A Work-From-Home Culture Takes Root in California

Even as pandemic lockdowns fade into memory, covid-19 has transformed California’s workplace culture in ways researchers say will reverberate well beyond 2022.

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, working from home for some portion of the week has become the new normal for a large segment of Californians. The data shows high-income employees with college degrees are more likely to have access to this hybrid work model, while lower-income employees stay the course with on-site responsibilities and daily commutes.

At a basic level, that means low-wage workers will continue to shoulder greater risks of infection and serious illness as new covid variants sweep through job sites, alongside seasonal waves of flu and other respiratory viruses. Multiple studies have found that covid took its greatest toll in low-income neighborhoods, whose workers were deemed essential during early pandemic lockdowns — the farmworkers, grocery clerks, warehouse packers, and

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‘An Arm and a Leg’: When Insurance Won’t Pay, Abortion Assistance Funds Step In

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Click here for a transcript of the episode.

As Americans choose their insurance plans for next year, some might wonder: How does the recent rise in state abortion restrictions affect insurance plans?

There’s no single answer, but for a lot of people, insurance has rarely helped pay for abortions. Most pay cash, and many can’t afford it.

That’s where abortion funds come in. These organizations have been providing financial and logistical assistance to people seeking abortion care for decades.

The “An Arm and a Leg” podcast spoke with Oriaku Njoku, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and Tyler Barbarin, a board member with the New Orleans Abortion Fund, to understand the history behind these services and how they’re operating in a post-Roe v. Wade environment.

“An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production

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California Aims to Maximize Health Insurance Subsidies for Workers During Labor Disputes

This spring, Chevron workers testified that the company revoked health coverage for hundreds of members of the United Steelworkers Local 5 at the Richmond, California, refinery during a strike that ultimately lasted two months. Thousands of nurses at Stanford Health Care were told in April they would lose their health insurance if they did not return to work during their weeklong strike. More than 300 workers at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City received a similar message after going on strike in mid-July as contract negotiations stalled.

Freezing health insurance benefits is a common tactic in a labor dispute because without them, workers might be more easily persuaded to concede to management’s demands. But California lawmakers are giving an edge to strikers.

Assembly member Jim Wood, a Democrat, is hoping a new California law he authored will dissuade employers from cutting off health benefits during labor disputes by allowing private-industry workers

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Path Cleared for Georgia to Launch Work Requirements for Medicaid

[UPDATED at 2 p.m. ET]

Georgia is set to become the only state to have work requirements for Medicaid coverage.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s reelection — and a surprising Biden administration decision not to appeal a federal court ruling — have freed the state to introduce its plan that would allow for a limited increase in the pool of low-income residents eligible for Medicaid.

Questions remain about the rollout of Kemp’s plan. But it would set up Georgia as a test case for a work provision that has been proposed by several states and struck down in federal courts and by the Biden administration.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups are concerned about barriers to obtaining and maintaining the coverage. They also point out that the Kemp plan would be more expensive per enrollee and cover a fraction of the people who would get Medicaid under a full expansion. The new Georgia eligibility

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Watch: As Health Costs Spike, the Role of Hospitals Often Gets Overlooked

The documentary “InHospitable” explores the role hospitals play in a fractured U.S. health care system and how they have driven up costs. It presents stories of patients and activists who protested practices at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a behemoth health system headquartered in Pittsburgh. They asserted that UPMC was making vital care unaffordable and sometimes unattainable for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable patients as it fought a business dispute with a rival health system.

(Spoiler alert: The dispute was finally resolved, and care restored, due to a settlement negotiated by Pennsylvania’s then-attorney general, Josh Shapiro, who is now the governor-elect.)

A recent conversation on Facebook about the film was moderated by KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner and featured the film’s director, Sandra Alvarez; Elisabeth Rosenthal, KHN’s editor-in-chief; and patient Beth McCracken. Both Rosenthal and McCracken were featured in the film.

The participants discussed how some nonprofit

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