KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Abortion Restrictions Having Impact

In Kansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas, new laws limiting abortion providers spur changes for clinics and patients.

The Associated Press/ABC News: A.C.L.U. Halts Challenge In Kansas On Abortion Coverage'
The American Civil Liberties Union ended its challenge to a Kansas law restricting private health insurance coverage for abortions. A court filing shows the parties have agreed to dismiss all remaining claims ... The agreement followed a federal judge’s Jan. 7 ruling that, as a matter of law, the A.C.L.U. failed to provide any evidence that the Kansas Legislature’s predominant motivation in passing the 2011 law was to make it more difficult to get abortions (Hegeman, 1/19).

News & Observer: More Abortion Legislation May Be Headed For General Assembly
Proposals to exclude abortion coverage from federal health insurance exchanges and to outlaw abortions based on gender preferences are two pieces of legislation likely to come before the General Assembly this session, a state lawmaker said Saturday. Although North Carolina has not yet established an insurance exchange program as required by the federal Affordable Care Act, lawmakers already are planning to remove abortion coverage as a potential option, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam said (Elder, 1/21).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Most Pa. Clinics Complying With New Abortion Law
Six months after Pennsylvania began regulating abortion clinics as outpatient surgery centers under a controversial new law, most clinics are complying - and complaining. The state lists 17 abortion providers, down from 22 a year ago. But only 13 of the remaining providers have been approved to do surgical abortions, a loss of five surgical facilities. The four remaining clinics are restricted to providing nonsurgical terminations using abortion pills. ... it's too soon to tell if the measure will drive up prices and further reduce women's access to abortion, as critics have predicted (McCullough, 1/22).

Meanwhile --

The Texas Tribune: Interactive: Are There Enough Providers In The Texas Women’s Health Program?Since Texas replaced the Medicaid Women's Health Program with the Texas Women's Health Program — an effort to exclude providers affiliated with abortion clinics and, in particular, Planned Parenthood — Democratic legislators and family planning advocates have questioned whether the remaining providers enrolled in the program have the capacity to absorb the 40,800 patients that Planned Parenthood saw last year. In response, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission conducted a survey of women's health providers near those Planned Parenthood clinics to find out whether Texas WHP patients would have trouble accessing services (Aaronson, 1/21).

 

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