KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Elderly Inmates Burden Cash-Strapped States; Drew University In LA Faces Financial Troubles; Florida Doctors Opt Not To Break Ties To AMA

The Associated Press reports on "the national surge in elderly inmates whose medical expenses are straining cash-strapped states and have officials looking for solutions, including early release, some possibly to nursing homes. ... That burden is becoming greater as the American Civil Liberties Union estimates that elderly prisoners - the fastest growing segment of the prison population, largely because of tough sentencing laws - are three times more expensive to incarcerate than younger inmates. The ACLU estimates that it costs about $72,000 to house an elderly inmate for a year, compared to $24,000 for a younger prisoner" (Geranios, 8/16).

The Los Angeles Times: "Even as the doors open this month on a new $43-million building to house the inaugural nursing class at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science [in Los Angeles], the university's interim president warned that the long-struggling institution is already in danger of losing the facility. Beginning in September, the university will be forced to begin burning through a reserve fund to make loan payments, Dr. Keith Norris said in an interview with The Times. Without assistance from a government agency, foundation, charity or some other organization, Norris said, within six months the school could run out of money to pay for the 120-student nursing school building" (Lin, 8/15).

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune: A Louisiana law going into effect today extends "from 21 to 26 the age limit a child can be insured on a parent's or grandparent's health insurance plan, a state version of a federal law that takes effect later this year. The measures are among more than 1,050 bills the Legislature approved before it adjourned in June. ... The new terms will apply to new or renewed policies as of Sept. 23. The bill prohibits insurers from raising premiums on policies that already cover dependents. There can be premium increases, [Rep. Chuck] Kleckley said, if there are no dependents on a policy now. The first-year cost to companies who insure Louisiana residents is estimated to be $13 million to $33 million, based on the numbers insured, according to fiscal analysts" (Anderson, 8/15).

The Oklahoman: "State Insurance Department officials are warning of a health insurance scam similar to one a year ago that left more than 100 people without coverage and buried in medical bills. An emergency cease and desist order was filed in June barring as many as 40 individuals and companies from doing business in the state. Named in the order are plans marketed by the Association of Independent Managers, including AIM Health plans. The Association of Independent Managers used several other names to market plans, said state Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland. In reality, it was like one company with multiple names and affiliated partners" (Brown, 8/16).

Health News Florida: "The Florida Medical Association decided Sunday after two days of heated debate not to break off relations with the American Medical Association, officials and delegates said at the conclusion of the event. Instead, FMA will send AMA a letter describing just how unhappy it is with the national group's actions on health reform" (Gentry, 8/16). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.