KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Round-Up: California Adult Day Care, Massachusetts and D.C. Insurance News

In today's state news, a California judge rules that state cuts to adult day care violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, pending legislation in Massachusetts could help ease the insurance burden for small businesses and insurers in Washington, D.C., may have to share a portion of their $687 million surplus with the city.

Contra Costa Times/Oakland Tribune: "A federal judge Thursday ordered California to halt its cuts to the Adult Day Health Care program, unless and until the poor, elderly, disabled clients it serves are provided other MediCal services to prevent their institutionalization." The ruling followed a hearing in which a state Department of Health Care Services lawyer "argued that it is up to the individual nonprofits and for-profit businesses operating the more than 300 ADHC centers across California to find alternative services for the clients." The judge ruled that three elderly women "would be put at high risk of requiring hospitalization or placement in nursing homes" if their ADHC benefits were reduced. "Such a risk could violate the plaintiffs' rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act" (Richman, 9/10).

The Boston Globe: "President Obama's vision for overhauling the nation's health care looks remarkably like the landmark plan Massachusetts launched three years ago, but in one striking difference he would exempt many small businesses from having to contribute to workers' insurance coverage." In Massachusetts, businesses that employ 11 or more full-time workers are required to offer coverage or pay a penalty. But pending legislation would ease the burden on small businesses, who currently shoulder hefty premiums, by allowing "businesses with 50 or fewer employees to form a nonprofit consortium to bargain for cheaper rates" (Lazar, 9/11).

The Washington Post: "Executives from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield appeared Thursday before the District's insurance commission, which must determine whether the region's largest health-care insurer has to share a portion of its $687 million surplus with the city. A ruling from the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking could give the city's coffers a much-needed boost at a time when the District is struggling to balance its budget and provide health care to residents. The question is whether the surplus is 'excessive' enough to warrant an allocation to the city" (Stewart, 9/11).

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