May 13 2013
A selection of health policy news from Florida, Oklahoma, California, North Carolina and Oregon.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Florida Senate President's Former Hospice Company Sued By Feds For Alleged Medicare Fraud
Department of Justice is suing the hospice company founded by Florida's Senate president, accusing it of submitting tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims for more than a decade, including while Don Gaetz was vice chairman of the board (5/9).
The Associated Press: Consulting Firm Says State Medicaid Board Should Consider Expanding Insurer Oklahoma Program
A consulting firm hired by Oklahoma to help answer the question of how to insure 200,000 people without health coverage told the state's Medicaid board Thursday that an existing program could be used to build a broader system by 2015. Utah-based Leavitt Partners gave the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board its preliminary report at Thursday's regular monthly board meeting (Holtmeyer, 5/9).
San Jose Mercury News: Barbara Lee Bill Would Push States To Roll Back Criminal HIV Laws
California and other states would be pressured to amend or repeal criminal laws that single out HIV-positive people under a bipartisan bill co-authored and introduced this week by Rep. Barbara Lee. Lee, D-Oakland, said 32 states and two U.S. territories have laws that criminalize exposing another person to HIV even if the virus isn't actually transmitted. And 36 states have reported at least 350 cases in recent years in which HIV-positive people have been arrested or prosecuted for consensual sex, biting and spitting, according to the Center for HIV Law and Policy (Richmond, 5/9).
North Carolina Health News: Cancer Drug Parity Bill Passes House
A bill aimed at reducing the cost burden for people with cancer who take oral medications made it through a vote on the floor of the state House of Representatives Thursday afternoon, getting it one step closer to law (Hoban, 5/10).
North Carolina Health News: State, Feds Move to Increase Hospital Price Transparency
By coincidence, a proposed N.C. bill to increase hospital transparency moves through committee on the same day the federal government releases data on hospital pricing (Hoban, 5/9).
Oregonian: Two Oregon Insurers Rethink 2014 Premiums As State Posts First-Ever Rate Comparison
This is what competition looks like: One health insurer wants to charge $169 a month next year to cover a 40-year-old Portland-area non-smoker. Another wants $422 a month for the same standard plan. The new health insurance marketplace envisioned by federal health reforms doesn't formally kick in until fall. But it already is taking shape -- and consumers for the first time can compare, premium by premium, identical plans by different insurers. Soon they'll be able to compare benefit-by-benefit as well (Budnick, 5/9).
California Healthline: Provider Cut Repeal Talk Turns To Veto Override
Two bills repealing the 2011 Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rate reductions have sailed through California legislative committees so far in an unusual way: They've been approved with unanimous votes in both houses from both parties. But all those Yes votes could fail on a single No vote if Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes the bills. He has 50 million reasons every month to use his veto stamp. The savings to the state from the 10 percent across-the-board Medi-Cal provider rate cut amounts to an estimated $600 million a year (Gorn, 5/9).
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.