KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Romney On Mass. Care, Kansas Rx Costs, Colorado Insurance Costs

The Boston Globe, on former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney's reaction to the new federal health law: "The former governor, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate again for president in 2012, had labeled Obama's bill 'unhealthy for America' and has called for its repeal, even as conservative critics say it was modeled on Romney's policy." But Romney called the two plans "as different as night and day."

"Republican strategists predicted that as the 2012 primaries approach, conservative critics would probably continue describing 'Romneycare' and 'Obamacare' as sister initiatives. Romney will have to explain why the distinction between a state-level plan and a federal one is philosophical and not only technical, they said" (Issenberg, 3/30). 

Denver Business Journal: A new law in Colorado bans individual insurance policy providers from charging women more than men. "Because the cost of health care can be more expensive for women, especially younger women, insurance companies traditionally have tended to charge more for their policies. The practice has been banned in the group-insurance markets for nearly half a century, but individual insurers carry it on - and can charge premiums up to 40 percent higher for females in Colorado, said sponsoring Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora … Senate Republicans still questioned whether bringing down the cost of health care for women would lead insurance companies just to raise the cost of insurance policies for men to even things out … In the end, though, [Gov. Bill] Ritter said that the new law will work in conjunction with the recently enacted federal health care reform to get more women insured and to make it cheaper for women to get health care" (Sealover, 3/29).

Kansas Health Institute: "Kansas should take a closer look at its contract with CVS Caremark, the company that provides pharmacy benefits to state employees, a [Kansas] House committee was told Monday. 'CVS Caremark has failed to offer Kansas the lowest prices on hundreds of generic drugs,' said Casey Cabalquinto of Change to Win, a national union group that he said advocates for improved pharmacy benefits for workers. ... Their main charge was that about 300 generic drugs are commonly available to the general public for significantly less cost than they are to those enrolled in the state employee health plan" (Shields, 3/29).

The Washington Post: "A bureaucratic bottleneck holding up federal funds in Prince George's County [Maryland] has forced some local medical clinics and nonprofit groups to delay or cancel services for people with AIDS. ... Prince George's has the second-highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the state after Baltimore … Experts say it is crucial that HIV patients get regular care to keep the disease from progressing and to curb its spread" (Somashekhar, 3/30).

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