KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: Medicaid Cuts Coming In Pa., Kansas; Mass. Insurance Hikes

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Massive Cuts Expected In Corbett's First Budget
Come Tuesday morning, bad news will abound in the Capitol - and it will be in the billions. That is when Gov. Corbett is to unveil, at last, the closely guarded details of his first state budget to the legislature and the people of Pennsylvania. … Corbett could decide to follow the example of other states and slash reimbursements to hospitals and other providers of health care to Medicaid enrollees; drop optional Medicaid services, such as dental care; and sharply pull back funding for mental-health services, drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention programs, and women's and family health programs (Couloumbis and Mauriello, 3/6).

Kansas Health Institute News: What Other States Are Doing About Medicaid
But the aims of Gov. Sam Brownback's administration are among the most ambitious in the nation relative to the size of the state's Medicaid budget. ... A Kansas team, led by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a physician, wants to find ways to cut Kansas Medicaid costs between $200 million and $400 million by fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1, 2012. ... he acknowledged the administration has interest in expanding managed care within Medicaid (Shields, 3/7).

Georgia Health News: Bill Aims To Revamp Assisted Living Rules
Many assisted living residents may get legislative help to remain in those facilities, rather than face discharge and eventual placement in a nursing home. ... [House Bill 405] would allow Georgia assisted living facilities to hire certified medication aides to help residents in taking their prescriptions. The legislation (and a similar Senate bill) would also give the facilities more flexibility in dealing with residents who are not ambulatory (Miller, 3/8).

Related, earlier KHN story: States Pushing Managed Long-Term Care For Elderly And Disabled Medicaid Patients (Galewitz, 2/22) 

California Healthline: Half a Budget Is Better Than None
When it became clear in January that California's adult day health care program was slated for budget elimination, people at the California Association of Adult Day Services got busy, cut to the bone, then came up with $28 million in cuts from their $160 million program. ... Last week, the Legislature's joint conference committee decided not to eliminate the adult day health care program -- but did cut its overall budget in half. ... like many Sacramento decisions, the actual cutting is more complicated than the decision to cut. Eliminating half the program is not a simple proposition (Gorn, 3/7).

The Boston Globe: Plan With Low Rate Hikes For Health Coverage Has Fewer Choices
At a time when most health insurance companies are raising premiums by 10 percent or more, the Group Insurance Commission, which insures about 185,000 state employees and their families, last week showed them all up by limiting 2011 increases to just an average 2.4 percent. But to achieve that goal, the GIC is counting on thousands of subscribers to give up their present plans for much cheaper ones that limit their choices of doctors and medical facilities (Murphy, 3/8).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Hospital Authority: Grady Should Justify Clinic Closures
Grady Memorial Hospital officials need to justify plans to close two neighborhood clinics as part of an effort to bridge a $30 million-plus funding gap, a hospital authority board member said Monday. The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority must ensure the changes don't violate the corporation's lease agreement or negatively impact indigent patients, said authority board chair Thomas Dortch at an emergency meeting called to discuss the cuts (Williams, 3/7).

The San Jose Mercury News / The Contra Costa Times: Wide Health Disparities Among East Bay Cities, Ethnic Groups Revealed In New Studies
The economic, environmental and personal factors that affect health and longevity in the East Bay can make a two-decade difference in life expectancy, new studies show. Wide inequities persist, despite numerous attempts to narrow the gaps. Disease rates and life spans vary sharply, research by Alameda and Contra Costa counties reveals ... The stunning disparities are not new to county health leaders, but they will use the data to focus their attention. What is not so clear are the solutions (Kleffman, 2/5).

The Washington Post: D.C. Backsliding In Efforts To Fight AIDS, Study Finds
For the first time in several years, the District is falling behind in its efforts to combat AIDS, according to a report to be released Tuesday. ... In its sixth "report card" on the city's response to the virus, the group noted that this is the first time there has been such backsliding since the group started tracking the District's HIV/AIDS rate in 2005 (Sun, 3/8).

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