A selection of health policy stories from Louisiana, New Jersey, California, Virginia, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
The Associated Press/CBS News: La. Lawmakers Criticize Few Details In Health Cuts
Louisiana lawmakers bristled Monday about getting few details and no ability to decide the $523 million in budget cuts Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has made to health care programs, largely to LSU's safety net health care facilities. Several complained the governor's top leaders weren't explaining the gravity of the slashing and the implications on the LSU network of public hospitals and clinics that care for the poor and uninsured in a state where one in five residents don't have health insurance (7/24).
The New York Times: Court Exempts Judges From New Jersey's Curbs On Benefits
New Jersey judges and justices are constitutionally protected from a new law requiring state employees to contribute more toward their health and retirement benefits, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, damaging one of Gov. Chris Christie's signature legislative victories and creating the awkward spectacle of judges taking action to preserve their own compensation (Yee, 7/24).
The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Court Sides With Judges
New Jersey's Supreme Court dealt a partial defeat to one of Gov. Chris Christie's signature legislative accomplishments Tuesday when it ruled that the state's judges don't have to contribute more to their pensions and health benefits. A leading state lawmaker immediately said the battle over the matter would continue (7/24).
Reuters: Near-Bankrupt San Bernardino Targets Bonds, Retiree Health
San Bernardino, the third California city planning to file for bankruptcy since June, would default on debt, freeze vacant jobs and quit paying into a retiree health fund under a three-month proposal to be submitted to the city council on Tuesday. The city is preparing a longer interim plan to make it through its expected bankruptcy period, when it will financially regroup under court protection from a financial hole created by a combination of the bad economy and poor management (Henderson, 7/24).
San Francisco Chronicle: Health Care Costs Still A Struggle
Despite rising health care costs, the percentage of California voters who struggle to pay for health care hasn't changed in five years, according to a Field Poll released Wednesday. The survey of about 1,000 registered voters over 12 days in June and July found that 53 percent of respondents say it is hard to pay for health care, and 44 percent say it is not. A similar poll conducted five years ago found nearly identical results (Lagos, 7/25).
Sacramento Bee: Health Care Costs Remain A Concern, California Poll Reveals
The promise of coming guaranteed access to health benefits seems of little comfort to the majority of Californians who, in a new study, reported trouble affording health care and anxiety over potential financial hardship due to the steep cost of care. A new Field Poll of 997 registered California voters showed 53 percent had difficulty paying their health care bills. Almost half, 46 percent, said they've simply delayed seeking treatment in the past year due to the cost. What's clear is that progress made since the federal Affordable Care Act was adopted in 2010 has done little so far to ease what pollsters called the "high level of concern" people feel about risks inherent in the health care system (Craft, 7/52).
Los Angeles Times: UCLA Doctors To Oversee 11 CVS In-Store Clinics
Pharmacy giant CVS Caremark Corp. and UCLA Health System are teaming up to treat patients in 11 in-store clinics in Los Angeles County as one remedy to a growing shortage of primary care physicians (Terhune, 7/25).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Inmates At Va. Women's Prison Allege Shoddy Health Care Amounts To Cruel And Unusual Punishment
Medical care at a Virginia women's prison is so deficient that it violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, five inmates claim in a lawsuit filed Tuesday (7/24).
KQED: Carrying Condoms Brings Arrest Risk For Sex Workers
Police officers in San Francisco and Los Angeles may be undermining public health efforts to prevent the spread of HIV among sex workers. … Researchers interviewed more than 300 people, including current and former sex workers in four major U.S. cities -- San Francisco, L.A., Washington, DC and New York. They found that police officers were either confiscating or taking photographs of sex workers' condoms as evidence of prostitution, putting sex workers at risk (Tran, 7/24).