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ARB concedes error in off-road truck rule, plans to revise regulation

August 31, 2010

The California Air Resources Board acknowledged something Tuesday that critics have been saying for months: the state vastly over-estimated the amount of diesel pollution emitted by big off-road construction vehicles. The error, contained in an ARB computer model and compounded by a recession that idled far more trucks than expected, means that the construction industry would come close to meeting state-mandated targets for reducing pollution through 2025 even if regulations designed to force firms to retire or retrofit their dirtiest trucks are repealed.

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Budget votes won’t lead to anything, anytime soon

August 30, 2010

By Daniel Weintraub

After weeks of inaction, get ready for a flurry of activity Tuesday on the state budget. And then more inaction.

The votes scheduled for Tuesday will change little. Democrats will put a portion of their proposed budget up for a vote — minus the tax increases — and Republicans will vote against it or abstain.

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Insurance oversight advances but rate regulation stalls

August 30, 2010

The Assembly on Monday approved legislation to toughen oversight of health insurance rate hikes but the Senate has rejected, at least for now, a measure to require state approval before companies can increase their premiums.

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Food deserts, imbalance areas in Sacramento County

August 30, 2010

Earlier this year Sacramento County completed a study of food “deserts” and food imbalance areas in the unincorporated parts of the county, including the urbanized South Sacramento. Food deserts are places where residents lack sufficient access to stores that sell fresh foods. Food imbalance areas are places where fast food is more readily available than fresh food.

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State pays millions to track women who test negative for breast cancer

August 29, 2010

A state program that screens low-income women for breast cancer has been paying doctors and clinics $12 million a year to track women whose mammograms showed they were cancer-free. The program –- known as Every Woman Counts -– stopped accepting new patients Jan. 1 because of a self-described lack of funds. The $50 case management fees have been questioned by the Department of Finance, which says other big states don’t pay them, and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, which recommended eliminating them. The money saved could be used to once again offer mammograms to women who qualify for the program. Correspondent Megan Baier has the story.

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Lawmakers pass bill to restore breast cancer screenings

August 27, 2010

Legislation that would reverse major cuts to a program that provides free mammograms for low-income women passed unanimously through the Senate Thursday and was sent to an uncertain fate in the office of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Prison medical care still deadly for inmates?

August 26, 2010

A decade after California’s system of prison inmate medical care was exposed as deadly to those it is supposed to treat, public radio reporter Julie Small has examined what’s been done to fix the problem and how much, if any, progress the state has made. In a five-part series, Small finds some improvements but also many problems that remain. See and listen to her report here, and a blog talk radio interview with her about the series here.

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Bill would guarantee CSU admission for community college grads

August 25, 2010

The Legislature has given final passage to a bill that would require California’s community colleges to offer a degree that would guarantee students admission to a California State University campus.

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Insurance exchange advances in Legislature

August 24, 2010

California’s Legislature is moving closer to implementing a major piece of the federal health reform, the creation of an insurance exchange that would allow individuals and small business to join a giant pool that would give them market power in bargaining for a better deal with insurance companies.

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New data on insurance coverage by California county

August 23, 2010

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has posted a new fact sheet that shows the estimated percentage of uninsured Californians by county, updating numbers published earlier this year. The data show that the number of uninsured grew in every California county, and that 37 counties have a higher percentage of uninsured residents than the statewide average of 24.3 percent. The counties where the most people have lost coverage in recent months are, not surprisingly, among the poorest in the state.

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