KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Cuccinelli Blasts Health Law, Sebelius To Gain Ground In Va. Governor’s Race

A selection of health policy stories from Virginia, New York, California, Oregon, Michigan, Texas and Georgia.

The Washington Post: Cuccinelli Teams With Paul Ryan To Rip New Health Care Law
Virginia's Republican candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli II, sought to make up lost ground in his campaign on Tuesday by again spotlighting the bug-filled launch of Obamacare and teaming with a nationally known conservative. This time it was Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who shared a telephone press conference with Cuccinelli to bash the Affordable Care Act and warn that Terry McAuliffe (D) has bet his agenda on expanding Medicaid in Virginia under the federal health-care law (Kunkle, 10/23).

The Richmond Times Dispatch: Cuccinelli Calls For Obama To Fire Sebelius Over Health Care Rollout
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli also called for Congress to back legislation delaying the individual mandate provision of the law by one year. Exemptions have already been provided to large employers affected by the act. “President Obama put Kathleen Sebelius in charge of implementing a bad policy that is already having disastrous consequences as it intrudes upon our fundamental liberties and significantly exacerbates the uncertainty already felt by job creators in Virginia and around the country,” Cuccinelli said in a copy of prepared remarks distributed to reporters (Nolan, 10/22).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Poll: NY Residents Divided Over Health Care Law
A new poll has found more New York state residents who favor moving ahead with the new health care law than those who want to repeal it. A Siena poll released Tuesday found 43 percent of respondents saying they want to see the law go forward. Another 32 percent say the law should be put on hold until it's workable and affordable and 22 percent want it repealed (10/23).

California Health Report: Cuts To Medi-Cal Threaten Access to Care
Medi-Cal, the Medicaid program for 8.5 million impoverished Californians, will greatly expand with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act next year. But even as the state Department of Health Care Services prepares to accept an estimated 1.1 million newly-eligible people into the program, California is reducing its payments to many doctors and pharmacies by at least 10 percent. That’s bringing warnings it may be increasingly difficult to find health-care providers willing to serve Medi-Cal patients (Richard, 10/23).

Los Angeles Times: L.A. Leaders Fight Ballot Measure To Create City Health Agency
City Hall and Los Angeles County elected leaders are warning that if voters pass a June ballot measure that forces the city to create its own health department, it will increase costs and erode essential services now provided by the county. But the officials find themselves in a quandary: Although they vehemently oppose the measure, state law blocks them from publicly financing an opposition campaign (Mehta, 10/22).

Kaiser Health News: Oregon Experiment Puts Therapists On Primary Care Teams
The state of Oregon is trying some experiments to bring different kinds of medical professionals under the same roof. Medicaid patients can see different kind of doctors in one visit, and the hope is it will provide better patient care, eventually at less cost to the state. This can make sense in a primary care setting, where doctors often have to deal with stomach aches and migraines that end up stemming from mental, rather than physical, problems (Foden-Vencil, 10/22).

The Associated Press: Retirees File Suit Against Health Care Plan Cuts
Attorneys for a committee representing retired Detroit municipal employees and other unions filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court to stop health care benefits cuts imposed by the city's state-appointed emergency manager and slated to go into effect Jan. 1. The suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit asks a judge to issue an injunction and seeks a jury trial (Williams, 10/22).

The Texas Tribune: Court Battle Continues Over TX Abortion Regulations
Abortion providers and state attorneys will present their final arguments Wednesday morning on whether the restrictions on the procedure in House Bill 2 are constitutional. … The plaintiff's final witness, Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, countered the state's claim that providers could expand their ability to perform abortions by recruiting new doctors with active hospital admitting privileges (Aaronson, 10/22).

California Healthline: State Opens Adult Day Services Dialogue
Two state agencies -- the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Aging -- tomorrow will convene the first stakeholder meeting in a new process designed to extend the CBAS program beyond the expiration date of the legal precedent that established it. The Darling v. Douglas settlement officially ends in August 2014. The state is exploring the idea of reworking its federal 1115 Medicaid waiver to include CBAS care as a Medi-Cal managed care benefit. That means altering the transitional terms and conditions created when the program changed from Adult Day Health Care to the CBAS program (Gorn, 10/22).

Georgia Health News: Hospitals, Nursing Homes Fear Provider Fee Cuts
As the fiscal standoff intensified last month, the Republican House leadership at one point pushed repealing such Medicaid provider assessments, including those for nursing homes, according to hospital industry officials. Other speculation has centered on the feds lowering the provider tax rates that a state can use to gain extra dollars for Medicaid. That’s why local hospital and nursing home groups, along with their national associations, have recently sounded alarms over possible federal attempts at changing these assessments (Miller, 10/22).

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