Kentucky’s Senate Bill 7 will now allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medications on their own, after prescribing under a physician in a collaborative agreement for four years. Nurse practitioners in Kentucky will still need a collaborative agreement with a physician to prescribe narcotics. Senate Bill 7 was passed on February 26, 2014 and went into effect on July 15.

According to new research by the Urban Institute, yesterday’s court rulings on Obamacare subsidies could mean a big drop in federal funds flowing into some states. The Urban Institute says that 11.8 million individuals are expected to enroll in the 34 Federally Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) in 2016 and of those, 7.3 million are estimated to receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance. Some of the lowest income recipients will also receive additional subsidies to lower the cost of their co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance.

On July 22, 2014, two federal appeals courts handed down opposing rulings on the legality of tax credits to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums purchased in the 36 states with federally facilitated exchanges. In those states, 4.7 million individuals receive tax subsidies, averaging $264 per month, to make their premiums affordable. No changes are anticipated in the availability of tax subsidies during the appeal of these decisions. Pundits are betting that the ultimate stop for the cases will be the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Oregon’s coordinated care organizations (CCOs), a new coordinated care and payment model authorized by the state’s legislature in 2012, have lowered ER visits and hospitalizations.

Last week, Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper announced very good news for his state. Teen birth rates had fallen 40 percent from 2009 through 2013. The drop moved Colorado from the 29th lowest teen birth rate in the nation in 2009...

Which states have the highest rates of avoiding preventable deaths? How does the Midwest compare to the nation in providing equitable access to health care?
The most recent edition of a Commonwealth Fund report aims to provide policymakers with the tools to start answering these questions — and look for the best policies for maximizing health system performance.

Today the federal government announced proposed rules to allow current customers of state and federal health insurance exchanges to auto-enroll for 2015 coverage. The rule will allow a simple way for consumers to renew their same plan. On the other hand, if they want to shop for a new plan and choose to make changes, they can use the exchanges during the next open enrollment period scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. 

The proposed rules bring the exchanges into line with today's...

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WASHINGTON, D.C.--The 30 state legislators attending The Council of State Governments' third annual Medicaid Policy Academy paid close attention to speakers who discussed ways to control costs and create savings in state Medicaid programs.

On June 18-20, 30 CSG members gathered in Washington, D.C. for the third annual Medicaid Policy Academy to learn more about Medicaid and how states can improve health outcomes for enrollees and, at the same time, run a more cost efficient program. Attendees had been nominated for attendance by health committee chairs in their home states as "rising stars" who were either new to positions of leadership on Medicaid policy or were likely to soon assume these positions.

The Council of State Governments Medicaid Policy Academy in Washington, D.C., June 18-20 provided attendees with important information about the many facets of the Medicaid program. Speakers at the sessions offered information beyond the sessions in video interviews.

Medicaid Role in State Budgets

Robin Rudowitz, associate director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, says Medicaid has a complicated role in state budgets.

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