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California website offers help on long term care coverage

January 31, 2012
As California’s population continues to age, state officials are urging residents to do something human beings frequently find agonizing: Plan for that time in their twilight years when they may need assistance getting out of bed, visiting the bathroom and dressing themselves. That’s the impetus behind the five-month-old website www.RUReadyCA.org, which is managed by the California Partnership for Long-Term Care, a joint venture of the state Department of Health Care Services and a trio of insurance companies that sell long-term care policies in the state.

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California counties improve stroke system

January 30, 2012
By Callie Shanafelt Strokes are a leading cause of death - stroke victims need to be treated quickly to improve their chances of survival and decrease their chances of brain damage. California's Department of Public Health is overseeing efforts to standardize stroke treatment across the state, but that can be a challenge, especially in rural areas.

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A push for a single payer system, even as reforms take effect

January 30, 2012
Sen. Mark Leno is trying to get 20 of his fellow California state senators to vote in favor of his single-payer healthcare legislation this week. The proposed law, dubbed the “Medicare for All” bill, doesn’t look likely to pass. Yet the introduction of the bill raises an interesting question: why push for radical changes to insurance and healthcare so soon after President Obama signed historic reforms into law in March of 2010? Callie Shanafelt reports.

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Court could block use of methyl iodide

January 29, 2012
An Alameda County judge is expected to rule soon on an environmental lawsuit challenging the state's approval of a highly toxic and controversial soil fumigant that many farmers say is essential to their ability to grow strawberries and other crops. Robin Urevich has the story.

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California probes skin-lighteners for mercury content

January 27, 2012
California probes skin-lighteners for mercury content There could be a dark side to skin-lightening creams often found in stores that cater to ethnic communities. Starting next week, California health officials will collect and test a sampling of skin-lightening products in the Bay Area for possible mercury contamination. Health officials launched the investigation in response to a spate of mercury poisoning cases linked to the tainted face creams that are made outside the United States. See the story from Ngoc Nguyen of New America Media.

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Changing laws affect gay people’s health, for better and for worse

January 24, 2012
Marriage has long been recognized as good for the health of heterosexual men. Now new research suggests that marriage may also be good for the health of gay men -- even for those who don't get married. Heather Tirado Gilligan has the story.

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Polls shows broad support for Brown’s tax plan

January 24, 2012
A majority of California adults would be willing to pay higher taxes to preserve current levels of spending on health and social services, according to a new, independent poll released Tuesday.

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Unemployment rate falls to 11.1 percent in December

January 20, 2012
California's unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent in December as the state added 10,700 jobs and the number of people employed in November was revised upward by another 18,000. Contrary to some depictions of California as a failing economy, the state's employers added more jobs as a percentage of the workforce than did the nation as a whole in 2011. The recovery is being led by the technology sector and other business and professional services, but even the deeply troubled construction industry saw growth in December.

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Patient navigators help smooth way for patients, providers

January 19, 2012
We get a lot of blank stares when we tell people what we do for a living. Our title is unfamiliar, but once we explain what we do, heads begin to nod. We are Patient Navigators, a health care position that has emerged recently and must be commonplace if we’re to adapt to the changes that health reform will soon bring. While this emerging profession may seem specialized, it can have important implications for patients, insurers and the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the system itself. That is, if policymakers, insurers and health providers take action. Let us explain.

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Healthcare reform may have unintended consequences for HIV/AIDS patients

January 17, 2012
By Mary Flynn California is rolling out healthcare reform in advance of 2014, when healthcare reform takes effect nationally. HIV/AIDS service providers want to make sure that the changes healthcare reform brings won’t further compromise care for any of California’s 190,000 people living with AIDS or HIV.

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