Wednesday, January 26, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 |  Kaiser Health News

KHN:
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 PPO, or preferred provider organization. (Wolfson, 1/26) Los Angeles Times:
No Ifs, Ands Or Butts: California Bill Would Ban Single-Use Smoking Products Like Cigarette Filters
California could see fewer cigarette butts and vape pods on the streets under a measure introduced Tuesday. Assembly Bill 1690 would ban single-use cigarette filters, e-cigarettes and vape products in the state with the aim of benefiting the environment and public health. “For more than half a century, tobacco filters have caused a public and environmental health crisis that found renewed vigor in recent years as the tobacco industry began to sell electronic vape products,” Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-North Hollywood), who introduced the bill, said in a news release Tuesday. (Martinez, 1/25) In abortion and pregnancy news —

In California news — Houston Chronicle:
Texas Cut Medicaid Staffing During The Pandemic. Millions Are Now At Risk Of Being Dropped From The Program
More than 1 million Texans were added to Medicaid coverage during the pandemic, many of them children, thanks to emergency federal funding that deters states from dropping recipients during the health crisis. But those gains could soon be erased, according to patient advocates, who worry that state health officials are not prepared for the influx of new and returning Medicaid applications that could pour in as early as this spring, when the Biden administration is scheduled to lift the emergency declaration. (Blackman, 1/25)

Los Angeles Times:
COVID-19 Sick Pay In California Would Return Under New Deal
Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers reached an agreement Tuesday to again require employers to provide workers with up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to recover from COVID-19 or care for a family member with the virus. The legislation, which lawmakers would likely fast-track to the governor in the coming weeks, would apply to all businesses with 26 or more employees. A similar law from 2021 that provided 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave expired Sept. 30. (Luna and Gutierrez, 1/25) According to a report, during the pandemic, Texas cut the number of people working in Medicaid services even as a million Texans gained coverage due to emergency federal funding. Now, staffing issues may affect an expected flood of new and returning applicants.

In other news from across the U.S. — AP:
Nationwide Blood Shortage Puts Idaho Hospitals In Dire Need 
A national blood shortage caused by a surge in omicron cases has hit Idaho hard, with some hospitals nearly running out of the critical medical resource before they are resupplied, state health officials said Tuesday. Much of the southern half of the state entered crisis standards of care on Monday, partly because of staff shortages and partly because the inventory of blood products used in transfusions, surgeries and other treatments is running dangerously low. The designation allows hospitals to ration care as needed when they don’t have enough resources for all patients. (Boone, 1/26) AP:
New Mexico Lawmakers Propose $1 Million For ‘Baby Boxes’ 
Two lawmakers are proposing funding “baby boxes” in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties in an effort to increase options for parents who want to abandon their babies under the state’s existing safe haven law. A bill to fund the initiative introduced by Sens. David Gallegos, a Republican, and Leo Jaramillo, a Democrat, would allocate around $30,000 for each of the boxes, which would be equipped with heat regulation and silent alarms. (1/25)

Bloomberg:
Boycott Pepsi Calls Grow Over Donation To Texas Republicans, Abortion Bill
PepsiCo Inc. is facing another potential boycott over politics, this time for a $15,000 contribution to the Texas Republican Party. Abortion-rights advocates are sounding the alarm that the donation, dated Aug. 5 according to state ethics commission records, came almost three months after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill banning most abortions in the state. Pepsi says it made the donation in 2020 but that the state party didn’t cash its check until the following year. (Ceron, 1/25) The Texas Tribune:
Planned Parenthood Drops Appeal In Lubbock Abortion Case
When the idea of banning abortion in Lubbock first came up, the city council declined to take it up, arguing the proposal conflicted with state law and federal court precedent. Residents passed the ordinance through a ballot initiative anyway in May 2021, empowering private citizens, rather than public officials, to bring lawsuits against anyone who assists someone getting an abortion, like by driving them to a clinic — which the ordinance refers to as “aiding or abetting. ”The ordinance was immediately challenged in court. But now, eight months later, Planned Parenthood has dropped that legal challenge, saying “it is clear we cannot depend on the courts to protect our constitutional rights.” (Klibanoff, 1/25)

The News Highlights

  • Wednesday, January 26, 2022 | Kaiser Health News
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