Roundup: Kan., Ga., Mass., Neb. Face Decisions On Implementing Health Law

Health policy news from Kansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Nebraska.

Georgia Health News: Medicaid Provider Fee Gets Maximum Priority
At an Atlanta panel discussion Tuesday previewing children's health issues for the upcoming General Assembly session, one item stood out. State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta) was officially on the panel to highlight "School Flexibility," but he summed up what he sees as the urgency of passing a Medicaid hospital provider fee during the legislative session. Approving the hospital assessment is "perhaps the most critical thing we have to do," Millar said. The session begins next week (Miller, 1/8).

Kansas Health Institute: State Officials Propose Trimming Number Of KanCare Workgroups
State officials say they want to consolidate four KanCare workgroups into two and include more Medicaid enrollees or their family members on the remaining panels. "Now that we're implementing (KanCare), we need to look at things a little differently and have more consumer input," Becky Ross, Medicaid initiatives coordinator at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told members of the KanCare Advisory Council (Shields, 1/8).

Politico Pro: Mass. May Shift Health Coverage Penalties
In a step toward bringing Massachusetts in compliance with the federal health law, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick Tuesday proposed legislation that would ease some of his own state's coverage requirements for small business. The landmark Massachusetts reform law, signed by Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006, requires all businesses with 11 or more workers to offer a certain portion of their workers coverage or else face a "Fair Share" penalty of $295 per worker. But the federal Affordable Care Act has coverage requirements for businesses with 50 or more employees(Cheney, 1/8).

Fox News: Nebraska Wendy's Franchisee Slashes Worker Hours To Sidestep ObamaCare
A Nebraska Wendy's franchise is slashing employee hours so the owners do not have to pay for health benefits for their workers under ObamaCare's requirements. WOWT reports about 100 workers in non-management positions at 11 Omaha-area Wendy's will have their hours cut to 28 a week (1/9).

Modern Healthcare: NYC System Pegs Sandy Costs At $810 Million
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. estimates that costs related to superstorm Sandy will hit $810 million. HHC said the cost to fully reopen hospitals closed by superstorm Sandy, repair other storm damage across the system and prepare for future storms will total $610 million. The figure includes $137.5 million for initial response to the storm. ... Bellevue Hospital remains closed to inpatients. Coney Island Hospital began to admit a limited number of psychiatric patients at the end of December (Evans, 1/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Cuomo Seeks An Overhaul In Gun Control
Mr. Cuomo is also seeking a new law to address the role mental health can play in gun crimes. The talks on these issues were still fluid Tuesday evening, but Mr. Cuomo had considered requiring mental-health screening and more rigorous background-check requirements for gun owners, people familiar with the matter said (Nahmias, 1/8).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.