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.

The president's federal budget was released May 23 and the analysis of winners and losers began practically before the ink was dry, although almost all of Washington seemed to agree the budget was dead on arrival. Cuts to the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, alone total $616 billion over the next ten years. The budget also envisions saving $250 billion from partly repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. Taken together, these Medicaid cuts are nearly half the nondefense discretionary funding cuts. To further understand just how important federal Medicaid funds are to states, CSG looked at 2017 federal funding flowing to the states. According to Federal Funds Information for the States, or FFIS, data, the federal Medicaid funding for 2017 is more than 50 percent of all federal grant funds flowing to states in all but four states.

A measles outbreak in Minnesota has reached 69 cases total and is costing public health departments thousands of dollars as they try to track, treat and control the spread of this disease. Among the 69 confirmed cases, 65 have been confirmed in people who are unvaccinated. In addition, 66 of the cases occurred in children under 18 as reported by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Medicaid Infographic

Medicaid is the second largest source of health care insurance in the United States, serving over 74.5 million people in some of our most vulnerable communities. Coverage is provided to low-income children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities. Many Medicaid enrollees would be uninsured or underinsured without this coverage. The Medicaid program is funded with a combination of federal and state funds, with more federal participation in states with fewer fiscal resources.

CSG Midwest
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts in April signed LB 195, also known as “Cheri’s Law,” requiring that women be notified of breast tissue density following mammograms. It had passed the states’ Unicameral Legislature by a vote of 48-0.
The law requires that written notice be given to women if a mammogram reveals heterogeneous or extremely dense breast tissue. Such tissue can make breast cancer more difficult to detect. Under the new law, mammography patients must be told that a finding of dense breast tissue is normal, and that notice is being given to raise awareness and so patients can further discuss risk factors and detection methods with their doctor.
CSG Midwest
Some Medicaid recipients in Wisconsin will have to submit to drug screenings and tests if federal officials give the OK to a demonstration waiver submitted by the state in April. This new requirement would apply to childless adults who are eligible for health insurance through the BadgerCare Plus program. As a condition of eligibility, individuals would have to complete a state-administered questionnaire. If the answers indicate possible abuse of a controlled substance, a drug test would be required. For anyone who tests positive, Medicaid eligibility would be contingent on completing a substance-abuse treatment program.
CSG Midwest
Take a look at the longer-term trends in maternal mortality rates, and you see one of the great success stories in modern-day public health: In 1900, for every 1,000 live births, up to nine women were dying of pregnancy-related complications; a century later, that rate had declined by almost 99 percent.
But the story told by more recent data is less clear, and more troubling.
According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths increased between 1987 and 2013 — from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births to 17.3 in 2013. Better reporting (for example, the addition of a pregnancy check box on state death certificates) is one explanation for the increase. Another reason, though, may be that pregnancy-related deaths are actually on the rise. The CDC notes, for example, that more pregnant women have conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and chronic heart disease that may put them at a higher risk of complications. 

The American Health Care Act, or AHCA, the proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4. The bill contained several major changes to the Medicaid program that, if enacted, would directly impact states’ budgets. CSG estimates the annual state loss of federal Medicaid Funds from the high of $7,210.1 million in California to $16.8 million in Delaware. The median loss is $474.1 million for Connecticut, with half of the expansion states losing less federal funds annually and half of the expansion states losing more federal funds annually.

A new research article featured in JAMA May 8, 2017, found that life expectancy in counties across the U.S. differ greatly and that the disparities are growing.

Life expectancy for children born in 2014 was 79.1 years, with slightly higher expectancy for females –81.5 years – and slightly lower for males – 76.7. But the averages...

How much states spend on children’s health, education, income supports and social services differs greatly according to a just-released Urban Institute report, titled Unequal Playing Field.

The top spending state – Vermont – charted per child expenditures of $13,430, three times as much as Utah’s per child spending of $4,594. The national average was $7,923. Spending in each state was  adjusted for the state cost of living.

CSG Midwest
A new law in Kansas will bar “do not resuscitate” or similar physician’s orders for unemancipated minors unless at least one parent or guardian has been told of the intent to issue such an order. SB 85 requires that parental notice be given orally and in writing, and prohibits a DNR or similar orders if there is a refusal of consent. Also under this measure, the minor’s medical record must include information about the DNR order and the nature of efforts to contact both parents. 

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