A selection of health policy stories from Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Washington and California.
The Texas Tribune/New York Times: With Youth Tanning Law, Texas Aims to Lower Melanoma Risk
Soon, Texas will join a number of states that bar minors from tanning indoors, which experts say greatly increases the risk of melanoma in those under 18. Senate Bill 329, written by State Senators Joan Huffman, Republican of Southside Place, and Sylvia R. Garcia, Democrat of Houston, automatically became law in June without the governor's signature and will take effect on Sunday (Serrano, 8/29).
The Washington Post: Adults In The Northeast And Midwest Are Relatively Well-Insured. The Rest Of The Country Not So Much.
More than one in four Texans under the age of 65 lacks health insurance, more than any other state in the nation. Florida is next, followed by Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Those results are from a new Census Bureau report released Thursday morning detailing health insurance rates at the state and county level. The report is a fascinating read if you're into health policy and demographics, but we found one map — the first — especially interesting (Chokshi, 8/29).
Kaiser Health News/The Miami Herald: Florida Is No. 2 In Nation For Rate Of Uninsured
Florida has the nation's second-highest rate of uninsured residents younger than 65 — a total of about 3.8 million people, or about 25 percent of the state's population, including more than 500,000 younger than 19, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday (Change, 8/30).
The Associated Press: Fla. Is No. 2 In Lack Of Health Insurance
Florida had the nation's second-highest rate of residents without health insurance with almost 1 out of 4 Floridians lacking it, according to new U.S. Census figures released Thursday. Only Texas surpassed Florida's rate of 24.8 percent of residents under age 65 without health insurance in 2011, the most recent year figures are available, the Census said (Kennedy, 8/30).
The Associated Press: Proposed Medicare Change Threatens 26 Rural Hospitals In South Dakota
Twenty-six rural hospitals in South Dakota are threatened by a federal agency's proposal that could take away the extra payments they get for service to Medicare patients, a move that might even force some hospitals to close, a state official said. State Health Secretary Doneen Hollingsworth said the proposal is a long way from being approved, but state officials plan to fight the proposed change in the way rural facilities designated as critical access hospitals are reimbursed for care provided to Medicare patients (Brokaw, 8/29).
The Seattle Times: State To Boost Care For Medicaid Youths
In what all sides hailed as a landmark agreement, the state of Washington has agreed to fundamentally change the way it provides mental-health care to the most troubled children and youth who qualify for Medicaid. The settlement, which calls for intensive in-home and community-based care, was reached Thursday between the state and attorneys who filed a class-action lawsuit in 2009 (Miletich, 8/30).
California Healthline: Senate Panel Moves Abortion Clinic Bill
The Senate Committee on Appropriations this week passed a bill that would change building code requirements on health clinics that offer abortion services. AB 980 by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) would bring licensing and building standards into line with all other primary care clinic standards, Pan said at Monday's hearing (Gorn, 8/29).
California Healthline: Big Jump In School-Based Health Centers
When California elementary, middle and high school students return to school this fall, almost 230,000 of them will have access to health care through school-based health centers. That's an increase of more than 25,000, the largest one-year jump since the California School Health Centers Association started keeping track in 2004. School-based health clinics have more than doubled in California in the past decade — from 108 in 2002 to 226 in operation now. Another 37 California schools are in the process of opening clinics (Lauer, 8/29).
St. Louis Post Dispatch: St. Louis ConnectCare Cuts More Than Half Of Its Staff
St. Louis ConnectCare, one of the area's leading providers of outpatient specialty medical services for the poor, issued layoff notices Wednesday to more than half of its staff. The layoffs of 88 employees, from nurses to medical assistants and customer service personnel, will take effect in 60 days, said Melody Eskridge, president and chief executive of ConnectCare.
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.