KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: August 30, 2010

Today's headlines include reports about the market challenges public hospitals are facing as well as the record number of Americans now receiving government assistance such as Medicaid.  

KHN Column: As Reform Improves The Overall Market, Inefficient Insurers Could Take Hits
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, done in collaboration with The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn writes about how the insurance market will change as a result of the health overhaul. He says the whole point of the nation's conversation about health reform has been to find ways to spend differently so that the result is a higher quality, more humane health care system (Kaiser Health News).

Record Number In Government Anti-Poverty Programs
Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand. More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, a survey of state data by USA TODAY shows. That's up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007 (USA Today).

Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals
Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health-care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort (The Wall Street Journal).

Nonprofit Hospitals Juggle Earning With Charity Mission
When Florida Hospital and United Healthcare started their public wrangling over a new contract this summer, each side pointed to the other company's profits (The Associated Press/Washington Post).

Health Care Org Backs Reelection Bids
The progressive coalition Health Care for America Now fought hard to pass health care reform. Now it's fighting hard to help reelect lawmakers who voted for the bill – even if it means not talking about it (Politico).

Tech Firms Help Governments Weed Out Fraudulent Claims
The state of North Carolina wanted to partner with IBM to get back Medicaid payments it had made on improper claims, but it faced what seemed an impassable obstacle: no money to allocate for the needed software or services, according to IBM (The Washington Post).

Weekend Update: Congress Weighs Changes In Health Law's Business Purchase Requirements; Young Adults lack Coverage; Medicaid Vs. Schools
Kaiser Health News tracked a variety of stories over the weekend regarding the new federal health law and getting health coverage.

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