KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Recurring SustiNet Rumors In Conn.

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

National Journal: For Abortion-Rights Advocates, Three Victories And Four Battles On The Horizon
Here's a surprise: Planned Parenthood is on a roll. ... In the last week, Planned Parenthood won separate legal victories in three states at the forefront of the battle: Indiana, Kansas, and South Dakota. The victories suggest that some of the new state laws may be backfiring in court. But other challenges are on the horizon.(McCarthy, 7/11).  

The Connecticut Mirror: Concession Deal Is Dead, ButSustiNet Rumors Live On
The tentative concession deal negotiated between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration and state employee unions is dead. But suspicions it was linked the SustiNet plan to create state-run insurance live on, complicating chances of striking a new deal to avert up to 6,500 layoffs. ... One simple, incontrovertible fact is that there is no SustiNet coverage plan into which state employees can be enticed or forced. But from there, the picture gets fuzzy. SustiNet supporters say their goal--creating a state-run insurance plan to sell to the public, using leverage from the state employee health plan and other state-funded insurance programs to negotiate lower rates--can be achieved in the coming years. (Levin Becker and Pazniokas, 7/11). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Rell's Affordable Health Plan May Soon Be Unaffordable
A piece of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's legacy is in jeopardy: Beginning in September, the state will substantially increase the premiums for new and recent enrollees in the Charter Oak Health Plan, which Rell started three years as an attempt to offer affordable insurance to the uninsured (Levin Becker, 7/8). 

Georgia Health News: Hospice Problems Raise Concern On Oversight
Care not properly coordinated. Failure to assess quality of care and improve it. Not properly evaluating and supervising health aides' work. ... Of course, hospice problems are not unique to Georgia. ... As use of hospice has increased - to more than 1 million Americans and 33,000 Georgians a year - so has the number of organizations providing it. Georgia' licensed hospice providers have doubled in the past 10 years (Miller, 7/8). 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State's Family Care Enrollment Freeze Draws Ire
County officials are pushing to derail Gov. Scott Walker's freeze on the popular Family Care program through pleas to the federal government to reject a new state cap on enrollments for Wisconsin's frail elderly and younger adults with disabilities. The change was approved as a part of the state's 2011-'13 budget but requires a federal OK from President Barack Obama's administration for the change in the state's use of federal Medicaid money. Medicaid covers about 60% of the costs of Family Care and several related, smaller programs (Schultze, 7/10). 

The Texas Tribune: Conditions, Health Risks Sicken Colonias Residents
At last count, nearly 45,000 people lived in the 350 Texas colonias classified by the state as at the "highest health risk," meaning residents of these often unincorporated subdivisions have no running water, no wastewater treatment, no paved roads or solid waste disposal. Water- and mosquito-borne illnesses are rampant, the result of poor drainage, pooling sewage and water contaminated by leaking septic tanks. Burning garbage, cockroaches, vermin and mold lead to high rates of asthma, rashes and lice infestations. And the poor diet so intrinsically linked to poverty contributes to dental problems, diabetes and other chronic conditions, which residents of the colonias rarely have the health insurance, money or access to regular health care to treat (Ramshaw, 7/10). 

Minnesota Public Radio: What's The Budget Fight About? $1.4 Billion And Much More
Republicans want to get rid of some subsidized health care in favor of vouchers to allow Minnesotans to shop for health insurance in the private market. They also want to change the way health care is delivered to low-income people. Both changes would save the state money. (Gov. Mark) Dayton wants to continue subsidizing health care for lower income Minnesotans by leveraging federal dollars through an expanded Medical Assistance program (Dunbar, 7/11). 

California Healthline: Assembly Committee Approves Basic Health Bill
This week, the Assembly Committee on Health approved a bill to establish low-cost health coverage for as many as 800,000 low-income Californians. For a program that could pull a substantial number of expected participants out of the California Health Benefit Exchange, there has been surprisingly little resistance to it (Gorn, 7/8). 

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