Health Care Reform and State Medicaid Programs

  • Health-care plan to cost state $7B a year unless lawmakers restore cuts, By Howard Fischer, March 23, 2010, Arizona Daily Star: “The new federal health-care plan could cost Arizona $7 billion a year if lawmakers here don’t restore the cuts they made to health-care programs, critics say. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, said the scheduled elimination of KidsCare on June 15 would put the state at odds with a provision in the new federal program requiring states to maintain their programs as they are when President Obama signs the bill. She said the threat isn’t simply losing the $3 of federal money for each dollar of state funds for the program that provides nearly free care for the children of the working poor…”
  • Repeal of children’s program puts Arizona’s Medicaid funding at risk under health overhaul, By Paul Davenport (AP), March 22, 2010, Los Angeles Times: “A controversial decision by Arizona lawmakers to eliminate a health insurance program for poor children puts it at risk of losing billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding under the historic health care bill approved by Congress. Arizona last week became the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program, removing an estimated 38,000 kids from the rolls starting in June in a budget-cutting move by Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican-led Legislature…”
  • Health care bill would bring higher state Medicaid costs, By Cy Ryan, March 22, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “The health bill passed by the House of Representatives Sunday would cost Nevada taxpayers an extra $613 million from 2014-2019, to provide health care to the needy. According to early state estimates, the bill would make an additional 70,000 residents eligible for Medicaid. The state would be mandated to cover another 8,000 individuals who are now eligible but have not applied to be covered by the state health insurance program for the poor. About 209,000 Nevadans are currently covered by Medicaid…”
  • Adding to Medicaid rolls won’t be easy, Texas officials say, By Corrie MacLaggan and Tim Eaton, March 22, 2010, Austin American Statesman: “As Texas considers how to add 2 million people to Medicaid and CHIP over 10 years as part of the federal health care legislation heading to President Barack Obama, state health officials say that won’t be easy. The same enrollment system that is already struggling to enroll Texans in food stamps as quickly as the federal government requires would need to be ramped up soon to prepare for additions to Medicaid and CHIP that would start in 2014. Health reform is a ‘hurricane heading our way in terms of what it would do’ to the enrollment system, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission…”

Vaccinations in Poor Countries

Deal provides vaccines to poor countries at lower prices, By Andrew Pollack, March 23, 2010, New York Times: “Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline will supply hundreds of millions of doses of their pneumonia vaccines to the world’s poorest countries at heavily discounted prices under a novel agreement announced Tuesday. The deal was announced by the GAVI Alliance, a nonprofit organization, which estimated the program could save 900,000 lives by 2015. The vaccines, Pfizer’s Prevnar 13 and GlaxoSmithKline’s Synflorix, prevent pneumococcal disease, which includes pneumonia and meningitis. Pneumococcal disease kills 1.6 million people a year throughout the world, including 800,000 children before their fifth birthday, according to GAVI…”

Medical-Legal Partnerships

When doctor visits lead to legal help, By Erik Eckholm, March 23, 2010, New York Times: “It was not the normal stuff of a pediatric exam. As a doctor checked the growth of Davon Cade’s 2-month-old son, he also probed about conditions at home, and what he heard raised red flags. Ms. Cade’s apartment had leaky windows and plumbing and was infested with roaches and mold, but the city, she said, had not responded to her complaints. On top of that, the landlord was evicting her for falling behind on the rent. Help came through an unexpected route. The doctor referred Ms. Cade to the legal aid office right inside the pediatric clinic at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. Within days, a paralegal had secured an inspection that finally forced the landlord to make repairs, and also got the rent reduced temporarily while Ms. Cade searched for less expensive housing. ‘It got done when the lawyers got involved,’ Ms. Cade said…”