KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Fewer Massachusetts Taxpayers Penalized For Lacking Health Insurance

The Boston Globe: "Fewer Massachusetts taxpayers were penalized for lacking required health insurance last year than were fined in 2007, the state said yesterday in a report reflecting the second year that residents had to report on their tax returns whether they were covered under the state's near-universal-coverage mandate. More than 96 percent, or 3.8 million, of the state's 3.95 million adult taxpayers said they had health insurance for at least part of 2008, according to the state Department of Revenue, and 3.65 million had coverage for the entire year" (Cooney, 12/10). 

The Washington Post: "A House and Senate Appropriations conference committee approved legislation late Tuesday that would allow the District to use local tax dollars to help low-income women pay for abortions, to allow patients to legally use marijuana when it is prescribed by a doctor and to continue to fund needle-exchange programs in a bid to limit the spread of HIV and AIDS. The compromise legislation, which must go before the full House and Senate and could be voted on by week's end, would end decades of prohibitions that city officials and activists say increased the number of impoverished children, expanded the number of people infected by HIV and AIDS, and blocked a District referendum 10 years ago that allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes" (Fears and Craig, 12/10). 

The Associated Press/ The Boston Globe: "When it comes to spending money on public health and hospitals, the U.S. Census Bureau says Hawaii leads the nation. The agency says in a new report on state government finances that Hawaii topped the other states in spending as a percentage of total expenditures last year. It says Hawaii spent 11.5 percent of the state budget on public health and hospitals. That was ahead of Alabama's 10.1 percent and South Carolina's 9.9 percent" (12/9).

WBOY-TV, an NBC affiliate station in West Virginia: "Expanding Medicaid eligibility along with requiring individuals and businesses to carry health insurance could save West Virginians more than $2 billion a year in health care costs, according to a study released Dec. 7. The actuarial study examined the potential costs and benefits of several proposed health care reforms using data donated by the state's largest health care providers. Several groups came together to fund the study, including the West Virginia Heath Care Authority and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce" (Williams, 12/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.