Mass. Weighs Overhaul's Effects; Conn. First State To Add Adults To Medicaid Under New Health Law

The Boston Globe: "In most states, the passage of the sprawling federal health care overhaul legislation means the poorest will have a better shot at affording health insurance. But in Massachusetts, the law might have the opposite effect. Senator John. F. Kerry, state leaders, and health care advocates met yesterday to discuss a new report that highlights the major differences between the federal and state health care models. The focus of the event quickly turned to the hurdles of implementation and the need to protect the gains Massachusetts has made since 2006. ... The report reveals that ... some Massachusetts residents might end up facing higher premiums" (Lee, 6/22).

The Wall Street Journal: Many Florida Republicans "thought their party's nomination for governor was all but settled. Bill McCollum, Florida's buttoned-down attorney general, had statewide name recognition and newly burnished conservative credentials, thanks to his leadership of a 20-state effort to overturn President Barack Obama's health law in court. But in the course of a few weeks, a political newcomer has upended the race. ... The challenger, Rick Scott, is surging even while carrying political baggage. Beginning in the late 1990s, the federal government investigated Mr. Scott's hospital chain, Columbia/HCA, over its Medicare and Medicaid billing practices, and eventually reached settlements with the company totaling $1.7 billion. Mr. Scott wasn't accused of wrongdoing in the matter" (McKinnon, 6/22).

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: "Connecticut will soon receive federal funding to extend Medicaid services to low-income, uninsured adults. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Monday that Connecticut was the first state in the nation to permanently add low-income adults to its Medicaid program under the new federal health care reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act" (6/21). 

Kansas Health Institute: "Neosho County Community College already graduates more nurses than any other of the state's 25 community or public technical colleges, which together are the largest source of nurses entering the Kansas workforce. The college, which schools nurses in Ottawa, Independence and at its home campus in Chanute, has graduated more than 200 practical and registered nurses in the past six months. It, like other Kansas nursing schools the past few years, has been pushing to train more students in anticipation of the major shortages coming as baby boomer nurses retire in the same wave of generational aging that is expected to press the nation's health care system to new limits" (Shields, 6/21).

The Star-Ledger: "The state Senate today approved a resolution urging Gov. Chris Christie not to join 20 other states in a lawsuit against the federal health care reform law. Christie has faced pressure from conservative activists to join the suit, which argues the law's penalty on individuals for not buying insurance is unconstitutional. Senate Democrats, in turn, responded with the resolution, which points out that Christie was able to restore proposed cuts to subsidized senior drug programs in part with money allocated from the law. Christie [who is a Republican] has not said whether he plans to join the suit. Most of the states challenging the law have either Republican governors or elected Republican attorneys general" (Friedman, 6/21).

The Press of Atlantic City (New Jersey): "Two Republican lawmakers moved Monday to reject the federal plan for government-subsidized health insurance premiums and to block insurance companies from refusing care for pre-existing conditions. State Sen. Michael Doherty, R-Warren, Hunterdon, and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, R-Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon, said Monday that they are aiming for the state to not recognize President Barack Obama's plan. McHose and Doherty support amending the state's constitution to prevent allowing federal health care mandates to apply in New Jersey" (Fletcher, 6/20).

Detroit Free Press: "The impact of the state's sour economy is clear in a new report: More than 3.8 million Michiganders -- nearly 4 of 10 people who live here -- were uninsured or covered by a public program. Michigan also sank from best in the nation to sixth-best among states with the most uninsured children between 2005 and 2008, according to the annual Cover Michigan report to be released Monday by the Ann Arbor-based Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation. A partnership of the University of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the center compiles some of the most comprehensive data in the state on health insurance coverage. Michigan still has some of the nation's most affordable rates, ranking ninth-lowest in yearly premiums, the report found" (Anstett, 6/20).

The Salt Lake Tribune: "[A] new tool is about to provide doctors and consumers with a rich source for information about Utahns' health, the costs of care and the best treatments. Utah's All-Payer Database, a storehouse of all medical and pharmacy insurance claims filed statewide, debuts on Wednesday with a report on the top 10 diseases driving health care spending in Utah and the most widely prescribed drugs" (Stewart, 6/21).

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