A selection of health policy news from Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota, California and Massachusetts.
Arizona Republic: Arizona Panel OKs Plan For Long-Term Health Care
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would make long-term health care more affordable for middle-class families. Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, sponsored House Bill 2713, which would allow Arizonans to set aside money in a tax-deductible savings account to pay for long-term health-care expenses. It would also create tax deductions for long-term health insurance premiums (Ferri, 3/14).
WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Mass. Health Scorecard: A+ On Insurance And Treatment But Not On Cost
[According to the] Commonwealth Fund's new "Scorecard on Local Health System Performance," ... Massachusetts ranks tops on health insurance and on many other health and medical treatment measures, but is closer to middling on keeping costs down and keeping people out of the hospital and emergency room (Goldberg, 3/14).
Arizona Republic: Medical Records In Maricopa County Jails To Go Electronic
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday agreed unanimously to enter a $4.55 million contract to develop the long-awaited electronic medical-records system for the county's inmate health-care organization. ... The county for years has been criticized for providing inadequate medical care at its jails and for its outdated medical record-keeping system (Lee, 3/14).
Denver Post: Budget Committee Staff Calls For More Details On Fixing Colorado Benefits Management System
An analysis of Gov. John Hickenlooper's request for more money to fix a beleaguered state computer system that manages programs ranging from food stamps to Medicaid says the legislature's Joint Budget Committee should get more guarantees the repairs will work (Hoover, 3/14).
Modern Healthcare: Bill To Repeal CON Law Clears N.H. House
The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a bill that would repeal the state's certificate-of-need law for hospitals and other health care facilities, services and diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. Rep. Frank Holden introduced the bill earlier this year. Opponents of the bill say repealing the CON law will lead to higher health care costs (Lee, 3/14).
Minnesota Public Radio: Business-Backed ALEC's Relations With Conservative Lawmakers Riles Democrats
ALEC's ideas can also be found in bills that would relax tort law, repeal the new federal health care law, and change union fee rules. And the group's views are found in obscure legislation as well, including a bill that would create online car insurance registry and a bill that would prevent asbestos lawsuits from being brought against a company that has offices in Minnesota. (Richert, 3/15).
KQED's State of Health: L.A. Health Care Director's Vision Brings Change, Challenge
Mitch Katz is Director of Los Angeles County's Department of Health Services, long one of the most beleaguered in the country. Katz oversees L.A.'s public hospitals and clinics, the place of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. ... Katz's primary aim ... is to steer low-income Angelenos away from the emergency rooms they've long relied on and into primary care clinics where problems, like a tumor, can be detected earlier (Varney, 3/14).