States Undergo A Variety Of Health Care Policy Developments
Connecticut: The Associated Press/Hartford Courant reports, "Gov. M. Jodi Rell has vetoed two health insurance bills he said were "well-intentioned" but "would cost the state billions of dollars before any economic recovery is complete." Unions and health care advocates had pressured the Republican governor to sign the measures. "[O]ne of the bills
opens the state's health insurance plan to municipalities, small businesses and nonprofit agencies. The second bill creates a new public authority to develop a plan to extend coverage to the state's uninsured." It's not yet clear if Democrats, who have a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, will try to override Rell's action (7/8).
Maine: The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reports, "Maine is undertaking an experimental new way to deliver care to patients. A couple dozen primary care practices have signed up to be so-called "medical homes" a model in which doctors spend more time coordinating their patients' care -- and get paid extra for their efforts." The state's Medicaid program and four largest insurers have agreed to participate (Huang, 7/8).
Michigan: The Detroit Free Press reports, "Attorney General Mike Cox and a group of Republican lawmakers proposed Wednesday the creation of an independent auditor to weed out fraud and abuse in Michigan's Medicaid programs, a move they say could reap hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings to taxpayers." A similar move in New York contributed to a tripling of the amount recovered through investigating fraud case over a single year. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm said the suggestion raised "serious legal questions" concerning patient privacy, because investigators would access their records (Bell, 7/9).
Pennsylvania: A new mental health court opened Wednesday in Philadelphia to oversee legal issues surrounding nonviolent, mentally ill inmates upon their release from jail, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "We want to stop the revolving door of recidivism," the judge overseeing the program said (Slobodzian, 7/8).
Texas: The Houston Chronicle reports that "health class will no longer be a state requirement for high school students this fall, making Texas one of the few states in the country with no required health education, officials said." Some are raising concerns that "Texas students will miss out on critical topics like alcohol awareness, sex education and basic nutrition." School districts still can require students to take health classes, but Gov. Education Commissioner Robert Scott's action wiped out the state requirement in favor of a new law that increases the number of electives students must take to graduate (Castro, 7/7).