Politics, Payment Plans And Potential Lawsuit Costs

Recent state developments include the prominent place health care is taking in New Jersey's governor's race, criticism of a payment plan for hospitals in Massachusetts and the potential cost of lawsuits in California.

The Star-Ledger reports on the prominence of health care issues in the New Jersey governor's race between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie and independent Chris Daggett. "While the battle over national health care reform rages on in Washington, the issue is no less critical here in New Jersey's gubernatorial race. A glimpse at how important it is to voters comes from AARP-NJ, which held two dozen telephone town halls this summer and received hundreds of calls and e-mails" (Livio, 10/4).

The Boston Globe reports that six hospitals have criticized Massachusetts's payment plans. "Massachusetts health care executives are lobbying the Patrick administration and legislators to move cautiously before embracing a proposal to transform the way hospitals and doctors are paid - a plan one hospital CEO bluntly said is 'irresponsible' and 'sophomoric' in its initial form. Three months after a state commission proposed the bold plan to control exploding health care costs within five years, many hospital executives and doctors call it unrealistic, and say it could bankrupt some providers and compromise patient care if implemented too quickly and without major changes" (Kowalczyk, 10/4).

The San Jose Mercury News reports on the potential cost of lawsuits in California after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers slashed billions from safety-net programs in an effort to balance the state budget. It notes: "At least a dozen lawsuits, either filed or in the works, are now challenging their maneuvers — from furloughing workers to raiding redevelopment revenues — and the consequences for the state's still-precarious finances could be huge. ... A group of nonprofits and labor unions sued to stop cuts to in-home care for the elderly and disabled, saying the cuts ran afoul of federal law" (Theriault, 10/5).

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