News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Governor Brown Signs Historic Agreement to Preserve Access to Vital Hospital Care
PR Newswire

Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature today on SB 239 (Hernandez, D-West Covina/Steinberg, D-Sacramento) means a more secure future for skilled-nursing patients across California, and greater access to vital health care services as the state’s hospitals prepare for implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is one of 2013’s most significant legislative achievements and will benefit current and future generations of Californians.

News Headlines Article

California health exchange reports improvements, more than 16,000 household sign-ups
Sacramento Bee

The head of California’s health insurance marketplace said Tuesday that more than 16,000 households have completed applications in the first five days of enrollment, largely overcoming early technical setbacks that continue to hamper other states.

Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said the response from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5 underscores the demand for health insurance in the state. The federal health care law requires nearly everyone to purchase insurance or pay a penalty.

News Headlines Article

Medicaid expansion or not, states will see higher enrollment, spending in 2014, study finds
Modern Healthcare

States planning to expand income eligibility for their Medicaid programs next year as well as those not planning to expand eligibility can expect higher enrollment and spending growth than in 2013, according to the findings of a new report. But states choosing not to expand Medicaid under the healthcare reform law are projected to experience a higher rate of spending growth than those that are expanding their program.

News Headlines Article

Obama urges patience on healthcare reform
FierceHealthcare

Amid the continuing government shutdown and technical problems with the exchange website, President Barack Obama urged Americans not to give up on healthcare reform in an interview with the Associated Press. Obama said the glitches are a postive sign, the result of much greater interest than anticipated, the AP reported. “Folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times,” he said.

News Headlines Article

What Kentucky’s Obamacare Success Might Mean in 2014
Bloomberg.com

If you want to see how the success or failure of the Affordable Care Act might shape the nation’s future electoral battles, watch Kentucky. The state’s health-insurance exchange, Kynect, stood out for having worked smoothly in the week after most other marketplaces opened around the country with glitches and delays. The Bluegrass State happens to be home to two Republicans who serve as some of Obamacare’s biggest foes in the U.S. Senate: Mitch McConnell, the minority leader up for reelection next year, and Rand Paul, the libertarian Tea Party ally eying a run for the White House.

News Headlines Article

Many remain locked out of federal health-care Web site
Washington Post

Major insurers, state health-care officials and Democratic allies repeatedly warned the Obama administration in recent months that the new federal health-insurance exchange had significant problems, according to people familiar with the conversations. Despite those warnings and intense criticism from Republicans, the White House proceeded with an Oct. 1 launch.

A week after the federal Web site opened, technical problems continued to plague the system, and on Tuesday people were locked out until 10 a.m., although some applicants were able to sign up as the day went on.

News Headlines Article

Thousands sign up in California under Obamacare
San Francisco Chronicle

More than 16,000 California families completed applications for health coverage in the first five days of operation of the state’s insurance exchange, the new marketplace created by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Officials for Covered California, the state exchange, released numbers on Tuesday showing strong consumer interest in the new marketplace, which opened Oct. 1. They made the announcement to counteract reports of long wait times to reach call-center representatives and slow online performance for the agency’s website.

News Headlines Article

Covered California says 16,000 Obamacare applications completed in Week One
San Francisco Business Times

Covered California finally has numbers from Week One of enrollment, and they’re subject to “glass half empty” versus “glass half full” analysis. It largely depends on the perspective of the analyst. In any case, during its first, glitch-filled week of offering enrollment, the Covered California exchange says 16,311 applications were completed by Californians interested in obtaining coverage. Another 27,000 applications were started but not completed as of Oct. 5, officials said Tuesday morning.

News Headlines Article

California health insurance exchange reports nearly 1 million visitors in first week; 16,311 households sign up
The Mercury News

Almost one week after opening the state’s health insurance exchange, officials with Covered California on Tuesday called the response “nothing short of phenomenal.” At a morning news conference in Sacramento, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee reported that 16,311 households had completed applications for health insurance, while 27,305 others had established accounts and partially completed their applications.

News Headlines Article

Covered California shares usage stats week after launch
Sacramento Business Journal

Staffers for California’s new health care exchange pushed back on Tuesday against reports of glitches in the first week of open enrollment and instead claimed the system was exceeding expectations. Californians completed more than 16,000 household applications for health plans through Covered California between Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, the first week of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

Healthcare should be left up to each state
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Welcome to America, the land of the government shutdown and the home of the bounced check.

While hundreds of thousands of federal workers wait to get paid and thousands more healthcare workers are laid off, both sides of the political aisle are playing chicken with American lives. Instead of paying our bills, we are turning away World War II veterans from the D-Day memorial on the shores of Normandy because we can’t afford to honor our fallen heroes any longer.

News Headlines Article

Uninsured Find More Success via Health Exchanges Run by States
New York Times

Robyn J. Skrebes of Minneapolis said she was able to sign up for health insurance in about two hours on Monday using the Web site of the state-run insurance exchange in Minnesota, known as MNsure. Ms. Skrebes, who is 32 and uninsured, said she had selected a policy costing $179 a month, before tax credit subsidies, and also had obtained Medicaid coverage for her 2-year-old daughter, Emma.

News Headlines Article

Treading Water in a Sea of Information
Mission & State

Today I spoke to Leah M., Sansum Clinic’s customer service supervisor. ”We are not contracted with Blue Shield of California ACA or Anthem Blue Cross CA PPOs. At this time, we are recommending people sign up a little later down the road,” she says. “Right now, if people sign up with ACA health plans and we can’t reach an agreement, then the medical services would not be covered and you would have to pay out of pocket.”

News Headlines Article

L.A. County officials vote to create Obamacare marketing plan
Los Angeles Times

Because of the vast number of uninsured people living in Los Angeles County, it is going to be one of the primary places in the nation to measure the effectiveness of Obamacare. On Tuesday, county leaders voted to create a marketing plan to inform residents of their options under the Affordable Care Act.

“This is one of the most significant and important things that is going to go on in Los Angeles and [it] still has tremendous challenges,” county Supervisor Gloria Molina said. “We know that there are people that are concerned about it.

News Headlines Article

Health care reform system creates confusion about what is covered
Ventura County Star

People trying to figure out whether their doctors and hospitals are covered by California’s new insurance marketplace may want to grab aspirin first.

Some Ventura County doctors say they’re confused over whether their services are covered in the Covered California marketplace. Hospitals in the county say they will be covered, but at least one hospital is still in discussions with insurers.

News Headlines Article

Alameda County will hire more workers to handle the influx of calls for the new health care law
Contra Costa Times

With about 55,000 of its low-income residents newly eligible for free public health coverage, Alameda County is looking to hire 185 workers to help get them enrolled. The county government has set up a call center in downtown Oakland to answer questions by phone about the health coverage changes coming Jan.

News Headlines Article

Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, PBGH form network for ‘no-cost’ knee/hip replacements
San Francisco Business Times

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Lowe’s Cos. and other large employers are forming a new network under the auspices of the Pacific Business Group on Health to channel employees to four medical centers where they’ll receive knee and hip replacement surgeries at no cost to them. More than 1.5 million employees and dependents enrolled in coverage through Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) and other participating companies will be eligible for the new program, which aims for high quality at reasonable costs, officials said early Tuesday.

News Headlines Article

A nurse who is healing patients and himself
Los Angeles Times

He was riding in his aunt’s sedan, a kid in elementary school, watching senior citizens walk in and out of the Lynwood retirement home where his mother worked. Then she emerged in scrubs.

That’s it.

David Fuentes holds on tightly to that simple memory: his mother at work. It’s easier than recalling many other parts of his childhood — “a blur,” as he calls it. Like the time when he was little and his father, drunk, socked his mother.

News Headlines Article

Hoag Hospital gets record $53 million surprise gift
Orange County Register

Hoag Hospital has received a surprise $53 million estate gift – the largest donation in hospital history – from a Los Angeles County businessman whose late father was a patient and a donor, although on a far smaller scale. Jeffrey Carlton, 61, of Long Beach died in September 2012 from heart problems. A private, modest man, Carlton never informed Hoag of his plans to create a private foundation that will distribute money to the hospital for years and potentially decades to …

News Headlines Article

Kaiser: We’re not closing in Manteca
Manteca Bulletin

Kaiser Permanente is not closing its Manteca facility. That is the word from Corwin Harper who serves as senior vice president and area manager of the hospital’s Central Valley area.

Manteca Kaiser nurses, however, are maintaining that what the health care corporation has been doing in the past several months is tantamount to a gradual closure of the hospital in Manteca.

News Headlines Article

Adventist Health seeks full HMO license
Sacramento Business Journal

Roseville-based Adventist Health has filed for a full HMO license after signaling for months that the company would instead seek a limited license. Adventist completed the filing last Friday with the California Department of Managed Health Care. The department said it will take approximately six months to review the health system’s application. The Business Journal originally reported in July that Adventist planned to get a limited HMO license and contract with health plans instead of competing with them.

Commands