David Levine is a GOVERNING contributor and freelance writer, who specializes in health and medical issues. His work has been published in the New York Times, American Heritage, Sports Illustrated and many other publications. Levine is the author/co-author of six books about sports. He is also a contributing editor at Wainscot Health Media and a contributing writer at Hudson Valley magazine.

David Levine
June 1, 2014

Dental Therapists Fill Medicaid Holes and Dentists’ Pockets

A new study suggests dental therapists would boost dentists’ profits and help more Medicaid patients get care. So why are dentists so opposed to states’ efforts to license them?
May 1, 2014

How Did Mexico Pass a Soda Tax?

It's something more than 30 U.S. states and cities have tried and failed to do.
March 1, 2014

Cure for Managed-Care Migraines? Slow Down.

As many states embrace managed care in an effort to provide quality, affordable health care, some are rushing the switch from fee-for-service care and running into problems.
February 18, 2014

Why Some States Are Still Seeing Double-Digit Increases in Health Premiums

The Affordable Care Act gave state insurance commissioners the power to review rate increases of 10 percent or more but left it up to the states to decide whether they also have the power to reject them.
February 1, 2014

All Policies Are Health Policies

For every future project the District of Columbia undertakes, it will ask the same question: How does this impact the public’s health?
January 21, 2014

New Health Exchange Directors Clean Up the Messes Left Behind

Four of the 17 states running their own insurance marketplaces lost their health exchange directors in the last few months.
January 7, 2014

How Obamacare Jeopardizes Student Health Insurance

As many young people switch to their parents’ plans, university-sponsored plans are losing money, forcing colleges to rethink how (and whether they should) offer health coverage.
January 1, 2014

‘Death with Dignity’ or ‘Assisted Suicide’?

Whether or not Americans support doctors helping terminally ill patients to voluntarily end their lives depends on the words used to describe the issue. Those words also determine the success of such bills.
December 9, 2013

Arkansas Provides Path for Making Medicaid Expansion Attractive for All

Only 25 states have expanded Medicaid so far, but some see ways to make expansion attractive for both parties in every state.
December 1, 2013

Health Care Comes to Public Libraries

In a growing number of libraries, patrons can check out a book and get a check-up in one visit.
November 5, 2013

State-Run Health Exchanges Overcoming Their Glitches is a disaster. The state-level stories, however, are quite different.
November 1, 2013

Is Obamacare the Reason Governments Are Scaling Back Part-Timers?

Municipalities across the country are cutting part-time workers' hours. Some say it's because of the new health insurance mandate, but others say doing so will actually cost governments more money.
October 7, 2013

Drug Monitoring Programs Are Only Useful If They're Being Used

Nearly every state has a prescription drug monitoring program, but most aren't being used by providers and pharmacists. New York's new system makes it easier to get the right data in the hands of the right people.
October 1, 2013

Why Hemp is Making a Comeback

Hemp – a substance that can't get you high but can be used to make products like paper and plastic – was banned along with marijuana because they have a similar chemical make-up. As states legalize pot, even more are legalizing hemp.
October 1, 2013

Tuberculosis Outbreaks Spark New Worries

Recent TB outbreaks among the poor, homeless and immigrant populations of several U.S. communities have officials worried that the once-tamed disease will become more widespread and harder to contain.
September 1, 2013

California Tackles Runaway Hospital Pricing

The state’s competitive experiment, being watched by both the public and private sectors, has dropped the cost of health care without sacrificing quality.
August 1, 2013

Do Gay Marriage Bans Make People Sick?

Gay marriage is more than a social issue -- it’s a public health issue. New research suggests prohibitions on gay unions may take a psychological toll.
June 28, 2013

States Cut Hospice-Care Coverage Despite Savings

According to recent studies, hospice care saves states millions of dollars every year -- yet some states are cutting the service from their Medicaid benefits.
May 31, 2013

Impending Nurse Shortage Imperils Primary Care

The nation may be 260,000 nurses short by 2025, and the proposed solutions to address the future drought don’t look promising.
April 30, 2013

Medicaid Fraud: Is it Worth States’ Time to Fight it?

As health care for the poor expands, so does the potential for Medicaid abuse. Three states’ experiences with fraud prevention give insight into its value.
March 29, 2013

Will Insurance Ever Cover a Cancer Test That Saves Money, Lives?

A test that could curb deaths from the leading cancer killer is fighting for approval.
February 28, 2013

Communities Fill Dental-Coverage Holes

Rather than wait for lawmakers and insurers to provide adequate coverage, some dentists and public health advocates have taken it upon themselves to try to reduce the number of ER visits for dental problems.
January 31, 2013

Can Iran's Health-House Model Help Mississippi Reduce Disparities?

Health-care stakeholders are watching Mississippi's experience with a system created in Iran in the 1980s closely to see if it's worth promoting nationwide.
December 28, 2012

In Wake of Meningitis Outbreak, Who Will Oversee Compounding Pharmacies?

Investigations uncovered a loophole that some compounding pharmacies exploited for financial gain. Now, regulators and policymakers must decide who’s going to close it -- the feds or the states.
November 30, 2012

Georgia Counties Extend Health Insurance to Pets

Some public employees and residents now get 25 percent off all types of veterinary services.
October 31, 2012

Prescription Drug Abuse Fight May Get Easier

Nearly every state has a program to track prescription drugs, but most lack the technology to keep up. Pilot programs in Indiana and Ohio may change that.
September 28, 2012

As Health Exchange Deadline Looms, States Race Against the Clock

The more than 30 states that are scrambling to set up health insurance exchanges as mandated by the federal health-care law have several options for meeting a Nov. 16 deadline.
September 25, 2012

2 States Try to Tackle Medical Malpractice Reform

At the root of both Massachusetts' and Oregon's reform efforts is creation of open and honest dialogue -- something missing from most malpractice cases.
August 31, 2012

Michigan Fights Obesity with a 4x4

The state is encouraging residents to abide by four healthy behaviors and monitor four health measures. Now all it has to do is convince people to follow the plan.
August 28, 2012

Killing the Medicaid Expansion Controversy

There are benefits to expanding Medicaid -- like reduced death rates, according to a new study -- but what are the real costs?
July 31, 2012

How Food Stamps Reduced Louisiana's Uninsured Children’s Rate

Louisiana was the first state to embrace “express lane eligibility."
July 24, 2012

Rewarding Preventive Care in South Carolina

South Carolina has set out to end fee-for-service payments and instead put money in the pockets of providers who create healthier populations.
June 29, 2012

Medical Tourism Saves Government Money

Even when you include airfare and meals, having public employees travel abroad for health care -- which a growing number of public entities are offering as an option -- can be significantly cheaper.
June 26, 2012

Is Dual-Eligible Coordination Moving Too Fast?

Some say the feds and states need to slow down their efforts to coordinate care for the millions eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
May 31, 2012

On-Site Health Centers Save Local Governments Money

Several Florida cities have on-site clinics that are free for public employees and result in fewer long-term health problems and lower costs for everyone.
May 22, 2012

New York's Digital Health Push

In New York State, public entities and private, profit-driven financial firms hope to lead the charge into the future of digital health care.
April 30, 2012

Mental-Health Medications May Become Limited in Utah

For now, Utah is one of only a handful of states that still allow nearly unrestricted access to psychotropic drugs. Does limiting access to their meds put the mentally ill at risk?
April 24, 2012

A Disaster Prep Blueprint for Providing Care

Most governments have the infrastructure and the planning in place to handle an uptick in needed emergency care. But what about prep for a really big disaster?
March 30, 2012

If Anti-Smoking Programs Save Millions, Why Are States Cutting Them?

States are slashing or eliminating programs that could save them money.
March 27, 2012

Improving Health Care for Kids in Child Welfare Programs

Children in state protective service programs face any number of challenges, not the least of which is getting good health care.
February 29, 2012

Aging Inmates Squeeze Health-Care Budgets

As prisoners get older and develop expensive health problems, states are looking for ways to cut costs.
January 31, 2012

Are Consumer-Driven Health Plans Really Saving Money?

CDHPs are slowly becoming the next big thing in health-care cost control, but studies show that they only save about 1 percent over traditional plans.
January 1, 2012

Why Are Dentists Opposing Expanded Dental Care?

Citing safety as the reason, dentists are fighting states’ efforts to create mid-level dental providers who can provide care to underserved areas. Some speculate they just fear losing business.
November 30, 2011

Cross-Border Insurance Revisited

Texas Gov. Rick Perry once supported a binational U.S.-Mexico health insurance plan. Why didn’t the idea grab the Lone Star State’s fancy?
October 31, 2011

More States Employ Wellness Insurance Programs

Can incentives help state workers shed their unhealthy habits and cut health-care costs?
September 30, 2011

Freeing up Space (and Money) in the Emergency Room

A surefire way to cut health-care costs is to steer frequent ER visitors to less costly care.
August 31, 2011

State Health IT Coordinators Brace for Health-Care Reform

Overhauling how the health-care industry uses technology is already a difficult job. Meeting the new requirements under the health reform act is an even greater challenge for states.
July 29, 2011

Will Community Health Centers Survive Budget Cuts?

This year, more than half of the states decreased or eliminated funding for health centers, which provide an alternative to costly emergency rooms.