KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Calif. Considers Safety Measures For Mental Hospitals

Los Angeles Times: Proposals Aim To Improve Safety In State Mental Hospitals
Nearly eight months after a Napa State Hospital patient strangled a psychiatric technician, lawmakers and employee groups are pushing proposals aimed at reversing a worsening safety trend at California's mental health facilities (Romney, 5/16).

Politico Pro: Bay State's Experts Take Reform On The Road
Massachusetts health reform could keep Mitt Romney from getting the next job he wants - but it has been a career boon for the policy experts who designed the Bay State's new health system. The architects of the Massachusetts reform are in high demand, crisscrossing the country on consulting gigs working with the states that are trying to comply with the Affordable Care Act. "I would say amongst all of us, we're working in about 20 to 25 states," says Jon Kingsdale, former executive director of the Massachusetts Connector, the state's online insurance marketplace (Kliff, 5/16).

California Healthline: Basic Health Program: Good Or Bad For California?
The California Health Benefit Exchange board met earlier this week to discuss the possibility of setting up a Basic Health Program (BHP) as an alternative to one section of the exchange. The BHP is an alternative to the exchange's coverage for two sets of Californians -- adults with incomes between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level, and for legal immigrants with incomes below 133% of the poverty level. ... The rough idea is that a BHP would cover essential health benefits at a minimum cost, and the federal government would subsidize 95% of the cost (Gorn, 5/13). 

WBUR: Legislation Launches Statewide Hearings On Health Care Costs
The Legislature begins a series of statewide hearings Monday on one of Gov. Deval Patrick's top priorities: health care cost control. The governor's bill would shift from paying for each service to paying hospitals on a budget and ask them to manage the cost of patient care. Hospitals say they are moving in that direction and don't need a law (5/16). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Study: Babies Wrongfully Lose State Insurance At First Birthday
Thousands of infants inadvertently lose Medicaid coverage after their first birthday because of a confusing eligibility process that occurs when the state Department of Social Services changes the way the babies are categorized, according to a report released Friday. ... DSS Director of Medical Care Administration Mark Schaefer said officials have drafted a plan to address the problems (Levin Becker, 5/13). 

The Houston Chronicle: A Growing Burden
A growing population of elderly inmates is driving up prison medical care costs to the point that some Texas lawmakers would like to see more of those who are feeble and chronically ill released early. In the last decade, the number of inmates 55 and older has spiked as much as 8 percent each year, growing to about 12,500, while the general inmate population has remained fairly flat (Lee, 5/16). 

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