News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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California to lose big if Supreme Court scraps U.S. healthcare law
Los Angeles Times

If the Supreme Court scraps the Affordable Care Act in the coming days, California will lose out on as much as $15 billion annually in new federal money slated to come its way, dealing what state officials say would be a critical blow to efforts to expand coverage to the poor and uninsured. The state is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the federal healthcare law because of its large number of uninsured residents — about 7 million people, or nearly 20% of California’s population.

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EHR payments have gone out to more than 100,000: HHS
Modern Healthcare

More than 112,400 hospitals, physicians and other eligible providers have received more than $5.7 billion for adopting electronic health-record systems, according to an announcement from HHS. The Medicare EHR incentive payment program, which requires providers to attest that they have met federal criteria for meaningfully using certified EHR systems, has paid out more than $3.7 billion through May of this year, according to the government.

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Diabetes epidemic brings spike in related eye disease
USA Today

The nation’s rising level of diabetes is driving another health problem: a significant jump in adults with vision problems from a related condition called diabetic retinopathy. From 2000 and 2010, there was an 89% increase in the number of people with diabetic retinopathy, which affects the tiny blood vessels of the retina. The most severe forms can impair vision if not treated. About 7.7 million people ages 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, the new estimates say.

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El Camino Hospital executive salary cap to go before voters on Nov. 6
The Mercury News

Voters will be asked later this year to decide whether the pay of El Camino Hospital executives is too high and should be capped at twice the annual salary drawn by the governor of California. The El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors voted 4-0 Tuesday to put the question on the Nov. 6 ballot. The issue was forced by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which collected enough signatures to qualify an initiative that would limit the annual salary and compensation package of hospital executives to twice the governor’s pay.

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Kaiser, S.F. General, Sutter, UCSF and other NorCal health centers lauded for LGBT equality
San Francisco Business Times

California Pacific Medical Center, a host of Kaiser Permanente facilities, San Francisco General Hospital, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center in Santa Cruz, UCSF Medical Center, UC Davis Medical Center and San Francisco’s Lyon-Martin Health Services have been honored for protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and employees from discrimination by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit said Tuesday.

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AMA premium-support debate to be continued
Modern Healthcare

The American Medical Association’s great debate over transitioning Medicare to a premium-support system fizzled out as the final action taken at the year’s annual House of Delegates meeting called upon the organization to take the issue up again at its interim meeting scheduled for Nov. 10-13 in Honolulu.

Delegates spent an hour discussing the issue in a committee meeting on Sunday.

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Baucus questions need for Medicare overhaul
Modern Healthcare

Slowing healthcare inflation may have removed the need to overhaul either Medicare or Medicaid as part of a grand-deficit reduction deal, according to the senior Senate Democrat overseeing federal entitlement programs.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, challenged the long-held assumption on Capitol Hill that any agreement to rein in the $16 trillion historic federal debt must include the two federal healthcare programs because they comprise more than 25% of all federal spending.

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Self-Interest Meets Mandate
New York Times

Within the next few days, the Supreme Court may strike down the provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring every American to buy health insurance. Odds that the justices will reject this measure, the so-called individual mandate, are approaching 80 percent on Intrade, a market where investors can bet on the outcome of pretty much everything.

What’s harder to figure out is what will then happen to health insurance.

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Millions will remain uninsured after health care reform
HealthyCal.org

Up to 10 percent of California’s 40 million residents will not have health insurance after national health care reform begins in 2014, according to new numbers released from University of California, Berkeley last week. Those numbers, health officials say, run contrary to the popular belief that nearly everyone will be covered by insurance in two years. That’s when the Affordable Care Act, passed into federal law in 2010, takes full effect.

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New health clinic to open in Scotia
Times-Standard

Southern Trinity Health Services announced the upcoming opening of its newest satellite clinic, Scotia Bluffs Community Health Center, at 500 B St., Scotia, in a press release Tuesday. Scotia Bluffs Community Health Center is scheduled to open Monday, July 2, and will provide access to health care regardless of ability to pay, according to the release. The center will accept most insurance plans and will bill patients’ insurance companies.

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San Jose Planning Commission to consider permit on post-surgical care facility
The Mercury News

The San Jose Planning Commission is expected to decide Wednesday whether the city’s planning director made the right call when he gave the go-ahead for a seven-bed residential care facility inside an existing medical office building near Good Samaritan Hospital. The controversy has attracted the attention of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California that are among other groups and individuals who have written letters to the commission opposing the planned development permit amendment for the facility.

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Poll: Vast support for new health care effort
San Francisco Chronicle

Americans overwhelmingly want the president and Congress to get to work on a new bill to change the health care system if the Supreme Court strikes down President Barack Obama’s 2010 overhaul as unconstitutional, a new poll finds. A new health care bill doesn’t seem to be in either party’s plans on the verge of the high court’s verdict on the law aimed at extending health insurance to more than 30 million Americans who now lack coverage.

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Young Adults Gain Health Care Under New Law
10News.com

More than 3.1 million young Americans now have health insurance, thanks in part to a provision in the health care reform law that allows parents to add dependents up to age 26 to their insurance plans. That number is up from last June, when 2.5 million young adults ages 19 through 25 who would otherwise have been uninsured gained health care coverage, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Getting past healthcare’s individual mandate
Los Angeles Times

Speculation about the likely death of “Obamacare” has raged ever since the Supreme Court heard three intense days of legal arguments in March. The pundits have crowed about how the individual mandate is the Achilles’ heel of President Obama’s healthcare law.

Indeed, anyone watching TV or reading newspapers could easily believe that healthcare reform revolves entirely around the individual mandate, which would require Americans to buy health insurance if they are not covered at work or by Medicare or Medicaid.

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When healthcare reform is personal
Los Angeles Times

Whenever I read or hear objections to “Obamacare,” I think about my friend’s son.

The son had cancer when he was a teenager. Thankfully, his dad had health insurance — through his job.

A job that he lost.

He has a new job now, but like so many new jobs, it doesn’t pay as much — and it doesn’t come with benefits.

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If the Supreme Court Strikes Down the Mandate–What’s Next?
The Health Care Blog

Ezekiel Emanuel says he has been betting on how the Supreme Court will decide the case challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Speaking at the annual meeting of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network in Philadelphia not long ago, Emanuel, who served as Special Advisor on Health Policy to the Obama administration when the bill was being drafted, confided that he has placed five wagers expressing his optimism that “the mandate will survive” along with the rest of the legislation.

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The Brave New World (of Health Insurance Exchanges)
The Health Care Blog

New York Times reporter Abby Goodnough’s piece last week about the health insurance exchange in Massachusetts is instructive—especially since other states are trying to set up their own versions of these shopping bazaars where the uninsured can buy coverage if the health reform law eventually takes effect. For the last three years we have been suggesting there’s an untold story in the Bay State about how the law is working, so we were glad to see Goodnough’s reporting and offer a tip of the hat.

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Why High Deductible Plans Matter
The Health Care Blog

Someone once showed me an analysis that demonstrated that the sum of workers’ salaries and benefits has stayed remarkably constant in real terms over the last two decades. This means that companies have compensated for the increasing cost of health insurance over time by holding back on wage increases. You can understand this. After all, if companies are not able to increase the price of goods and services they sell to the public, they need to hold factor costs relatively constant.

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