First Edition: August 29, 2011

In today's headlines, more details about GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry's thoughts on health policy and politics.

Kaiser Health News: Insurers See Growing Risks As Well As Revenues In Medicaid Managed Care
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver, working in collaboration with The Washington Post, writes: "The federal health law calls for a huge expansion of the Medicaid program in 2014 - a potential bonanza for insurers if the law survives court challenges and opposition by Republican contenders for the White House. The expansion will add 16 million enrollees, mostly in private plans, bringing the total nationwide to about 65 million and raising the stakes for controlling costs. As budgetary pressure rises, states are increasingly passing it on to private plans" (Weaver, 8/26).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Candidate Perry's Prescription: Medical Malpractice Reform
Now on KHN's news blog, Marilyn Werber Serafini writes: "Just a few weeks into his campaign, Texas Gov. and presidential candidate Rick Perry isn't talking a whole lot about health care, except to criticize President Obama for last year's law. And he's not considered a health care expert. But he's is passionate on one point: Fixing the nation's health care system must include a major reform of the medical malpractice system." Check out the blog.

Kaiser Health News: Different Takes: Mass. Cities And Towns, Public Employees Find Hard-Fought Compromise ON Municipal Health Care Costs
These local jurisdictions, in the face of serious budget constraints, have repeatedly pushed for legal relief that would enable them to decrease the burden of public employees' and retirees' health benefit costs. Meanwhile, public employee unions have battled to protect what they believe their members have earned through their collective bargaining rights. In this state-policy drama, key players managed to come to a compromise that neither side loves, but both view as a solution. Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Paul Toner, president of Massachusetts Teachers Association, offer their respective insights (8/28).

The Associated Press: Deficit Panel Members Had Moments Of Independence
Even lawmakers most loyal to their leaders and political party on occasion buck them with a flash of independence or bipartisanship. That includes some of the six Republicans and six Democrats given the task of finding up to another $1.5 trillion deficit savings over the next decade (Margasak, 8/29).

The Washington Post: Rick Perry Has Distanced Himself From George W. Bush's Brand Of Conservatism
Perry, who closely allied himself with Bush earlier in his career, was a supporter of Bush's tax cuts and praised his leadership on national security issues. But he has been critical of Bush's fiscal stewardship and his attempts to court the political middle by taking on issues such as education, immigration and Medicare. He has said that "this big-government binge [in Obama's tenure] began under the administration of George W. Bush" (Bacon, 8/28).

The New York Times: As States' Rights Stalwart, Perry Draws Doubts
From his lawsuits challenging federal health care and environmental programs to his suggestions that Texans were so angry with Washington that they might consider secession, Mr. Perry has repeatedly invoked the 10th Amendment — reserving to the states the powers not explicitly given to the national government (Fernandez and Ramshaw, 8/28).

Los Angeles Times: Ruling May Broaden Insurance Plans' Coverage For Mental Illness
A Northern California woman's treatment for anorexia at a residential facility was medically necessary and must be covered by her healthcare plan, a federal appeals court has ruled in a case that could lead to more extensive benefits for those being treated for mental illnesses (Williams, 8/28).

Los Angeles Times: After The Hospital, A haven For Homeless Patients To Recuperate
A taxi dropped off Kim McAuliffe, clutching a plastic bag of medications, at a Los Angeles motel. She had just been discharged from Garfield Medical Center and had nowhere to go. … Everyone here has been in a hospital, is ill and homeless. Outside, the place looks like a standard motel, with a sign advertising color TV and air conditioning. Inside, nurses help homeless patients change bandages, take medication and recover from surgeries. Opened 10 months ago by the nonprofit Illumination Foundation, the Recuperative Care Center has 20 motel beds where homeless patients with acute illnesses or injuries recover after being released from local hospitals (Gorman, 8/28).

Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy headlines, including reports about GOP efforts to find political gain in Medicare and health reform issues and about states' Medicaid experiments.

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