News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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5.6 million health workers needed by 2020: study
Modern Healthcare

A new study predicts that the U.S. economy will need 5.6 million more healthcare workers in the next eight years and most of the workers will need to have a postsecondary education or training. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts 82% of those positions will require extra schooling or training by 2020. For technical and professional occupations, the requirements rise, as 94% will need the extra schooling or training.

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Imminent court ruling could undercut California’s health plans
Sacramento Bee

It was just three months ago that the Brown administration, following arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court over the fate of the federal health care overhaul, promised to press forward with provisions of the law even if the court struck part or all of it down. If the court did rule the law unconstitutional, California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley said at the time, the state might consider enacting legislation of its own.

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Not Just Insurance Is at Stake
The Wall Street Journal

Leigh Anne O’Connor, a lactation consultant in New York, is anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on President Barack Obama’s health overhaul. She is worried that if the court strikes down the law, it would wipe out a provision requiring larger employers to give women time and a private space to pump breast milk.

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Actuaries: Health Costs to Go Up No Matter What Court Decides on Law
Insurance Journal

As the country awaits the highly anticipated ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold or overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the actuarial experts who price are warning that health insurance costs will likely continue to increase regardless of how the court rules. A Society of Actuaries (SOA) member survey of 160 actuaries conducted June 13 found approximately two-thirds of respondents expect annual costs for currently insurable individuals to increase at least 10 percent, and costs for large group employers to increase at least five percent, even if the ACA is upheld in its entirety.

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Social media in health care create risks, benefits
San Francisco Chronicle

On Twitter, 10,000 people are listening to Jen Gunter. Sexual health, shoes and “The Hunger Games” are the subjects of just a few of the 36,500 tweets crafted by the obstetrician-gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. Gunter’s social-media presence also includes a blog, which she uses to write about birth control and weight loss; a professional Facebook page; another Facebook account for friends; Instagram; and Tumblr.

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Poll: Just a third favor Obama health care law
The Mercury News

Just a third of Americans back President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul on which the Supreme Court is about to pass judgment, a new poll finds. But there is overwhelming support among both supporters and opponents for Congress and the president to begin work on a new bill if the high court strikes down the two-year-old law. The overall level of support for the law is relatively unchanged in recent months, with 47 percent opposing it. But an Associated Press-GfK poll shows that only 21 percent of independents approve of the law, a new low in AP-GfK polling.

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Medical claims error rate drops to 9.5%: AMA
Modern Healthcare

Cumulative error rates for paid medical claims among seven major private health insurers dropped to 9.5% in 2012 from 19.3% in 2011, according to an American Medical Association survey of physician practices. The AMA’s findings were released in the association’s annual National Health Insurer Report Card (PDF) on health insurer claims performance.

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$129 million marked for community health centers
Modern Healthcare

Community health centers will receive $129 million to expand their operations, HHS announced.

The latest round of health center funding authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go to 219 facilities that serve 1.25 million patients in 41 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Northern Marianas.

The 2010 federal healthcare overhaul established the Community Health Center Fund to provide $11 billion over five years to fund health center operations, expansions and construction.

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California awaits key health care ruling
The Desert Dispatch

California has put a lot of work into preparing for President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to take full effect in 2014.

And because it has the highest population of any state, it would see billions in new federal dollars flowing its way if that happens, especially to its Medicaid program, health care analysts say.

But some analysts, as well as conservatives in the state’s congressional delegation, contend California and the nation would be better off in the long run if it doesn’t take full effect.

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Study: Lack of health insurance causes thousands of Californians to die prematurely
Southern California Public Radio

As the nation awaits the historic Supreme Court ruling on the Obama administration’s health care law, a new report released Wednesday says California leads the nation in the number of premature deaths caused primarily by lack of health insurance.

The report by the national consumer health care group Families USA is called “Dying for Coverage.”

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Group: 500 Die Weekly Without Health Insurance
10News.com

A national health care consumer advocacy group estimates that three Americans die every hour as a result of not having health insurance. According to “Dying for Coverage,” the latest report by Families USA, 72 Americans die each day, 500 Americans die every week and approximately Americans 2,175 die each month, due to lack of health insurance.

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Distaste for Health Care Law Reflects Spending on Ads
New York Times

Erika Losse is precisely the kind of person President Obama’s signature health care law is intended to help. She has no health insurance. She relies on her mother to buy her a yearly checkup as a Christmas gift, and she pays out of her own pocket for the rest of her medical care, including $1,250 for a recent ultrasound. But Ms. Losse, 33, a part-time worker at a bagel shop, is no fan of the law, which will require millions of uninsured Americans like herself to get health coverage by 2014.

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Tulare hospital approves by-district elections
Visialia Times-Delta

The Tulare Local HealthCare District Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday to approve by-district elections even though the ballot measure appears to have failed.

Some Hispanic citizens who pushed for by-district elections are not happy because they say the trustees divided up the district unfairly, creating only one Hispanic majority district even though the hospital district is 60 percent Hispanic.

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House passes FDA user-fee legislation
Modern Healthcare

The House of Representatives passed by voice vote a bipartisan bill to reauthorize Food and Drug Administration user fees for another five years and to create a new generic drug user-fee program.

The bill is a negotiated compromise (PDF) between similar measures that separately passed the House and Senate last month. The Senate is expected to vote on the compromise measure—one of the few major pieces of legislation to advance in both chambers this year—as soon as Thursday.

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Increase in childhood cancer a puzzle
HealthyCal.org

The rate of new cases of children’s cancer is on the rise in California and the reasons for the increase are difficult to determine. While cases of cancer among adults in the state have dropped by about 9 percent over the last 20 years, the children’s cancer rate has increased by about 16 percent in that same period, according to a report released last week by the California Healthcare Foundation.

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Lawmakers target IRS rule on exchanges
Modern Healthcare

New legislation would block an Internal Revenue Service rule finalized in May that will offer tax credits for buying health insurance on exchanges operated by either states or the federal government.

Two House Republican physicians from Tennessee, Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Phil Roe, introduced a measure to block the final rule, issued May 18, because it is not authorized by statute.

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How fast is too fast?
Napa Valley Register

Dear Tom and Alan: My mother was in the hospital for two weeks last year. She then went to a skilled nursing facility for six days. It seemed to me that she was released from the hospital and from skilled nursing way too soon. Her Medicare and supplement covered everything, but it still bothers me that she got rushed out of both places. – Irked

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ObamaCare and the End of Nothing
The Health Care Blog

“The only constant in health care is change.” It’s one of those clichés peddled at health care industry conferences by consultants who charge by the hour for helping attendees brace their organizations for all those terrifying changes just over the horizon. Not only is this cliche not true, but it is exactly untrue. The only constant in health care is gnawing anxiety about change that never actually occurs.

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