Consumer Catch-Up: Gov. Newsom announces new prescription drug policy, California cities approve option to create local banks, and airfare costs due to rise this summer

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Los Angeles County to join California's prescription drug single-purchaser system

Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that Los Angeles County will join California's prescription drug single-purchaser system, a move which Newsom says will make it easier for Californians to negotiate drug prices. Los Angeles County is now the largest local partner in the system, which was established by Gov. Newsom via executive order shortly after taking office.

The California State Legislature has also made an effort to curb prescription drug prices. Former Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that requires drug manufacturers to notify customers of impending increases - causing many manufacturers to rescind planned price increases.

San Francisco, Los Angeles approve support for establishing state-run banks

The two highest-profile cities in California are throwing their support behind a bill that would allow local jurisdictions the opportunity to establish state-run banks.

The cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles approved support for Assembly Bill 857, which would allow local governments to create a charter to explore the option of creating their own banks. (The bill does not create these banks outright.)

The goal of these banks would be for local money to be kept under local control. Assembly Bill 857 was introduced back in March by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco).

The cities of Sacramento and Roseville are not publicly taking a position on the bill at this time. The California Bankers Association opposes the bill and says it could put taxpayers at risk.

California has considered allowing public banks before, but then-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill in favor of studying the issue more deeply.

Airfair costs likely to rise due to 737 Max planes grounded during busy travel months

Airfares are likely to go up this summer - and the Boeing 737 Max's grounding plays a large role in the cost increase.

Two fatal crashes and an investigation into the planes' automatic safety system grounded all of Boeing's 737 Max model jets, 371 individual planes in all. Orders and deliveries of new 737 Maxes were also halted.

Among Boeing's largest customers are discount airlines, like Southwest and Norwegian Air. The grounding of their planes has removed many lower-cost seats from circulation. In turn, other carriers are losing the incentive to compete with the cheaper airlines, and do not feel pressure to offer lower-cost seats of their own.

Summer is also a peak travel season, when airlines usually put as many planes as possible into rotation. Without those available extra planes, airlines are finding it difficult to keep their regular schedules. Hundreds of flights a day have already been canceled through August.

Analysts are also saying that a strong U.S. economy has increased travel demand, while the cost of jet fuel has risen. These pressures will add to the scarcity of flights, analysts say - and therefore, to the scarcity of low-cost airline tickets.

Written by Simone Chavoor

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