A selection of state health policy stories from California, Oregon, Vermont, New York and North Carolina.
Los Angeles Times: CalPERS Plans 85% Rate Hike For Long-Term-Care Insurance
Dailey Mayo received some stunning news in the mail last week: an 85% rate increase for the long-term-care insurance he has had for 15 years from the California Public Employees' Retirement System. ... More than 110,000 CalPERS policyholders are receiving similar news after the pension fund's board approved the changes late last year. CalPERS said the hefty rate hikes won't take effect until 2015 and are necessary to keep this $3.6-billion insurance fund intact for future claims. This CalPERS program, like other plans sold by private insurers, has been plagued by higher-than-expected claims, lower investment returns and poor pricing (Terhune, 2/21).
The Associated Press: Gov. Kitzhaber Will Pitch Oregon Health Overhaul To Other Governors In DC Meeting
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber will brief other state leaders this weekend on his plan to lower Medicaid costs, touting an overhaul that President Barack Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address for its potential to lower the deficit even as health care expenses climb. The Oregon Democrat leaves for Washington, D.C., on Friday to pitch his plan that changes the way doctors and hospitals are paid and improves health care coordination for low income residents so that treatable medical problems don't grow in severity or expense (2/22).
The Associated Press: Critics: Shumlin Aides Buried Health Care Tax Plan
Consultants working on [Vermont] Gov. Peter Shumlin's push for a universal health care system were paid tens of thousands of dollars for work that never appeared in their recommendations, a group critical of the plan said Thursday, accusing the governor of hiding yet again how much universal health care would cost. The University of Massachusetts Medical School consultants were nearly ready to recommend tax increases to pay for universal health care last fall when they were steered away from completing the work, said Jeff Wennberg, executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom (Gram, 2/21).
The New York Times: Court Temporarily Halts Plan To Close Brooklyn Hospital
A state judge has temporarily halted plans to close the financially ailing Long Island College Hospital, giving a victory to hospital workers who say that its closing would be devastating to community health care (Hartocollis, 2/21).
Los Angeles Times: City Of Hope Picks A Longtime Executive To Be Next CEO
City of Hope, a leading cancer hospital and medical research center, has tapped one of its veteran leaders to take over as chief executive in January. Dr. Michael Friedman, 69, said he plans to retire as CEO at year's end after 10 years at the helm. Robert Stone, 44, currently City of Hope's president and an executive there since 1996, will take the top job in January (Terhune, 2/21).
North Carolina Health News: Lawmakers Move Forward Fix For Group Homes, Alzheimer's Units
Residents in group homes and special care units for seniors with Alzheimer's can finally exhale after months of worrying about whether they could stay in their homes. In November, dozens gathered in front of the legislature to ask lawmakers to maintain funding for group homes for people with mental health disabilities. In a long-awaited fix to funding problems that have loomed over some of North Carolina's most vulnerable residents, legislators amended a bill to ensure funding for group homes (Hoban, 2/21).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.