KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Calif.’s Budget Cuts; New Med School For Rural Docs

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

Los Angeles Times: State Shaves Funds For Health, Social Services
Faced with years of recession-driven budget shortfalls, state lawmakers have made deep cuts to health and social services. The reductions, including a round that took effect this month, translate into sizable state savings but are sharply scaling back the safety net for California's most vulnerable residents: the elderly, the disabled and the poor (Zavis, 7/30).

San Francisco Chronicle/Richmond Confidential: Adult Day Health Care Programs Across The State Fight To Keep Funding
At 11 in the morning on any given weekday, some 60 adults, mostly seniors, at Guardian Adult Day Health Care in El Sobrante will be doing a series of chair-based exercises and games. ... Over the course of the day, they'll have their blood sugar levels checked, insulin and other medicines administered, attend individualized physical, speech and music therapy sessions as well as receive help with basics like going to the bathroom. This is what the Adult Day Health Care program does. But funding for the program was cut from the state's budget this summer, and unless a lawsuit challenging the cuts is successful, the program will disappear at the end of this year (Connelly, 7/29). 

Reuters: Rural Doctor Shortage Prompts Opening Of Medical School
A Kansas college hopes young doctors will be more willing to practice in small towns if they go to a medical school in a rural area. The University of Kansas will have what it says is the smallest four-year medical education site in the country when eight students begin taking classes on Monday on a satellite campus in Salina, Kansas. The move is in response to a shortage of rural doctors in the United States (Murphy, 7/31). 

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Patients Pack Health Centers
Hawaii's 14 community health centers have seen a spike in clients in recent years as fewer private doctors accept Medicaid and Medicare patients because of low reimbursements and increasingly burdensome paperwork. The nonprofit centers welcome the growth and see it as part of their mission to help those who can't get help elsewhere. The Medicaid population at community health centers soared 35 percent between 2009 and 2010 to 58,971 (Consillio, 8/1).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Middle-Class Struggling, Doing Without Health Care
Health-care issues, in particular, have been a major source of distress. Some people delay or forgo medical care because they don't have insurance or lack the cash. Others are overwhelmed with anxiety and stress over their financial situation as the country has struggled to emerge from recession. Nearly three out of four middle-class families have experienced a mental or physical health issue associated with financial stress over the past year, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index released in June (Alltucker, 7/31).

The Connecticut Mirror: Subsidy Cuts Boost Charter Oak Health Plan Premiums
More than 9,500 people enrolled in the state-run Charter Oak Health Plan will see their premiums jump by at least 45 percent and possibly as much as 67 percent starting Sept. 1 as the state cuts its subsidies for the program. ... The budget also lowered the premium subsidies that some low-income enrollees receive in the program, which Gov. M. Jodi Rell launched in 2008 as a way to cover uninsured adults (Levin Becker, 7/29). 

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