KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: July 16, 2010

In today's headlines, a Medicaid chief says states need details on health reform implementation.

Ind. Medicaid Chief: Feds Leave States In Dark
Indiana's Medicaid chief told lawmakers Thursday that the federal government has largely left states in the dark on implementing the federal health care overhaul because it hasn't yet provided needed guidelines (The Associated Press).

Obama Pushes Through Agenda Despite Political Risks
The financial regulatory bill is the final piece of a legislative hat trick that also included the stimulus bill and the landmark new health care law. Over the last 18 months, Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress have made considerable inroads in passing what could be the most ambitious agenda in decades (The New York Times).

Republicans Push Kagan On Health-Care Recusal
Senate Republicans on Tuesday said they wanted to know whether Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would recuse herself from a possible Supreme Court challenge to this year's health care law (The Wall Street Journal).

A Mathematical David Stuns A Healthcare Goliath
David Axene was flat on his back in a hospital bed with a swollen left leg. His kidneys had shut down. His blood pressure had plunged. Doctors pumped him with potent antibiotics to stave off a deadly infection. Yet there he was sifting through spreadsheets on his laptop, cradling his cellphone to his ear, waving off doctors to finish another conference call. California's top insurance watchdogs had hired Axene to scour Anthem Blue Cross' files for any flaw in the voluminous paperwork that accompanied its rate hikes of up to 39% (Los Angeles Times).

Bad Nurses Able To Keep Working In Other States
Nurse Craig Peske was fired from a hospital in Wausau, Wis., in 2007 after stealing the powerful painkiller Dilaudid "whenever the opportunity arose," state records say. In one three-month period, he signed out 245 syringes full of the drug - nine times the average of his fellow nurses (ProPublica/USA Today).

Planned Parenthood Decries Restrictions On Abortion Coverage In High-Risk Pools
The nation's largest provider of abortion services is slamming the Obama administration for seeking to restrict abortion coverage in high-risk pools, even as anti-abortion groups continued to argue the exact opposite (The Hill's Healthwatch).

How Will 'Meaningful Use' Factor Into Doctor And Hospital Rankings
Would you be more likely to choose a medical provider that has embraced electronic medical records? (The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog).

Prescription Drug Abuse Surged 400 Percent In Past Decade
Prescription drug abuse is not just on the rise – it has become a national crisis, according to a just-released White House study detailing a 400 percent increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers between 1998 and 2008 (The Christian Science Monitor).

Sign up to receive this list of First Edition headlines via e-mail. Check out all of Kaiser Health News' e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.

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