KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Texas Hospital Tax; IBM Challenges Vt. Single Payer

The Connecticut Mirror: Supreme Court: State Can Cut Medical Benefits To Legal Noncitizens
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that the state can cut off medical assistance to legal noncitizens who have been in the country fewer than five years, clearing the way to implement a 2009 budget cut that had been stalled because of legal action (Levin Becker, 4/8). 

The Texas Tribune: What A Hospital Tax Could Look Like in Texas
Texas hospitals are abuzz over quiet conversations in the Senate about a possible "quality assurance fee," or tax on hospitals to raise revenue to beef up Medicaid. Such a tax looks highly unlikely; lawmakers have said the hospitals would largely have to be on board before they'd risk it - and the hospitals aren't there. ... Use the data projections below to see what hospitals would have to pay in taxes, and whether they'd come out ahead or behind in total revenue, if this particular quality assurance fee were on the books (Ramshaw and Murphy, 4/8). 

Arizona Republic: Federal Government To Aid Maricopa Mental-Health Care
The federal government will begin offering financial incentives to mental-health-care providers who agree to serve low-income areas or areas with poor access to mental-health care in Maricopa County. Federal officials for the first time have declared a shortage of mental-health professionals in Arizona's most populous county. ... There are about 600 counties nationwide designated as areas with a shortage of mental-health professionals, said Andy Jordan, director of the Office of Shortage Designation at the Health Resources and Services Administration (Hee-Lee, 4/9).

Burlington Free Press: IBM Makes Its Case On Vermont Health Care Reform
IBM officials said Friday they came away from a meeting with Gov. Peter Shumlin reassured they could agree on a way the state could move forward with planning for a more consolidated health care system while respecting IBM's desire to manage its own health benefit program. John O'Kane, manager of government programs for IBM, has been vocal for weeks about the corporation's concerns with the pending health reform bill. He has said it would lead to a state takeover of health insurance and result in double taxation for businesses such as IBM that offer health benefits to their employees (Remsen, 4/9). 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Study Suggests Wisconsin's Rate Of Hospital-Acquired Infections Is Too High
Nearly 20 patients in Wisconsin hospitals each week get bloodstream infections from the central lines used to deliver fluids, medication and blood. Two to four of them will die. Those averages are only the roughest of estimates, and the numbers could be higher. Unlike Minnesota, Illinois and 25 other states, Wisconsin does not require hospitals to disclose the number of patients who get deadly bloodstream infections (Boulton, 4/10). 

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