A selection of health policy stories from New York, Texas, Connecticut, Florida and Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: New Law Includes Coverage For Partial Mastectomy
New York's newest laws include one that will require health insurance to cover reconstructive surgery after partial mastectomies. Health insurers in New York must already cover the cost of reconstructive surgery after a full mastectomy (8/2).
Houston Chronicle: Texas Is Home To 40% Of Home Health Care Agencies With Suspicious Claims
The nation's top health care inspector is calling for a Medicare moratorium on new home health care agencies in Texas, where the largest number of companies are filing dubious claims, according to a report obtained by the Houston Chronicle. Nearly 40 percent of all home health care agencies or HHAs with suspicious billings came from Texas, according to the latest findings from the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. … "Florida and Texas each had a high number of (agencies) with questionable billings in 2010," states the report, scheduled to be released Thursday (Langford, 8/2).
CT Mirror: Budget Challenges Put Malloy, Urban Democrats At Odds
The plot revolves around Malloy's plan to curtail Medicaid benefits for single adults, a cut the governor needs to keep his new budget from slipping into an early deficit. Meanwhile, Democratic legislators from Connecticut's cities say this would leave more than 13,000 of the state's poorest residents -- most of whom are their constituents -- with no health coverage in a legislative election year. A better alternative, they say, would be to raise taxes on big business or the wealthy, neither of which are prevalent in their districts (Phaneuf, 8/1).
Medscape: Florida Appeals Defeat Of Gag Law On Physicians Gun Queries
The state is seeking to undo a permanent injunction that U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami issued against the law in June. Cooke said the law, called the Firearm Owner's Privacy Act, violated the free speech rights of physicians. Individual Florida physicians and state chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Physicians had challenged the law in court, saying that physicians need to ask young parents about gun ownership for the sake of advising them about safe storage. The Florida law bans posing such questions, recording the responses in the patient's chart, and "unnecessarily harassing" or discriminating against gun owners (Lowes, 8/1).
Texas Tribune: Struggles Continue For Doctors Treating Elderly Poor
Months after Texas physicians treating the state's poorest seniors made a public plea for relief, there has been little movement to reverse a state policy that curbed their reimbursements for patients eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. The policy change, made by budget-weary state lawmakers last session with an expectation that it would save an estimated $450 million over the next two years, has created unintended consequences for some doctors, who find themselves barely able to keep their doors open (Tan, 8/2).