KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: No Mass. Insurance Mandate Referendum

A selection of state health policy stories from California, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia and Arizona.

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Ballot Campaign to Repeal Insurance Mandate Ends In Mass.
If you chafe against the Massachusetts requirement that you have health insurance, sorry but you won't have a chance to vote against it — not in the next election, anyway. Backers of a ballot measure to repeal the state's insurance mandate sent out an email last week saying they had failed to gather the needed signatures (Bebinger, 11/28).

Minnesota Public Radio: Minn. To Get Federal Health Care Funds After All
More than $6 million in federal health care funds will come to Minnesota after all. The money was at the heart of a political skirmish between Gov. Mark Dayton and State Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie (Stawicki, 11/28).

Chicago Tribune: State Deal Reached To Keep Tinley Mental Health Center, Other Facilities Open For Time Being
Tinley Park Mental Health Center and six other state facilities would stay open in the short term and nearly 1,900 layoffs would be avoided under a deal struck Monday night, according to leading Democrats and Republicans. ... During the summer, [Gov. Pat] Quinn ... blamed the legislature for failing to provide enough money in the budget (Garcia and Long, 11/28).

Georgia Health News: Unconventional Women's Clinic A Lifeline For Many
The clinic, run by certified nurse midwife Marilyn Ringstaff, is fairly unconventional for the Rome area. ... The steady flow of patients into the waiting room illustrates a crucial gap in the health care system: Despite the array of free and low-cost clinics across the state, many financially strapped patients can’t get certain services they need (Miller, 11/28).

Arizona Republic: UA Health Care Study To Use County-Worker Data
University of Arizona officials will use unidentifiable medical data from Maricopa County employees to study whether providing them preventive health care rather than reactive care would save the county money. ... Employees who sign up to receive integrative primary care will have a "personal care team" based on their individual medical history or needs (Lee, 11/28).

California Healthline: How Can California Make Most of Volatile Marketplace?
In health care, there are multiple markets in play: insurers, hospitals, physicians and other providers all operate in their own individual markets. How competition and consolidation within each one of these markets affects consumers is not always clear (11/28).

California Healthline: Three Meetings To Address Duals Conversion
This week, the state begins a series of stakeholder meetings across California, all looking at different aspects of the ambitious task of converting more than one million people who receive both Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits — known as dual eligibles — to a more comprehensive model of care. According to Peter Harbage, who has been leading the information-gathering component of the effort, this is an important month in the process (Gorn, 11/29).

San Jose Mercury News: Bay Area Tries To Pull Together To Help Seniors In Need At Upcoming Health Summit
California's senior population is expected to double in the next 25 years, while studies show the number of elderly struggling to pay for medical bills and other basic needs has reached record levels (de Sa, 11/27).

Los Angeles Times: Prison Doctors, Barred From Seeing Patients, Collect Full Pay
California prisons have paid doctors and mental health professionals accused of malpractice an estimated $8.7 million since 2006 to do no work at all or to perform menial chores like sorting mail, tossing out old medical supplies and reviewing inmate charts for clerical errors (Dolan, 11/28).

The Baltimore Sun: New City Plan Aimed At Reducing HIV/AIDS Infections By 25%
The plan, scheduled to be given to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Tuesday, calls for attacking HIV/AIDS — which affects more than 13,000 city residents — at its earliest stages by limiting the transmission of the disease and pushing for more widespread testing (Cohn, 11/29).

The Texas Tribune: Updated: UT Cancer Institute Focuses on Drug Research
The University of Texas is committing $75 million to kick-start the new Institute for Applied Cancer Science, which will focus on speeding up the discovery and delivery of effective cancer drugs at a time when pharmaceutical companies have scaled back research and development (Root, 11/28).

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