State Policy Developments: Wisconsin's New 'Public Option,' Iowa's Medical Marijuana Vote, and More

New Hampshire Public Radio: A bill in the state legislature would create an annual public report that details the causes of rising health spending by analyzing now-private information that doctors, hospitals and other health organizations would have to provide to the state's Department of Insurance. The move is partly in response to conflicting narratives: The state's health spending continues to rise, yet hospitals and doctors say they are struggling (Grant, 2/17).

Wisconsin Public Radio/Superior Telegram: "Adults who missed the chance to sign up for an expansion of Medicaid in Wisconsin could buy state-sponsored insurance under a plan that cleared the legislature's budget committee. There are about 21,000 people on a waiting list for Wisconsin's new BadgerCare Core plan. The plan covers childless adults with incomes up to 200-percent of the federal poverty level, or a little under $22,000 a year" (Johnson, 2/17). 

The Des Moines Register: "State regulators offered some hope Wednesday for people who want to use marijuana for medical purposes. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously to recommend legislators reclassify the drug in a way that could allow people to use it for pain, nausea and other symptoms from diseases such as cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis" (Leys, 2/18).

Bloomberg: "A public health campaign to test and treat people who don't know they have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has cut the rate of new infections in San Francisco, researchers said at an infectious disease meeting. A similar effort in Washington, where 3 percent of people are HIV-infected, the highest rate among U.S. cities, led to earlier diagnosis and treatment of people with the virus, according to researchers working there. They have not yet determined if the program has reduced new infections" (Waters, 2/17).

Health Day/U.S. News and World Report: "Hispanics account for 80 percent of the cases of tuberculosis/HIV co-infection in San Diego, which represents a significant change in the racial profile of the disease, a new study shows" (2/17).

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