KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Legislatures Struggling With Efforts To Fund Health Programs

News outlets report on efforts to provide health services in several states with tight budgets.

The Connecticut Mirror: Senate Bill Would Merge Rehab Services, Launch New Hospital Tax
A second measure designed to streamline state government advanced late Tuesday as the Senate voted to merge several agencies for the disabled and a rehab program for injured workers into a new social services bureau. The legislation also freezes general Medicaid rates for nursing homes and care facilities for the developmentally disabled, suspends cost-of-living adjustments to welfare grants, reduces payments to pharmacies serving medical assistance patients, cuts a variety of health benefits for the poor and assesses a quarterly tax on net hospital revenues (Phaneuf and Levin Becker, 5/25).

Minnesota Public Radio: Dayton Vetoes GOP Budget, Predicts Gov't Shutdown
Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he thinks there's a "strong likelihood" of a government shutdown after the Republican-controlled Legislature adjourned without a final budget agreement. ... Dayton said he rejected the entire Republican budget because its spending cuts were "extremely harsh and unfair" to thousands of Minnesotans. He pointed specifically to proposed reductions in health care for the poor, higher education and public transit (Pugmire, 4/24). 

The Times-Picayune: House Defies Gov. Bobby Jindal By Voting To Renew 4-Cent Portion Of Cigarette Tax
In a rare show of independence, the Louisiana House narrowly voted Tuesday to renew a 4-cent portion of the state cigarette tax scheduled to expire next year despite opposition from Gov. Bobby Jindal. … By directing the tax money to health care costs, supporters said it would be matched with federal Medicaid dollars and generate up to $50 million a year (Moller, 4/24). 

The Texas Tribune: State Efforts To Take Control Of Medicaid Struggling
House Bills 5 and 13, both measures that seek to give Texas control over the purse strings to operate Medicaid, have made it through the House, but could be tangled up in the Senate. ... Brenham Republican Rep. Lois Kolkhorst's HB 13 seeks a waiver from Washington to give the state more control over Medicaid spending. Her HB 5, a health care compact, goes even further; it would, in partnership with other states, ask Washington for control over Medicaid, from its funding to how it's structured and who it covers (Ramshaw, 4/24). 

Denver Post: Pew Study: Colorado Receives "B" For Providing Basic Dental Care To Children
Colorado received a "B" in a national survey released today which graded a state's ability to provide basic dental care to children. The study by the Pew Center on the States said 27 states earned grades of an A or B, while 23 states and the District of Columbia received a C or lower grade. The report said that more than 16 million children still lack access to basic dental care despite efforts by the states to improve their dental health practices. ... [The survey] said that one measure of the problem in Colorado is that more than half of the children on Medicaid received no dental service in 2009 (Pankratz, 5/24).

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