KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Legislature News: SEIU, Hospitals, Ore. Governor Cut Deal On Hospital ‘Triple Aim’

Elsewhere, Kansas lawmakers advance a bill that would exempt the state from the health law and some California lawmakers work to restore Medi-Cal cuts.

The Oregonian: SEIU Withdraws Health Care Ballot Measures, Part Of Deal With Hospitals, John Kitzhaber
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced Thursday an agreement between labor unions and health care providers that will dissolve a brewing fight that was headed to the November 2014 ballot. Local 49 of the Service Employees International Union filed five ballot measure initiatives in October targeting hospital pricing, executive salary and transparency. But the union withdrew those initiatives Thursday as part of an agreement to accelerate progress toward improving patient experience, health and reducing the per capita cost of care. What Kitzhaber calls the health care "triple aim” (Gaston, 2/20).

The Associated Press: Kan. Plan For Avoiding Federal Health Law Advances 
A proposal to allow Kansas to exempt itself from the national health care overhaul is a serious attempt to shield the state from federal requirements and not merely symbolic, supporters said Thursday as the measure cleared its first significant legislative hurdle. The Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee approved a bill to bring the state into a compact with others to ask Congress to give them control over health care policy within their borders (Hanna, 2/20).

Los Angeles Times: Assembly Democrats Seek To Restore Cuts To Medi-Cal Funding
Two Assembly Democrats want to restore funding for California's health care program for the poor, laying the groundwork for another debate over how to make the best use of the state's financial recovery. The proposal, AB 1805, would reverse a 10 percent cut to reimbursements to doctors and other health care providers who treat Medi-Cal patients (Megerian, 2/20).

Des Moines Register:  Bill Targets Health Insurers’ Reserves
Senate Democrats want to give Iowa’s insurance commissioner authority to order health insurers to send refunds to policyholders if the companies’ bank accounts grow too fat. Senate File 2183 is aimed at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which dominates Iowa’s health insurance marketplace (2/20).

Detroit Free Press: Attorney General Bill Schuette Backs Lawsuit That Would Gut Tax Credits For Health Coverage
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined a federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C., that, if successful, could cost Michigan consumers millions of dollars in health coverage tax credits. It also could gut federal health overhauls, according to some (Erb, 2/21).

Georgia Health News: DCH Conflict-Of-Interest Bill Advances 
A House panel Thursday approved a bill that targets potential conflicts of interest on the Georgia Department of Community Health board. The original HB 913 was amended before the vote to make sure medical professionals, such as physicians and dentists, were not precluded from serving on the DCH board, whose nine members are appointed by the governor. The lead sponsor of the legislation, though, acknowledged Thursday that the bill may affect current DCH board members (Craig, 2/20).

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