State Roundup: Mass. Insurer Standoff Eases, Wis. Preps For Federal Overhaul

The Boston Globe: "Seeking to tone down their dispute with state regulators, two Massachusetts health insurers yesterday said they will, as ordered, resume making new policies available for individuals and small businesses — using last year's base rates, not the requested double-digit increases rejected by the state last week" (Weisman, 4/8).

The Boston Globe: Charles Baker, the Republican challenger to Gov. Deval Patrick, has criticized the administration's quarrel with insurers as an electoral ploy. But, Baker has himself "passed up several opportunities to criticize the idea before he became a candidate, and he served on a state panel that endorsed limiting rate increases by insurers as one potential strategy to combat rising health costs" (Bierman, 4/8).

BusinessWeek: "Gov. Jim Doyle announced the creation of a new office Wednesday to help Wisconsin residents and businesses understand how the new federal health care law will affect them. The Wisconsin Office of Health Care Reform will make sure the state complies with federally mandated requirements and deadlines, the Democratic governor said" (Ramde, 4/7).

The (Montpelier, Vt.) Times Argus: "Senators voted 28-2 Wednesday to hire consultants to design a new health care model for Vermont, one of which would include a single-payer system." The bill calls for three proposals, one of which would be single-payer (Barlow, 4/8).

Associated Press/The Seattle Times: "Hundreds of Missouri residents could be denied mental health services under spending cuts approved Wednesday by a Senate committee trying to close a projected shortfall in next year's budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee endorsed a 10 percent reduction in state aid for alcohol and drug abuse treatment, psychiatric care and crisis services for people with developmental disabilities" (Lieb, 4/7).

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