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High court allows Texas abortion clinics to stay open

High court allows Texas abortion clinics to stay open

The Supreme Court's order, staying a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, will allow more than a dozen clinics to resume operations at least temporarily, until a legal challenge has been settled. [More]
Viewpoints: Health law opposition not propelling GOP; keep politics out of the fight against Ebola

Viewpoints: Health law opposition not propelling GOP; keep politics out of the fight against Ebola

As recently as April, Obamacare was going to be the silver bullet for Republicans in this year's midterm elections. The leader of conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity said his plan was to make Obamacare "the No. 1 issue in the country." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared that the law would be "a huge disaster in 2014" and the deciding factor in November. Well, that was then. Now, three weeks from Election Day, some GOP challengers trying to knock off Democratic incumbent senators have scaled back their anti-Obamacare ads in favor of new targets such as the economy and national security (10/13). [More]

Opponents attempt to outlaw abortion state-by-state

The numbers have changed little over the decades: A majority of Americans support abortion. But across the country, the antiabortion movement has recorded major success in the last four years, part of a well-funded national strategy to legislate abortion out of existence state by state. Legislatures, many stocked with new Republican majorities, have passed laws that, if upheld, would drastically reduce access to abortion for millions of women (Semuels and La Ganga, 10/12). [More]
State highlights: Blue Cross Blue Shield dominant in Texas

State highlights: Blue Cross Blue Shield dominant in Texas

A selection of health policy stories from Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri and New Mexico. [More]

Abortion ads play big in N.H. and Colo. Senate campaigns

As the senatorial campaigns in New Hampshire and Colorado continue to highlight candidate positions on abortion, the rhetoric over the health law calms a bit. [More]
BGI issued patent for non-invasive prenatal genetic test technology

BGI issued patent for non-invasive prenatal genetic test technology

The European Patent Office has issued patent number EP2561103B1 for invention to BGI for its independently researched non-invasive prenatal genetic test (NIPT) technology. This technology has been developed by BGI in connection with the provision of its market leading NIPT, the NIFTY test. [More]
Viewpoints: Walmart and Obamacare; negative views continue of health law; Ebola preparedness

Viewpoints: Walmart and Obamacare; negative views continue of health law; Ebola preparedness

Walmart announced today that as of the beginning of next year it will be dropping health insurance for 30,000 employees who work less than 30 hours per week. Many liberals will react to the news by saying that it's just a profit-hungry corporation once again screwing over its employees. Conservatives are likely to say that this just shows what a mess Obamacare has created and why it should be repealed (Paul Waldman, 10/8). [More]
State highlights: Gubernatorial election outcomes will have big impact on health law's future

State highlights: Gubernatorial election outcomes will have big impact on health law's future

The deciding factor in the Senate races will be President Barack Obama's sagging approval numbers, he said, which are weighing down Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas. ... Mr. McAuliffe pushed Virginia legislators to expand the state's Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act last summer, but Republicans wouldn't have it (Bauerlein, 10/8). [More]
Medicare attack ads emerge in key Senate races

Medicare attack ads emerge in key Senate races

In recent weeks, Medicare has been an advertising topic in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa and Louisiana. Meanwhile, New Hampshire's Senate candidates discussed a range of health care topics during their first debate. [More]
State highlights: Ohio Medicaid and senior annuities; Mich. extends Medicaid dental coverage for kids

State highlights: Ohio Medicaid and senior annuities; Mich. extends Medicaid dental coverage for kids

A war is being waged in Ohio over whether elderly couples with one person in a nursing home can buy an annuity to keep the other from going broke -- and still apply for public assistance. Elder-law attorneys say the state isn't following federal laws regarding Medicaid-compliant annuities, and that's hurting middle-class seniors who worked hard and saved for a rainy day. Several courts seem to agree, with one judge recently putting the state on notice that it could lose millions of dollars in federal funding if it doesn't change its ways (Pyle, 10/6). [More]
Will Supreme Court hear another health law challenge?

Will Supreme Court hear another health law challenge?

As the court begins its new term, the justices will be asked to consider another challenge to the Affordable Care Act about whether individuals can qualify for federal subsidies if they live in a state with a federal, rather than a state-run, insurance marketplace. [More]

Closures force Texas abortion center staff, patients to reassess options

The decision last week by a federal appeals court closed many of the remaining abortion clinics in Texas and left some women scrambling for services. [More]

Viewpoints: Health costs and income inequality; vital matters when approaching life's end

Government data show that health costs are the biggest driver of income inequality in America today. Most employers pay workers a combination of wages and benefits, the most important of which is health coverage. Economic theory says that when employers' costs for benefits like health coverage rise, they will hold back on salary increases to keep total compensation costs in check. That's exactly what seems to have happened: Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that from June 2004 to June 2014 compensation increased by 28 percent while employer health-insurance costs rose by 51 percent. Consequently, average wages grew by just 24 percent (Mark J. Warshawsky and Andrew G. Biggs, 10/6). [More]
Democrats spotlight women's health issues

Democrats spotlight women's health issues

The issue is figuring prominently in races in Colorado and New Hampshire, where Democratic incumbents are highlighting their differences with Republican challengers. [More]
As new Obamacare enrollment period approaches, challenges loom

As new Obamacare enrollment period approaches, challenges loom

Officials hope to renew coverage for the 15 million people who signed up last year as well as expand the pool by another 10 million, but there are concerns about consumer costs and choices. [More]
Obama, health law star in campaign ads

Obama, health law star in campaign ads

The Center for Public Integrity says there have been more than 300,000 Obama-related ads this election cycle. Elsewhere, abortion figures prominently in Senate races such as Colorado's where Democrats look to push their differences with the GOP. [More]

Majority of remaining Texas abortion clinics likely to close after court ruling

A federal appeals court Thursday allowed Texas to immediately begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but seven abortion facilities in America's second most-populous state. A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans stayed a lower judge's ruling while it considers the overall constitutionality of key portions of Texas' sweeping 2013 abortion law, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry and other conservatives say is designed to protect women's health (10/2). [More]
Viewpoints: Another troubled website rollout; insurers fight consumer measures in Calif.

Viewpoints: Another troubled website rollout; insurers fight consumer measures in Calif.

If the federal government's new Open Payments website were a consumer product, it would be returned to the manufacturer for a full refund. Open Payments is the government's site for publishing payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals by drug and medical device manufacturers. It includes 4.4 million payments, worth $3.5 billion, to more than half a million doctors and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals (Charles Ornstein, 10/1). [More]
Study: Abortion restrictions lead to poorer health

Study: Abortion restrictions lead to poorer health

The study, however, was paid for by groups that support abortion rights. Elsewhere, California's Catholic Church leadership files a civil-rights complaint over making insurance plans cover abortion. [More]
Access to long-term contraception lowers teen pregnancy rates, study says

Access to long-term contraception lowers teen pregnancy rates, study says

The study counseled young women on the benefits of using long-lasting contraceptives like intrauterine devices and hormonal implants. [More]
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