KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: UMass Students Complain About Insurance Plan

News outlets examine a variety of state health policy issues.

The Boston Globe: UMass Students Say New Health Insurance Plan Unfair
Student leaders at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus say changes in the students' health insurance plan will unfairly hit hardest on women, low-income students, and those with mental illnesses. The changes, set to go in effect this August, will require students to pay 15 percent of the total bill for care not received at the campus health center. Under the new plan, students who need more than four mental health visits per year or many gynecological and obstetrics services that are not offered at the campus center, will be required to go to off-campus providers, and will be hit with co-insurance charges (Lazar, 6/27). 

MSNBC/WTHR-TV: Indiana Stops Free Vaccines For Children With Medical Insurance
Starting next month, the state will no longer provide free vaccines for children who have medical insurance. It's a move to save the state some money, but passing along the cost is creating a hardship for some Indiana families. Pediatricians are expecting some tough conversations with parents starting July 1st. "The immunizations have to be done in order to get into school and the state won't pay for them," said Dr. Jerrold Smith, Community Pediatrics (6/27). 

Arizona Republic: Arizona Medicaid: New Attempt Made To Block Cuts
Attorneys for low-income Arizonans filed a motion in Maricopa County Superior Court on Monday to stop sweeping cuts to the state's Medicaid program from taking effect Friday. It may be the last chance for more than 135,000 people expected to lose coverage in the coming year under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which Gov. Jan Brewer and state lawmakers cut by more than $500 million to balance the budget. Attorneys for three public-interest groups argue that Brewer and lawmakers are violating the state Constitution and the will of voters, who in 2000 agreed to expand AHCCCS and extend health care to everyone earning less than the federal poverty level (Reinhart, 6/28).

The Miami Herald: Florida Task Force To Help Boost Troubled Assisted Living Facilities
Just weeks after ordering a crackdown on troubled assisted living facilities, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is launching a rare task force to search for ways to improve homes that have left frail residents to fend for themselves in squalor and dangerous conditions. The governor ordered the special panel at the same time he announced another rare move: his veto of legislation that was championed by the powerful industry to help ALF owners get around red tape and regulations (Miller, Sallah and Barry, 6/27). 

Health News Florida: Med Students To Train In Home Care
Medical and nursing students will be able to get credit for home-care training for the chronically ill under a law that will take effect on Friday. To become training sites for colleges and universities, home-care agencies must be not-for-profit, at least 20 years old, and certified by Medicare and Medicaid (Davis, 6/27). 

Burlington Free Press: Vermont May Build New State Hospital
Gov. Peter Shumlin is considering going in a new direction than his predecessor regarding the future of the Vermont State Hospital. Under the Gov. Jim Douglas administration, planning to replace the state hospital had focused on developing acute care capacity at private hospitals, but state officials and executives at various hospitals -- including Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington -- never figured out how those partnerships would work (Remsen, 6/28).

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