Senate votes to drop acupuncture referrals

Mississippians may be freed from needing a medical referral to see most acupuncture practitioners. The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill that exempts any acupuncture practitioner, licensed in the state for more than five years, from needing a doctor’s referral before treating patients. Although the bill passed the Senate with no debate, the same wasn’t true in a Public Health committee last week. At that time, Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, pushed for a re-evaluation of the referrals process. He said that his own referral for acupuncture, from a cosmetic surgeon, smacks of bureaucracy, given how little cosmetic surgery has to do with acupuncture.

Did Obamacare help or hurt Mississippi?

As politicians in Washington debate alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, some state representatives hope to determine whether the current health care system has helped or hurt Mississippi. On Thursday, the House Committee on Public Health unanimously approved a bill creating a study group to examine the impact of the Affordable Care Act since it took effect in 2014. The bill directs four state agencies, the Division of Medicaid, the Insurance Department, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, and the Mississippi State Department of Health, to prepare the report by July 1. “We need to have it as fast as this administration is moving. We can’t be unprepared,” said Rep. Chris Brown, R-Nettleton.