States in the Midwest appear to be split on whether to expand their Medicaid programs, and a leading national expert says it’s the most consequential decision for policymakers since states were first given the chance to opt into the state-federal partnership 48 years ago.
Roughly one in four American adults is struggling with a mental illness, according to the National Institute on Mental Health, and half of them are dealing with more than one disorder at the same time. About 20 percent of American children already have had a mental illness at some point in their lives.
Less than half of the states met the first major deadline for setting up health care exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act. And it’s likely that most states in the Midwest will opt not to have a role in setting up their health exchanges at all.
States that plan to operate their own state-based exchange had to submit blueprints by Dec. 14, 2012.
Six Midwestern states have submitted plans to the federal government that aim to control the costs of caring for a relatively small — but expensive — population in the Medicaid program.
The goal is to better integrate care for so-called “dual eligibles”: the more than 9 million seniors and people with disabilities who receive benefits under both the federal Medicare and state-federal Medicaid programs.
Illinois Sen. Jacqueline Collins remembers when her legislative district on Chicago’s South Side had plenty of grocery stores and family restaurants.
But today, she sees a very different picture. She says she counts “too many” fast-food outlets. And in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, for example, she counts just two full-service, sit-down restaurants.
More of the nation’s teenagers are getting immunized against diseases such as meningitis and diphtheria, but U.S. vaccination rates also show wide variances among the states. In addition, federal data show little progress in the percentage of girls receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
“We are very concerned about plateauing in HPV vaccination rates,” says Dr. Melinda Wharton of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although judicial elections have long been a mainstay of the electoral landscape in many states, they have seldom attracted the same level of attention routinely paid to partisan contests for legislative seats or constitutional offices.
In recent years, however, a number of high-profile supreme court races have increasingly called attention to the means by which judicial officers are chosen.
American citizens and businesses spent almost $62 billion on landscaping services in 2007, according to U.S. Census data. And to help keep those lawns and gardens pest-free, more than 102 million pounds of pesticides are applied yearly in the United States, according to Beyond Pesticides, a nonprofit group advocating for limited use of pesticides.
Nearly every state underwent declines in access to health care in the last decade, according to data released earlier this year by two leading health care organizations. And researchers believe that this deteriorating access has consequences not only for individuals’ well-being, but also for the health of states’ finances.
The study, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by the Urban Institute, found that the share of nonelderly adults who had unmet health care needs because of cost increased between 2000 and 2010.
And, not surprisingly, the largest declines in access to medical care occurred among the uninsured.