KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Daniels Signs Ind. Law To Ban Planned Parenthood Funding

Los Angeles Times: Indiana Governor Signs Planned Parenthood Funding Ban
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican considering a run for president, signed legislation Tuesday to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding in his state, a move widely seen as a bid to woo influential social conservatives. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the American Civil Liberties Union went to court to try to block the measure from taking effect (Levey, 5/11).

Chicago Tribune: Abortion Restriction Effort Not Gaining Much Traction In Illinois
The conservative push in other states to restrict abortion rights hasn't gained much traction in Illinois, largely because Democrats continue to control the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn opposes most restrictions (Wilson, 5/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Texas Legislation Adds Conditions On Abortion
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign a law soon requiring a woman seeking an abortion to have a sonogram and hear a description of the fetus, including whether it has developed fingers, toes or internal organs. The goal, supporters say, is to improve medical care for women and encourage them to reconsider having abortions. ... Abortion-rights supporters say there is no evidence that sonograms, also known as ultrasounds, affect a woman's decision on abortion. ... In the past decade, more than 20 states have passed laws involving sonograms for women seeking abortions. Most simply require that ultrasounds be performed. But the Texas and Oklahoma laws, as well as legislation under consideration in Alabama, go further by requiring a woman who wants an abortion to be told in detail about her fetus's development (Campoy, 5/11).

Kaiser Health News: Letter From California: Exchange Board Has Daunting Task
California, which has had a long, sometimes-tortured history of trying to overhaul its health care markets, beat every other state last year when it passed a law creating a health insurance exchange – an online marketplace where millions of uninsured residents will be able to get insurance. Now the board overseeing the exchange must ensure that coverage on the exchange, which must be up and running in 2014, is affordable and easy to buy (Abramson, 5/10).

Des Moines Register: Advanced Degrees In Nursing On The Rise
The number of advanced practice nurses in Iowa is growing, but more are needed to meet the demands of the future. Virginia "Ginny" Wangerin, president of the Iowa Nurses Association, said that advanced practice nurses fill a gap in care. "They're not a physician and they are not replacing physicians, but they are extending the care that people can get," she said. Advanced practice nurse practitioners in primary care settings focus on promoting wellness, managing disease and minimizing the high cost of chronic care (Villanueva-Whitman, 5/10). 

California Watch: Probe Finds Hospital Chain Inaccurately Diagnoses Infections
A California hospital chain under investigation for allegations of overbilling the Medicare system has inaccurately diagnosed patients with a blood infection known as septicemia – a complex and deadly condition that hospitals are paid a premium to treat, a state investigation has found. California Department of Public Health inspectors examined records at four hospitals owned by Prime Healthcare Services and found that 22 of 120 patients diagnosed with septicemia showed few symptoms of the disease. ... Medicare pays bonuses of several thousand dollars per case for treating elderly patients with septicemia, federal records show (Jewett and Williams, 5/7). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Concession Talks May Be Last Chance For Pension Changes Until 2017
Dannel P. Malloy's been governor for only four months, but he might never again see the opportunity he has now to achieve a top priority of permanently shrinking two long-term labor costs: pensions and retiree health care. If concession talks end without a deal, Malloy has no obvious leverage to force state employees back to the bargaining table before their current contract on pension and health benefits expires in 2017, three years after the next gubernatorial election (Pazniokas, 5/11).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mental Health Care Cost Unlikely To Fall
Any saving from a proposed downsizing of Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex would likely be eaten up by rising costs of shifting more patients to community-based care, supervisors said Tuesday. The county is moving toward building a new complex for about 120 patients -- fewer than half the number now treated at the old complex on the County Grounds -- and caring for more patients in outpatient programs (Schultze, 5/10). 

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