Health Care In The States

Read more Health Care in the States stories from: 2012

Where You Live Determines How Much You Pay For Health Insurance
By Julie Appleby and Jordan Rau, Sept. 29
In several states, consumers in high-cost areas will pay at least 50 percent more for the same type of coverage as those in lower-cost areas.

Q&A With Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear
By Phil Galewitz, Sept. 29
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, was an early supporter of building a state exchange where residents without group coverage could buy health insurance.

In Kentucky, Confusion And Misinformation Abound On Eve Of Obamacare Rollout
By Phil Galewitz, Sept. 29
The only state-run exchange in the South faces challenges from political opponents and an uninformed, skeptical public.

Missouri, Illinois Health Insurance Exchanges Gear Up Quietly
By Jay Hancock, Sept. 26
The insurer touts affordable plans, but the exclusion of some premier hospitals could reduce treatment options for some patients.

Houston Embraces Obamacare Outreach, Despite Cruz And Perry
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, Sept. 27
A coalition is trying to get the word out to Houston's 800,000 uninsured residents about insurance marketplaces, which open Oct. 1.

South Florida Insurance Rates Will Be Among Lowest In State
By Evan S. Benn and Patricia Borns, Miami Herald, Sept. 26
Some residents who buy health insurance through federally run marketplaces will pay some of the cheapest rates in Florida, according to federal data.

Covered California Launches $80 Million Ad Campaign
By Sarah Varney, Sept. 26
Survey of 2,000 Californians also finds that many undocumented immigrants mistakenly believe they will be covered.

3 States, 3 Different Obamacare Outreach Plans
By Jenny Gold, Sept. 24
Those running their own marketplaces are rolling out some creative new outreach techniques to get there as quickly as possible.

Colorado Floods Isolate Hospital At Foot Of Rockies
By Eric Whitney, Sept. 24
One snowstorm could leave Estes Park's hospital and its patients stranded after floods badly damaged all but one of the roads leading to the town.

What Consumers Really Want From An Obamacare Plan
By Robert Calandra, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 23
When consultants ran simulations, they found that price was a major consideration for most consumers choosing health plan.

Missouri, Illinois Health Insurance Exchanges Gear Up Quietly
By Virginia Young, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 23
In Missouri, a decidedly low-profile campaign stems from a voter referendum. In Illinois, officials partnered with the federal government to build the marketplace.

Views On Obamacare Closely Track Party Preference In Washington State
By Lisa Stiffler, Seattle Times, Sept. 23
In Washington state, 80 percent of Democrats surveyed approve of the Affordable Care Act while 80 percent of Republicans don't.

Insurers' Letters Spur Washington State Consumer Alert
By Amy Snow Landa, Seattle Times, Sept. 20
The alert advises state residents who buy their own health insurance to know their options when choosing their next health plan.

Census: More Than 850,000 Texas Kids Lack Health Coverage
By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, Sept. 20
Texas continued to have the highest rate of people without health insurance in 2012 at 24.6 percent, or more than 6 million residents.

Attacking Raccoons Used In Washington State Insurance Ads
By Amy Snow Landa, Seattle Times, Sept. 18
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has begun airing television commercials as part of a stepped-up campaign to promote the state’s online insurance marketplace.

Sebelius Spends Third Day Touting Health Law In Florida
By Daniel Chang, The Miami Herald, Sept. 18
Florida holds a large stake in the outcome of federal health care reform, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Little Evidence To Back Texas Abortion Law, According To Official Records
By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, Sept. 16
A review of state inspection records turned up little evidence to suggest the facilities were putting patients in danger.

Gov. Corbett To Propose Big Changes to Pa. Medicaid
By Amy Worden, Angela Couloumbis, and Harold Brubaker, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 15
The proposal is similar to plans advanced by Arkansas and Iowa, neither of which has been approved by the federal government.

States Balk At Ending Medicaid Contracts Even When Fraud Or Poor Patient Care
By Jenni Bergal, Sept. 15
Officials won't use the "nuclear option" for fear of disrupting services to patients.

Local Uninsured Programs Face Uncertain Times As Obamacare Ramps Up
By Phil Galewitz, Sept. 13
Some enrollees will have to pay more for coverage in new exchanges, while others may lose out in states that do not expand Medicaid.

Insurance Exchange Outreach In Connecticut Goes Far Afield
By Jeff Cohen, WNPR, Sept. 12
The state also is spending big bucks on less traditional ways to get the word out like at concerts and festivals.

Draft Report: Missourians Favor Medicaid Expansion
By Virginia Young, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 11
That people want both Medicaid expansion and reform. A seven-page draft report circulated by a state representative ends with that statement.

Rural Hospitals in Texas Wary of Proposed Medicare Cuts
By Becca Aaronson and Edgar Walters, The Texas Tribune, Sept. 11
A federal proposal to reduce the number of hospitals that carry the 'critical access' designation could cost 60 Texas hospitals that status.

A Road To Health? Rural Alaska Town Argues For Access
By Annie Feidt, Alaska Public Radio Network, Sept. 11
A road in King Cove, Alaska would give 1,000 residents better access to emergency health care, but it would slice through a wildlife refuge.

Colorado Exchange Watchdog Likes What It Sees
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Sept. 9
Colorado lawmakers overseeing the state's health insurance exchange are generally pleased with how it’s going, but they are worried some residents will still be left out.

Washington State Call Center Logs 900 Calls On 1st Day
By Amy Snow Landa, Seattle Times, Sept. 6
The head of the exchange said there were about 60 customer service representatives working. Most of the calls were about eligibility and enrollment.

Minnesota Says Its Marketpace Rates Are Nation’s Lowest So Far
By Elizabeth Stawicki and Catharine Richert, Minnesota Public Radio, Sept. 6
Minnesota consumers will be able to buy a health plan for as little as $90.59 per month on MNsure.

How Will Immigrants Fare Under Obamacare? It's Complicated
By Lornett Turnbull, Seattle Times, Sept. 6
What benefits, if any, immigrants get under the health-care overhaul depends on several factors -- here are some.

'A Calling' To Care For The Poor At St. Louis' Grace Hill Community Centers
By Jim Doyle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 5
Some of the funding for it and smaller centers may be in jeopardy, even as the number of people seeking discounted or free care increases.

Washington State Panel OKs 7 Insurers For Exchange
By Amy Snow Landa, Seattle Times, Sept. 5
The certification is the final step in the process before the state can load data into a federal database about the plans to be sold through the exchange.

Baltimore Ravens To Host Ads for Maryland Health Exchange
By Jay Hancock, Sept. 3
The football team will work with Maryland officials "to connect with Maryland residents about the importance of developing a health coverage game plan."

Washington Ranks 2nd In Nation In Uninsured Growth
By Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times, Sept. 3
From 2008 to 2011, the state's increase in the number of residents without insurance was second-highest.

Florida Is No. 2 In Nation For Rate Of Uninsured
By Daniel Chang, The Miami Herald, August 30
Census data show that about 25 percent of state residents lack health coverage in a state that has opted against the health law's expansion of Medicaid.

Covered California Launches $80 Million Ad Campaign
By Stephanie O'Neill, KPCC, August 30
Officials see the 15-month-long campaign as a way to inspire an estimated 5.2 million uninsured Californians to buy insurance on the state-run exchange.

Pennsylvania Blues Plan Pinpoints Potential Customers Using Data
By Robert Calandra, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 28
Insurers are using tools pioneered by political campaigns to identify potential customers and analyze their needs.

Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner Braces For Bumps In The Road
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, August 27
The state exchange CEO estimates 200,000 enrollees in the exchange's first year, climbing eventually to 500,000.

Many Breast-Feeding Moms Unaware Of Health Law Help
By Lisa Stiffler, Seattle Times, August 27
The provision supporting breast-feeding went into effect for new health-insurance plans a year ago, but many plans didn't incorporate the benefit until January 2013.

Washington State Launches Ad Blitz Promoting Health Exchange
By Amy Snow Landa, Seattle Times, August 26
The aim is to sign up 130,000 uninsured people by the end of this year and 280,000 people in 2014.

Despite Additional Dollars, Texas Doc Shortage Is Hard To Fix
By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, August 23
The medical community is concerned the state's plans to produce more physicians to treat a surging population are insufficient.

States Use Out-Of-The-Box Approaches To Raise Awareness Of Health Exchanges
By Kelsey Miller, August 20
In states running their own marketplaces, jingles, ad campaigns and cartoon characters are among the tools being used to educate residents.

Idaho’s GOP Governor Extols Exchange 'Run By Idahoans For Idahoans'
By Phil Galewitz, August 20
Idaho is the only state under complete Republican control that is running its own marketplace, and they recently named it.

Colorado Exchange Releases Health Insurance Rates
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, August 19
Colorado released its Obamacare insurance rates on Friday, joining 13 states and the District of Columbia in making rates public.

Pa., N.J. Insurers Gearing Up For Obamacare Business
By Robert Calandra, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 19
Once the ACA became law, insurers started refocusing their marketing strategies on consumers.

Taking A New Tack To Persuade 'Young Invincibles' To Buy Health Insurance
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, August 19
The health insurance premiums of younger, healthier adults will be important to balancing the cost of covering older, sicker Americans.

Amid Health Law Expansion, Some States Trim Medicaid Rolls
By Phil Galewitz, August 18
Maine, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Vermont are tightening eligibility requirements to shift some residents receiving Medicaid benefits into the online insurance marketplaces.

Moving People Home After Nursing Home Stay Is Complicated
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, August 16
Organizers say it's a challenge to find out which services each person needs, from meals delivered to a whole new apartment.

ACO Tools To Keep Patients Out Of The Hospital
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, August 15
A Minnesota hospital’s care for congestive heart failure patients set the stage for it to become an Accountable Care Organization under the health law.

A Nevada Health Plan Without The Insurance
By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio, August 14
A novel medical discount plan negotiates lower prices at the doctor's office or hospitals for members who aren't insured.

Obamacare Presents Complex Choices For People With Disabilities
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, August 13
Some categories of essential benefits are straightforward. But others like physical and speech therapy -- are much more subjective.

In States That Don’t Expand Medicaid, Some Of The Uninsured May Still Get Help
By Phil Galewitz, August 11
Some could get help buying private coverage by projecting their future incomes to exceed the federal poverty level.

Red State Idaho Embraces Obamacare Insurance Exchange -- Reluctantly
By Phil Galewitz, August 9
Gov. "Butch" Otter and others fought to keep control of their marketplace -- the only GOP-controlled state to run a state-based exchange.

Mapping A Strategy To Reach Uninsured In King County, Wash.
By Lisa Stiffler, Seattle Times, August 9
Maps that show where the highest levels of uninsured live will help them target these areas for education and outreach in order to boost insurance coverage.

Sebelius: We're Open to 'Uniquely Texan' Approach
By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, August 8
The federal government is open to allowing Texas to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare in a way that is "uniquely Texan," HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said.

Fuzzy Math Behind Florida’s Health Insurance Projections, Group Says
By Daniel Chang, The Miami Herald, August 8
Moreover, the group said, the official projections are "likely to result in direct harm to consumers."

St. Louis' Busiest Safety Net Hospital Braces For Health Law Challenges
By Jim Doyle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 8
Christian Hospital’s struggle to serve the disadvantaged is not likely to get easier under the Affordable Care Act.

My Place CT – Connecticut's Plan For Long-Term Care
By Kelsey Miller, August 7
Connecticut Department of Social Services' Dawn Lambert discusses state's efforts to address residents' long-term care needs while minimizing the strain on the state's Medicaid budget.

Cascading Hospital Closures Loom Over Brooklyn
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, August 5
The borough is close to losing two hospitals, prompting fears that their shuttering could overwhelm nearby facilities and hurt care for residents.

What To Say When Mom Or Dad Has Cancer
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, July 30
Figuring out what to tell the kids – and when – is not an easy decision, and many parents who have cancer get little to no advice from their doctors.

Moratorium Targets Houston Ambulance Service Providers
By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, July 29
Federal authorities are trying to combat waste with a six-month moratorium on Houston-area ambulance providers in Medicare, Medicaid and the CHIP.

Obamacare Canvassers Seek Out Florida's Uninsured
By Phil Galewitz, July 29
Enroll America's "Get Covered America" campaign, is starting to canvas neighborhoods across several states to kick off several months of outreach efforts.

Maryland Regulators Slash Rates For Obamacare Insurance Policies
By Jay Hancock, July 26
Maryland insurance regulators on Friday sharply reduced prices for health plans that will be sold to individuals and families.

State Budget Officials In Alaska For Annual Gathering
By Phil Galewitz, July 23
The implementation of federal health law is a big item on the agenda, including a discussion about states' costs to expand Medicaid.

Analysis: N.Y. Insurance Market Called 'Poster Child' For Individual Mandate
By Roni Caryn Rabin, July 19
New York passed many of the health insurance reforms that are part of Obamacare many years ago, only without an individual mandate.

Humana Fills Blank Spots In Mississippi Obamacare Map
By Jay Hancock, July 19
It will sell health insurance in 36 Mississippi counties that might have otherwise been left out of a marketplace for subsidized policies sold under the ACA.

Health Law Fosters A New Kind Of Business Partnership In Georgia
By Jim Burress, WABE, July 16
Philips is now going to provide the Georgia Regents Health System with everything from equipment and training to maintenance -- for access.

Cerner Builds Recession-Proof 'Bunker' For Health Data
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, July 16
It's designed to protect what’s inside: a temperature-controlled room full of thousands of servers. There are back-up generators for back-up generators.

Why Your Doctor May Still Use Paper Records
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, July 15
Nearly half of all physicians in America still rely on paper records for most patient care, and time is running out to take advantage of the government incentive payments.

Connecting Minnesota's Latino Community To Health Care
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, July 12
One-in-eight Minnesota Latinos is uninsured. As the health law rolls out, community clinics in the state will be connecting Latinos to their new insurance options.

7 States, Governors Team To Tackle Hospital 'Frequent Flyers' Problem
By Kelsey Miller, July 12
Officials want to save money and better coordinate the care of Medicaid and uninsured patients who frequently use hospital ERs.

Some States Are Pushing 'Employee Choice' For Small Business Insurance
By Julie Appleby, July 11
Small business workers in at least 15 states and the District of Columbia may have a menu of health insurance choices next year.

How Oregon Is Getting 'Frequent Flyers' Out Of Hospital ERs
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 10
The state is trying to reduce health care costs by encouraging those who constantly turn up at the ER to get their health care from regular doctors instead.

Community Health Centers – In Every State – Get Obamacare Outreach Funds
By Phil Galewitz, July 10
Nearly all 1,200 federally funded centers will be getting a piece of $150 million to enroll patients in new online health insurance marketplaces.

Health Exchange Pitch To Sports Fans Started In Fenway
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, July 8
Now that other states are opening health insurance marketplaces, states like Colorado are trying the strategy: Get sports leagues to pitch the law.

A Busy ER Doctor Slows Down To Help Patients Cope With Pain
By Annie Feidt, Alaska Public Radio Network, July 5
After 20 years as a busy ER doctor, Linda Smith now finds satisfaction guiding patients through treatment for life-threatening illnesses.

National Health Plans, Designed To Spur Competition, May Be Unavailable In Some States Next Year
By Julie Appleby, July 5
The federal health law requires two plans in every state, but few insurers are lining up to play.

Lawmakers to NY Docs: Screen All Baby Boomers for Deadly Liver Disease
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, July 3
The New York legislature has passed a bill that would make the state the first to require doctors to screen for hepatitis C.

Iowa, South Dakota Blues Skip Obamacare Exchange Next Year
By Jay Hancock, July 2
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it won’t offer subsidized plans through those exchanges until 2015.

Pennsylvania Among 17 States Giving Feds High-Risk Pool Responsibility
By Elana Gordon, WHYY, July 1
In 2014, insurers can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charge them more.

Mississippi Dems: We Were 'Bamboozled' On Medicaid
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, June 29
Mississippi lawmakers approved a plan late Friday to renew Medicaid for another year, but Democrats are upset at how it got done.

Political Fight Jeopardizes Mississippi's Entire Medicaid Program
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, June 22
Lawmakers there are in a game of political chicken that could threaten the very existence of the entire Medicaid program by the end of the month.

Rate Shock? Let's Talk About It Later, Says Colorado Insurance Commissioner
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, June 21
Colorado's insurance commissioner says "talking about rates at this point in time could lead to a lot problems in the future."

Patients Lead The Way As Medicine Grapples With Apps
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, June 18
Health apps are turning smartphones and tablets into medical aides, but the explosion of apps is way ahead of tests to determine which work.

Your Smartphone Might Hold Key To Your Medical Records
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, June 17
Hospitals and clinics are slowly replacing paper files with electronic records, but information often isn't easily shared. Smartphones may change that.

Britain's National Health Service Visits D.C. For Some Pointers
By Ankita Rao, June 13
A discussion on how to improve the British system turned up buzzwords reminiscent of the U.S. health reform debate.

Preparing For Flood Of Consumer Questions On Insurance Exchanges
By KHN Editors, June 13
A progress report from two states -- Minnesota and Florida -- on preparations around launching the health law's insurance exchanges.

California Insurance Chief Wants To Bar Anthem From Selling Small Business Coverage
By Julie Appleby, June 13
The state's insurance commissioner will recommend that the state's marketplace exclude the firm from selling small business coverage.

Colorado Offers Exchange 'Assister' Money To Many Groups
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, June 11
One of the 16 states setting up its own online insurance marketplace, Colorado named 58 organizations it’s selected to form its “assistance network."

Entrepreneurs At Health 'Datapalooza' Ask Feds For More Data
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, June 6
HHS made public for the first time price and quality specifics for 30 different out-patient procedures at hospitals nationwide.

California Law Likely Resulted In Lower Bills, Free Care For Uninsured
By Julie Appleby, June 3
A study says a law limiting how much hospitals can charge the uninsured likely resulted in lower bills or free care for many patients.

Miss. To Require Cord Blood Testing On Babies Born To Some Teenage Moms
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, June 3
Soon umbilical cord blood samples will be taken from babies born to some women younger than 16 so officials can identify the father.

Boston Marathon Survivor Has Long Road Ahead
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, May 31
Marc Fucarile knows he will get some compensation from Boston's One Fund, but he wonders if it will be enough.

D.C. Approves Two New Proton Therapy Centers
By Jenny Gold, May 31
Two of Washington’s biggest hospital systems won approval to build proton treatment facilities despite effectiveness and cost questions.

Minnesota Ranked Best State For Seniors
By Judith Graham, May 29
The United Health Foundation on Wednesday published the first comprehensive state-by-state analysis of senior health across the nation.

Obamacare Insurance Won’t Cover Weight-Loss Surgery In Many States
By Sarah Varney, May 27
Some states will not require health plans sold on the new online insurance marketplaces to cover medical weight loss treatments.

Mass. Advocates Want To Snuff Out Higher Premiums For Smokers
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, May 24
The debate about whether smokers should pay more for health insurance has created unusual alliances.

California Insurance Exchange Rates: Not Too High, Not Too Low
By Sarah Varney, May 24
The premiums, which aimed at a "just right" Goldilocks range, surprised many consumer advocates and analysts who had been anticipating much higher prices.

11 Insurers Want To Play Ball In Colorado’s Marketplace
By Phil Galewitz, May 22
The insurers are seeking approval to market about 250 health plans to individuals and small groups in the state’s online marketplace under the federal health care overhaul.

Survey: Even In Southern States, Medicaid Expansion Is Popular
By Karl Eisenhower, May 21
But despite the law’s unpopularity, its expansion of Medicaid is supported by almost two-thirds of adults in these states, according to a survey.

Texas' Struggling Rio Grande Valley Presses for Medicaid Expansion
By Sarah Varney, May 21
Texas has the highest rate of uninsured -- one in four has no health coverage -- and the rate in the Rio Grande Valley is even higher.

The Dramatic Difference: What A Hospital Charges Vs. What Medicare Pays
By Annie Feidt, Alaska Public Radio Network, May 13
For the first time, the federal government has shared what hospitals bill Medicare for the 100 most common diagnoses and treatments.

Competition Spurs 2 Oregon Insurers To Lower Proposed Rates
By Phil Galewitz, May 10
After the state became the fourth to publicly list health insurers’ proposed 2014 rates, two plans moved to cut their suggested prices.

Colorado Exchange Board Spars Over Federal Funding
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, May 10
The $125 million request, if granted, would push total federal funding for Colorado's exchange over $185 million.

California Weighs Expanded Role For Nurse Practitioners
By Pauline Bartolone, Capitol Public Radio, May 9
California is one of 15 states expected to consider legislation this year that would give advanced practice nurses more independence and authority.

Colorado Launches $2M Ad Campaign For New Online Marketplace
By Phil Galewitz, May 8
It became the first state to launch a public awareness campaign with television, print, radio and billboard ads that will cost $2 million.

Florida Legislative Session Ends Without Deal On Medicaid Expansion
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU, May 3
Lawmakers closed their session Friday without reaching an agreement to expand access to the program under the Affordable Care Act.

Colorado Weighs Reopening A Psychiatric Hospital To Serve The Homeless
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, May 2
The proposal would bring mentally ill homeless to Fort Lyon, a one-time mental hospital, then prison, that’s been shuttered for two years.

Arkansas Medicaid Model: What You Need To Know About The 'Private Option'
By Jay Hancock, May 1
Arkansas may both increase coverage for the poor and create something that looks less like government and more like business.

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Medical Home
By Sandy Hausman, Virginia Public Radio, May 1
Some hope "medical homes" will allow the health law to extend not just health care coverage to the newly insured, but also ensure they have a place to get care.

California Moves To Protect Smokers From Higher Obamacare Insurance Costs
By Stephanie O'Neill, Southern California Public Radio, April 30
The health law allows smokers to be charged up to 50 percent more – but legislation is moving forward in California to stop that.

Colorado Medicaid Expansion Moves Forward With One Republican Vote
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, April 29
The Senate is expected to approve a House bill and send it to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, who has said he will sign it.

Oregon's Dilemma: How To Measure Health
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, April 26
The Obama Administration gave Oregon almost $2 billion to come up with its own system to coordinate care better -- but how will the measure success?

Senate President Lays Blame With Sebelius If Florida Fails To Expand Medicaid
By Phil Galewitz, April 26
Most Florida Senate leaders want to accept the federal money and use it to put people into private coverage.

With Time Running Out, Florida Medicaid Expansion Is In Doubt
By Phil Galewitz, April 26
Florida, with nearly four million uninsured residents, is one of more than a dozen still weighing if it will expand Medicaid, by how much and to whom.

Nurses Fighting State-By-State For Minimum Staffing Laws
By David Schultz, April 24
Legislatures in at least seven states and D.C. are debating bills that would require hospitals to have a minimum number of nurses on staff at all times.

States Spend $28M Then Leave Exchanges To The Feds
By Phil Galewitz, April 24
Ten states spent $28 million to decide if they wanted to run their own health insurance marketplaces and then they all decided to leave it to the federal government.

Boston Couple Faces Amputation Rehab, Together
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, April 22
Patrick and Jessica Downes, who both work in health care, each lost the lower part of their left legs in the Boston bombing.

Mississippi's Lone Abortion Clinic Is Still Open And Still Controversial
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, April 17
A judge blocked a state law -- for now -- that would likely have shuttered the state's sole abortion clinic.

Wait For Obamacare Price Tags Could Be Months
By Jay Hancock, April 12
Deadlines in many states for filing proposed rates in the individual health insurance market aren't until late May. And some have no plans to publish results quickly.

Colorado's New Business Pitch: Healthy, Lean Workers Cost Less
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, April 10
Colorado, which has the lowest adult obesity rate in the nation, is pitching companies looking to relocate or expand with its "culture of health."

Study: States Lag On Tracking Potential Obamacare Loophole
By Jay Hancock, April 8
Some see self-insurance, which is exempt from the health law's taxes, benefit rules and price restrictions taking effect next year, as a loophole opportunity.

Texas Legislature Weighing 5 Key Proposals To Limit Abortions
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, April 4
The bills favor policies that would impose more regulations on abortion clinics, rather than policies meant to change women’s minds.

Minn. Vows To Have Small Business Options On New Health Exchange
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, April 3
Workers at small businesses that buy health insurance on Minnesota’s new marketplace will have access to features delayed in other states.

New Med School Aims To Train Primary Care Docs
By Jeffrey Cohen, WNPR, April 2
Quinnipiac University is spending $100 million on a new primary care school, and it is one of about a dozen new medical schools on the horizon.

No Rate Shock Seen In Proposed 2014 Premiums In Vermont
By Phil Galewitz, April 1
Vermont became the first state to publish proposed 2014 individual health insurance rates under the federal health law.

Oregon Shows Costs Of Putting Medicaid Enrollees In Private Coverage
By Phil Galewitz, March 29
Many states are considering enrolling Medicaid recipients into private plans, but Oregon has had mixed results.

Obamacare Is No Stumbling Block For Taxpayers This Year
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, March 29
If you haven’t done your taxes yet, ads from H&R Block might make you feel even more anxious about just what the health law has in store for you.

Audit Finds Shortcomings In Minn. Verifications Of Income, Other Information
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, March 27
An audit shows Minnesota’s Department of Human Services has not been adequately verifying the eligibility of some in assistance programs.

Officials Unveil More Details Of Colo. Exchange Funding
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, March 22
A week after approving a tax on health insurance policies, Colorado officials are offering more details of their plans to fund the exchange after federal money runs out in 2014.

In The Emergency Department, Gunshot Fatalities Often 'Hard To Forget'
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, March 21
In Colorado, where more people die from gunshots than car crashes, the victims have a profound effect on the physicians who treat them.

Minnesota Governor Signs Bill Creating Health Insurance Marketplace
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, March 21
Starting in October, more than a million Minnesotans, including 300,000 uninsured, are expected to sign up for health plans using MNSURE.

Health Law Covers Breast Pumps, But Not All Moms Get The Best
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, March 20
Under the health law, insurance plans are required to give new mothers equipment and services to enable them to breast feed -- but it doesn't specify what type.

Grieving Doctor Regrets He Didn’t Ask Depressed Patient About Gun
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, March 20
Some are pushing to raise awareness to have doctors question patients about gun ownership in an attempt to curb suicides.

Midnight Drama As Minnesota House Passes Exchange Bill
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, March 15
State House lawmakers sent the exchange bill, which had a bumpy ride through that chamber, to the state Senate after a dramatic midnight vote.

Minnesota Exchange Bill Moves Forward Without Abortion Restrictions
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, March 14
Abortion restrictions have been cut from a final version of the health insurance exchange bill, and lawmakers will also work on funding it.

Colorado Sets Its Exchange Fee
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, March 13
The price of policies in Colorado’s health insurance exchange will include a 1.4 percent fee to help fund exchange operations.

Mississippi Legislature Passes 'Anti-Bloomberg' Bill
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, March 11
A bill would bar counties and towns from enacting rules that require calorie counts to be posted, that cap portion sizes, or that keep toys out of kids' meals.

Minnesota Senate Passes Exchange Bill
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, March 8
The Minnesota Senate followed the House in passing legislation to create an online health insurance marketplace under the federal health law.

What's The Price? Simple Question, Complicated Answer
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, March 8
How much does Medicare pay a particular hospital in Boston for a colonoscopy? One reporter wanted to know, and got a complicated response.

Medicaid Expansion Divides Florida GOP
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU March 7
The dispute over the Medicaid expansion sanctioned by the federal health law has engulfed the state Republican Party.

Idaho, Utah, N.M. Running Out Of Time To Set Up State Exchange
By Phil Galewitz, March 7
Three states which had gotten tentative go-aheads to run their own health insurance websites may not be ready for an Oct. 1 launch.

In Conservative Arizona, Government-Run Health Care That Works
By Sarah Varney, March 7
Arizona is occupying an unusual place: as a model for how a generously-funded, tightly regulated government program can aid low-income patients.

Minnesota Legislature Hammers Out Exchange Bill
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, March 6
The Democratic-majority Minnesota House has passed a key part of the Obama administration's health care law.

Got A Health Care Puzzle? There Should Be An App!
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, March 5
Kansas City, Mo., is looking to boost its health-tech cred. So the city that's home to several health IT firms hosted a health innovation competition.

Florida House Panel Opposes Medicaid Expansion
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU March 4
The Florida House has signaled it won’t go along with Gov. Rick Scott to expand Medicaid coverage to more than a million low-income Floridians.

Mass. Weighs Governor's Plan To Tax Candy And Soda
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, March 1
Candy and soda are considered food and are exempt from the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. But Gov. Deval Patrick wants to change that.

Hospital Consolidation Dance Heats Up In NYC
By Jenny Gold, Feb. 28
The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners announced that they have reached a tentative agreement on a possible merger.

Some States Will Rate Health Plans On Quality This Fall
By Julie Appleby, Feb. 28
Some states, among them Minnesota and California, are opting to do ratings early, before the federal health law requires them to do so in 2016.

Plans To Expand Florida Medicaid Welcomed And Feared
By Phil Galewitz, Feb. 24
If state lawmakers back Gov. Rick Scott's plan to expand Medicaid, it will be an experiment with a determinedly free-market twist.

D.C. Hospitals And Nurses Fight Over Staffing Ratios
By David Schultz, Feb. 22
Hospital and nurses are fighting over a bill modeled on a California law that would require them to maintain a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio at all times.

Hospitals Hook Up With Drugstore Giants To Lower Readmissions
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Feb. 20
The government is dinging hospitals whose patients come back too soon, that hospitals teaming with drugstores to keep patients healthier.

Waiver In Hand, Florida’s Rick Scott Backs Medicaid Expansion
By Diane Webber, Feb. 20
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that he would back expansion of the Medicaid program under the federal health law.

In Arizona, Poorest, Sickest Patients Get Coordinated Care
By Sarah Varney, Feb. 20
Arizona has long resisted federal health programs, but private companies have for many years been caring for those on both Medicare and Medicaid.

Study: Expanding Medicaid Cheaper Than Not In Colorado
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Feb. 13
A new analysis says expanding will save Colorado government $133.8 million compared to the cost of not expanding between 2014 and 2025.

California Sets Standard Deductibles, Copays For Insurance Plans
By Julie Appleby, Feb. 13
California became the first state to standardize health insurance plans under the federal health law.

Feds Blame Mississippi Governor For Exchange Denial
By Phil Galewitz, Feb. 8
An HHS official says the marketplace can't go forward without his support for coordination among state agencies.

HHS Denies Mississippi's Bid To Run Its Own Exchange
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Feb. 8
After the denial, Mississippi is now the only state to have its exchange blueprint nixed by the federal government.

Medicaid Transformation Watched Closely In Florida
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU, Feb. 8
The federal government signed off on the first part of a plan that could eventually steer more than 3 million low-income Floridians on Medicaid into managed care.

HHS Delays Basic Health Plan Option Until 2015
By Phil Galewitz, Feb. 7
It delayed by one year the rollout of a health program aimed at low to moderate-income people who won’t qualify for the expanded Medicaid program.

Kansas' Great Hope: Managed Care Will Tame Medicaid Costs
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio, and Jim McLean, KHI News, Feb. 6
Many are watching to see if it will meet the goal of controlling costs while ensuring quality health care.

Feds Help States Qualify For More Medicaid Dollars
By Phil Galewitz, Feb. 1
They gave guidance to states on how they can increase their Medicaid funding by eliminating copays for certain preventive services, including immunizations.

State Action Needed To Guarantee Health Law Protections, Says Report
By Julie Appleby, Feb. 1
A report by the Commonwealth Fund shows only 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed rules needed to implement the law.

Post-Sandy, NYU Langone Has Reopened, But Can It Regain Market Share?
By Jenny Gold, Feb. 1
Some 500 NYU docs found refuge at other hospitals while it was closed following Sandy. Now, will patients and doctors will return?

Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Is Back, But Changed, After Sandy
By Fred Mogul, WYNC, Jan. 30
Doctors, staff and administrators have had to improvise as they both restore partial service and repair the historic hospital’s damaged infrastructure.

TurboTax, Not Travelocity, May Be Better Analogy For Health Exchanges
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Jan. 25
Like paying taxes, buying insurance is complicated, rife with jargon and high stakes: Errors can cost big money and run afoul of the law.

Report: States Making It Easier To Apply For Medicaid
By Phil Galewitz, Jan. 23
Residents of 37 states can now apply online for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And 28 states allow families to renew online.

Despite Incentives, Doctors’ Offices Lag On Digital Records
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Jan. 22
A state system used to track children's immunizations isn't compatible with most of the systems doctors use, so most don't use it.

Utah, HHS Quibble Over Best Way To Run State Insurance Market
By Phil Galewitz, Jan. 15
Although the Obama administration conditionally approved Utah’s insurance exchange, it’s unclear if the state will make sufficient changes to win final approval.

Is California Headed For State Vs. Counties Health Budget Battle?
By Sarah Varney, Jan. 11
California’s counties, which are required to provide health care to the "medically indigent" could administer their own programs or the state could do it -- for a price.

Governors’ Group Highlights Health Care In 2013 Outlook
By Shefali Kulkarni, Jan. 10
The Democratic and Republican leaders of the National Governors Association spoke Wednesday about the broader policy challenges facing all states in 2013.

Connecticut, The Insurance Capital, Moves Ahead With Exchange Plans
By Phil Galewitz, Jan. 8
Five health plans — including major insurers in the state’s individual market — plan to offer policies in the new online marketplace this fall.

Republican-Led Utah Gets Thumbs Up From HHS
By Phil Galewitz, Jan. 3
The Obama administration’s announcement that it has given Utah a conditional OK to run its own health insurance marketplace came as a surprise to many.

Colorado Will Expand Medicaid, Governor Announces
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Jan. 3
The state will expand its Medicaid program as much as the federal health care law calls for, and it won’t have to spend any extra money to do so, the governor said.