Medicare pays between $16,500 and $33,000 for hip or knee replacements depending upon the hospital and geographic area of the country, but with a new payment program Medicare expects to save $343 over the next five years.

On Nov. 16, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced they would begin to make bundled payments for these surgeries in 800 hospitals in 67 geographic areas under a model program over the next five years.

CSG Midwest
In 2014, the first year that many provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act began to take effect, more than 300,000 people in Minnesota still did not have health insurance. That figure amounts to 5.9 percent of the population — in a state where the rates of uninsured have been among the lowest in the nation and where Medicaid was expanded early on to cover more low-income residents.
“There is more hard work that needs to be done,” Stefan Gildemeister, program director for health economics at the Minnesota Department of Health, says about reducing the number of residents without health coverage.
The Affordable Care Act, while contributing to a rise in insurance coverage across the Midwest, has not been a cure-all. In fact, in some states, the percentage of people without coverage still hovers around the double digits, federal data for 2014 show. Who remains uninsured in this country?
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, many of these individuals (49 percent of the total uninsured population) are eligible for some kind of financial assistance, either through state Medicaid and children’s health insurance programs or via subsidies on the newly established health care exchanges.

A ballot initiative to establish a single-payer health care system in Colorado has been approved for the Nov. 2016 ballot. Supporters turned in 158,831 signatures and after reviewing a five percent sample, the secretary of state’s office certified Initiative 20, the “State Health Care System.”

A long sought-after pathway for medical doctors to treat patients across state lines moved one step closer to reality with the inaugural meeting of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission—or IMLC—held Oct. 27-28 in Chicago.

During its state budget debate in 2015, Louisiana turned to a relatively new sin tax. It joined North Carolina and Minnesota and added taxes on e-cigarettes to its revenue sources. Legislators from Louisiana, North Carolina and Minnesota will join a panel discussion on taxation and regulation of e-cigarettes during a policy workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the CSG 2015 National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. An official from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will address proposed federal regulations on e-cigarettes. The FDA is using its statutory “deeming” authority to issue regulations on products that it determines fall under the legal definition of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco and novel products such as nicotine gels and dissolvable tobacco

According to the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, 26,000 kids age out of the foster care system each year - and it comes with a big cost. Kids who leave foster care without a permanent family are less likely to graduate from high school or college, more likely to end up homeless and young women are more likely to become pregnant before age 21. This ends up costing society an additional $8 billion for each cohort that leaves foster care. To help address some of these negative outcomes, The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which became effective in 2010, extended eligibility for benefits to foster kids beyond the age of 18 – up to age 21.  Those benefits (Title IV-E) are available to young people if they are:

Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal a significant increase in the use of heroin in the United States between 2002 and 2013, and the increased use of the drug spans across gender, age and income categories. The rate of death from a heroin overdose has nearly quadrupled over the same period of time; in 2013 alone, more than 8,200 people died from a heroin overdose. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference examines the policy options for lawmakers, recent legislative action in Kentucky to address the growing epidemic and efforts being undertaken by law enforcement in the SLC states to remove heroin from the streets.

Economics webcast

What do autonomous vehicles, an aging population and cybersecurity have in common? These are all policy topics in which a basic knowledge of risk management and insurance can help state leaders make better policy decisions. In collaboration with the Griffith Foundation, The Council of State Governments addressed these topics and more throughout a four-part webinar series designed to provide public policymakers with a greater understanding of risk management insurance through the lens of emerging issues. Participants in this series gained a solid understanding of risk management and insurance fundamentals, property, casualty, life and health insurance, and insurance regulation and legislation. <--break->

In health, states increasingly look to prevention and early intervention as ways to provide better health outcomes and to reduce health costs. Models of mental health care reform also are moving toward a complete behavioral health system with the goal of providing patients with early access to treatment.

CSG Midwest
Across the country, communities are dealing with an epidemic of drug abuse and overdoses. And nowhere is this health crisis more pronounced than in the Midwest: Between 2008 and 2013, the number of heroin-related overdose deaths in this region increased sixfold.