Capitol Research

Federal health reform expanded private health plan coverage for preventive services that can keep people healthy, save lives and reduce health care costs, which many Americans do not receive. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, new group and individual private health plans are required to cover recommended preventive services, and patients do not have copayments or deductibles when in-network providers are used. To prevent sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, covered services include screening tests, prevention counseling and immunizations. Coverage for preventive services by Medicare and Medicaid is also expanded.

This week we learned about the President’s success in his struggle to quit smoking. One in five American adults either smoke or use some form of tobacco and although many try to quit, less than 10 percent are successful due to a lack of support. Tomorrow, ActionToQuit’s free webinar describes how hospitals can support smokers who want to quit, by screening all patients for tobacco use and providing treatment. ActiontoQuit urges all sectors – employers, insurers, health care providers, quitlines and policymakers – to work together to help tobacco users get access to all the treatments that can help them quit, and has produced a series of webinars and podcasts. See also: CSG’s Quitting Tobacco: Save Lives, Save Money in Medicaid and State Employee Plans

Conventional wisdom would seem to indicate that smaller class sizes are superior to larger classes. After all, they would appear to provide opportunities for more individualized instruction, fewer discipline problems and, ultimately, increased student achievement. However, research has provided contradictory results on the relationship between class size and student achievement. This brief looks at the value of reduced class size in the light of shrinking or stagnant education budgets.

All but two states maintained or improved eligibility rules for their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program, commonly known as CHIP, in 2010.These programs continued to be critical to providing insurance coverage for children and families that otherwise would be uninsured. The median state income limit for children’s coverage is now above 200 percent of the FPL, and pregnant women are eligible up to a median of 185% FPL. However, the median income limit for adult coverage is significantly below the higher eligibility level of 133% FPL that will be implemented under health reform in 2014.

For the past four decades, states have increasingly contracted with nonprofit organizations to carry out state financed human services. Due to tight budgets and budget shortfalls, services have been in jeopardy. Contract changes, late payments and alternate financing are just a few of the consequences.