States Grapple With Budgets, Quality and Compliance; California Offers Cautionary Tale For Lawmakers

Though Massachusetts is the preferred health reform example of Democratic lawmakers, one report suggests they look to California, too. Meanwhile, states are grappling with quality, budgets and compliance issues.

Kaiser Health News: Massachusetts' universal health insurance plan is an often-cited success story for health reformers in Washington. But, California's recent experience serves as a cautionary tale. In 2007, California sought to emulate the Massachusetts plan, but the effort succumbed to a failed effort to win over Republican lawmakers, members of the minority party, in state senate, rebellions among their liberal counterparts, and fear of large new deficits predicted under the plan (Rau, 10/1).

Boston Globe: "Audits of select Massachusetts businesses suggest that a substantial number may not be providing workers the health coverage required by the state’s landmark 2006 insurance law." Forty-percent of audited businesses violated the law by not paying their worker's premiums. They owe $5 million in penalties" (Lazar, 10/1).

The Buffalo News: "New York, which has continued to expand Medicaid while other fiscally pressed states trimmed benefits, now faces a potential double whammy of federal-level changes that could cost the state health care program for the poor nearly $6 billion in 2011 alone" (Zremski, 10/1).

Chicago Sun-Times: Above average doctors are getting bonuses of $25 per patient if they outperform 50 percent of national Medicaid doctors on key indicators for conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and breast cancer. The health department said 90 percent of doctors working at 4,100 sites in the program received bonuses in 2008 (Thomas, 10/1).

Vermont Public Radio: "As the country continues to debate how to pay for health care, the authors of a new report on overall medical care in Vermont say the state needs to continue to emphasize the quality of healthcare" (Lindholm, 10/1).

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