Uninsured Maine Adults With Mental Illness Struggle To Get Care; Florida Continues To Push To Repeal Reform

Kennebec (Maine) Journal: "A growing number of uninsured Mainers with mental illness are falling through the cracks of the health care system because of state budget cuts and financial strains on nonprofits, according to state officials and private agencies. Just as when someone goes without treatment for a toothache and ends up in the ER, the lack of access to regular mental health care means illnesses are getting more expensive and patients are getting sicker, officials said." In the adult mental health budget, the state is allocating $23 million this year "for grants to serve people who don't have insurance, according to the department. That's down from $27 million in 2008, a nearly 15 percent decline in three years" (Richardson, 8/30).

The Palm Beach Post: "Florida may have zeroed in on a key constitutional weakness of the Affordable Care Act, some legal scholars believe. As the leader of a 20-state legal challenge aiming to overturn health reform, Florida's case and other similar challenges, if they prevail, risk causing the act's core program to collapse, taking the insurance market with it, some believe. The question is boiling as the November elections approach. It hits just as insurance companies are having to meet new, popular requirements that they cover young adults up to age 26 and not reject children with preexisting conditions. On Sept. 14 in Pensacola, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is scheduled to hear arguments on the U.S. Justice Department's motion to dismiss the states' case" (Singer, 8/28).

The Associated Press/The Boston Globe, on efforts to access public records about prisoner health care in Vermont: "Prison Legal News, a self-help magazine and inmate advocacy organization based in Brattleboro, is suing a company formerly known as Prison Health Services in hopes of getting a court to find that the company is, in effect, a public agency subject to public records law. The Brentwood, Tenn.,-based company ... was contracted by the Vermont Department of Corrections from 2005 to 2009. Prison Legal News had asked the company for its Vermont records earlier this month, but the request was rejected. The company said it wasn't bound by Vermont's public records law. So the publication filed suit in Washington County Superior Court" (Ring, 8/29).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Two leading candidates for governor say they could save taxpayers up to hundreds of millions of dollars a year by revamping the way schools and local governments buy health insurance for more than 200,000 public employees around Wisconsin. The plans are the centerpiece of proposals to cut government spending by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat. The changes could save taxpayers substantial sums, though the saving could still fall short of what the candidates suggest. What neither candidate highlights, however, is that their plans also will mean taking away unions' right to negotiate with their employers for their insurance carrier" (Stein, 8/29).

The Arizona Republic: "Scottsdale is considering a sharp hike in health-insurance rates for retired city employees as officials seek to reduce a $28 million budget deficit for 2011-12. The proposal, which could involve an increase of about $260 a month, a 40 percent hike, caught retired employees by surprise last week. They received a letter inviting them to a meeting to discuss the plan. City officials say the plan would save about $1.5 million a year" (Madrid, 8/29).

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