KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Kansas House Approves ‘Compact’ Bill Opposing Health Law; Conn., Alaska Moving Ahead With Exchanges; Mass. Reform Very Popular

States are in various stages of implementing, or opposing, aspects of the health care law.

The Connecticut Mirror: Legislature To Consider Expanding Exchange Board
The proposed change has the support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who chairs the exchange board. The bill would add two voting members to the board. One would be a small employer and ... [the other] would be "a consumer of specialized health care services for a disability, a chronic illness or special needs, or of health care services" (Levin Becker, 2/14).

Kaiser Health News: Alaska Takes Biggest Step Yet Toward Health Insurance Exchange
Last month, the administration of Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, hired Public Consulting Group to study the state's options for setting up an exchange. The state is spending $200,000 on the contract with the Boston-based firm. ... Josh Applebee, Alaska's deputy director for health care policy, described the reasoning for hiring the consultant. "The biggest problem, I think, is we don't have enough information to decide," Applebee said. "Are we going to do a state exchange?" (Feidt, 2/14).

Kansas Health Institute News: Health Care Compact Bill Approved By House Committee
Members of a House committee today voted to support Kansas joining a multistate compact formed to challenge the federal government’s authority to set health policy. ... Once 20 or more states have joined the compact, proponents of the bill have said the member states will demand that Congress ratify an agreement to return tax dollars used to fund Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to the states (Cauthon, 2/14). 

Related, earlier KHN story: Some States Seeking Health Care Compact (Gugliotta, 9/18)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Health Centers Growing More Slowly Than Planned
Outreach Community Health Centers, which saw almost 2,000 additional patients last year, recently expanded its main clinic. …That was the plan under federal health care reform. Community health centers, located in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural areas, were expected to double in size in five years. That target now seems unlikely. ... Federal budget cuts in the face of massive government deficits have reduced money available for expansion by $3 billion over five years (Boulton, 2/14).

Meanwhile --

WBUR: Poll: Most Mass. Residents Support State Health Care Law
In the latest WBUR poll, 62 percent support the law and 33 percent oppose it. “Even with all the attention the Massachusetts law has gotten nationally, it really hasn’t driven down support among voters here in Massachusetts,” said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC polling group, which conducted the poll. The difference between national and local opinions about the law is part politics, part misinformation, and partly a difference of experience, said Robert Blendon (Bebinger, 2/15).

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