Debra Miller

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Jon Kingsdale will be the featured speaker in a session on health insurance exchanges on the first day of the 2010 CSG National Conference in Providence, RI, in December. Kingsdale is the former director of the Massachusetts Connector, created in 2006 and a model for the new health exchange requirement in federal health reform.

A new report looking at the experiences of five states (CT, MI, MA, NC, WA) as they move through the early period of implementation of federal health reform legislation finds significant hurdles due to political uncertainties and staffing challenges. Anticipating that states will require information and assistance to meet the implementation requirements and timelines of the Affordable Care Act, CSG plans a full day of sessions on health reform during the 2010 Annual Conference in Providence, RI, on December 3-6.

Ten state legislatures have formed caucuses to educate legislators about  mental health policy issues.  Through these caucuses legislators and mental health champions work together on a variety of state mental health issues, such as funding, coverage and access and criminal justice.

New Kaiser Family Foundation annimated film explains major provisions of the health reform bill in less than 10 minutes.

At a time when good news seems to be scarce, the number of U.S. children in foster care is down sharply, according to new data released by the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The number of foster children fell by over 20 percent during the last decade, from 540,000 in care ten years ago to 423,773 in care on September 30, 2009.

More than half of all states have laws on the books restricting minors’ use of tanning beds, although only 6 have outright bans. Parental permission and parental accompaniment requirements vary by state. CDC warns against children’s and teens’ use of tanning beds and sunlamps, which can lead to increased risk of melanoma.

Two California bills creating the state health insurance exchange mandated by federal health reform law are on the way to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Governor is expected to sign the bills.

The California bills are the first state legislation on health insurance exchanges since Congress passed federal reform earlier this year....

CSG health policy staff and CSG DC office staff met in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday with federal officials from the Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS staff told CSG that they fully expect federal regulations on health insurance exchanges to be released in early 2011, in time for state legislative sessions to consider enabling legislation.

Health insurance exchanges are required under the federal health reform legislation passed earlier this year by Congress. The exchanges are required to be up and running on...

Washington, D.C., and 28 states opt to implement state plans to provide insurance for uninsured persons with pre-existing conditions; the other 22 states will use the federal option under federal health reform.

Mental health caucuses were discussed as an effective strategy to increase legislators' knowledge and commitment to mental health services during the CSG Midwest annual meeting in Toronto, Ontario in August.

Senator Kevin Coughlin from Ohio and Laura Moskow Sigal, the executive director of Mental Health American Franklin County (OH) presented their experience with the caucus and lessons learned. Click here.

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