KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Highlights: N.C. Medicaid Overhaul; Conn. ‘Aid In Dying’ Bill; Calif. Medical Expenses Crowdfunding

A selection of health policy stories from North Carolina, Connecticut, California and Georgia.

The Associated Press: N.C. Health Agency Rolls Out Medicaid Overhaul Plan
North Carolina health officials said Monday that their long-awaited proposal to overhaul how Medicaid operates in North Carolina is "realistic" and "achievable" and will make state budgets more predictable. Now Gov. Pat McCrory's administration must convince enough legislators to agree within the next few months to get the General Assembly to approve the core of the reform proposal (Robertson, 3/17).

Raleigh News & Observer: State Officials Say Medicaid Proposal Will Slow Spending, But A Key Legislator Says It’s Not Enough
A signature proposal from Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration for changes in the state’s $13 billion Medicaid program is running into opposition in the state Senate, with a key legislator criticizing the plan and recommending it be reworked. Sen. Louis Pate, a member of the advisory committee that helped guide creation of the proposal, said in a letter to the head of the state health agency that it fails to offer predictable Medicaid spending and doesn’t ease the administrative burdens or properly integrate physical and mental health care for patients (Bonner, 3/17).

The CT Mirror: ‘Aid In Dying’ Bill Offers Hope, Generates Fear
They came to Hartford in wheelchairs, two strong-willed women whose bodies are failing. Cathy Ludlum opposed an “aid in dying” bill, fearful of a society that may coerce the disabled into suicide. Sara Myers urged passage, asking for the right to face death on her terms, should she so choose. More than 500 witnesses submitted public-hearing testimony about H.B. 5326, An Act Concerning Compassionate Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients. But the essence of arguments pro and con could be distilled Monday in the opposing testimonies of Ludlum and Myers (Pazniokas, 3/17).

The California Health Report: Californians Turn To Crowdfunding To Pay Out-Of-Pocket Medical Expenses
When Sara Wysuph of Santa Cruz learned that her brother-in-law, Jason Jones had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, she was determined to help him and his family get the financial and emotional support they needed.“Several months before Jason was diagnosed, a friend of ours held a crowdfunding campaign to help offset her costs relating to breast cancer,” Wysuph says. “After seeing how it allowed her to focus on her recovery rather than worrying about debt, my husband and I decided to sponsor a similar campaign on for Jason and his family” (Childers, 3/18).

The CT Mirror: Blumenthal, Murphy Declare War On Heroin
Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have declared war on heroin, insisting the federal government do more to combat what has become a particularly lethal drug that claims, on the average, one life in the state every day. The recent death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman of a drug overdose, has turned the attention of the nation -- and Connecticut’s Democratic senators -- to the dangers of the potent, and impure, form of heroin on the black market today and to the increasing number of users of prescription drugs who “graduate” to heroin (Radelat, 3/17).

Georgia Health News: Sharing Medical Stories: The Blossoming Of Hospital Social Media
Last March, Emmy developed a severe case of acute chest syndrome, a potentially fatal lung-related complication that occurs in some sickle cell patients. Emmy’s treatment and recovery required an extended stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. It was during this particular admission that her mother decided to share Emmy’s story via social media. “She was very, very sick, so our doctor suggested that I make a Facebook page as a way to take my mind off of how sick my child was,” Courtney Lott said (Duggan, 3/17).


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