KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Battle Budget Cuts And Recession

Houston Chronicle: "Texas scores high in emergency preparedness during a time when many other states are suffering cuts in state and federal public health funding and losses in medical staff, according to the Ready or Not? report, sponsored by Trust for America's Health, a disease prevention advocacy group, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation." But, economic turmoil has led to a "nationwide backslide in overall emergency preparedness" (Burton, 12/15).

Wisconsin State Journal: "A flood of newly impoverished participants in state health programs for the poor could send those initiatives as much as $150 million into the red, a legislative report found. The projections raise fresh questions about how long the cash-strapped state can afford expanded health programs for struggling Wisconsin residents at a time of unprecedented economic crisis" (Stein, 12/15).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: As a result of this cash crisis, "[t]he state may be forced to cut more than $1 billion over the next 18 months from BadgerCare Plus and other health care programs for the disabled, elderly and low-income families. … About 700,000 people were enrolled in BadgerCare Plus alone on Nov. 30, an increase of more than 70,000 since the start of the year," even as state revenues declined (Marley 12/15).

Boston Herald: "A state effort to curb what it spends on adult diapers and other medical equipment for its disabled and elderly residents has come under fire by the companies that supply those goods." The state hopes to save $2.84 million by lowering payments to suppliers, but an industry spokesperson said, "We cannot sustain further cuts" (McConville, 12/16).

Columbia Missourian: "More than 16,000 of the sickest and most uninsurable Missourians could be covered under the state health care pool if it weren't for high insurance premiums, according to the pool's director." The premiums are among the highest in the country, the official said, in part because state law requires them to be more than 125 percent of the rates charged by private insurers. More premium flexibility could open the program to 20,000 people, the official told the state's Joint Committee on Tax Policy on Tuesday. She said the premium level - one of the highest such thresholds in the country - is set by statute (Wire, 12/16). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.