Debra Miller

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Today's Stateline article by Christine Vestal highlights three states--California, Maryland and New York--that are moving to use Medicaid reimbursement policies to facilitate more counseling for substance use addicts who are in medication-assisted treatment. 

An article in today's Kaiser Health News suggests that a President Trump could dismantle much of the Affordable Care Act without Congressional action. For instance, just a stroke of his presidential pen could eliminate subsidies to persons between 100 and 250 percent of the poverty level. On the other hand, Clinton's proposals to support and build on the ACA would seem to require Congressional action. 

More than 20 legislators from 16 states--many of them in key leadership positions on health or budget committees that deal with Medicaid in their home states--attended a CSG policy academy in Washington D.C. on September 21-23, 2016, to learn how states are making reforms in their Medicaid program that pursue the health "triple aim": improving the quality of care for individuals, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of health care.

Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 44 states and the District of Columbia, as well as four tribes, will receive one or more grants to fight the growing opioid epidemic from a total of $53 million awarded.

Maybe, but not as soon as Gov. Bentley had hoped.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, the Alabama House failed to allow a committee meeting to move forward in time to get the lottery proposal, as a constitutional amendment, on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, according to media coverage by AL.com.

Acting on the growing scare over Zika, Delaware and Texas will allow Medicaid coverage for insect repellent as a Zika infection prevention strategy. Such policies are in line with a June 1 guidance from federal Medicaid officials.  

The CDC issued a travel warning advising pregnant women against travel to the Wynwood Arts District of Miami after 14 persons have been infected with Zika by local mosquitoes. The first four cases were traced to a 150 square meter area and the 10 new cases were identified by door-to-door surveys and subsequent testing, CNN reported.

Today, Gov. Scott confirmed that four cases of Zika virus have been linked to local transmission by mosquitoes in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. Although the local health departments in the area are testing mosquitoes, no Zika infected mosquitoes have been foundyet. The health departments are doing voluntary testing of residents of the local area, about one square mile just north of downtown Miami.

Florida officials, according to the...

Kaiser Family Foundation has posted an excellent web panel discussion on drug pricing. Representatives from Pfizer, a large international pharmaceutical company; Express Scripts, and Aetna, a major health insurance carrier, talk with Larry Levitt, a Kaiser senior vice president.

In a key action to increase access to medication assisted treatment for persons addicted to opioid drugs, this week the Department of Health and Human Services released a final regulation to allow physicians to increase from 100 to 275 the number of patients for whom they can prescribe buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is one of three FDA-approved medications to treat addiction. It is addictive and can be abused. Sometimes it is combined with naloxone, sold under the brand name Suboxone, to decrease its euphoric  properties. Buprenorphine is covered by state Medicaid programs, although certain restrictions and time limits may exist in some states. 

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