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Chris Kardish  |  Staff Writer

Email : ckardish@governing.com Twitter : @ckardish

Chris covers health care for GOVERNING. An Ohio native with an interest in education, he set out for New Orleans with Teach For America after finishing a degree at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. He later covered government and politics at the Savannah Morning News and its South Carolina paper. He most recently covered North Carolina’s 2013 legislative session for the Associated Press.

Health & Human Services

Why Expanding Medicaid Doesn't Always Make People Healthier

New research shows that having affordable health insurance can improve people's health -- but only if a state’s health-care system actually works.

September 1, 2015
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Infrastructure & Environment

Southern Louisiana Picks a Fight With Big Oil to Save the Wetlands

The region's coastal marshes are disappearing, making it even more vulnerable to storms like Katrina. Municipalities want to make the state’s biggest industry pay for the damage.

August 25, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Ed Murray: One of America's Most Progressive Mayors

But can he survive in an increasingly liberal Seattle?

August 26, 2015
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Health & Human Services

New York's Big Medicaid Gamble

Can rewarding doctors for taking risks lead to better outcomes and cheaper costs?

August 11, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Exploring the Future of Medicaid on Its 50th Anniversary

As the nation's largest health insurer turns 50 this month, a leading Medicaid expert tells us about the program's biggest challenges and how to overcome them.

July 21, 2015
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Health & Human Services

New York Wants to Let Pregnant Women Sign Up for Obamacare Coverage

Arguing poor birth outcomes matter too much to let people go uninsured, the state is letting them sign up for insurance outside of enrollment periods -- and others could follow.

July 7, 2015
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Education

What Happens When Schools Stop Providing Buses?

Indiana is the latest state to find out what happens when districts aren’t required to offer students free transportation to and from school.

July 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

GOP States Push Medicaid Expansion's Boundaries

States were encouraged to experiment with ways to expand health care, but how lenient will the feds be?

July 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

What the Supreme Court's Obamacare Ruling Means for States

The 6-3 decision protects health subsidies for millions of Americans and spurs states to rethink the future of insurance marketplaces.

June 25, 2015
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Infrastructure & Environment

To Meet Obama’s Carbon-Cutting Goals, States Work Together

Even states that sued Obama over the EPA's new rules to combat climate change are trying to figure out how to comply with them.

June 18, 2015
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Health & Human Services

California's Plan to Curb America's Overmedication of Foster Kids

The state may adopt what could be a national model for states to curb the prescription of antipsychotics to children in foster care.

June 16, 2015
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Health & Human Services

5 of the Biggest Changes in New Medicaid Managed Care Rules

For the first time in over a decade, the feds proposed new regulations for the fast-growing world of privatized Medicaid.

June 2, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Congress' (Maybe More Than) Million-Dollar Medical Question: Who Will Pay for Cures?

A congressional bill that aims to encourage drug breakthroughs leaves unanswered the question of who will foot the bill for medical miracles.

June 1, 2015
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Management & Labor

Hidden or Unemployed: America's Failure to Get Disabled People Jobs

A generation after the Americans with Disabilities Act, states are facing federal demands to rethink their approach to helping disabled people find work. But could the policy shift worsen their prospects?

June 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

In One State, Women Can Soon Get Birth Control Without Ever Seeing a Doctor

California will be the first U.S. state where pharmacists can prescribe birth control. Will others follow?

May 19, 2015
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Public Safety & Justice

Police in This City Vow to Stop Arresting Drug Addicts

Instead they'll help put people on a fast track to recovery, representing a major shift in drug policy.

May 8, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Obamacare Insured More People, But Many States Haven't Ensured There Are Enough Doctors

Since Obamacare launched, few states have enacted any new rules to make sure patients have access to doctors.

May 5, 2015
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Health & Human Services

In Fight for Price Transparency, Drugmakers Are Winning

Struggling to afford new lifesaving drugs for low-income patients, states are trying to force manufacturers to reveal their costs and profits.

May 5, 2015
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Education

New Rankings Grade Colleges Based on Graduates' Salaries

The latest Brookings report is perhaps the broadest ranking yet, rating more than 4,000 two- and four-year schools.

April 29, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Courts Are Keeping Assisted Suicide Laws Alive

Supporters of "aid-in-dying" have had little success in state legislatures, so they're turning to the courts for help.

May 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Indiana Up Against Clock and Governor on Needle Exchanges

Facing an HIV outbreak, some lawmakers want to extend needle-exchange programs to more at-risk counties. But time and the governor may not be on their side.

April 23, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Children's Health Insurance Is Safe Now, But Uncertainty Awaits

The program that insures millions of lower-income kids has been extended for two more years, but questions about its long-term role in a post-Obamacare world still persist.

April 21, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Medicare Deal Delays But Deepens Hospital Cuts

The law Obama signed Thursday marks the third time in three years that cuts to safety-net hospitals have been pushed back but the first time the amount of cuts has increased.

April 17, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Congress Extends Children’s Health Insurance for 2 Years

Democratic senators wanted a four-year extension but ultimately joined most Republicans in voting for a wider package that also reforms Medicare.

April 15, 2015
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Urban

To Sell Vacant Homes, Students Spotlight Their Histories

An historic city just outside Pittsburgh is digging into the past to try to change the public's perception of blighted property.

April 8, 2015
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Health & Human Services

States Are Just Starting to Enforce the 2008 Mental Health Law

States haven't been enforcing laws to guarantee mental health coverage, but long-awaited federal guidelines and New York's aggressive approach could spur more to start.

April 7, 2015
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Health & Human Services

How Cities Rank in the Well-Being of Their Residents

Metro areas earning top positions in the Gallup-Healthways survey are geographically diverse, but the Northeast continues to trail the rest of the country.

April 7, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Supreme Court: Medicaid Doctors Can't Sue for Higher Pay

In a 5-4 decision, justices ruled medical providers can’t sue state Medicaid agencies over low payment rates -- a strategy doctors and patient advocates have used for decades.

March 31, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Why Medicaid Expansion Has Reached a Standstill

Republican governors who want to make more people eligible for the low-income health insurance program face daunting obstacles nationally and in their GOP-controlled legislatures.

April 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

'Doc Fix' Sets Up Showdown Over Children's Health Insurance

Senate Democrats are pushing for a four-year extension of the program, but the House's bipartisan plan would cut that in half.

March 18, 2015
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Health & Human Services

GOP Charging Hospitals With Medicaid Expansion's Future

In the 22 states that haven't expanded Medicaid -- most of which are controlled by Republicans -- many lawmakers will only agree to it if hospitals pay the price.

March 17, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Should States Use Bonds to Pay for Breakthrough Drugs?

That's what a new report proposes as states limit potentially life-saving but expensive new drugs. But some say that would be surrendering to drug makers.

March 12, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Medicaid Expansion in Kansas? For Now, 'A Tall Order'

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback may be open to it, but the legislation faces daunting challenges.

March 11, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Swing Justice Appears Split on Obamacare Case

In U.S. Supreme Court arguments, a justice many view as a deciding vote questioned the Obama administration's case for the health law as well as the constitutionality of the challengers'.

March 4, 2015
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Health & Human Services

To Save or Not to Save Obamacare? States Split as King v. Burwell Kicks Off

States can help keep health insurance affordable even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against Obamacare subsidies. But only some are willing.

March 4, 2015
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Health & Human Services

In and Out in 2 Years: Why Can't States Keep Medicaid Directors?

Nearly two dozen directors of states' largest program have resigned in the last year.

March 2, 2015
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Health & Human Services

How America's Overmedicating Low-Income and Foster Kids

More kids in the U.S., especially low-income and foster-care children, are on antipsychotics than in any other country. States are just starting to intervene.

March 1, 2015
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Education

The Classroom Racial Gap Hits an All-Time High

Minority students became the majority this year, but most teachers are still white. Policymakers are seeking for ways to get and keep more minority teachers.

March 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Are Home Health Workers Worth More Than Babysitters?

A looming court ruling will decide whether states have to give minimum wage and overtime pay to home health aides. Most states argue it would be financially crippling.

March 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Does Obama Have a Plan B If SCOTUS Strikes Down Subsidies?

That's what House Republicans, who allege that a secret plan exists to maintain health insurance subsidies, repeatedly asked the president's top health official.

February 26, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Republicans Unveil Conditions for Funding Children's Insurance

The Congressional bill sets the stage for negotiations with Democrats to keep lower-income children insured and state budgets from turmoil.

February 25, 2015
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Health & Human Services

800,000 Who Bought Obamacare Got Wrong Tax Information

People who face penalties for not having coverage get another chance, while those who had it are encouraged to wait to file their taxes.

February 20, 2014
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Health & Human Services

How Anti-Obamacare Florida Exceeded Every Other State's Enrollment

With tens of millions of dollars less to spend than highly-populated states like California, Florida signed more people up for health insurance on the exchanges than any other state.

February 20, 2015
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Health & Human Services

States Bank on Congress Funding Children's Insurance

Most governors are planning their budgets with the assumption that Congress will renew CHIP funding. But if it doesn't, states will scramble to make up for the loss.

February 19, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Small States' Big Struggle to Fund Health Exchanges

Facing high costs but smaller budgets, states like Hawaii and Rhode Island are struggling to find financially and politically sustainable ways to keep their health exchanges running.

February 17, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Can Schools Combat Weak State Vaccine Laws?

State law typically reigns, but schools often have some emergency powers.

February 6, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Cross-State Health Plans Prove Popular But Unsuccessful

Hoping to increase competition and lower premiums, three states allow consumers to buy health coverage from out-of-state insurers and more are trying. But the laws have fallen short of expectations.

February 3, 2015
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Finance

What Obama's 2016 Budget Means for States and Localities

The president's budget would be a boon in a host of areas but also includes cuts to popular programs.

February 2, 2015
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Health & Human Services

In New York, Single-Payer Hopeful Isn't Giving Up

Vermont may have abandoned the country’s only effort to enact single-payer health care, but one state legislator thinks the Affordable Care Act’s flaws will boost his cause.

February 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Ignored or Destroyed by Most, Tent Cities Get More Permanent

Seattle is one of only a handful of places that formally recognizes and regulates homeless encampments.

February 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

More Conservative Than Most, Indiana's Medicaid Alternative Wins Approval

The feds are letting Indiana, which is now the 10th Republican-run state to expand Medicaid, make several changes to the program that could discourage low-income people from seeking care.

January 27, 2015
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Health & Human Services

New Arkansas Governor Endorses Medicaid Expansion Model

While Arkansas looks to replace its first-of-a-kind model for expanding Medicaid, Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged lawmakers to renew it through 2016.

January 22, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Study Finds Doctor Pay Raise Boosted Medicaid Access

Most states refused to keep funding a pay raise for Medicaid doctors this year, but the first national study of the policy shows it increased low-income patients' access to primary care.

January 21, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Case with Major Medicaid Implications

The case could halt private lawsuits against state Medicaid agencies over doctor pay.

January 21, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Is Vermont's Focus on Fighting Drug Addiction Working?

The state has recently taken more drastic steps than any other to transform its health and criminal justice systems to address the nationwide epidemic.

January 20, 2015
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Education

Where Obama's Free Community-College Plan Fails, Tennessee's May Succeed

The president's plan has met opposition or indifference, but the Tennessee program that inspired it is already catching on in other states.

January 13, 2015
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Health & Human Services

States Seek to Ban Powdered Alcohol Before It Even Hits Stores

Lawmakers this year are looking to join a growing movement to preemptively prohibit "Palcohol."

January 8, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Which Health Exchanges Have the Lowest Premiums?

Some states run their own insurance exchanges, while others leave it up to the federal government. A new study shows which model is cheapest for consumers.

January 7, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Health-Care Issues States Should Watch in 2015

Going beyond the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on subsidies and looming reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program.

January 6, 2015
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Health & Human Services

How States Are Trying to Make Kids’ Medicaid Checkups Routine

Children in several states are missing their free checkups, a trend that could impact the development and long-term health of millions of low-income children.

January 1, 2015
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Health & Human Services

The Big Health Policy Stories of 2014

From state health exchanges to specialty drugs and the collapse of Vermont's single-payer initiative.

December 22, 2014
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Health & Human Services

How Prepared Are States for Infectious Disease Outbreaks?

A new report shows signs of progress, particularly in public health funding, but many states face difficulties quickly responding to outbreaks.

December 18, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Post-Newtown Mental Health Movement Loses Momentum

A new report breaks down how much states funded mental health in 2014 and the laws they passed to improve care and strengthen gun restrictions for people with mental illnesses.

December 16, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Hunger, Homelessness Continue to Rise in U.S. Cities

An annual report shows Washington, D.C., led the nation this year in increases in emergency food assistance requests and homelessness. See how your city compares.

December 11, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Half of Listed Medicaid Doctors Are Unavailable

According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigation, many doctors listed as serving low-income patients either can't offer appointments at all or have months-long wait times.

December 10, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Health Spending Growth Lowest in More Than 50 Years

New estimates show health-care spending grew 3.6 percent in 2013, which is the lowest rate since 1960.

December 3, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Advice from a State That Fixed Its Health Exchange

The health secretary of Maryland, the only state yet to adopt another state's technology, details the switch that led to a successful second-year launch after an initial glitch-ridden rollout.

December 2, 2014
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Education

Feds Restore Oklahoma’s No Child Left Behind Waiver

Less than three months after losing control over $30 million in federal spending, Oklahoma again has a waiver from the 2001 law.

November 24, 2014
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Health & Human Services

What Will Happen If Congress Doesn’t Renew CHIP

If the new Congress defunds the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the impact on states will vary.

December 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

America Won the Battle against Smoking but Risks Losing the War

States have reduced smoking to an all-time low. But future efforts suddenly seem hazy.

December 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Seek Immunity from SCOTUS Ruling on Health Subsidies

With potential for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down insurance subsidies in the states that don't run their own health exchange, some are rushing to protect affordable care.

November 18, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Elections Put Medicaid Expansion at Risk in Some States

With the increase of Republican governors and legislative chambers after midterms, some states that have already expanded Medicaid now face the possibility of repeal.

November 6, 2014
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Elections

North Dakota Defeats Walmart-Led Effort to Overturn Pharmacy Laws

The state is the nation's only that effectively bans chain stores from owning pharmacies, and voters want it to stay that way.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

Arizona First to Pass 'Right to Try' Drug Law at Ballot Box

Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that allows terminally ill patients to obtain experimental drugs that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

GMO Labeling Still Fails to Win Voters' Approval

No state's voters have ever approved GMO labeling at the ballot box. But the issue is bound to resurface in statehouses in 2015.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

California Won't Drug Test Doctors

Voters rejected a ballot measure that would have made California the first state to drug test doctors and raised the cap on some medical malpractice damages for the first time since the 1970s.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

Mississippi Adds, Alabama Strengthens the Constitutional Right to Hunt

With backing by the NRA, making hunting a constitutionally protected right has become increasingly popular in the past decade.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

California Rejects Health Premium Regulations

Californians voted against giving the state's insurance commissioner the power that most have to reject excessive health premium increases.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

Medical Marijuana Rejected in the South

A ballot measure that would have made Florida the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana failed by a 2 percent margin.

November 5, 2014
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Health & Human Services

A New Effort to Ease the Doctor Shortage

Legislatures will consider an interstate compact next year that could make it easier for doctors to get licenses in other states, which could be a boon to rural areas that don't have enough medical care.

November 4, 2014
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Elections

Walmart Wants to Overturn North Dakota’s European-Style Pharmacy Laws

It's the only state that effectively bans chain stores from owning pharmacies. Voters could change that this week.

November 3, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Why Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Isn’t Easy

The need to fund safety-net hospitals puts expansion on the table in some states.

November 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Drop Pay Raises for Medicaid Doctors

When a federal program to increase Medicaid doctors' pay ends Jan. 1, most states will choose not to keep it up.

October 24, 2014
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Health & Human Services

The Biggest Push Yet to Make Health-Care Prices Public

Massachusetts' effort to publicize prices is the most comprehensive so far. But some say it's more important for patients to have information on the quality of care.

October 21, 2014
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Elections

Arizona Tests Popularity of the Dying's Right to Try Drugs

The state is the first to let voters decide whether to make experimental drugs available to terminally ill patients -- a growing movement that started in a few state legislatures this year.

October 16, 2014
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Elections

An Unexpected Opponent of Regulating Health Premiums

A ballot measure to give regulators the power to reject excessive premium hikes has garnered opposition from an organization that aims to make insurance more affordable.

October 14, 2014
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Health & Human Services

FDA Approves Another Expensive Hepatitis C Drug

Demand for the treatment is likely to surge in Medicaid because the drug reduces side effects and requires fewer office visits, presenting a problem for state budgets.

October 10, 2014
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Elections

How the Governors Races Could Impact Medicaid Expansion

A change at the top could dramatically change the chances for Medicaid expansion in several states.

October 7, 2014
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Latest News

State Charter School Systems Ranked

The first-ever rankings from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools strive to evaluate quality and other factors.

October 2, 2014
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Elections

Should Doctors Be Drug Tested?

A California ballot measure would, among other things, make the state the nation's first to require drug testing for doctors, who supporters say may actually be more susceptible to drug use.

September 30, 2014
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Elections

Outsiders Add Money and Negativity to State and Local Elections

National groups are realizing that the best way to influence policy isn't necessarily in gridlocked Washington anymore.

October 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Mental Health Ruling Could Reverberate through States

About half of states admit to holding mentally ill patients in emergency rooms until beds become available in mental health facilities -- a practice Washington state ruled unconstitutional.

October 1, 2014
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Infrastructure & Environment

Despite Their Carbon Rebellion, States Prepare for the Worst

While more than a dozen states are fighting the new federal rules to reduce carbon emissions, many officials fear that ignoring them would be far worse.

October 1, 2014
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Elections

'Right to Hunt' Amendments Pit Gun Rights vs. Animal Welfare

With backing by the NRA, making hunting a constitutionally protected right has become increasingly popular in the past decade. The latest battlegrounds are Alabama and Mississippi.

September 19, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Ways States Can (Try to) Tame Health Premiums

Much of what drives premium prices is beyond government control, but a case can be made for certain state policies that seem to help minimize premium spikes.

September 16, 2014
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Latest News

First D.C. Statehood Bill in 20 Years Gets a Senate Hearing

Its chances are all but impossible, but supporters of full statehood for the District of Columbia argue there's never been a better time to grant it.

September 16, 2014
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Elections

Why GMO Labeling May Finally Win Voters' Approval

After efforts to label genetically modified food have failed in most states, there’s reason to think things will go differently in November in Oregon and possibly Colorado.

September 12, 2014
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Elections

Why Does Illinois Have So Many Ballot Questions This Year?

Illinois has a record number of ballot measures this year -- nearly all of which Republicans say are designed to mobilize liberal voters to help Democrats maintain lockstep control over state government.

September 10, 2014
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Elections

Florida May Become First Southern State to Allow Medical Pot

Supporters say the measure would help combat the state's epidemic of painkiller abuse, but polls have fluctuated wildly, and opponents are seizing on a controversial video to question their true intentions.

September 8, 2014
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Health & Human Services

A Plan to Save $1.7 Trillion in Health Care and Give Most to States

A new proposal could have bipartisan appeal because it places states in command of reform and offers broad flexibility.

September 5, 2014
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Health & Human Services

America Is Still Too Fat

Despite recent improvements in childhood obesity, the overall rate increased in six states last year and decreased in zero.

September 4, 2014
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Health & Human Services

The Top 5 States Most Likely to Expand Medicaid Next

Currently, 27 states have agreed to expand Medicaid -- the most recent being Pennsylvania.

September 2, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Making Long-Term Birth Control More Accessible

Medicaid pays for most unintended pregnancies, spurring even some of the most conservative states to make long-term contraception that's proven to be cheaper and more effective than the pill more accessible for doctors and patients.

September 2, 2014
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Health & Human Services

How Tennessee Transformed Medicaid within Managed Care

The state shows it’s possible to transform Medicaid with existing systems.

September 1, 2014
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Public Safety & Justice

States Confront Past and Present Forced Sterilization

States -- including California, where female prisoners were involuntarily sterilized as late as 2013 -- are figuring out how to compensate the victims.

September 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

How Can States Fix Their Medicaid Programs?

All states will inevitably have to find ways to reform how they pay for Medicaid services. Right now, that way is looking like accountable care organizations.

September 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

With Innovation Waivers, States Can Go Their Own Way on Obamacare

States can eventually drop major portions of the health law if they plan to maintain the same level of coverage at the same cost to the federal government.

September 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

9th Republican State Expands Medicaid

Pennsylvania got some of the conservative changes it asked for, but the plan approved by the federal government contains a number of departures.

August 29, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Connecticut Health Exchange Director Leaving to Run Federal Website

Kevin Counihan led one of the most successful state-run health exchanges in the country.

August 26, 2014
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Health & Human Services

The Risky Business of Limiting Access to Hepatitis C Drugs

Partially because of its high cost, nearly half the states are restricting Medicaid patients' access to an effective new hepatitis C drug. Experts say there’s no question lawsuits will come.

August 19, 2014
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Infrastructure & Environment

Missouri’s 'Right-to-Farm' Amendment Squeaks By

Voters narrowly approved a ballot measure that makes farming a constitutional right -- an idea that opponents say will make future agriculture regulations like GMO bans harder to enact and enforce.

August 6, 2014
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Education

Does Raising High School Grad Requirements Work?

A new study of Illinois' efforts to boost math and science graduation requirements casts doubt on the effectiveness of the policy.

August 6, 2014
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Health & Human Services

New Jersey Could Light Up States' Push to Raise Smoking Age to 21

Efforts to raise the legal smoking age to 21 have been limited to the local level so far, but New Jersey could be the first state to change that.

August 5, 2014
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Infrastructure & Environment

'Right-to-Farm' Vote Isn't as Simple as It Sounds

Opponents say a ballot question asking Missouri voters Tuesday whether they support the right to farm is a misleading attempt to exempt agribusiness from future regulations.

August 1, 2014
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Infrastructure & Environment

California Has a Lot of Fracking but Only a Little Oil

The recent discovery that the state has 96% less recoverable oil than previously thought may have helped the case for regulating instead of banning fracking.

August 1, 2014
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Grid First Ten

EPA Opens Public Hearings on Power Plant Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding public hearings on its new rules regulating power plants, and both sides of the debate are coming out in full force.

July 29, 2014
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Latest News

GOP Mayor Rallies for Medicaid Expansion, Help for Rural Hospitals on Capitol Hill

Adam O’Neal walked 273 miles from his town of Belhaven to the park just north of the U.S. Senate to highlight the precarious state of the nation’s rural hospitals and try to save his own.

July 28, 2014
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Health & Human Services

An Unprecedented Push to Ease the Doctor Shortage

Missouri is likely the first state to pass a law that lets medical school graduates practice primary care in underserved areas without completing a residency.

July 22, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Courts Issue Contradictory Rulings on Health Subsidies

Two courts issued contradictory rulings Tuesday about whether the federal government can offer insurance subsidies to people in states not running their own online marketplaces.

July 22, 2014
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Health & Human Services

North Carolina Governor Leaving ‘Door Open’ to Medicaid Expansion

Republican Pat McCrory gave his strongest approval yet of the possibility of expansion, but two major obstacles stand in the way.

July 15, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Get a $100 Million Fund to Advance Medicaid Reform

The new federal fund provides money for states to reform how they deliver and pay for Medicaid, but it isn't given directly to the states.

July 14, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Medicaid Adds Another Million Enrollees in May

Enrollment may be closed in the Affordable Care Act's private insurance marketplaces, but Medicaid continues adding patients.

July 11, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Oregon Medicaid Model Covers More but Costs Less

Through a combination of coordinated care and performance pay, the state's unique Medicaid program has lowered ER visits and hospitalizations while expanding its population covered.

July 8, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Counties Not Yet Sure of Health Law's Impact

A new survey shows many counties don't think the law has affected them yet, but even more find the complexity from delays and changes daunting.

July 3, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Small Business Participation in Health Exchanges Likely to Remain Weak

Further delays and low participation among insurers are likely to dampen enrollment in a part of the Affordable Care Act that's long been overshadowed: the Small Business Health Options Program.

July 1, 2014
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Urban

Star Players in World Cup Watch Parties: City Governments

Cities across the nation have teamed up with professional and minor league soccer teams to host public viewing parties to cheer on the United States.

June 30, 2014
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Politics & Elections

How North Carolina Turned So Red So Fast

Until Republicans took control, the state had long been known as an outpost of Southern progressivism. This year’s elections may indicate whether the state’s shift to the hard right is in step with most voters.

July 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Want Flexibility for Health Exchange Grants

Some say the federal government will grant states’ requests, while others say it now sees an upside to shifting more states to the federal exchange.

July 1, 2014
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Education

States Are Strengthening Teacher Preparation Laws

According to a new report, states are passing more laws that make teacher colleges more selective and require educators to demonstrate mastery of their subject areas.

June 25, 2014
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Education

How States Are Failing Students with Disabilities

Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced a new grading system to evaluate whether states are meeting the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act -- and the first year's results aren't good.

June 24, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Mayors Talk Inequality, Climate Change, Open Internet

The U.S. Conference of Mayors backed resolutions aimed at preserving equal access to the Internet, reducing income inequality and slowing climate change at the group's annual conference in Dallas.

June 23, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Uncompensated Care Dropping Fast in Medicaid Expansion States

But it's unclear whether the savings will be enough to help hospitals offset cuts from the Affordable Care Act.

June 17, 2014
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Infrastructure & Environment

How Much Each State Has to Cut Carbon Emissions Under New EPA Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency used a formula that considers where states are now and where they could be by 2030, leading to wide variation in emissions targets.

June 4, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Trying to Get Drugs to the Dying Faster

A few states want to make experimental drugs available to terminally ill people without the FDA's approval -- an idea popularized by the movie "Dallas Buyers Club." Critics say the laws could be harmful to public health.

June 3, 2014
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Grid First Ten

EPA Rule Requires Major Carbon Reductions from States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making states put plans in place that would reduce carbon emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

June 4, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Does the New Obamacare Rule Hurt Government Efforts to End Retiree Health Care?

The IRS will start penalizing employers for sending their employees to the health exchange -- a cost-saving move that a few big cities and counties have done to their retirees.

May 28, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Inside Minnesota’s ‘Unsession’ of Spring Cleaning

Gov. Mark Dayton pushed lawmakers this year to focus on getting rid of useless and outdated laws during the state’s short legislative session.

June 1, 2014
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Elections

John Kasich: The Ohio Enigma

Is the Ohio governor a conservative or an ideologue -- and will it even matter in November?

June 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Some States Ask Feds for Bigger Budgets to Fix Exchanges

Maryland and Massachusetts, two states with a history of health-care innovation, are seeking approval to spend more money to fix their exchanges before the next enrollment period. Will the feds approve?

May 20, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Limits to Vaccine Exemptions Face Uphill Battles

Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases have pushed some states to try to make it tougher for parents to exempt their kids from immunization requirements. It's proving to be a hard sell in some states.

May 6, 2014
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Latest News

What Vermont’s GMO Law Means for the Labeling Movement

Now that Vermont is the first state in the nation with an active law requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods, attention turns to other Northeast states and the West Coast.

April 29, 2014
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Latest News

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits Historic High

The U.S. high school graduation rate has reached 80 percent as states have made steady progress over the past 10 years. But those gains have been uneven and more needs to be done, education leaders and analysts say.

April 28, 2014
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Latest News

What Will Happen to Washington State as it Returns to NCLB?

Washington is now the first state in the country to lose a waiver from No Child Left Behind, a law that required districts to take increasingly drastic steps to turn around struggling schools. What does that mean for next year?

April 26, 2014
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Infrastructure & Environment

The World’s Unlikely Leader in Plastic Bag Bans

While still recovering from genocide, Rwanda implemented a national ban on plastic bags -- a feat that only one U.S. state has accomplished.

May 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Chile’s Deceptively Simple Dementia Care Model

The United States may be a leader in the search for a cure, but it lags behind other countries when it comes to diagnosing and caring for people with dementia.

May 1, 2014
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Health & Human Services

When it Comes to Organ Donation, the Message Matters

Nearly all Americans support organ donation, but only a third are registered donors. A study in the United Kingdom offers insight into what gets people to give up a part of themselves.

May 1, 2014
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Latest News

Pennsylvania’s Work-Based Medicaid Expansion Draws Ire of Health-Care Advocates

Pennsylvania is negotiating a Medicaid expansion proposal with the federal government that, if accepted, would be the only plan yet with work provisions.

April 17, 2014
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Latest News

The Number of Uninsured Children Started Declining Even Before Obamacare

A new report shows the rate of uninsured children declined significantly in most states between 2008 and 2012. The Affordable Care Act calls for new investments that could help bring those rates down lower.

April 15, 2014
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Health & Human Services

New York's Patient Protections May Be National Model

The state's new protections, which are the most comprehensive in the country, guard against surprise medical bills that are typically the result of patients seeing doctors out of their network during emergencies.

April 15, 2014
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Latest News

5.4 or 9.5 Million Newly Insured Because of Obamacare?

Two recent reports give early estimates for how many people were uninsured before signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They offer different totals, but not because they disagree.

April 4, 2014
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Latest News

Like Indiana, Oklahoma Eyes an Exit (Sort of) from Common Core

Oklahoma may join Indiana and become the second state to go back on Common Core. But critics of the state education standards question how much state lawmakers are actually reversing.

April 2, 2014
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Latest News

Study Ranks Metro Areas by Sprawl

A new report finds the most compact metro areas are on the coasts, and the benefits of avoiding sprawl could translate to higher economic mobility.

April 2, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Legislatures Losing Time to Create State Health Exchanges

Even though many expected most states to choose to create their own insurance marketplaces and the deadline to secure federal funding to do so nears, most states are passing over the issue in legislative sessions.

April 1, 2014
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Latest News

Record Traffic to State, Federal Exchanges as Deadline Nears

Both the federal and state insurance exchanges reported record levels of traffic on the last day of enrollment, causing some to experience technical difficulties.

March 31, 2014
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Management & Labor

The Military Man in Charge of Transportation in North Carolina

After 28 years in the Army, Tony Tata landed a job for which he lacks the traditional credentials. Is the ability to command more important than substantive knowledge when it comes to high-level government jobs?

April 1, 2014
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Public Safety & Justice

Fire Departments Shift Their Focus to Medical Care

Recognizing that the majority of calls they get are now people seeking medical help, some fire departments are diving deeper into a medical role.

April 1, 2014
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Latest News

County Rankings Highlight Child Poverty and Health Disparities

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the least healthy counties have twice as many children living in poverty and twice the mortality rate of healthier counties.

March 26, 2014
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Latest News

States Fail the Grade on Health Care Price Transparency

Most states aren't providing health care price information in an accessible way, despite the existence of disclosure laws in many states.

March 25, 2014
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Latest News

A Plan to Take the Stigma Out of Breastfeeding

With the help of a first-place award from a national public policy contest, a team of graduate students plans to increase breastfeeding rates in New York City.

March 24, 2014
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Latest News

Medical Marijuana Oil Catches On in States

Several states that ban the drug for medicinal purposes are considering allowing children suffering from epilepsy to take a marijuana extract. But the bills stop short of easing the sale of those medications.

March 18, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Massachusetts' Hard Look at Hospital Mergers

As consolidations have become increasingly more common across the country, Massachusetts has the nation's only independent state agency focused on evaluating their effects.

March 18, 2014
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Latest News

The Most Conservative Vision Yet for Medicaid Expansion

A Missouri lawmaker is pitching a plan that would expand Medicaid but with the toughest work and premium requirements of any current proposal.

March 13, 2014
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Latest News

Obamacare Enrollment Slows in February

Enrollment in the state and federal health exchanges fell slightly in February, one month before the deadline for open enrollment.

March 11, 2014
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Latest News

Bobby Jindal's Administration Angry over Parody Medicaid Ad

Louisiana officials are telling liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org to take down its billboard attacking Gov. Bobby Jindal for refusing to expand Medicaid.

March 7, 2014
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Latest News

States Consider Relaxing Rules About Snow Days

An especially harsh winter has prompted even southern states to consider relaxing the number of days children have to be in school.

March 6, 2014
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Latest News

Obama Pitches Major New Investments in Budget Plan

Here’s a rundown of the proposals that would most affect states and localities and how stakeholders reacted to the president's budget.

March 5, 2014
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Health & Human Services

State Medicaid Programs Face Millions in New Fees

States are trying to figure out how to budget for a new Affordable Care Act fee that varies based on how much they rely on managed-care companies.

March 4, 2014
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Latest News

States Look to Nursing Homes to Lower Prison Health Care Costs

Some states are seeking to send their sickest inmates to private facilities, allowing them to shift significant costs to the federal government. But those ideas can come with political costs.

February 27, 2014
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Education

Chicago ‘Reinvents’ Community College

The city is retooling its community colleges to graduate more students ready for the workforce. Some worry the changes aren't focused on finding graduates the best kind of jobs.

March 1, 2014
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Latest News

Governors Oppose National Guard Cuts

Governors are united in their opposition to the proposed Pentagon budget that would reduce forces to their lowest levels since pre-World War II.

February 24, 2014
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Latest News

Arkansas Governor Speaks Up About Chances of Medicaid Expansion Repeal

His state may become the first to repeal Medicaid expansion after becoming the first to enact it with a privatized model.

February 24, 2014
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Health & Human Services

With Obamacare's Clock Ticking, Texas Navigators Race to Comply

Of the 17 states that have placed additional regulations on the people helping consumers sign up for coverage on the insurance exchanges, Texas has enacted some of the strictest.

February 18, 2014
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Latest News

Soda Taxes Aren't Job Killers

A new study in the American Journal of Public Health finds taxes on sugary drinks cause no net harm to the job market and raise government revenues substantially.

February 13, 2014
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Latest News

States Lag in Laws Preventing Drug Overdose

A report highlighted in the aftermath of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's apparent heroin overdose notes that most states lack the recommended laws to curb overdose deaths.

February 4, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Push for Access to Insurers' Health Data

In an effort to improve health care, more states are requiring private insurers to provide information about their claims.

February 4, 2014
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Latest News

Kansas City Plan Would Weaken Superintendent's Office, Expand Charter Schools

A proposal to improve the city's education system dissolves the board and gives far greater autonomy to individual schools, who would answer to a slimmed-down district office.

February 3, 2014
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Latest News

Obama (Again) Calls for Pre-K Funding for States

Without Congressional support, Obama will depend on new Race to the Top funding for early childhood education and a coalition of influential people to find ideas for further investment.

January 29, 2014
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Education

Senators Tout Plans to Ramp Up Voucher Programs

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee introduced a plan to subsidize school choice for poor kids in any state. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is narrowing his attention to students with disabilities or from military families.

January 28, 2014
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Health & Human Services

States Aren’t the Only Ones Reforming Health Care

Some of the most promising experiments to improve quality of care while cutting expenses are taking place at the local level.

February 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

California Rethinks Term Limits, Again

California voters eased restrictions in 2012 on how long lawmakers can serve. The changes are already helping some think more about the future when crafting policies.

February 1, 2014
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Latest News

Lima, Ohio, Goes Mobile to Fight Malnutrition

The city is taking fruits and vegetables on the road in an effort to combat obesity in its "food deserts." It's part of a growing trend of cities developing healthy eating initiatives.

January 27, 2014
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Latest News

Chicago Mayor Calls for National Fee to Respond to Train Spills

As the U.S. enters an energy boom and rail remains the chief way of transporting it, cities need to get behind national efforts to improve safety, oversight and emergency response, Rahm Emanuel says.

January 23, 2014
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Latest News

Feds to Mayors: Work with Industry on Workforce Development

Officials from the departments of Labor and Commerce told city leaders at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting to take a hands-on approach with their area businesses to match workers with jobs.

January 23, 2014
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Education

South Carolina Governor Silent on Common Core in State of State

Nikki Haley has railed against the new education standards as she runs for reelection in a state known for its disdain of anything that reeks of federal intrusion. But Common Core was absent from her 90-minute address that was heavy on education.

January 23, 2014
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Education

The Boldest Education Ideas from State of State Addresses So Far

Education is taking center stage early in the State of the State season. Here are some of the more interesting proposals governors are floating.

January 21, 2014
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Health & Human Services

More Than 2 Million Now Enrolled in Obamacare

At the end of 2013, the number of people signed up for health insurance through online exchanges shot up dramatically -- though youth participation remains low.

January 13, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Feds Exempt Volunteer Firefighters from Obamacare Mandate

The Treasury Department and the IRS said they plan to issue a final rule that spares fire departments from having to add their volunteers to their insurance plans. Some say the mandate could have threatened public safety.

January 13, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Maryland Becomes First State to Cap Hospital Spending

Maryland replaces a one-of-the-kind agreement with the federal government for another unique arrangement: the ability to limit spending in all hospitals to the rate of economic growth.

January 10, 2014
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Health & Human Services

How States Can Take the Lead on Containing Health Costs

A commission of former governors and health industry executives is calling on states to lower the cost and improve the quality of health care.

January 9, 2014
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Health & Human Services

Federal Budget Deal Delays Hospital Cuts -- For Now

The budget deal reached last month delays $1.1 billion in cuts to funding for hospitals serving large percentages of uninsured people. But that postponement will only make 2016 hurt a whole lot more.

January 8, 2014
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Health & Human Services

How Obamacare Could Hurt Fire Departments

Volunteers account for most firefighters, and starting in 2015, departments will have to pay for their health insurance. If nothing changes, some warn that departments will limit volunteers' hours or even cut their positions to avoid closing.

January 6, 2014
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Health & Human Services

The States Most Likely to Vote on Medicaid Expansion in 2014

Several states have yet to make a decisive choice on Medicaid expansion, and 2014 could be their year.

December 23, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Medicaid Expansion

The state's high court decided a move by a little-known state panel to accept federal expansion money was legal.

December 23, 2013
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Education

Why Some School Districts Really Want Relief from Sequestration

For the 1,350 districts that serve high numbers of military personnel, Native Americans and kids living in federally subsidized housing, Congress' new budget deal offers a chance at relief from serious federal cuts.

December 20, 2013
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Politics & Elections

2014's Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch

Plus six trending issues that could be big this year.

January 1, 2014
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Education

Will the Common Core Backlash Return in 2014?

States are supposed to implement the new education standards this fall. But the opposition to Common Core – which has enemies of every political persuasion – could undermine the program first.

January 1, 2014
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Education

Why Is One of America's Most Charter-Heavy School Districts in Suburban Georgia?

Hall County, Ga., has quietly become full of charter schools. But its model isn't what you'd think.

December 18, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Suffering Public Health Departments Putting People at Risk

A new report finds that due to funding cuts, states are skimping on public health, leaving their residents vulnerable to infectious disease and food-borne illness.

December 17, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Limited Insurer Participation in Obama’s Health Care 'Fix'

Despite the president's recommendations, nearly half the states, including some of the staunchest supporters of Obamacare, have refused to allow insurers to reissue canceled health plans.

December 11, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Health Exchange Enrollment Surged in November

Enrollment dramatically increased on both the federal and state-based online insurance marketplaces, but the state-based sites are still far outpacing the federal one.

December 11, 2013
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Latest News

New Law Regulating Compounding Pharmacies Won't Change Much for States

A new federal law increasing oversight of pharmacies came in response to a deadly fungal meningitis. But it creates a voluntary system, leaving states mostly free to continue operating as before.

December 9, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Non-Expansion States May Pay Billions Extra Without Any Benefits

A new study examines the costs of Medicaid expansion in states that oppose it and finds residents in those states will shoulder the burden for other states to capitalize.

December 6, 2013
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Health & Human Services

The Obamacare Glitch That Undermines Medicaid Enrollment

The federal government is offering a temporary fix for a problem that prevents consumers from signing up for Medicaid through the online insurance marketplace.

December 4, 2013
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Education

Little Progress for U.S. in International Education Benchmarks

The United States continues to perform below-average in math and middle-of-the-road in reading and science when compared with other industrialized nations.

December 3, 2013
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Health & Human Services

New Medicaid Enrollees Come with Mental Health Needs, Uncertain Costs

Based on the experiences of states that expanded Medicaid in recent years, predicting costs and needs of the newly covered population will be tough, according to a new report.

December 2, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Nation's Strictest Smoking Ban Now in Effect in San Rafael, Calif.

San Rafael, Calif., has banned smoking in any housing unit that shares a wall with another residence. That applies to owners and renters alike.

November 27, 2013
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Latest News

How Medicaid Expansion Can Lower Prison Costs, Recidivism

Expansion states are taking advantage of the chance to cover outside hospitalizations that cost their states millions, as well as the opportunity to enroll parolees in Medicaid. Studies show health care keeps them from returning to prison.

November 26, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Sign-Ups Accelerating in State Exchanges

After accounting for three quarters of enrollment in the first month of operation for online health insurance marketplaces, state-run exchanges have since doubled the number of people who have selected plans, according to a new report.

November 25, 2013
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Latest News

Even in States That Aren't Expanding, Thousands More Qualify for Medicaid

Many Americans didn't know they were eligible for Medicaid until they sought insurance from their state's online health exchange. But experts say it's too soon to predict how much the new enrollees will impact state budgets.

November 20, 2013
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Health & Human Services

State-Run Obamacare Exchanges Signed Up More Than HealthCare.gov

Only 14 states are running their own insurance marketplaces, but they account for three-quarters of total sign-ups in the first month.

November 13, 2013
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Latest News

How the Farm Bill Could Encourage Unhealthy Eating

The farm bill that Congress is negotiating will likely include cuts to the food stamps program that nutrition advocates say will discourage poor people from making healthier choices with the dollars that remain.

November 11, 2013
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Latest News

Washington State Joins California in Saying No to GMO Labeling

This is the third time a ballot measure to label genetically-engineered foods has failed in about a decade. But state legislatures have helped the movement stay alive.

November 6, 2013
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Latest News

Colorado's $1 Billion Tax Hike for Education Defeated

Colorado voters voiced strong opposition to a tax hike that would have funded a broad package of school initiatives that generated wide interest among national policymakers and academics.

November 6, 2013
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Latest News

States Offer Very Different Chances for Economic Advancement

The 2013 Opportunity Index tries to determine which states and counties offer the best chances for their residents to get ahead.

November 5, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Feds Pull Back Food Stamp Funding

The federal government decided during the recession to increase food stamp benefits to help low-income people. Starting Nov. 1, benefits return to their pre-recession level.

November 1, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Does GMO Labeling Cost Consumers?

Voters in Washington State have to decide Nov. 5 who to believe in the debate on a ballot initiative that requires grocers and food producers to label products with genetically engineered ingredients.

November 1, 2013
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Latest News

Will Washington State Accept the Food Labeling Law California Rejected?

The fight to label genetically-modified foods in Washington looks much like the unsuccessful 2012 campaign in California. Will this time be different, and what will success or failure mean for the labeling movement?

October 31, 2013
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Latest News

Colorado's $950 Million Plan to Fix Education

Colorado voters will decide Nov. 5 whether to raise their taxes by $950 million a year to put more money toward early childhood education, high-poverty districts and a host of other initiatives.

October 29, 2013
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Latest News

Health Exchange Contractors Defend Performance at House Hearing

Republicans blame the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the health care exchange. Democrats blame the contractors who built HealthCare.gov.

October 24, 2013
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Health & Human Services

Feds Delay Medicaid Enrollment on Exchanges, Again

People eligible for Medicaid and living in states with federal-run marketplaces will have to wait even longer to sign up for health insurance. How long? No one knows.

October 24, 2013
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Latest News

Ohio Becomes 25th State to Expand Medicaid

Despite opposition from the Republican-controlled legislature, GOP Gov. John Kasich won approval to expand the program using an obscure oversight panel.

October 22, 2013
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Latest News

The Governor of Ohio's End-Run to Medicaid Expansion

Gov. John Kasich is set to push forward Medicaid expansion despite the opposition of his legislature.

October 18, 2013
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View

Do Charter Schools Hurt Public School Finances?

A new Moody’s report says more charter schools mean more problems for traditional public schools.

October 16, 2013
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Health & Human Services

North Carolina First State Forced to Turn Away New WIC Enrollees

Thanks to the federal government shutdown, North Carolina has run out of funds to allow residents to sign up for the program that provides food vouchers and nutrition information to women and children.

October 9, 2013
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State News

State-Run Health Insurance Exchanges Showing Early Success

While the federal government has grabbed headlines for slow enrollment in its health insurance exchanges, many state-run marketplaces have quietly amassed thousands of completed applications for coverage.

October 7, 2013
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Finance

Delayed Medicaid Payments for D.C., Thanks to the Shutdown

Due to the unique financial structure of the District of Columbia, the city can't even spend its own money to pay for Medicaid.

October 4, 2013
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