KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State News: Virginia’s Abortion Rules; Calif. Rate Regulation Bill

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

The Washington Post: Virginia Officials Prepare To Release Draft Abortion Regulations
Virginia health officials are planning to release draft emergency regulations for abortion clinics as soon as Friday that reproductive-health activists say could impose strict physical, staffing and equipment requirements and could force many of the state's clinics to close. The General Assembly passed legislation this year mandating that Virginia's abortion clinics be regulated like hospitals. Currently, they are treated like doctor's offices (Sun and Kumar, 8/25).

The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle: Senate Gets Bill Regulating Health Insurance Rates
A key legislative committee approved a bill Thursday to give state regulators the power to reject proposed health insurance rate increases, but the measure faces a stiff fight on the California Senate floor. .. Even if it's passed by the Senate, the bill's fate with Gov. Jerry Brown is uncertain. His administration has warned about the potential for millions of dollars in new costs that could be incurred through hearings and appeals (Weintraub, 8/25).

The Sacramento Bee: California Bill On Epilepsy Medication Bucks Opposition From Teachers, Nurses
It's not often that the Democratic-controlled Legislature takes a stand against the state's Democratic Party chairman and the labor unions that are the party's main allies. But that's what happened Thursday, when a key legislative committee voted to move forward with a bill that would let school employees who are not nurses administer epilepsy medicine to children having seizures (Rosenhall, 8/26).

The Associated Press/Missoulian: State Employee Unions Say They Have Guarantee Health Premiums Won't Increase
The (Montana) employee unions say they have secured a guarantee that employee health insurance premiums won't go up in 2012 even as they continue to fight the state over a pay freeze imposed by the Legislature. The unions said Thursday that employees were facing a five percent cut in take home pay if employee premiums would have increased as expected in 2012 (Gouras, 8/25).

The Lexington Herald-Leader: As Many As 605 Refugees In Kentucky Could Lose Benefits Without Congressional Action
Although they're here legally, up to 605 elderly and disabled refugees in the state stand to lose their Supplemental Security Income benefits if Congress doesn't act by Sept. 30, according to local advocates. … SSI is a federal benefit program that provides a $674 base monthly income to people who can't work because of their advanced age or disability or blindness … Many of the refugees who could lose their benefits next month are unable to successfully take and pass citizenship tests in English because of their disabilities, according to Rev. Patrick Delahanty, Executive Director of the Frankfort-based Catholic Conference of Kentucky (Honeycutt Spears, 8/26). 

Georgia Health News: Agency Outlines Spending To Meet Justice Pact
The state agency overseeing mental health and disabilities services is facing budget cuts, but it still plans to spend hefty amounts to meet the goals of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. ... In that landmark 2010 accord, the state promised to establish community services, including supported housing, for about 9,000 people with mental illness ... Georgia pledged to stop putting people with developmental disabilities in the state's psychiatric hospitals (Miller, 8/25).

Los Angeles Times: California Mental Health Executive Wasted Public Funds, Audit Finds
An appointee of  former Gov. Pete Wilson wasted more than $51,000 hobnobbing with celebrities — attending events including the Golden Globe Awards, World Magic Awards and a Julio Iglesias concert — while claiming he was recruiting for an anti-stigma program at the Department of Mental Health, a state audit said Thursday (McGreevy, 8/26).

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