News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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What Boehner’s exit means for the ongoing Obamacare battles
Modern Healthcare

The House will likely carry on with its lawsuit against the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act without John Boehner, who plans to step down as House speaker next month. But his resignation probably means that hopes for legislative tweaks to the law are dead for now. Boehner (R-Ohio) disclosed his plans first to fellow Republicans and then during a news conference Friday afternoon. “It’s become clear to me this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution,” Boehner said. “This isn’t about me. It’s about the people. It’s about the institution.”

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Pruning Back Prescriptions For Better Health
National Public Radio

If you follow health news, by now you may have heard about a federally funded study that was stopped early because of impressive evidence that aggressively lowering blood pressure saves lives.

For more than half a century we’ve known that controlling blood pressure (getting the numbers below 140/90) is important in preventing heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. The so-called SPRINT study that was just stopped tells us that lowering the systolic blood pressure (the top number) to 120 or lower is even better in preventing complications and death from cardiovascular causes.

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CMS proposes $5 billion cut in lab test fees
Modern Healthcare

The CMS will begin paying the same as private insurance rates for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests starting January 1, 2017, according to a proposed rule announced Friday. The move could result in a large cuts in payments to laboratories.

Medicare paid between 18% and 30% more than other insurers for some lab tests, an HHS Office of Inspector General report found.

The agency projects savings of $360 million for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests in 2017 as a result of the change, and a $5.14 billion savings within the first 10 years of the rule’s implementation, according to the proposed rule.

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Cummings calls Obamacare ‘first step,’ vows universal health care coverage
Washington Times

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings says he believes affordable health care for all Americans is an achievable goal, and cites President Obama’s signature law as a good start.

Addressing an audience of hundreds of people Saturday at the Chase Brexton Charm Ball, the longtime Maryland Democrat said the “first step was the Affordable Care Act. We must be clear to not mistake a comma for a period.”

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States, plans say CMS ignored their suggestions on managed-care rate rules
Modern Healthcare

The CMS‘ new guidelines on reimbursement for Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) plans ignore suggestions made by states and health plans that the new guidelines won’t help them.The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) sent a letter to the CMS saying that before the agency finalized its guidelines, it should outline clear timelines for rate reviews and approvals, because delays have previously meant financial uncertainty for states.“These delays can span years and can adversely impact contract approvals and modifications, waiver extensions and performance measuremen

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Aid-in-dying bill aligns with religious liberty
Los Angeles Times

Pope Francis spoke last week about “religious liberty” being “one of America’s most precious possessions.”

No argument there.

Religious liberty, in fact, is one reason why Gov. Jerry Brown should sign a bill that has generated Roman Catholic opposition and intense argument for years in Sacramento.

The bill is the one that supporters call “aid in dying” and opponents label “assisted suicide.”

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Hospital Workers Find Solace In Pausing After A Death
Kaiser Health News

For trauma workers like Jonathan Bartels, a nurse who has worked in emergency care and palliative care, witnessing death over and over again takes a toll. Over time, they can become numb or burned out.

But about two years ago, after Bartels and his team at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville tried and failed to resuscitate a patient, something happened.

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Tax hike proponents hide behind children to boost measures
Sacramento Bee

This post-legislative period is shaping up as the great California initiative poker game – with taxpayers’ money as the chips.

The California Teachers Association was the first to the table with a measure to extend Proposition 30 by keeping its income tax hike on the wealthy in place for 12 more years after it was scheduled to expire in 2018.

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Telemedicine holds promise of cheaper, wider medical care
Redding Record Searchlight

Samantha Cunningham was halfway through a five-hour road trip to a music festival in Bradley, Calif., when she realized she’d left her asthma inhaler back home in Sacramento.

Her options seemed limited: go back, pick it up and be late for the concert; pay a $100 minimum fee to get a new prescription at a walk-in clinic; “or go without the inhaler and hope that they had a rescue machine at the festival on the off chance I had an asthma attack, which, of course, wasn’t a very inviting prospect,” Cunningham said.

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Rinehart Clinic to participate in Innovation Consultancy
North Coast Citizen

In June, the pair applied for a grant aiming to “create a network of trained innovators who can introduce and champion innovation within their own organizations, and help other safety net organizations discover new ways to advance their work.” This will be the third cohort of ‘Innovation Catalysts’ developed by the grant, which is funded in part by Kaiser Permanente and the Blue Shield of California Foundation.