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
After 18 months of negotiations, the state of Michigan agreed in August to pay $600 million to individuals and businesses affected by the water crisis in the town of Flint, with close to two-thirds of the money going to children age 6 and under at the time of their first exposure. The crisis in Michigan's seventh-largest city began in 2014, when the town's supply of water was switched to the Flint River, leading to toxic levels of lead in drinking water. The consequences included an uptick in deaths from Legionnaires' disease and lead poisoning among children.

Every year, state leaders, policymakers and advocates recognize September as National Suicide Prevention Month. According to data from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans ages 10-34, the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-54 and the eighth leading cause of death for ages 55-64. As suicide rates continue to climb, states across the country have taken steps to reduce...

CSG Midwest
Reduced federal and state investments in public health over the past decade.
Fewer workers in state and local health departments.
Growing numbers of people with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other underlying conditions.
Inequities in the types of services and health infrastructure needed to keep individuals and whole communities well.
They all added up to a country vulnerable to being hit hard by a transmissible disease such as COVID-19, two public health experts said to legislators during a July webinar of The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Legislative Conference.
Their message: Learn the hard lessons taught by the COVID-19 pandemic, and embed them in future policy decisions about public health. “We’re willing to spend a lot of money without question when people get sick, but we don’t spend very much money to stop people from becoming sick,” John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, said to legislators participating in the webinar.

In a 7-2 decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania the Supreme Court held that religious employers and employers with moral objections may be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate.

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus ...

In a 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s admitting privileges law. Five Justices agreed that Louisiana’s law created an unconstitutional “substantial obstacle” to women obtaining abortions.

A Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was nearly identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down 5-4 in...

CSG Midwest
Indiana has received federal approval of a first-of-its-kind program that helps individuals transition from Medicaid to employer-based health coverage or a plan in the individual marketplace. The new “workforce bridge” builds on the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), which is used by the state to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults.
Each HIP participant has $2,500 placed in an account each year to use for health care expenses. But what happens when someone no longer qualifies for HIP, due to a new job or other factors that cause his or her income to rise above eligibility thresholds?
Previously, participants lost the ability to use any funds in their state-funded account. However, with implementation of the HIP Workforce Bridge, members leaving the Healthy Indiana Plan can continue to use up to $1,000 from their account for up to 12 months in order to pay premiums, deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance during their transition to other types of coverage.
CSG Midwest
With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, and a rise in deaths from the disease, “social distancing” has become a familiar term and way of life across the country. But how is social distancing possible for people whose days are spent in a 6-by-8-foot cell with another person? How can state and local governments maintain public safety while protecting inmates? How can they prevent outbreaks from starting in correctional facilities, and then spreading to the wider community?
These are some of the questions that have vexed criminal justice administrators, inmates, staff and family members for months. 

There have been many innovative and diverse ways for coalitions to form in state legislatures. As the groups of people who participate in the political process change, one such innovative legislative tool to ensure all voices are heard would be a legislative caucus.

Like the constituents they serve, state legislatures across the country are made up of policymakers with diverse viewpoints, backgrounds and life experiences. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 30 years ago represented in a fundamental...

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog aptly describes Maine Community Health Options v. United States as “relatively low-profile but super-high dollar!” In this case the Supreme Court held 8-1 that health insurance plans can sue the federal government to recover unpaid Risk Corridors payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Risk Corridors program was designed to...

CSG Midwest

The scale and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned a spotlight on the role of states in responding to a new public health emergency in a manner quite unlike a tornado, flood or even recent viral concerns such as H1N1 or Ebola. By April, all states and provinces in the CSG Midwest region had declared either states of emergency or public health emergencies. In many, governors or premiers had enacted “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” orders for the first time in living memory.

For state legislatures, the early response centered on working with their governors (oversight, consultation, etc.) and providing emergency funding where it was needed most.

“It’s not our job to micro-manage the response, but to understand what the professionals already have in place, what they need, and what they say we’ll need next,” Minnesota Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Benson says. “Our job is to listen to them and have some clear conversations about how we’re going to help.”

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