Morning CheckUp: January 6, 2012

Massachusetts court backs immigrants: “The Massachusetts State Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously to reinstate the access of legal immigrants to the state’s health insurance program, a decision that the governor’s office said will add $150 million in annual costs to the state budget.” [Modern Healthcare]

Collaborative efforts can save costs: “Employers, hospitals, physicians and health plans increasingly are willing to work together because cost and quality problems have reached crisis levels. The goal is to carve out health-care spending that’s wasteful and doesn’t help patients.” [Kaiser Health News]

Cancer death rates decline: “Deaths rates from cancer dropped 1.8 percent per year in men and 1.6 percent per year in women between 2004 and 2008, according to a new report — a promising trend that experts hope will accelerate in the years to come.” [ABC News]

Administration predicts savings from electronic health records: “The Obama administration says a new rule it’s issuing under the law could result in a savings of as much as $4.5 billion over the next decade. The proposed rule sets uniform standards for how health insurance companies are to pay electronic claims for health care services, and encourages the use of electronic, rather than paper, claims.” [Julie Rovner]


Proposal would require insurers to cover abortions: “State lawmakers will be asked this session to require private insurance plans to cover abortion, a mandate that likely would be the first of its kind in the nation. Backed by abortion-rights advocates, the proposal would extend a 20-year-old mandate that insurance plans funded or administered by the state cover abortion if they cover maternity care.” [Seattle Times]

Santorum would eliminate CMS: “Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he not only supports privatizing Medicare, but wants to eliminate the agency that oversees the program. Santorum said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that private-sector competition should supplant the government’s role in healthcare.” [Sam Baker]