Health Care Reform Around the Nation: June 25
State legislative leaders and Gov. Jodi Rell (R) have agreed to a compromise budget deal for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that includes increases in Medicaid reimbursements to providers and expanded state health insurance for pregnant women, the AP/Hartford Courant reports.
The budget would:
- Provide $94 million in FY 2008 and $120.7 million in FY 2009 to raise Medicaid reimbursements for physicians, hospitals, dentists and health clinics;
- Allow more pregnant women to enroll in the state's HUSKY health insurance program;
- Establish a $30 million pool to help hospitals that are struggling financially; and
- Increase by 3% funding for nursing homes and some not-for-profit groups that provide health-related services (AP/Hartford Courant, 6/22).
In other Connecticut news, Rell signed into law legislation that will make it illegal for health insurance companies to rescind coverage after members submit a large claim, the New Haven Register reports.
The law, which takes effect Oct. 1, prohibits a practice known as post-claim underwriting, in which insurers review a member's medical records in detail only after an expensive claim is submitted (Baruzzi, New Haven Register, 6/15).
A state board unanimously voted to preliminarily approve lifting an enrollment freeze on Georgia's version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Savannah Morning News reports. The enrollment freeze was started in March because of a funding shortfall.
The board agreed to let more than 20,000 children enroll in the program beginning July 12 and allow more children to enroll as others leave, according to a state official (Savannah Morning News, 6/15).
The program has been operating on an emergency appropriation from the state Legislature.
Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) has said that without new funds, the program will be suspended after Sept. 30 -- when SCHIP expires and must be reauthorized by Congress (Hendrick, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/14).
The state Family and Social Service Administration is negotiating two contracts to enroll state Medicaid beneficiaries who are blind, elderly or disabled into managed care programs, agency Secretary Mitch Roob said on Tuesday, the AP/Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
Beneficiaries in those categories account for about two-thirds of the state's Medicaid expenses, or about $3 billion annually. Roob said the contracts would affect about $1 billion of those costs by helping beneficiaries better manage chronic conditions.
Under the contracts, the state gradually would transition beneficiaries to managed care plans beginning around Oct. 1 (Kusmer, AP/Louisville Courier-Journal, 6/20).
The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that aims to make the state health care system "affordable, effective and universal," the Oregonian reports. The bill would establish an Oregon Health Trust Board that would work out the details of the plan and draft them into bills for the 2009 state Legislature.
The bill calls for a health care system that would control costs through:
- Bulk purchasing;
- Cost comparisons;
- Research-based practices and market incentives;
- Electronic health records and effective use of technology; and
- Better management of chronic illnesses.
Under the bill, contributions from employers, uninsured state residents and federal matching funds would be combined to establish a state health fund. Participants would purchase private health insurance through a health insurance exchange.
The bill now goes to the House for a vote. If it is approved, Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) has said he will sign it (Graves, Oregonian, 6/21). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.