KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Gov.’s Speech Disrupted By Protesters Demanding Medicaid Expansion

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was interrupted during a budget speech Tuesday by protesters demanding he expand Medicaid.

The New York Times: Perry Changes Tack On Rainy Day Fund
Mr. Perry used the speech to promote the initiatives he wants the Legislature to support, including tax relief of at least $1.8 billion. His remarks were interrupted as activists with the Texas Organizing Project, a group that advocates for low-income people, stood and shouted for an expansion of Medicaid while he was discussing the tax plan. On the chamber floor, it was nearly impossible to hear them -- Republican lawmakers rose from their seats and applauded, drowning out the protesters as they were rushed out by state troopers (Fernandez, 1/29).

Leaders in New York City and Connecticut, meanwhile, struggle with health care spending obligations as they try to balance their budgets --

The New York Times: Bloomberg Seeks Spending Limits, But No Tax Increases
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, proposing a New York budget for the 12th and last time, called on Tuesday for agencies across the city to cut costs as he seeks to keep spending flat despite the prospective loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state education aid because of a labor dispute. Much of the increase stems from costs that the city says it cannot control, like those of pensions, health care, Medicaid and debt service (Chen and Santora, 1/29).

CT Mirror: Lawmakers' Reluctance To Continue Spending Cuts Widens Hole In Next State Budget
While legislators slashed spending last month to balance current finances, their reluctance to embrace those cuts long-term means the shortfall in the next state budget has grown yet again, according to a new report from nonpartisan analysts. The legislature's Office of Fiscal Analysis projects that spending will outstrip revenues by $1.2 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1, based on current trends, and the fiscal hole in 2014-15 now exceeds $1.3 billion. That's up modestly from the shortfall projections of $1.14 billion for next year and $1 billion for 2014-15 that OFA released in mid-November. The $1.2 billion gap, which is 6 percent of the current operating budget, also is roughly one-third the size of the historic, $3.7 billion annual shortfall that Malloy inherited upon taking office two years ago (Phaneuf, 1/29).

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