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State highlights: Calif. health insurers and contraception coverage; Alaska sues Xerox over Medicaid payment systems

State highlights: Calif. health insurers and contraception coverage; Alaska sues Xerox over Medicaid payment systems

Health insurance policies in California will have to cover all federally approved contraceptives for women by 2016 without charging co-payments under legislation signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown, countering trends in other states and the U.S. Supreme Court. The bill, SB1053 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, expands state laws that required coverage for most birth-control drugs and devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new law mandates coverage for all FDA-approved contraception, prohibits co-payments and includes managed-care Medi-Cal plans, which are not expressly covered by current laws (Egelko, 9/27). [More]
Viewpoints: Hospitals helped by Medicaid expansion; why GOP candidates back OTC contraceptives

Viewpoints: Hospitals helped by Medicaid expansion; why GOP candidates back OTC contraceptives

Now the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report showing that ... thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals across the country will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2014. [More]
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy have no negative effect on unborn babies

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy have no negative effect on unborn babies

Children who are exposed to chemotherapy or radiotherapy while in the womb suffer no negative impacts on mental or cardiac development, international studies presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid have shown. [More]
Texas Rep. Brady ready to brawl for ways & means top spot

Texas Rep. Brady ready to brawl for ways & means top spot

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, announced he will seek the chairmanship of this powerful House panel. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was expected to have a smooth path to that position. [More]
Viewpoints: Surgery surprise: Out-of-network doctors' bills; consequences of making Medicaid enrollees pay premiums

Viewpoints: Surgery surprise: Out-of-network doctors' bills; consequences of making Medicaid enrollees pay premiums

The New York Times' Elisabeth Rosenthal offered an important lesson in healthcare economics over the weekend that's a must-read for anyone about to undergo a major medical procedure. [More]
Research roundup: Home health nurses' workloads; readmissions at the VA; SHOP choices

Research roundup: Home health nurses' workloads; readmissions at the VA; SHOP choices

In anticipation of next year's premium announcements and given some information already made public, concerns have surfaced about the potential for double-digit percent increases in nongroup and small-group health insurance premiums. This analysis shows that, although average annual increases in small-group premiums over the past 13 years averaged roughly 5.5 percent, double-digit average premium increases are common for states and large metropolitan areas. [More]

Many see health law coverage as affordable, survey finds

That's most true among low-income consumers who receive subsidies to help pay their premiums, according to the Commonwealth Fund survey. [More]
Ramucirumab Phase III study meets primary endpoint in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer

Ramucirumab Phase III study meets primary endpoint in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer

Eli Lilly and Company today announced that the RAISE trial, a Phase III study of ramucirumab (CYRAMZA) in combination with chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), met its primary endpoint of overall survival. [More]
Missouri sets 72-hour wait for women seeking abortions

Missouri sets 72-hour wait for women seeking abortions

The Republican-controlled legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto to enact one of the most stringent waiting periods in the nation that includes no exception for cases of rape or incest. [More]
Health law may be reducing pressure on some ERs

Health law may be reducing pressure on some ERs

The Affordable Care Act is relieving financial pressures on some hospitals by reducing unpaid emergency room bills and may also be curbing the growth of such visits, CBS News reports. [More]
USFDA clears Caya- contoured diaphragm for marketing in the United States

USFDA clears Caya- contoured diaphragm for marketing in the United States

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has cleared the Caya- contoured diaphragm for marketing in the United States, bringing women one step closer to a new option for safe and effective non-hormonal contraception. [More]
State, Congressional candidates go on the record with health policy issues

State, Congressional candidates go on the record with health policy issues

The physician who is campaigning to become Kansas's Lieutenant Governor talks health care payment models while candidates in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut take on policies ranging from over-the-counter birth control to the interaction between the health law and Medicare. [More]
Research specifically targets males' accessibility to emergency contraception

Research specifically targets males' accessibility to emergency contraception

Male shoppers in search of emergency contraception do not always have an easy time making these purchases and may be turned away at their local pharmacies. [More]
Miriam Hospital receives grant from NIH to prevent spread of sexually transmitted HIV in women

Miriam Hospital receives grant from NIH to prevent spread of sexually transmitted HIV in women

The Miriam Hospital is part of a research collaboration that has received a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an intravaginal ring (IVR) that can deliver powerful antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted HIV in women. [More]
Viewpoints: Health spending on the rise; GOP's new 'passion for the pill'

Viewpoints: Health spending on the rise; GOP's new 'passion for the pill'

The latest federal estimates of health care spending offer some good news: The growth rate for spending in 2013 will remain at a low level for the fifth straight year. [More]
Women's health issues key in Colorado Senate race

Women's health issues key in Colorado Senate race

News outlets examine how contraception issues and the health law are playing in the Colorado and Kentucky Senate races. [More]
First Edition: September 4, 2014

First Edition: September 4, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about a new government report that predicts a rebound in national health spending. [More]

Over-the-counter birth control issue finds its way into midterm election debates

Some Republican Senate candidates have expressed support for allowing certain types of contraception to be sold without a prescription. Critics say it is part of a strategy to "muddy the waters" regarding the Hobby Lobby case. [More]
First Edition: September 3, 2014

First Edition: September 3, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about how insurers and consumers are bracing for round two as the health law's online insurance marketplaces prepare for open enrollment season. [More]

Obamacare questions: What about Taxes? Will employer insurance last?

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it required health insurers, hospitals, device makers and pharmaceutical companies to share in the cost because they would get a windfall of new, paying customers. [More]