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 this current month, below >>






For April 2015, the Health Program offers monthly distribution of "Health & Human Services Link," an easy to use email newsletter, available to any member on request.

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

Upcoming Webinar--Health Insurance: What’s Next for States? 
Friday, April 24 (1-2 pm EDT).
For decades states have been primary regulators and innovators in the health insurance arena. The insurance market covers more than 170 million Americans, with an estimated 11 million new policies sold in the past 18 months. States have considerable flexibility in how health plans are marketed, sold and regulated. Tune into NCSL’s Webinar on April 24 to gain insight into state options in areas such as health premium rate review, patient cost-sharing, consumer assistance and appeals, provider networks of care and coverage for adult dependents. Several national thought leaders will share their 2015 perspectives on what consumers, state policymakers, regulators and industry professionals face. 

Supports for Older Youth in Foster Care
Supporting older youth in their transition from foster care to adulthood has long been of interest to state legislatures. Learn more about some of the key issues involved—such as extended care, re-entry into foster care, youth engagement, education, identity theft, behavioral health, homelessness, prevention, psychotropic medications and teen pregnancy among foster youth— by visiting the Supports for Older Youth in Foster Care Web document.  

*NEW* Prescription Drug Legislation Database 
Launched in March with nearly 600 bills, NCSL’s new 2015 prescription drug database tracks legislation on topics such as pharmaceutical patient access and affordability, biologic and other specialty drugs, compounding pharmacy regulation, Medicaid and health insurance coverage and reimbursement, and the “right-to-try” investigational drugs for people with terminal illnesses. Users can search this first-in-the-nation state resource by state, bill status, and any of 10 topics, using simple check boxes. Full bill text searches are available to NCSL members as well.  

Using Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Address Drug Abuse
States are increasingly turning to prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—state-run electronic databases that capture information about dispensed controlled substances—as a tool to address prescription drug abuse. NCSL’s new LegisBrief shows at least 27 states passed more than 50 laws in 2014 alone, and 16 launched PDMPs since 2010. Some of these laws strengthened existing statewide PDMPs, which are designed not only to address prescription drug abuse, but also to prevent diversion, which refers to medications illegally sold on the street.

Supporting Family Caregivers
The longer people live, the more health-related services they generally require. The bulk of such care in the U.S. is provided by unpaid family caregivers, valued at more than $450 billion annually. NCSL’s new LegisBrief provides more information about how states are supporting family caregivers as a key component of long-term services and supports.

Prekindergarten, School Readiness and Early Literacy
The District of Columbia and 41 states currently provide a total of $5.3 billion in state funding for preschool programs. State legislatures continue to focus on developing and funding expansions in state prekindergarten programs to support children’s readiness for school. State legislatures are also creating new programs, improving teacher qualifications and enhancing program and quality standards. Learn more about prekindergarten in your state.

New Educational Primer about Hepatitis C
Advancements in medicine include new advancements in curing Hepatitis C. NCSL’s website has posted a new resource, “What Everyone Should Know About Hepatitis C,” which provides an easy-to-understand explanation about what it is, who has it, how it’s transmitted and news about treatment advances.

Scope of Practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)Research suggests that expanded scopes of practice for non-physician primary care providers, such as advanced practice registered nurses, improves access to primary care services, with quality comparable to physician services. This policy postcard illustrates the extent to which APRNs can practice and prescribe independently in states.


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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