KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Texas Plan To Defund Women’s Health Program Draws Protest

Texas' move and subsequently imminent loss of federal Medicaid money has sparked a protest. Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Minnesota are examining the federal contraception coverage requirement.

The Dallas Morning News: Women Protest Loss Of Health Services
More than 200 women protested at the Capitol on Tuesday, lamenting the imminent loss of health services for 130,000 poor women. Republican state leaders are adamant that they will not participate in the Women's Health Program, for which the federal government provides 90 percent of the funding, if some of the money has to go to Planned Parenthood. The 6-year-old program, up for federal renewal, provides cancer screenings and contraceptives to women who don't have insurance (Hoppe, 3/6).

The Texas Tribune: Rally Targets Possible End of Women's Health Program 
Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said the White House is to blame in the dispute. "Gov. Perry and lawmakers are fighting to continue the WHP, but unfortunately, its fate rests in the hands of the Obama Administration which is willing to end a good program that serves more than 100,000 Texas women to save less than 2 percent of providers," Frazier said (Heinrich, 3/6). 

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: N.H. Democrats Backing Birth Control Coverage
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Maggie Hassan and Democratic legislative leaders urged defeat Tuesday of a House bill that would allow employers with religious objections to exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans. ... The bill would amend a 12-year-old law that requires health plans that include coverage for prescriptions to cover contraceptives. The law does not affect plans that do not offer drug coverage, nor does it affect employers who self-insure (Love, 3/7).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Contraceptives Debate Appears At The Capitol
The national debate on insurance coverage for contraceptives made an appearance at the state Capitol on Tuesday with the introduction of a bill to mandate benefits for certain employer-sponsored health plans in Minnesota. ... The bill introduced Tuesday by Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, would extend the mandate to employer-sponsored health plans that have "grandfathered" status, meaning they were in place before the federal health care law was enacted (Snowbeck, 3/7).

Also, an abortion-related bill in moved forward in Oklahoma --

Politico: Fetal 'Heartbeat' Bill Advances In Oklahoma
The bill, approved 34-8, will now head to the Republican-dominated state House, Reuters reported. The original proposal required that women hear the heartbeat before having an abortion, but the bill's author watered down the measure to only require the abortion provider let a woman know of her right to hear the heartbeat (Weinger, 3/7).

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