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Forcing Medicaid recipients in five of South Carolina's biggest counties to enroll in health plans is one of the provisions in a reform package state legislators are considering. The controversial measure passed in the state House, and is now making its way through the Senate.... Money is saved when asthma patients receive care from asthma specialists, according to a report issued by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Patients cared for by allergists are hospitalized less often for asthma symptoms and have shorter lengths of stay — resulting in lowering of the cost of inpatient asthma care by as much as 95 percent, the study says.... HMOs lost enrollees in record numbers in the year ending July 1, 2002, Reuters reports. About 4 million people dropped out of HMOs in that period, the largest year-over-year decrease ever.... It costs $423 more per year to treat privately insured obese people than it does to treat those who are normal weight, according to a new study in Health Affairs.

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