State roundup: Minn. officials want money for coverage expansion

Published on February 5, 2013 at 5:11 AM · No Comments

A selection of health policy news from Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, California, Missouri and Colorado.

MPR: Dayton, Jesson Press For U.S. Health Money
Gov. Mark Dayton and his Human Services commissioner will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for federal money for MinnesotaCare. MinnesotaCare is a state-subsidized health plan that insures about 130,000 people under age 65. Dayton and Commissioner Lucinda Jesson are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Washington with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The governor and Jesson will press Sebelius to let the state use federal health care law money to fund MinnesotaCare. The state program serves people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still have difficulty affording commercial insurance (Stawicki, 2/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Arkansas Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson To Pay $181 Million In Legal Fees In Risperdal Suit
An Arkansas judge says Johnson & Johnson must pay $181 million in fees to attorneys who successfully argued that the pharmaceutical company committed Medicaid fraud in the marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal (2/1).

The Associated Press: Gov. Nixon Proposed $10M For Mo. Mental Health
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing to spend $10 million to help get mental health care sooner for those who need it. The funding is included in the state budget released this past week by the governor's office and is part of Nixon's response to recent gun violence (2/3).

The Associated Press: Analysis: Nixon's Plan Could Boost Pay For Doctors
In the American health care system, some patients are worth more money than others. As cold and clinical as that may sound, it has long been the reality under a government-run Medicaid system that pays doctors less money to treat the poor than those same physicians receive for treating the elderly covered by Medicare or middle- and upper-income individuals who have private insurance (Lieb, 2/3).

Los Angeles Times: Medical Clinic Workers Struggle With Burnout
The jobs are demanding -- providers spend long hours treating patients who have multiple chronic illnesses and often have gone years without care. Administrators have trouble finding enough doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to staff their clinics. That is expected to cause a major roadblock next year, when the bulk of the national health care reform law takes effect, aiming to help 30 million uninsured Americans gain coverage. In preparation, clinics -- expected to get an influx of new patients -- are stepping up recruitment and trying to hold on to the care providers they have. But burnout is common, and staff members often leave for less-stressful, higher-paying positions elsewhere (Gorman, 2/3).

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Removing Metal Detectors From Some Hospital Facilities
Now, 20 years after the attack, officials want the metal detectors removed from parts of county hospitals to make them more welcoming to patients in the newly competitive marketplace being created by the Obama administration's health care overhaul. The machines in the emergency rooms will remain, but the others are to be taken out by summer. The proposal comes at a time when high-profile shootings have put the nation on edge and prompted emotionally charged debates about the availability of assault weapons and the presence of armed officers in schools (Gorman, 2/3).

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