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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

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]
State highlights: Fed. judge in Ore. rules health plan wrongly denied autism coverage; new rules could disrupt care for disabled Kansans

State highlights: Fed. judge in Ore. rules health plan wrongly denied autism coverage; new rules could disrupt care for disabled Kansans

In a potentially far-reaching opinion, a federal judge in Portland has ruled that Providence Health Plan wrongfully denied insurance coverage for groundbreaking autism therapy for two Portland boys. [More]
State highlights: Aging inmate care outside prison; Colo.'s teen birth rate drop; Minn. rural doc shortage

State highlights: Aging inmate care outside prison; Colo.'s teen birth rate drop; Minn. rural doc shortage

Providing health care to an aging prison population is a large and growing cost for states. Not only do inmates develop debilitating conditions at a younger age than people who are not incarcerated, but caring for them in the harsh environment of prisons is far more expensive than it is on the outside. [More]
First Edition: August 12, 2014

First Edition: August 12, 2014

Today's headlines include stories about how the federal government's experience with healthcare.gov has led to the creation of the U.S. Digital Service. [More]
GOP efforts to become 'party of yes' will likely include 'realistic' proposals to change the health law

GOP efforts to become 'party of yes' will likely include 'realistic' proposals to change the health law

In what is emerging as an aggressive strategy for Congressional Republicans, these proposals would likely follow an early and largely symbolic vote to repeal the overhaul. Meanwhile, much is at stake in state-level elections. [More]
Viewpoints: The doctor is in -- at Walmart; a 'hole' in the Halbig strategy

Viewpoints: The doctor is in -- at Walmart; a 'hole' in the Halbig strategy

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to disrupt another mass market: health care. The company is piloting what it hopes will be a broad network of primary-care clinics. [More]
Out-of-state clinic key to Texas abortion law battle

Out-of-state clinic key to Texas abortion law battle

Challengers of a tough Texas law regulating abortion clinics argue that it would soon close El Paso's sole abortion clinic. [More]
First Edition: August 8, 2014

First Edition: August 8, 2014

Today's headlines include reports that President Barack Obama signed into law the $16.3 billion measure to overhaul the veterans' health system. [More]
State highlights: Abortion restrictions prompt Senate fights; Vt.'s single payer March; Kan. uninsured numbers up

State highlights: Abortion restrictions prompt Senate fights; Vt.'s single payer March; Kan. uninsured numbers up

The 2014 campaign hasn't had the equivalent of Todd Akin's infamous rape comments driving the abortion debate. Instead, Democrats and Republicans are using a slew of new state abortion restrictions as weapons in the tight battle for control of the Senate. [More]
First Edition: August 7, 2014

First Edition: August 7, 2014

Today's headlines include stories about how uninsured people fare with the health law's exemptions. [More]
Viewpoints: Higher costs don't mean better health quality; states and the uninsured

Viewpoints: Higher costs don't mean better health quality; states and the uninsured

The good news about health care spending continues. In the first nine months of this fiscal year, Medicare spending increased only 1.2 percent in nominal terms, and for 2014, it's now projected to be $1,000 lower per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office said it would be as recently as 2010. Even the Medicare trustees are starting to recognize that something big may be happening. In evaluating the recent deceleration, however, a crucial question remains: Can slower cost growth continue without harming the quality of outcomes? (Peter R. Orszag, 8/5). [More]

Texas abortion providers ask federal court to block portion of stringent state law

Owners of abortion clinics in the state are seeking relief from enforcement of a state law that is set to take effect Sept. 1. It sets out the same strict building and equipment regulations that are applied to ambulatory surgical centers. Monday marked the first day of court room action. [More]
GOP operatives in search of anti-health law messages that will stick

GOP operatives in search of anti-health law messages that will stick

Politico reports that, as the midterm elections are quickly approaching, Republican pollsters are testing out messages with likely voters in order to determine which ones resonated best with key target groups. [More]

Federal judge strikes down Alabama abortion clinic law

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Monday that state lawmakers exceeded their authority when they passed a law last year requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. [More]
First Edition: August 5, 2014

First Edition: August 5, 2014

Today's headlines include coverage of a partnership between two of California's largest insurers in which they will join forces to create a database of patient medical records. [More]
State highlights: Calif. contemplates drug testing for doctors; Federal trial testing Texas abortion law begins today

State highlights: Calif. contemplates drug testing for doctors; Federal trial testing Texas abortion law begins today

At a time when random drug testing is part of the job for pilots, train operators, police officers and firefighters -; to name a few -; one high-profile line of work has managed to remain exempt: doctors. [More]
First Edition: August 4, 2014

First Edition: August 4, 2014

Today's headlines include a variety of health policy stories reflecting developments on the state level. [More]
Health law critics ask Supreme Court to take case about subsidies

Health law critics ask Supreme Court to take case about subsidies

The appeal comes after the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld the administration's use of subsidies on the federal insurance marketplaces. [More]