Roundup: Texas will keep Planned Parenthood Women's Health Program for now; Kids' autism covered in Wash. Medicaid; UnitedHealth selling S.C. Medicaid biz

A selection of health policy stories from Texas, Washington state, Minnesota and Georgia.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Texas Retains Old Women's Health Program With Planned Parenthood For Now
Planned Parenthood will continue to receive funds from a joint Texas and federal program providing health care to low-income women, despite the state's promise to exclude its clinics by Nov. 1 because they are affiliated with abortion providers (10/31).

Houston Chronicle: Texas To Keep Planned Parenthood In Health Program – For Now
Planned Parenthood will remain part of the Women's Health Program for now, state officials said Wednesday, putting off the organization's ouster as critics questioned whether enough health-care providers would exist without it. Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek cited court action and a desire to hold on to federal funding in putting off Thursday's anticipated start of a new Texas Women's Health Program, which would be run only with state dollars and without Planned Parenthood. Perry on Wednesday said Texas remains committed to barring the clinics from the program, saying state law excludes those affiliated with abortion providers (Fikac, 10/31).

The Seattle Times: Autism Therapy To Be Covered For Children On Medicaid
Children with autism spectrum disorders insured by the state's Apple Health program, including those on Medicaid, will be covered for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy under a lawsuit settlement approved by U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones. The lawsuit was filed by the Northwest Justice Project, a statewide legal aid program, in the wake of similar settlements in other class-action suits brought by law firm Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore against insurers' limits or exclusions of neurodevelopmental and behavioral therapies. The state has already settled one lawsuit for ABA coverage under the Uniform Medical Plan for state employees and some school districts and local governments (Ostrom, 10/31).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: UnitedHealth Is Selling Its S.C. Medicaid Business
UnitedHealth Group Inc., usually in the buyer's seat, is selling off its Medicaid business in South Carolina. The Minnetonka-based health care company said Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans Inc., which will take over insurance coverage for about 65,000 low-income people in 39 of South Carolina's 46 counties. The move divests all of UnitedHealthcare's Medicaid managed-care operations in the state, though it still covers 255,000 people through workplace insurance plans and another 75,000 seniors enrolled in Medicare (Crosby and Kennedy, 10/31).

Georgia Health News: Novant Health Seeking More Expansion In Georgia
North Carolina-based Novant Health made waves in Georgia health care recently when it struck a partnership deal with Memorial Health in Savannah. … Interstate deals like these are just one aspect of hospital consolidation, a process that has changed the health care landscape in Georgia and other states in the past year. Novant is considered among the most aggressive nonprofit health organizations. And the company says it will seek to expand further in Georgia (Abree, 10/31).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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.




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