KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Iowa House Approves Mental Health Reforms

The bill would replace the county-by-county system in Iowa. Also in state legislative news, N.H. gubernatorial candidate opposes health care compact proposal and California lawmaker seeks cap on consumers' prescription drug expenses.

Des Moines Register: Mental-Health Reform Clears House Despite Concerns That It Could Cause Cuts
After weeks of off-the-record negotiations, the Iowa House of Representatives today approved major reforms to the state's mental health system. The bill would replace the current county-by-county system with one in which counties would band together into regions to provide services to people with mental illnesses or disabilities. The bill, Senate File 2315, passed on a 65-32 vote, and it goes back to the Senate (Leys, 4/24).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Hassan: Health Compact Bill Wrong For NH
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan said Tuesday that a GOP proposal to form a compact to assume control over Medicare and Medicaid within New Hampshire's boundaries is a risky proposition that is wrong for the state. ... Hassan said the proposal would let the state decide to delay coverage until 70 or to raise [seniors'] out-of-pocket costs. She noted that the Republican-controlled Legislature cut funding to programs for the poor in the state budget adopted last year (4/24).

California Healthline: Health Debt Bill Passes Committee
When she first found out she had multiple sclerosis, [Melanie] Rowen had health care insurance but her medication was still expensive. "My insurance plan required me to pay 30% of it," Rowen said. "I couldn't afford it, but I put it on credit cards." As she watched her disease progress, she saw her bank account drain away and her health care debt pile up. Assembly member Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) hopes to prevent similar scenarios with AB 1800 which would establish a limit on annual out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications for insured Californians (Gorn, 4/25). 

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