State roundup: Medicaid costs could affect state surpluses; Calif. gets 'C' for dental care

A selection of health policy stories from states across the country, including New York, California, Oregon, Florida and Massachusetts.

Stateline: Surpluses Await Some States In 2013 Sessions
In Tennessee, Republican governor Bill Haslam has said that much of the state's $580 million surplus is already spent. Obamacare is expected to increase enrollment in TennCare, the state's Medicaid program, by more than 60,000 Tennesseans. ... At the same time, Texas has a $8.8 billion surplus and more than $8 billion in its rainy day fund, but faces a staggering $4.3 billion hole in its Medicaid budget (Prah, 1/8).

California Healthline: More California Kids Need Sealant, Study Says
A national study released today by the Pew Center on the States, part of the Pew Charitable Trusts, grades every state's level of adherence to a basic preventive dental procedure for children -- the application of dental sealant. California earned a "C." Dental sealant is vital for children, particularly for youngsters who don't get regular dental care, according to Bill Maas, policy advisor to the Pew Children's Dental Campaign (Gorn, 1/8). 

The New York Times: Cuomo Plans New Rules In Fight Against Sepsis
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will announce in his State of the State Message this week that every hospital in New York must adopt aggressive procedures for identifying sepsis in patients, including the use of a countdown clock to begin treatment within an hour of spotting it, a state official said. The new steps could save 5,000 to 8,000 lives annually, state health officials say, and reduce the long-term costs of the condition (Dwyer, 1/7).

The Oregonian: Health Benefit Changes On Tap For State Meeting Tuesday In Portland
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, health insurance policies for small businesses and individuals buying their own coverage will be sold through exchanges that amount to online marketplaces. The policies must meet new minimum standards such as offering maternity and mental health coverage. On Tuesday members of the Oregon Health Policy Board are poised to adopt recommendations concerning these standards, called essential health benefits. The beefed-up standards are among changes expected in the individual market, including premium hikes for some (Budnick, 1/7).

California Healthline: Dave Jones Reflects On 2nd Year, Stresses Need For Rate Regulation
After his second year as California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones sat down with California Healthline to talk about health insurance rate regulation, successes of the Department of Insurance over the past couple years and the department's role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. ... "I'm very concerned there's a lot of magical thinking going on. Look at the evidence. Look at what happened in Massachusetts. It's very clear the Affordable Care Act, in and of itself, is not going to magically reduce rates" (Gorn, 1/7).

The Miami Herald: Parents Of Disabled Kids Blast Florida Care
Twice in the past year, state health administrators cut the number of hours caregivers assisted Alex Perez's severely disabled son at his Westchester home. Both times, the child's pediatrician was left wondering why the state had reduced the care he had prescribed for the boy. ... Perez, whose 13-year-old son, Christian, suffers from cerebral palsy and failure to thrive, was one of a dozen parents and advocates who spoke to several lawmakers and other community leaders Monday night at the meeting called to address the needs of Florida children with severe disabilities and life-threatening medical conditions (Marbin Miller, 1/7).

Boston Globe: Meals For Medical Clients Back On The Table
Bill Brady said he lost 20 percent of his restaurant sales four years ago after Massachusetts put in place stringent new rules preventing drug companies from taking doctors out for meals. ... Last fall, however, the state relaxed the restrictions, and Brady, along with other restaurateurs, is counting on a return of the lucrative drug company business (Shemkus, 1/8).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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.


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