Cost and Financing

People covered by Washington state’s health care plans—public employees and retirees, and the state Medicaid and workers’ compensation programs—had five options to test for colon cancer. The question was this: Was adding another option necessary?

As legislatures and governors finalized state budgets earlier this year, 24 states made the bet that Congress would extend enhanced Medicaid match rates from ARRA and included that assumption in their budgets. In August 2010, Congress passed legislation including additional Medicaid assistance through enhanced FMAP rates through the end of FY 2011 - or June 2011 - but provided less aid to states than many had anticipated.

Ten state legislatures have formed caucuses to educate legislators about  mental health policy issues.  Through these caucuses legislators and mental health champions work together on a variety of state mental health issues, such as funding, coverage and access and criminal justice.

As revenues decline and Medicaid enrollment grows, states increasingly are turning to taxes on hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers to generate funds to pay for their Medicaid programs.

As of late Friday afternoon, April 30, 43 states had responded to the letter from Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius on high-risk insurance pools. According to an HHS blog posting, 28 states will run a state high-risk pool and 15 states have declined. Of the 28 states, nine states (ME, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT) and the District of Columbia do not already operate a high-risk pool. For the states that decline, the federal government will run a pool to provide insurance coverage for those denied health insurance. Under federal health care reform, $5 billion is available to subsidize health insurance coverage through these high risk pools for individuals who are denied health insurance. The high risk pools bridge the gap until 2014, when the new law will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to adults. The law prohibits denying children coverage later this year. 

From dramatically expanding the reach of Medicaid to creating new state-based health insurance exchanges, the federal health care legislation recently signed into law will have a far-reaching impact on states. This cover story of Stateline Midwest examines six ways that state-level health care and insurance policy will be affected.

State eNews Issue #43 | March 31, 2010

Landmark federal health reform has passed and as state leaders consider that and other effects, The Council of State Governments launched a new federal health care reform resources Web site and will host a free webinar April 6 to provide an overview of what federal health care reform means for the states.

The cost of medical malpractice litigation can contribute significantly to health care costs. States are leading the way with tort reform experimentation, seeking ways to curb soaring health care expenses. 

The economic recession caused states' Medicaid enrollment and spending to grow at even faster levels than projected. Spending growth rates are the highest in 6 years.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments establishes an Interstate Health Insurance Compact Working Group to explore the creation of an agreement that would permit states to join together and share common regulatory standards and consumer protections related to health insurance, including specific recommendations for inclusion in an interstate compact that may be considered by states. Such recommendations will be due to the CSG Health Policy Task Force within one year.