State Highlights Judge Preserves Lawsuit Challenging Chicago Effort To PhaseOut Retiree Health
The shutdown of Brown’s Compounding Center is still cloaked in secrecy nearly six months after federal agents executed a search and seizure warrant at the drugmaker and pharmacy in Douglas County. The warrant remains under seal, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to be tight-lipped about the ongoing criminal investigation. For about 85 former employees, the stalemate hasn’t been easy. They say their financial livelihoods are the collateral damage. (Wallace, 12/3) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. New York City’s new warning label for salt-laden chain restaurant food is headed for a court fight, after restaurateurs sued Thursday to argue that health regulators overstepped legal bounds to enact the first-of-its-kind requirement. The National Restaurant Association’s suit came just two days after the rule took effect, compelling chain eateries to put a salt-shaker icon on menu items that top the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium — about a teaspoon. The group had vowed to challenge the city Board of Health-approved rule, which will sprinkle salt warnings on some dishes ranging from burgers to pizzas to salads. (12/3) Despite concerns about rising health care costs, the head of the state’s largest and most expensive network of doctors and hospitals said Thursday that health care is “very affordable” in Massachusetts. Partners HealthCare chief executive Dr. David Torchiana, in remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that health care costs are higher here than in other parts of the country, largely because Massachusetts is home to several large teaching hospitals whose training and research programs make them expensive to run. (Dayal McCluskey, 12/3) The White House plan would also expand Medicaid subsidies and make federal tax credits available to the island’s residents. The breaks are designed to boost the island’s unusually low workforce participation rates, but are controversial as Puerto Ricans don’t pay federal income tax. (Timiraos and Kuriloff, 12/3) The Associated Press: New Facility Has Options For Alzheimer’s Patients Reuters: Illinois Judge Keeps Chicago Retiree Healthcare Case Alive A lawsuit challenging Chicago’s move to save money by phasing out lifetime subsidized healthcare for its retired workers can move forward in part, an Illinois judge ruled on Thursday. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen found that a portion of a constitutional claim in the lawsuit can proceed, according to Clint Krislov, an attorney for city retirees who filed the lawsuit. The ruling cited a 2014 Illinois Supreme Court decision that public sector workers’ healthcare benefits are protected by the state constitution’s pension clause. (12/3) The Associated Press: Restaurant Group Sues NYC Over New Salt-Warning Labels The Associated Press: Owner Of Arkansas Health Firms Indicted On Bribery Counts The Wall Street Journal: Washington Divided On Response To Puerto Rico Debt Woes The substandard care that Cari Claussen’s grandmother received in a Springfield nursing home when Claussen was a teenager spawned her passion for service. “It just broke my heart,” said Claussen, 33, who plans to open an assisted-living center in March that specializes in the care of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. (Olsen, 12/4) The owner of two Arkansas mental health companies that received more than $90 million in Medicaid funds was accused in an indictment released Thursday of bribing a former top official in the state’s Human Services Department. A federal grand jury indicted Ted Suhl of Warm Springs on six bribery counts. The indictment accuses Suhl, 50, of paying thousands of dollars to former DHS Deputy Director Steven Jones to help his companies, which provide mental health services for juveniles, and to provide internal information about the agency to him. (DeMillo, 12/3) The Denver Post: Months After Brown’s Compounding Closure, Employees Want Pay, Answers The Boston Globe: Health Care In Mass. Is ‘Very Affordable,’ Partners CEO Says State Highlights: Judge Preserves Lawsuit Challenging Chicago Effort To Phase-Out Retiree Health Benefits; Partners CEO Says Mass. Health Care ‘Very Affordable’ News outlets report on health care developments in Illinois, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Puerto Rico and New York.