Health Care Reform Around the Nation: August 6
Parents who work for large employers should be able to use automatic payroll deductions to pay premiums for Florida's version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, a state advisory panel said on Monday, the AP/St. Petersburg Times reports.
State CFO Alex Sink created the panel to examine ways of increasing and retaining enrollment in the program -- called KidCare -- without changing the law. The panel is expected to make a series of recommendations to the board of the Health Kids Corp., which oversees KidCare (AP/St. Petersburg Times, 7/31).
Maine's Dirigo Health, a state-subsidized program that seeks to provide health insurance to uninsured residents, saved the state $78 million over the past year, the Dirigo Board of Directors recently announced, the Portland Press Herald reports.
The board will submit the savings figure to the Maine insurance superintendent as the amount that Dirigo can require health insurers to pay to fund DirigoChoice, a health plan for low-income state residents offered through a partnership between the state and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine.
In the last two years, the superintendent has found a lower savings figure than the board, but the board maintains that this year's figure is accurate. The current figure is more than double the $34 million in savings that the superintendent found last year and has prompted opposition from health insurers (Kesich, Portland Press Herald, 7/28).
Gov. Mike Easley (D) on Tuesday signed a $20.7 billion state budget that will shift Medicaid costs from North Carolina counties to the state by mid-2009, the AP/Wilmington Star reports (Lillard, AP/Wilmington Star, 7/31). North Carolina is one of few states that currently requires localities to contribute to Medicaid.
Under the budget, the state will begin contributing to Medicaid in 2007 and will fund the full cost of the program by 2009 (Johnson, Charlotte Observer, 7/28). In exchange, the state will receive half of a cent of counties' share of the sales tax (Johnson, Charlotte Observer, 7/29).
Most counties will experience a revenue increase from the deal because of sharp Medicaid cost increases in the past 10 years, according to the Observer. Counties that stand to lose money from the deal will be reimbursed the difference plus $500,000 (Johnson, Charlotte Observer, 7/28).
In other North Carolina news, the state House on Thursday approved a bill that would establish a state health insurance pool for residents with serious medical conditions who cannot afford or qualify for private coverage, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
The bill, which the state Senate approved Wednesday, now goes to Easley for consideration (Bonner, Raleigh News & Observer, 8/3).