly broad approach to solving a discrete set of issues,” Lee said in his veto letter.

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White House backs change to reform law’s income definition
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration on Tuesday lent its support to an upcoming House bill that would change a tax-related provision included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House said it supports passage of the measure that would change the definition of modified adjusted gross income in the Affordable Care Act to include both taxable and nontaxable Social Security benefits.

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Exercise prepares Red Bluff community for emergency
Red Bluff Daily News

Health care and public safety employees recently merged for a “Tabletop Exercise” to prepare for emergency water service interruptions.

Participants looked at the potential impacts to the community and its services without the inability to provide basic water.

The group met for the four-hour training Oct. 12, at the CalFire headquarters in Red Bluff.

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WellPoint’s 3Q profit falls 7.5 pct; outlook rises
San Francisco Chronicle

WellPoint Inc.’s third-quarter earnings fell more than 7 percent compared to last year, when results were fortified by a $110 million release from the health insurer’s reserves. The performance still topped Wall Street expectations. The largest publicly traded health insurer based on enrollment also raised its earnings forecast for 2011 and said Wednesday it expects earnings growth in 2012.

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Officials say new hospital will be ready by Nov. 2012
Desert Dispatch

The new Barstow Community Hospital is on schedule to be completed by November 2012, hospital officials say. The new hospital, at 820 East Mountain View St., will replace the current hospital across the street. Though the current hospital building is owned by the city, the new will be owned by the company occupying the current hospital, an affiliate company with Community Health Systems.

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Panel says boys should get HPV vaccine, too
San Francisco Chronicle

A federal panel on Tuesday recommended that all preteen children – not just girls – get a vaccine that prevents a common sexually transmitted disease, in a move that public health experts hope will lead to widespread immunity to the virus and, eventually, cut rates of certain types of cancer. The controversial vaccine against the human papilloma virus, or HPV, has been recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls since 2006, when studies showed that girls and young women who were immunized had lower rates of cervical cancer.

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French Hospital opens primary care health center
KSBY

French Hospital Medical Center has announced the opening of the French Health Center, a primary care practice in San Luis Obispo.

The new health center opened its doors on October 3 at 1941 Johnson Avenue, Suite 301 in San Luis Obispo. It provides comprehensive care to San Luis Obispo area residents.

“This is an exciting new chapter for both the hospital and the community because it offers better health care options,” said FHMC President Alan Iftiniuk.

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Doctors ask feds to review Medi-Cal rates
California Watch

The California Medical Association is asking federal Medicaid authorities to review whether the state pays enough to guarantee adequate access to care for patients who rely on the Medi-Cal program. The CMA is relying on a federal law that says Medi-Cal should pay health providers enough to ensure care is available to program beneficiaries at the level of their privately insured peers.

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UCSF nabs $6 million for seven-state AIDS prevention project
San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco’s UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies has won $6 million in federal funding over four years to lead a seven-state effort to help HIV-AIDS patients get diagnosed and receive continuing care. The funds come from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and its Special Projects of National Significance Program, UCSF said Tuesday. The grant is for $1.5 annually for four years.

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Cancer’s most isolated patients
Los Angeles Times

She has had four surgeries to remove her thyroid, parathyroid and vocal cord nerve, along with muscle and tissue.

Once a year, she goes to a hospital and swallows a radioactive iodine capsule to attack the remaining cancer cells — and then remains in isolation for four days. During what she calls her quarantine, she can’t touch — or even be in the same room as — anyone else. The treatment causes soreness, swelling, nausea and headaches.

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Free medical care for Kern County’s uninsured
KGET.com

You have probably heard about meals on wheels. Now there is healthcare on wheels for the uninsured. A local Bakersfield couple noticed a need in the area for people with no insurance and started a mobile medical office. It is called the Jesus Shack Mobile Medical Clinic.

Flossie White and her daughter London haven’t been feeling well lately.

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The uninsured line up at an LA arena turned hospital
HealthyCal.org

The Los Angeles Sports Arena was transformed last Thursday through Sunday into a giant field hospital for some of the city’s estimated 2 million uninsured and many more who are underinsured. More than 4,000 people registered for the event, sponsored by the non-profit CareNow USA. Some didn’t know how sick they were.

Opinion/Editorial

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Obama’s Health Care Gamble
The Wall Street Journal

Cert petitions asking the Supreme Court to hear the various constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act could be distributed to chambers for consideration as early as this week. If they are, we’ll know by mid-November if and when the justices will rule on the individual mandate. In the meantime, though, let’s note the extremely big bet that the Justice Department — and presumably, the White House — is making.

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