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 January 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.

Early Care and Education Legislative Action
During the 2014 legislative session, legislators were busy with policies related to young children. In total, 111 bills were enacted in 35 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Laws addressed child care quality, including basic health and safety standards; expanded and improved prekindergarten programs; boosted early literacy development in young children and promoted school readiness; and addressed early childhood governance issues and data collection. Read the full 2014 Legislative Actions report.

Workforce Strategies to Improve Childrens Oral Health
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children. As millions receive dental coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the demand for dental services is expected to strain the current workforce's ability to meet their needs. A new LegisBrief describes state strategies to improve access to dental care for underserved populations.

Update on Health Insurance Exchanges
NCSL's State Actions to Address Health Insurance Exchanges provides one-stop information on the Marketplaces and Exchanges now open for business in all 50 states. Read about health insurers, health premiums, funding and other state activities. New features in 2015 include:

  • Links to state health plan enrollment numbers for 2015 coverage. (As released Jan. 14)
  • 2015 Premiums "Made Easy", a new tool for policymakers that allows side-by-side price comparisons for health plans by state. A new 50-state interactive map makes each state's premium analysis and use easier, using material posted by The Commonwealth Fund.
  • Information about 2014 state legislation affecting health exchanges, including enacted laws in 21 states.

Parental Rights and Sexual Assault
Approximately 26 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation regarding the parental rights of sexual assault perpetrators. During the 2014 legislative session, five states considered bills to restrict or terminate parental rights in instances where a child was conceived through sexual assault. Kentucky, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia enacted legislation. Read bill summaries by visiting NCSL's Child Support and Family Law Legislative Enactments 2014 page.

Methadone and Prescription Drug Overdoses
Methadone, a synthetic opioid medication used to treat narcotic drug addiction and to manage pain, has become a significant contributor to prescription drug overdoses. Most Medicaid programs include methadone on their preferred drug lists for managing chronic pain, but most experts do not recommend it as a first choice. Read NCSL's new LegisBrief to find out which states have removed methadone from their preferred drug lists as a pain management tool.

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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