A selection of health policy stories from Michigan, Connecticut, West Virginia, California, Vermont and Kansas.
Detroit Free Press: Recast Blue Cross Blue Shield As A Tax-Paying Insurance Company, Snyder Proposes
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan would no longer be exempt from about $100 million a year in state and local taxes but would be subject to more streamlined and speedier rate reviews and approvals under legislation proposed today by Gov. Rick Snyder. The nonprofit health insurer would also pay $1.5 billion over 18 years into a separate nonprofit aimed at tackling issues such as obesity and infant mortality to improve the health of all Michigan residents, Snyder said at a news conference. Snyder is proposing legislation that would make BCBS a mutual insurance company while maintaining its nonprofit status. Blue Cross Blue Shield issued a statement saying it is open to considering the proposal. Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a statement saying the proposal needs a thorough review. Snyder said the special status accorded BCBS under 1980 legislation as the "insurer of last resort" is outdated (Egan, 9/11).
The CT Mirror: A 'Bittersweet' End: Historic Merger Creates One Of The Nation's Largest Hospitals
Yale-New Haven is set to acquire the hospital formally at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, becoming one 12,000-employee, 1,519-bed entity. Officials signed documents at a 2 p.m. press event Tuesday at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH). The signatures capped two years of negotiations and approvals. Officials touted the takeover as the way to save financially drowning St. Raphael's, cut costs overall and strengthen a top employer in the New Haven economy's growing health-care sector (Bailey, 9/11).
The Associated Press: W. Va. Lawmakers Scrutinize Chiropractor Board
A new report says West Virginia needs to regulate chiropractors, but questions the performance of the agency assigned that task. Lawmakers were told Tuesday that the Board of Chiropractic has failed to notify licensees about complaints pending against them. The people who file complaints have been left in the dark as well (9/11).
California Watch: State's Political Watchdog To Investigate Another Health District Official
California's political watchdog agency is investigating a Fremont health care district official to determine whether he violated the state's conflict-of-interest laws. Michael Wallace, president of the Washington Township Health Care District board, is also the chairman of the board of Fremont Bank, which has received more than $1 million in fees from the taxpayer-funded district. Wallace declined to comment on the investigation (Mieszkowski, 9/12).