News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Affordable Care Act gears up for momentous test in court

Nearly a decade after President Barack Obama signed the legislation, and after it twice survived challenges at the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act faces a momentous test in a New Orleans courtroom this week.

Millions of Americans, including those with cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions, cannot be denied coverage because of the ACA’s sweeping insurance regulations. With this fresh case, destined to climax at the Supreme Court yet again, the stakes for the continued existence of the ACA are as high as ever.

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5th Circuit decision on ACA could create political havoc for GOP
Washington Post

The judges of the marbled appellate courthouse in the heart of New Orleans once upended civil rights law, issuing rulings that propelled desegregation. This summer, they could upend health-care law and with it, the roiling politics of health care in Congress, the White House and the 2020 campaigns.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration and 18 Republican-led states will face off against a score of Democratic-led states over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the sprawling law the Supreme Court has upheld twice but a federal district judge in Texas ruled invalid late last year.

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5 Key Healthcare Issues Pending In Congress: ‘New Rules’ That Could Change How You Get Healthcare

In this Gallup poll from late 2018—and in almost every other national research poll on the concerns of American voters—healthcare ranks as the No. 1 issue. Of course, healthcare is a complex, multifaceted issue, and voter concerns include the cost, quality, and availability of care as well as the availability of insurance and coverage of pre-existing conditions. The issue was recently given even higher visibility by President Trump’s executive order of June 24 mandating improved pricing disclosure in healthcare.

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Congress has ambitious agenda tackling health care costs
ABC News

Lawmakers are trying to set aside their irreconcilable differences over the Obama-era Affordable Care Act and work to reach bipartisan agreement on a more immediate health care issue, lowering costs for people who already have coverage.

Returning from their Fourth of July recess, the Senate and House are pushing to end surprise medical bills, curb high prices for medicines, and limit prescription copays for people with Medicare.

Partisan disagreements could derail the effort, but lawmakers fear the voters’ verdict in 2020 if politicians have nothing to show for all their hand-wringing about drug prices. President Donald Trump has political exposure himself because the big price cuts he promised haven’t materialized.  On Friday, he promised an executive order that he said would be intended to enable the U.S. government to pay lower prices for prescription drugs. The U.S. would pay no more than the lowest amount paid by other nations or companies, he said.

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State’s top insurance regulator accepted tens of thousands of dollars from industry executives, records show
San Diego Union-Tribune

Soon after becoming California’s eighth insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara organized a reelection committee that began accepting tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from people with ties to companies he regulates, campaign disclosures show.

The donations, which are not illegal, contradict a pledge Lara made in the run-up to the 2018 election that he would reject contributions from the insurance industry.

Lara, a graduate of San Diego State University who served eight years in the California Legislature prior to his narrow win in November, reported accepting more than $50,000 in donations in recent months from insurance company executives and their apparent spouses, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune analysis of campaign funding data.

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How To Get The Best From Your Doctor
National Public Radio

Going to a doctor who puts you at ease can actually improve your health. We have six tips for finding a primary care doctor you click with — and how you can make the most out of that relationship.

1. Figure out what type of patient you are, and let that guide your choice of doctor.

Ask yourself exactly what you need from your doctor. Young, healthy patients, for example, may prioritize convenience. If you have a few medical problems and need to see specialists, find a primary care physician who can easily share electronic medical records with a hospital and specialty offices.

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Sobering Up: In An Alcohol-Soaked Nation, More Seek Booze-Free Social Spaces
Kaiser Health News

Not far from the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Joshua Grigaitis fills a cooler with bottles and cans in one of the city’s oldest bars.

It’s Saturday night, and the lights are low. Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice fills the air, along with the aroma of incense. The place has all the makings of a swank boozy hangout.

Except for the booze.

Pop’s Blue Moon bar, a fixture of this beer-loving city since 1908, has joined an emerging national trend: alcohol-free spaces offering social connections without peer pressure to drink, hangovers or DUIs.

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Yes, breast cancer survivors, you can lift weights, get manicures and garden
Washington Post

For more than 25 years, many breast cancer survivors were given a lifelong, life-changing warning: Do not lift anything over five pounds, avoid getting manicures, taking saunas or even gardening since it might lead to a painful complication called lymphedema, which can cause irreversible swelling in the arm and often hardening of skin.

The condition is usually caused by the removal of lymph nodes, which is done during breast cancer surgery to determine if the cancer has spread. The nodes are part of the body’s lymphatic system, which protects against invaders.

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With Rural Health Care Stretched Thin, More Patients Turn To Telehealth
National Public Radio

Telehealth turned Jill Hill’s life around.

The 63-year-old lives on the edge of rural Grass Valley, an old mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California. She was devastated after her husband Dennis passed away in the fall of 2014 after a long series of medical and financial setbacks.

“I was grief-stricken and my self-esteem was down,” Hill remembers. “I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t brush my hair. I was isolated. I just kind of locked myself in the bedroom.”

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Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8 meant growing up quickly
Washington Post

I still remember that stupid orange.

I was 8 and in an intensive care unit.

The nurse told me to practice sticking a syringe into the fruit. The orange was supposed to simulate my stomach. The syringe would give me the insulin I needed to live.

She didn’t mention the scars from sticking the same spot or the little dots of blood from hitting a vein with the syringe.

Over and over again, at least three times a day, for the next 18 years.

I am 26 now, and recently, my new endocrinologist asked me to tell her my story of being a diabetic.

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California is on the verge of a ‘gray wave.’ Health care needs to keep up
Sacramento Bee

As the baby-boom generation ages, the number of senior citizens in the state is about to explode. The 65-and-over population will nearly double within a decade, which means a larger percentage of seniors here in California than in Florida. And it’s not clear if we’re ready for the societal, economic and health care demands this shift represents.

“California has a relatively young population that’s about to gray rapidly, and we are woefully unprepared,” said Bruce Chernof, president of The SCAN Foundation. “The state’s approach to aging services is a six-decade collection of well-meaning but one-off programs that are siloed from one another.”

Chernof was one of several of The Bee’s California Influencers who lauded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Master Plan on Aging,” which Newsom recently announced to address the needs of the state’s growing senior population.

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Genentech, Roche vets aim new company’s $86.25 million IPO at cancer
San Francisco Business Times

A South San Francisco startup led by veterans of biotech stalwart Genentech Inc. and its parent company Roche wants to raise $86.25 million in an initial public offering.

RAPT Therapeutics Inc. — known until May as FLX Bio Inc. — expects to use the IPO booty to fund development of cancer-fighting FLX-475 through results of an ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial, fund an early-stage safety trial of RPT-193 in the itchy skin condition known as atopic dermatitis and develop other drug candidates, including a potential cancer drug that will seek next year to begin clinical trials.