KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Part Two

Tulsa World reports: "A measure allowing the Legislature to sue the federal government over recently enacted health-care reform is headed to Gov. Brad Henry's desk. The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday approved House Joint Resolution 1054, which is designed to allow citizens to opt out of federal health-care reform. … Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat who is running for governor, reviewed the federal law and said a lawsuit would likely fail and would waste resources" (Hoberock, 5/5).

Kansas City Star reports: "Missouri voters would decide whether to pass a law allowing individuals to refuse a federal health insurance mandate under legislation passed Tuesday in the Senate. ... If approved, it would bar any law or rule from compelling a person, employer or health care provider to purchase health insurance. It's meant to undermine the federal health care legislation passed in March, which will require everyone to purchase insurance beginning in 2014" (Noble, 5/4).

The New York Times reports: "The District of Columbia Council approved a measure on Tuesday that would allow people with certain chronic illnesses to obtain medical marijuana from a handful of dispensaries regulated by the city. The 13-member Council voted unanimously to allow doctors to recommend marijuana for people who are infected with H.I.V., as well as people with glaucoma, cancer or a 'chronic and lasting disease.' The legislation permits Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to establish up to eight dispensaries where patients could receive two ounces of marijuana a month. The measure gives the mayor the option of raising the amount to four ounces without further council action. Some doctors say marijuana helps relieve nausea, vomiting, certain AIDS symptoms and some side effects of chemotherapy. For glaucoma patients, the drug is believed to help lower eye pressure" (Southall, 5/4).

The Los Angeles Times reports: "Los Angeles city prosecutors began notifying 439 medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday that they must shut down by June 7, when the city's ordinance to regulate the stores takes effect. It's the first step in what could be a lengthy and expensive legal battle to regain control over pot sales.  … Los Angeles became the epicenter of the state's dispensary boom last year, following the Obama administration's announcement that it would not prosecute medical marijuana stores that adhered to state law. Although the city had a moratorium on new dispensaries, it failed to enforce the ban and hundreds opened with no oversight, triggering complaints from neighborhood activists" (Hoeffel, 5/5).

The Associated Press/Seattle Times report: "New Mexico Insurance Superintendent Morris Chavez announced Tuesday he will resign, saying he and his family have been the targets of 'sad and derogatory' online comments in the wake of a contentious health insurance rate case his office recently settled. ... His resignation comes a week after the division wrapped up a rate case involving Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico and about 40,000 of the company's customers. A settlement agreement was signed ... shortly before a public hearing that had been called to give critics a chance to talk about a planned rate increase." Some people have complained that consumers were not given a chance to "voice their concerns" (Montoya Bryan, 5/4). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.