Health Program Cuts, Cost-Saving Measures Big Issues At State Capitols
Legislatures around the country are dealing with changes or cost-saving measures to health programs as they consider their budgets.
Arizona Republic: Bill Targets Rule Halting Funds For Cancer Care
Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, and Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, believe that "bureaucratic glitch" is not fair. The pair sponsored House Bill 2472, which would let eligible women get treatment dollars regardless of where they get screened for breast or cervical cancer. The proposal cleared the House unanimously and is scheduled to go before the Senate's Health Committee on Wednesday (Munshi, 3/10).
Denver Post: Colorado Budget Awaits As Legislators Start Second Half
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper's budget is based on the assumption that the legislature will once again suspend a property-tax break for seniors that costs the state $100 million. Hickenlooper and Democratic lawmakers say the state can't afford to grant the tax break, which isn't means-tested, and the governor has instead proposed more assistance targeted to the poorest seniors. Not suspending the tax break again means even deeper cuts to education, Hickenlooper said, while Republicans argue that cuts should be made to Medicaid (Hoover, 3/12).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Health Care: HMO Cash Cushions At Issue In Legislature
As the surplus funds held in reserve by the state's nonprofit HMOs continue to grow, so too have the questions at the state Capitol about just how much they should store away. … State records show that from 2006 to 2010, the collective total for reserves at the state's four largest health plans increased from $1.82 billion to $2.48 billion. While that might seem high, insurers say, the sums make sense considering the relentless growth in health costs. Despite all the talk, legislative leaders don't sound like they're ready to jump in this session with bills to impose a cap (Snowbeck, 3/10).
California Healthline: Legislature Examines Duals Transition
[Toby] Douglas -- director of the state Department of Health Care Services -- with a full array of budget cuts, program transitions and agency reorganization on his plate, has been making presentations and fielding questions at a number of legislative hearings recently. ... At issue is the passive enrollment and transition of 1.2 million Californians eligible for both Medicare and Med-Cal benefits to managed care plans. California is one of 15 states working on a federal demonstration project to convert duals to managed care (Gorn, 3/12).
California Watch: Patients Suffer As State Overhauls Medi-Cal, Advocates Say
The changes are part of a wide-ranging plan that is meant to improve care and cut costs in the state's Medi-Cal program, California's version of Medicaid. In June, the first wave of Medi-Cal patients moved to managed care plans. The effort is planned to extend to about 1.2 million seniors who are covered by both Medicare and Medi-Cal and projected to save the state a billion dollars within five years (Jewett, 3/9).
News Service of Florida/Palm Beach Post: Big Health Bills Die At The Session's End
After weeks of lobbying and debate, Florida lawmakers ended the 2012 session without passing major health-care bills dealing with assisted-living facilities, malpractice lawsuits and physicians dispensing drugs to workers-compensation patients. A bill (HB 7133) that would have increased oversight of assisted living facilities bounced between the House and Senate in the final hours of the session, but lawmakers could not reach agreement (Saunders, 3/11).