Health News Florida: House: Yes To Medicaid Overhaul
The Florida House on Thursday approved a statewide proposal to shift Medicaid beneficiaries into managed-care plans. ... Supporters said the plan would improve care for Medicaid beneficiaries, reduce widespread fraud and control costs in the $20 billion program. ... But Democrats said the plan would be a boon to for-profit HMOs, which likely would receive contracts to manage care for hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries. House and Senate negotiators will have to reach agreement on a final plan in the coming weeks. It also would need federal approval (Saunders, 3/31).
Orlando Sentinel: Gov. Rick Scott Orders Immediate Cuts To Programs For Disabled
Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities. Though a range of state services face cuts from this year's Legislature, the governor invoked his emergency powers to order the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities to immediately roll back payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent — an amount providers say could put them out of business and threaten their clients' safety (Santich, 3/31).
Texas Tribune/New York Times: Child-Only Insurance Vanishes, A Health Act Victim
Insurers in Texas and across the nation — protesting a provision of the 2010 federal health care overhaul that prohibits pre-existing condition limitations for children under 19, have simply stopped offering new child-only policies. For children being raised by their grandparents, who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid and have no employer-offered insurance or family plans to cover them, there are few options (Ramshaw, 3/31).
Denver Post: Co-Sponsor's Amendment Called 'Poison Pill' For State Insurance Exchanges
A bill setting up health care insurance exchanges cleared a Senate committee Thursday, but its future is in doubt after a Republican co-sponsor — facing Tea Party pressure — backed an amendment that Democrats said would gut the bill. The news that House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, was offering the new language brought a sharp response from Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose office has been closely involved in months of negotiations over Senate Bill 200 (Hoover, 4/1).
The Washington Post: McDonnell Adds Abortion Restriction To Insurance-Exchange Legislation
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has added an amendment restricting insurance coverage for abortion into a bill approved by the General Assembly establishing a health insurance exchange as part of the federal health-care overhaul (Helderman, 3/31).
McClatchy/Wichita Eagle: Third Abortion Bill Passes Kansas House
The House passed a third anti-abortion bill on Wednesday calling for strict regulations of clinics and doctors' offices where abortions are provided. House Substitute for Senate Bill 36 would require abortion clinics to be licensed and comply with a long list of medical standards and practices (Lefler, 3/31).
Des Moines Register: House Votes To Ban Most Abortions After 20 Weeks
Most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy would be illegal in Iowa under a bill approved by the House on Thursday. The bill, House File 657, is similar to a Nebraska law enacted last year, and it is based upon the theory that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. The impetus is to keep a Nebraska abortion doctor, LeRoy Carhart, from moving to Council Bluffs (Clayworth, 4/1).
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Louisiana State Budget Proposal Includes At Least $400 Million In New Federal Money
When Gov. Bobby Jindal announced an ambitious new collaboration between four child-service agencies this month, the stated goal was to streamline and improve services for children with severe behavioral problems. But there was also another key motive behind the "Coordinated System of Care" initiative: having the federal government share the cost for services that are now financed mainly by state tax dollars (Moller, 3/31).
Kansas Health Institute: HealthWave Backlog Eliminated
State health officials today said that they've cleared the backlog that over the past year delayed the processing of thousands of applications for HealthWave, the combined programs that provide health coverage for low-income children and pregnant women. "We are completely caught up," said Kansas Medicaid Director Barb Langer (Ranney, 3/31).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Advocates Anxious Over Stalled Assisted Living Bill
Advocates for the elderly said Thursday they are concerned the Georgia House has not yet voted on a bill to allow frail Georgians to stay in assisted living facilities instead of being forced into nursing homes. The bill (SB 178) has widespread support, but House leadership hasn't yet authorized a vote. The measure would create a new assisted living designation in Georgia law for facilities with 25 beds or more. Under current law, assisted living facilities are licensed as personal care homes. Residents of such facilities can be forced into a nursing home if they can't take their own medications or aren't mobile enough to get around in an emergency. The new law would allow assisted living facilities to provide more services than they have in the past, enabling residents to stay longer (Teegardin and Hunt, 3/31).