KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Fla. Doctors Consider Cutting Ties To AMA; Indiana Seeks To Get More Uninsured Covered; LA Continues To Seek Leader For Troubled Health Department

The Hill: "The House of Delegates of the Florida Medical Association is scheduled to consider a resolution severing ties with the American Medical Association because of its support for the healthcare reform law. The Florida group will consider the move at its annual meeting next month. The scathing resolution takes the AMA to task for having 'failed to achieve one single concession' in the healthcare reform bill. It calls the organization's efforts to repeal the Medicare payment formula for physicians a 'fiasco' and accuses the AMA of 'failing to lead and represent America's physicians and the American People on the signature medical legislative issue of this century'" (Pecquet, 7/21).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Steven Chase Brigham, a physician whose medical license has been revoked, relinquished, or temporarily suspended in five states, is now facing regulatory and tax troubles that could jeopardize his chain of 15 abortion clinics. The Pennsylvania Department of Health this month ordered Brigham to permanently shut his four clinics in the state for repeatedly employing unlicensed caregivers. Lawyer Julia Gabis, who represents Brigham in the Pennsylvania case, contends that the order violates his constitutional rights and reflects selective enforcement against abortion providers. The department rejected those arguments" (McCullough, 7/21).

The Associated Press: "State officials and public insurance advocates reached out Wednesday to Indiana's more than half a million uninsured children and adults to get them enrolled in free and low-cost health care programs. Back-to-school paperwork for many K-12 students will help enroll them in Hoosier Healthwise, Indiana's health care program combining Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, State School Superintendent Tony Bennett and other officials said at a Statehouse news conference" (Kusmer, 7/21).

The Los Angeles Times: "It has seemed mission impossible: hiring someone to run Los Angeles County's mammoth, troubled health department. For more than two years, the task of heading a $3.5-billion agency that serves the county's neediest and sickest patients has fallen to an interim director who has made it clear that he does not want the top job permanently. It remains uncertain if the vacancy at the top of the Department of Health Services, which is plagued with chronic financial woes and overburdened emergency rooms, will be filled anytime soon" (Lin, 7/22).

The Business Journal of Milwaukee: "The state of Wisconsin has unveiled its next 10-year 'health plan' that calls for creating laws, policies and education guidelines to build disease and injury prevention. The plan, 'Healthiest Wisconsin 2020, Everyone Living Better, Longer,' emphasizes two big picture goals: eliminating persistent disparities in health outcomes based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, sexual or gender orientation and disability; and focusing on quality of life for individuals throughout life both by increasing prevention efforts and providing good care for people with chronic disease and disabilities'" (7/21).

The Boston Globe: "Massachusetts hospitals say in a new report that they have substantially slowed the rise in their costs in the past 18 months, saving insurers and employers billions of dollars, and showing that they do not deserve all the blame for skyrocketing health insurance premiums." The report comes as the legislature weighs "mandatory short-term cost controls on the hospital and insurance industries, including provisions hospitals find unappealing. The House bill, which is expected to be debated today, would grant the state broader powers to review - and reject - large hospital construction projects and contracts between insurers and providers that pay hospitals rates that are far from the statewide average. The Senate passed a different bill in May, including a one-time $100 million assessment on wealthier hospitals that would be used to offset premium increases for small businesses" (Kowalczyk and Weisman, 7/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.