A selection of health policy stories from Arkansas, Wisconsin, Maine, Texas, Kansas, California and Minnesota.
The Associated Press: Abortion Opponents See New Opportunity In Arkansas
Abortion opponents in Arkansas see an opportunity to enact new restrictions, including a ban on the use of telemedicine to make the abortion pill available, with Republicans controlling both sides of the Legislature in next year's session. Fresh off an election where Republicans won control of the state House and Senate for the first time in 138 years, GOP lawmakers and anti-abortion groups are now focusing on a handful of bills they believe have a better chance (DeMillo, 11/25).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Right To Life Aims For Further Abortion Regulations
The state's largest anti-abortion group sees opportunities to place further regulations on abortion, including requiring women seeking the procedure to view an ultrasound of her fetus. Wisconsin Right to Life is also proposing banning abortions that would cause pain to the fetus, … Wisconsin Right to Life noted in an email to supporters that the election also put all of Wisconsin's state government in the hands of Republicans. ... Walker has yet to weigh in on the specific proposals (Marley, 11/24).
The Associated Press: Democrats May Reverse Maine Health Insurance Law
Democrats who've wrested control of the Legislature back from Republicans are poised to reverse a GOP health insurance overhaul when the 2013 session gets going. The law, passed in 2011 after Republicans pushed for years for the changes, seeks to lower health insurance costs and cover more Maine residents through a series of market changes (Adams, 11/24).
The Texas Tribune: For South Texas, No Easy Road To Medical School
When Travis County voters approved a ballot measure this month that paved the way for a new University of Texas medical school in Austin, many South Texans had to stifle the emotions that came most naturally: frustration and resentment. They had been trying for decades to secure financing for a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley, only to watch the deal get sealed first for their wealthier northern neighbor (Ramshaw, 11/25).
Kansas Health Institute News: Rural Kansas Towns Cope With Aging Hospital Facilities
Construction on a new $8.2 million hospital is scheduled to begin early next year in this small, south-central Kansas community. The project is in response to conditions common in many parts of rural Kansas where an increasingly aging population often is treated in outdated hospital facilities. ... 80 percent of the critical access hospital's business is from Medicare patients, said Alden Vandeveer, chief executive of the Kiowa District Hospital (Cauthon, 11/26).
Los Angeles Times: Health Insurer Sued Over Disclosure Of Exclusions
A health insurer owned by two Wall Street giants is headed to trial next week over claims it misled a San Bernardino County couple into buying a policy that left them with more than $140,000 in unpaid medical bills from cancer treatment. Norman and Kathleen Carter of Yucaipa are battling their insurance company, even as Kathleen continues to fight abdominal cancer (Terhune, 11/24).
The Associated Press: Minn. Health Incentives Raise Privacy Concerns
More Minnesota workers are considering financial incentives to participate in wellness programs that monitor their health, but those programs come at the sacrifice of some privacy. It's not uncommon for an employer to offer basic incentives, such as a discount for gym membership (11/24).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.