A selection of health policy stories from Wisconsin, Oregon, Arizona, New York, Minnesota and California.
Los Angeles Times: Wal-Mart's Wages Drive Employees Onto Public Benefits, Report Says
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wages are so low they force many of its employees onto the public doles, creating a drag on taxpayers and the economy, according to a new report from the staff of congressional Democrats. The report analyzes data from Wisconsin's Medicaid program, estimating that a single 300-person Wal-Mart Supercenter in that state likely costs taxpayers at least $904,542 per year and could cost up to $1,744,590 per year, or roughly $5,815 per employee (Lazo, 6/7).
Lund Report: Legislators Pave The Way For School Districts To Join Cover Oregon
School districts now have a choice. Starting in 2015, they can either purchase insurance coverage from the exchange, known as Cover Oregon, or remain in the Oregon Educators Benefit Board. Earlier this week, the Senate gave districts that authority. This wasn't the first time the issue surfaced at the Legislature. Actually, lawmakers made that decision earlier and state officials have already signaled to the federal government that they want a waiver to proceed (Gray, 6/6).
The Associated Press: Anti-Abortion Group Pushes Clinic Inspection Law In Arizona
A powerful anti-abortion group is pushing for last-minute legislation to allow unannounced inspections at Arizona abortion clinics, saying the change is needed because they are the only medical facilities in the state that don't have such snap inspections. Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy said Thursday that her proposal in the waning days of the legislative session isn't designed to either derail Gov. Jan Brewer's Medicaid expansion proposal or avoid public scrutiny that proposed laws normally undergo through legislative hearings beginning early each year (6/6).
The New York Times: Council Bill Would Crack Down On Proliferation Of Adult Day Care Centers
New York City officials said on Thursday that they would introduce legislation to crack down on Medicaid-supported senior day care centers that lure relatively healthy clients with enticements like free takeout food and even cash (Bernstein, 6/6).
MinnPost: The Telemedicine Tourniquet
Inside the Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation in Rochester, a new initiative is taking shape: the development of Mayo's Center for Connected Care. … Mayo, like many other health care systems, is already engaged in virtual care on a number of fronts: in radiology, dermatology, infectious diseases, and other fields (Logeland, 6/6).
Oregonian: Senate Passes Bill Tightening Rules For Parents Who Opt Out Of Vaccines For Children
Parents could have a harder time opting out of vaccinations for their children under a bill passed Thursday by the Oregon Senate. Under Senate Bill 132, parents opting out for non-medical reasons would need to obtain the signature of a doctor or other health care practitioner certifying that the parents received immunization education, or provide a certificate confirming they'd watched an approved online educational video (Zheng, 6/6).
California Healthline: Reversing Medi-Cal Cuts Priority For Latino Lawmakers
Members of the legislative Latino Caucus on Tuesday laid out their agenda that includes some form of reversal of the 10 percent reduction in payments to Medi-Cal providers. The Legislature passed the 10 percent cut in 2011, but it was delayed until a federal appeals court ruling upheld the reduction two weeks ago. State officials said the bulk of the cutbacks will begin in September. Although the case may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal appeals court ruling May 24 puts pressure on the Legislature to come up with an alternative (Gorn, 6/6).
California Healthline: Another Arrow In The Quiver For Attempt To Reverse Medi-Cal Cut
The Legislature in 2011, mired in a seemingly hopeless economic morass, ordered a 10 percent across-the-board reduction in Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates. That move is worth an estimated $458 million in general fund savings to the state in fiscal year 2013-2014, according to H.D. Palmer of the Department of Finance. That number jumps to $725 million in general fund dollars when annualized, Palmer said. Until now, cuts were in limbo awaiting court rulings in lawsuits challenging them. But that changed on May 24 when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Medi-Cal reduction was legal. Now the only legal avenue left is appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (Gorn, 6/6).