KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Health Costs And Private Prison Savings

The New York Times: Private Prisons Found To Offer Little Savings
The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons - even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates (Oppel, 5/18).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: No Cuts To SeniorCare Funding, GOP Lawmakers Say
Top Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they will make no cuts to the state's popular prescription drug plan for seniors, while tweaking proposed cuts in state aid to local schools. For weeks, GOP legislators have differed with Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Republican, over his plans to trim the SeniorCare prescription program and other programs such as subsidies to local governments for curbside recycling. On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) said Republicans had agreed to sharply scale back cuts to those programs in the two-year state budget bill they are now considering (Marley and Stein, 5/18). 

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Health Services Cut
Facing an almost certain veto, the Senate approved 36-28 a $10.9 billion health and human services bill that cuts millions of dollars from projected spending, trims payments to the poor and streamlines the state's big health care programs. The House was expected to pass the bill as well. Members of the GOP majority said the bill offers needed reforms to control rising health care costs; DFLers said it would leave thousands of people uninsured and needy (Wolfe and Matos, 5/18).

McClatchy / The Merced Sun-Star: California Health Care Bill Would Initiate Single-Payer Reform
The national debate over health care can be summed up in a bill being debated in Sacramento. Supporters of Senate Bill 810 say the legislation would be the only way to provide medical coverage for every Californian. Opponents deride the measure as socialized medicine. The California Universal Healthcare Act was introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. The bill would initiate single-payer universal health care for the state of California, Leno said. "What that means in short is Medicare for all," he said (Amaro, 5/18). 

California Healthline: Transition Money Designed To End ADHC
It's a little complicated, when the governor sets aside $25 million for your program, and it's a death knell for that program. But that's what has happened in the past week with the Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program. The $25 million allocated by the state is to be used to help with a transition into program elimination (Gorn, 5/18). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Landwehr To Lead Exchange Work Group
A legislator who's been outspoken in her criticism of the federal health care reform law has agreed to lead one of eight work groups charged with designing a health insurance purchasing exchange for Kansas. Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger approached her about leading the group a couple weeks ago. ... "Just about everybody knows that Sandy and I are somewhat opposite in our politics," Landwehr said. "But I have to say that I think I bring something to the table and that's -- if we're going to have to move forward on this, then let's do it in a manner that's right for Kansas" (Ranney, 5/18). 

WBUR: Mass. Senate's Budget Proposal Calls For $1.5B Less In Spending
Leaders of the Massachusetts State Senate unveiled their version of the new state budget Wednesday. The new budget proposal calls for $1.5 billion less in spending than the current year's budget and would require negotiations with municipal unions over health care. ... Like the House and governor's budgets, the Senate plan makes deep cuts to the state's Medicaid program. It cuts $65 million in aid to cities and towns, while revamping the way municipalities provide health care to workers (5/19).

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