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Longer looks: A new kind of abortion war; foster kids and psychotropic drugs

Longer looks: A new kind of abortion war; foster kids and psychotropic drugs

While pro-life activists fight to rescue IVF embryos from the freezer, pregnant women in their third trimester with catastrophic fetal anomalies have nowhere to turn. ... Perhaps there is no other issue that touches on so many core dimensions of American society-;legal, medical, scientific, theological, political, philosophical, biological, ethical, and ecological. What some on one side of the debate call reproductive justice, others call taking a life. What some call a person, others call a cluster of cells. [More]
Viewpoints: Check out those nursing home stars; Rove a 'bleeding heart liberal' on Medicare?

Viewpoints: Check out those nursing home stars; Rove a 'bleeding heart liberal' on Medicare?

Medicare has devised a rating system for nursing homes that portrays many of them as much better than they really are. [More]

California requires insurers to provide abortion coverage

Spurred by faculty and staff outrage over the refusal by two Catholic universities to pay for elective abortions, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration on Friday announced that health insurance companies in the state can no longer deny coverage for these procedures. California's Department of Managed Health Care, which oversees HMOs, issued letters to seven insurance companies saying refusing to pay for any abortion, whether medically necessary or not, violates the state constitution and a 1975 state law (Seipel, 8/22). [More]
First Edition: August 25, 2014

First Edition: August 25, 2014

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations include reports on Medicare ratings of nursing homes, the growing demand for home-health aides and accounts of the Obama administration's new contraception coverage rules. [More]
Viewpoints: 'Raw judicial politics' on health law; Texas abortion trial; suicide and gender

Viewpoints: 'Raw judicial politics' on health law; Texas abortion trial; suicide and gender

The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- has endured so many near-death experiences that digging into the details of still another effort to demolish it is admittedly not an inviting prospect. (My own reaction, I confess, to hearing some months back about the latest legal challenge -- this one aimed at the supposed effect of a single word in the 900-page statute -- was something along the lines of "wake me when it's over.") But stay with me, because this latest round, catapulted onto the Supreme Court's docket earlier this month by the same forces that brought us the failed Commerce Clause attack two years ago, opens a window on raw judicial politics so extreme that the saga so far would be funny if the potential consequences weren't so serious (Linda Greenhouse, 8/20). [More]
Longer looks: Falling teen birth rate; the right to pain relief; limiting access to Sovaldi

Longer looks: Falling teen birth rate; the right to pain relief; limiting access to Sovaldi

An infectious disease doctor at Tulane University, [MarkAlain] Dery treats people living with HIV in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the two largest cities in the southern state of Louisiana, which itself has the fourth-highest rate of HIV in the United States, just behind New York, Florida and Maryland. [More]
Handicapping how 'Obamacare,' other health issues play into campaigns

Handicapping how 'Obamacare,' other health issues play into campaigns

The New York Times examines how the outcome of midterm elections and subsequent efforts to replace parts of the health law could factor into the presidential campaign landscape. [More]

GOP candidates make late-term abortions campaign trail issue

Republicans who see potential on the Senate political map are turning to this issue as a counter-attack to Democrats' messaging on birth control and personhood. [More]
Iowa telemedicine abortion ban stands after ruling

Iowa telemedicine abortion ban stands after ruling

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland had claimed the ban was meant to limit abortions for women who live in rural areas. [More]
First Edition: August 20, 2014

First Edition: August 20, 2014

Today's headlines include a report from California that Anthem Blue Cross is being sued again regarding its narrow-network health plans as well as a prediction from Maryland officials regarding the state's online insurance marketplace. [More]
GOP ad strategy on health law shifts in Senate races

GOP ad strategy on health law shifts in Senate races

Some Republican strategists say the health overhaul is losing its punch, Bloomberg reports. In other political news, the American Hospital Association reports that it gave $3.3 million to state affiliates to lobby local officials on Medicaid expansion. [More]
New study highlights the need for evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education

New study highlights the need for evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education

A new national survey reveals that the political divide among red-versus-blue states does not support the hypothesis that knowledge about abortion and health is shaped by the state in which one lives. [More]
First Edition: August 19, 2014

First Edition: August 19, 2014

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including stories about a how a hospital system's data was hacked, involving as many as 4.5 million patients' records. [More]
Viewpoints: Va. GOP's 'Medicaid charade'; Paul Ryan's health Rx for poverty; giving the sick unapproved drugs

Viewpoints: Va. GOP's 'Medicaid charade'; Paul Ryan's health Rx for poverty; giving the sick unapproved drugs

Virginia lawmakers will convene in a special session next month to address the question of expanding Medicaid and, more broadly, the fact that hundreds of thousands of poor and disabled people in the state have no health insurance coverage. Democrats and some moderate Republicans have advanced a variety of ideas to tackle that problem. Conservative Republicans, who control the legislature in Richmond, have rejected those solutions while proposing no alternative. Does the GOP intend for the special session to be anything more than a charade at taxpayers' expense? (8/15). [More]
GOP Senate candidate seeks wider birth control access and end to charges of war on women

GOP Senate candidate seeks wider birth control access and end to charges of war on women

Rep. Cory Gardner is the first Republican candidate to talk up a new Republican idea of making birth control available over the counter. [More]

Fox News poll finds slim majority continues to oppose the health law

According to Fox News, opposition among voters has been above 50 percent for more than a year. Meanwhile, Politico Pro takes a look at the congressional district of the new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., where constituents who appear to be benefiting from new health law coverage are still supporting politicians like McCarthy, who want to repeal it. [More]
First Edition: August 15, 2014

First Edition: August 15, 2014

Today's headlines include a variety of updates regarding health policy and the health care marketplace. [More]
Longer looks: A sugar cube pyramid; Obamacare's successes; the suicide checklist

Longer looks: A sugar cube pyramid; Obamacare's successes; the suicide checklist

Dean Angstadt, a 57-year-old, self-employed logger, said that the Affordable Care Act saved his life. ... Kathy Bentozi, a 58-year-old Pennsylvanian, is also thankful for Obamacare. ... Joshua Haymore, a 27-year-old Coloradan, could not get a specialist to see him for weeks last year ... Now that he has Medicaid, his prescriptions cost $3 and his health has improved significantly. Those are just three of thousands of good-news stories coming from the insurance expansion in the Affordable Care Act. ... But there is scant evidence that Americans have started to take notice, or care (Annie Lowrey, 8/13). [More]

Closing arguments made in Texas trial over abortion restrictions

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel promised to rule in the case as quickly as possible. Whichever side loses is likely to appeal. [More]
First Edition: August 14, 2014

First Edition: August 14, 2014

Today's headlines include a report about an uptick in VA referrals to private physicians. Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby reports: "Some hospitals in New York, Florida and Wisconsin are exploring ways to help individuals and families pay their share of the costs of government-subsidized policies purchased though the health law's marketplaces – at least partly to guarantee the hospitals get paid when the consumers seek care. [More]