State Highlights: Conn. State Employee Benefits Under Scrutiny; Right-To-Die Advocates in Wash. Find Cheaper Drug Combo
News outlets report on health issues in Connecticut, Washington, New Hampshire, Florida and California.
The Connecticut Mirror:
How Does The State Employee Health Plan Compare?
As lawmakers grapple with massive projected budget deficits and officials plan to lay off state workers, Connecticut leaders have called for employee unions to consider changes to their benefits package. That’s drawn renewed focus on the state employees’ health plan, a package that requires workers to pay less for coverage and care than typical employer-sponsored insurance, according to national surveys. Legislative leaders from both parties have suggested, among other things, raising co-pays. (Levin Becker, 4/4)
The Associated Press:
Right-To-Die Group Comes Up With New, Cheaper Medication
Right-to-die advocates in Washington state have created a cheaper alternative mixture of medications to help terminally ill patients legally end their lives after a drug company abruptly hiked the price of a drug commonly used for the purpose. Doctors with the End of Life Washington advocacy group concocted the alternative for about $500, after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International of Quebec acquired the drug and jacked up the price to about $3,000, The Seattle Times reported. (4/3)
New Hampshire Public Radio:
Is 'Right To Try' Right For New Hampshire?
Terminally ill patients in New Hampshire may soon have the right to request experimental drugs that haven’t gotten federal approval. The so-called “Right to Try” bill would allow patients with only months to live to go around the FDA approval process in the hopes of getting potentially life-saving drugs. (Ganley and Brindley, 4/4)
The Concord Monitor:
Shortage Of In-Home Nurses Felt Across NH
Before she goes to bed each night, Heather Donnell sets her alarm to go off every hour or every other hour so she can get up and tend to the complex medical needs of her 5-year-old son, Lucas. With a severe breathing and swallowing disorder, Lucas has a tracheostomy tube through which he breathes and consumes all of his calories. He also has Down syndrome and ADHD, but the task of ensuring his tubes and feeding bags are working properly takes up much of his mother’s often sleepless nights. (Nilsen, 4/3)
The Orlando Sentinel:
New Mom First Patient To Undergo Proton Therapy At Orlando Health
As Orlando Health was putting the finishing touches on its $25 million proton therapy center, a tumor began taking root in Rhea Birusingh's brain. After three years of trying, Birusingh and her husband were finally pregnant with their first child. So when she started having blurry vision and then double vision, everyone chalked it up to the pregnancy. (Miller, 4/1)
Kaiser Health News:
Medi-Cal Expands to Immigrant Children. Here's How It Works.
In a few months, California will begin providing full Medi-Cal coverage to all low-income children — regardless of their immigration status. Depending on whom you ask, anywhere from 170,000 to 250,000 children who live in California and are in the country illegally will qualify. State officials expect coverage to start May 16. But because the policy shift requires complex programming changes to state and county computer systems, implementation may be delayed, says Tony Cava of the state Department of Health Care Services. (Bazar, 4/4)