KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Wash. State To Pay Most Of State Worker Premiums; Budget Cuts And Mental Health In N.Y.; Idaho Fraud

The Seattle Times: Gov. Gregoire Agrees To Pay 85 Percent Of State Workers' Health-Care Premiums
Gov. Chris Gregoire told state workers for months that they'd have to pay a bigger share of health-care costs - equal to 26 percent of their health-insurance premiums - because of a looming multibillion-dollar budget shortfall. That all changed when Gregoire's office agreed this week to have workers pay 15 percent of health-care premium costs, with the state picking up the other 85 percent in the next two-year budget (Garber, 12/3).

The New York Times: State Cuts Put Officers On Front Lines Of Mental Care
As community mental health systems fray under the strain of state budget cuts and a weak economy, law enforcement officers across the nation are increasingly having to step in to provide the emergency services that clinics have typically offered the mentally ill (Zezima, 12/4).

The Dallas Morning News: Medicaid A 'No-Win Dilemma' For Texas, State Study Finds
Up to 2.6 million Texans could lose health coverage if the state opts out of Medicaid, but rising costs make the program very hard to maintain, a new state study warns (Garrett, 12/4).

The Dallas Morning News: What Texas' Medicaid Share Alone Could Cover
Opting out of Medicaid would deprive Texas of at least $15 billion a year in federal funds and strip up to 2.6 million people of coverage, according to a new state study. The report by the Health and Human Services Commission offered options for recycling state Medicaid dollars to preserve some recipients' coverage (Garrett, 12/4).

The Boston Globe: Untried Tack On Health Coverage
Burlington may be venturing down a new path in the effort by cities and towns statewide to rein in spiraling health care costs. Selectmen are considering a cost-saving change in the design of the town's health care program, even if they fail to obtain the agreements from town unions that state law requires. The change would eliminate two traditional HMO plans that have no deductibles, forcing employees and retirees to shift into high-deductible plans (Laidler, 12/5).

The Associated Press/Idaho State Journal: Government Settles Health Care Fraud Case
Federal prosecutors say they have reached a $2.4 million settlement in a health care fraud case involving two speech therapists from eastern Idaho (12/5).

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