KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Weigh Health Cuts; Mass. Considers Student Health ‘Revision’

News outlets report on budget squeezes in Oklahoma and Florida and a proposed overhaul of student health insurance in Massachusetts.

Tulsa World: "Thousands of Oklahoma Medicaid patients would see benefits reduced as the state agency that manages the federal program grapples with required 5 percent budget cuts, according to a spending-cut proposal presented Wednesday to a House budget subcommittee. Proposals include limiting paid emergency room visits to three a year, eliminating outpatient adult therapies, such as speech and physical therapy, eliminating reimbursement for newborn circumcision and reducing the number of brand-name prescriptions from three to two for adults, said Mike Fogarty, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority" (McNutt, 12/3). 

Health News Florida: "State Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander says he'll push to end free health insurance for state officials next session. Now House budget chief David Rivera says 'everything is on the table' in the search for savings, including the perk for nearly 27,500 state workers and lawmakers. Alexander, the budget chief in the Florida Senate, floated the idea that state lawmakers and some state workers should start paying for their health insurance last session. It went nowhere. But lawmakers' resistance may be hard to sustain in coming months as they confront the need for budget cuts and a looming deficit in the fund that pays for state workers' health insurance" (Fineout, 12/2).

The Boston Globe: "The [Gov. Deval] Patrick administration is considering an overhaul of the college student health insurance market intended to improve coverage for thousands of Massachusetts students who now have plans with limited benefits. The administration is looking at several steps, including encouraging schools to band together to purchase higher quality plans at a significant discount, and requiring insurers to offer more generous benefits to college students, who are not receiving the care they should for the dollars they spend, said Stephen McCabe, interim commissioner of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy" (Lazar, 12/3).

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