KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: July 25, 2012

Today's headlines detail new Congressional Budget Office health law estimates that reflect the Supreme Court's decision on the Medicaid expansion.

Kaiser Health News: 13 States Cut Medicaid To Balance Budget
Kaiser Health News staff writers Phil Galewitz and Matthew Fleming, working in collaboration with USA Today, report: "Thirteen states are moving to cut Medicaid by reducing benefits, paying health providers less or tightening eligibility, even as the federal government prepares to expand the insurance program for the poor to as many as 17 million more people" (Galewitz and Fleming, 7/24). Read the story. Also, check out the related story and chart.

Kaiser Health News: Phill Wilson: 'Advances Have Not Benefitted All Populations Equally' (Video)
In this Kaiser Health News video, Wilson, the founder and executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, tells Joanne Silberner that the AIDS epidemic can be combatted by making policy choices based on science and by ensuring that the health law's essential benefits provides for both HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention (7/24). Read the transcript or watch the video.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: CBO Reports On Impact Of Medicaid Health Law Repeal Effort; GAO: Proposed Rule May Leave Some Children Ineligible For Subsidies; Minnesota Wants Outside Audit Of Medicaid HMOs; When Going Back To The Hospital Is Good News
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Julie Appleby details new Congressional Budget Office health law estimates: "Federal spending under the health care law is likely to be $84 billion lower over the next 11 years than previously projected now that states can opt out of the law’s Medicaid expansion, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Tuesday" (Appleby, 7/24).

Appleby also reports on news from the Government Accountability Office: "While most uninsured children will qualify for coverage under the federal health law, a small percentage — 6.6 percent of the total, or at least 460,000 — may be shut out because of how the government proposes to define 'affordable' coverage, says a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office" (Appleby, 7/23).

Also on the blog, Minnesota Public Radio's Elizabeth Stawicki, working in collaboration with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "The Minnesota Department of Human Services announced Monday that it is seeking bids for an outside audit of Medicaid payment rates for fiscal years 2003 through 2011. The move follows months of controversy over whether the state's contracts have been too generous" (Stawicki, 7/24).

Finally, Jordan Rau reports: "No one wants to be readmitted to a hospital, but it does beat one alternative: death. As Medicare prepares to start punishing hospitals with higher than expected readmission rates, new government data show that some hospitals with high readmissions are actually doing a better job than most in keeping Medicare  patients alive" (Rau, 7/24). Check out what else is on the blog.

The Washington Post: CBO: Court Ruling Cuts Cost Of Health-Care Law, But Leaves 3 Million More Uninsured
President Obama's signature health-care initiative will cost a bit less than expected as a result of last month's Supreme Court ruling, but the decision is also likely to leave millions more people without access to insurance, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday (Montgomery, 7/24).

The New York Times: Court's Ruling May Blunt Reach Of The Health Law
The Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that the Supreme Court decision on President Obama's health care overhaul would probably lead to an increase in the number of uninsured and a modest reduction in the cost to the federal government when compared with estimates before the court ruling (Pear, 7/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Report Gauges Court's Effect On Health Law
Three million fewer Americans will gain health insurance as part of the health-care overhaul because the Supreme Court loosened the law's requirement that states expand Medicaid coverage, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday (Radnofsky, 7/24).

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Decision Scales Back Cost, Coverage Of Health Law
Fewer Americans will likely get health insurance over the next decade under President Obama's healthcare law as a result of the Supreme Court's decision to limit it, according to a new analysis of the landmark ruling. At the same time, the court's decision to allow states to opt out of a major expansion of the government Medicaid insurance program for the poor could also save taxpayers $84 billion by 2022, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates (Levey, 7/24).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Nonpartisan Budget Office Says Obama's Health Law Still Reduces Deficit, Fewer Will Be Covered
About 3 million fewer uninsured people will gain health coverage because of last month's Supreme Court ruling granting states more leeway, and that will cut the federal costs by $84 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said in the biggest changes from earlier estimates (7/24).

Politico: Health Care Law Now Cheaper, Won’t Cover As Many People
President Barack Obama's health care law just got cheaper — to the tune of $84 billion over 11 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's because the Supreme Court's June ruling on the law allowed states to opt out of a costly Medicaid expansion, and in a new report released Tuesday, CBO anticipates that some of them will do just that. As a result, about 3 million more people will remain uninsured, Capitol Hill's official bean counters said (Allen and DoBias, 7/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health, Housing Sectors Get Greatest Federal Subsidies, New Study Says
A study of federal subsidies of various sectors of the economy released Tuesday says that health care and housing combined to reap almost $1 trillion in support in the most recent year for which data was available. The study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts said that taxpayers subsidized health care by $743 billion in 2010, while a set of generous tax breaks was the main driver in $227 billion worth of subsidies for the housing industry (7/24).

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Obama Uses Out-Of-Date Data To Criticize Romney's Medicare Plan
On a campaign trip to Florida last week, President Obama — no surprise! — brought up the subject of Medicare. This is a highly emotional and difficult subject to understand. There’s a reason why we suggested last year that readers would be best advised to mute the sound if any ad concerning Medicare aired — for either party. Let’s look more deeply at the president’s remarks (Kessler, 7/24).

The New York Times: Court Exempts Judges From New Jersey's Curbs On Benefits
New Jersey judges and justices are constitutionally protected from a new law requiring state employees to contribute more toward their health and retirement benefits, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, damaging one of Gov. Chris Christie’s signature legislative victories and creating the awkward spectacle of judges taking action to preserve their own compensation (Yee, 7/24).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Court Sides With Judges
New Jersey's Supreme Court dealt a partial defeat to one of Gov. Chris Christie's signature legislative accomplishments Tuesday when it ruled that the state's judges don't have to contribute more to their pensions and health benefits. A leading state lawmaker immediately said the battle over the matter would continue (7/24).

Los Angeles Times: UCLA Doctors To Oversee 11 CVS In-Store Clinics
Pharmacy giant CVS Caremark Corp. and UCLA Health System are teaming up to treat patients in 11 in-store clinics in Los Angeles County as one remedy to a growing shortage of primary care physicians (Terhune, 7/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Inmates At Va. Women's Prison Allege Shoddy Health Care Amounts To Cruel And Unusual Punishment
Medical care at a Virginia women’s prison is so deficient that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, five inmates claim in a lawsuit filed Tuesday (7/24).

NPR: Black Teens Are Getting The Message On HIV, But Risks Are Still There
The HIV epidemic among African-Americans is getting deserved new attention at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. And the news isn't all bad (Knox, 7/24).

Los Angeles Times: 2012 AIDS Meeting: Early Treatment Is Key, Experts Say
Treat HIV now, don’t delay: That’s the new advice from the International Antiviral Society-USA,  in a shift from earlier recommendations that called for waiting until a patient’s immune system showed serious damage (Loury, 7/24).

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