As the new year begins, media outlets look at health care news coming out of state capitols across the country.
Denver Post: Colorado Democrats Introduce Public Option Health Care
Creation of a public option health care plan is one of the most ambitious changes Colorado Democrats proposed Friday as they kicked off a new session of the General Assembly in control of both chambers for the first time in four years. The first five bills introduced in each chamber — indicators of lawmakers’ top priorities for the year — largely relate to health care and education costs. A Senate bill would create a public option health insurance plan that Coloradans who live in the highest-cost areas — mainly the Western Slope — could buy instead of their current insurance starting in the fall of 2019. A House bill would expand that program to the entire state by the fall of 2020. (Staver and Garcia, 1/4)
Health News Florida: Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis’ Transition Team Plans Health Policy
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis received recommendations Thursday for changes to the state’s health care policies. Lieutenant Governor-elect Jeanette Nunez and committee members from the healthcare industry discussed ways to improve the affordability and accessibility of care for some of Florida’s most underserved patients including seniors, patients with disabilities, and patients with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. (Prieur, 1/4)
Miami Herald: Trump Medicaid Official To Run Florida’s Healthcare Agency
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has tapped Mary Mayhew, a top Medicaid official in the Trump administration who has long opposed expansion under the Affordable Care Act, to run the state’s healthcare agency. Mayhew, who was chosen to lead the safety-net program at the federal level in October, will now head up the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which oversees the state’s Medicaid program as well as hospitals and other healthcare facilities. (Koh, 1/4)
Boston Globe: A Bill To Ban Toxic Chemicals Should Be A No-Brainer. Why Is It Stirring Debate?
To environmentalists, it was a no-brainer bill that would ban furniture, bedding, and children’s products containing potentially toxic flame-retardant chemicals from being made or sold in Massachusetts. But the state’s largest business trade group is objecting, not just because its leaders believe the measure would hurt manufacturers and retailers, but because it was passed on New Year’s Day, during an informal, sparsely attended legislative session. (Lazar, 1/4)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Pink Tax, Heartbeat Bill And 5 Other Ohio Statehouse Bills Affecting Women: Where They Stand Now
Remember the pink tax bill? The bill in the Ohio Statehouse would have eliminated state sales tax on feminine hygiene products like tampons.Although it passed the House last month, the Senate never took a vote. So the legislation is dead. And the heartbeat bill? That didn’t become law, either. (Kilpatrick, 1/4)
The Washington Post: Sensing An Opening, Virginia Governor Revives Push For Gun Control
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is making an aggressive push to revive gun-control proposals that GOP lawmakers killed in last year’s General Assembly session, seizing what he senses to be Democratic momentum as the legislature convenes next week. Flanked by fellow Democrats from the House of Delegates and state Senate, Northam rolled out a package of bills Friday that would require universal background checks for firearms purchases, ban assault weapons and resurrect individuals’ purchase limits to one handgun per month, among other proposals. (Schneider and Vozzella, 1/4)
Pioneer Press: Budget, Health Care, Gun Control, Legal Pot — MN Legislature Has A Long To-Do List
Here’s an example of when doing nothing is akin to doing something. A 2 percent tax on health care providers that is expected to raise nearly $700 million this year will expire at the end of the year. The tax has been on the books since 1992, but lawmakers agreed to sunset it during tense budget talks back in 2011 when the state faced a deficit. Democrats and Walz support extending the tax, which they say is critical to keeping health care affordable and accessible and funding MinnesotaCare, the state health program for the working poor, they want to expand. Republicans call it a “sick tax” and want it to end. They say it drives up medical costs and that federal funds cover most of the current MinnesotaCare costs. (Magan, 1/6)
Texas Tribune: State Sen. Charles Schwertner Asks To Give Up Committee Chairmanship
After facing an allegation of sexual harassment, state Sen. Charles Schwertner has told the Senate’s leader he no longer wants his post as chair of the powerful health and human services committee. In a letter sent to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Friday and obtained by The Texas Tribune, the Georgetown Republican indicated he planned to remain in the Senate but no longer wished to serve as a chairman during the upcoming legislative session. (Ura, 1/4)
Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Must Find $200 Million To Maintain Health Coverage For 225,000 Poor Children
Ohio will need to pay an additional $200 million over the next two years to maintain health coverage for about 225,000 low-income children. Outgoing Medicaid Director Barbara Sears sounded the alarm in a recent submission for the upcoming two-year state budget, warning that the federal contribution to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program was dropping. (Candisky, 1/5)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Source : Kaiser Health