KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s State News: Medicaid Challenges, High Denial Rates And A New Plan To Tax Calif. Insurers

Today's state news includes Wyoming's worries about a Medicaid crunch, a surprising last minute solution to California's children health worries, the state's high insurance claims denial rates, and a windfall of stimulus grants to medical researchers in Massachusetts.

The New York Times: The California legislature approved a plan Thursday to levy a new tax on insurance companies, and then use the revenue to subsidize health insurance for poor children. As Democratic lawmakers wrote the bill, the Republican Schwarzenegger administration pressured insurers to accept its terms. The move could set a precedent for other states to "involve the health insurance companies in efforts to insure people" (Steinhauer, 9/3).

Boston Globe: "Massachusetts biomedical researchers are seeing a windfall from federal stimulus money, with the state receiving more in grants from the National Institutes of Health than all others but California" (Johnson and Weisman, 9/4).

Associated Press/Forbes: "Gov. Dave Freudenthal warned that Wyoming could see its costs for the Medicaid program increase by as much as $100 million this fiscal year as more people seek benefits in tough economic times." Meanwhile, the price of an average enrollee rose to $6,800 last year, up $1,000 compared with the previous two years (Neary, 9/3).

Los Angeles Times: "Six of the [California's] largest insurers rejected 45.7 million claims for medical care, or 22% of all claims, from 2002 to June 30, 2009, according to the California Nurses [Association's] analysis of data submitted to regulators by the companies." Some insurers' denial rates ranged over 30 percent. Attorney General Jerry Brown said, "These high denial rates suggest a system that is dysfunctional, and the public is entitled to know whether wrongful business practices are involved" (Girion, 9/4).

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