State Roundup: Fla. Faces Class Action Suit Over Disabled Waiting List

McClatchy / The Lexington Herald-Leader: Kentucky Considers Restrictions On Medicaid For 3 Cancer Drugs
Kentucky health officials are considering restrictions on the number of cancer-fighting drugs Medicaid patients may receive without prior approval, a move designed to contain costs in the health care program for the poor and disabled. The possibility of creating a non-preferred list of oral oncology drugs — pills that replace intravenous chemotherapy drugs — that Medicaid won't pay for without prior approval has raised questions from patient advocates and those who treat cancer patients (Musgrave, 3/28). 

The Arizona Republic: Brewer Works To Restore Transplant Coverage
Gov. Jan Brewer's office is open to restoring medical transplant coverage for low-income patients, possibly as part of her effort to overhaul the state's Medicaid program. Brewer first hinted at the possibility during a trip to Prescott Valley last week. "There is a possibility that that issue can be addressed," Brewer told The Republic. "I would hope that there could be a solution, an agreeable solution. That doesn't mean that's going to happen, but we're working to find a solution." But it's not clear what kind of support there is for the plan among legislators (Rough, 3/28). 

Health News Florida: Disabled Sue FL In Federal Court
Gov. Rick Scott and two state agencies have been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging Florida has failed to provide needed services to 19,000 disabled people who are stuck on a waiting list. … The lawsuit centers on a waiting list for what are known as home- and community-based services, which help disabled people live outside of institutions. The lawsuit contends that the state is violating federal law and that some people have been on the waiting list for more than five years. … Lawmakers and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities -- which manages much of the program -- have taken a series of steps in recent years to try to hold down rising costs, including limiting certain services. Despite those attempts, the program has run large deficits (Saunders, 3/28).

Georgia Health News: Health Care's $363 Billion In 'Hidden Costs'
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions says that health care costs U.S. consumers $363 billion more than what government traditionally reports as health spending. Much of what the Deloitte study describes as the "hidden costs" is the estimated value of unpaid care to others: services given by unpaid relatives and friends, provided mostly to people in lower-income families. Other hidden costs include spending on nutritional products and vitamins, complementary medicine services and over-the-counter remedies, typically not covered by health insurance (Miller, 3/28).

The Detroit Free Press: Mentally Ill, Their Advocates Struggle For Housing
The housing picture is complex, in part because mental illness encompasses such a wide range of conditions. … But for those whose illness interferes with their ability to maintain jobs or relationships, or who encounter discrimination because of it, finding safe, affordable housing is no easy task. Yet it is crucial to recovery, experts say (Thomas, 3/28). 

The Texas Tribune: Senate Committee Endorses Rural Hospital Hiring Doctors
The Senate State Affairs committee today unanimously approved SB 894, which would give hospitals in counties with populations of less than 50,000, or those that are the only community hospital in the area, an exemption from the "corporate practice of medicine" law. Currently, the corporate practice law does not allow doctors to work directly for a hospital or any other corporation, a measure designed to ensure that doctors make medical decisions based on what is best for the patient, not necessarily the hospital (Smith Gonzalez, 3/28).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Stops Collecting Union Dues, Starts Charging More For Health Care
Gov. Scott Walker's administration no longer is collecting dues on behalf of state unions and, as of Sunday, is charging employees more for their pensions and health care, even though nonpartisan legislative attorneys say the changes are not yet law (Marley, 3/28).

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