KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Legislatures Twist And Turn On Health Budgets, Autism Coverage And Abortion

States confront a bevy of health issues including finding funds for health services, taking control of Medicare and Medicaid programs, mandating coverage for autism and limiting abortions.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Legislative Stalemate Broken; Key Budget Agreements In The Works
Iowa lawmakers are today on track to approve compromise agreements on most of the key budget bills, a major step in wrapping up this year’s legislative session. ... The remaining areas include the state's health and human services budget, which is a $1.6 billion piece that includes controversial measures such as further abortion restrictions (Clayworth, 5/7).

Arizona Republic: Brewer Signs Budget Approved By Legislature
Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into law an $8.6 billion budget for next fiscal year that includes increases for certain education, public-safety and health programs but also puts $450 million into a "rainy-day fund" … There is an additional $39 million for the seriously mentally ill (Rau, 5/7).

The Kansas City Star: Missouri Budget Debate Puts Health Care For The Blind In Jeopardy
If the Senate fails to approve a plan to fund Missouri's veterans' nursing homes, it could mean the end of a health care program for the blind, Republicans negotiating the state budget said Monday. But as of late Monday night, a group of senators was blocking a vote on the bill. … First on the chopping block could be a $28 million program that provides health care to roughly 2,800 blind Missourians who earn more than $9,495 a year -- too much to qualify for Medicaid -- but have less than $20,000 in assets besides their homes (Hancock, 5/8).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: NH Senate Voting On Health Compact Bill 
The Senate is considering whether New Hampshire should form an interstate compact to assume control for health care within state boundaries. The House passed the bill in March that proposes that New Hampshire join with other states in delivering health care to its residents. Under the bill, the states would receive block grants from the federal government and would take over Medicare and Medicaid. Congress would have to approve the compact for it to take effect (5/7). 

The Lund Report (an Oregon news service): Legislators Begin Working On Insurance Coverage For Autism 
Although Oregon's next legislative session is 10 months away, work is already beginning on legislation to establish requirements for health insurance coverage of autism spectrum disorders and streamline the process of obtaining care (Joregensen, 5/7). 

The Kansas City Star: Bill Passed By Kansas House Makes Abortion A Tax Issue
The tax code is becoming the new weapon in the war against abortion with Kansas pioneering the way. The Kansas House passed a bill Monday that would further restrict abortion by rewriting state tax law. … The measure is patterned after a similar bill pending in Congress. The Kansas bill, approved on an 88-31 vote, would prohibit taxpayers from deducting money spent on an abortion or for supplemental health insurance to cover the procedure (Cooper, 5/7).  

Des Moines Register: Iowa Campaign Targets Synthetic Drugs
Iowa officials are hoping a pairing of legislation and education will produce progress in dealing with the growing issue of synthetic drugs. As legislators at the state Capitol discussed a bill expanding the list of banned substances, officials representing law enforcement, public health and drug control policy presented a new public education campaign designed to warn both teenagers and parents of the products' dangers (Zilbermints, 5/7).

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