KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Minn. Officials Reach Deal To End Shutdown

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

MinnPost: Universally 'Disappointing' Deal Reached To Resolve Minnesota Government Shutdown
Gov. Mark Dayton had to disappoint some of his strongest political supporters to come up with the deal Thursday that will end Minnesota's government shutdown. ... But Dayton did extract things from Republicans that they hadn't been willing to yield at shutdown time. The Republican "policy issues" that run throughout the Republican budget bills will disappear. Those include such things as a law requiring photo ID, restrictions on stem-cell research, new restrictions on abortion and proposed curtailment of school funding for purposes of integration (Grow and Nord, 7/14).

Minnesota Public Radio: Deal At A Glance
Here's a look at the key items in the June 30 proposal that forms the basis of Thursday's initial agreement to end the shutdown and close a $1.4 million gap between parties' budget proposals. ... What got in:... Item: Borrowing against future tobacco payments through the sale of tobacco bonds, which would cover the remaining gap of about $700 million. ... What Was Dropped: Item: Increase in surcharges on hospitals and nursing homes. ... Item: Policy changes (such as a requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls, a ban on cloning, and an end to taxpayer funding of abortions) (Friedrich, 7/15). 

HealthyCal: Legislature Sends Adult Care Bill To Governor
The measure, AB 96, creates a new program to replace Adult Day Health Care, which was eliminated in the budget. Brown, with some reluctance, did approve $85 million that was in the budget for services for low-income seniors who will be moved out of the Day Health Care Program. But he made it clear that he wanted the money - which was half of the former program's budget - to be used as a transition to other services and not to begin a new, ongoing program (Weintraub, 7/14). 

California Healthline: ADHC Lawsuit Gets Federal Support
[A]dult day health care isn't quite dead yet in California. The elimination date to end the program is Sept. 1, but a lawsuit to halt that elimination just got a big boost from the federal Department of Justice, which filed an amicus brief in support of the ADHC program. A final hearing in federal appeals court is set for July 26. ... The state hopes to save $169 million a year by cutting the ADHC program. In the final budget, $85 million is earmarked to launch a new, half-price adult day health care program (Gorn, 7/14). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Controversial 'Provider Tax' Being Scrutinized In Debt Talks
One of the most contentious elements of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's recently-passed budget was a new tax on Connecticut hospitals, which won legislative approval despite fierce opposition from the industry. Now, policymakers in Washington may restrict the ability of states to enact such taxes--and they could even force Connecticut to scale back or eventually repeal its new levy (Shesgreen, 7/14). 

Atlanta Journal Constitution: State Proposes Increases In Medicaid Co-Pays
Children could be among the hardest hit by proposed increases in co-pays for Medicaid enrollees and the creation of co-pays for families in the state's PeachCare for Kids health care program starting this fall. A plan to double existing co-pays for inpatient hospital services to $25 is also among the changes proposed by the Georgia Department of Community Health that would save the state an estimated $4.2 million. Co-pays for prescription drugs, vision care and other services would also climb under the plan outlined at a department board meeting Thursday (Williams, 7/14). 

San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Supes Propose Change To Health Care Accounts
Eighty percent of the $50 million San Francisco businesses paid last year into city-mandated health care reimbursement accounts for their uninsured workers was never used and instead went back to the employers, City Hall officials said Thursday. Now, Supervisor David Campos and six of his colleagues want to close that perceived loophole, despite complaints from business groups that a change would trigger layoffs by cutting too deeply into employers' bottom line (Gordon, 7/15). 

NPR: Violence At Calif. Mental Hospitals: 'This Is The Norm'
Thousands of assaults occur each year at California's state psychiatric hospitals. Last October, a patient allegedly murdered a staffer at Napa State Hospital. Employees there demonstrated, demanding greater safety. Now, the protests have spread to Metropolitan State Hospital near Los Angeles. ... Psychiatrist Laura Dardashti, who has worked at Metropolitan since 2006, says that when she started, co-workers told her, "It's not if you get assaulted - it's when." (Jaffe, 7/14).

The Lund Report: Defensive Medicine Becomes Part of Transformation Bill
Before Republicans signed off on major legislation transforming Oregon's healthcare system – House Bill 3650 -- they insisted that the cost and impact of defensive medicine be looked into. The Oregon Health Authority has been charged with hiring consultants to conduct such a study. ... The consultants are expected to look into the impact of malpractice caps on medical liability premiums; the benefits of binding and non-binding panels to examine malpractice claims; examine the exceptions and exemptions of the Stark laws, and placing a cap on damages to providers who participate in the Oregon Health Plan and other state-run programs (Lund-Muzikant, 7/14).

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