KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Arizona’s Transplant Funding Cuts Continue To Trigger Controversy; Florida, Kansas Focus On State Role In Reforms; Wisc. Plan Would Elminate Tax On Health Savings Accounts

Bloomberg: Pulling Plug On Grandma Puts Obamacare's Opponents On Defensive In Arizona
[Arizona Gov. Jane] Brewer's transplant cutbacks have become a rallying cause for Democrats, who call her decision "Brewercare." It's hypocritical for Republicans to support the program's end while opposing President Barack Obama's health-care legislation on the ground it would create death panels run by bureaucrats, said Anna Tovar, a Democratic state representative from Tolleson (Palmeri, 12/10).

The Wall Street Journal: City Vows To Fill Potential Ambulance Void
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city will add more ambulances if private hospitals decide to stop providing ambulance service because of a new fee the city plans to impose. But the mayor on Thursday predicted that the hospitals will pay up because they would stand to lose patients and revenue if they get out of the ambulance business (Saul, 12/9).

Bloomberg: Dump State Tax On Health Savings Accounts
Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker said Thursday he wants to eliminate state taxes on health savings accounts, a move he said would benefit small businesses and help make Wisconsin a more attractive destination for other companies. The proposal is one of several he plans to put forth following his Jan. 3 inauguration, in a special legislative session intended to help give the state's economy a jolt (Ramde, 12/9).

Kansas Health Institute News: Praeger Gets Green Light To Proceed With Reform
Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said Wednesday that Governor-elect Sam Brownback and key state legislators opposed to federal health reform have signaled that it's okay for her to continue her work to implement the law. ... Praeger said that Brownback, who during his election campaign vowed to continue his opposition to the reforms, has told her to continue implementing it pending the outcome of federal court challenges and efforts in Congress to repeal the law. Specifically, Praeger said that Brownback wanted her to proceed with planning for a purchasing exchange (McLean, 12/9).

Health News Florida: State Panel Slaps Feds
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos ... and other Republican leaders want a big favor from the Obama administration: They are clamoring for more freedom in running the state Medicaid program. But separately, Haridopolos renewed a campaign Wednesday to carve a big hole in President Obama's signature health-care overhaul ... the Senate Health Regulation Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to allow Floridians to opt out of a future federal requirement that they buy health insurance (Saunders, 12/9).

Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Walker Unveils Plan To Eliminate Tax On HSA Contributions
Governor-elect Scott Walker said Thursday he would propose removing state income taxes on health savings accounts during a special economic development session in January (Bergquist and Stein, 12/9).

Texas Tribune: Interactive: Texas Medicaid Caseload And Premium Costs
Our interactive allows readers to visualize the 3 million people served by Texas Medicaid and the roughly $6 billion Texas spends on Medicaid managed care premiums every year ... Children make up the overwhelming majority of Texas Medicaid recipients; more than 2 million of them are covered in any given month. The state spent $2.7 billion in the last fiscal year on the managed care plans that cover 1.7 million of them. The second largest group insured by Medicaid is 350,000 eligible seniors, followed by 330,000 people with disabilities, 210,000 newborns and 130,000 pregnant women (Aaronson, 12/9).

The Miami Herald: Florida Lawmakers Weigh Changing Employee Health, Pension Accounts
With a $1.1 billion deficit looming in the state's employee health and pension accounts, lawmakers are poised to blow up the benefit programs and impose tough new limits on local governments, the chairman of the Senate committee said on Thursday (Klas, 12/9). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.