Sutter Health has agreed to a major class action lawsuit in an antitrust case; California to help middle class income citizens buy health coverage; doctors stress flu shots in the United States amid rough flu season in Australia
Sutter Health, one of California’s largest hospital systems, has agreed to settle a lawsuit, just in time to avoid a trial, over allegations that it abused its market power and overcharged patients for medical bills, according to The Associated Press. The announcement of the settlement came yesterday, but it provided no details on the terms agreed, with attorneys preparing to give opening statements today. The antitrust lawsuit was first brought by employers and unions in 2014 and later joined by California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, who filed a similar lawsuit after investigating Sutter Health for 6 years.
California is set to become the first state to offer subsidiaries to middle-income people who make too much money to qualify for the federal tax credits which will assist consumers in buying health coverage through the state’s Affordable Care Act insurance exchange called Covered California. California Healthline reports that the move will go into effect on January 1, 2020, the beginning of the enrollment period for 2020 coverage. Covered California estimates that nearly 1 million Californians could benefit from the subsidiaries, with many individuals in the middle class having struggled to afford health insurance due to the cost of nearly $1000 a month in premiums.
Doctors are urging Americans to receive their flu vaccinations immediately amid a bad flu season in Australia that has caused concerns among physicians of its possible transition to the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal. A deadly flu strain in Australia, known as the H3N2 virus, attributes predominantly to the cases seen in the region, with a particularly severe impact on the elderly. Public health experts normally look to the Southern Hemisphere’s influenza patterns for hints on the potential severity of the approximate flu cases, and Australia’s earlier than usual peak of flu cases has suggested that a tough season may come to the United States.