California Information

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011

By Robert Speer | Chico (Calif.) News and Review
To understand why the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has fallen short of what President Obama envisioned for health-care reform, consider the story of Billy Tauzin, as told by Dr. Jeff Lobosky.

Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011

California Nurses Association | Press Release
Despite the passage of national health care reform and widespread uproar in California over insurance industry pricing practices and other abuses, California’s largest private insurance companies continue to deny more than one-fourth of all claims, according to new findings released today by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

Posted on Friday, January 7, 2011

By Duke Helfand | Los Angeles Times
Insurer says the increases result from fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws. The move comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39%.

Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2010

Single-payer health insurance is not a new concept, though it’s one that’s not always understood. It gets lumped into the term “government health care” and branded as “socialized medicine” like the national systems in, for example, Canada and Great Britain. However, as Dr. Paul Hochfeld noted, the proposals for the U.S. call for publicly funded, privately delivered care.

Posted on Tuesday, October 5, 2010

By Carla Amurao | Santa Barbara Independent
Last night, the Mad as Hell Doctors, a group of activist physicians and health care providers, marched across town in an effort to raise awareness about universal health care and calling “Obamacare” a bare-minimum reform. From Anapamu Street to Canon Perdido, the sound of drums and cheers filled the air while passersby honked their horns and offered high fives and other plaudits.

Posted on Friday, September 24, 2010

By Henry Abrons | San Francisco Chronicle
Looking at health insurance, the situation is truly dire. There was a dramatic spike in the uninsured - 4.3 million more, to a record 50.7 million - in spite of the expansion of government health insurance rolls by nearly 6 million.

Posted on Monday, September 13, 2010

By Duke Helfand | Los Angeles Times
California regulators are seeking fines of up to $9.9 billion from health insurer PacifiCare over allegations that it repeatedly mismanaged medical claims, lost thousands of patient documents, failed to pay doctors what they were owed and ignored calls to fix the problems.

Posted on Wednesday, September 8, 2010

By now most of you have heard the disappointing news that our bill, SB 810, the California Universal Health Care Act, was held on the Assembly Floor on the last night of session, effectively killing the measure until next year. Over my strong objections, Assembly leadership decided to hold the bill. Although we are greatly disappointed, we are determined to come back even stronger next year.

Posted on Monday, August 9, 2010

By Claudia Chaufan, M.D. | Santa Cruz Sentinel
As Medicare celebrated its 45th anniversary July 30, the White House sent its present: a Deficit Commission, composed by some of the very folks who were unable, or unwilling, to see the $8 trillion housing bubble that brought the financial system to a halt. Nope. It's no joke: these folks are now at the forefront of the campaign to "save" Medicare and the budget.

Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010

James G. Kahn, MD, MPH | Testimony before California Assembly Health Committee
My particular expertise in health system research is in billing and insurance-related administrative costs. My colleagues and I have demonstrated that as much as 1 dollar in seven that goes into a medical office is used to collect payment – for contracting, billing, copayment collection, and repeated appeals of claim denials. Overall, for health care funded through the private insurance system, fully 38 cents of each dollar goes to administration and profits, leaving only 62 cents for clinical care. 20 cents is avoidable administration – which would mainly disappear with single payer. This translates to billions of dollars that become available to pay for health care – more than $200 billion per year in the United States, and $30 billion in California.

Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

By Claudia Chaufan | Santa Cruz Sentinel
Right after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Sentinel reporter Kurtis Alexander listed among its benefits that close to two-thirds of Santa Cruz's County 45,000 uninsured residents would become insured, and that those under 26 years of age would now be allowed to remain in their parents' plans. Is this great news and should we uncork the champagne? Not yet.

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2010

By Eric LaMotte | Synapse, The UCSF Student Newspaper
Congressional Democrats, the White House and the press want us to play dumb and pretend that the law is a “sweeping measure of reform” that is going to bring meaningful change to patient’s lives, and that we should wait ten years to see how the reform goes before tackling the subject again. They want us to “Ignore” the deficiencies of the new law, despite the fact that Massachusetts, our model for national reform, is already retracting the expansion of insurance coverage it enacted in 2006 and cutting payments to safety net hospitals in order to sustain a fiscally irresponsible model of reform. Massachusetts has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, and yet we are emulating this system in an effort to address rising costs.

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2010

For a breather, today's message is an affirmation that there is hope for the future in health care, as represented by this article by Eric LaMotte, an astute medical student at the University of California at San Francisco (my alma mater).

Posted on Friday, March 26, 2010

By Claudia Chaufan | Viewpoints | Sacramento Bee
To those led to believe that, as President Barack Obama claimed, the passage of the health care bill is "comparable to the passage of Medicare and Social Security" and that "every American will be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage" as a result of it, my advice is to hold off on uncorking the champagne.

Posted on Friday, March 5, 2010

By Amy Yannello | Sacramento News and Review
For more than 7 million working Californians who currently don’t have health insurance, Congress and President Barack Obama’s attempt to reform health care has been an exercise in frustration. The public option was almost immediately taken off the table, despite the fact that most independent experts agree reform won’t work without it, and after a year of negotiations, no bill is in sight. If the politicians in Washington, D.C., don’t get their act together soon, California just might beat the feds to the punch with a single-payer system of its own.

Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010

Press Release from CNA/NNOC
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today praised the announcement from California Attorney General Jerry Brown that he will subpoena records from seven of the state’s biggest private insurance companies to review their policies that have led to public outrage over denials of claims and huge rate increases.

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010

By Mark Leno | San Francisco Chronicle
As outraged families and small businesses react to the latest health insurance premium increases, Californians are forced to face the fact that insurance companies are not in business to provide health care to people who need it. Premium increases are just part of the concerns - pre-existing condition denials, overturned doctors' decisions, coverage rescissions and other insurance industry abuses are sadly commonplace.

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The nation’s largest union and professional organization of registered nurses, National Nurses United, today joined the national condemnation of Anthem Blue Cross for imposing rate hikes of up to 39 percent for Californians with individual policies, but said the outrage must “go beyond words to action to end insurance abuses once and for all.”

Posted on Tuesday, February 9, 2010

WellPoint's California subsidiary, Anthem Blue Cross, has provoked appropriate outrage in response to its announcement of premium increases as high as 39 percent. Why would they risk creating this potential public relations nightmare when Congress is considering major increases in regulatory oversight of their industry?

Posted on Friday, February 5, 2010

By Duke Helfand | Los Angeles Times
Policyholders are incensed over rate hikes of as much as 39%, which they say come on top of similar increases last year. State insurance regulators say they'll investigate.

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2010

SB 810 (Leno), the California Universal Healthcare Act would provide fiscally sound, affordable healthcare to all Californians, give every Californian the right to choose his or her own physician and control health cost inflation.

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2010

This week medical students and other health professional students and colleagues marched on Sacramento in support of Sen. Mark Leno's SB 810, a reintroduction of Sen. Sheila Kuehl's single payer bill that was passed and vetoed twice in prior legislative sessions.

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ann Troy, M.D. | Letter to the editor | Pacific Sun (San Rafael, Calif.)
If we had real healthcare reform, a single-payer system such as Medicare for all, all Americans would have access to healthcare, we would be able to choose our own doctors, doctors would be able to practice the way they want and would be paid fairly on a fee-for-service basis.

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010

by Shockwave | DailyKos
The supporters of SB 810, the most vetted and mature Single Payer legislation in America, marched and rallied at the Capitol in Sacramento yesterday.

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2010

By Sara Reeve | USC News
Students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC are taking an active role in the debate over health care reform.

Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2009

By Susan Cloke | Opinion | Santa Monica Mirror
Santa Monica physicians Matt Hendrickson, Gene Oppenheim, Geoff White, Nancy Greep and Steve Tarzynski, joining thousands of American physicians frustrated by insurance companies getting in the way of providing good care for patients, started a Santa Monica chapter of PNHP. Sheila Kuehl, the author of the groundbreaking bill for single payer in CA, twice passed by both houses of the CA legislature and twice vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, spoke at their first event.

Posted on Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CLAUDIA CHAUFAN | Letter to the Editor | San Francisco Chronicle
In the Netherlands, the recently introduced for-profit insurance applies only to a small portion of services, and the results are mixed at best. As money is diverted from care to advertising, health care needs go unmet, and costs are steadily rising, as is popular discontent.

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2009

By Lori A. Carter | Press-Democrat
John Shearer, a Petaluma physician for more than 40 years and outspoken advocate for health care, died Nov. 18 only a few weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 77.

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009

by Claudia Chaufan | www.opednews.com
As president Obama recently acknowledged, the need to reform health care is no longer an issue. Indeed, on March 5th the White House convened a Health Care Summit, that so far have been followed by Regional Forums in Michigan on March 12, in Vermont on March 17, in Iowa on March 23rd, and upcoming ones in North Carolina on March 31st and in our state, in Los Angeles on April 6th.

Posted on Friday, September 12, 2008

Sheila James Kuehl | Senator, 23rd District
I am writing to respectfully urge your signature on SB 840 because this legislation will bring a modern universal health care system to California, make health care predictably more affordable for California employers and families, and provide every Californian with a complete choice of their individual doctors and hospitals.

Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2008

California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today hailed the California Legislature's passage of a single-payer, expanded Medicare for all, style bill that would guarantee quality health care for all Californians -- and called it a model for the national healthcare reform debate that is sure to emerge in 2009.

Posted on Friday, May 9, 2008

By Julie Illi Laird | Synapse, UCSF Student Paper
As a nurse, I have seen countless examples of the devastating outcomes that result when people do not have access to care due to lack of insurance. Just last week, I visited a 35-year-old cancer patient to help her manage oxygen treatments at home. She had beaten breast cancer at age 25. However, she was a restaurant worker and did not have health insurance; consequently, once she started working again, she no longer qualified for MediCal and could no longer see a doctor to be screened for recurrence. Sadly, when the cancer did come back it was not detected until she went to the ER one night when she could no longer breathe.

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008

By BENNETT HALL | Gazette-Times reporter
After more than 30 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Don McCanne has devoted himself to prescribing a cure for the nation’s ailing health care system: national health insurance.

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

By Lisa Girion | Los Angeles Times
The state's largest for-profit health insurer is asking California physicians to look for conditions it can use to cancel their new patients' medical coverage. Blue Cross of California is sending physicians copies of health insurance applications filled out by new patients, along with a letter advising them that the company has a right to drop members who fail to disclose "material medical history," including "pre-existing pregnancies."

Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Leland Y. Yee | San Francisco Chronicle
I joined California nurses, school employees, senior groups and a number of labor unions last week in opposing the governor's flawed health-care bill, Assembly Bill X1 1. While the bill was touted as a fix to our broken health-care system, after extensive study by the Senate Health Committee and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, it is now clear that this proposal was bad for consumers and unfairly favored insurance companies.

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007

The California Democratic Party | Resolution Number ANA07.15
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CDP strongly supports the drafting and passage of legislation that creates and enacts a single-payer health care program which provides comprehensive, secure, high quality, efficient and sustainable access to health care for all Californians.

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007

By Larry Mitchell | The Enterprise Record
Trying to fix the present system the way the leading Democratic presidential candidates and Gov. Schwarzenegger propose doing, makes no sense, said McCanne, a senior health policy fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization advocating the single-payer system.

Posted on Thursday, September 27, 2007

By Jamie Court | The Los Angeles Times
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez claim they are close to a deal on healthcare reform that will require every Californian to prove they have a private health insurance policy -- but does not cap how much insurers can charge for it. Hillary Clinton's health plan, released last week, would require all Americans to have health insurance, also with no cap on premiums.

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007

Under the whip of California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez and Senate President Don Perata, with the active prodding of some labor and interest groups desperate to settle for any health care legislation no matter how bad it is, the California Legislature last week passed a fundamentally flawed bill that just might set back real reform for years.

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2007

Don McCanne, M.D. | California Progress Report
In a classic example of political irony, Democrats are abandoning their preferred option, single payer reform, in order to reach a compromise with the Republicans and the private insurance industry. They have crafted a model that they believe does not repeat the mistake of the Massachusetts reform program. California Democrats proudly proclaim that they will not require individuals who cannot afford private insurance to be covered by a program that is being inappropriately characterized as universal.