State Highlights: Minn. To Cut Elderly Medicaid Benefits; Calif.'s Insurance Commissioner Seeks Re-Election

Minneapolis Star Tribune: State To Cut Medicaid Benefits For The Elderly
Starting in January, thousands of low-income elderly Minnesotans could lose government benefits intended to help them stay in their homes and out of nursing care. In an effort to constrain runaway Medicaid spending, Minnesota is implementing stricter rules that will make it harder for senior citizens to qualify for home-based services, potentially leaving them with reduced care or no care at all (Serres, 12/21).

The Sacramento Bee: California's Insurance Commissioner Seeks Re-Election, More Power
He was an early supporter, but that hasn’t prevented Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones from finding plenty of fault with President Barack Obama’s new health care program and its rollout in California. Jones wasn’t happy the state’s health insurance exchange told insurers not to include pediatric dental care as a standard benefit in their plans. He criticized the exchange, Covered California, for rejecting Obama’s offer to let insurers grant extensions to more than 1 million customers with policies set to terminate at year’s end. But perhaps his biggest issue with the program has been that, as the state’s elected insurance regulator, he is unable to reject health insurance premium increases (Cadelago, 12/22).

The Wall Street Journal: Fight Over California Girl Points To Confusion About Brain Death 
A rare public battle has erupted between the family of a 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain dead and the hospital that would like to take her off life support. Beyond a family's tragedy, the dispute points to continuing confusion in society over the concept of brain death, especially when other parts of the body are functioning, said experts not involved with the case (Winslow, 12/20).

The Associated Press: Bloomberg Leaves Rich Public Health Legacy In NYC 
Michael Bloomberg steered New York City through economic recession, a catastrophic hurricane and the aftermath of 9/11, but he may always be remembered, accurately or not, as the mayor who wanted to ban the Big Gulp. After 12 years, Bloomberg leaves office Dec. 31 with a unique record as a public health crusader who attacked cigarettes, artery-clogging fats and big sugary drinks with as much zeal as most mayors go after crack dens and graffiti (Caruso, 12/21).

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