KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Texas Lawmakers Push To Modernize Medical Practices

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Tennessee, Oregon, North Carolina, Texas and California.

The New York Times: City Plans New Approach To Disciplining Mentally Ill Inmates
New York City will soon change the way mentally ill inmates are disciplined after breaking rules while in jail, creating alternatives to the more traditional approach of solitary confinement used for most inmates (Yee, 5/12).

North Carolina Health News: Cancer Drug Parity Bill Passes House
A bill aimed at reducing the cost burden for people with cancer who take oral medications made it through a vote on the floor of the state House of Representatives Thursday afternoon, getting it one step closer to law. Patients receiving cancer chemotherapy traditionally get their treatments via intravenous infusions or injections in their doctors' offices. But with new medications that are administered orally, patients don’t need to go to a doctor's office (Hoban, 5/10).

The Texas Tribune: Medical Association Backs Bills To Cut Red Tape
Health care providers in Texas could soon collect or verify patient information by swiping a driver’s license. The measure allowing such data collection is one of a handful that the Texas Medical Association is pushing this legislative session to help modernize medical practices (Aaronson, 5/13).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Tenn. Hospital On Front Lines Of U.S. Pill Epidemic, Treating Babies Born Dependent On Drugs
He’s less than two weeks old, but he shows the telltale signs of a baby agitated and in pain: an open sore on his chin where he’s rubbed the skin raw, along with a scratch on his left check. He suffers from so many tremors that he’s been placed in a special area so nurses can watch him around the clock in case he starts seizing —or worse, stops breathing (Burke, 5/12).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Competition Spurs Ore. Insurers To Lower Proposed Rates 
Also on the blog, Phil Galewitz reports on competition between insurers in Oregon: "Maybe competition among health insurance plans can lead to lower rates. As soon as Oregon this week became the fourth state to publicly list health insurers' proposed 2014 rates for individual and small group coverage, two plans moved to cut their suggested prices, the Oregonian reported Friday. Providence Health Plan and Family Care Health Plans sought to lower their rates when they noticed they were out of whack compared to competitors — five months before the health law's new online marketplaces even open for enrollment" (Galewitz, 5/10).

Stateline: Cities, State Face Off On Mandatory Paid Sick Leave
Soon there will be fewer sick New Yorkers riding the subway, serving food in restaurants, or infecting their classmates, after the New York City Council decided last week to require local businesses to give workers time off if they are ill or have to care for a sick child. But mandatory sick leave, hailed as a progressive public health measure by its supporters, is sparking fierce opposition in several state legislatures (Maynard, 5/13).

Oregonian: Republicans Draw Oregon Hospital Tax Into Debate Over PERS
A tax on big city hospitals became the latest hostage in the fight over public pensions Friday, raising the stakes of ongoing budget negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in the Oregon Legislature. The hospital tax is a key component of the state's health care budget, bringing in as much as $1.3 billion in federal funds, but Senate Republicans said they wouldn't support the tax until an agreement on additional cuts to the Public Employees Retirement System can be reached (Gaston, 5/10).

California Healthline: 'So Many Moving Parts' To Fit Together
The Department of Health Care Services announced this week that the Cal MediConnect duals demonstration project will not start until at least January, 2014, a delay from its previous expected launch date in October, 2013. Advocates for seniors' health care yesterday praised the decision, saying the extra three months will go a long way toward pulling all of the disparate pieces of Cal MediConnect into place. … The Cal MediConnect duals demonstration program affects about 456,000 Californians who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage in eight demonstration counties (Gorn, 5/10).

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