KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Texas, Feds Standoff On Women’s Health Continues

HHS Secretary Sebelius warned the state that funds would be cut off if officials carry out the threat of excluding Planned Parenthood.

The Texas Tribune: Video: Kathleen Sebelius On The Women's Health Program
On a Houston hospital tour on Friday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned that the federal government is on the brink of cutting off funding for Texas' Women's Health Program over the state's insistence on excluding Planned Parenthood (Dehn, 3/12). 

The Texas Tribune: Storify Timeline on the Texas Women's Health Program
Started in 2006 with goals that included reducing the number of Medicaid births in the state, The Women's Health Program saved the Medicaid program approximately $75.2 million by averting an anticipated 6,721 births in 2009. ... Here's a look at the Tribune's coverage of this issue since it came onto the political radar during last year's legislative session. The Women's Health Program is separate from the state's family-planning funds, which lawmakers reduced by two-thirds. (Tan, 3/12). 

Houston Chronicle: Houston Democrats Seek Alternative Funding For Women's Program
Leading Houston Democrats in favor of a seemingly doomed health care program for low-income women are pushing to bypass the state to keep federal money flowing to Planned Parenthood. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and state Rep. Garnet Coleman said Monday they are negotiating with U.S. Health and Human Services in hopes of finding alternative funding for the program, which provides health screenings and contraceptive services to 130,000 Texas women on Medicaid (Ackerman, 3/12).

Also in the news --

USA Today/Religion News Service: Bishop Hopes To Restart White House Contraception Talks
The Catholic bishop leading the push against the White House's contraception mandate says the bishops hope to restart contentious talks with the Obama administration, but cautioned that church leaders "have gotten mixed signals from the administration" and the situation "is very fluid." Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who chairs the religious liberty committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Religion News Service that Catholics have to stay united if the hierarchy is to have any chance of prevailing in negotiations with the White House (Gibson, 3/12).

Denver Post: Birth-Control Debate Lands At Colorado Capitol With Competing Rallies
The national debate over birth control arrived on the west steps of the state Capitol on Monday with two rallies featuring competing messages from legislators, activists and faith leaders over whether insurers should be required to cover contraception. Democratic legislators gathered with officials from Planned Parenthood in a rally they styled as an effort to protect women's health. Hours later, Republicans assembled to cast the debate in terms of religious liberty (Lee, 3/13).

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