News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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House Republicans again vote to repeal ‘Obamacare’
Los Angeles Times

For the 33rd time, House Republicans took legislative aim at the nation’s healthcare law — this time in a largely symbolic vote to repeal it.

The two-day floor debate was orchestrated by GOP leaders in an effort to tap into the deep disagreements that remain two years after President Obama’s signature domestic achievement became law. Americans continue to give the Affordable Care Act mixed reviews, with conservative and some independent voters among the most opposed.

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Lawmaker wants his dual-eligibles program halted
Modern Healthcare

The congressional author of a high-profile CMS pilot program for dual eligibles has called for a halt to its implementation.

Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) wrote HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week to urge a halt to the program over concerns about the size and design of state applications, which officials at the CMS are reviewing. The senator inserted language authorizing the pilot program, called the financial alignment initiative, within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Turlock’s Emanuel ponders its future, explores potential partnership
Modesto Bee

In today’s turbulent health care environment, the few remaining independent community hospitals are taking a sober look at their horizons. And Turlock’s Emanuel Medical Center is one of them. Board members of the hospital and its Chicago-based parent organization are engaged in not-so-secret discussions about whether the 209-bed center should continue to go it alone.

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Medi-Cal compensation inadequate, doctors say, as enrollment boom looms
The Mercury News

When Dr. Jerold Kaplan made a home visit last year to a man with a foot wound, he billed Medi-Cal — the state’s health care program for the poor and disabled — what he thought was a modest $90. His payment: $8.96. The Berkeley wound surgeon received a bit more for his home visit to a quadriplegic last year: $13.44. Medi-Cal told him it cut both payments in half because of late paperwork. But even at the full rate, he would have received no more than $27 for a house call — barely enough to cover gas.

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Repeal of Health Care Law Approved, Again, by House
New York Times

Waging old battles with new zeal, the House passed a bill on Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul law less than two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld it as constitutional. The bill was approved by a vote of 244 to 185, with five Democrats supporting repeal.

It has no chance of approval in the Senate and would face a veto from Mr. Obama if it ever got to him.

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House votes to repeal reform law
Modern Healthcare

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted again to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a 244-185 vote that received support from five Democrats.

Earlier Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predicted that only a handful of members from her party would support House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) bill to repeal the 2010 healthcare law.

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Lawmakers unsure about further repeal attempts
Modern Healthcare

House members Wednesday voted again to repeal the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, leaving the question: What now?

Two Republican physicians from Georgia, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price, said they did not know if there will be any additional repeal votes scheduled for the year.

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Americans in Poll Say Obama’s Health-Care Law Amounts to Tax
San Francisco Chronicle

A majority of U.S. voters consider Barack Obama’s health-care law to be a tax increase, leaving the president to defend an election-year vow not to raise levies on the middle class, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

By a margin of 55 percent to 36 percent, respondents said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amounts to a tax increase. Participants were less sure of what they thought about the future of the law, saying 48 percent to 45 percent that the U.S.

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Poll results: Some think health care reform should stay; others favor repeal
Sacramento Business Journal

Our Business Pulse Survey this week asked: What should Congress do about the court ruling on health care overhaul? Out of 589 votes cast, the majority opinions were almost evenly split between leaving health care reform alone and repealing it. About 42 percent of those who voted said the law should stand for now to see how it works. But another 39 percent said Congress should act swiftly to repeal all elements of the law.

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Insurers Pay Big Markups as Doctors Dispense Drugs
New York Times

When a pharmacy sells the heartburn drug Zantac, each pill costs about 35 cents. But doctors dispensing it to patients in their offices have charged nearly 10 times that price, or $3.25 a pill. The same goes for a popular muscle relaxant known as Soma, insurers say. From a pharmacy, the per-pill price is 60 cents. Sold by a doctor, it can cost more than five times that, or $3.33.

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State must address adult-care issues
San Francisco Chronicle

Community-Based Adult Services, a new program to keep aged and disabled Californians out of expensive taxpayer-funded nursing homes, was not going to make everybody happy.

The program is a court-ordered compromise – after Gov. Jerry Brown tried to eliminate the entire Adult Day Health Care program and save the state $170 million, advocates and adult-care centers successfully sued to win back about $78 million a year.

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Detecting Alzheimer’s early could change lives
USA Today

When Karen Frost got a call from her mother saying “I just want to keep you in the loop,” she knew to pay attention. Her father got lost trying to find his wife in the hospital after a routine appointment and was missing for several hours before she found him. When Alita Aldridge got a call from her mother accusing her grandson of taking money and stealing her food, she, too, knew something was wrong. Her mother had always been loving and rarely raised her voice. Suddenly, expletives peppered her outbursts.

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Last drugs standing: Key Alzheimer results coming
San Francisco Chronicle

We’re about to find out if there will be a way anytime soon to slow the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Results are due within a month or so from key studies of two drugs that aim to clear the sticky plaque gumming up patients’ brains.

A pivotal study of a third drug will end later this year, and results from a small, early test of it will be reported next week at an Alzheimer’s conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Personal Tech-Wielding Docs Challenge IT Leaders
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare leaders are facing the challenge—and opportunity—presented by physicians and clinicians bringing ever more of their own technology with them to work.

Two years after the iPad’s debut, the devices are making inroads in all aspects of society, and healthcare is no exception.

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GAO questions HHS stance on Advantage plan bonus program
Modern Healthcare

Nonpartisan congressional auditors were not convinced by HHS‘ explanations that the department had any legal authority to launch its $8 billion pilot program of bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans.

Lynn Gibson, general counsel for the Government Accountability Office, wrote HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday that her department’s responses to a January GAO report questioning the legal authority for the program failed to describe any legal basis.

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Natividad files letter of intent to merge with SVMH
Monterey Herald

A special affiliation steering committee for Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital has received copies of Natividad Medical Center’s letter of intent to merge with the public district hospital.

But there are still no plans to deliver the merger proposal to Salinas Valley’s board of directors more than a week after Natividad submitted the letter of intent by the July 2 deadline. There are just two weeks to go before the board is scheduled to decide whether to accept the county-owned hospital’s proposal and begin negotiations.

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ObamaCare a bad deal for the states
USA Today

As a general rule, the more a salesman offers you to sign a long-term contract, the closer you should scrutinize the deal. That’s the situation we’re facing in Texas, as the Obama administration extends a handful of cash with one hand while keeping a sledgehammer behind its back. Setting aside the brazen intrusion into state sovereignty and the gross federal overreach, the practical problem with ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is that the product the administration is selling is broken.

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Your health care vs. your governor
USA Today

In a pointless piece of political theater, the House voted yet again on Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s health care law, knowing that the repeal measure will never get past the Democratic-led Senate or Obama’s veto pen. Not so meaningless, however, are recent decisions of several states to resist what ought to be some of the less controversial aspects of ObamaCare. They’re refusing to set up easy-to-use exchanges that would help residents make insurance choices.

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Cancer survivor says health care ruling a relief for many with pre-existing conditions
The Mercury News

You may have seen the photo online after the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act: a young woman leaping with excitement in the midst of the crowd that had gathered to await news of the ruling. No, she was quoted as telling a reporter-photographer who took her picture, she hadn’t worked to pass the bill — she was hopping with happiness, she told him, because “I just have lupus.”

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Calling the individual mandate a tax increase distorts its effect
Sacramento Bee

The latest salvo against health care reform is that it is a tax. And not just any tax, but according to Rush Limbaugh, “the largest tax increase in the history of the world.” This is obviously hyperbole: The individual mandate – if considered a tax – comes nowhere close. And even calling it a tax distorts the individual mandate’s effect on most Americans.

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Who Owns Patient Data?
The Health Care Blog

Who owns a patient’s health information? ·The patient to whom it refers? ·The health provider that created it? ·The IT specialist who has the greatest control over it? The notion of ownership is inadequate for health information. For instance, no one has an absolute right to destroy health information. But we all understand what it means to own an automobile: You can drive the car you own into a tree or into the ocean if you want to.

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