Massachusetts Set To Vote On Revamp Of Dental Insurance

Massachusetts voters will be offered a question about new rules for dental insurers, forcing them to spend no less for patient care than 83% of collected premiums. Also: fentanyl penalties in Alabama, boosted funding for labor and delivery care in New Hampshire, and more.

The Boston Globe:
Orthodontist Vs. Insurer: How Question 2 Could Bring Sweeping Changes To Dental Industry

When Massachusetts voters head to the polls in November, they’ll get the chance to settle an arcane dispute that could upend the dental industry. To boil it down: Question 2 would require dental insurers to spend no less for patient care than 83 percent of premiums they collect. It would be a sweeping change for an industry with no minimum threshold today, and one that could affect not just the insurers that do business here, but also the state’s dentists — not to mention anyone with dental insurance. It might even become a model that’s replicated in other states. (Chesto, 9/26)

In other news from across the U.S. —

AP:
Alabama Eyes Fentanyl Penalties; Critics Say They Won’t Work 

Alabama lawmakers may consider harsher penalties for traffickers and distributors of illicit fentanyl next year, but some say a comprehensive approach should also include more health services and helping drug users reduce overdoses. Republicans Reps. Matt Simpson of Daphne and Chris Pringle of Mobile tell Al.com they plan bills next year to increase penalties for distributing the deadly drug that accounted for 66% of all U.S. overdose deaths in 2021. (9/26)

New Hampshire Public Radio:
N.H. Is Boosting Funding For Labor And Delivery Care. Will It Be Enough To Stem Closures?

Lawmakers and state health officials are boosting funding for birthing services, amid concerns that closures of labor and delivery units have made it harder for many New Hampshire residents to access that care. (Cuno-Booth, 9/26)

KHN:
At This Recovery Center, Police Cope With The Mental Health Costs Of The Job 

Ken Beyer can’t think of a day in the past few months when his phone didn’t flutter with calls, text messages, and emails from a police department, a sheriff’s office, or a fire station seeking help for an employee. A patrol officer threatening to kill himself with his service weapon before roll call. A veteran firefighter drowning in vodka until he collapses. A deputy overdosing on fentanyl in his squad car. “It’s the worst that I’ve seen in my career,” said Beyer, co-founder and CEO of Harbor of Grace Enhanced Recovery Center, a private mental health and substance use recovery and treatment center for first responders in the waterfront Maryland town of Havre de Grace. Established in 2015, Harbor of Grace is one of only six treatment centers in the U.S. approved by the Fraternal Order of Police, the world’s largest organization of law enforcement officers. (Ridderbusch, 9/27)

On West Nile virus —

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
First Human Case Of West Nile Virus This Year Found In Sheboygan

Wisconsin’s first human case of West Nile Virus this year was confirmed in a Sheboygan County resident, prompting state health officials to once again emphasize the importance of preventing mosquito bites. Earlier this year, the virus had been found in three animals: a horse in Trempealeau County, a horse in Monroe County and a bird in Milwaukee County. (Shastri, 9/26)

WMFE:
Volusia County Reports Another Human Case Of West Nile Virus

The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County on Friday reported its second human case this year of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. (Byrnes, 9/26)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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