KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Mass. House Votes To Limit Collective Bargaining Rights

Connecticut Mirror: Fight For 'Public Option' Goes On, Donovan Tells SustiNet Rally
A week after lawmakers reached a compromise that leaves SustiNet backers short of their goals, leaders of the push for the proposed state-run health plan told supporters that the fight isn't over. House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan, one party to the compromise, told the crowd that their goals would be achieved (Levin Becker, 4/27). 

The Boston Globe: Patrick Defends House Health Bill
Governor Deval Patrick chided labor leaders yesterday for comparing the House plan to curb collective bargaining rights to a tougher law passed recently in Wisconsin. "It's very important that we dial down the rhetoric," he said. "This is not Wisconsin. That's not what the House did. I'm not going to sign a Wisconsin-type bill in the end." The governor was speaking hours after House lawmakers approved a bill that would limit the ability of municipal employees to bargain over their health care plans, in an effort to save cities and towns $100 million (Levenson, 4/28). 

Associated Press/Fox News: Unions Peeved As Massachusetts House Votes To Limit Collective Bargaining
Gov. Deval Patrick is urging both sides to "dial down the rhetoric" over a plan to sharply limit the collective bargaining power of public employees over their health insurance. Patrick said Wednesday it's important to pass a bill to ease the health care burden on communities while guaranteeing labor a seat at the table (4/27). 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: School Districts' Health Plans Cost More Than Businesses' Plans
School districts in southeastern Wisconsin pay significantly more for health insurance than do private businesses -- as much as 76% more -- and their employees bear much less of the overall cost, an analysis released Wednesday shows. The relatively small contribution teachers in general make to their insurance coverage drew considerable attention during the superheated debate over Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill and his bid to sharply limit collective bargaining by most government employees (Romell, 4/27). 

Los Angeles Times: Public Hospital President's Retirement Pay Spotlights Issue Of 'Supplemental' Pensions
When he turned 65 two years ago, Samuel Downing received a $3-million retirement payment from a public hospital district in Salinas, Calif., where he serves as president and chief executive. But Downing continued working at his $668,000-a-year job for another two years, and after he retires this week, he will receive another payment of nearly $900,000. That comes on top of his regular pension of $150,000 a year. The payments amount to one of the more generous pension packages granted to a public official in California and come amid growing debate about "supplemental" pensions that some officials receive on top of their basic retirement benefits (Allen, 4/28).

Kansas Health Institute News: Hundreds Protest Waiting List For Social Services
Several hundred people with developmental disabilities and their advocates came to the Statehouse today urging legislators to fund community-based social services. ... The group held a rally on the Capitol's south steps. It was coordinated by Interhab, an association representing most of the state's nonprofit programs for the developmentally disabled (Ranney, 4/27). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Moran Introduces Bill To Counter New Federal Regulations
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., has introduced a bill in Congress aimed at countering a pending federal regulation that he says would hinder health care delivery in rural areas. New federal regulations scheduled to become effective next year would require direct doctor supervision of outpatient health care services that currently are provided by nurses and other mid-level care providers (4/27). 

Chicago Tribune: Medical Marijuana Could Become Legal In Illinois
A stricter set of rules and a surprise political alliance are helping build momentum for a long-thwarted effort to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois (Wilson, 4/27).

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