State Highlights: Vt. Readies Universal Health Care Launch; Fla. Adds Four Contractors To Medicaid Managed Care

A selection of health policy stories from Vermont, Maryland, Florida and Kansas.

The Associated Press: As Health Marketplaces Open, Vt. Eyes Bigger Goal
As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they're a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model. The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation's first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals (Gram, 10/26).

Health News Florida: FL Adds Medicaid Managed Care Contracts
A report from analyst firm Stifel says Florida has added four more Medicaid managed care contracts in addition to the two insurers, Centene and WellCare, that were awarded contracts in September. In October, the state gave contracts to Aetna, Amerigroup, UnitedHealth and Molina (Watts, 10/25).

Kansas Health Institute: Website Launched Giving Free Access To Wealth Of Health Data
The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City has rolled out a new website designed to be a comprehensive source of health information for a six-county region in Missouri and Kansas. The website KCHealthMatters.org has about 150 data indicators, and it allows users to analyze information down to the census tract (Sherry, 10/25).

The Baltimore Sun: Group Marches For Health Care For All 
The federal Affordable Care Act is expected to provide access to medical coverage to hundreds of thousands of Maryland's uninsured, but one group said that doesn't go far enough. The group, Healthcare is a Human Right-Maryland, led a rally Saturday in Baltimore to push for single-payer coverage similar to that in countries such as Canada and Sweden, where the government runs most of the health system and there are no insurance companies (Walker, 10/26).

Minnesota Public Radio: In Rochester, Squeezed By Health Care Costs Despite The Overhaul
When insurance companies decide where to sell health plans, they look closely at what it will cost them. And in Rochester, health care is more expensive than anywhere else in Minnesota because the Mayo Clinic sets the region's prices. That's the reality facing southeast Minnesota. Despite the federal Affordable Care Act and the new MNsure health coverage marketplace, Rochester stands as the one part of the state where prices are high and options are few (Baier, 10/28).

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