State Roundup: Fla.’s Growing Medicaid Costs; Md.’s Unspent Disabilities Money
A selection of stories from California, Iowa, Florida, Maryland, Louisiana and Missouri.
Bloomberg: Florida Tax-Cut Plan Almost Erased by Surging Medicaid Costs, Scott Says
Florida Governor Rick Scott said he has whittled down a corporate tax-relief plan compared with what he sought last year because of a ballooning deficit driven by health-care spending. “Medicaid is growing way faster than we thought,” the former hospital executive said yesterday. ... Florida, which closed a $3.8 billion budget gap for fiscal 2012, is facing another of as much as $2.3 billion next year (Baribeau, 12/1).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Md. Health Secy. Announces Corrective Steps After Agency Had To Return Unspent $25M
After Maryland's Developmental Disabilities Administration had to give more than $25 million in unspent state funds back to the general fund, the health secretary told lawmakers he's acting to correct the situation. Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein told members of the Senate Finance and Budget and Taxation committees he was shocked to hear of such a large expected surplus at the agency that supports services such as residential care, employment, day programs and respite care (11/30).
St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Consumers Can See Details Of Health Insurer's Premium Increase For First Time
The news release posted on the Missouri Department of Insurance's website sounded routine: Coventry Health and Life Insurance Co., intends to raise rates an average of 10.9 percent for its 11,171 Missouri policyholders. What was unusual about the announcement was the fact that the information was available at all. Missouri does not give insurance regulators legal authority to collect and review rate filings, which some insurers regard as trade secrets. But the veil was lifted for the first time this year because the Affordable Care Act bypasses state restrictions on insurance rate filings (Joiner, 11/30).
Des Moines Register: Branstad's Office Won't Say Whether Lobbyists Are Part Of Care Site Talks
Gov. Terry Branstad's office is refusing to say whether lobbyists for the nursing home industry are participating in private meetings about sex offenders living in Iowa care facilities... In response to a series of incidents involving alleged sexual assaults in Iowa nursing homes, Branstad recently appointed the heads of four state agencies to a work group (Kauffman, 11/30).
WBUR's CommonHealth blog: 'Healthy San Francisco': A Different — Better? — Model For Health Reform
We're far from the only national laboratory for health reform. ... "Healthy San Francisco," is a finalist for a major award from Harvard Kennedy School, the Innovations in American Government Award ... Unlike Massachusetts, San Francisco didn’t try to get everybody insured; it just aims to provide health care to the uninsured people who need it — not just in emergencies, but long-term, primary and specialist care (Goldberg, 11/30).
Los Angeles Times: Dentists Turn To Marketing After Getting Brush-Off From Patients
For years, dentists relied on their good reputations to attract customers, figuring it was enough to hang a shingle, perform a valuable service and earn a trusted name. That was before patients started skipping twice-a-year cleanings, postponing fillings and taking a pass on root canals. Dentistry, once thought recession-proof, has become a casualty of the tough economy (Helfand, 12/1).
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Memorial Medical Center Euthanasia Case Arguments Heard By Appeals Court
A state appeals court today heard arguments for two hours on whether the public should have access to the records of a state investigation into whether personnel at Memorial Medical Center euthanized patients in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The court did not issue a ruling (11/30).