State News

Maryland | May 9, 2020 | News Story | Drug Costs

Veto of Drug Board Funding Bill Baffles Advocates

The Governor of Maryland has vetoed a measure to fund the state's fledgling Prescription Drug Affordability Board, reports Maryland MattersSenate Bill 669 and House Bill 1095 would set up a funding source for the panel, which was created in 2019 and began meeting for the first time in 2020. The board was established by lawmakers to identify ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Though the funding was vetoed, the 2019 legislation that created the board guarantees it will receive state funds in the form of a loan on July 1. The board has until December 31 to identify a way to fund its operations and to repay the loan from the general fund starting next year.


Georgia | May 8, 2020 | Report

Study: Clinical Outcomes of Adult Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19

A recent study of COVID-19 patients in Georgia (primarily metropolitan Atlanta) showed that 1 in 4 hospitalized patients had no recognized risk factors for severe COVID-19. Most patients identified as Black, and their clinical outcomes were similar to those of non-Black patients. In other words, though the frequency of invasive mechanical ventilation and fatality did not differ by race, Black patients were disproportionately represented among hospitalized patients, reflecting greater severity of COVID-19 among this population.


Louisiana | May 7, 2020 | Report

Reducing Maternal Morbidity Initiative - Interim Report

The Louisiana Department of Health has released an interim report on its Reducing Maternal Morbidity Initiative, focused on reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity related to hemorrhage and hypertension, while also focusing on reducing racial disparities in these maternal outcomes. Preliminary outcomes indicated that severe maternal morbidity among women with hemorrhage and severe hypertension is decreasing in birthing facilities in the Perinatal Quality Collaborative.  


Vermont | May 5, 2020 | News Story

OneCare Vermont's Response to COVID-19: Supporting Telehealth Ramp-Up via Flexible Payment Strategies

Ambulatory care providers receiving fee-for-service payments are struggling to stay afloat after a sharp decline in non-emergency patient visits in response to COVID-19. Prospective, value-based payment arrangements, like Vermont’s All-Payer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model, provide more flexibility and predictability to help providers, states, and health plans respond to changing patient needs. This interview from Center for Health Care Strategies describes how the state’s largest ACO, OneCare Vermont, is addressing COVID-19, including rapid ramp-up of telehealth capacity, and how payment reforms in the state supported the ACO’s rapid response. 


New Hampshire | May 5, 2020 | News Story | Price Transparency

Maine, N.H. Lead Report Card on Healthcare Price Transparency

Maine was one of two states to earn an 'A' grade from the Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) report card on healthcare price transparency, reports HealthLeaders Media. CPR and the Source on Healthcare Price and Competition, at the University of California Hastings College of Law, analyzed which states had advanced or implemented legislation promoting price transparency for healthcare consumers. The organizations focused on important components of price transparency laws, like whether the state mandates the creation of an APCD, makes healthcare price information available to consumers, and has a publicly accessible, mandated website.


Maine | May 5, 2020 | News Story | Price Transparency

Maine, N.H. Lead Report Card on Healthcare Price Transparency

Maine was one of two states to earn an 'A' grade from the Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) report card on healthcare price transparency, reports HealthLeaders Media. CPR and the Source on Healthcare Price and Competition, at the University of California Hastings College of Law, analyzed which states had advanced or implemented legislation promoting price transparency for healthcare consumers. The organizations focused on important components of price transparency laws, like whether the state mandates the creation of an APCD, makes healthcare price information available to consumers, and has a publicly accessible, mandated website.


Colorado | May 5, 2020 | News Story

Colorado Tables Public Option Bill Thanks to COVID-19

Colorado lawmakers decided to table their public option plan because consumers, providers and other stakeholders haven’t been able to weigh in on the bill because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Modern Healthcare. The bill’s sponsors promised to resurrect the effort next year, arguing that the economic fallout from the outbreak demonstrates a need for more affordable health coverage plans in the state. The Colorado Hospital Association has denounced this public option plan, instead pushing its own plan for a statewide healthcare budget similar to policies in Oregon and Massachusetts.


Arizona | May 3, 2020 | News Story

Arizona Lagging Behind in Per Capita Health Spending

Arizona ranked third-worst nationally for the amount of money it spent on public health at $10 per person in 2018, reports the Associated Press. Although the state’s public health spending increased to $15 per person in 2019, it was still less than one-fifth of what Massachusetts spent that year despite having a smaller population. States’ public health investments not only impact their ability to handle emergencies such as COVID-19, but they also support disease prevention and the reduction of health disparities, as public health crises affect minorities at disproportionate rates.


California | Apr 28, 2020 | News Story | Drug Costs Price Transparency

California Fines More Than a Dozen Drug Makers for Not Providing Drug Pricing Data

In the past six months, California state authorities have fined more than a dozen drug makers a total of $17.5 million for failing to report price hikes as required by law, according to STAT. The fines underscore an ongoing struggle between the state and the pharmaceutical industry over disclosing price increases, an issue that has galvanized consumer advocates and lawmakers around the country as they seek to control prescription drug costs. The California law requiring drug makers to provide advance notice of price hikes and explain the reasons for any increases, implemented in January 2019, has served as a model for other states exploring ways to respond to rising drug prices.


Texas | Apr 23, 2020 | News Story

Texas Will Let Food Stamp Recipients Have Groceries Delivered

Food stamp recipients in Texas will be allowed to use their benefits to order groceries online and have them delivered to their door, according to The Dallas Morning News. Food stamps help about 1.4 million eligible low-income households in Texas with benefits worth nearly $5 billion a year. However, the state is still awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service on its recent request to let people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program use their Lone Star Cards to buy carryout or delivered food from restaurants.