State Roundup: Colorado High-Risk Insurance Pool; Ariz. And Mich. Medical Marijuana Issues; High-Deductible Insurance
The Denver Post: "Nearly 500 people in Colorado have applied for the new high-risk health-insurance pool since the program started in the state 10 weeks ago. About 430 people who already have health problems that make it difficult to get private insurance have been enrolled; 43 applications are pending. In many states, these pools - part of national health care reform - have had slow starts. ... In Colorado, enrollment during the startup of GettingUsCovered was slow and plagued by misinformation" (O'Connor, 11/15).
Related, earlier KHN story: HHS Cuts Premiums For Some High Risk Pools (Galewitz, 11/5)
The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald: "Millions of Californians are flirting with financial disaster and in some cases postponing needed care because of high-deductible health plans, according to a recent UCLA Center for Health Policy Research report. Three million Californians are enrolled in high-deductible health plans -- insurance policies that offer consumers a lower monthly premium in return for higher out-of-pocket spending for health care services, according to the report. These health plans, which can impose deductibles of more than $5,000, may cause members to delay care and can put families in financial jeopardy should a health crisis arise, the report notes" (Raskin-Zrihen, 11/15).
The Wall Street Journal: "How do you say you're sorry for calling someone illiterate - and then ask them for $7.4 billion? That will be Mayor Michael Bloomberg's assignment as he tries to help get a health bill through the U.S. Senate for sick Ground Zero workers and others in Lower Manhattan exposed to toxic dust from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The mayor plans to join New York's congressional delegation in Washington Tuesday as part of the final effort to get the bill passed before a new group of Republican legislators who have vowed to slash spending take office. It will be Mr. Bloomberg's first visit to Washington since he claimed in China that some members of Congress don't understand the global economy, and can't even read" (Barrett, 11/15).
Arizona Star: "Arizona voters have approved Proposition 203, which legalizes marijuana for medical use. The secretary of state's unofficial results indicate that the 'yes' vote on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has won by a narrow margin of 4,341 votes, or 50.13 percent of more than 1.67 million votes counted. ... Arizona will be the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana. The general-election canvass will be held Nov. 29. The Arizona Department of Health Services has 120 days from that day to finalize all rules for implementation. The department is expected to begin reviewing dispensary and patient applications by April 2011" (Ye Hee Lee, 11/13).
The Wall Street Journal, in a separate story, reports that Ann Arbor, Mich., "which has a long taken a permissive stance on marijuana, is struggling with a crop of new problems as a result of a recent state law that legalizes it for medical use. ... Almost overnight, a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries cropped up in this city-45 miles west of Detroit and home to the University of Michigan-where a climate of leniency was already established. ... As more and more dispensaries opened up, some residents started calling council members to complain about congested parking and busy traffic near pot shops" (Dolan, 11/15).