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Security breach laws
The total number of states with breach of information laws that require notification of consumers when a security breach involving consumers' personal information increased to 35 with the addition of 11 more states in 2006.
The 35 states that now have security breach notification laws are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. So far in 2007 nine states have proposed similar laws or introduced bills to amend their existing notification laws. You can see the report at www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/cip/priv/breach07.htm.
Lawmakers eye medicare advantage for cuts
Lawmakers looking for ways to increase funding for the State Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP) Program and to repair the Medicare physician fee payment system are taking a closer look at Medicare Advantage programs. The House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), recently held a hearing on the structure and costs of the Medicare Advantage program, one of several hearings the chairman plans to conduct to "refine" the payment program. Stark says that of the 43 million Medicare beneficiaries, 8.3 million or 19% currently utilize Medicare Advantage plans. The chairman says "everything should be on the table" when it comes to finding the funds to expand SCHIP and to fund the physicians. Stark noted research from the Congressional Budget Office that shows on average Medicare Advantage programs are overpaid by 12% and, depending on individual plan and location, sometimes as much as 40%.
Medicare Advantage defenders says reducing payments could impact access to care for beneficiaries, particularly among minorities and low income plan participants who are more reliant on Medicare Advantage than fee for service plans.