State highlights: Conn. bill would maintain coverage for low-income parents; Wis. may pay hospitals for uninsured care; Is hospital data sale a risk to patient privacy?

A selection of news coverage from Connecticut, Wisconsin, Oregon, Missouri and North Carolina.

CT Mirror: Omnibus Policy Bill Ends Health Program Launched By Former Gov. Rell
The House of Representatives adopted an omnibus bill Tuesday to implement numerous social service policy changes in the next state budget, including the end of a health coverage program launched by former Gov. M. Jodi Rell to help the uninsured. One thing it doesn't change: Medicaid eligibility for low-income parents. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had proposed restricting eligibility for the program, a move that would have caused an estimated 37,500 parents to lose Medicaid coverage (Phaneuf and Becker, 6/4).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Budget Panel Votes To Pay Hospitals $73.5 Million For Uninsured Patients
Republicans on the Legislature's budget committee on Tuesday voted to pay hospitals up to $73.5 million over two years to care for uninsured patients but otherwise stuck with Gov. Scott Walker's response to reject a federally funded health care expansion that would boost the state's bottom line by $119 million over two years. The Joint Finance Committee adopted the measure on a 12-4, party-line vote as it headed into its final round of budget approvals (Marley, 6/4).

Bloomberg: States' Hospital Data For Sale Puts Privacy In Jeopardy
Hospitals in the U.S. pledge to keep a patient's health background confidential. Yet states from Washington to New York are putting privacy at risk by selling records that can be used to link a person's identity to medical conditions using public information (Robertson, 6/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Medical Spas Get A Checkup
States are tightening regulations on medical spas -- and wading into some ugly disputes over where beauty treatments stop and the practice of medicine begins. Medical spas are fast-growing hybrids between day spas and doctors' offices. They typically offer Botox injections, facial peels, laser skin treatments and other minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Some add breast implants, tummy tucks and chin, face, brow and eyelid lifts as well (Beck, 6/4).

Lund Report: Nurse Practitioners Gain Right To Dispense Prescription Drugs In Oregon
Patients who see a nurse practitioner for their primary care needs may not have to visit a pharmacy to get their prescriptions filled under legislation that passed the Oregon House unanimously on Monday. Senate Bill 8 removes restrictions that nurse practitioners face when they wish to dispense prescription medications to their patients. Current law requires them to prove that their patients struggle to get access to pharmacies. Supporters say the bill will reduce hassle for patients while improving care (Gray, 6/4).

North Carolina Health News: Health Care Workers Join Protests At Legislature
Jonathan Kotch is 65 years old and is something of a political firebrand. As the leader of the group Health Care for All NC, he's worked to create access to health care as a human right and advocated for a single-payer health insurance plan for all Americans for years. But the public health professor from UNC-Chapel Hill has never been arrested as a form of protest (Hoban, 6/4).

Oregonian: Oregon Insurance Chief Stepping Down: Replacement Is Country's Youngest
Lou Savage, the Oregon Insurance Commissioner, will be stepping down to pursue democracy-building efforts in Tunisia. Unlike many states, Oregon's commissioner is unelected. Laura Cali, the division's top actuary, has been selected to replace Savage by Patrick Allen, head of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. At 31, she will be the youngest insurance commissioner in the country, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (Budnick, 6/4).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hospital CEOs See Double-Digit Pay Hikes
Trimming medical costs is the latest mantra among hospital executives, government bureaucrats, insurers and benefit managers as they grapple for ways to contain U.S. health care spending. But executive compensation in the health care industry shows few signs of hitting a ceiling. One sure bet: The salaries and benefits for hospital administrators will continue to rise. ... In recent years, executives at St. Louis-area nonprofit health organizations have seen annual double-digit increases of as much as 40 percent in their total compensation packages, which typically include salaries, bonuses, pensions and health benefits (Doyle, 6/2).

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.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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