KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: Penn. And Conn. Insurance Issues; Md. Hospital’s Uncompensated Care; Calif. Budget

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Pennsylvania Subsidized Health Insurance For Low-Income People To End
Pennsylvania's subsidized health insurance for low-income working people will likely end next month, officials on Gov.-elect Tom Corbett's transition team said Tuesday, leaving more than 40,000 people with less palatable options and dashing the hopes of more than 400,000 on the waiting list. … Staff for the incoming and outgoing governors traded accusations Tuesday about who was responsible for the program's demise, but both agreed that the money -- a combination of tobacco-settlement revenues and donations from the state's four Blue Cross plans -- would run out around Feb. 28 and that no good alternative was in place (Sapatkin, 1/12).

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Hospitals Struggle With Uncompensated Care
This time of year, Mercy Medical Center's chief executive, Thomas R. Mullen, takes a look back at his budget, and for 2010 he sees $40 million in unpaid bills. He knows much of that will be passed on to the rest of Mercy's patients, through raised rates that their private insurers and Medicaid and Medicare will have to pay. It's a "hidden tax" that the public pays in some way in every state - one that federal health care reform aims to curb (Cohn, 1/11).

KQED: [Calif.] State Budget: Social Services Impact
Some of the deepest cuts [Gov. Jerry] Brown proposes hit the state's social safety net. Dozens of poor, elderly and disabled people, along with their caregivers and advocates, rallied outside the governor's office in Los Angeles yesterday (Clark, 1/11).

California Healthline: Deeper Cuts Won't Come From Health Services
In addition to the cuts themselves, Brown also proposed a shifting of many services to the county level -- mental health services, foster care, child welfare, substance abuse and adult protective services would all be "realigned" to local government. 'And of course we're going to send the money down to the counties to take care of that,' Brown said (Gorn, 1/11).

Connecticut Mirror: SustiNet Debate Returns To Legislature, Where Cost Is The Issue
By delivering a more-than 200-page report to state legislators last week, members of the SustiNet board opened the next chapter in the debate over a proposed state-run health insurance plan. It's a fight that will likely hinge on cost. Supporters say the proposed health plan, envisioned as a public option that would combine state employees and Medicaid recipients into one insurance pool that is opened up to the public, could help the state save more than $200 million a year (Becker, 1/11).

McClatchy/The Anchorage Daily News: Ballot Proposal To Ban Abortion In Alaska Ruled Unconstitutional
Alaska attorney general John Burns has found unconstitutional a proposed ballot initiative that was essentially seeking to outlaw abortion in Alaska. … Burns, who started work as the new attorney general last month, is recommending that the lieutenant governor refuse to certify the 'Natural Right to Life' initiative (Cockerham, 1/12). 

The Sacramento Bee: Kaiser, Nurses Union Reach Tentative Deal
Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association have reached tentative agreement on a three-year contract for 17,000 registered nurses at 61 facilities throughout Northern and Central California. The nurses union announced the pact Tuesday but provided little detail (1/12).

Kansas Health Institute News: Non-Profit Hospital In Great Bend Ending In-Patient Services
One of the two hospitals here has announced plans to close its inpatient beds and only provide outpatient services. ... [Central Kansas Medical Center] is owned and managed by Catholic Health Initiatives, a Denver-based nonprofit corporation with 73 hospitals in 19 states (Ranney, 1/11).  

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.