Return of the 'public option'

Oct 13, 2016

The government is seriously considering funding a public healthcare program that resembles Medicaid but is open to the public at large.


PAULINE BARTOLONE in Daily News: "The “public option,” which stoked fierce debate in the run-up to the Affordable Care Act, is making a comeback — at least among Democratic politicians."


"The proposal to create a government-funded health plan, one that might look like Medicare or Medicaid but would be open to everyone, is being reconsidered at both the federal and state levels."


"Amid news that two major insurers were pulling out of Affordable Care Act exchanges, 33 U.S. Senators recently renewed the call for a public option. The idea was first floated, then rejected, during the drafting of the federal health reform law, which took effect in 2010."


READ MORE related to HealthcareCalifornia won't extend parental leave rights to small businesses -- Michelle Andrews with California HealthlineHospitals say they're being slammed by drug price hikes -- SYDNEY LUPKIN with California Healthline


The drought has affected one of California's most beloved fruits -- avocados -- with prices that have doubled over the past year.


CHARLENE JIN with Daily Californian: "California avocado lovers may begin to feel a sinking in the pit of their stomachs upon learning that the fruit’s price has more than doubled since last year."


"Avocado prices have been high throughout the year due to drought in California, according to Dave Samuels, sales manager for Ingardia Brothers, a produce purveyor in Southern California. But it was not until the past two weeks that a sharp price spike occurred, Samuels added, putting pressure on businesses which carry avocado products."


"It’s a little bit scary. … As a matter of fact, I was just going to have a meeting with my managers to discuss what we’re going to do,” said Izat Eliyan, owner of La Burrita, a Berkeley restaurant that uses avocado in many of its items."


Meanwhile, Donald Trump is critical of the Commission for Presidential Debates, claiming the panel is rigged and threatening to avoid the final presidential debate on Oct. 19.


ADAM K. RAYMOND in MSN: "Donald Trump blasted the Commission for Presidential Debates on Wednesday, claiming the bipartisan group is “rigged” and declaring himself “done” with it."


“The head guy worked for Bill Clinton. Ay yai yai. What a rigged deal this is,” Trump said at a rally in Florida. He was referring to CPD co-chair Mike McCurry, who served as Clinton’s press secretary for three and a half years. What Trump did not mention is that McCurry’s co-chair is Frank Fahrenkopf, chairman of the Republican National Committee while Ronald Reagan was president."


"Trump went on to suggest that he might skip the third debate, scheduled for October 19 in Las Vegas. “I have no respect for that group, by the way, I’m done,” he said of the CPD. Trump spokesperson Jason Miller told the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi that Trump does, in fact, plan to participate in the third debate."


READ MORE related to Trump: New sexual assault allegations against trump: 'He was like an octopus.' -- SEEMA MEHTA with L.A. TimesAccused of groping women, Trump threatens legal action against New York Times -- PETER HASSON with Daily Caller; Tom Steyer takes Trump attack as badge of honor


The GOP's latest advertisement for a key congressional race in California dishonestly represents some facts about candidates Scott Jones and Ami Bera, according to an analysis.


SEAN COCKERHAM with Sacramento Bee: "The National Republican Congressional Committee is running a television ad linking Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, with “dirty money” and “fraud” while touting the record of Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican running against Bera for Congress."


"The advertisement attempts to tie Bera to the campaign finance crimes of his father while claiming that Jones “cleaned up Sacramento’s Sheriff’s Department.” Following is the text of the ad and an analysis."


Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has been ousted and forced to resign over a scandal that lead to an $185 million settlement.


JAMES RUFUS KOREN with L.A. Times: "John Stumpf resigned Wednesday as chairman and chief executive of Wells Fargo& Co., bowing to mounting criticism from lawmakers and others who said he should lose his job over revelations that bank employees created as many as 2 million accounts without customer authorization."


"The wrongdoing by the San Francisco bank was exposed by a Los Angeles Times investigation and led to an $185-million settlement with regulators last month, sparking the biggest banking scandal since the financial crisis and renewing calls for a breakup of the nation’s biggest banks."


"Stumpf, 63, had been chief executive since 2007 and chairman of Wells Fargo’s board since 2010."


Proposition 54 aims to greatly increase government transparency by allowing bills to be available for public viewing online 3 days before going to the chambers for vote.


Alison Noon with AP in Daily News: "California lawmakers worked in the dead of night in August during the final hours of the legislative session, approving last-minute policy changes that affect millions of people."


"Activists are asking voters to outlaw that practice in November through Proposition 54, an effort to increase transparency in the Legislature."


"The measure would require bills to be available for public viewing online for three days before the full Senate or Assembly could vote on them, make the Legislature record and publish videos of all public hearings and allow anyone attending to photograph or record them. Its chief backer is Republican donor Charles Munger Jr., who has contributed about $9 million to the effort."


READ MORE related to Ballot Measures: Why are there two plastic bag ban propositions on the California ballot? -- JAVIER PANZAR with L.A. Times; Effort to overturn California gun bills at ballot box fails -- JIM MILLER with Sacramento Bee


More and more undocumented students are pursuing undergrad studies in an effort to 'improve cultural competency'.


ALEJANDRA MOLINA with The Press-Enterprise in L.A. Daily News: "Alondra Naves just transferred from Riverside City College to Cal Poly Pomona, and already she’s thinking about pursuing graduate school."


"Naves, 21, is interested in the public health field. Growing up undocumented, she noticed a lack of quality health care in her community. Doctors and other providers didn’t understand residents’ specific needs, and health care costs were too expensive."


"There’s a lack of cultural competency,” said Naves, who wants to push for immigrant-friendly health care policies."


The  Nixon Library, with a new $15 million renovation, has a grand opening Saturday that is projected to draw thousands of visitors.


DENISSE SALAZAR with L.A. Daily News: "Selfie stops and floor-to-ceiling graphics propel President Richard Nixon’s triumphs and defeats into the modern world of museum displays, telling a more “complete” story of his life and legacy at his overhauled presidential library in Orange County."


"Thousands are expected Friday at the unveiling of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum’s $15 million renovation. A project that took its aged and staid galleries down to the studs, replacing them with nearly 70 new exhibits tapping the library’s vast archives of presidential documents and artifacts, but using cutting-edge technology to engage even the youngest of visitors or those who know little more than Watergate."


"Michael Ellzey, director of the museum since 2014, said the focus of the redesign was to create a balanced and compelling look at Nixon’s presidency, his 50-year career in public service and the complicated story of his life."


L.A. sees a massive boon to housing funds, thanks to California's cap-and-trade program.


DAKOTA SMITH with L.A. Daily News: "Several Los Angeles-based affordable housing complexes, including Watt’s Jordan Downs, will benefit from money raised through California’s cap-and-trade program, state and local representatives said Wednesday."


"Jordan Downs will receive $12 million for its first phase of construction, which includes $2 million for street improvements along Century Boulevard, from a committee that helps award grants and loans from proceeds raised by the cap-and-trade program."


"The Watts housing project is being remade into a $1 billion redevelopment offering affordable housing, retail, park space, and a community center."


An LAPD officer has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


RICHARD WINTON, HAILY BRANSON-POTTS and VERONICA ROCHA with L.A. Times: "Los Angeles Police Department detective who was investigating rape allegations against NBA star Derrick Rose died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday."


"Officers found LAPD Det. Nadine Hernandez, 44, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday afternoon in a Whittier home, according to the Whittier Police Department. She was transported to a local hospital where she later died."


“At this time, there are no signs of foul play, and this incident is being investigated as a suicide,” Whittier police said Wednesday. “However, this is an ongoing investigation."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: 'Those police officers walked into a trap': Suspect in Palm Springs killings charged with murder -- RICHARD WINTON with L.A. Times; Have changes at Adelanto Immigration Detention Center led to better healthcare? -- KPCC


'Chessman' is a new play written after the fateful call Jerry Brown made in 1960 asking for a reprieve for an inmate on Death Row.


ALEXEI KOSEFF with The Bee: "Buck Busfield is pondering the finer points of one of the most important phone calls in California political history."


"It was Feb. 18, 1960, the eve of the long-delayed execution of Caryl Chessman. A 21-year-old Jerry Brown, recently departed from the seminary and now a student at UC Berkeley, called his father, then-Gov. Pat Brown, asking him to grant a reprieve for the condemned inmate."


"Across the world, millions awaited the fate of a man they had taken up as the poster boy for ending the death penalty. The freighted decision tore at Pat Brown, whose Catholic faith taught him that execution was immoral."


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