KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Colo. Gov. Vetoes Cost Sharing Bill For Children’s Health Plan

Denver Post: Hicklenlooper Vetoes Bill Raising Premiums For Some In Colorado Health Program
Gov. John Hickenlooper issued his first veto Tuesday, nixing a measure that would have required certain parents whose children are enrolled in a state health care plan to pay higher premiums. Hickenlooper said Senate Bill 213 would have increased premium costs a "dramatic" 1,000 percent, possibly pushing as many as 2,500 kids out of a program intended to help those struggling financially. Various groups, including the Colorado Children's Campaign and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, hailed the veto, as did several Democratic lawmakers (Bartels, 6/1). 

Health Policy Solutions (Colorado news service): Hickenlooper Vetoes Cost-Sharing Bill For CHP+
Gov. John Hickenlooper today vetoed Senate Bill 11-213, saying that the bill, which would require families to share the cost of their children's health care under the Child Health Plan Plus program, would negatively affect access to health insurance for a vulnerable population. ... His veto came on heels of release of a study that found that parents at all income levels are deliberately going without or delaying medical care for their children as health costs rise (McCrimmon, 5/31). 

The Miami Herald: Jackson Health System Seeks $200 Million From Unions To Balance 2012 Budget
Jackson Health System executives announced Tuesday that they want to reduce salaries and benefits for the system's 11,100 employees by more than $200 million to help shrink a budget gap for fiscal 2012. Chief Executive Carlos Migoya said he wants unions to accept cuts of 16 to 18 percent in total compensation but, as a trade off, he planned no layoffs. He didn't offer details of the kinds of cuts he envisions, but in the past Jackson executives have noted that Jackson's employee pensions tend to be much more expensive than the 401(k) plans most hospitals offer (Dorschner, 5/31).

The Miami Herald: After Bashing President Obama's Stimulus Program, Scott Includes Federal Money In State Budget
Gov. Rick Scott campaigned against President Obama's "failed stimulus" program – yet the freshman politician kept nearly $370 million of the federal cash in the Florida budget he signed last week. … The stimulus money Scott and Republican legislators approved touch every corner of the state: $290 million to improve electronic medical records, $4.2 million to aid disadvantaged children, $3.2 million for fighting wildfires, $12.5 million for drug courts, $8.6 million for county health departments, $1 million to fight infectious diseases, and $4.4 million to help public defenders and prosecutors (Caputo, 5/31).

The Boston Globe: Judge Rules Steward Health Care Can Negotiate Takeover Of Troubled Landmark Hospital In R.I.
A judge in Rhode Island ruled that Boston's Steward Health Care Systems LLC could move forward with negotiating a takeover of financially troubled Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, which has been in court-appointed receivership for the past three years. Landmark had begun talking about a sale to Steward's predecessor, Caritas Christi Health Care, in 2009 but talks broke off without an agreement last December. The parties recently resumed negotiations and were working to finalize the terms of a buyout agreement (Weisman, 5/31). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Brownback Approves Budget, Vetoes Three Health Care-Related Provisions
[Gov. Sam] Brownback deleted a provision that would have required quarterly reporting to the Legislature by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, meaning SRS will now report only annually like most state agencies. ... Another veto allows the establishment of a preferred drug list for mental health treatments under the MediKan program. ... [Brownback also vetoed a provision that established] a 2.5 percent surcharge on health premiums paid by public employees in the state health plan (Cauthon, 5/31). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Sorting Out The Changes In Home Plus
A little-noticed new law could mean significant changes in the way care is provided to elderly Kansans. ... On its face, [House Bill 2147] would seem to change little. It allows operators of so-called Home Plus residences to care for up to 12 people instead of eight, the previous limit. But those familiar with Home Plus operations say that change alone could be enough to transform what has been quite literally a cottage industry into one that could compete with or augment the traditional nursing home business but with the major advantage of far less government regulation (Shields, 5/31). 

The Lund Report: Oregon Health Authority Charged With Attracting Primary Care Physicians
A strategic plan would be developed by the Oregon Health Authority, in collaboration with multiple organizations, to deal with the shortage of primary care physicians under House Bill 2366. On its way to the Senate floor, the bill directs the Oregon Health Authority to work with "interested parties," such as Travel Oregon, the State Workforce Investment Board, medical schools, physician groups and other organizations. Together they'd develop a plan for recruiting primary care physicians and examine the best recruitment practices (Waldroupe, 5/31). 

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