KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Single Payer Bill Passes Calif. Senate; Other States Consider Smaller Health Care Changes

California's state Senate Thursday voted for a bill creating a single-payer health system Thursday.

The Associated Press: "The California Senate approved creating a government-run health care system for the nation's most populous state on Thursday, ignoring a veto threat from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger" (Thompson, 1/28)

The New York Times: "While the move came as questions arose over the prospects of Congress adopting national health care legislation, the author of the California bill, State Senator Mark Leno, said that the timing was coincidental. ... 'Scott Brown did not push me to do this,' said Mr. Leno, referring to the newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts" (McKinley, 1/28).

San Francisco Chronicle: "The 22-14 vote was nearly party-line, with one Democrat, Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, voting no. It now moves to the Assembly." The plan would likely cost $200 billion a year (Buchanan, 1/29). 

Other state health news includes Medicaid, veterans issues and a tobacco settlement.

The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune: "Minnesota's five state-owned veterans homes could save state taxpayers more than $4 million a year -- a tenth of the Legislature's annual appropriation -- by accepting federal Medicare and Medicaid payments for many of their residents, a new study finds." But the state would have to change its rule for admission to the homes and "reduce the flexibility that veterans have in controlling their finances" (Wolfe, 1/28).

Kansas Health Institute: "People without health insurance are generally charged more for the same hospital services than people who have coverage, a consumer spokesperson said Thursday after introducing legislation that would force hospitals 'to level the playing field'" (Shields, 1/28).

Chicago Tribune: "If you smoke and itch to quit, don't look to the state for help. Despite an annual infusion of about $300 million from the landmark tobacco settlement, Illinois continues to spend less than most others on programs designed to prevent people from lighting up, according to a national ranking" (Simmons, 1/29).

Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star: "Several [state] senators want to know whether Gov. Dave Heineman will work with them to fix the Nebraska's prenatal care program so all low-income women can continue to get prenatal services through Medicaid. State Health and Human Services Department leaders told senators Thursday they can't fix the prenatal care problem without a change in state law, putting the problem in the legislature's court ... Without a speedy resolution, more than one-sixth of the women who get prenatal care through Medicaid will no longer be eligible" (Hicks, 1/28).

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