State highlights: Mass. law shines light on health care prices; Conn. focuses on health care delivery

A selection of health policy stories from California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina.

WBUR: New Era In Mass.: Price Tags For Health Care
"How much will my MRI cost?" It sounds like a simple question. But before Oct. 1, it was very difficult to get an answer. Now, Massachusetts is pulling back the curtain on what has been a largely secret world of health care prices. A new state law says health insurers must be able to tell members, in advance, how much a test, treatment or surgery will cost. The idea is to help patients become health care shoppers -; especially patients who have to pay a lot out of pocket before their insurance kicks in (Bebinger, 10/8).

The Associated Press: Health Care Delivery Now A Focus
While Connecticut embraced setting up a health insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid eligibility faster than many other places, the state has lagged behind when it comes to modernizing how health care is delivered to patients. But with the new health care overhaul law and a growing push in the state to cut costs while improving patient care, Connecticut is now moving toward a streamlined and better-coordinated, patient-centered system of medical treatment (Haigh, 10/7).

The New York Times: Jesuit Campus To End Coverage For Elective Abortions
The trustees of Loyola Marymount University, a Jesuit university in Los Angeles, voted Monday to eliminate coverage for elective abortions from the health care plans offered to faculty and staff members in 2014 (Lovett, 10/7).

North Carolina Health News: McCrory Administration Officials Suppressed Insight Into Medicaid
For months, members of the McCrory administration have maintained that the state's Medicaid program is "broken." But in the first of a two-part investigation, North Carolina Health News shows McCrory officials sat on information that would have depicted the state's much-lauded Medicaid program in a better light (Hoban, 10/8).

California Healthline: Governor Agrees To Finish State Makeover Of Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office
On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law legislation (SB 609) to strengthen the enforcement power of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. It's the second bill in two years to change the ombudsman program, both of them authored by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis). SB 609 will hike penalties for any long-term care providers who interfere with investigations by the ombudsman's office (Gorn, 10/7).

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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