A selection of health policy stories from Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, Kansas, Oregon, California and Colorado.
The Associated Press: Miss. Lawmakers Start Medicaid Session Thursday
Mississippi lawmakers return to the Capitol at 10 a.m. Thursday for a special session designed to keep Medicaid alive and funded. Much is at stake: Medicaid is a government health insurance program for the needy, and it covers about 644,000 of the state's nearly 3 million residents (6/27).
The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Paid Sick Times Law Passes In NYC, Veto Overridden
New York City is becoming the most populous place in the United States to make businesses provide workers with paid sick time, after lawmakers overrode a mayoral veto early Thursday to pass a law expected to affect more than 1 million workers. With the vote, the city joined Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and the state of Connecticut in requiring the benefit for at least some workers. Similar measures have failed in some other places, including Milwaukee, Denver and Philadelphia (Peltz, 6/27).
Oregonian: Oregon Slashes 2014 Health Insurance Premium Requests By As Much As 35 Percent
Oregonians who buy their own insurance have the first clear indication of what 2014 premiums will look like after state regulators Tuesday slashed carriers' rate requests by as much as 35 percent. ... The insurers' filings do not come with details on claim-handling policies or the extent of available provider networks. But the state decisions do settle long-standing speculation that "rate shock" will hit the individual market due to changes under the federal Affordable Care Act (Budnick, 6/26).
The Associated Press: SC Budget: Hospital Regulation Program Loses $1.7M
A program that state health officials use to regulate whether South Carolina hospitals can add new beds, build additional facilities or even buy expensive equipment appears to have been gutted after the House agreed Tuesday with Gov. Nikki Haley to remove more than $1.7 million in funding. House members voted 56-65 on Wednesday to sustain the Republican governor's veto of money for the Department of Health and Environmental Control's Certificate of Need program (Collins, 6/26).
Kansas Health Institute: Governor's Mental Health Initiative Taking Shape
A state official today named the five community mental health centers chosen to help carry out a reform initiative proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback in an effort to reduce the number of people sent to state mental hospitals or jails (Ranney, 6/26).
The Lund Report: Hospital Association Pressures Lawmakers To Drop Mandates To Protect Nurses
Pinal Patel is only 29 years old, but the certified nursing assistant has already suffered two major injuries from lifting patients at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in north Portland. "I live with pain," she told the House Health Committee. "It's clear to me that I won't be able to continue this work up until retirement. It feels like my body is deteriorating day by day" (Gray, 6/26).
California Healthline: Assistants Could Do More Under Proposed Bill
Medical assistants yesterday moved a step closer to being able to perform certain clinical tasks under the jurisdiction of a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, rather than the direct authority of a physician. The Assembly Committee on Business and Professions approved the last step in the committee process for SB 352 by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) -- a bill which she hopes will reach a floor vote quickly, before the end of the current session. The measure aims to alleviate the current and growing need for more primary care physicians by expanding the ability of secondary providers to carry out clinical tasks without a physician needing to physically be in the same building (Gorn, 6/26).
Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Obesity A Disease, Cure Elusive
Since leaders of the American Medical Association last week trumped advice from their own committee of experts and declared obesity a disease, speculation has been rife. Will this be a game-changing decision? Or has the tree fallen in the forest and no one cares? … According to the most recent data, 27 percent of Colorado children ages 10 to 17 are either overweight or obese compared to 31.6 percent nationally (Kerwin McCrimmon, 6/26).