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California Watch

News stories in this section spotlight activities in California, including actions by the state Assembly and state Senate; proposed legislation; regulators like the Department of Managed Health Care and Department of Insurance; and the state ACA exchange, Covered California.

Surprise Ambulance Bills Put These Families In Debt. A New California Law Bans The Practice

Surprise ambulance bills can leave families deeply in debt after a medical emergency. A new state law that forces insurance companies to negotiate payments is expected to save Californians tens of millions of dollars a year.

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Newsom Extends Free Healthcare To 700,000 Illegal Immigrants Despite Record Budget Deficit

California became the first state on Monday to offer comprehensive health insurance to all undocumented immigrants, a plan expected to expand to roughly 700,000 residents living in the Golden State.

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California New Laws For 2024: Workers Get More Paid Sick Days

Under a new law, employees in California are guaranteed five paid sick days a year, two days more than previously. Worker advocacy groups say the benefit is needed, but business groups warn of additional costs.

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Sick With COVID And The Flu: Double Infections Hit California Hard

California’s hospitals are getting busier with more COVID-19 and flu patients, some of whom are suffering from both viruses at the same time. The simultaneous sickness is another wrinkle in an already hectic respiratory virus season. Although hospitals are not nearly as crowded as during the emergency phase of the pandemic, they are becoming increasingly ...

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‘You Have A Crisis Out There’: Gavin Newsom Scolds Counties Over Delays In Mental Health Law

If any year is looked back on as pivotal in California’s fight to curb mental illness, homelessness and drug-related deaths, 2023 could be the one. Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed major — and at times controversial — reforms of the state’s mental and behavioral health systems through the Legislature, but a mere two months after signing the laws, ...

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CA Health Care Patients Punished by Paperwork

Six months after the state restarted its health insurance eligibility process, more than 835,000 people who had their Medi-Cal terminated between June and October lost that coverage because of incomplete or missing paperwork.

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In New Year, All Immigrants in California May Qualify for Medicaid Regardless of Legal Status

Milagro, a Peruvian immigrant in Riverside County, California, has had spotty access to health care in the two decades she’s been in this country. The 48-year-old, who works as the office manager at a nonprofit, can get emergency care through a narrow set of benefits the state makes available to immigrants without legal residency. And ...

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California Sober Living Homes Were ‘Little More Than Drug Dens,’ Lawsuit Says

Dear Gov. Newsom: Thanks for the new laws. Thanks for the new inspectors. Thanks, I guess, for trying, even a little. But — and isn’t there always a but? — it’s not working. And it’s maddening that the fraud and abuse still plaguing California’s addiction treatment industry aren’t being exposed by California’s regulators, or California’s attorney general, ...

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California Hospital Beds Filling Up With Sick Kids Amid Flu, RSV And COVID Surge

Hospitals and emergency rooms in California and across the nation may have to ration care by the end of the month, federal health authorities warned this week. Officials are particularly worried about an insufficient number of beds for children in pediatric hospitals and wards throughout the country as respiratory illnesses hit especially hard among Americans ...

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Thousands Face Higher Medical Costs After Rift Between Two California Health Care Giants

Thousands of Californians may have to pay out-of-network medical costs to go to their nearest hospital after contract negotiations between Adventist Health and Blue Shield of California — a major health care provider and health insurer in the state, respectively — fell through last week.

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