KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Houston’s ‘Painful’ E.R. Decision; Arizona’s ‘War’ On Kids’ Health Care; Protecting Elders From Abuse

Politico: Women Bear Brunt Of Union-Busting
Women are the majority of public-sector employees at the state and local levels and have already lost 320,000 public-sector jobs in the past two years. ... In addition, the GOP majority is attempting to defund Title X services, which have connected millions of American women to health care since 1970. Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, which ended the pernicious practice of gender rating - charging women more for the same coverage - and at long last put women's health care on an equal footing (Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Heidi Hartmann, 3/17).

Houston Chronicle: A Painful Choice
On its face, it seems like a terrible thing to refuse to treat an individual who shows up at a hospital emergency room. But that's exactly what the Harris County Hospital District has decided to do in certain cases: In the future, out-of-county people who don't have insurance and who are not in urgent need of care will be turned away unless they can pay up-front for their treatment ... District administrators have come to the conclusion that if they don't act decisively, imminent state budget cuts could severely compromise their service to all patients, including those in urgent need... we applaud the district for making what has to be a tough decision. They are committed to giving care, not withholding it (3/16). 

Kaiser Health News: Healthy Indiana: Conservatives' Reform Poster Child Or Another Costly Program?
[T]he underlying reality of Healthy Indiana that conservatives either don't acknowledge or don't realize [is]: For what it offers, it's expensive. Partly that's because it pays providers better than Medicaid, which is a good thing; and partly that's because it's not attracting enough healthy people into the program, which is not such a good thing. At the same time, Healthy Indiana doesn't seem to be providing better management of chronic disease, which is what the low-income population really needs (Jonathan Cohn, 3/16).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Drug Database Bill Is "Obamacare Lite"
During last year's congressional debate over ObamaCare, many Republican state legislators in Georgia voiced strong opposition to this so-called "reform" law... How soon they forget. Here we are, barely a year later, and Georgia Republicans are pushing to enact a prescription drug monitoring database bill, with support from the Obama Administration. This legislation would have much the same effect on Georgia citizens as the federal legislation – it is of questionable constitutionality, it is costly, and it undercuts the doctor-patient relationship (Bob Barr, 3/16).

The Arizona Republic: Republican-Controlled Legislature Wages War On Children
Over the past couple of years, the Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer have launched an assault on provably American kids who happen to be poor. They froze the health-insurance program for such children. They've taken away coverage for their parents. They've eliminated services that would help families identified as "at risk" and for children with some developmental disabilities. ... In the end it could be that our elected officials would best help Arizona if they spent less time vilifying illegal immigrants for what they've done wrong and more time emulating them for what they do right: Try to make a better life for their kids (E.J. Montini, 3/17).

The Detroit Free Press: Too Little Healing In Prison Health Care
Inmate Ivan Charles Hart's abdominal hernia has grown to gruesome and painful proportions. Protruding from the right side of his stomach for about a foot, it measures more than 23 inches around -- and it's still growing. But the Michigan Department of Corrections, which denied my request to photograph Hart, won't operate on the 31-year-old Detroiter ... he won't likely get the surgery while he's incarcerated, and his earliest release date is more than seven years away. It's one more reason I believe that, despite much-touted reforms, health care for Michigan's 44,000 inmates has probably worsened in the last three years (Jeff Gerritt, 3/17).

The New York Times: Broken Trust
A recent Congressional hearing and the poignant testimony of an unexpected victim - Mickey Rooney - have helped focus new attention on the abuse and exploitation of old people. Congress should seize the moment to help repair their threadbare web of protection. ... The Government Accountability Office found that in 25 of 39 states surveyed, financing for adult protective services had fallen or flat-lined in the last five years. Case workers are poorly trained and overwhelmed. The study also found that federal programs to fight abuse are scattered ineffectively across the Department of Health and Human Services (3/16).

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