KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Confront Budget Pressure, Anticipate Reform

States are grappling with budget cuts, trying to anticipate the effects of Washington's health system overhaul and rejiggering Medicaid programs. Here's a round-up of today's local coverage:

Boston Globe: "A unique state program that helps pay most health insurance costs for 27,000 unemployed Massachusetts residents is on the cusp of going broke, setting off a debate between healthcare advocates and business leaders who say funding it is a burden on companies fighting for their survival." The program is financed by taxes; officials who oversee the program are expected to hike taxes to make up shortfalls in November (Lazar, 8/5).

Idaho Statesman: "The state will buy all required childhood vaccines for all Idaho children through January 2010, whether their families have health insurance or not, Gov. Butch Otter announced Tuesday." The move comes after the state health department announced that insured children would no longer receive the free vaccines due to budget cuts. The governor said the plan is not a "long-term solution," and said he hopes the legislation will come up with one (LaMay, 8/4).

The Tennessean: A new law will allow Tennessee's Medicaid managed care program, TennCare, to pursue small fraud cases – those totaling less than $10,000 – with administrative law judges. The change is expected to free up the state's attorney general for larger cases (Ward, 8/5).

The Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune: "Health care reform, if it succeeds, may result in thousands more Utahns getting health insurance. But in a state already strapped for doctors, it doesn't mean they will get to see a physician right away" (Rosetta, 8/4).

Health News Florida: "About 1 million Medicaid patients, mostly children, were wrongly dropped from the August eligibility rolls over the weekend because of a computer glitch, the Agency for Health Care Administration has confirmed" (Gentry, 8/4).

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