KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Roundup: In Oregon, New Gov. Kitzhaber Vows To Change State’s Health Care Delivery System; In Ariz., 2nd Person Denied Transplant Coverage Dies

Stateline: In Oregon, A New Health Care Debate Awaits
Oregon Governor-elect John Kitzhaber, a Democrat who will be inaugurated in Salem on Monday (January 10), is no stranger to the state's top political office: He was a two-term governor between 1995 and 2003. ... An emergency-room physician by background, Kitzhaber, 62, also is no stranger to the nation's health care system, which he sees as costly, ineffective and unsustainable. He intends to tackle the challenge right away in Oregon, vowing to 'fundamentally change the way health care is organized and delivered' in his state (Gramlich, 1/5).

Star Tribune: Critics Get A Say As Dayton Opts In On Health Law
In an extraordinary Capitol ceremony where opponents and supporters were invited to speak, Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday ushered in a new era of health care in Minnesota. With his signatures on twin executive orders, Dayton, a Democrat who took over from Republican Tim Pawlenty this week welcomed federal funds for health coverage for the poor and reversed Pawlenty's anti-"Obamacare" stance (Stassen-Berger, 1/5).

The Arizona Republic: 2nd Person Denied Arizona Transplant Coverage Dies
A second transplant candidate denied coverage because of state budget cuts has died, and hospital officials say the cutbacks "likely" were to blame. In Tucson, University Medical Center spokeswoman Jo Marie Gellerman said the patient died Dec. 28 at another medical facility. But she said UMC doctors believe he would have moved to the top of their waiting list because his condition had worsened (Reinhart, 1/5).

The Associated Press: Court Ruling Finds Regulator Overstepped On Autism
[California] State regulators shouldn't have sent health insurers a memo on how to handle complaints about autism treatments because it was tantamount to issuing a regulation without it being properly vetted, a judge has ruled. In the mixed decision filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, Judge Robert H. O'Brien said the state Department of Managed Health Care erred in issuing the memo, but it has a right to want licensed practitioners to provide treatment to autistic children (Mohajer, 1/5).

Health News Florida: Who's in charge at Health?
Even before Gov. Rick Scott took the oath of office on Tuesday, the top two officials of the Department of Health were gone, leaving the agency in the hands of former State Rep. Kim Berfield. ... This situation could change at any moment, of course, if Gov. Rick Scott appoints his own team. It's unclear what his plans are, given that his transition team recommended merging DOH with three other agencies (Gentry, 1/5).

Texas Tribune: Advocates Pessimistic About Needle Exchange Law
Public health officials have been trying for years to get dirty syringes and the diseases they spread off Texas streets with needle exchange programs that allow IV drug users to get clean ones - and always they've come up short. Given November's election results, they fear 2011 may be no different (Chang, 1/6).

Miami Herald: Gables Entrepreneur Partners With Miami Children's Hospital To Start PSN
Starting by working with Miami Children's Hospital, Coral Gables healthcare entrepreneur Miguel "Mike'' Fernandez announced on Wednesday plans to invest up to $100 million statewide to profit from the Medicaid changes that Gov. Rick Scott has vowed to pass (Dorschner, 1/6).

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