Covered California sees cost increase

Oct 17, 2016

Covered California, the state entity formed through the Affordable Care Act, will see its biggest premium hike yet come July 2017.


VICTORIA COLLIVER with The Chronicle: "Next year’s health insurance rates for individual policyholders are starting to hit mailboxes, and that’s proving to be painful for some California consumers."


"Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace created by the federal health law, warned in July that 2017 premiums would go up an average of 13.2 percent, or more than triple the average 4 percent rate increases that consumers have seen since the exchange started offering coverage in 2014."


READ MORE related to health careTrump, Clinton agree on one thing: health care costs too much -- VICTORIA COLLIVER with The Chronicle


The advertising campaign for Gov. Brown's parole reformation measure is under way. 


JOE GAROFOLI and Bob Egelko with The Chronicle: "The first radio ads are out promoting Proposition 57, Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to make some of the state’s less-violent felons eligible for parole. Not surprisingly, the messages portray the initiative as a money-saver that will protect the public."


"Prop. 57 “focuses prison spending on keeping dangerous offenders locked up, while rehabilitating those offenders willing to change,” Brown says in one of the one-minute spots released Friday."


"The other message comes from Mark Bonini, who describes himself as “a law enforcement professional for over two decades” — he’s the president of the Chief Probation Officers of California, a dissident among law enforcement groups, which mostly oppose Prop. 57. The initiative would save tens of millions of dollars while keeping “the most dangerous criminals locked up,” Bonini says, while warning that if it doesn’t pass, “courts could order an arbitrary and dangerous release of prisoners."


READ MORE related to BallotProposition 55 would extend 'temporary' tax for 12 years -- JULIET WILLIAMS with AP in O.C. RegisterNew California law to allow marijuana 'honey oil' labs -- ALI TADAYON with The Press-EnterpriseThe California ballot measure that inspired a tax revolt -- CLYDE HABERMAN with N.Y. Times


Tom Steyer hasn't confirmed a 2018 gubernatorial bid, but his political moves this year point in that direction.


CARLA MARINUCCI with Politico: "Billionaire Democratic activist Tom Steyer insists he’s not thinking about 2018 yet — but a look at his moves this year show he’s already launched a shadow campaign that could lay the groundwork for him to mount a gubernatorial bid."


"The megadonor and former hedge fund manager is visiting Los Angeles' Skid Row, dropping by ethnic enclaves in Long Beach, traveling from San Diego to Humboldt, meeting with key union leaders to repair rocky relationships, weighing in on more than dozen state and local ballot measures -- and introducing himself to voters in high-profile TV spots running statewide."


"And in an unprecedented effort that he says will change the state’s electorate for generations to come, Steyer is bankrolling a $13 million millennial-aimed voter registration drive that he tells POLITICO will add upward of 500,000 new names — most of them young and Democratic — to the California voter rolls by Election Day."


As the voting process evolves, so too do the formulas used by campaign strategists to target particular demographics.


JOHN MYERS with L.A. Times: "There’s a good chance that millions of Californians who receive a ballot in the mail this month will leave it sitting on a table for days or weeks, deciding for whatever reason to delay casting their vote in the Nov. 8 election."


"That may not seem like a big deal until you consider that absentee voters are now in the majority in the state, a shift in voting habits that’s part of what may be a major political evolution."


"The result is that candidates and strategists can now repeatedly tweak their efforts by tracking the daily tally of which voters turn in ballots — sometimes recalibrating for as little as 20% of voters, all to squeeze out every last drop of support."


California's Senate race is one of the most historical elections for the state in recent memory, and The Chronicle has interviewed both candidates running for the position to learn about what they have to offer voters.


JOE GAROFOLI with The Chronicle: "Some form of the word “cautious” is often used to describe Attorney General Kamala Harris."


"Because her day job as the state’s top legal official requires her to tiptoe around many hot-button political issues in which her office may have a conflict of interest, her reticence is often frustrating to those who know how progressive she is on most issues."


"But the Oakland native, who turns 52 Thursday, concedes that after a career as a prosecutor, it would be liberating to speak freely should she win the Senate race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer."


READ MORE related to Senate Race: Loretta Sanchez set to race again as underdog for Boxer's seat -- JOHN WILDERMUTH with The Chronicle


Meanwhile, Donald Trump accuses the electorate of being rigged and Hillary Clinton of being on drugs.


CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee: "With Donald Trump’s deepening warnings about a “rigged” presidential campaign, and renewing doubts about the legitimacy of the democratic process, California’s election chief said Sunday that he has great faith in the state’s county election officials and its thousands of volunteer poll workers."


"Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office has issued advisories to county election officials outlining rules and responsibilities for polling place observers. He plans to deploy Election Day observers throughout the state to respond to issues as needed."


"I expect Californians will go to the polls on Nov. 8 and cast their ballots free from intimidation – our voters, poll workers, and democracy deserve no less,” Padilla said in a written statement to The Bee."


READ MORE related to Beltway: Intra-party GOP skirmishes continue thanks to Trump -- MARTIN WISCKOL with O.C. Register; Democrats try to taint California opponents with Trump links -- Jonathan J. Cooper with AP in O.C. Register


Kamala Harris scored a big win in February when she negotiated a $25 billion settlement for homeowners in California, but the victory came with its imperfections.


PHIL WILLON with L.A. Times: "State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris was showered with applause at February’s California Democratic Party convention after spelling out how she went up against the nation’s five largest mortgage firms to help deliver a landmark $25-billion national settlement."


"Harris spoke of the heat she took for briefly pulling the state out of settlement talks. Her hardball tactics paid off, Harris told her audience in San Jose, and brought $20 billion in financial relief to California homeowners flattened by the foreclosure crisis."


"The mortgage agreement has become one of Harris’ signature accomplishments as state attorney general and, in her Senate campaign against Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, has anchored her message of being a self-described “fearless” leader for California. She has received national acclaim for her tenacious negotiating during the settlement talks, which substantially increased the direct relief provided to her home state."


Teachers start looking for ways to collaborate and improve student success in their classrooms.
LORETTA KALB with Sacramento Bee: "If you see more students zigzagging while reading couplets out loud at Albert Einstein Middle School, credit Peggie Clapper."


"The eighth-grade English teacher told her colleagues that when it’s time for poetry, her students walk forward as they read Shakespeare aloud. Each time they reach end-of-line punctuation – a period, exclamation point, question mark or semicolon – they pivot left or right, keep walking and continue reading."


“I have kids going in all directions,” she said. “For an outsider, it would look totally chaotic. But the kids know what’s happening.”

With California being the second state to raise the smoking age to 21, critics wonder if the measure will truly save lives like it claims.
SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA with L.A. Times: "California this year became the second state after Hawaii to raise its minimum smoking age to 21. When the law took effect in June, state public health officials declared it would “literally be a life-saving measure."


"But experts say it’s too soon to know whether the law will live up to such claims, and there are few studies from elsewhere pointing the way."


"“We’re going to have to let the policy settle in,” said Dr. Stanton Glantz, a UC San Francisco professor who studies tobacco policies."

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