KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Longer Looks: Dr. Oz As Patient; Utah Puts Medicaid Enrollees To Work

Every week, Kaiser Health News reporter Jessica Marcy selects interesting reading from around the Web.

TIME: What I Learned From My Cancer Scare
The day hadn't started off so strangely and scarily, but it hadn't started off to be much fun either. I was going to my doctor's office for a colonoscopy, my second in nine months. Colonoscopies aren't supposed to happen nine months apart, of course, unless the first one turns up something worrisome - and mine had. … When it is about you, your mind races. Am I at fault? Could I have done something differently? What do I tell my children and wife? What if I actually get cancer? Have I done everything I set out to do in life? I am a physician who gives advice for a living. I have spent much of my professional life extolling the value of healthy eating and regular exercise, and I practice both. So how in the world did this happen to me? (Mehmet Oz, 6/2).

Huffington Post: The Cost Of Defunding Indiana Planned Parenthood
As a federal judge considers whether to block the implementation of a recently-passed law that defunds Planned Parenthood of Indiana, more than 20,000 low-income patients are on the verge of losing their primary health care provider. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) signed a bill in early May that, among other things, blocks Medicaid patients from being reimbursed for health services at Planned Parenthood clinics and requires doctors to tell a pregnant woman seeking abortion that the fetus might feel pain during the procedure. … But unless Judge Tanya Walton Pratt strikes down the defunding law, when the money runs out, PPIN says it will be forced to close at least seven of its clinics in poor, rural or medically-underserved areas, lay off up to 30 health center staff and displace an estimated 20,858 Medicaid patients from their primary health provider. None of the clinics that would be shut down provide abortions (Laura Bassett, 6/8).

Governing: Ending Medicaid As We Know It
It would be easy to miss the significance of Utah's 100-person, $600 Medicaid pilot. When Gov. Gary Herbert signed it into law in March, it was less than a tiny tick on the back of the state's $1.6 billion Medicaid program. But there's a good reason to pay attention. The idea that animates this pilot program might one day transform Medicaid. The Medicaid beneficiaries in the pilot program will have to meet a work or community-service requirement. The goal, says Utah state Rep. Ronda Menlove, who shepherded the bill through the Legislature, is "to get at the concept of 'I get something for nothing. I am entitled.'" Inspiration came, Menlove says, from a couple of places: the Mormon Church's practice of extending help to needy members but requiring service in return, and from "Republican principles of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, personal ownership of your life and taking responsibility." There was another influence too -- the example of welfare reform (John Buntin, 6/2011).

The Root: A Health Crisis Behind Bars?
Scores of inmates across the nation are suffering at the hands of medical and mental health care contractors in prisons, where substandard or no treatment at all is received, according to Berg and other prisoner-rights advocates. While this has been a common lament during the more than two decades since the private prison health care industry sprung up, advocates are finding evidence of mounting violence resulting from improper medical care, as well as deaths because providers are understaffed or doctors are underqualified for their positions. All of this comes at a time when companies across the nation are tightening their belts during one of the most obstinate recessions in recent history (Lynette Halloway, 6/8).

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