KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Round-Up: Tenn. Lawmakers Fail To Pass Bill To Opt Out Of Health Care Law; Mass. Officials Continue To Study Hospital Sale

The Associated Press/Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "Tennessee lawmakers adjourned the 106th General Assembly early Thursday after failing to pass a bill to opt out of the new federal health care law. ... Both chambers passed the budget -- the only piece of legislation they are constitutionally required to adopt -- last week, but spent the last few days wrangling over issues like the federal health care overhaul. ... The Senate voted 22-9 to approve the Health Freedom Act, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet, who said it 'protects Tennesseans from the national health care.' The House earlier passed its own version of the bill, but an attempt to work out differences between the two chambers' legislation failed 44-39." Fifty votes were necessary for passage (Johnson, 6/10).

The Boston Globe: "Attorney General Martha Coakley said 'nothing has been decided' on the takeover of the Caritas Christi hospital system by a New York investment firm and that the 'process has just begun.' Caritas is moving forward with multimillion-dollar building plans and efforts to expand its chain of hospitals, but Coakley said the $830 million proposed purchase of six Catholic hospitals in the Boston area by Cerberus Capital Management is not a done deal. … The attorney general's office must rule on whether the transaction - which would turn the hospitals from nonprofit to for-profit ventures - makes appropriate use of charitable assets and is in the public interest." Public hearings will be held on the matter through early July. "Caritas has argued that its financial situation is dire, and that Cerberus offers it the best chance of survival" (Healy, 6/11).

Baltimore Business Journal: "As of Dec. 31, 47,661 small businesses - or 37.6 percent of those employers with between two and 50 employees - provided some level of health coverage to 381,517 employees, according to a report released last month by the Maryland Health Care Commission. That's down from the 51,283 small employers who offered benefits to 407,983 employees in 2008, and it illustrates the continuation of some disturbing trends in the small-group health insurance market in this state. Since its peak in 2007, Maryland's small-group market has lost about 6,000 employer groups that offered health insurance to more than 46,000 people, according to the state agency's report" (Graham, 6/11).

The Washington Post: In Washington, D.C., "[t]he abrupt resignation of Shannon L. Hader leaves the HIV/AIDS Administration without a strong leader at a time when federal agencies are pouring millions of dollars into the District to study its epidemic infection rate." The city is also preparing "to host the massive International AIDS Conference and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty campaigns for reelection. Fenty will face voters in the gay community who want to know why he allowed the popular director to walk away from the agency that addressed what he described as his 'Number 1 health priority'" (Fears, 6/10).

The New Mexico Independent: "The state is thinking about giving tens of thousands of New Mexicans living at or below the poverty line a choice: pay $75 monthly premiums currently paid by the state or risk losing their health care coverage. State officials conceded this week if the cost-saving measure were adopted it could push some of the more than 45,000 low-income adults making $903 or less a month off New Mexico's health care rolls" (Jennings, 6/11). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.