Legislatures Push Health Care Changes In Disabled, Immigrant Care, Medical Boards

State lawmakers grapple with health care issues including establishing a new monitor for disabled care in New York, avoiding cuts for undocumented immigrant care in D.C. and a Massachusetts revamp of the state medical board.

The New York Times: Senate Passes Bill Creating Monitor For Disabled Care
The State Senate unanimously passed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's legislation to protect developmentally disabled and mentally ill New Yorkers on Wednesday, but some high-profile advocates have been unnerved by what they perceive as flaws in the bill. Assembly Democrats have said that they intend to pass the bill, but will negotiate some changes before the legislative session ends on June 21 (Hakim, 5/16).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: D.C. Health Program For Illegal Immigrants Avoids Cuts
A public health insurance program that primarily serves illegal immigrants in the District of Columbia avoided the chopping block Tuesday under a budget compromise approved by the D.C. Council (Barr, 5/16).

Boston Globe: Mass. Senate Approves Revamp Of State Medical Board
The drive to revamp the discipline reporting system for doctors in Massachusetts continued this week on Beacon Hill, with the Senate approving a measure that would make that system more transparent. As part of its health care cost reduction bill, the Senate approved an amendment Tuesday that would require the state Board of Registration in Medicine to provide a public database that would include any felony or serious misdemeanor convictions doctors may have, as well as any disciplinary measures taken against them by the board (Andersen, 5/17).

In the meantime, Oklahoma and Tennessee are the latest to require potential welfare recipients have drug tests --

Stateline: More States Pass Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients
Oklahoma and Tennessee are the latest states about to require drug tests of those applying for welfare benefits. While such proposals are popular in statehouses this year, their legality is still unclear. ... Lawmakers in at least 28 states this year have proposed drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients, according to a state-by-state map from the National Conference of State Legislature. So far this year, Utah has passed legislation requiring applicants to complete a written questionnaire screening for drug use while Georgia passed legislation requiring drug tests for all applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly known as welfare, NCSL says (Prah, 5/17).

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