State Roundup: Calif. Speeds Ahead On Health Reform; Nebraska Abortion Provider Expanding Clinics; Ky. Hospital Merger

The Sacramento Bee: "California has moved quickly to implement key provisions of the federal health care overhaul law, including a health benefits exchange, but the exchange – and California's plans – could be vulnerable as House Republicans threaten to starve the federal health program of funding. Last month, California became the first state to begin establishing a state-run health insurance exchange that is supposed to open for business by 2014 to help millions of the state's uninsured obtain health insurance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has given the state $1 million – with possibly more funding to come, federal officials said – to help set up the exchange" (Calvan, 11/11). 

The Associated Press/Chicago Tribune: "The University of Louisville took an initial step Thursday toward merging its health care system with two large health care providers in a potential partnership to combat Kentucky's persistent medical woes. UofL trustees authorized university President James Ramsey to sign a letter of intent aimed at combining UofL Health Care with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare/Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services and Catholic Health Initiatives and its Kentucky-based operation, Saint Joseph Health System. ... Ramsey touted the partnership as a way to strengthen UofL's research, medical teaching and outreach in lean budgetary times. ... Health-care analysts point to a national trend of hospital mergers" (Schreiner, 11/11).

Related KHN story: As They Consolidate, Hospitals Get Pricier (Appleby, 9/26)

The Des Moines Register: "Iowa abortion opponents say they will work to block a Nebraska abortion provider from opening a clinic in Council Bluffs. Dr. LeRoy Carhart has been the center of controversy for years because he performs late-term abortions. This week, he told reporters that he intends to open clinics in Council Bluffs, Indianapolis and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Nebraska has a new law banning abortions after 20 weeks of gestation" (Leys, 11/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: "A Nebraska doctor who is one of few in the U.S. performing late-term abortions said Wednesday he wants to ensure more women have access to the procedure by expanding to states where it remains legal. … Carhart's expansion plans trouble anti-abortion groups, but those groups also say his plans are a sure sign that Nebraska's new restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy are working. … [Nebraska's] law departs from the standard of viability -- generally considered to be between 22 and 24 weeks -- established by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade" (Funk, 11/10). 

The News Service of Florida/Miami Herald: "A veto override planned by Florida's Republican legislative leaders is driving a wedge between major GOP donors, with business groups and health care giants Wednesday renewing their fight over a prescription drug bill. ... supporters say [the bill] will save private companies $34 million in workers' compensation costs by reducing prescription costs. ... The legislation was approved last spring 38-0 in the Senate, and by the House, 120-0. But even [Barney Bishop, of Associated Industries of Florida] said the toughest provisions of the bill -- which limits doctors' ability to distribute repackaged prescription drugs to injured workers -- were added late through his organization's lobbying" (Kennedy, 11/11).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.