Friday, January 6, 2023 | Kaiser Health News

Friday, January 6, 2023 | Kaiser Health News

Pushback Undoes Cutbacks In California’s Medi-Cal Insurance Plans

The California Department of Health Care Services announced it has now negotiated with five commercial health plans for 2024 Medi-Cal services, undoing a process that had cut the number to three. Also: Medicaid expansion, flavored tobacco in Ohio, marijuana use in Maryland, transgender health laws and more.

CalMatters:
Medi-Cal Will Keep More Insurance Plans After Pushback

In a significant course change, the California Department of Health Care Services announced that it has negotiated with five commercial health plans to provide Medi-Cal services in 2024, scratching a two-year-long bidding process for the coveted state contracts. (Hwang and Ibarra, 1/5)

On Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire and North Carolina —

New Hampshire Bulletin:
Coalition Urges NH Lawmakers To Renew Medicaid Expansion

Expanding Medicaid insurance to more low-income Granite Staters was a tough sell before it passed the Legislature nine years ago. Fiscal conservatives urged lawmakers to reject predictions that more access to free or subsidized health insurance would lower medical costs and improve health outcomes. They warned it would instead discourage people from seeking jobs that offer benefits or high enough wages to buy insurance. (Timmins, 1/5)

Stateline:
This State Could Be The Last One (For A While, Anyway) To Expand Medicaid 

For years, state Sen. Phil Berger says, there was nobody in North Carolina who opposed Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act more vehemently than he did. “If there was somebody in the state of North Carolina that had spoken out publicly in opposition to Medicaid expansion more than me, I’d like to talk to that person,” Berger said in an interview last month. From the time the ACA passed in 2010 until last spring, “my attitude was Medicaid expansion was wrong for North Carolina,” he said. (Ollove, 1/4)

On tobacco use in Ohio and marijuana use in Maryland —

Columbus Dispatch:
Mike DeWine Vetoes Bill Over Who Regulates Flavored Tobacco, Vapes

Sticking with his decades-long push against kids smoking, Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill on Thursday that would’ve blocked cities from banning the sale of menthol cigarettes and vapes flavored like candy. Rather than quietly use his veto pen, DeWine called a press conference with health officials to sound the alarm over a youth smoking and vaping “epidemic” exacerbated by flavored products. (Bischoff and BeMiller, 1/5)

The Washington Post:
Maryland Residents Consume More Marijuana Than Other States, Study Finds 

Maryland lawmakers working to create a system for the legalized sale of recreational marijuana had a question for researchers: What does demand look like for cannabis in Maryland? The answer: it’s high. While adult residents use marijuana in rates similar to other states, Marylanders who do use consume about five grams more per month on average than their counterparts, a survey of thousands of Maryland residents found. (Wiggins, 1/5)

On transgender health —

The Hill:
Federal Judge Rules West Virginia Law Restricting Transgender Athletes Is Constitutional 

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that a West Virginia law prohibiting transgender female athletes from playing on women’s sports teams in public middle schools, high schools and universities is constitutional. (Scully, 1/5)

Oklahoman:
Oklahoma Bill Would Ban Gender Surgery For Young Transgender Adults

A top Republican in the Oklahoma Senate wants to ban all gender reassignment surgeries for people under 26 years old. Calling it “a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” state Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, claimed that most medical intervention for transgender people violates the Hippocratic Oath, which requires doctors to do no harm. (Denwalt, 1/5)

The 19th:
These Anti-Trans Bills Are Being Prepped For 2023 State Legislative Sessions

Lawmakers in at least eight states used the last two months of 2022 to prefile anti-transgender bills ahead of state legislative sessions convening this month — setting up another year of statehouse battles over trans rights, while targeting health care for trans adults in new ways. (Rummler, 1/5)

In other health news from Pennsylvania and North Carolina —

CNN:
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Announces Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Thursday he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and has an “excellent prognosis.” “Last month, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While this news came as a shock, I can report that I have an excellent prognosis, as well as the benefit of exceptional medical care and the unwavering support of my family,” Casey, a Democrat who is 62, said in a statement. “In the coming months I will undergo surgery, after which I am expected to make a full recovery.” (Duster, 1/5)

North Carolina Health News:
HIV Advocates Call Plans From Insurer Blue Cross NC ‘Discriminatory’ 

More than 35,000 North Carolinians are living with HIV, according to the latest available data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Those folks are living longer, healthier lives, thanks to medicines that treat HIV infection. For many, however, cost is a barrier to getting that treatment. (Crumpler, 1/6)

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