KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: N.H. Heroin, Opioid Task Force To Take Proposals To State House; Conn. Grapples With Cost Transparency Law

News outlets report on health care developments in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, Delaware and Maryland.

New Hampshire Public Radio: Heroin Task Force Prepares To Make Case To Broader N.H. Legislature
As a state task force on heroin and opioid misuse wraps up its official work, lawmakers involved say the real work is just beginning. About ten proposals recommended by the task force will start going through a joint public hearing process in the Legislature next week, with a goal of sending several pieces of legislation to the governor’s desk by the end of the month. (McDermott, 1/4)

Concord Monitor: Drug Legislation Will Face Financial Test In State House
A special legislative task force wrapped up its work vetting substance abuse bills Monday, and now the focus is turning to actually passing the legislation. The Legislature reconvenes Wednesday, and tackling drug addiction is poised to become the No. 1 priority for both political parties. ... While many of the policy measures are moving forward smoothly, it’s the spending bills that will face the biggest test. (1/4)

The Connecticut Mirror: How Well Will New Rules On Health Care Cost Transparency Work?
Lisa Freeman recently tried an experiment: Before having a medical diagnostic test, she tried to figure out what it would cost. “It took no less than five phone calls, and I still never got to the end of the thing,” said Freeman, executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. A major state law passed last year aims to change that, with a host of transparency provisions that begin rolling out this month. They’re aimed at making it easier for patients to learn the cost of their medical care ahead of time, including any charges they might face if they seek care outside their insurer's network. (Levin Becker, 1/5)

The Seattle Times: State Dentists Lobby Is Blocking Potential Source Of Low-Cost Care
Dental insurance doesn’t mean access to care. Part of the problem: Washington has one of the nation’s lowest reimbursement rates for dental care provided through Medicaid, the state-administered health-care program for low-income patients. As a result, the state’s poor, particularly Native Americans and other minorities, generally have lousy oral health. (Drabold, 1/4)

The Baltimore Sun: Keeping Foster Kids From Becoming Homeless
Hoping to prevent foster children from ending up in unstable living conditions, a group of social services agencies from around the state, led by The Institute for Innovation & Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, is using a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to tackle the issue in five Eastern Shore counties. (McDaniels, 1/4)

The Associated Press: Panel Finishing Up Review Of State Expenditures
Forcing [Delaware] state government retirees to pay more for their health care and consolidating certain administrative functions of school districts are among the likely recommendations of a state panel looking at government spending. The expenditure review committee was created by an executive order signed by Gov. Jack Markell in September, with an eye toward more efficient use of state taxpayer money. The panel faces a Jan. 29 deadline for reporting its findings and recommendations to Markell and members of the legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. (Chase, 1/4)

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