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There's a reason they hang a sneeze guard over the salad bar. And after reading an article in New York Magazine titled "The Young Invincibles," you may realize that food shield may be to protect you from the uninsured workers chucking croutons and radish slices your way.
"They're young and healthy, and insurance is expensive," the story begins. Except when they get a ruptured appendix or ignore a cough that turns out to be tuberculosis.
Here are a few other snapshots from the world of health care today.
No more plastic bags: The city of San Francisco has become the first in the nation to outlaw plastic bags. Supermarkets have six months to comply; chain pharmacies, a year.
Trans fat update: If you pump "trans fat" into the Sacramento legislative search engine at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html , 17 bills will pop up. Most are trying to ban the artery-jamming glop from school lunchrooms, restaurants or supermarkets. However, thanks to the wonders of search-enginery, you also connect with a proposal on defining hallucinogenic drugs and another on jail sentence guidelines.
Voters thumbs up/down: Voters think Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed "fee/tax" on doctors and hospitals is a bad idea, according to a poll on health care reform released by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. They also strongly object to his goal of providing insurance coverage for undocumented immigrants, according to a Los Angeles Times story.
Financial pickles: A top Tuolumne County official has recommended closing Tuolumne General Hospital's acute care services, phasing out its long-term care unit and hiring private companies to run its clinics, the Union Democrat reported, in the last chronicle of the hospital's fiscal travails. Then there's a looming $17 million at San Joaquin General Hospital, reported by the Stockton Record, caused by a shortage of patients, rising labor costs and government reimbursement problems. Among solutions offered: slash the medical residency program so doctors have more time to work with patients. And the problem facing Hemet Valley Medical Center is that more of its emergency room doctors are surpassing a hospital age limit requiring them to take ER call, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported. Once they hit 65 and taken call for 15 years, they can opt out of call, the story said. Among solutions offered: pay them to take call. Anybody see a pattern in these three snapshots of hospital gloom and doom?