Colorado’s commitment to be the healthiest state will be achieved through spending smarter, not necessarily more, according to Tom Massey, deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “As health care itself changes, so must the way we finance health care,” Massey said. “We must reform our payment models so we get better quality and value.”

Already there are complaints that servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, as recommended for a healthy diet, are more expensive than other less healthful foods.  The Wall Street Journal reported this week on an Arizona State University’s study of price increases due to the three year drought in California.

...

When New York City passed the first menu labeling law in 2008 to combat obesity, it didn’t change the number of calories people consumed, found a 2009 study published in Health Affairs, an academic health policy and research journal. But when restaurants offered lower-calorie meals, people would choose them over higher-calorie fare, a 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal found. That’s what Healthy Fare for Kids, a Chicago-based organization, is trying to promote.

Since 2008, as a condition of doing business, the city of Minneapolis requires corner stores to sell perishable produce. The current requirement is to sell five varieties of fresh produce and for stores that are certified by the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) 7 varieties and 30 pounds in total stock are required. According to Governing magazine, Minneapolis is the first city to move from incentives to requirements.

Going to work sick can impact your recovery time, co-workers’ health, and potentially customers depending on the job. Sick food workers, regardless of the location of the worker in the food supply chain, can cause others to get sick. The Food Chain Workers Alliance’s new report shows that more than half of workers go to work sick. Handling food while sick can spread diseases like Hepatitis A, E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella. The CDC estimates that 3,000 Americans die of foodborne disease each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, began a conference series that started yesterday titled “Weight of the Nation”.  This conference coincides with a public health HBO project that involves CDC, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.

Recognizing that diabetes is a serious disease with costly impact on the 26 million individuals who already have it and the millions more who will develop it as well as on the nation’s already taxed health care system, CSG is undertaking a diabetes initiative in 2012 and 2013.

CSG will offer a Diabetes Policy Academy during the National Leadership Conference in La Quinta, Calif. on May 17th from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

In the 12 years since New Hampshire mandated health insurance companies to cover contraceptive services, no one has asked for repeal.  That is, until the controversy broke out last month over exempting religious organizations from President Obama’s national mandate, New Hampshire Rep. Terie Norelli told CSG. The 1999 legislation, which Norelli co-sponsored, does not contain any exemption for religious organizations. 

States already have grappled with insurance coverage of contraceptives before the Obama administration issues rules in 2012 called for under the Affordable Care Act. Twenty-six states have passed laws mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives; another two have administrative rulings requiring coverage. Nineteen states also have included exemption provisions for religious organizations. The Hawaii statute was the model used for the Obama compromise on exemptions.

Policymakers in the states and territories (“the states”) are facing two major health care dilemmas in 2012—Medicaid spending and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid  enrollment continues to grow, federal stimulus funds have disappeared and in many states providers are pressing for increased reimbursement. States also must grapple with complying with mandates in the federal health care reform law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the law sometime in 2012. In the meantime, states must decide how far to go in their own implementation.

Pages