A selection of health policy stories from Alabama, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Connecticut, North Carolina and Georgia.
The Associated Press: Ala. Medicaid Reform Bill Ushers In Managed Care
A bill that restructures the way Medicaid is administered passed the Alabama Legislature Tuesday and now awaits the governor's signature. The State Medicaid Agency now pays doctors directly for services provided to Medicaid patients. Under the new policy, there will be several regions managed by privately owned, for-profit Regional Care Organizations that will contract with doctors and other providers (Wingard, 5/7).
The Associated Press: Abortion Debate Flares Up In Pa. Senate Committee
The latest stop for a Republican-penned bill to limit insurance coverage of abortions sparked an angry debate Tuesday among senators, reviving arguments over President Barack Obama's health care law and the case of a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of killing a patient and four babies. The bill passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee after barbed exchanges that made for the most heated committee meeting in memory, several senators said (5/8).
Oregonian: Oregon House Narrowly Approves Workplace Protections For Domestic Workers
Oregon's estimated 10,000 domestic workers would be guaranteed certain workplace protections, such as overtime pay and eight hours of sleep, under a bill approved by the House on Tuesday. House Bill 2672 passed 32-28. It heads to the Senate. … The vast majority of domestic workers are women and people of color, Gelser said. Such workers often fail to report mistreatment by their employers for fear of losing their jobs, she said. An employer's spouse, parent, or child under 21 would not count as a domestic worker under the bill (Zheng, 5/7).
CT Mirror: Fighting To Preserve A Safety Net For People With Disabilities
Joseph Duffy worries about what will happen when he dies and is no longer around to fight budget cuts that threaten services for his 29-year-old developmentally disabled daughter, Katie. Despite her disabilities, Katie has a state-supported job at Cigna and has a weekly social outing. But nearly $40 million in proposed state budget cuts would threaten her delicate safety net, he said. "She has a small world, but it is everything to her," Duffy said. "If it is broken apart, it will destroy us." Duffy, of Wethersfield, was a speaker at a panel discussion Tuesday at the Capitol held to raise awareness of how $39.4 million in budget cuts would affect the lives of people with disabilities and their caretakers (Merritt, 5/7).
North Carolina Health News: Teen Medical Restrictions Bill Passes House Committee
A bill that would require adolescents seeking health care to get parental consent before talking to a doctor advanced Tuesday in the General Assembly. The bill, House Bill 693, would make North Carolina the only state in the country to require teens under the age of 18 to be accompanied by either a parent or guardian when seeking care for a pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, substance-abuse problem or mental health issue (Hoban, 5/8).
Medpage Today: Ga. Law: Federal Metrics No Basis For Medical Liability
A physician's failure to meet federal quality improvement metrics cannot be used against him in a medical malpractice suit, according to a law signed this week by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R). The law -- believed to be the first of its kind -- prevents federal quality-of-care or payment-reform metrics from being admissible in court, used as the standard of care, or used as a presumption of negligence in any medical malpractice lawsuit in the state. … Supporters of the bill, which Deal signed Monday, point to nearly a dozen provisions of section 3512 of the Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that patients might use to establish liability in medical malpractice cases, including hospital readmission measures, hospital-acquired conditions initiative, value-based payment modifiers, and shared savings measures (Pittman, 5/7).
The New York Times: Otis R. Bowen, Health Secretary Under Reagan, Dies At 95
Otis R. Bowen, who served two terms as governor of Indiana and later became the first physician appointed as secretary of health and human services, serving under President Ronald Reagan amid the rising debate about AIDS, died on Saturday in Donaldson, Ind. He was 95 (Yardley, 5/7).
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.