Subject: Studies in the News 04-81 (December 15, 2004)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News
Health Care Supplement


Contents This Week

Introductory Material HEALTH
   Mysteries of autism
   Environmental health threats and Latinos
   Primary care and health system performance
   Osteoporosis
   Medical malpractice litigation
   Medical malpractice crisis
   New medicaid option for sickle cell anemia
   Pharmacy assistance programs and medicare
   Out-of-pocket spending and medicare
   Medicaid buy-in participants
   Medicare matching formula
   Medicare law changes and lack of medicare for families
   Americans weight increasing in last 25 years
   Economics in eating choices and weight outcomes
   Financing drug research
   Public health preparedness
   Snapshot of California's uninsured.
PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
   Studies in the News, November 2004
   Studies in the News, December 2004
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

HEALTH

AUTISM

Association of the Homeobox Transcription Factor, Engrailed 2, With Autism Spectrum Disorder. By N Gharani and others IN: Molecular Psychiatry (May 2004) pp. 1-11.

Full Text at: www.naar.org/news/pdfs/EN2_Millonig.pdf

["In new research, scientists have found that a specific gene contributes to autism and that autistic people have fewer receptors for the brain messenger acetylcholine, as well as more tightly packed columns of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Another study found that autistic children were less able to discriminate similar sounds than were other children. The research is providing new clues to the genetic, neurological, and molecular basis of this still mysterious disease." Science Daily (November 10, 2004)1.]

[Request #S4599]

Return to the Table of Contents

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS

Hidden Danger: Environmental Health Threats in the Latino Community. By Adriana Quintero-Somaini and Mayra Quirindongo, Natural Resources Defense Council. (The Council, New York, New York) 2004. 79 p.

Full Text at: www.nrdc.org/health/effects/latino/english/latino_en.pdf

["This report examines health risks to Latino children and families from pollution and chemicals, including poor air and water quality, pesticides, mercury, and lead. Includes recommendations for change."]

[Request #S4600]

Return to the Table of Contents

HEALTH CARE

"Primary Care and Health System Performance: Adult's Experiences in Five Countries" By Cathy Schoen and Others, IN: Health Affairs, vol. 23, no. no. 25 (October 28, 2004) pp. 487-503.

Full Text at: content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/reprint/hlthaff.w4.487v1

["This paper reports on a 2004 survey of primary care experiences among adults in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The survey finds shortfalls in delivery of safe, effective, timely, or patient-centered care, with variations among countries. Aside from clinical preventive care, the United States performs poorly on most care dimensions in the study, with notable cost-related access concerns and short-term physician relationships. Contrasts across countries point to the potential to improve performance and to learn from international initiatives."]

[Request #S4601]

Return to the Table of Contents

Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. By the Sugeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (The Surgeon General, Washington, DC) 2004. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/bonehealth/content.html

[Includes: "A Public Health Approach to Promote Bone Health;" "Diseases of Bone;" "Lifestyle Approaches to Promote Bone Health;" "Determinants of Bone Health;" and others.]

[Request #S4602]

Return to the Table of Contents

HEALTH INSURANCE

Expertise in Medical Malpractice Litigation: Special Courts, Screening Panels, and Other Options. By Catherine T. Struve. Pew Project on Medical Liability. (The Project, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 2003. 107 p.

["This report focuses on proposals for expertise-enhancing procedural reform, and asks whether the most discussed reforms are likely to improve the system. It considers the following aspects of the current debate: 1) Physicians' experience with the legal system, and their critiques of it; 2) the need for expertise at various stages of malpractice litigation; 3) implemented and proposed procedural reforms; and 4) alternative possibilities for enhancing expertise."]

[Request #S4603]

Return to the Table of Contents

INSURANCE

Resolving the Medical Malpractice Crisis: Fairness Considerations. By Maxwell J. Mehlman. Pew Project on Medical Liability. (The Project, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 2003. 97 p.

["For the first time in twenty years, much of the nation finds itself in a medical malpractice crisis. Physicians and hospitals in many states are experiencing sharply higher malpractice insurance premiums.... As in previous decades, the current crisis has stimulated calls for change to the legal rules that govern medical malpractice.... Some see an oportunity to improve the overall performance of malpractice law, including far-reaching changes such as replacing the tort system with a no-fault or administrative approach to compensation."]

[Request #S4604]

Return to the Table of Contents

MEDICAID

New Medicaid Option for Sickle Cell Anemia. By Federal Funds Information for States. FFIS Issue Brief, 04-55. (FFIS, Washington, DC) November 16, 2004. 2 p.

Full Text at: www.ncsl.org/ffis/subs/ib/2004/IB04-55.pdf

["The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 creates a new Medicaid option for treatment of sickle cell anemia and for state efforts to identify, treat and educate individuals who are likely to be eligible. It also creates a demonstration program for the development and establishment of system mechanisms for prevention and treatment."]

[Request #S4605]

Return to the Table of Contents

Grants for Transition from Pharmacy Assistance Programs to Medicare Part D. By Federal Funds Information for States. FFIS Issue Brief, 04-54. (FFIS, Washington, DC) November 16, 2004. 4 p.

Full Text at: www.ncsl.org/ffis/subs/ib/2004/IB04-54.pdf

["The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 appropriated $125 million for federal fiscal years 2005 and 2006 to assist those states with current state pharmaceutical assistance programs in the transition to the new Part D Medicare coverage."]

[Request #S4606]

Return to the Table of Contents

MEDI-CAL

Out of Pocket Spending in Health Care by Medicare Beneficiaries Age 65 and Older in 2003. By Craig Caplan and Normandy Brangan, AARP Public Policy Institute. Data Digest. (The Institute, Washington, D.C.) 2004. 8 p.

Full Text at: research.aarp.org/health/dd101_spending.pdf

["How much age 65+ Medicare beneficiaries paid out of their own pockets for health care in 2003 is projected in this Data Digest, which also highlights out-of-pocket spending differences by demographic characteristics, income level, supplemental coverage status, and type of service." Moving Ideas (November 3, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4607]

Return to the Table of Contents

MEDICARE

"Enrollment Patterns and Medical Expenditures for Medicaid Buy-In Participants in Five States." Su Liu and others. Mathematica Policy Research, Incorporated. (Mathematica, Washington, DC) October 2004. 88 p.

Full Text at: www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/enrollmentpatterns.pdf

["Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initiated the study described in this report to (1) examine selected policy questions related to participation in the Medicaid-Buy-In program, and (2) assess the feasibility of examining these questions using information from federal databases."]

[Request #S4608]

Return to the Table of Contents

The Medicare Matching Formula: Policy Considerations and Options for Modification. By Vic Miller, Federal Funds Information for the States, and Andy Schneider, Medicaid Policy, LLC. (AARP Public Policy Institute, Washington, DC) 2004. 64 p.

Full Text at: research.aarp.org/health/2004_09_formula.pdf

["The formula for allocating federal Medicaid funds among states and options for making it more responsive to state economic conditions are described in this Issue Paper." Moving Ideas (November 3, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4609]

Return to the Table of Contents

Approximately Half of Americans in Medicare Are at Risk of Losing Coverage When the New Law Is Implemented. By Families USA. (Families USA, Washington, DC) October 20, 2004. 6 pages.

Full Text at: www.familiesusa.org/site/DocServer?docID=5281

["This analysis of the new Medicare law and proposed regulations for the law shows that the new program will be more than a disappointment - half of America's Medicare beneficiaries are at risk of being worse off than they are today." Moving Ideas (October 27, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4610]

Return to the Table of Contents

OBESITY

"Mean Body Weight, Height, and Body Mass Index, United States 1960-2002." By Cynthia L. Ogden. IN: Advance Data No. 347. (October 27, 2004) pp. 1-18.

Full Text at: www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad347.pdf

["Adult men and women are roughly an inch taller than they were in 1960, but are nearly 25 pounds heavier on average as well, according to a new report.... Meanwhile, the report documented that average weights for children are increasing as well."]

[Request #S4611]

Return to the Table of Contents

The Role of Economics in Eating Choices and Weight Outcomes. By Lisa Mancino, Biing-Hwan Lin, and Nicole Ballenger, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Information Bulletin no. 791. (The Service, Washington, DC) October 2004. 24 p.

Full Text at: www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aib791/aib791.pdf

["This report examines economic factors that help explain variation in behaviors and attitudes associated with weight outcomes among U.S. adults. It draws data from the 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the 1994-96 Diet and Health Knowledge Survey." MCH Alert (November 12, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4612]

Return to the Table of Contents

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Financing Drug Research: What Are the Issues? By Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research. (The Center, Washington, DC) 2004. 25 Pages.

Full Text at: www.cepr.net/publications/patents_what_are_the_issues.htm

["Given the increasing burden on families and the economy of U.S. prescription drug prices, whose growth has been fueled in large part by government-granted monopolies to patent holders, several alternative mechanisms for funding bio-medical research have been proposed." Moving Ideas (November 3, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4613]

Return to the Table of Contents

PUBLIC HEALTH

Public Health Preparedness in California: Lessons Learned from Seven Health Jurisdictions. By Nicole Lurie and others, RAND Health. Prepared for the California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente. (Rand Health, Santa Monica, California) 2004. 170 p.

Full Text at: www.rand.org/publications/TR/TR181/TR181.pdf

["Despite a slow start for receipt of CDC-related funding at local levels, each of the jurisdictions we studied has undertaken significant preparedness activities...There is widespread variation in the ability of local health jurisdictions to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and other public health threats...Estimated additional annual costs statewide of filling the 'preparedness gap' range from $72 to $96 million."]

[Request #S4614]

Return to the Table of Contents

UNINSURED POPULATION

Snapshot California's Uninsured. By California Health Care Foundation. (The Foundation, Oakland, California) 2004. 20 p.

Full Text at: www.chcf.org/documents/insurance/UninsuredSnapshot2004.pdf

["California Health Care Foundation found that the number of uninsured in the state -- 6.5 million in 2003 -- held steady from the previous year. Meanwhile, employment-based coverage continued to decline gradually while enrollment in public health-insurance programs, particularly Medi-Cal increased.... This pattern mirrors national coverage trends." Stockton Record (October 27, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4615]

Return to the Table of Contents


PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Health Care Supplement.]

HEALTH CARE

"Health." IN: Studies in the News, 04-73 - 04-76 (November 2004)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0476.htm

[Includes: "Children with special health care needs;" "Physical activity among children attending preschools;" "Patients' perception of their hospital care;" "Reinsurance subsidies;" "Obesity policies failing in America;" "U.S. prescription drug prices;" "Prescription drug pools;" "State abortion laws;" "Medicare modernization act;" "Outpatient treatment for mental illness;" "Prescription drug sales online;" and others.]

[Request #S4616]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Health" IN: Studies in the News, 04-80 (December 2004).

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2003/0480.htm

[Includes: "Family caregiver support;" "Children with special health care needs;" "California's health ranks 22nd;" "Immigrants' health insurance;" "Nursing homes crisis;" "Free market drug act;" and others.]

[Request #S4617]

Return to the Table of Contents