Payer Roundup—State lawmakers eye limits to ballot measures following Medicaid expansion mandates

Medical caduceus symbol (staff of Hermes) holding up legal scales
State lawmakers are making Medicaid Expansion adoption more difficult. (Getty Images/Bet_Noire)

State lawmakers eye limits to ballot measures, potentially impacting Medicaid expansion

A group of Republicans may make it more difficult for voters to pass initiatives that support Medicaid expansion. 

Currently, lawmakers in Florida and Missouri are debating ballot changes that would charge fees and require more signatures to get initiatives on the ballot, making it harder for measures like Medicaid expansion to pass in this fashion.

Simultaneously, lawmakers in Utah and Oklahoma are looking to pass legislation that would limit the number of low-income people who would receive coverage and possibly add on work requirements for receiving coverage. Republican lawmakers in these and other states argue that Medicaid expansion is costing too much and is straying from its original intention to give medical coverage to the very poor. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Boston firefighter relief aims to support full-body scans

The Boston Fire Department Relief Fund is aiming to subsidize half of the cost of elective, full-body health scans and cardiovascular tests for firefighters. 

More than 200 career firefighters have lost their lives to occupational cancer since 1990 and Commissioner Joseph Finn told the Boston Herald that “It’s a big issue and it’s in everyone’s best interest to mitigate this the best we can.” Finn continued: “It’s something that’s not going to go away. The best prevention is early detection.”

About 22 firefighters have undergone body scans since the fall, and all of them have found troubling news ranging from high calcium scores to the beginning of cancer nodules in their lungs, pancreas or liver. (Boston Herald)

Vitals becomes Sapphire Digital to reflect full digital platform

Vitals is changing its name to Sapphire Digital to reflect its mission of supplying consumers with a full, digital-engagement platform. according to an announcement sent to FierceHealthcare.

More than 350 health plans and employers currently use the platform to shop for healthcare. 

The company now offers a full suite of technology solutions in order to save employers and consumers money in a competitive marketplace. The Vitals’ solution platforms have also changed names: VitalsChoice is being renamed CareSelect and VitalsSmartShopper is being renamed SmartShopper, but the recently launched Medical Expertise Guide will keep its name.

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