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Friday, July 8, 2022 | California Healthline

California To Make Its Own Insulin, Sell It For Cheaper: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that California will produce its own “low cost” insulin, stating, “People should not go into debt to get lifesaving medication.” Newsom said that the state budget he recently signed includes $100 million for California to “contract and make [its] own insulin at a cheaper price, close to at cost, and to make it available to all.” Read more from The Hill, Orange County Register and CNN.

Feinstein Reinforces Support For Abortion Rights: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she would support a carve-out to the filibuster as a way to codify abortion rights. “Let me be clear: If it comes down to protecting the filibuster or protecting a woman’s right to choose, there should be no question that I will vote to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Feinstein said in a statement. Read more from Axios and The Hill. Keep scrolling for more abortion news. 

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

California’s Gap In Life Expectancies Widened During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy of Californians by about three years, with the decline being most pronounced among Hispanics, according to a new study based on state public health records. Researchers from UCLA and Northwestern University analyzed 1.9 million deaths from 2015 to 2021 to carry out the study, which was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Kuang, 7/7)

Sacramento Bee:
COVID-19 Severely Cut Life Expectancy Of Hispanic Californians

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy of Californians by about three years, with the decline being most pronounced among Hispanics, according to a new study based on state public health records. Researchers from UCLA and Northwestern University analyzed 1.9 million deaths from 2015 to 2021 to carry out the study, which was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Miranda, 7/8)

Biden To Sign Abortion Rights Executive Order Amid Pressure

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Friday morning directing his health department to expand access to abortion pills, beef up enforcement of Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate and organize a cadre of pro bono lawyers to help defend people criminally charged for seeking or providing the procedure. The administration will also “consider” several additional actions to shore up privacy rights for patients using digital apps like period trackers and those who are now at risk of being reported to law enforcement by a medical provider. They will also “consider” strengthening protections for doctors performing abortions in medical emergencies by updating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, and plan to stand up another interagency task force that includes the Attorney General. (Miranda Ollstein, 7/8)

Facing Pressure, Biden To Sign Order On Abortion Access 

President Joe Biden will take executive action Friday to protect access to abortion, according to three people familiar with the matter, as he faces mounting pressure from Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to the procedure two weeks ago. Biden will speak Friday morning “on protecting access to reproductive health care services,” the sources said. The actions he was expected to outline are intended to try to mitigate some potential penalties women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but are limited in their ability to safeguard access to abortion nationwide. (Kim and Miller, 7/8)

Without Obergefell, Most States Would Have Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, but in most states, laws or constitutional amendments would revive the prohibition if the high court decides, as it did with abortion, that such unions are not a constitutionally protected right. Thirty-five states ban same-sex marriage in their constitutions, state law, or both, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and Stateline research. (Povich, 7/7)

Dems Want To Tax High Earners To Protect Medicare Solvency

Senate Democrats want to boost taxes on some high earners and use the money to extend the solvency of Medicare, the latest step in the party’s election-year attempt to craft a scaled-back version of the economic package that collapsed last year, Democratic aides told The Associated Press. Democrats expect to submit legislative language on their Medicare plan to the Senate’s parliamentarian in the next few days, the aides said. (Fram, 7/7)

The New York Times:
Democrats Propose Raising Taxes On Some High Earners To Bolster Medicare

The proposal is projected to raise $203 billion over a decade by imposing an additional 3.8 percent tax on income earned from owning a piece of what is known as a pass-through business, such as a law firm or medical practice. The money that would be generated by the change is estimated to be enough to extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund that pays for hospital care — currently set to begin running out of money in 2028 — until 2031. (Cochrane, Sanger-Katz and Tankersley, 7/7)

Dems’ Climate And Tax Agenda To Consume Congress In July 

Negotiators are still ironing out key details, but Democrats are signaling that as soon as next week they will begin arguing their case to the Senate rules chief on why the package should pass with a simple majority in the chamber. No one is getting their hopes too high in a party still reeling from Manchin’s rejection of Build Back Better, Democrats’ previous version of the legislation. (Everett and Levine, 7/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Theranos’s Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani Found Guilty On All 12 Fraud Counts

A federal jury convicted Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former top lieutenant to Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes, on all 12 charges that he helped perpetuate a yearslong fraud scheme at the blood-testing startup. The verdict is the second conviction against Theranos leadership and comes six months after a jury found Ms. Holmes guilty of fraud; it secures another major victory for the U.S. government, which brought the case against the pair in 2018. (Somerville and Bobrowsky, 7/7)

The Rise And Fall Of Elizabeth Holmes: A Timeline

Four years after the top two Theranos executives, Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were first indicted together on a dozen federal fraud charges stemming from their time heading up the failed blood testing startup, both have been convicted by juries. (O’Brien, 7/7)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Roe Treated Abortion As Something That Should Be ‘Between A Woman And Her Doctor.’ That Was A Mistake

In the shock and outrage of response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a lot of outdated, incomplete and false ideas about abortion have come to dominate public discourse. Some are afraid that the end of Roe means a return to the days of the coat hanger. Some are stocking up on the abortion pill, which, while far from ideal, is at least not lethal. (Jennifer Block and Elisa Albert, 7/7)

Los Angeles Times:
How IVF Could Be Derailed By Abortion Restrictions

A few days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, Boston IVF, a fertility company with centers in six states, posted a statement that speaks to the havoc this decision will wreak not just for abortions, but for other forms of reproductive care. The statement says: “Firstly and thankfully, our New England and New York IVF centers are NOT located in ‘trigger’ states.” It also recognizes that “the definition of ‘personhood’ and the rights of embryos may be affected” in states with trigger laws to outlaw abortion once Roe fell. Kindbody, another multistate fertility company, has begun moving cryopreserved in vitro embryos out of abortion-hostile states such as Missouri. Shady Grove Fertility, located in eight states and Washington, D.C., is developing “workarounds” to address legal risks that abortion bans pose, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Lisa C. Ikemoto, 7/7)

East Bay Times:
Young Doctors Struggle With Navigating Human Suffering

I am a resident physician, a brand-new doctor. I am just beginning my residency training. The process of becoming a doctor is long and tedious and involves a tremendous amount of work and dogged commitment. We complete undergraduate education, four years of medical school, and three to five years of residency. The hardest part, though, is not academics or occupational stamina — but rather developing a personal and professional identity as you bear witness to the suffering of your fellow man. (Kathryn Tabor, 7/6)

East Bay Times:
Current State Of COVID-19 Should Invite Hope — Not Complacency

The COVID-19 virus has shown it is nimble in mutating, spreading and circumventing vaccine and acquired immunity. This makes the cost of attempting to suppress infections by once again closing schools and instituting lockdowns unacceptably high. Children have already suffered immeasurably, and lockdowns would further cripple the business sector. Nor would this likely work; even the draconian zero-COVID-19 measures of Communist China and North Korea have proved futile in the face of the current, extremely contagious variants. (Dr. Cory Franklin and Dr. Robert A. Weinstein, 7/8)

Los Angeles Daily News:
Beware Of Cynical Threats To Dialysis Care 

California voters keep beating back unfair, unequal health-care pay measures that arbitrarily attempt to rip off the public and make dialysis harder to find, time and time again at the ballot box. What makes the small, greedy union that keeps putting these measures up for a vote think that we are stupid and will be fooled the next time when we weren’t the last time? (7/5)