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Californians urged to re-up for state-funded health insurance now
10/20/2021 6:28:40 PM

SACRAMENTO—During this historic COVID pandemic, more people than ever before signed up for health insurance through Covered California, the state agency that administers the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). With a record 1.6 million consumers now enrolled in brand-name health plans through Covered California, the agency recently announced that the renewal process is now underway for its current members for health coverage in 2022. The good news is that he vast majority of Covered California members will receive financial help, from the new American Rescue Plan, that will...

Green thumb versus black & blue thumb
10/20/2021 5:44:14 PM

By Dr. James L. Snyder   If you came to our parsonage, you would discover all over our property, plants and flowers. Just don’t ask me to identify what they are. I can tell a plant from a flower, but that’s as far as it goes with me. That is not true with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She gets all the credit for all the plants and flowers on our property. She knows them all by name. Walking up to our house, you will see right next to the door a pineapple plant. I never knew exactly what it was, but my wife kept telling me it was a pineapple. Then this...

Merck asks FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill
10/13/2021 10:59:26 AM

By Matthew Perrone   WASHINGTON (AP)—Drugmaker Merck asked federal regulators Monday to authorize its pill for treating COVID-19 in what would add an entirely new and easy-to-use weapon to the world’s arsenal against the pandemic. If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration—a decision that could come in a matter of weeks—it would be the first pill shown to treat the illness. All other FDA-backed treatments against COVID-19 require an IV or injection. An antiviral pill that people could take at home to reduce their symptoms and speed recovery could...

Advocates, lawmakers push hospitals to help more with bills
10/13/2021 10:50:58 AM

By Tom Murphy   Swamped with medical bills? The hospital that treated you may be able to help. Whether you learn about this before those bills wind up in debt collections is another matter. Medical bills often represent large, unexpected shocks that can crash personal budgets. Roughly 1 in 7 U.S. residents with a credit record has medical debt in collections, according to the nonprofit Urban Institute. Hospitals have ways to keep more people from joining those ranks. Those can include income-based discounts, payment plans, help finding health insurance or waiving a bill and...

Doctors grow frustrated over Covid-19 denial, misinformation
10/7/2021 12:54:41 PM

By Heather Hollingsworth   The COVID-19 patient's health was deteriorating quickly at a Michigan hospital, but he was having none of the doctor's diagnosis. Despite dangerously low oxygen levels, the unvaccinated man didn't think he was that sick and got so irate over a hospital policy forbidding his wife from being at his bedside that he threatened to walk out of the building. Dr. Matthew Trunsky didn’t hold back in his response: “You are welcome to leave, but you will be dead before you get to your car,’” he said. Such exchanges have...

10/7/2021 12:47:27 PM

By Dr. James L. Snyder   Some people believe in karma, but I don’t. I do believe that everything you do does have consequences. Recently, my truck was in the garage for about six weeks getting a new engine because the old engine had died. It was either get a new engine or a new truck. The engine was a lot cheaper. While my truck was in the shop, I used the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage’s van. Believe me when I say it was a challenge to drive that little van. I had no choice. Either borrow my wife’s van or walk. Then the day came when my truck was...

TV's Cartoonito aim: to help tots be 'best humans' possible
9/16/2021 10:24:39 PM

By Lynn Elber   LOS ANGELES (AP)—It's a good time to be a preschooler with TV privileges. You can watch classics including “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,” always worth your attention. And you're the target audience for shows that take a new approach to helping you grow up while being entertained. Case in point: Cartoonito, a programming block of animated shows that debuts Monday on Cartoon Network and HBO Max. It was developed with what its producers call “humancentric learning” at is core. “It really is about leaning into our...

CDC finds unvaccinated 11 times more likely to die of COVID
9/16/2021 10:22:07 PM

By Lauran Neergaard   WASHINGTON—New U.S. studies released Friday show the COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective against hospitalizations and death even as the extra-contagious delta variant swept the country. One study tracked over 600,000 COVID-19 cases in 13 states from April through mid-July. As delta surged in early summer, those who were unvaccinated were 4.5 times more likely than the fully vaccinated to get infected, over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and...

Crowded stadiums, pandemic create combustible mix this fall
9/16/2021 10:18:32 PM

By Tom Murphy   TAMPA, FL—More than 65,000 fans packed a stadium in Tampa to watch Tom Brady lead the Buccaneers to a win in the NFL's season opener, just hours after President Joe Biden announced a sweeping new plan to slow the latest COVID-19 surge. Most people at the open-air stadium Thursday night didn't wear masks. There was no vaccine requirement for fans, something Biden has urged sports and entertainment venues to impose. Many other football stadiums are taking a similarly lax approach to pandemic measures this fall, and that worries health experts. This...

Remembering September 11
9/16/2021 9:56:39 PM

By Marian Wright Edelman FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT EMERITA   It was a gloriously beautiful morning in Atlanta, Georgia on September 11, 2001. I saw a glimpse of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beloved community in his hometown as I attended the first public event of organizations that had joined together to sponsor a breakfast with several hundred Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, and political and community leaders of every color to affirm our joint responsibility to ensure a safe and fit nation and world for all of God’s children. I was moved to...