Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | California Healthline

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | California Healthline

Environmental Justice Leader Says Proposition 30 Would Help Struggling Areas Clear the Air

Ana Gonzalez, who leads an environmental justice group in the Inland Empire, has endorsed Proposition 30, a ballot initiative backed by the ride-hailing company Lyft that would tax millionaires to fund zero-emission vehicle subsidies and electric charging stations. She contends most state policies overlook marginalized communities that are disproportionately affected by air pollution. (Heidi de Marco,


Flurry Of Abortion Protections Enacted Into Law: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 13 abortion protection and reproductive health bills Tuesday. Among the new laws: Trained nurse practitioners are allowed to perform first-trimester abortions without the supervision of a physician; coroners are prohibited from holding an inquest after a fetal death; and state law enforcement agencies are prohibited from helping with out-of-state abortion investigations. Read more from the Los Angeles Times. Keep scrolling for more details.

Newsom Signs Nursing Home Bill: A controversial bill aimed at fixing aspects of California’s broken nursing home licensing system was signed Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faced dueling pressure from advocates who typically are aligned. The governor had no comment about his decision. Read more from CalMatters.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

San Francisco Chronicle:
Gov. Newsom Responds To Anti-Abortion Laws With Cheaper Vasectomies

California will require health plans to cover vasectomy costs starting in 2024 under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Tuesday. The federal Affordable Care Act already required most health plans to cover birth control for women. The new law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed, SB523 , extends that requirement to vasectomies, a reversible sterilization procedure for men. It will require health plans to cover the procedure without charging co-pays or cost-sharing. (Bollag, 9/27)

New California Abortion Laws Set Up Clash With Other States 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed more than a dozen new abortion laws Tuesday, including some that deliberately clash with restrictions in other states — a sign of the coming conflicts that must be sorted out as lawmakers rush to set their own rules now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Most abortions are now illegal in 13 states, and others — including Texas, Oklahoma and Idaho — allow people to sue anyone who performs or aids in an abortion. Meanwhile, Democratic-led states like California, New York and Connecticut have been writing and passing laws to make it easier to get an abortion, with California promoting its abortion services on a state-funded website designed in part to reach women who live in other states. (Beam, 9/27)

5 Ways California Is Protecting Abortion

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed roughly a dozen laws aimed at turning California into an abortion sanctuary, a moment that couldn’t come at a better time for the Democratic politician’s fiery brand of politics. With the midterms just weeks away and a number of the state’s congressional races hinging on the issue, the governor approved a sweeping reproductive rights package designed to shield patients and clinicians from criminal investigations, defray the costs of traveling to California for the procedure and expand the number of people who can perform abortions, among other changes. (Colliver, 9/27)

Sacramento Bee:
California Ends ‘Pink Tax’ On Gender-Based Products 

Women across California should no longer be forced to pay a premium when purchasing toiletries and other products, under a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday outlawing the so-called “pink tax.” Joined by members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and his wife, Jennifer Seibel Newsom, the governor signed into law a package of bills intended to advance gender equity and protect the rights of women. (Angst,. 9/27)

Southern California News Group:
New California Law Seeks To Bridge A Gap Exposed By Child Torture Turpin Case

A snag in Riverside County’s safety net — one mentioned in an investigation of the county’s care of the tortured Turpin siblings — is the focus of a new state law intended to help at-risk children and adults. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Sept. 23, signed a bill that allows adult and child protective services to share information about clients and their families. Previously, laws intended to protect clients’ privacy prevented those agencies from comparing notes on the same people. (Horseman, 9/27)

LGBTQ Nation:
California Gov. Vetoes STI Health Bill That Would Have Helped LGBTQ People

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has vetoed a bill that would have helped low-income LGBTQ people gain easier access to treatment and prevention services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Newsom said he supported the STI Prevention & Treatment Fairness Act, but that there simply wasn’t enough funding to accomplish what it sought to do. (Sprayregen, 9/27)

The Mercury News:
Gov. Newsom Signs Bill To Stop Incentives To Burn Trash At Landfills

Legislation designed to stop burning trash as an alternative to sending it to landfills has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. … “It is hard to ignore the 30 years of lived experiences from frontline communities which live near an incinerator and the scientific data that shows the harmful impacts from these facilities,” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who authored the bill.

San Francisco Chronicle:
COVID In California: Binge Drinking Increases COVID Risk For Young Women

Young women who reported frequent binge drinking during the coronavirus pandemic were more likely to become infected with COVID-19, according to research by Rutgers. The study, published Tuesday in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that women between the ages of 25 to 28 who reported having four or more drinks in one sitting had the highest self-reported prevalence of infection among the subgroups studied. (Vaziri, 9/27)

Los Angeles Daily News:
Long COVID Is The Lingering Reminder Of The Pandemic 

For a lot of people, the pandemic effectively ended a long time ago. Thanks to the widespread adoption of vaccines, and because so many Americans have already contracted COVID, we’ve reached a level of immunity we couldn’t have imagined in 2020 and 2021, when we endured so much death and disruption. You don’t see as many masks these days. (Hall, 9/27)

NBC News:
Mounting Evidence Shows Autoimmune Responses Play A Significant Role In Long Covid

Dr. Manali Mukherjee, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at McMaster University, said her team plans to follow up with the patients up to two years post-infection to see if their symptoms resolve or they develop diagnosable autoimmune diseases. “There will be a subset of patients who will end up with a diagnosis for life,” she said. (Bendix, 9/27)

U.S. FDA To Review Fewer Emergency Use Requests For COVID Tests 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it will now review only a small number of emergency use authorization requests for COVID tests that are likely to have a significant benefit to public health, including fulfilling an unmet need. The agency is revising its COVID-19 test policy in light of the current manufacturing status and number of cases, it said, adding companies seeking EUA for their COVID tests will have to now apply for the agency’s traditional premarket review process. (9/27)

The Mercury News:
A San Jose Church Avoided $217,500 In COVID Court Fines. Santa Clara County Still Wants To Make Them Pay.

Calvary Chapel, which openly scorned multiple public health requirements during some of the pandemic’s deadliest months, may end up having to fork over at least part of what it racked up in fines if the state’s highest court sides with the county. The move ratchets up an already protracted legal battle between the county and the non-denominational Christian church with 3,000 congregants that is fighting to avoid paying a separate set of pandemic-related fines amounting to almost $3 million in a fight that has drawn the two sides into both state and federal cases. (Greschler, 9/27)

What COVID Deaths In San Diego County Show About The Vaccine

Since the beginning of August, public comment during County Board of Supervisors and San Diego City Council meetings have seen more and more residents calling on elected officials to end the local state of emergency that was put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. Those going before decision-makers say that the threat of COVID-19 is no longer there, instead asserting that the vaccine should be at the center of concern regarding severe illness — not the virus itself. (Dawson, 9/27(

The Washington Post:
Do Covid Vaccines Affect Periods? A New Study Says They Do

Not long after the rollout of coronavirus vaccines last year, women around the country began posting on social media about what they believed was a strange side effect: changes to their periods. Now, new research shows that many of the complaints were valid. A study of nearly 20,000 people around the world shows that getting vaccinated against covid can change the timing of the menstrual cycle. Vaccinated people experienced, on average, about a one-day delay in getting their periods, compared with those who hadn’t been vaccinated.(Morris, 9/27)

The Washington Post:
All Major Cruise Lines Will Soon Allow Unvaccinated Travelers

Disney Cruise Line will no longer require vaccinations on most of its voyages beginning in October, the company announced Tuesday, marking the final major cruise line to ease its vaccine requirement on most U.S. sailings. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its covid program for cruises in July. Since then, all major cruise lines serving the U.S. — including Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and MSC Cruises — have dropped their vaccine requirements for all but a few voyages, according to their websites. (Bikales, 9/27)

SARS-CoV-2 Mutation Leads To Resistance To Remdesivir In 2 Patients

A report published yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases describes a new SARS-CoV-2 mutation that confers resistance to the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir in two persistently infected kidney transplant recipients treated with immunosuppressive drugs. … One patient was in his or her 60s and had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine before being infected with the Omicron subvariant BA.1.1 6 months after transplant and receiving a 5-day course of remdesivir. … The other patient was in his or her 50s and had received two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before becoming infected 14 months after transplant. (9/27)

Walmart To Cover Fertility Treatments Under Insurance Plan 

Walmart is teaming up with a fertility startup to offer benefits under its insurance plan that will help its workers expand their families. The nation’s largest retailer and private employer said Tuesday it’s partnering with New York-based Kindbody to offer benefits such as in vitro fertilization as well as fertility testing regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. (D’Innocenzio and Murphy, 9/27)

Modesto Bee:
Modesto Pairing Counselors With Cops On Crisis Calls

At least one mental health clinician should be riding with Modesto patrol officers as soon as early November, responding to calls involving people in crisis. The effort is a partnership between Stanislaus County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and the Police Department and revives the department’s Mobile Crisis Emergency Response Team, or MCERT. (Valine, 9/28)

Voice of OC:
Is Orange County Gutting Local Homeless Resources Needed By CARE Court?

A jobseeker looking to clean up. A woman whose husband tried to kill her. Those are the types of people who found solace, pre-pandemic, at a South Main Street homeless service center in some cases every day of the week in Santa Ana. And later wrote about it in sworn court declarations. The center’s one of several homeless service providers throughout Orange County – like Micah’s Way, the Harm Reduction Institute and Mary’s Kitchen – getting pushed out by local city officials over public nuisance complaints. They represent one side of the homelessness debate that views direct assistance and basic needs as crucial to helping people recover their lives – and with full autonomy.  (9/28)

Unhoused San Francisco Residents Sue City Over Displacement, Rights Violations

A group of unhoused San Francisco residents is taking the city to court over its sweeps of homeless encampments, arguing that forced displacements and destruction of property violate their constitutional rights. Attorneys for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and the ACLU of Northern California plan to file suit on behalf of the Coalition on Homelessness and seven city residents who are unhoused or at risk of returning to the streets. (Rancaño, 9/27)

San Francisco Chronicle:
S.F. Sued Over Homeless Camp Sweeps As Advocates Charge City With Criminalizing Unsheltered

A prominent homeless rights organization and a group of unhoused people are suing San Francisco to stop encampment sweeps and police enforcement of quality-of-life laws that target people living on the streets. The lawsuit alleges that the city violates state and federal laws, its own policies and homeless individuals’ rights by “punishing residents who have nowhere to go,” and by seizing and destroying their belongings when clearing encampments. It also argues the city’s approach is ineffective and expensive, with the most recent city report estimating San Francisco spent more than $20 million in 2015 enforcing quality-of-life ordinances against homeless people. (Moench, 9/27)

The Hill:
Medicare Part B Premiums To Decrease For The First Time In Over A Decade 

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced that Medicare Part B premiums will decrease in 2023, marking the first time this cost has been lowered in more than a decade. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare Part B premiums would be lowered by three percent, or $5.20, going from $170.10 a month to $164.90. The program’s annual deductible will also fall by $7, from $233 to $226. (Choi, 9/27)

Millions Of Americans Will Save On Medicare Fees Next Year

The rare 3% decrease in monthly premiums is likely to be coupled with a historically high cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits — perhaps 9% or 10% — putting hundreds of dollars directly into the pockets of millions of people. “That’s something we may never see again in the rest of our lives,” said Mary Johnson, the Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “That can really be used to pay off credit cards, to restock pantries that have gotten low because people can’t afford to buy as much today as they did a year ago and do some long-postponed repairs to homes and cars.” (Seitz, 9/27)

Medicare Premiums Cut After Lower Than Forecast Drug Spending

In his remarks, Biden also touted measures to curb costs in Democrats’ massive health, tax and climate package, in particular allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time, calling it “a godsend to many families.” The law also capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries, but Republicans blocked a provision that would have extended the cost cap to private insurance. Republicans uniformly opposed the Inflation Reduction Act that introduced those measures in the House and Senate. (Tozzi and Fabian, 9/27)

Biden Medicare Costs Victory Due Mostly To Alzheimer’s Drug Change 

The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs the Medicare health plan, said on Tuesday the bulk of the drop comes from its limiting coverage of Biogen Inc’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm to patients in clinical trials. “The 2022 premium included a contingency margin to cover projected Part B spending for a new drug, Aduhelm. Lower-than-projected spending on both Aduhelm and other Part B items and services resulted in much larger reserves,” the agency said. (Aboulenein, 9/27)

The New York Times:
Biden Says Social Security Is On ‘Chopping Block’ If Republicans Win Congress 

President Biden warned on Tuesday that Republicans posed a threat to Social Security and Medicare, amplifying an effort by Democrats to make the fate of America’s social safety net programs a central campaign issue ahead of November’s midterm elections. The comments were part of a push by Democrats across the country to steer the political conversation away from soaring prices and growing recession fears and remind anxious voters that some Republicans have been calling for restructuring or scaling back entitlement programs that retirees have relied on for decades. (Rappeport, 9/27)

USA Today:
Alzheimer’s Drug Slowed Decline In Late-Stage Study: Eisai And Biogen

In a widely-anticipated study, Eisai and Biogen on Tuesday said their Alzheimer’s drug slowed cognitive decline among people with early signs of the disease. The study, led by Eisai, which has teamed with Biogen to develop the drug called lecanemab, showed the drug targeting amyloid beta in the brains of study participants slowed memory and thinking problems. (Alltucker, 9/27)

The Washington Post:
Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Cognitive Decline In Trial, Firms Say 

The upbeat news served as a stark contrast to the calamitous rollout last year of another drug, marketed as Aduhelm, sponsored by the two companies. Like Aduhelm, lecanemab reduces abnormal clumps of beta amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. But unlike Aduhelm, for which the data was confused and conflicting, the trial results for lecanemab told a straightforward and encouraging story, some experts said. Aduhelm was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but Medicare refused to cover it broadly, and the drug collapsed in the marketplace. (McGinley, 9/27)

The New York Times:
Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Cognitive Decline In Key Study 

Eisai had already applied for accelerated approval, the type of approval given to Aduhelm. The process allows the Food and Drug Administration to greenlight drugs if they have uncertain evidence of benefit but affect a disease’s biological pathway in a way that is considered reasonably likely to benefit patients. The company said on Tuesday night that it would first continue with the accelerated approval process, with an F.D.A. decision expected by early January, and then use the newer data to seek full approval. (Accelerated approval requires companies to do further trials and prove that their drug works.)Analysts predict that lecanemab, or any effective Alzheimer’s medication, would most likely be a multibillion-dollar blockbuster. (Robbins and Belluck, 9/27)

Gun Groups Challenge California Gun Law Modeled On Texas Abortion Measure 

Gun rights groups have challenged a California gun law that emulates a Texas abortion measure by letting private citizens sue illegal firearms manufacturers. The widely-anticipated lawsuit will test the legal underpinnings of a gun restriction that California Gov. Gavin Newsom explicitly framed as a rebuke to Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome could affect both California’s gun constraints and the anti-abortion law that inspired them. (White, 9/27)

Sexual Assault Support On Campuses Understaffed, Activists Say

When Laura Swartzen saw the email from Sacramento State University’s Title IX office, it felt like her heart skipped a beat. Swartzen, the Sac State confidential campus advocate, had spent the past nine months supporting a student who reported being sexually assaulted. Swartzen had listened to the student’s wrenching account, offered to connect them with medical and mental health care, and sat with them through an “incredibly draining” formal hearing. (Seshadri and Shaikh, 9/28)

Los Angeles Times:
18-Year-Old Charged With Murder In Connection To Teen’s Fentanyl Overdose Death In San Bernardino County 

An 18-year-old has been charged with murder in San Bernardino County for allegedly selling the opioids that led to another teen’s overdose death, prosecutors said. Alfred Urrea of Bloomington pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $1-million bail Monday. His charges stem from the Aug. 23 death of Adrian Alloway of Victorville, who died from an overdose on fentanyl. (Goldberg, 9/27)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022