A selection of health policy stories from Arizona, Connecticut, D.C., Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi and Missouri.
The Associated Press: Mississippi: Governor Signs Abortion Restriction
Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill on Wednesday to ban abortion starting at the midpoint of a full-term pregnancy. Supporters say the measure will protect women's health; opponents say it is unconstitutional (4/24).
Reuters: Mississippi Sets 20-week Limit On Abortions
Mississippi will ban abortions after more than 20 weeks of pregnancy from July, joining other conservative U.S. states that have placed restrictions on the procedure. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but the practice still polarizes U.S. society (4/23).
The Washington Post: Gansler Calls Maryland's Health Exchange A '$200 Million Failure' In Latest TV Ad
Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday released his third television ad on health care, promising to "get tough" on proposed rate hikes by insurance companies and calling the state's online health exchange "a nearly $200 million failure." The 30-second spot, which Gansler's campaign said will debut Thursday in the Baltimore market, is Gansler's latest attempt to call attention to problems with the exchange, for which he has sought to pin blame on Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown (Wagner, 4/23).
The Wall Street Journal: Creditors Seek To Force D.C. Hospital Into Bankruptcy
A group of businesses owed more than $2.5 million by Washington, D.C.'s Specialty Hospital is seeking to push the troubled health-care facility into bankruptcy. Creditors of Specialty Hospital of Washington LLC, which runs the city's only long-term acute-care hospitals, Wednesday filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the facility in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del (Fitzgerald, 4/23).
The CT Mirror: The Basics: CT's Effort To Notify Patients Of Added Medical Fees
The state House of Representatives Wednesday passed a bill aimed at making sure patients know about extra charges they could face if they get outpatient care at medical offices owned by hospitals. The proposal, which passed unanimously, now goes to the Senate. Medical practices owned by hospitals can charge patients "facility fees" -- charges separate from doctor fees that often cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Many patients say they didn't realize they would face the additional charges until they got the bill (Becker, 4/23).
Kansas Health Institute News Service: Brownback Signs Controversial Health Care Compact
Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill that might make it possible for Kansas to join a compact of states that want the power to run Medicare and Medicaid within their borders. The new law also creates the possibility that the compact states could circumvent several key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare (Ranney, 4/23).
The Arizona Republic: Health Care Nightmares Day 4: Medical Coding Leaves 87-Year-Old Facing $32,000 Bill
Eileen Schraan's doctor told her to call 911. The 86-year-old woman had complained of shortness of breath and pain in her jaw, classic heart-attack symptoms. She was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the emergency room. Schraan was kept under observation for three days last year at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa while doctors tried to determine if she'd had a heart attack. ... Results were negative. Doctors sent her home with a diagnosis of TMJ, a joint problem with her jaw. Banner coded Schraan's bills with the same TMJ diagnosis and charged her more than $32,000 (Anglen, 4/23).
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Planning For The Aging Prison Population
Before long, the Missouri Department of Corrections, through its prisons, will operate one of the largest nursing home systems in the country. It already operates its own hospice program for prisoners. Since 2004, the number of older offenders incarcerated in Missouri prisons has almost doubled. Caring for the state's aging prison population may be manageable now, but soon will not be (Dierkes, Motil and Snow, 4/24).
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.