Media outlets report on news from Illinois, California, Iowa, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia.
Modern Healthcare: Why A Multibillion-Dollar Funding Program Is Dividing Hospitals
A battle has broken out over billions of dollars intended to compensate hospitals for treating Medicaid patients in Illinois. The state’s $3.5 billion hospital assessment program is up for renewal soon. But hospitals disagree about how the next iteration should allocate funds. The issue even divides “safety-net” facilities that treat large numbers of low-income and uninsured patients. Some larger, busier hospitals get more money under the current program, but some smaller hospitals with lower patient volumes get less, even if a higher percentage of their patients are on Medicaid or uninsured. (Goldberg, 3/10)
The New York Times: California Cracks Down On Alternative Health Plans
California state officials said on Tuesday they were ordering a major Christian group to stop offering an alternative to health insurance, joining several states scrutinizing these cost-sharing programs that provide limited coverage. The plans, which have become increasingly popular, rely on pooling members’ contributions to cover their medical expenses, but they are not required to meet standards for traditional insurance plans. (Abelson, 3/10)
Des Moines Register: Iowa House Passes Bill Changing THC Limit In Medical Marijuana Program
The Iowa House has passed a bill that would change how much THC patients can receive through the state’s medical marijuana program, add more qualifying conditions and allow more health care practitioners to recommend Iowans be added to the program. The bill, which passed on a vote of 52-46, follows the recommendation of a state advisory board and is in line with what Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said she is comfortable with signing, but Democrats called it a step backward for the program. (Gruber-Miller, 3/10)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Are Doctors Ready For Rise In Georgia’s Alzheimer’s Cases?
Eighty-seven percent of primary care physicians expect to see an increase in people suffering from dementia during the next five years, but half of those surveyed say the medical profession is ill-equipped to meet the demand, according to the new “2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” report, released Wednesday by the Alzheimer’s Association. (Poole, 3/10)
The Associated Press: Down Syndrome Abortion Fight In Ohio Takes Legal Twists
A federal court in Cincinnati will hear complex legal arguments for and against Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion ban Wednesday, in a case viewed as pivotal in the national debate over the procedure. Attorneys for the government contend in legal filings that the sidelined 2017 law does not infringe on a woman’s constitutional rights — because it “does not prohibit any abortions at all.” (3/11)
San Francisco Chronicle: Doctors’ Group Wants Processed Meats Added To California’s Cancer-Warning List
California requires Proposition 65 cancer warnings on hundreds of products, ranging from tobacco and gasoline to beer and french fries. But there are no warnings on processed meats, like hot dogs, corned beef and bacon, despite an international agency’s findings in 2015 that those foods cause cancer in humans. A doctors’ group is going to court Wednesday to try to cure that omission. (Egelko, 3/11)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Nursing Home Industry Balks At Bill On Suspicious Deaths
A plan to offer additional scrutiny of suspicious deaths at nursing homes and assisted living facilities seemed positioned to finally get a full airing at the Georgia General Assembly this year. Advocates for the elderly had been fighting for more than a decade to ensure local coroners and medical examiners get notified of deaths that seem to have links to neglect or abuse. The goal is to have another level of independent review on cases that can easily be overlooked. (Schrade and Teegardin, 3/10)
NBC News: Alabama Moves Closer To Transgender Health Care Ban For Minors
Daniel Eggers said gender-affirming medical care saved his life. Eggers, 18, a transgender high school student in Alabama, began taking testosterone two years ago with his parents’ blessing following a lifetime of depression and suicidal ideation. He found it difficult to make friends at school and struggled with an eating disorder, but since transitioning, he said he feels like a new person. He said he is almost never without a smile on his face, leading teachers to describe him as the “happiest kid in the world.” (Lang, 3/10)
The Associated Press: Lawsuit Seeks To Require LA To Provide Beds For Homeless
A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks to force Los Angeles officials to provide thousands of shelter beds in an effort to stem what it described as the unfolding “human tragedy” of people living in squalor on the streets. While once largely confined to the notorious Skid Row neighborhood, encampments have spread countywide. Freeway overpasses are lined with tents, and it’s a common sight to see someone pushing a shopping cart filled with belongings through downtown and even suburban neighborhoods. (Weber, 3/10)
Kaiser Health News: VCU Health Halts 30-Year Campaign That Seized Patients’ Wages, Put Liens On Homes
In one of the most sweeping moves yet by a nonprofit hospital system to reduce aggressive bill collection, VCU Health is halting seizure of patients’ wages and removing thousands of liens against patients’ homes, some dating to the 1990s. “Health care needs to be more affordable for patients, and we want to be part of the solution,” said Melinda Hancock, VCU Health’s chief administrative and financial officer. “We believe that no hospital bill should change the economic status of a family.” (Hancock and Lucas, 3/11)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Syndicated from https://khn.org/morning-breakout/state-highlights-medicaid-funding-distribution-battle-divides-dozens-of-hospitals-in-illinois-california-orders-religious-group-to-stop-selling-cheaper-alternatives-to-aca/