KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: January 31, 2011

Today's headlines include reports about the difficult fiscal mix of state budget troubles and Medicaid.  

Kaiser Health News: States May Face Showdown With Feds Over Cutting Medicaid Rolls
KHN staff writers Marilyn Weber Serafini and Julie Appleby report: "Financially strapped governors, Congress and the Obama administration could be headed for a showdown over the Medicaid health care program that covers 48 million poor, disabled and elderly people nationwide" (Werber Serafini and Appleby, 1/30).

Kaiser Health News: Who Is A President To Turn to? HHS Or The Business Roundtable?
KHN staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "The Obama administration went on the offensive today trying to show how the new health law would cut health insurance costs. But in a speech to a conference in Washington sponsored by the liberal-leaning consumer group Families USA, President Barack Obama did not cite a study on health insurance costs issued hours earlier by the Department of Health and Human Services" (Galewitz, 1/28).

Politico: Jumping Into The High-Risk Pools
Health reform's high risk pools, so far plagued with lackluster enrollment, are showing signs that they are starting to turn around - just as House Republicans are launching an investigation into the program (Kliff, 1/31).

The Los Angeles Times: Buying Health Insurance For Children
If in the past you tried to buy health insurance for a child with a preexisting health condition and were turned down, it's time to give it another shot (Zamosky, 1/31).

The Tennessean: Community Health Centers Face Cash Crunch
Originally created to care for destitute urban dwellers or dirt-poor sharecroppers, health centers today serve a much wider segment of America. A prolonged recession and a shortage of primary-care physicians have expanded their patient base. Going forward, they are expected to meet the needs of millions more Americans. But getting there could be a challenge. Federal stimulus money is about to run out, and a state funding source also could be lost (Wilemon, 1/30).

The New York Times/Texas Tribune: Health Law Response Goes Two Ways
One House Republican wants to create the state health insurance exchange required by the federal health care overhaul law for fear that the federal government will do it for Texas otherwise. Another has filed a bill that would make his colleague's efforts - really, those of anyone trying to carry out "Obamacare" in Texas - illegal (Ramshaw, 1/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Generics Companies Weigh In On Biological Drugs
Generic drug makers are expecting copies of complex biological drugs to become a multibillion dollar market in the near future. But a lack of clear regulation, intense scrutiny from makers of the original drugs and the high cost of research may damp their prospects (Mijuk, 1/31).

Kaiser Health News traced weekend health policy developments, including reports about Medicaid and states' budget struggles, a series of health reform fact-checking articles and Obama administration official's defense of the health law during the Sunday morning talk shows.

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