KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Texas Special Session Highlights Health Issues

Los Angeles Times: Mental Health Programs Suffering From Budget Cuts
States are slashing funding, and more cuts are expected. But in places like Reno, where police have teamed up with counselors to aid the mentally ill, the services don't seem expendable (Powers, 6/1).

Kaiser Health News: Medicaid Managed Care Expands In California As State Requires Seniors And Disabled To Join
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver reports: "More than one million of California's older and disabled population will receive a birthday gift this year that they may not have asked for: membership in a state-sponsored managed-care plan" (Weaver, 6/1).

Health News Florida: Desperately Seeking Drug Co-Pays
Many patients who have expensive medications are on "a constant roller coaster" in their quest for the drugs they need, said Lynn Kuykendall, the office manager at Palm Beach Institute of Hematology & Oncology. … He said that 20 [percent] to 25 percent of patients in his office struggle to afford their drugs, and his staff spends countless hours counseling patients and negotiating with insurance companies and drug manufacturers. … Patients have seen increased premiums and co-pays in recent years, even as benefits were reduced (Davis, 6/1).

The Connecticut Mirror: House Passes Bill Requiring Approval To Close Hospital Programs
The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would require hospitals to get state approval before eliminating inpatient or outpatient services. ... Rep. Timothy J. Ackert, R-Coventry, said he generally does not seek to have more government or mandates, but supported the bill. "It's not like a Home Depot closing the gardening shop," he said. "These hospitals serve a community" (Levin Becker, 6/1).

The Texas Tribune: A Third of Special Session Bills Relate to Health Care
Among the key health measures that didn't pass in the regular session, and have been given new life in the special [session]: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Flower Mound Sen. Jane Nelson's plan to allow health care collaboratives between physician groups and hospitals, in an effort to find savings. ... A Medicaid cost savings bill essential to balancing the budget, which would, among other things, expand Medicaid managed care into South Texas. Rep. Lois Kolkhorst's effort to establish a Health Care Compact, in which Texas would seek control of Medicaid and Medicare from the federal government, and her bill that would ask Washington for a waiver and a block grant to run Medicaid (Ramshaw, 6/1).

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune: Senate Panel Approves 'Conscience Protection' Changes As Part Of Abortion Bill
A Senate panel today approved an abortion regulation bill that also would alter Louisiana's so-called conscience protection law to allow medical professionals the absolute right to deny certain care based on their personal beliefs. ... Building on the 1995 Woman's Right to Know law, the sign would state that a woman cannot legally be forced into terminating a pregnancy, while also noting that fathers are liable for child support and that adoptive parents might pay for prenatal care and birthing expenses (Barrow, 6/1).

The Lund Report (Oregon): Legislative Logjam On Exchange Bill Rendered Moot
Rep. Jim Thompson (R-Dallas) was the sole Republican on the House Health Care Committee Wednesday to support a bill that sets in motion the creation of a health insurance exchange in Oregon. The exchange will be a place where consumers and small businesses can compare and shop for health plans. Without Thompson's vote the bill would not have passed the committee, which is split evenly among four Democrats and four Republicans. The committee's four Democrats each voted 'yes' (Rosenfeld, 6/1). 

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