News of the Month — February 2020

February 27th, 2020

For the second consecutive year, improving access to mental health care is the top health care priority for Californians, according to a survey conducted by the California Healthcare Foundation. The poll also found that large numbers of Californians who need mental health care struggle to get it. Among those with insurance who tried to make an appointment for mental health care in the past 12 months, nearly half (48 percent) found it “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to find a provider who took their insurance. Over half (52 percent) of those who tried to make an appointment (with or without insurance) believe they waited longer than was reasonable to get one.

The White House on February 20 formally published a controversial document that gives Defense Secretary Mark Esper the authority to end collective bargaining for the Pentagon’s nearly 750,000-person civilian workforce, more than three weeks after President Trump signed the memo.

The Lancet, one of world’s most prominent medical journals has endorsed Medicare for All, finding that “a universal system, such as that proposed in the Medicare for All Act, has the potential to transform the availability and efficiency of American health care services.”

Because of Trump’s success in filling judicial vacancies, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, long dominated by Democratic appointees, has suddenly shifted to the right, with an even more pronounced tilt expected in the years ahead. Trump has now named 10 judges to the 9th Circuit — more than one-third of its active judges — compared with seven appointed by President Obama over eight years.

The chief executive for St. Joseph Health in Humboldt County has declined to provide assurances to the county Board of Supervisors that physicians specializing in health care for women and children will remain on staff past mid-2021 at Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna.