KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Medicaid Overruns Drive Budget Problems

News outlets report on health news in California, Connecticut, Colorado and Florida.

Los Angeles Times: 11% Of Children In California Are Uninsured, Study Says
Children in California are more likely to be uninsured than children nationwide, with 1.1 million lacking health coverage in 2011, according to a new study by the Keck School of Medicine of USC. About 11 percent of children lacked insurance last year -- and they were less likely to seek medical care than those with coverage, the authors reported. The study, released Wednesday by the California HealthCare Foundation, detailed children's insurance trends over a 10-year period (Gorman, 11/14).

CT Mirror: Malloy's Budget Chief Confirms $365M State Deficit
The state budget is $365 million in the red, nearly double the level needed to compel Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to prepare a plan to lower the deficit, the governor's budget chief told legislators Wednesday. Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes also confirmed in his testimony to the Appropriations Committee that huge cost-overruns in the state's Medicaid program, coupled with declining revenues, are driving the shortfall. "All told, these changes result in a projected deficit of $365 million" in the current fiscal year, wrote Barnes, whose next official budget estimates are due to Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo Tuesday. "Assuming they are certified by the comptroller on Dec. 1, (they) will require that the governor submit a deficit-mitigation plan to the General Assembly before the end of the calendar year" (Phaneuf and Becker, 11/14).

San Francisco Chronicle: Patients Allowed To Sue Nursing-Home Owners
The state Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a group of patients to sue the owner of 16 nursing homes in Alameda County for allegedly violating California's nurse-staffing standards. The rules require long-term skilled-nursing facilities to provide each patient with 3.2 hours of nursing care per day. The patients claim homes owned by Covenant Care failed to meet those standards at least 35 percent of the time over a four-year period that started in December 2006 (Egelko, 11/14).

The Miami Herald: Health Care Reform Could Impact Clinics
With the Affordable Health Care Act set to go into effect in 2014, a group of community and medical leaders gathered Wednesday at the Jefferson Reaves Sr. Health Clinic in Overtown to talk about the act's potential impacts on community clinics. A panel of public health care experts, meeting as part of a World Diabetes Day forum, said centers like Jefferson Reaves are likely to face an influx of newly insured patients and a shortage of primary care doctors as the federal legislation kicks in. "The Affordable Health Care Act is going to change the world of community health centers enormously," said Dr. Robert Schwartz, professor and chairman of the family medicine and community health department at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine (Burch, 11/14).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Governor's Panel Finds Broad Support For Keeping Elderly, Disabled At Home
Elderly people and disabled Coloradans should be able to receive better care in their homes, according to new recommendations from TBD Colorado, a nonprofit advisory board that Gov. John Hickenlooper created to survey Coloradans over the past year to develop a bipartisan policy agenda. The recommendations also call for more focus on children’s health -- including healthier food and more physical education classes in schools -- along with integrated physical and behavioral health care for Medicaid patients. ... While there are much harder problems to tackle, potential legislation to keep needy people out of nursing homes proved to be the most popular agenda item to surface after meetings with more than 1,200 Coloradans in 100 communities (Kerwin McCrimmon, 11/14).

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