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 September 2014, 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.

2014 Legislative Summit Online Resources
Task Force on Federal Health Reform Implementation – Speaker Presentations 
Transforming Medicaid: Lessons from Pioneering States – Speaker Presentations

Alternatives for State Health Innovation

States Cracking the Code on Health Costs

 An Ounce of Preventive Oral Health, a Pound of Savings

 Protecting People with Life-Threatening Allergies

  •  Nevada’s 2013 legislation handout from Senator Debbie Smith, Nevada
  • LegisBrief, Children and Food Allergies.  About one in 13 children—an estimated 3 million—has food allergies, a number that has steadily increased since the late 1990's. States have laws designed to either prevent student exposure to food allergens or to train school personnel to ensure an efficient response to allergic reactions.

Keeping the American Dream Alive

  • A lot has changed since President Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964, with many Americans now viewing government programs as the problem, not the solution. During this session, panelists Gregory Acs from the Urban Institute and Aparna Mathur from the American Enterprise Institute discussed how states are using new research that quantifies the effects of poverty on brain development to find new ways to tackle this complex problem.  See a seven-minute Q & A with Gregory and Aparna on NCSL’s YouTube Channel

Reading by Third Grade: It’s Critical

  • Kids who are behind in their reading skills in third grade often never catch up, and many eventually drop out of school. During this session, Cari Miller from the Foundation for Excellence in Education, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Musick and Ralph Smith from the Annie E. Casey Foundation explored policy strategies to ensure every child can read by the end of third grade.  View an archived version of this session. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries Among Youth Athletes
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among youth athletes are a serious public health concern in the United States. In 2011, more than 55,000 high school football players and 29,000 young soccer players sustained concussions (a type of TBI) during practice or competition. Since 2007, legislatures in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation to address youth sports-related concussions.

Prescription Drug Overdose: An American Epidemic
Drug overdose deaths in the United States have tripled since 1990, primarily due to increasing rates of prescription opioid painkiller abuse and misuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 113 people die every day as a result of a drug overdose. State legislatures have played an active role in helping to curb this epidemic. This video explores policy options to help prevent drug overdoses.

Healthy Communities Legislative Action Bulletin 6:  State Legislators—Champions of Breakfast at School
As the school year gets under way across the country, it’s a fine time to note that legislators in a number of states have made it possible for pupils to start the day with a healthy breakfast. Not only a means to nourish students, school breakfast has been shown to increase academic achievement, reduce tardiness and absence, help control weight and improve sense of community in schools. Learn more about recent state school breakfast legislation.

Three Branch Institute
The Three Branch Institute is a partnership among NCSL, the National Governors Association, Casey Family Programs, the National Center for State Courts and the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges to improve the social and emotional well-being of kids in foster care. States participating in 2013-2014 include Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The states met June 30-July 2, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wis. and examined strategies to address substance abuse in child welfare-involved families, foster care psychotropic medication oversight, trauma and more.  Learn more about the specific meetings and evolution of the Three Branch Institute.

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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