Health

The Health Policy Group provides policy analysis and innovative programming for state health policy leaders in the legislative and executive branches. This group also develops many publications and health forums for state leaders.

State leaders need access to critical and timely health policy information. CSG staff works to provide officials with best practices and policy analysis, helping lawmakers identify the best health solutions for their states.

CSG Midwest
Starting in January, states that chose to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act will have to begin paying part of the associated costs, and three of the Midwest’s expansion states say they will rely at least in part on revenue from their taxes on health care providers.

Seema Verma, a health policy consultant from Indiana, has been picked by President-elect Donald J. Trump to direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services according to Politico.

The first case of local transmission of the Zika virus outside of Florida has been reported in Brownsville, Texas.

As Americans age, they look to live in communities where they can remain active and have transportation options once they are no longer able to drive. That’s a big concern for a state like Connecticut, which is largely thought of as a car-centric state. “By 2025, 20 percent or more of almost every Connecticut town will be 65 and older,” said Christianne Kovel, senior policy analyst on aging at the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors. “Connecticut, while it’s a small state, has areas that are very, very rural. … Public transportation is not an option.”

Health policies and programs in the states face an uncertain future with the election of Donald J. Trump. During his campaign he vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Currently 73 million Americans are enrolled in the Medicaid program, a federal-state partnership program for which the federal government pays 62 percent of total expenditures. A Medicaid block grant, one proposal under discussion, might provide the states more flexibility but also might transfer more financial responsibility, especially in the long term, to the states. 

Two much-watched health policy ballot initiatives went down on state ballots in Colorado and California. Both were fashioned to address voter concern over the affordability of health care. On the other hand, voters in eight states approved initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. 

By Jenni Bergal, Stateline staff writer | Reprinted with permission from Stateline.org
Facing a wave of aging baby boomers, many states are trying to make it easier for frail seniors to stay in their homes—as many prefer—instead of moving into more costly nursing homes. States have a huge stake in where aging seniors and disabled people end up getting long-term care because many of them won’t be able to afford to pay for their care and will have to rely on Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled. Each state has its own Medicaid program, funded jointly by the state and the federal government. Some states have been ahead of the pack in dealing with long-term care issues. In Minnesota, for example, nursing home beds have been cut more than a third as the state focuses on its home and community-based care system. In Hawaii, the state set up a program offering frail older adults in-home services at no charge.

Concerns related to the Zika virus are growing as the virus spreads to new areas of the globe and as the virus is linked to an increasing number of health problems. Could a genetically engineered mosquito help fight the virus? Some Florida voters will have a chance to weigh in on November 8th.

Today's Stateline article by Christine Vestal highlights three states--California, Maryland and New York--that are moving to use Medicaid reimbursement policies to facilitate more counseling for substance use addicts who are in medication-assisted treatment. 

The November-December issue of Capitol Ideas magazine features my article on how states and communities are working to improve transportation mobility for older Americans. One of the experts featured in the article is Beth Osborne, vice president for technical assistance at Transportation for America in Washington, D.C. Osborne, a veteran of both the U.S. Department of Transportation and Capitol Hill, in recent years has been working with states on the implementation of complete streets policies. Complete streets are streets designed for safe access by all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. In this extended excerpt of our conversation, Osborne talks about how complete streets can benefit seniors, how complete streets implementation processes have evolved, how the process differs from state to state, the promise of rideshare companies and autonomous vehicles for improving senior mobility and what kinds of policies state officials should consider during the 2017 legislative sessions. Osborne will be among the presenters next month at Transportation for America’s Capital Ideas II conference in Sacramento, for which CSG is a promotional partner.

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