KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Fla. GOP Takes Aim At Health Law; Hawaii Considers Cuts In Mental Health Services

Health News Florida: "Florida Republican lawmakers are reviving a proposed constitutional amendment that takes aim at a major part of the federal health overhaul --- with Senate President Mike Haridopolos planning the unusual step of sponsoring the proposal himself. … The proposal, if ultimately approved by voters during the 2012 elections, is aimed at allowing Floridians to opt out of a federal requirement that they buy health insurance or face financial penalties. Lawmakers passed a largely identical proposal during the 2010 session, but the Florida Supreme Court blocked it from going on the November ballot because of misleading wording" (Saunders, 11/23).

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "More than a dozen people testified yesterday against changes limiting eligibility for state mental health services - changes that some critics say contributed to a 36 percent rise in deaths among mental patients in 2009 from the year before." Several people "criticized the state Department of Health's budget-cutting decision in July 2009 to halt treatment of new patients for several mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder and major depression" (Kubota, 11/23).

The Baltimore Sun: "Now, more medical, dental and mental health care professionals will be able to take advantage of financial assistance through the federal program [the National Health Service Corps], thanks to an infusion of $290 million through the Affordable Care Act, announced Monday in West Baltimore. … About 7,500 clinicians - 99 in Maryland - now serve as part of the nearly 40-year-old corps nationwide, which had previously received a boost in funding through the federal stimulus program. But the additional money from health care reform will attract more skilled workers, bringing the total to nearly 11,000 by the end of 2011 to positions in rural and urban areas where there are shortages" (Kay, 11/22).

The Miami Herald: "Angered that a county commissioner questioned her 'integrity and moral fiber,' Eneida Roldan announced Monday she will step down as chief executive of Jackson Health System when her contract runs out next June. After 18 months in the top job, facing persistent pressure from Miami-Dade leaders to stop massive losses, Roldan wrote Jackson's chairman on Monday that she decided she had had enough. ... Roldan's unexpected announcement came after a tense exchange last week between her and commissioners concerning the performance of Foundation Health Services, an outside entity that does Jackson's international marketing and was the subject last month of a blistering report from the Miami-Dade Office of Inspector General" (Dorschner, 11/23).

The Denver Post: "Medical-marijuana dispensaries are now putting hundreds of thousands of dollars a month into state and city treasuries in Colorado. So far this year, the state has collected more than $2.2 million in sales tax from dispensaries. … The money is certainly welcomed in government budget offices across Colorado, which have struggled to keep the books balanced during the recession. But, in the overall budget picture, the infusion is little more than a speck" (Ingold, 11/23).

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