Health Care Reform Around the Nation: June 18
A state panel tasked with drafting by Jan. 15, 2008, a plan to provide universal coverage in Minnesota within four years on Wednesday heard presentations about proposals aimed at lowering costs, the AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Ideas heard included:
- A multistate approach to improving preventive care for seniors in the Upper Midwest; and
- A state-funded pilot project that would make it easier for residents to schedule doctors appointments and avoid care in hospital emergency departments (Lohn, AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6/13).
The Oregon House fell one vote short of passing a bill that would have increased the state tobacco tax to expand health insurance for uninsured children, the Oregonian reports. The bill won a simple majority but failed to reach the three-fifths majority required to pass a tax increase in Oregon.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) and Democratic lawmakers who proposed the bill said they would try to get the measure on the statewide ballot in November (Colburn/Cole, Oregonian, 6/13).
State House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a health care reform package that focuses on expanding the use of health savings accounts, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports. The proposal also includes a medical malpractice reform bill that Gov. Ed Rendell (D) vetoed last year (Roarty, Harrisburg Patriot-News, 6/13).
The Republicans billed their proposal as an alternative to Rendell's "Prescription for Pennsylvania" plan, which includes several measures aimed at reducing costs and improving quality.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the state House said they expect a vote in the chamber in coming weeks on several bills representing provisions of Rendell's plan (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/11).
Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage to as many as 200,000 Texas residents and establish a state fund to help residents pay for health care costs and insurance premiums, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
The bill also would:
- Provide state assistance for residents to enroll in private health insurance;
- Create benefits packages for children with special needs;
- Encourage the use of health savings accounts and provide incentives for healthful lifestyle choices (Hanna, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 6/15); and
- Require copayments for beneficiaries who receive routine care in emergency departments (Brown, AP/Dallas Morning News, 6/14).