KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Highlights: N.J.’s Medicaid Decision; La. Hospitals Seek Care Gap Agreement

A selection of health policy stories from New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota and California.

Kaiser Health News: Chris Christie Considers New Medicaid Math
WNYC's Fred Mogul, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, writes: "As a way to reduce the number of uninsured, states are being encouraged to set more generous income limits for Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. If states comply, they can get 100 percent federal funding in the first three years, declining to 90 percent funding over time. Typically, states and the federal government share the burden at a ratio that's closer to 50-50" (Mogul, 10/11). Read the story.

The Texas Tribune: Study: Women To Lose Care If State Nixes Planned Parenthood
Women's access to affordable health care will be reduced if the state follows through with its plan to eschew federal funding for the Women's Health Program and create a state program instead, according to a new study from George Washington University. The study, a follow-up to a May report from the university on Texas women's health, examines the impact of excluding Planned Parenthood from the state Women's Health Program in Bexar, Dallas, Hidalgo, Lubbock and Midland counties (10/11).

The Associated Press: Louisana DHH Seeks Agreements To Fill Gaps In Hospital Services
A week after $152 million in cuts were levied across the LSU public hospitals, Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said Thursday that no new, formal arrangements have been reached with private hospitals to pick up the care. But Greenstein and LSU hospitals chief Frank Opelka said in a joint interview that they're having solid discussions with private health care facilities to identify ways they might collaborate on services and medical training programs or possibly take over management of a university hospital (10/11).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota Hospitals Are Testing Ways To Reduce Return Trips
Ruth Ratajczak knew that the elderly man was in trouble. … For more than a year, Allina and other hospitals throughout Minnesota have been experimenting with ways to smooth those transitions as part of a statewide collaborative called RARE (Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively). And they're making progress: Since January 2011, Minnesota hospitals collectively have reduced readmissions by about 2,600, according to the Minnesota Hospital Association (Lerner, 10/11).

California Healthline: How Should Exchange Handle Vision And Dental Coverage?
Along with medical coverage, state-run health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act have the option of offering vision and dental coverage. This summer, the California Health Benefit Exchange elected not to offer stand-alone vision plans. That brought a chorus of criticism and now the exchange is planning to revisit that decision. The Affordable Care Act provides some guidelines for vision and dental coverage -- guidelines that differ for children and adults. But as it does with medical coverage, the ACA leaves the details pretty much up to state officials. We asked stakeholders and consumers how the California Health Benefit Exchange should handle dental and vision coverage (10/11).

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