KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

With State Budgets Tight, Services Are Cut; Kansas Looks To Avoid Mandates

California cut program budgets aimed at providing care for the poor while in Wyoming, the programs themselves are forced to close their doors because of a funding shortfall. In Kansas, lawmakers are examining - ahead of final consideration of health care reform in Congress - how they can shield themselves from health care mandates to carry insurance.

The Modesto (Calif.) Bee: Cuts to California's Medicaid program are leaving a lot of adults without some essential services. "The dental benefits, along with podiatry, optometry, audiology and psychology services, are considered optional benefits in the federal Medicaid program, which partners with states to provide health care for the poor. (The program is called Medi-Cal in California.) Those benefits were nixed this year as Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature dealt with staggering budget deficits." Many - including poor, disabled and low-income seniors were left without access to care from dentists and other doctors (Carlson, 11/2).

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that clinics that treat the uninsured are struggling to keep up with care. It profiles a clinic that's being forced to close because of a lack of funding, the strain on emergency rooms and a program at the University of Wyoming that had its budget frozen and is having a hard time serving more patients without coverage and without state dollars (Dynes, 11/1).

CongressDaily reports that three Kansas state lawmakers have introduced a resolution to exempt the state from following many of the regulations in the Democratic health care reform legislation. "Under the resolution, residents would not be compelled to purchase health insurance, and employers would not be required to offer health insurance for their employees. … Several other states, including Florida, Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota, have filed or pre-filed similar measures, according to the free market group American Legislative Exchange Council" (11/2).

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