State Roundup: High Hopes For Co-Ops In Calif.

A selection of health policy news from Oregon, California, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

The Lund Report: Up To 200,000 Oregonians Could Still Be Uninsured In 2019
A 2010 report published by the Oregon Office of Health Policy Research estimates that 35 percent of currently people lacking insurance would remain uninsured by 2019, despite expanded coverage by the Affordable Care Act. The publication does not give the raw numbers of Oregonians with insurance versus those without. But comparing it with data released by Kaiser Family Foundation that same year -- which says about 565,000 Oregonians currently lack insurance -- it can be extrapolated that about 200,000 people will be uninsured in 2019. Some – about 24 percent – fall into a gap where they’re exempt from the mandate, but still do not qualify for subsidies. The report also predicts that 42 percent of the uninsured will ignore the individual mandate and pay the penalty instead, whereas the rest – 34 percent – are undocumented workers (McCurdy, 10/19).

California Healthline: Commissioner: Co-Ops Important Option For Low-Income Californians
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has high hopes for Consumer Owned and Operated Plans (CO-OPs), a new form of health insurance that will be allowed in the state starting Jan. 1. The not-for-profit, member-governed plans are designed for individuals and small groups, including small businesses. … The Department of Insurance will license and regulate the plans under AB 1846, a bill that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law last month. The legislation by Assembly member Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) would also allow California CO-OPs to tap into a $3.8 billion federal loan fund to start the plans (Hart, 10/22).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Staffing Shuffled At County Mental Health Complex
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele late Friday announced a staff shake-up at the Mental Health Complex, tying the move to a recent patient death. … The death was one of at least five this year at the complex, which came under fire in 2010 for bungled care, including patient sexual assaults. That triggered a series of reforms (Schultze, 10/20).

North Carolina Health News: Leaders Converge On Charlotte To Share Obesity-Prevention Strategies
If communities in North Carolina want to tackle the growing obesity epidemic, they might be wise to take a page from the playbook of cities like Charlotte and Asheville. In recent years, these city governments have spearheaded numerous efforts to encourage residents to eat a healthier diet. … "The South is the battleground where the fight is going to be won or lost," said Karl Dean, the mayor of Nashville, Tenn. (Howard, 10/22).

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