Capitol Comments

A new report by the Medicare Office of the Actuary estimated that health spending will grow by an average of 5.8 percent a year through 2020, compared to 5.7 percent without the health overhaul. With that growth,  the nation is expected to spend $4.6 trillion on health care in 2020, nearly double the $2.6 trillion spent last year.

However, the report estimates that spending on health will accelerate this year because the economy is expected to improve and people would have more disposable income to spend on medical care.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced three new initiatives to integrate primary, acute, behavioral health, and long-term services and support for full Medicare-Medicaid enrollees.  

Seventeen states no longer fund circumcisions through Medicaid, in an effort to save money in cash-strapped budgets, while the city of San Francisco attempts to ban the procedure on ethical grounds.  

Adult and childhood obesity remain a major issue for states and the nation. States have implemented various policies and programs to reduce the number of adults and children who are either overweight or obese. The economic benefit of having a healthier population is a significant reason why states continue to push for healthy programs.

Today, Vermont became the first state in the nation to establish a single-payer health care plan for the state. 

Upon the passing of the bill by the Vermont House of Representatives (92-49) and Senate (21-9), Governor Peter Shumlin praised the legislature for becoming "the first state in the country to make the first substantive step to deliver a health care system where health care will be a right and not a privilege."

The legislation guarantees any Vermont resident the right to enroll in a state-sponsored...