KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Ga. Health Bills Advance On ‘Crossover Day’

A selection of health policy stories from Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky and California.

Georgia Health News: Making The Cut On Crossover Day
A handful of health-related bills moved forward on Crossover Day at the Georgia General Assembly. A piece of legislation must pass at least one chamber by the close of the 30th legislative day to have a shot at becoming law during the session. Thursday was this year's deadline. Bills passed by one chamber before the midnight deadline include one that would create a new home for the dentistry and pharmacy licensing boards, and another that would publicize insurance policy costs related to Obamacare. Among others that survived Crossover Day are bills that seek to expand use of playgrounds after school, aid prosecutions of elder abuse cases, and give advanced practice nurses the authority to order imaging tests (Miller, 3/7).

The New York Times: Opposition Emerges To Cuomo's Plan To Cut $120 Million For The Disabled
A plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut $120 million in financing for nonprofit organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities is emerging as a flash point in this year's budget negotiations (Kaplan, 3/7).

Boston Globe: Lynch's Health Care Vote At Issue In Senate Campaign
After a year of heated national debate and decades of failed attempts to achieve universal health coverage, it was all coming down to one moment in the U.S. House. The Democrats needed every vote they could get. Smart money said the Massachusetts delegation was a lock. All 10 members had supported an earlier version that narrowly passed the House. They hailed from the same state that had crafted the landmark law which provided the template for health care reform, the home of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy, who made universal coverage his life’s cause. But Stephen F. Lynch, the South Boston Democrat now running for Senate, refused to get on board that week in March 2010. President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, old labor allies from Boston, and even Kennedy’s widow all tried to get Lynch to come around. He wouldn’t budge (Moskowitz, 3/8).

The Associated Press: Bill To Save Christian Health Care Plan Revived
A Christians-only health care ministry would be allowed to resume operating in Kentucky under a measure that had been languishing in the Legislature only to be revived by a House committee on Thursday.The House Banking and Insurance Committee voted 28-0 to pass the measure on behalf of Florida-based Medi-Share just minutes before the Senate Banking and Insurance committee voted 8-0 to confirm the appointment of Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark (Alford, 3/7).

California Healthline: Expansion Hearing Highlights County-State Struggle
California health officials and legislators yesterday had a lively discussion over the two proposed choices for the optional Medi-Cal expansion. At the onset, yesterday's discussion in the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services centered on the Brown Administration's choices for a state-based or county-based approach to implementing expansion of Medi-Cal to adults up to 138 percent of federal poverty level, which is expected to open eligibility to as many as 1.4 million Californians. But the meat of the conversation evolved into something else. Since counties have pretty firmly asserted they're in favor of the state-based plan, and state officials have not stated a preference for either option, choosing one approach over another was not really the main issue during yesterday's hearing. The sharing of money from the optional expansion became the central topic (Gorn, 3/7).

California Healthline: Should California Expand Providers’ Scope Of Practice?
This month, state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, plans to introduce legislation that would expand the scope of practice for mid-level health care providers in California. Hernandez and many stakeholders say the state does not have enough physicians to meet demands of millions of newly insured Californians when the Affordable Care Act's mandatory coverage provisions kick in next year. His bill would allow physician assistants to treat more patients with more latitude and to allow nurse practitioners to establish independent practices. His bill also will propose that pharmacists and optometrists be able to serve as primary care providers and diagnose and manage some chronic conditions (3/7).

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