State Highlights: Calif. Lawmaker Seeks To Re-Fund Mentally Ill Criminal Program; Texas BCBS, HCA Reach Contract Agreement

A selection of health policy stories from California and Texas.

Los Angeles Times: Steinberg Seeks To Restore Mental Health Funds For Criminals
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said Thursday that he will seek to restore a state program that funded county services for mentally ill people who run afoul of the law. After a decade of state funding, the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grants ceased in 2008 due to budget cuts. Steinberg wants to restore funding, starting with $50 million in the next budget year. But that money is contingent on whether Gov. Jerry Brown receives a delay in a federal court order to reduce state prison crowding (St. John, 12/19).

The Dallas Morning News: Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Texas And HCA Reach Agreement 
HCA, one of the largest health care providers in North Texas, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas have reached agreement on a contract, just days before their existing contract was to expire. The deal means that HCA's facilities, including Medical City Dallas Hospital, will remain in network for patients covered by BCBSTx, the state's largest insurer (Jacobson, 12/19).

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