News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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U.S. to End Coverage Under Health Care Law for Tens of Thousands
New York Times

The Obama administration said on Monday that it planned to terminate health insurance for 115,000 people on Oct. 1 because they had failed to prove that they were United States citizens or legal immigrants eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It also told 363,000 people that they could lose financial aid because their incomes could not be verified.

The 115,000 people “will lose their coverage as of Sept. 30,” said Andrew M. Slavitt, the No. 2 official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal insurance marketplace.

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Top Scientists Suggest A Few Fixes For Medical Funding Crisis
National Public Radio

Many U.S. scientists had hoped to ride out the steady decline in federal funding for biomedical research, but it’s continuing on a downward trend with no end in sight. So leaders of the science establishment are now trying to figure out how to fix this broken system. It’s a familiar problem. Biomedical science has a long history of funding ups and downs, and, in the past, the system has always righted itself with the passage of time and plumper budgets.

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Gov. Brown signs bill to let pharmacists distribute overdose antidote
Southern California Public Radio

California is joining five other states in allowing residents to access the overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription. Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation into law on Monday.

Naloxone is regularly used in emergency rooms to restore breathing in people who overdose on opiates such as oxycodone and heroin. Until now it has only been available in California through a doctor’s prescription or from one of a handful of naloxone distribution programs.

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Health Law Tempers States’ Insurance Mandates
National Public Radio

For decades, states have set rules for health coverage through mandates. These laws require insurers to cover specific types of medical care or services.

The Affordable Care Act aims to curb this piecemeal approach to coverage by establishing minimum standards for insurance coverage in individual and small group plans nationwide and requiring states to pay for mandates that go beyond them.

States, however, continue to pass new mandates, but with a twist:

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Covered California Wants to Enroll 500,000 More People
Government Technology

Reaching people on the second go-round could be harder than the first, a leader of the Covered California marketplace said Monday, announcing the goal of signing up 500,000 more people for health insurance.

Officials of the exchange created by the Affordable Care Act said they want total sign-ups to reach 1.7 million by the end of a three-month enrollment period that begins Nov. 15.

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Governor Jerry Brown Signs Overdose Law Expanding Naloxone Access in California Pharmacies

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s pharmacy naloxone bill (AB 1535), which will permit pharmacists to furnish the opiate overdose reversal medicine naloxone hydrochloride upon request. Previously, naloxone was available only by prescription from a healthcare provider or from a handful of naloxone distribution programs throughout the state.

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Americans’ Waistlines Are Expanding, And That’s Not Good Fat
National Public Radio

If your belt needs to be let out a notch, you’re not alone. The average American waistline is growing even though obesity rates haven’t grown, too. And excess abdominal fat increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The collective American waistline grew by an more than inch from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study results come at a time when the percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese has stabilized. In short, people haven’t been getting fatter, but their waistlines are still increasing.

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Breast Cancer Patients Seek More Control Over Research Agenda
National Public Radio

The federal government has poured more than $3 billion into breast cancer research over the past couple of decades, but the results have been disappointing. The disease remains a stubborn killer of women.

So the National Breast Cancer Coalition is trying something bold: The advocacy group has decided that it’s not simply going to lobby for more research dollars. Instead, its leaders are sitting down at the table with scientists studying the disease and telling them how they’d like that money to be spent.

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Deadly genetic heart condition leads Sanofi to $200M MyoKardia deal
San Francisco Chronicle

Startup MyoKardia Inc.’s focus on treatments for deadly genetic heart diseases has landed a potential $200 million collaboration with French drug maker Sanofi. The drug discovery and development deal, announced late Tuesday night, is significant for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it underscores that startups with good science supporting big targets still can score substantial hookups with established biopharmaceutical players.

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New Anthem Blue Cross plan takes on Kaiser
Los Angeles Times

Taking aim at HMO giant Kaiser Permanente, insurer Anthem Blue Cross is joining forces with several big-name hospitals and their doctors to create an unusual health plan option for employers in Southern California.

The joint venture being announced Wednesday brings together seven rival hospital groups in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including well-known institutions Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA Health System.

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Oregon grapples with cost of Gilead’s $1,000-a-pill hepatitis C drug
San Francisco Business Times

Oregon legislators grappled Monday with the enormous cost of curing hepatitis C patients covered by the Oregon Health Plan. It could cost as much as $480 million to attempt to cure all hepatitis C patients covered by the state’s Medicaid program, state health officials testified Monday afternoon before state legislators. “The issue is, do we spend money on this or do we spend the money some other way?” said committee chair Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland.

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Mission Hospital to Open Neuroscience Institute
Orange County Business Journal

Mission Hospital said that it is opening a new $185 million Neuroscience and Spine Institute tomorrow on its main Mission Viejo campus.

Doctors who diagnose and treat people with strokes, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injuries and other neurological conditions will practice at the institute. The institute is also offering rehabilitation services to patients.

The facility will have three new surgical suites, a pre- and post-anesthesia recovery unit and a sterile processing center.

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Millions remain to be disbursed in SD Hospice case
San Diego Union-Tribune

Nineteen months after San Diego Hospice declared bankruptcy, creditors are still wrangling over its financial remains.

Though trustees began doling out millions to the federal government and former employees in late August, and were poised to start making payments to unsecured creditors, a new claim brought by a different group of employees is likely to slow down the process.

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Deal for Palm Drive clinic falls through
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Valley Hospital has withdrawn a proposal to take over Palm Drive Hospital’s rehabilitation therapy service, which, along with the hospital, closed in April.

Sonoma Valley Hospital operates its own rehabilitation services in Sonoma, and it sought to assume management of Palm Drive’s West County Hand and Physical Therapy Center. Management at Sonoma Valley Hospital said the deal would have required a much larger investment than originally projected.