A selection of health policy stories from California, Georgia, New York, Florida, California and Kansas.
Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown Unveils Cautious Budget For Deficit-Free State
But Brown vowed to continue to resist pressure from fellow Democrats and interest groups to restore some money to adult dental care and to doctors who treat the poor. … Sacramento will oversee the expansion this year of Medi-Cal, California's health care program for the poor, to more than 1 million Californians who do not have health insurance now. Under Brown's plan, the newly insured would be offered the same benefits as those already covered by the public program, a shift from January. Then, the governor did not include stays in rehabilitation facilities and other long-term care for those who will become eligible for Medi-Cal for the first time next year (Megerian, 5/14).
Sacramento Bee: Gov. Jerry Brown Takes Cautious Approach On California Budget
Gov. Jerry Brown, dismissive of a surge in state tax revenue that stirred optimism at the Capitol, moved Tuesday to blunt appeals for increased spending, downgrading his budget proposal from January. The budget revision -- an annual exercise opening a month of negotiation with the Legislature -- threatened to strain Brown's relationship with Democratic lawmakers and with social service advocates who called Brown's estimates overly conservative and who are lobbying to restore programs cut during the recession (Siders, 5/14).
Georgia Health News: Veto Sidetracks Tax Break For Medical Charities
Among Gov. Nathan Deal’s five vetoes this year, probably the most surprising one targeted a bill that would have given sales tax breaks to charitable medical clinics, federally qualified health centers, food banks and other charities. The measure, House Bill 193, had overwhelming legislative support. It passed the House unanimously during the 2013 legislative session, and the Senate approved it 52-2. The legislation would have restored sales tax exemptions for community health centers and volunteer charity clinics – tax breaks that had sunset (expired automatically) in 2010 (Miller, 5/14).
The New York Times: Archbishop Presses Cuomo Over Abortion
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan declined on Tuesday to say whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was "a Catholic in good standing," as he ratcheted up his criticism of the governor's continued advocacy for abortion rights (McKinley, 5/14).
NPR: How A Florida Medical School Cares For Communities In Need
Brown helps direct FIU's Neighborhood HELP program. It's part of the school's curriculum that connects medical students with families in neighborhoods where medical care is scarce. Students visit families in their homes where they conduct examinations and provide basic care. But some things are better done in a clinic. So the medical school bought its own RV. "We're able to bring free basic primary care to our households relatively close to their community," Brown says (Allen, 5/15).
Health News Florida: Prescription Drug Deaths Drop In Tampa Bay
New data reveals the Tampa Bay area's prescription drug problem is on the decline. The number of accidental drug deaths in at least four local counties has dropped since 2010. Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Hernando counties have all seen a decline in drug overdoses over the last two years (Saleh, 5/15).
HealthyCal: Poor Health Care Moving From Prison To Jails
California’s sweeping criminal justice reform plan was meant to sharply reduce the state’s prison population. But the changes may have also had the unintended consequence of passing along to county jails the biggest problem associated with overcrowding -- poor health care. The reform, also known as prison realignment or AB 109, transferred authority for people convicted of certain non-violent felonies from the state to the counties in 2011 (Flynn, 5/15).
Kansas Health Institute: Kansas Drug Disposal Program Collects 6,000 Pounds Of Medications In First Year
Pharmacist Lori Murdock said she often heard the question even from people who weren’t her customers: How do we get rid of our old drugs? As the owner of Cedar Creek Pharmacy in this western Johnson County community, Murdock responded by signing up a couple months ago for the medication disposal program run by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (Sherry, 5/14).
California Healthline: Stop-Loss Bill Heads For Senate Floor Vote
The Senate Committee on Appropriations yesterday approved a bill to ban a certain type of selection criteria when insurers issue stop-loss health care coverage to small employers. … The bill would end the practice of cherry-picking healthy employees from the pool of workers within small businesses by stop-loss insurers, said Beth Capell, legislative advocate for Health Access California (Gorn, 5/14).