KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

California Cuts Back On Kids Insurance While New Hampshire Expands

California cuts back on health insurance for children, while New Hampshire expands state insurance to young adults. Meanwhile, a regional health commission in Missouri hopes to help the uninsured, and an Iowa report concludes that minorities face discrimination in the health care system.

"Hundreds of thousands of California kids won't be able to get health insurance because the state is freezing enrollment for the Healthy Families program," Capital Public Radio reports. "Nearly one million low-income kids are enrolled in Healthy Familes. Officials say in the next year more than 350,000 kids will not get coverage. California is the first state in the country to put kids on a waiting list" (Weiss, 7/17). 

In New Hampshire, "Gov. John Lynch signed a bill yesterday that will allow young adults to purchase low-cost health insurance from a state plan originally designed for low-income children," the Concord Monitor reports. "But it may be as long as a year before any adults are able to sign up, the program's president said yesterday. And it's likely to be more expensive than first described. ... The legislation is the first of its kind in the country and was designed to offer insurance options for adults younger than 26 who can't buy insurance through their families or employers. Under the law, the state's Healthy Kids plan can expand to offer insurance to young adults who earn less than $43,000 a year. Adults are required to pay the full cost of their premiums, so the plan will not cost the state or federal governments any money" (Sanger-Katz, 7/17).

In Missouri, "nearly 40,000 people in Greene County are uninsured. Local health officials say the number keeps growing as more people are paying higher amounts to continue coverage after they lose their jobs," KSPR reports. "A newly formed non profit Springfield-Greene County Regional Health Commission will combine the efforts of 17 local agencies to analyze the issues. With overloaded emergency rooms, clinics turning clients away, and a shortage of primary care doctors, health leaders say it's time to tackle these issues on the local level," (Rittman, 7/16).

Meanwhile, "a report from the Iowa Citizen Action Network concludes the current health care system is discriminating against minorities," Radio Iowa reports. "State Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines who is leading a White House group of state legislators working on health care reform, says a government-run 'public option' is crucial if minorities are to get insurance coverage" (Henderson, 7/16).

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