Category: California Legislature

  • Lawmaker Takes on Insurance Companies and Gets Personal About His Health

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Scott Wiener made a startling revelation at a spring legislative committee hearing: “I was in the hospital. I experienced the most intense abdominal pain that I could even imagine.” The Democratic state senator recalled crawling up the stairs to his landlord’s apartment last July to get a ride to the hospital. The […]

  • Listen: California Positions Itself as an Abortion Sanctuary State

    While half the states in the U.S. plan to ban or restrict abortion care if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, California is positioning itself to be a sanctuary of abortion access and preparing to welcome people from around the country seeking that care. The state’s Democratic-led legislature is considering 13 bills, a package […]

  • Politics and Pandemic Fatigue Doom California’s Covid Vaccine Mandates

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In January, progressive California Democrats vowed to adopt the toughest covid vaccine requirements in the country. Their proposals would have required most Californians to get the shots to go to school or work — without allowing exemptions to get out of them. Months later, the lawmakers pulled their bills before the first […]

  • California Handed Its Medicaid Drug Program to One Company. Then Came a Corporate Takeover.

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Prescription drug costs for California’s massive Medicaid program were draining the state budget, so in 2019 Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the private sector for help.  The new Medicaid drug program debuted this January, with a private company in charge. But it was woefully unprepared, and thousands of low-income Californians were left without […]

  • Backlogs in California’s Medicaid Drug Program Ease, but Problems Persist

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The contractor running California’s new Medicaid prescription drug program has addressed shortfalls that earlier this year left thousands of enrollees without critical medications, some languishing on hold for hours as they sought help, state officials told lawmakers Thursday.  But doctors and health care clinics say that some patients are still suffering and that […]

  • Clinics Say California’s New Medicaid Drug Program Will Force Them to Cut Services

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s sweeping new program to buy prescription drugs for its nearly 14 million Medicaid patients has alarmed health clinics that say they will lose money and have to cut services. Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged Monday that some clinics, which serve the poorest Californians, would lose funding, and he included $105 million for […]

  • After ‘Truly Appalling’ Death Toll in Nursing Homes, California Rethinks Their Funding

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — About 1 in 8 Californians who have died of covid lived in a nursing home. They were among the state’s most frail residents: nearly 9,400 mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles whom Californians entrusted to a nursing home’s care. An additional 56,275 confirmed covid cases among nursing home residents weren’t fatal. “The […]

  • California Plans for a Post-Roe World as Abortion Access Shrinks Elsewhere

    SACRAMENTO — With access to abortion at stake across America, California is preparing to become the nation’s abortion provider. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have asked a group of reproductive health experts to propose policies to bolster the state’s abortion infrastructure and ready it for more patients. Lawmakers plan to begin debating the […]

  • Your Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs Need Not Be a Mystery

    If you’ve ever had a serious illness or cared for someone who has, you know how quickly the medical bills can pile up: from labs, radiology clinics, pharmacies, doctors, different departments within the same hospital — some of them in your insurance network, others not. It can be extremely confusing, no matter how clever you […]

  • California Law Aims to Strengthen Access to Mental Health Services

    The number of people with symptoms of depression and anxiety has nearly quadrupled during the covid pandemic, which has made it even more maddeningly difficult to get timely mental health care, even if you have good insurance. A California law signed Oct. 8 by Gov. Gavin Newsom could help. It requires that mental health and […]

  • Q&A: How Will California’s New 988 Mental Health Line Actually Work?

    NEED HELP? If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. In September 2020, Congress passed bipartisan legislation creating a three-digit national suicide hotline: 988. Think of it as an alternative to 911 […]

  • Health Industry Wields Power in California’s High-Stakes Battle to Lower Health Care Costs

    SACRAMENTO — Gavin Newsom put California’s health care industry on notice when he was a candidate for governor, vowing in 2018 to go after the insurance companies, doctors and hospitals that leave many Californians struggling with enormous medical bills and rising insurance premiums. He pledged to lead California’s single-payer movement, a high-stakes liberal dream that […]

  • Grab Your Mask and Notepad, We’re Headed Back to California’s State Capitol

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The best part about returning to the pandemic-besieged state Capitol is that the elected officials are so unused to seeing us reporters after more than a year that some are occasionally extra chatty. The bad part is that the masks make it harder to eavesdrop on the rest of them. Much like […]

  • Unprecedented Lobbying Effort Scores Big Win for California Public Health

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After more than a decade of fruitless entreaties from public health advocates, Democratic lawmakers have secured a landmark agreement that promises $300 million a year in new state funding to fortify and reimagine California’s hollowed-out public health system, a complex network of services shouldered largely by the state’s 61 local health departments. […]

  • California Lawmakers Push Feds to Allow a Therapy That Pays Meth Users to Abstain

    In his multiple attempts to overcome a methamphetamine addiction that ground through two decades of his life, Tyrone Clifford Jr. remembers well the closest he came. “The most success I had,” he said, “is when my dealer was in jail.” Then Clifford walked into a rehab clinic in San Francisco called PROP, the Positive Reinforcement […]

  • Doctors’ Lobby Scores ‘Major Victory’ on Bill to Hold Physicians Accountable

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The board that licenses and disciplines doctors in California is failing to hold bad actors accountable, endangering patients in the process. That’s the verdict of state lawmakers and patient advocates who have been working for years to reform the Medical Board of California. But an attempt this year to give the board […]

  • Lawmakers Pressure Newsom to ‘Step Up’ on Racism as a Public Health Issue

    SACRAMENTO — After the killing last year of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared racism a public health crisis. The governors of Michigan and Nevada quickly followed, as have legislative bodies in Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Yet California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who governs one […]

  • Another Soda Tax Bill Dies. Another Win for Big Soda.

    SACRAMENTO — A rogue industry. A gun to our head. Extortion. This story also ran on San Francisco Chronicle. It can be republished for free. That’s how infuriated lawmakers described soft drink companies — and what they pulled off in 2018 when they scored a legislative deal that bars California’s cities and counties from imposing […]

  • New Single-Payer Bill Intensifies Newsom’s Political Peril

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. SACRAMENTO — A group of Democratic state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to create a single-payer health care system to cover all Californians, immediately defining the biggest health policy debate of the year and putting enormous political pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor faces the […]

  • California Lawmakers to Newsom: Give All Immigrants Health Coverage

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. SACRAMENTO — California Democratic lawmakers so far have failed to convince Gov. Gavin Newsom that the state can afford to spend an estimated $2.6 billion a year to expand its Medicaid program to all unauthorized immigrants. Now, they’re trying a new strategy. Rather than working independently, […]

  • California Law Banning Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Will Transform Industry

    A toxic chemical ban signed into law in California will change the composition of cosmetics, shampoos, hair straighteners and other personal care products used by consumers across the country, industry officials and activists say. The ban, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom at the end of September, covers 24 chemicals, including mercury, formaldehyde and several types […]

  • Amid COVID Chaos, California Legislators Fight for Major Health Care Bills

    California lawmakers are barreling toward an end-of-month deadline to pass or kill bills amid the biggest public health crisis the state has faced in a century. Yet even in a year consumed by sickness, they’re considering significant — sometimes controversial — health policy measures that aren’t directly related to COVID-19. Much of this legislation predates […]