California prohibits higher rates for smokers; Highmark spends $364M to develop provider network;

> Health insurers in California can't charge higher rates for members who smoke under a new bill passed by the state legislature last week, reported The Sacramento Bee. Article

> Highmark plans to spend $364 million to develop a provider network made up of doctors, community hospitals and medical malls in Pennsylvania. Of that total, $120 million will buy Jefferson Regional Medical Center and $41 million will launch Highmark's group purchasing organization, Protoco PPI LLC, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported. Article

> Efforts to establish a single-payer system in Oregon have been revitalized after Vermont successfully passed such legislation, according to the Lund Report. Health Care for All Oregon, which includes more than 50 health organizations and community groups, is now focusing on educating the public to pass single-payer legislation in the future. Article

And Finally… Don't eat that banana if you have arachnophobia. Article

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