KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Medicaid Costs Making Ohio ‘Ill’?; Penn. AdultBasic Cuts ‘Bad’; Calif.’s Prisoner Dilemma

Politico: Medicaid Cost Makes Ohio's Budget Ill
[T]he president's health care overhaul has made Ohio's budget situation worse. ... The law prohibits states from changing eligibility requirements, cutting reimbursements or reducing benefits, which would allow our state to live within its means. Obamacare expects us to provide additional coverage by spending recklessly. If Ohio tries to restrict Medicaid eligibility, a provision in Obamacare strips states of any federal financial support. ... Unless this law is repealed, Ohio will have an unfunded mandate likely to put the state further underwater, just as we have begun to revitalize our economy and emerge from our imperiled budget situation (Rep. Bob Latta, 3/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama's Health Waiver Gambit
'I am aware that I have not convinced everybody here to be a member of the Affordable Care Act fan club," President Obama told a group of Governors over the weekend, and he could have mentioned a majority of the public too. But he did promise to give states "the power to determine their own health care solutions." If only this were more than political maneuvering (3/3).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Editorial: Bad For Their Health
If Gov. Corbett plans to build his legacy by dismantling the state's social-safety net, then he's off to a good start by tossing thousands of working poor Pennsylvanians off the health-insurance rolls this week. That may pale in comparison to the expected cuts in state funding for schools and other social services yet to come with the governor's first budget proposal. Even so, the collapse Monday of the state's subsidized insurance program is an embarrassing failure for the new Republican administration (3/3).

Related KHN story: Pennsylvania Closing State Health Plan For Low-Income Adults (Gold, 2/23).

Kaiser Health News: Fixing America's Health Care Reimbursement System 
Many health care experts believe that half or more of all health care expenditures - the costs of bloated transactional processes as well as inappropriate procedures, service sites and prescription drug levels - provide no value. ... Though we continually have given physicians and the health care industry a pass on this issue, its impact can be understood as the difference between our national prosperity and decline. (Brian Klepper, 3/3).

The Sacramento Bee: Brown Must Confront Sentencing Issues
Despite proposing deep cuts across state government, Gov. Jerry Brown plans no reduction to the state prison budget. … Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law last September to grant medical parole to inmates who have a "significant and permanent condition, disease or syndrome" that makes them "physically or cognitively debilitated or incapacitated." The process is bogged down in drafting regulations. On Wednesday, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced it would move to expedite medical parole for the "most expensive, most compelling" cases (3/3).

The Washington Post: Va. Bill A Reminder That Abortion Rights Can't Defend Themselves
When Virginia Democrats partied at their annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Richmond on Feb. 19, Senate Majority Richard L. Saslaw (Fairfax) crowed about the party's success in killing efforts by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates to push forward conservative legislation such as anti-abortion bills. ... Just five days later, however, Saslaw failed to live up to his own boast. ... Virginia health authorities will be empowered to impose regulations on clinics that do first-trimester abortions under a new law that in some ways is among the most onerous in the nation (Robert McCartney, 3/3).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colorado health news service): We Have Met The Enemy And (S)he Is Us
The question that we can't avoid asking is: why are so many cuts aimed at women and children? Why are these programs considered expendable? Are women and children expendable? The answer is, evidently, yes. We still see the highest rates of poverty among children and in households headed by single women. ... Women also pay more for health insurance than do men. In many states, maternity care and birth control are not covered by small group and individual policies and of late we are seeing some reproductive health care services become unavailable at certain hospitals (Emilie C. Ailts, 3/2).

The Des Moines Register: The Des Moines Register: Court Ruling Is A Win For Public Health
Last month the U.S. Supreme Court sent a message to American parents: If you think a vaccine harmed your child, don't turn to the local courthouse. In a 6-2 ruling, the court affirmed federal law that prevents vaccine makers from being sued in state courts and protects them from civil liability in "damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death." If this seems unfair, it's not. If it seems like only a "win" for drugmakers, it's not. ... So the system created by Congress to protect vaccine makers from liability also helps ensure continuing research into new vaccines and prevents shortages. That ultimately saves lives (3/2).

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