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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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

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

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Democrats Say Abortion Is on the Line in Recall Election. But Rolling Back Rights Wouldn’t Be Easy.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the election to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom approaches, abortion-rights groups are warning that Californians’ right to an abortion is on the ballot. Newsom, a Democrat, himself tweeted that “abortion access” is at stake. “There’s no question that if a Republican is elected, access to abortion in California will be restricted,” […]

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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. […]

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New Single-Payer Bill Intensifies Newsom’s Political Peril

SACRAMENTO — A group of Democratic state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to create a single-payer health care system to cover all Californians, immediately defining the biggest health policy debate of the year and putting enormous political pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor faces the increasingly likely prospect of a Republican-driven recall election later […]

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California Law Banning Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Will Transform Industry

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