Kern County supervisors will discuss a touchy topic this morning when they take up a plan to hire 15 new employees at Kern Medical Center. The new staff would run a new county health insurance system that could offer more than 8,000 county workers and their families coverage for half the price of the current lowest-cost plan.

Workers could still choose community physicians as their primary care doctors but would have to go to county-owned Kern Medical Center for their hospital care, prescriptions, most specialist care and testing.

The plan, if it enrolls more than 2,000 individual employees and family members, would save the county money by sending money the county already spends at other hospitals to the county's own hospital.

Supervisors have supported the idea in recent meetings but now they're being asked to spend $1.47 million.