A selection of health policy stories from Arizona, California and Texas.
The Associated Press: Senate Revives Vetoed Medical Care Pricing Bill
The Arizona Senate voted Monday to revive the major provisions of a medical pricing transparency bill that was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer just last week. Senate Bill 1115 by Republican Sen. Nancy Barto would have required health care providers to post prices for common medical procedures (Christie, 4/15).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Tobacco Cos. Make Payments Under Pact To Help States With Smoking-Related Health Care Costs
The nation's top cigarette companies have made their payments as part of the longstanding settlement in which some cigarette makers are paying states for smoking-related health care costs. Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest cigarette maker owned by Altria Group Inc., said Monday that it made its full annual payment of about $3.1 billion as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (4/15).
Los Angeles Times: California Panel Advances Bills Targeting Prescription Drug Abuse
A broad package of bills aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths won approval from a key state Senate committee Monday. The bills, including a measure that would require coroners to report prescription-involved deaths to the Medical Board of California, followed a series of Times articles linking doctors to patient overdose deaths (Girion and Glover, 4/15).
The Texas Tribune: Senate Approves Bill That Targets Medicaid Fraud
The Texas Senate on Monday approved legislation that aims to tackle Medicaid fraud. …Thirty senators voted in favor of the bill, while Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, abstained from the vote. The bill now moves to the House (Aaronson, 4/15).
California Healthline: Telehealth Project Brings ‘Virtual Dental Home’ To Patients
The "virtual dental home" -- a collapsible dental chair, laptop computer, digital camera on the end of a dental probe and a handheld X-ray machine -- was put through its paces last week in a portable classroom of Magnolia Head Start Preschool in the parking lot behind St. Francis of Assisi Church in this less-than-affluent community in the middle of affluent Silicon Valley. The event was a sort of coming out party for the dental telehealth project created by the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (Lauer, 4/15).