The Health Beat Blog

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    Taxpayers without insurance may face big bill

    BY COURTENAY EDELHART The Bakersfield Californian
    Tuesday, Jan 27 2015 05:33 PM

    Many taxpayers facing their first tax season since implementation of the Affordable Care Act are in for a rude awakening. "I'm shocked at the number of people who are coming in in a panic who are surprised that they have to pay a tax penalty," said Bakersfield H&R Block enrolled agent Joyous Spicer. "I have people who just didn't believe the tax penalty was real."

    Even among those who know about the penalty for not having health insurance during the 2014 tax year, there's a wide perception that it's a flat fee of $95, Spicer said.

    "That's just not true," she said. In fact, the penalty, officially dubbed the "individual shared responsibly payment," is $95 or 1 percent of annual household income -- whichever is greater -- plus $47.50...

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    Health roundup: Insurance enrollment events coming up

    As the Feb. 15 deadline to avoid tax penalties for lacking insurance approaches, there are two Covered California enrollment events coming up: * 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at East Hills Mall, 3100 Mall View Road, and * 10 a.m. to 6 p.m....

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    Counselors assist people in signing up for insurance

    Signing up for health insurance was a family affair for Martin Leon. The 30-year-old and his wife, Monica, along with their five children, attended an enrollment event  hosted by Clinica Sierra Vista Saturday to assist with enrollment...

  4. Builders 'top off' new medical development in northeast

    Ancient pagan Scandinavians were big believers in trees. They plopped them on top of new buildings all the time, a tradition that persists today in the form of "topping off" ceremonies commemorating the installation of the last structural...

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    Community roundup: Kern earns mixed grades for tobacco control

    The American Lung Association gave Kern County its usual bashing in an annual report that graded the region's tobacco control policies. The association rates cities nationwide in its "American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control...

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    Environmental group says oil and gas industry hurts air quality

    The environmental group Earthworks has released a report that raises questions about possible adverse health effects from living near oil and gas production. The 56-page report, "Californians At Risk: An Analysis of Health Threats from...

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    Medical board accuses local OB-GYN of gross negligence

    The California Medical Board has moved to either revoke, suspend or deny the medical license of Bakersfield OB-GYN Dr. Philipp Ramon Melendez, accusing him of gross negligence in failing to properly treat a high-risk pregnancy that ended...

  8. Experts: Bidart handling apple recall well

    Bidart Bros. is doing a reasonably good job of damage control since a food poisoning crisis was linked to its apple processing plant, according to industry watchers. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers...

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    Major grant to fund homeless services project

    Thanks to a new $1.2 million federal grant, Clinica Sierra Vista next month will begin offering an intense program of substance abuse and mental health services for the homeless. The initiative will target veterans who have been homeless...

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    Kaiser healthcare workers strike

    About 2,600 Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians in California walked off the job Monday to protest a "chronic failure" to provide Kaiser members with "timely, quality mental health care." The workers were members of the National...

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    Workers' comp case traps Alabama nurse in Bakersfield for 3 years

    Alabama nurse Althea Hart didn't anticipate she'd still be in Bakersfield three years after agreeing to work here in 2011 under a 13-week contract with optional renewals. In that time five of her relatives have died, her husband has had a...

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    Dhanens among honorees on Donate Life Rose Parade float

    A "floragraph" of Fresno State fraternity pledge Philip Dhanens will be among 72 honoring organ and tissue donors on a float in the 126th Rose Parade Thursday. Composed of coffee, seeds, flowers and other natural materials, Dhanens' head...

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    Flu down locally, shots still urged

    Even though the effectiveness of this year's influenza vaccine is diminished, local cases of the flu are down from last year. It's still early in the flu season so there could yet be a spike, but so far Kern County cases of the flu are at...

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