KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Pa. May Put Half Of AdultBasic Members On Medicaid

The Boston Globe: Limits To Save $80M On Health Plan
Regulators in charge of the Massachusetts health insurance law are expected to approve new contracts today that will save the state $80 million, in part by offering a narrower choice of hospitals, physicians, and specialists to thousands of patients insured through the state-subsidized Commonwealth Care program. The new contracts will allow state funding to remain level, even as enrollment in the program is expected to grow from 158,000 low- and moderate-income residents to 175,000 over the next year (Lazar, 4/14).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. Says Nearly Half Of Dropped AdultBasic Subscribers Might Qualify For Free Medicaid
Six weeks after ending a key health insurance program, the Corbett administration is informing tens of thousands of former subscribers in detailed letters that they might qualify for specific free Medicaid coverage. There is a good likelihood that nearly half of the 41,000 people who lost their adultBasic insurance might be eligible, based on income data and medical records that were used to generate the mailings, according to Jonathan Stein, general counsel for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (Sapatkin, 4/14). 

The Texas Tribune: Senate Panel OKs Expanding Managed Care to Valley
A bill designed to find cost savings and efficiencies in Texas' costly Medicaid program - and, more controversially, expand managed care into the Rio Grande Valley - is moving to Senate budget writers for consideration. ... It would: Save $290 million over the biennium by expanding Medicaid managed care into the Rio Grande Valley, and counties that currently have a ban on implementation of managed care (Ramshaw, 4/13).

The Boston Globe: Patrick Extols State Health Plan As Model
Governor Deval Patrick delivered a strong report card yesterday for Massachusetts' 2006 health care overhaul while urging opponents of the national plan to turn away from trying to repeal it and focus instead on controlling medical costs. "Health care reform is doing exactly what it was designed to do," said Patrick, in a short speech. "We do indeed lead the nation in providing health care to our residents" (Arsenault, 4/14).

Reuters: Bill Curbing Abortion Insurance Coverage Heads To Okla. Governor
The Oklahoma House approved a bill on Wednesday that prohibits health insurance companies from offering coverage of elective abortions in standard policies sold in the state. Under the bill, approved by an 84-10 vote, people seeking abortion coverage could do so only by paying a separate premium for optional supplemental coverage. The bill has already passed the Oklahoma Senate by a 36-10 vote and now heads to Governor Mary Fallin (Olafson, 4/13). 

McClatchy / The Miami Herald: Florida Gov. Scott Closes Deal To Sell His Urgent Care Business
Two weeks after insisting he was "not involved in that company," Gov. Rick Scott finalized a deal Wednesday to sell Solantic Inc., the Jacksonville chain of urgent care clinics he founded. Scott's sale of the company comes as he attempts to distance himself from repeated conflict-of-interest questions about whether the company he started in 2001 - and hoped to develop into a national chain - would benefit from the aggressive health care changes he wants state lawmakers to approve (Bender, 4/14). 

Georgia Health News: Legislative Checkup: How Health Care Issues Have Fared
As it closes this week, the 2011 General Assembly will rank as one of the most important legislative sessions for health care in recent years. ... Major legislative approvals include a bill to create a stand-alone Department of Public Health. ... Another major development came with the revamping of state regulations for assisted living facilities (Miller, 4/13). 

WBUR: Municipal Health Changes In House Budget Plan Cause Divide
In the Massachusetts House's $30.4 billion budget plan released Wednesday, the major policy change is aimed at saving cities and towns $100 million in health care costs. Under the change, city and town leaders would decide what insurance plans would include and how much employees would pay in co-payments and deductibles - without input from unions (Bebinger, 4/13).

WBUR: Show Us The Money: Global Payments As A Cost-Cutting Tool
Here's the problem: Health care costs are too high. Here's the emerging response: Put doctors and hospitals on budgets and reward them for improving patients' health. ... But setting limits on what we spend on health care is a solution that health insurers are testing and is also the basis for a bill filed by Gov. Deval Patrick. "It's the payment trying to reform the delivery system," explains Patrick's Health and Human Service Secretary JudyAnn Bigby. When asked why she's convinced this is the best way to tackle rising health care costs, Bigby points to other countries and to a health care network in Pennsylvania (Bebinger, 4/13).

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