Category: California

  • Three-Year Abortion Trends Vary Dramatically by State

    A recent survey from the Guttmacher Institute documented an 8% rise in the number of abortions performed in the U.S. from 2017 to 2020, reversing what had been a nearly three-decade decline in women opting to terminate their pregnancies. But a closer look at the findings, drawn from a comprehensive survey of every known facility […]

  • His-and-Hers Cataract Surgeries, But His Bill Was 20 Times as Much

    Danilo Manimtim’s vision was cloudy and blurred — and it was growing worse. The 73-year-old retired orthopedic surgeon in Fresno, California, knew it was time for cataract surgery. “It’s like car tires wearing out because you drive on them so much,” he said. In December 2021, he went to the outpatient department of the local […]

  • Aiming to catch Alnylam, AstraZeneca & Ionis plan FDA filing for rare disease drug

    The planned FDA submission follows the report from AstraZeneca and Ionis Pharmaceuticals that their partnered drug, eplontersen, met the main goals of a pivotal study in treating nerve pain caused by hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis. The data come one week after rival Alnylam Pharmaceuticals won FDA approval for its second drug for this rare disease.

  • Medi-Cal Will Cover Doulas at More Than Twice California’s Initial Proposed Rate

    California will cover doula services for low-income residents at more than twice the state’s initial proposed rate under a spending plan lawmakers passed last week. Some advocates welcomed the new benefit in Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid health insurance program, as a step toward professionalizing this group of nonmedical birth workers. They say better pay may […]

  • Sobering Lessons in Untying the Knot of a Homeless Crisis

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Michelle Farris never expected to become homeless, but here she was, sifting through garbage and towering piles of debris accumulated along a roadway on the outskirts of Northeast Portland. Farris, 51, has spent much of her adult life in Oregon, and has vivid memories of this area alongside the lumbering Columbia River […]

  • At a Bay Area ‘Test-to-Treat’ Site, Few Takers for Free Antivirals

    BERKELEY, Calif. — After avoiding movie theaters, restaurants, and gyms for more than two years, Helen Ho decided to take her first big risk since the start of the pandemic to attend her graduation. In late May, Ho, 32, flew to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to collect her Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University. A few […]

  • 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 […]

  • California Wants to Slash Insulin Prices by Becoming a Drugmaker. Can it Succeed?

    SACRAMENTO — California is diving into the prescription drug business, attempting to achieve what no other state has done: produce its own brand of generic insulin and sell it at below-market prices to people with diabetes like Sabrina Caudillo. Caudillo said she feels like a “prisoner” to the three major pharmaceutical companies that control 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 […]

  • Computer Glitches and Human Error Still Causing Insurance Headaches for Californians

    Since California expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, a large number of people have been mistakenly bounced between Covered California, the state’s marketplace for those who buy their own insurance, and Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income residents. Small income changes can cause people’s eligibility to shift, but when bad information is […]

  • 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 […]

  • Burned Out by Covid and 80-Hour Workweeks, Resident Physicians Unionize

    In the early weeks of the pandemic, Dr. Lorenzo González, then a second-year resident of family medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, ran on fumes, working as many as 80 hours a week in the ICU. He was constantly petrified that he would catch the covid-19 virus and guilt-ridden for not having enough time to help […]

  • California Schools Try to Outrace Covid Outbreaks

    A fourth-grade camping trip led to one outbreak, a high school prom to another. But even with covid cases rising as schools head into the final stretch of the academic year, most California districts have not moved toward reinstating mask mandates. That stance has left many parents confused and concerned as they witness or hear […]

  • The New MADD Movement: Parents Rise Up Against Drug Deaths

    Life as he knew it ended for Matt Capelouto two days before Christmas in 2019, when he found his 20-year-old daughter, Alexandra, dead in her childhood bedroom in Temecula, California. Rage overtook grief when authorities ruled her death an accident. The college sophomore, home for the holidays, had taken half a pill she bought from […]

  • High-Tech’s Business Model Hasn’t Worked for the Cue Covid Test

    “I’ve got this,” coos Gal Gadot in Cue Health’s Super Bowl TV commercial. Cue hired the “Wonder Woman” actress to be the voice of the company’s new high-tech covid-19 testing device. The ad pushes the notion that the at-home covid test produces results equal in accuracy to a lab-based PCR test and surpasses it in […]

  • New Covered California Leader Urges Renewal of Enhanced Federal Aid for Health Premiums

    When she was Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner, Jessica Altman, the appointee of a Democratic governor, often bumped against the political limits of health care policy in a state where Republicans controlled the legislature. Despite the constraints of a divided government, Altman played a key role in persuading lawmakers in 2019 to join Gov. Tom Wolf in […]

  • Is Paxlovid, the Covid Pill, Reaching Those Who Most Need It? The Government Won’t Say

    As the nation largely abandons mask mandates, physical distancing, and other covid-19 prevention strategies, elected officials and health departments alike are now championing antiviral pills. But the federal government isn’t saying how many people have received these potentially lifesaving drugs or whether they’re being distributed equitably. Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill, along with Merck’s molnupiravir, are aimed […]

  • Startup Nuvig Therapeutics gets $47M to bring immune system back into balance

    Nuvig Therapeutics is developing drugs that tap into one of the body’s natural mechanisms for controlling inflammation. Co-founder and CEO Pamela Conley, a veteran of Portola Pharmaceuticals, says Nuvig’s approach could offer efficacy similar to currently available autoimmune drugs but with a better safety profile.

  • Rural California Hatches Plan for Engineered Mosquitoes to Battle Stealthy Predator

    VISALIA, Calif. — Bryan Ruiz moved his family into a newly built home in this Central Valley farming center seven months ago and almost immediately found they were under assault. Mosquitoes bit and harassed them in broad daylight. He looked around, trying to find a water source where they were breeding, and noticed a freshly […]

  • Can a Monthly Injection Be the Key to Curbing Addiction? These Experts Say Yes

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Dr. Andrew Herring has a clear goal walking into every appointment with patients seeking medication to treat an opioid use disorder: persuade them to get an injection of extended-release buprenorphine. At his addiction clinic at Highland Hospital, a bustling public facility in the heart of Oakland, Herring promotes administering a shot of […]

  • California governor labels draft abortion ruling an ‘appalling attack’

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called a draft Supreme Court majority opinion published by Politico that overturns Roe v. Wade an “appalling attack” on women and declared the state’s constitution would be amended to protect abortion access. “This draft opinion is an appalling attack on the rights of women across this country and if it […]

  • California Opens Medicaid to Older Unauthorized Immigrants

    On May 1, California opened Medi-Cal to older immigrants residing in the state without legal permission. Unauthorized immigrants over age 49 who fall below certain income thresholds are now eligible for full coverage by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that provides health insurance to low-income people. Unauthorized immigrants of all ages account […]

  • LA Mayoral Hopefuls Agree Addressing Homelessness Is Crucial but Disagree on How

    LOS ANGELES — As encampments multiply from Echo Park to Venice, homelessness has been the top issue in the L.A. mayoral race. And although Angelenos express broad support for building more housing for the homeless, the contenders say that can be only part of the solution. Several top candidates say the city must also expand […]

  • Cancer biotech Pheast unveils $76M to expand immunotherapy’s menu to new targets

    Biotech startup Pheast is out of stealth taking a tack similar to that of cancer immunotherapy company Forty Seven, also a spinout from the Stanford University lab of Irving Weissman. While both companies get immune cells to eat tumors, Pheast’s technology has the potential to take the approach to a broader range of cancer types […]

  • Tech Titans Want the Richest Californians to Pay for Pandemic Preparedness

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gabe Bankman-Fried, a former Wall Street trader, has raised $12 million from a cryptocurrency trading firm founded by his brother, Sam Bankman-Fried. Dustin Moskovitz, a billionaire who roomed with Mark Zuckerberg in college and helped found Facebook in 2004, funds a nonprofit with his wife that has ponied up $6.5 million. And […]

  • Journalists Cover the Gamut, From Rising Insulin Costs to Delays in Autism Care for Children

    KHN Midwest correspondent Bram Sable-Smith shared a firsthand perspective on ballooning insulin costs on “Tradeoffs” on April 21. Click here to hear Sable-Smith on “Tradeoffs” Read Sable-Smith’s “I Write About America’s Absurd Health Care System. Then I Got Caught Up in It.” KHN’s Colleen DeGuzman profiled the last abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley […]

  • Attendance Plummets at LA Covid Vaccination Events

    LOS ANGELES — Nurse Angel Ho-king sways her head to the sound of salsa music as she waits for people willing to roll up their sleeves to get a shot. Ho-king is part of a four-person crew staffing a covid-19 vaccine table at a health fair in Rampart Village, a predominantly immigrant neighborhood about 10 […]

  • Battle Lines Are Drawn Over California Deal With Kaiser Permanente

    [Editor’s note: KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.] California counties, health insurance plans, community clinics, and a major national health care labor union are lining up against a controversial deal to grant HMO giant Kaiser Permanente a no-bid statewide Medicaid contract as the bill heads for its first legislative hearing Tuesday. The deal, hammered out […]

  • It’s Not Just Doctors and Nurses. Veterinarians Are Burning Out, Too.

    If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). At the park near Duboce Triangle in San Francisco, 5 p.m. is canine happy hour. About 40 dogs run around, chasing balls and wrestling, as their owners coo and ’90s hip-hop bumps out of a portable speaker. […]

  • Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $302m over pelvic mesh implant ads

    California court rules that company made misleading and potentially harmful statements in hundreds of thousands of ads A California appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that Johnson & Johnson must pay penalties to the state for deceptively marketing pelvic mesh implants for women. Johnson & Johnson had appealed in 2020 after superior court […]

  • GSK to buy US cancer drug developer amid pressure from activist investor

    GlaxoSmithKline’s £1.5bn Sierra Oncology deal comes after pressure to boost its pipeline from Elliott The UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline has agreed a £1.5bn deal to buy a US cancer treatment developer as it tries to fend off pressure from activist shareholder Elliott Management. The deal will give Britain’s second-largest pharmaceutical company access to California-based Sierra […]

  • California Sees Dramatic Decline in Child Homicide Victims. What’s Changed?

    The stunning climb in homicide rates in recent years in California and big cities across the nation obscures a remarkably good-news trend involving young children: The number of child homicide victims fell dramatically in California over the past decade, the latest death certificate data shows, a pattern mirrored to a lesser extent nationwide. In 1991, […]

  • 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 […]

  • Record Fines Might Mean California Is Finally Serious About Improving Medi-Cal

    Is California getting tougher on health plans that participate in Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for low-income residents? A few weeks ago, state regulators imposed a record $55 million in fines on L.A. Care, California’s largest Medi-Cal managed-care plan, for failing to ensure adequate care and allowing treatment delays that threatened enrollees’ health. Patient advocates […]

  • Delays for Autism Diagnosis and Treatment Grew Even Longer During the Pandemic

    Wylie James Prescott, 3, had to wait more than a year after his autism diagnosis to begin behavioral therapy, even though research shows early treatment of autism can be crucial for children’s long-term development. His mother, Brandie Kurtz, said his therapy wasn’t approved through Georgia’s Medicaid program until recently, despite her continued requests. “I know […]

  • Senators Ask GAO to Examine Medicaid’s Low Covid Vaccination Rates

    Two prominent Democratic senators have requested a Government Accountability Office study of why covid vaccination rates remain far lower among Medicaid enrollees than the general population and what barriers are impeding state efforts to increase immunizations among program beneficiaries, low-income people who have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Sens. Robert Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania […]

  • Ligand Pharma turns to a SPAC to take antibody biz public, raise up to $266M

    OmniAb, the antibody division of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, is set to go public through a SPAC merger that will infuse the business with up to $266 million. The deal comes as traditional IPOs have mostly ground to a halt due to uncertain market conditions, but Ligand is making a longer-term bet on growing demand for antibody […]

  • Health Officials See Bright Future in Poop Surveillance

    MODESTO, Calif. — One of Patrick Green’s first orders of business each day is to open a tap and fill a bottle with sludge. A utilities plant operator in Modesto, a city of nearly a quarter-million people in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Green helps keep the city’s sewers flowing and its wastewater treated to acceptable […]

  • To Families’ Dismay, Biden Nursing Home Reform Doesn’t View Them as Essential Caregivers

    When the Biden administration announced a set of proposed nursing home reforms last month, consumer advocates were both pleased and puzzled. The reforms call for minimum staffing requirements, stronger regulatory oversight, and better public information about nursing home quality — measures advocates have promoted for years. Yet they don’t address residents’ rights to have contact […]

  • Sharing Covid Vax Facts Inside ICE Detention, One Detainee at a Time

    The sounds of wailing ambulances, car horns, and bustling traffic filtered into the high-rise home office of Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras in downtown Los Angeles as he settled into a brown leather couch to take a call. On the other end of the line, staring at a mint-green wall inside a plexiglass phone booth with little […]

  • Listen: An Unsettling Investigation Into the Closure of a Chain of Pain Clinics

    Last spring, Lags Medical Centers, a sprawling chain of pain clinics serving more than 20,000 patients in California, abruptly shuttered amid a cloaked state investigation into “credible allegations of fraud.” Tens of thousands of patients were left scrambling for care, most of them low-income Californians covered by state and federal insurance programs. Many have struggled […]

  • Watch: California’s Top Health Adviser on Learning to Live With Covid

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of California’s massive Health and Human Services Agency, continues to wear a mask in grocery stores and will dine outside — but not indoors ­— at restaurants even as California, like much of the nation, has lifted its mask mandate and many other pandemic restrictions. This was among […]

  • California Governor’s Big Promises on Drug Prices Are Slow to Materialize

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When Gov. Gavin Newsom took office in 2019, he promised to lower prescription drug costs for all Californians. But now, as Newsom nears the end of his first term, his ambitious ideas — such as requiring California to make its own insulin and forging drug partnerships across state lines — have failed […]

  • J&J-Vaxxed, mRNA-Boosted, and Pondering a Third Shot

    Yes, we are all exhausted by the covid pandemic. Flummoxed by the constantly shifting science and guidelines. Worried about a succession of scary new variants, each with its own name, like hurricanes. But a sizable minority — nearly 17 million U.S. residents, including me — has its own special quandary. Our initial vaccine was Johnson […]

  • The Demise of Single-Payer in California Trips Up Efforts in Other States

    SACRAMENTO — Single-payer health care didn’t stand a chance in California this year. Even in this deep-blue bastion, Democratic lawmakers shied away from legislation that would have put state government in charge of health care and taxed Californians heavily to do so — a massive transformation that would have forced them to take on the […]

  • 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 […]

  • An $80,000 Tab for Newborns Lays Out a Loophole in the New Law to Curb Surprise Bills

    When Greg and Sugar Bull were ready to start a family, health challenges necessitated that they work with a gestational surrogate. The woman who carried and gave birth to their twins lived two states away. The pregnancy went well until the surrogate experienced high blood pressure and other symptoms of preeclampsia, which could have harmed […]

  • Journalists Review Hospital Penalties and Problems Riddling Medicaid Rx Program

    Samantha Young, a political correspondent for California Healthline, on Feb. 15 discussed how Medi-Cal patients struggle to get their prescription drugs on KCRW’s “Press Play.” Click here to hear Young on “Press Play” Read Young’s “‘Somebody Is Gonna Die’: Medi-Cal Patients Struggle to Fill Prescriptions“ Interim Southern bureau editor Andy Miller discussed Medicare penalties for […]

  • ‘I Just Want to Stay in One Spot’: From Homeless to Housed in Rugged Del Norte

    CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — On a rainy winter morning, Jamie Hayden stopped in to visit with Diane Timothio. A case manager in Del Norte County on California’s remote northern coast, Hayden comes by often, sometimes staying for hours, to work with Timothio. Work can mean different things: going to doctor’s appointments, building her comfort level […]

  • As Politics Infects Public Health, Private Companies Profit

    For some counties and cities that share a public health agency with other local governments, differences over mask mandates, business restrictions, and other covid preventive measures have strained those partnerships. At least two have been pushed past the breaking point A county in Colorado and a small city in Southern California are splitting from their […]

  • Exits by Black and Hispanic Teachers Pose a New Threat to Covid-Era Education

    Lynette Henley needed one more year to receive her full pension after 40 years as a teacher, but she couldn’t convince herself it was worth the risk. So Henley, 65, who has diabetes and congestive heart failure, retired last June as a math and history teacher at Hogan Middle School, in Vallejo, California, which serves […]

  • ‘Somebody Is Gonna Die’: Medi-Cal Patients Struggle to Fill Prescriptions

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A month into its debut, California’s new Medicaid prescription drug program is riddled with problems, leaving thousands of patients without medications — often after languishing on hold for up to eight hours on call center phone lines. On Jan. 1, the state handed control of its Medicaid drug program, known as Medi-Cal […]

  • Ready for Another Pandemic Malady? It’s Called ‘Decision Fatigue’

    Most all of us have felt the exhaustion of pandemic-era decision-making. Should I travel to see an elderly relative? Can I see my friends and, if so, is inside OK? Mask or no mask? Test or no test? What day? Which brand? Is it safe to send my child to day care? Questions that once […]

  • A Disabled Activist Speaks Out About Feeling ‘Disposable’

    SAN FRANCISCO — In early January, one of the country’s top public health officials went on national television and delivered what she called “really encouraging news” on covid-19: A recent study showed that more than three-fourths of fatalities from the omicron variant of the virus occurred among people with several other medical conditions. “These are […]

  • California Inks Sweetheart Deal with Kaiser Permanente, Jeopardizing Medicaid Reforms

    Editor’s note: KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. SACRAMENTO, California — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has negotiated a secret deal to give Kaiser Permanente a special Medicaid contract that would allow the health care behemoth to expand its reach in California and largely continue selecting the enrollees it wants, which other health plans say […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Paging the HHS Secretary

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is becoming a target for both Democrats and Republicans over what they call a lack of coordination of covid efforts […]

  • Colleges Struggle to Recruit Therapists for Students in Crisis

    Early in his first quarter at the University of California-Davis, Ryan Manriquez realized he needed help. A combination of pressures — avoiding covid-19, enduring a breakup, dealing with a disability, trying to keep up with a tough slate of classes — hit him hard. “I felt the impact right away,” said Manriquez, 21. After learning […]

  • In California Nursing Homes, Omicron Is Bad, but So Is the Isolation

    Dina Halperin had been cooped up alone for three weeks in her nursing home room after her two unvaccinated roommates were moved out at the onset of the omicron surge. “I’m frustrated,” she said, “and so many of the nursing staff are burned out or just plain tired.” The situation wasn’t terrifying, as it was […]

  • Listen: Generous Deals, and a Few Unwanted Surprises, at Covered California

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. KHN Southern California correspondent Bernard J. Wolfson was on “Línea Abierta,” a Radio Bilingüe weekday news program, answering questions for a Spanish-speaking audience about his recent column on health plan enrollment through California’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, Covered California. Wolfson’s column discusses the extraordinary deals available […]

  • What the Federal ‘No Surprises Act’ Means in California

    Betty Chow, a Los Angeles resident, had a cervical disc replaced in August 2020 at a surgery center that was part of her Anthem Blue Cross PPO network. Thirteen months later, she was blindsided by a bill for nearly $2,000 from the anesthesiologist who was on her surgical team but was not contracted with her […]

  • Vaccine Wars Ignite in California as Lawmakers Seek Stronger Laws

    SACRAMENTO — California is poised to become the front line of America’s vaccination wars. State lawmakers are drafting the toughest covid-19 vaccine legislation in the country, backed by a new pro-vaccine lobbying force promising to counter anti-vaccine activists who have threatened government officials and shut down public meetings across the state. Legislators want to require […]

  • Families Complain as States Require Covid Testing for Nursing Home Visits

    As covid-19 cases rise again in nursing homes, a few states have begun requiring visitors to present proof that they’re not infected before entering facilities, stoking frustration and dismay among family members. Officials in California, New York, and Rhode Island say new covid testing requirements are necessary to protect residents — an enormously vulnerable population […]

  • UCB is expanding its reach in epilepsy with $1.9B Zogenix acquisition

    Epilepsy is a small part of UCB’s neurology pipeline, but its proposed Zogenix acquisition would broaden the Belgium-based drugmaker’s ability to address that market. Zogenix’s Fintepla is approved in the U.S. and Europe for a rare type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, and is in development for other rare epilepsies.

  • Regenerative med biotech ProKidney inks $825M merger to back CKD cell therapy

    ProKidney is going public in a SPAC merger that infuses the biotech with $825 million for Phase 3 tests and manufacturing of its autologous cell therapy for chronic kidney disease. More than slowing the decline in organ function, ProKidney says its cell therapy offers the potential to reverse injury caused by the condition.

  • With No End in Sight to Pandemic Life, Parents Find Disruption Is the New Normal

    As my kindergartner fumbled with his shoes, I stood at our door sifting through the mental parenting checklist newly lodged in my brain: backpack. Sweatshirt. Snacks. Sunscreen. Water bottle. KN95 mask. Vaccination card. Jesse asked for his cloth mask, and I explained again that if he wore that one he’d need to have on a […]

  • Investor insights: Blake Wu of NEA

    In the runup to MedCity INVEST in Chicago, we’re spotlighting the perspectives of investors and what motivates them to invest in startups. If you’re a startup in pharma tech, value-based care and care coordination, diagnostics or remote patient monitoring/smart devices, apply to our Pitch Perfect contest today.

  • 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 […]

  • California Ballot Will Be Heavy on Health Care

    SACRAMENTO — When Californians go to the polls later this year, they will confront contentious health care choices. Voters will weigh whether to overturn a state law that bans flavored tobacco products and will likely consider increasing the cap on medical malpractice awards. They may also vote on proposals that effectively legalize psychedelic mushrooms and […]

  • With Sexually Transmitted Infections Off the Charts, California Pushes At-Home Tests

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California has become the first state to require health insurance plans to cover at-home tests for sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, chlamydia and syphilis — which could help quell the STI epidemic that has raged nearly unchecked as public health departments have focused on covid-19. The rule, part of a broader […]

  • Newly public Pardes Bio aims to show its Covid-19 pill can offer edge over Pfizer’s

    Pardes Biosciences’ experimental oral antiviral for treating and preventing Covid-19 infection addresses the same target as Pfizer’s authorized pill Paxlovid, but with a potential dosing advantage. The Pardes pill is in Phase 1 testing, and the biotech joined the public markets this week after completing a SPAC merger that infuses the company with $274 million.

  • As Patients Fell Ill With Covid Inside Hospitals, Government Oversight Fell Short

    One by one, the nurses taking care of actress Judi Evans at Riverside Community Hospital kept calling out sick. Patients were coughing as staffers wheeled the maskless soap opera star around the California hospital while treating her for injuries from a horseback fall in May 2020, Evans said. She remembered they took her to a […]

  • Layers of Subcontracted Services Confuse and Frustrate Medi-Cal Patients

    Theresa Grant, a resident of Culver City, California, has endured debilitating pain for the past year from a mysterious bulge protruding from her lower rib cage. She takes multiple painkillers every day. And the cause of her agony remains undiagnosed because, despite her tenacious efforts, she hasn’t been able to get a referral to a […]

  • Vaccine Promoters Struggle to Get People Boosted in California’s Fields

    Since the start of the pandemic, Luz Gallegos and her team of 56 advocates for immigrants have battled the scorching sun, illiteracy and deadly propaganda in the fields and fruit groves of the Coachella Valley. As they fanned out to educate farmworkers on how to protect themselves from covid-19, they quickly learned that rumors and […]

  • Nurses in Crisis Over Covid Dig In for Better Work Conditions

    Nurses and health care workers across the country are finding strength in numbers and with labor actions not seen in years. In California, which has a strong union tradition, Kaiser Permanente management misjudged workplace tensions during the covid-19 crisis and risked a walkout of thousands when union nurses balked at signing a four-year contract that […]

  • Wartime Trauma Hits Close to Home for Scholar of Dementia

    Oanh Meyer was a postdoctoral fellow studying the experiences of caregivers for those with dementia in 2012 when her research took a very personal turn. That year, her mother, a Vietnamese immigrant, began to show signs of dementia and paranoia that seemed to be linked to the trauma she had suffered during the long war […]

  • When the Surges Just Keep Coming: A View From the Covid Vortex

    Dr. Rais Vohra has impeccable timing. He stepped into his role as interim health officer of Fresno County just months before the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Almost immediately, he found himself navigating the treacherous tensions between public health messaging and a skeptical population in a hub of industrial agriculture that is also one of […]

  • New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process

    During her three-year battle with breast cancer, my wife, Leslie, graciously endured multiple rounds of horrifically toxic treatment to eke out more time with our two young children. But after 18 cancer-free months, the disease returned with a vengeance in June 2003. It fractured her bones and invaded her spinal canal, bathing her brain in […]

  • With Federal Covid Sick Leave Gone, Workers Feel Pressure to Show Up at Work

    Economists and public health experts alike say paid sick leave is an essential tool — like testing, masks and vaccines — in the effort to prevent covid-19 infection and keep workplaces safe. Yet the U.S. is in the midst of another covid holiday season, and federal laws that offered covid-related paid sick leave to workers […]

  • ‘I Can Go Anywhere’: How Service Dogs Help Veterans With PTSD

    It was supper time in the Whittier, California, home of Air Force veteran Danyelle Clark-Gutierrez, and eagerly awaiting a bowl of kibble and canned dog food was Lisa, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. Her nails clicking on the kitchen floor as she danced about, Lisa looked more like an exuberant puppy than the highly trained […]

  • California Joins States Trying to Shorten Wait Times for Mental Health Care

    When Greta Christina fell into a deep depression five years ago, she called up her therapist in San Francisco. She’d had a great connection with the provider when she needed therapy in the past. She was delighted to learn that he was now “in network” with her insurance company, meaning she wouldn’t have to pay […]

  • GSK joins NASH chase, paying $120M up front for rights to Arrowhead RNAi drug

    GlaxoSmithKline sees enough promise in the early clinical data of a novel NASH drug to pay its developer, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, $120 million up front for rights to the experimental therapy. The Arrowhead drug uses RNA interference to “silence” an enzyme associated with the progression of the fatty liver disease.

  • Etching the Pain of Covid Into the Flesh of Survivors

    It was Saturday morning at Southbay Tattoo and Body Piercing in Carson, California, and owner Efrain Espinoza Diaz Jr. was prepping for his first tattoo of the day — a memorial portrait of a man that his widow wanted on her forearm. Diaz, known as “Rock,” has been a tattoo artist for 26 years but […]

  • 988: A New Lifeline for Mental Health Emergencies

    By BEN WHEATLEY Miles Hall, a 23-year-old Black man experiencing a psychotic episode, was shot and killed by police after 911 received calls of a disturbance in his Walnut Creek, California neighborhood. His mother Taun Hall had taken steps to warn the local police that her son had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and that […]

  • BioMarin Pharma sees big things for first FDA-approved dwarfism drug

    BioMarin Pharmaceutical’s Voxzogo is the first FDA approved therapy for achondroplasia, an inherited disorder that causes the most common form of dwarfism. With approvals in Europe and the U.S., and more regulatory decisions expected in 2022, the biotech said the drug has blockbuster potential.

  • 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 […]

  • Marijuana Can be Habit-Forming

    The evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction, but are there negative consequences? Evidently, “the evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted…The number goes up to about 1 in 6 among those who start using […]

  • A Judge Takes His Mental Health Struggles Public

    In 1972, just 18 days after he was selected to run for vice president with Democratic Sen. George McGovern, Thomas Eagleton was forced off the ticket. The issue? Years earlier, Eagleton had been hospitalized and treated with electroshock therapy for depression. The disclosure of his mental health history was a blow from which the Missouri […]

  • ‘Not Quite on Board’: Parents Proving a Tough Sell on Covid Vax for Teens

    Even as the U.S. prepares to roll out a covid-19 vaccine to elementary school-aged kids, its efforts to inoculate teenagers — who have been eligible for the shot since May — continue to meet with a lackluster response. So far, about half of kids 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated in the U.S., compared with […]

  • Direct Primary Care, With a Touch of Robin Hood

    MODESTO, Calif. — Britta Foster and Minerva Tiznado are in different leagues as far as health care is concerned. Foster, who married into the family that owns the $2.5 billion Foster Farms chicken company, has Blue Shield coverage as well as a high-octane primary care plan that gives her 24/7 digital access to her doctor […]

  • Xilio, Ventyx IPOs raise $269M to fuel plans to compete with big pharma drugs

    Cancer drug developer Xilio Therapeutics and Ventyx Biosciences, a company with drug candidates in cancer and autoimmune diseases, are the latest life science companies to go public. They’ll use proceeds from their respective IPOs to continue clinical development of drugs being positioned as competitors to drugs from big pharmaceutical companies.

  • ‘Down to My Last Diaper’: The Anxiety of Parenting in Poverty

    For parents living in poverty, “diaper math” is a familiar and distressingly pressing daily calculation. Babies in the U.S. go through six to 10 disposable diapers a day, at an average cost of $70 to $80 a month. Name-brand diapers with high-end absorption sell for as much as a half a dollar each, and can […]

  • California’s Mental Health Crisis: What Went Wrong? And Can We Fix It?

    Gov. Gavin Newsom is steering a major transformation of California’s behavioral health care system, with much at stake in the years ahead. On Oct. 6, the Sacramento-based publication Capitol Weekly invited KHN’s Angela Hart to moderate an expert panel tackling the origins of the state’s broken system and potential solutions ahead. The lively discussion featured […]

  • Children With Disabilities Face Special Back-to-School Challenges

    LOS ANGELES — Christopher Manzo, a boy with curly brown hair and bright-blue-and-yellow glasses, has lived a third of his five years at home because of the pandemic. And he is more than ready for kindergarten. Hand in hand with his mother, Martha Manzo, he walks into the Blind Children’s Center, a low-rise building nestled […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘Are You Going to Keep Me Safe?’ Hospital Workers Sound Alarm on Rising Violence

    The San Leandro Hospital emergency department, where nurse Mawata Kamara works, went into lockdown recently when a visitor, agitated about being barred from seeing a patient due to covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun to the California facility. It wasn’t the first time the department faced a gun threat during the pandemic. Earlier in […]

  • Community Clinics Shouldered Much of the Vaccine Rollout. Many Haven’t Been Paid.

    Community clinics in California say they haven’t been paid for at least 1 million covid-19 vaccine doses given since January, creating a “massive cash flow problem” for some and complicating efforts to retain staff. Clinics in other states, including Michigan and Mississippi, are also awaiting payment. The delays stem from the distinct way federally qualified […]

  • New Law Bans Harassment at Vaccination Sites, but Free Speech Concerns Persist

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s now illegal in California to harass people on their way into a vaccination clinic, under a law signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. But First Amendment experts continue to raise legal questions about the law’s constitutionality, including its definition of harassment. The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes it a […]

  • J&J commits $125M in bet that Xencor’s bispecific antibody has an edge in blood cancers

    Clinical-stage Xencor is receiving $100 million up front and a $25 million equity investment, while Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Biotech subsidiary gets global rights to plamotamab, a bispecific antibody. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Roche are also developing bispecific antibodies against the same targets, but Xencor’s drug has a feature that could be a competitive advantage.

  • Youthful Advisers Help Shape a Mental Health Program for Their Peers

    Phebe Cox grew up in what might seem an unlikely mental health danger zone for a kid: tony Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. But behind its façade of family success and wealth, she said, is an environment of crushing pressure on students to perform. By 2016, when Cox was in middle […]

  • Listen: California Banks on a Bold Treatment: Pay Drug Users to Stop Using

    When Billy Lemon was trying to kick his methamphetamine addiction, he went to a drug treatment program at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation three times a week and peed in a cup. If it tested negative for meth, he got paid about $7. As the pandemic has raged, so has the country’s drug epidemic. Health […]

  • Journalists Drill Down on Covid Vaccine Boosters, Misinformation Online

    KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed how hospitals are dealing with covid-19 on WOSU’s “All Sides With Ann Fisher” on Tuesday. Weber also discussed the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a covid vaccine booster on WAMU’s “1A” on Sept. 24. Click here to hear Weber on WOSU Read Weber’s “Covid Is Killing Rural Americans […]

  • From the FDA’s Empty Seat to Chock-Full ICUs, Journalists Recap the Week’s Stories

    KHN correspondent Rachana Pradhan discussed why President Joe Biden hasn’t yet nominated a permanent leader for the Food and Drug Administration on Newsy’s “Morning Rush” on Thursday. Click here to hear Pradhan on “Morning Rush“ Read Pradhan’s “Public Health Experts ‘Flabbergasted’ That Biden Still Hasn’t Picked an FDA Chief” KHN freelancer Nick Ehli discussed Montana’s […]

  • California Moves on Climate Change, but Rejects Aggressive Cuts to Greenhouse Emissions

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As California trudges into another autumn marred by toxic wildfire smoke and drought-parched reservoirs, state lawmakers have cast climate change as a growing public health threat for the state’s 40 million residents. But they were willing to push the argument only so far. On Thursday, against the smoldering backdrop of Sequoia National […]

  • Home Births Gain Popularity in ‘Baby Bust’ Decade

    In a back-to-the-future twist on birth trends, California is seeing a sustained rise in the number of women choosing to deliver their babies in settings other than a hospital, a shift that accelerated as the pandemic created more risky and onerous conditions in many hospitals. About 5,600 people gave birth outside a hospital in California […]

  • California’s Reboot of Troubled Medi-Cal Puts Pressure on Health Plans

    When Denise Williams’ baby boy was 2 months old, she became alarmed by a rattling sound in his lungs and took him to the emergency room. While undergoing treatment, he spiraled into a disabling neurological disorder. Now 2 years old, Markeano is attached to breathing and feeding tubes. He can’t walk or move his arms. […]

  • Leader of California’s Muscular Obamacare Exchange to Step Down

    Peter Lee, who has steered California’s Affordable Care Act marketplace since late 2011 and helped mold it into a model of what the federal health care law could achieve, announced Thursday he will leave his post in March. As executive director of Covered California, Lee has worked closely with the administrations of Democratic presidents Barack […]

  • No Papers, No Care: Disabled Migrants Seek Help Through Lawsuit, Activism

    Desperation led José Luis Hernández to ride atop a speeding train through northern Mexico with hopes of reaching the United States 13 years ago. But he didn’t make it. Slipping off a step above a train coupling, he slid under the steel wheels. In the aftermath, he lost his right arm and leg, and all […]

  • It’s Not Just Covid: Recall Candidates Represent Markedly Different Choices on Health Care

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s covid-19 rules have been a lightning rod in California’s recall election. But there’s a lot more at stake for Californians’ health care than mask and vaccine mandates. Newsom, a first-term Democrat, argues that their fundamental ability to get health insurance and medical treatments is on the line. Republicans are […]

  • ‘Religious’ Exemptions Add Legal Thorns to Looming Vaccine Mandates

    In Northern California, the pastor of a megachurch hands out religious exemption forms to the faithful. A New Mexico state senator will “help you articulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of some vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist offers exemption letters to anyone — for […]

  • Cancer concerns lead FDA to place clinical hold on BioMarin gene therapy

    A Phase 1/2 study of BioMarin Pharmaceutical’s gene therapy for phenylketonuria has been placed under a clinical hold after interim results from a preclinical study showed that some mice developed liver tumors. Patients did not receive the same high dose that was given to the mice, and no one in the clinical trial has developed […]

  • Voters in Tight Recall Race Sound Off on California Gov. Newsom’s Covid Leadership

    Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first term in office has been defined by his response to the covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 65,400 Californians. The Democratic governor issued the first statewide stay-at-home order in the nation, and his policies kept most public school students at home last year. But his own children […]

  • Delta Cutting ‘Like a Buzzsaw’ Through Oregon-California Border Counties

    If you live in one of the rural communities tucked into the forested hillsides along the Oregon-California border and need serious medical care, you’ll probably wind up at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. It serves about nine counties on either side of the border.   It is one of three hospitals Asante owns in the region. […]

  • Headed Away to School? Here’s What Students With Health Issues Need to Know

    College is a time of transition, but for those managing chronic medical conditions, it may also be the first time they will be wholly responsible for their own health: setting appointments, securing supplies and pharmaceuticals, and monitoring symptoms. For those heading to schools far from home, it can be especially tricky navigating the complex world […]

  • As Temperatures Rise, So Do the Health Risks for California’s Farmworkers

    COACHELLA, Calif. — Leoncio Antonio Trejo Galdamez, 58, died in his son’s arms on June 29 after spending the day laying irrigation pipes in California’s Coachella Valley. News of his death reverberated through the largely Latino community near the Mexican and Arizona borders — another casualty in a dangerous business. “Farmworkers are at the front […]

  • If the Unvaccinated Want to Work, They Face a Series of Hurdles

    With the delta variant surging, a growing number of employers are tiring of merely cajoling workers to get vaccinated against covid-19 and are following President Joe Biden’s protocol for federal workers: Either show proof of vaccination, or mask up and get regular testing if you want to work on-site. The federal government — the nation’s […]

  • The Newest Disease Detection Tool for Covid and Beyond: Poop

    Since reopening campus at the University of California-San Diego last summer, university officials have relied on the tried-and-true public health strategies of testing and contact tracing. But they have also added a new tool to their arsenal: excrement. That tool alerted researchers to about 85% of cases in dorms before they were diagnosed, according to […]

  • Apple Aims to Push More Patient Data to Doctors. But Who Can Gauge Its Impact on Health?

    Soon, Apple announced recently, it will enable doctors to monitor health data from their patients’ phones and watches between visits, part of the push into health care that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has declared will constitute the company’s greatest contribution to mankind. Since 2014, health systems around the country have partnered with Apple to tap […]

  • Journalists Assess the Latest Covid Surge and the Nation’s Vaccination Effort

    KHN freelancer Mark Kreidler discussed why professional athletes are not taking a more affirmative role in pushing covid vaccines on Newsy on Tuesday. Click here to watch Kreidler on Newsy Read Kreidler’s “Big Leagues Balk at Endorsing Vaccination“ KHN Midwest correspondent Cara Anthony discussed masking mandates, vaccine efficacy and breakthrough covid cases on Illinois Public […]

  • Déjà Vu? Consumers Scramble for Covid Tests in Hard-Hit Areas

    Andrea Mosterman, an associate professor of history at the University of New Orleans, was already dismayed that she had to wait three days to secure a covid-19 test at a Walgreens near her home after being in contact with someone who had tested positive. But on Sunday, when she showed up at the pharmacy drive-thru, […]

  • Watch: Cyclist Hits Olympic-Size Medical Bills After Crash

    “CBS This Morning,” in partnership with KHN and NPR, interviews Phil Gaimon, a cyclist who had hoped to be in Tokyo next week as a competitor in the track events on the USA Cycling national team. Instead, a crash on the velodrome track in Pennsylvania in 2019 ended his Olympic dream and left him with […]

  • Facing Recall, Newsom Draws Support from Health Care Allies

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians upset with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic rules — which shuttered businesses, kept schoolkids at home and mandated masks — helped fuel the September recall election that could spell the end of his political career. But among the allies rushing to Newsom’s defense are doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care interests […]

  • Olympic Dream Dashed After Bike Crash and Nightmare Medical Bill Over $200K

    It was a race in Pennsylvania that could have sent cyclist Phil Gaimon to the Tokyo Olympics; instead, a serious crash landed the Californian in two hospitals on the East Coast. Gaimon knows accidents are, unfortunately, part of the sport. He had retired from competitive road cycling three years earlier, but a recruiting call came […]

  • Elimination of the Medicaid asset test?

    No, this is not coming nation-wide, but it may be on its way in California. Kaiser Health News reports: A provision in California’s newly approved state budget will eliminate the asset test for the 2 million Californians enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and people […]

  • After 18 Months, Sutter Antitrust Settlement Finally Poised for Formal Approval

    More than 18 months after Sutter Health agreed to a tentative settlement in a closely watched antitrust case joined by the California Attorney General’s Office, the judge presiding over the case indicated she would sign off on the terms, pending agreement on attorney fees. The nonprofit health care giant, based in Sacramento, stood accused of […]

  • Big Leagues Balk at Endorsing Vaccination

    Santa Clara County, where the San Francisco 49ers train and play their NFL home games, has one of the highest covid vaccination rates in California. As of July 11, more than 76% of its vaccine-eligible residents were fully vaccinated, partly because the county and the 49ers franchise turned Levi’s Stadium into a mass inoculation site […]

  • 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 […]

  • Can Biden’s Plan to Remove Urban Highways Improve the Health of American Cities?

    Mandela Parkway, a four-lane boulevard enhanced by a median with trees and a curving footpath, stretches along a 24-block section of West Oakland. It’s the fruit of a grassroots neighborhood campaign to block reconstruction of an elevated freeway leveled by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and reimagine the thoroughfare to replace it. Since the […]

  • As Congress Wrestles With Plans to Expand Medicare, Becerra Says Any One Will Do

    The Biden administration will support whatever expansions to Medicare Congress is willing to make, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday. Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working on plans both to add benefits to the health program for seniors and to lower its eligibility age from 65 to 60. But the efforts […]

  • California Takes a Nibble at Offering Food Stamps to Undocumented Immigrants

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — One week the food pantry had frozen crabmeat; other weeks, deli meat or plant-based “meat.” The week before the Fourth of July, there was no meat at all, and a reminder that the pantry would be closed the next two weeks. Even though she never knows exactly what she’ll get, Lesli […]

  • Journalists Tackle Delta Variant, Hospital Prices and Public Health Spending

    Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed the covid-19 delta variant on NPR’s “The 1A” on July 2. Click here to hear Weber on NPR Senior correspondent Julie Appleby discussed hospital price transparency on WGN’s “NewsNation Now” on July 2. Click here to watch Appleby on WGN Read Appleby’s “Hospital Prices Must Now Be Transparent. For Many […]

  • Effort to Decipher Hospital Prices Yields Key Finding: Don’t Try It at Home

    A federal price transparency rule that took effect this year was supposed to give patients, employers and insurers a clearer picture of the true cost of hospital care. When the Trump administration unveiled the rule in 2019, Seema Verma, then chief of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, promised it would “upend the status […]

  • California’s Highest Covid Infection Rates Shift to Rural Counties

    Most of us are familiar with the good news: In recent weeks, rates of covid-19 infection and death have plummeted in California, falling to levels not seen since the early days of the pandemic. The average number of new covid infections reported each day dropped by an astounding 98% from December to June, according to […]

  • COVID-19 in California: An update

    A few updates on COVID-19 from where I am living. First while we see a dramatic decline in COVID-19 infections and deaths, there is a fair amount of regional variation within California. The Sacramento Bee reports that: The average number of new COVID infections reported each day dropped by an astounding 98% from December to […]

  • GSK adds neuro prospects, paying $700M to share R&D of Alector’s two lead drugs

    GlaxoSmithKline is paying Alector $700 million up front to share in the development of the biotech’s two lead drugs, which offer potentially broad application in treating neurological disorders. Alector’s approach addresses the role immune cell dysfunction plays in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

  • 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 […]

  • Without Enough Boots on the Ground, California’s Vaccination Efforts Falter

    SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom routinely boasts that California has “one of the highest vaccination rates in the United States of America.” But Newsom, facing a recall election this fall, rarely mentions that the state’s covid vaccine uptake has largely stagnated in Black and Latino neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus, and in rural outposts […]

  • 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 […]

  • Being Vaccinated Doesn’t Mean You Must Go Maskless. Here’s Why.

    For more than a year, public health officials have repeatedly told us that masks save lives. They’ve warned us to keep our distance from our neighbors, who’ve morphed into disease vectors before our eyes. Now they are telling us that if we’re vaccinated, we no longer need to wear masks or physically distance ourselves in […]

  • Doctor on Call? Lawmakers Debate How Much to Pay for Phone Appointments

    It took covid-19 to give millions of Americans the option of telling their doctor about their aches and pains by phone. But now that more doctors and patients are returning to in-person appointments, policymakers across the country are divided over how much taxpayer money to keep spending on phone appointments. Although they were a lifeline […]

  • 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 […]

  • Can a Subscription Model Fix Primary Care in the US?

    In April, San Francisco-based primary care company One Medical revealed an eye-popping compensation package for its chief executive and chairman, Amir Dan Rubin. His $199 million payday, particularly noteworthy at a company that has yet to turn a profit, made Rubin the second-highest-paid CEO in the United States last year — but only on paper. […]

  • With Restrictions Tightening Elsewhere, California Moves to Make Abortion Cheaper

    This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Even as most states are trying to make it harder to get an abortion, California could make it free for more people. State lawmakers are debating a bill to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses like copays and payments toward deductibles […]

  • Newsom Wants to Spend Millions on the Health of Low-Income Mothers and Their Babies

    Amid a pandemic that has pushed millions of mothers out of the workplace, caused fertility rates to plunge and heightened the risk of death for pregnant women, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers are seeking a slate of health proposals for low-income families and children. Newsom, a self-described feminist and the father of four […]

  • Readers and Tweeters React to Racism, Inequities in Health Care

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. A Harrowing Tale of Racism I liked the article “The Making of Reluctant Activists: A Police Shooting in a Hospital Forces One Family to Rethink American Justice” (May 10). As a […]

  • KHN Journalist Combs for Clues on Covid’s Origins

    California Healthline editor Arthur Allen discussed the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus on KPBS’ “Midday Edition” on Wednesday. Click here to hear Allen on KPBS Read Allen’s “To the Bat Cave: In Search of Covid’s Origins, Scientists Reignite Polarizing Debate on Wuhan ‘Lab Leak’“ Senior Colorado correspondent Markian Hawryluk discussed Colorado’s efforts to […]

  • In California, Nursing Home Owners Can Operate After They’re Denied a License

    The pandemic has highlighted poor care in America’s nursing homes, where nearly 175,000 people have died of covid-19 — a third of all deaths from the disease nationwide. This story is part of a partnership that includes KPCC, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. Even before the pandemic, patient advocates pointed to dangerous conditions […]

  • ‘Better Than the Hospital’: Pandemic Boosts Care for Serious Illnesses at Home

    Late last year, Janet Yetenekian was one of the thousands of people in Southern California whose case of covid-19 was serious enough to send her to the hospital. But Yetenekian’s recovery was not typical: She received hospital-level care in her own home in Glendale. “It was even better than the hospital,” Yetenekian said, laughing. “They […]

  • Corporations Encourage Employee Vaccination but Stop Short of Mandates

    This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free. Many of the companies with the largest number of employees say they’ll do almost anything to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. But a survey of some of them found that none would be inclined to mandate shots as […]

  • KHN Journalists Comment on Abortion Case, Wasted Covid Doses

    KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a challenge in an abortion case from Mississippi on Newsy on Tuesday. Click here to watch Rovner on Newsy KHN freelancer Sara Reardon discussed allegations by a rail company that a clinic in Libby, Montana, is defrauding Medicare by overdiagnosing asbestos-related diseases on […]

  • Despite Pandemic, Newsom Declines to Boost Local Public Health Budgets — Again

    SACRAMENTO — In spite of a pandemic that has killed about 62,000 Californians — more than enough to pack Dodger Stadium — Gov. Gavin Newsom has again declined to boost the budgets of the state’s underfunded and understaffed local public health departments. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Local public health officials, […]

  • Homicides Surge in California Amid Covid Shutdowns of Schools, Youth Programs

    <![CDATA[ window.addEventListener(‘message’, function(event) { if (typeof[‘datawrapper-height’] !== ‘undefined’) { var iframes = document.querySelectorAll(‘iframe’); for (var chartId in[‘datawrapper-height’]) { for (var i=0; i Amid a pandemic that left law enforcement agencies stretched thin and forced shutdowns that left young men with little to do, California registered a devastating surge in homicides in 2020 that […]

  • You’ve Added Your Kids to Your Health Plan. What About Mom?

    SACRAMENTO — When Laura Chavez’s 74-year-old mom needed eye surgery last month, Chavez paid cash for the procedure. This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. The cost? $15,000 — and that was for just one eye. She couldn’t afford both. Her mom, Esperanza Chavez, doesn’t qualify for Medicare […]

  • Covid Fears Keep Many Latino Kids out of Classrooms

    EAST LOS ANGELES — For the past year, 13-year-old twins Ariel Jr. and Abraham Osorio have logged on to their online classes from their parents’ flower shop. Ariel nestles in a corner among flowers, bows and stuffed animals. Abraham sets up on a small table in the back, where his dad used to work trimming […]

  • Hit by Higher Prices for Gear, Doctors and Dentists Want Insurers to Pay

    SACRAMENTO — Treating patients has become more expensive during the pandemic, and doctors and dentists don’t want to be on the hook for all the new costs. This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. For instance, the box of 100 gloves that cost $2.39 in February 2020 costs […]

  • Covered California Says Health Insurance Just Got Too Cheap to Ignore

    If you are uninsured because health coverage seemed too expensive the last time you looked, it’s time to look again. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. A new federal law could make it a whole lot cheaper to buy your own insurance if you don’t get coverage through an employer or a […]

  • As Vaccine Demand Slows, Political Differences Go on Display in California Counties

    <![CDATA[ window.addEventListener(‘message’, function(event) { if (typeof[‘datawrapper-height’] !== ‘undefined’) { var iframes = document.querySelectorAll(‘iframe’); for (var chartId in[‘datawrapper-height’]) { for (var i=0; i Demand for covid vaccines is slowing across most of California, but as traffic at vaccination sites eases, the vaccination rates across the state are showing wide disparities. This story also ran […]

  • Journalists Track Biden’s First 100 Days

    Chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed Biden’s first 100 days on WAMU/NPR’s “1A” on Wednesday. She also joined Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time” to talk about why hospitals aren’t cooperating with price transparency requirements. Click here to hear Rovner on WAMU/NPR Read Rovner’s “The Great Undoing: Which of Trump’s Policies Will Biden Reverse?” Click here […]

  • The Vulnerable Homebound Are Left Behind on Vaccination

    It was April, more than three months into the vaccination campaign against covid-19, and Jim Freeman, 83, still had not gotten his first dose. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Freeman had been eligible for months as part of the 75-and-older target group deemed most vulnerable to death and serious illness in […]

  • You Don’t Have to Suffer to Benefit From Covid Vaccination — But Some Prefer It

    If you think vaccination is an ordeal now, consider the 18th-century version. After having pus from a smallpox boil scratched into your arm, you would be subject to three weeks of fever, sweats, chills, bleeding and purging with dangerous medicines, accompanied by hymns, prayers and hell-fire sermons by dour preachers. This story also ran on […]