News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Study: Allowing people to stay in existing insurance plans unlikely to disrupt exchanges
Washington Post

Plans to allow people to keep their individual health insurance policies, even if they don’t meet the requirements of the health-care law, are unlikely to threaten the short-term viability of the new health insurance marketplace, according to a new Rand Corp. study. The study, released Tuesday, examines the impact of President Obama’s decision in November to allow consumers to keep their insurance plans, even if those plans don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

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Diabetes, Cost Of Care Top Health Concerns For U.S. Latinos
capital public radio

Latino immigrants in the U.S. say the quality and affordability of health care is better in the U.S. than in the countries they came from, according to the latest survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. But many report having health care problems. More than a third of immigrant respondents (31 percent) said they’d had a serious problem with being able to pay for health insurance in the past 12 months.

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Health care coverage covered on YouTube
Sacramento Bee

Covered California’s “Tell a friend, get covered” campaign to draw attention to the Affordable Care Act got a boost last week when a host of celebrities and athletes participated in an hourslong YouTube promotion.

The effort, which put an at-times-entertaining spin on the “hows and whys of how to get covered,” included six hours of live streaming online with social media interaction using the #getcovered hashtag.

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Obamacare still stumping medical, non-medical professionals
Oroville Mercury-Register

Two speakers at last week’s Northstate Economic Forecast Conference followed the same path when it came to describing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. They both agreed that it’s hard to figure out what might happen, even with the program underway. Oroville Hospital chief executive Robert Wentz said there are many ways it can play out. Hospitals like his are carefully watching what happens to charges, like Medicare.

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Law’s Expanded Medicaid Coverage Brings a Surge in Sign-Ups
New York Times

Sharon Mills, a disabled nurse, long depended on other people’s kindness to manage her diabetes. She scrounged free samples from doctors’ offices, signed up for drug company discounts and asked for money from her parents and friends. Her church often helped, but last month used its charitable funds to help repair other members’ furnaces.

Ms. Mills, 54, who suffered renal failure last year after having irregular access to medication, said her dependence on others left her feeling helpless and depressed.

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ObamaCare Still Failing
The Wall Street Journal

The government recently reported that 2.2 million people nationwide had selected a new health plan through December. But it’s unclear how many of these people have actually enrolled in a plan by paying a premium. And a Journal editorial notes that “even assuming an implausible 100% success rate, the exchanges are still well behind the original target of seven million, much less the 20 million or so necessary to ensure a viable insurance market.”

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Moody’s Outlook Dour on ‘Young Invincibles’
Health Leaders Media

Despite assurances from the Obama Administration that growing numbers of “young invincibles” are signing up for coverage on the health insurance exchanges, skeptics including analysts at Moody’s Investors Service remain fearful that the risk pool will remain skewed towards older and sicker Americans.

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services released the latest enrollment figures for the exchanges through late Dec. 28. While the pace of the sign-ups increased about seven-fold in December—nearly 1.8 million people signed up for coverage that month—only about 24% of the new enrollees were in the coveted 18-34-year-old age group.

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Moves to reduce massive Medicare backlog give beneficiaries top priority
Monterey Herald

Medicare beneficiaries who have been waiting months and even years for a hearing on their appeals for coverage may soon get a break as their cases take top priority in an effort to remedy a massive backlog. Nancy Griswold, the chief judge of the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), announced in a memo sent last month to more than 900 appellants and health care associations that her office has a backlog of nearly 357,000 claims.

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Uncertainty on how AHA will impact DHM services
Manteca Bulletin

It’s not too tough to guess the No. 1 topic of conversation these days around the doctors’ lounge at Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

The Affordable Healthcare Act impacts every physician and patient directly or indirectly. And the guy who perhaps has the most critical job in Manteca when it comes to dealing with its implementation is Doctors Hospital of Manteca Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Tejeda.

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Tailoring Cardiac Care for Women
Health Leaders Media

Confusion and uncertainty cloud the issue of women’s heart disease, and perhaps surprisingly that lack of clarity is even evident among physicians—or at least among those who aren’t cardiologists.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in females, but this fact is not understood universally by the general population. Many people also fail to realize that the symptoms of heart disease in women can be dramatically different than those for the same ailment in men.

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Free mammograms, breast cancer screenings, will be given to women age 40 and older
Imperial Valley Press Online

Free mammograms will be given to women, age 40 and older as part of the first bi-national campaign for early detection of breast cancer. Cancer Resource Center of the Desert is teaming up with organizations throughout the Imperial Valley and Mexicali to provide free mammograms to the insured and uninsured and to provide awareness about breast cancer. The first bi-national campaign will come together Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at locations in Brawley, Calexico and Mexicali.

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Consumers expecting free ‘preventive’ care sometimes surprised by charges
Los Angeles Daily News

The new health-care law encourages people to get the preventive services they need by requiring that most health plans cover cancer screenings, contraceptives and vaccines, among other things, without charging patients anything out of pocket. Some patients, however, are running up against coverage exceptions and extra costs when they try to get those services. Advocates and policy experts agree that more federal guidance is needed to clarify the rules.

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SFUSD helping families access health care
San Francisco Examiner

Last month, I was reminded of a staggering statistic: 84,000 adults under the age of 65 and about 10,000 children in San Francisco do not have health insurance. Many of these children are students in our public schools. We know the availability of affordable health care contributes to better school attendance in the long run. Last month, I was reminded of a staggering statistic: 84,000 adults under the age of 65 and about 10,000 children in San Francisco do not have health insurance. Many of these children are students in our public schools. We know the availability of affordable health care contributes to better school attendance in the long run.

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Wendy Dorchester named CAO of Seaside Health Plan
Orange County Breeze

Wendy Dorchester, PhD, a long-time executive with MemorialCare Health System who helped in the development and licensure of Seaside Health Plan, was named Seaside’s Chief Administrative Officer.

Part of MemorialCare Health System, Seaside Health Plan opened Sept. 1, 2013. Its mission is to serve individuals and families in Los Angeles and Orange counties enrolled in Medicare, Medi-Cal, Dual Eligibles and Commercial plans who are members of partner health plans and choose Seaside as their participating network.