State Action Newsletters

Health Reform: State Action Newsletters

News update


Recent editions covered Medicaid expansion, exchanges and new federal rules, among other topics, View the newsletter and all archive editions, 2011-Jan. 2014.

View the new "Health Link" for July, below >>






For July 2014, the Health Program offers monthly distribution of "Health Link," an easy to use email newsletter, available to any member on request.

Welcome to NCSL Health Link, a monthly email featuring NCSL’s new health-related information resources.


The Healthcare Workforce of the Future
A new report projects a shortage of 20,400 primary care physicians in 2020. Population growth and an aging population will mean additional demands for health care services, according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). For many state policymakers, having an adequate health care workforce is not just about numbers. It’s about having doctors, nurses, technicians and assistants who can connect with patients in a way that improves their health and avoids costlier conditions. Learn about this and other health care workforce issues in the June edition of State Legislatures magazine with two articles, Cultural Clues and an interview with HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield.

Teen Childbearing is Costly to Taxpayers
Although U.S. teen birth rates have reached historic lows, new data indicate teen childbearing has  significant consequences for taxpayers. In 2010, the public cost of teen childbearing ranged from $15 million in Vermont to $1.1 billion in Texas, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. For information on the cost in your state, click here.

Helping Smokers Quit Improves Health and Budgets
Smoking-related diseases afflict more than 16 million Americans, making tobacco the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease. In an effort to reduce both the human and financial costs, many state policymakers are pursuing programs proven to help smokers quit. Click here to read the publication.

State Laws and Legislation on Biologic Medications and Substitution of Biosimilars
Traditional state laws that regulate “generic” drugs may not be adequate to address the more complex “biologic” medicines, which are virtually impossible to replicate as a true “generic.” Although generic-style “biosimilars” or “follow-on biologics” are not yet available for sale in the U.S., state policymakers have begun amending older state laws, or adding new sections, in anticipation of their introduction into the market in another year or so. In the past two years at least 23 states have considered legislation to establish state standards for substitution of a “biosimilar” prescription product to replace an original biologic product.  As of late June, eight states have signed laws.  Click here to read the full report.

Walking the Talk in Atlanta for Public Health
When “Gone with the Wind” premiered in Atlanta in December 1939, the stars gathered at the Georgian Terrace Hotel for a gala celebration. Seventy-five years later at the Georgian Terrace, NCSL partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to sponsor a two-day NCSL invitational meeting, "Cost Effective Strategies in Public Health: The 'Winnable Battles’ Initiative." CDC identifies those “winnable battles” as food safety, healthcare-associated infections, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, nutrition/physical activity/obesity, teen pregnancy and tobacco. Eight state teams picked their battles, planned strategies to address them in their states, and the seven attendees pictured above walked the talk on physical activity by joining an optional jaunt to Atlanta’s lovely Piedmont Park. Click here for the article.

NCSL Web Resources

NCSL’s Health Page. NCSL maintains hundreds of topical health web pages, from A to Z. Check out our resources on the following major topics:

Cost and Quality / Diseases and Conditions / Federal Health Issues / Health Insurance / Medicaid and CHIP / Pharmaceuticals / Population Groups / Providers and Facilities / Health Reform / Public Health and Prevention

For more information about these and other issues, e-mail us at

NCSL’s Federal Health Reform: State Actions Newsletter highlighted state activities related to the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).  It was published every two weeks and distributed at no charge to NCSL members involved or interested in health policy.  There are 69 archive editions available in an easy-to-use index of individual articles. Bi-weekly distribution has been suspended as of January 17, 2014, and replaced by Health Link, above.

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