A selection of health policy stories from Alabama, California, Texas and Massachusetts.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: State Of Alabama, Catholic Media Group Sue Over Health Care Law
The state of Alabama and a Roman Catholic broadcasting network based near Birmingham are again suing over the nation's new health care law. Attorney General Luther Strange and Eternal Word Television Network filed suit Monday in federal court (10/28).
Los Angeles Times: Amid Obamacare Signup Glitches, Thousands Head To Free Clinic Event
Organizers of a high-profile annual free clinic in Los Angeles that attracts thousands of uninsured and underinsured patients have hoped that improvements in the nation's health care system would greatly reduce demand for their services. The massive Care Harbor event returns to town this week, amid the rollout of new and shifting insurance options for millions of Californians under the Obama administration's overhaul of the health care system. Once again, thousands showed up Monday at the Sports Arena to secure appointments for everything from mammograms to teeth cleaning -- but with new expectations for the future (Brown, 10/28).
California Healthline: For Californians Who Can Afford It, Autism Coverage Should Improve Under ACA
Some California families dealing with autism are "relatively lucky," according to advocates. California is one of 24 states, along with Washington, D.C., requiring autism coverage on the list of essential benefits in policies sold through new Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. However, for low-income families the pathway to autism coverage is full of obstacles in California, according to officials at Autism Health Insurance Project, a not-for-profit helping families find coverage and lobbying for policy changes (Lauer, 10/23).
The Texas Tribune: Lawmaker Delays Leave Facility For Mentally Ill Youths In Limbo
Months after lawmakers cut millions of dollars in funding for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and ordered the closure of a detention facility, movement to shutter a facility for mentally ill youths remains stalled as state leaders seek to reconsider its demise (Grissom, 10/29).
WBUR: 'Minute Clinics' In Boston Mayor's Race: Not An Issue, Should They Be?
In-store clinics can be cheaper and more convenient than the usual primary care. (Though the one time I tried to use one in Cambridge, the minute was more like a half hour, and then came the staffer's hour-long lunch break, so I left in disgust.) On the other hand, they can fragment the health care system and siphon off lucrative pieces. ModernPhysician.com (note: doctors tend to oppose the clinics) lays out some of the pros and cons nicely in a 2009 piece here: "MinuteClinic Struggles in Mass., still not welcome in Boston." So why would this be a Boston issue? (Goldberg, 10/28).
The Associated Press: Medicaid Chief Could Seek Managed-Care Expansion
Mississippi's Medicaid director wants to expand a managed-care program that he says has helped save the state about $40 million. David Dzielak said 22 percent of Medicaid recipients are in managed care, in which a company is paid a set fee to provide medical services, regardless of the services' actual cost (10/28).