KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: Maryland Hospital Rate System Faltering

News outlets cover a variety of health care issues in Maryland, D.C., New York, Oklahoma and North Carolina.

The Washington Post: Maryland Already Sets Hospitals' Prices. Now It Wants To Cap Their Spending.
In a world of constantly rising health-care costs, Maryland has long stood alone. Through a novel system that gave regulators unusual leverage to set prices, the state delivered care at a price that grew more slowly than elsewhere in the country — even at some of the nation's most renowned hospitals. But after saving an estimated $45 billion for consumers over four decades, the system is in danger of running aground. Hospital expenses have risen so relentlessly in recent years that the original price controls now appear unsustainable (Sun and Kliff, 5/25).

The Washington Post: D.C.'s Medicaid Upheaval Puts Health Care Providers In A Tight Spot
Until this month, Chartered Health Plan was the city's dominant Medicaid contractor, managing the health care of more than 100,000 low-income city residents. The company's collapse has raised questions about its politically connected owner, its precarious finances and government oversight of a key component of the city's health care system. But for small medical providers, Chartered's demise has presented a more urgent question: How to make ends meet? (DeBonis, 5/25).

The New York Times: Archdiocese Pays For Health Plan That Covers Birth Control
As the nation’s leading Roman Catholic bishop, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York has been spearheading the fight against a provision of the new health care law that requires employers, including some that are religiously affiliated, to cover birth control in employee health plans. But even as Cardinal Dolan insists that requiring some religiously affiliated employers to pay for contraception services would be an unprecedented, and intolerable, government intrusion on religious liberty, the archdiocese he heads has quietly been paying for such coverage, albeit reluctantly and indirectly, for thousands of its unionized employees for over a decade (Otterman, 5/26).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: In Case Of Tornado, EHRs Can Be Just The Prescription
Everyone expects a hospital to be ready to jump into action when disaster strikes. But what about when the disaster devastates the hospital itself? Turns out, it helps a lot to have an electronic medical record system in place. At least that was the case at Moore Medical Center in Oklahoma, a small hospital right in the path of the tornado that ripped through the suburbs of Oklahoma City on Monday. Three-hundred people — staff, patients and community members — hunkered down in the cafeteria, stairwells and chapel as 200-miles-per-hour winds demolished the building around them (Gold, 5/24).

North Carolina Health News: Bill Addresses Doctors And The Death Penalty
It's been almost seven years now since the state of North Carolina carried out an execution, as the procedure has been subject to political pressure by anti-death penalty groups and caught up in court cases. One of the barriers to carrying out executions has been legal wrangling over the role of doctors in the procedure. But a General Assembly bill that would resolve those issues passed the Senate in April and was heard in a House Judiciary committee Wednesday (Hoban, 5/24).

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