State Highlights: Appeals Court Upholds Ariz. Abortion Law

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

The Associated Press/MSNBC: Arizona Court Clears Way For Abortion Restrictions
An Arizona appeals court ruled Thursday to allow key parts of a state law restricting abortions to take effect, including one that requires women to see a doctor in person the day before getting an abortion to hear about risks and alternatives. ... The appellate court's ruling also covers provisions banning nurses from performing surgical abortions and requiring parental consent forms to be notarized for minors getting abortions. ... The new provisions could take effect as soon as a month from now but could be held up for more than a year if Planned Parenthood files an appeal in the Arizona Supreme Court (Myers, 8/11).

The Texas Tribune: 31 Days, 31 Ways: Abortion Sonogram Law Takes Effect
Throughout the month of August, The Texas Tribune is featuring 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature — including the dramatically reduced budget — take effect. ... Women seeking an abortion in Texas will be required to hear a description of the results of an ultrasound examination. ... Women seeking abortions must then wait 24 hours before having the abortion performed, unless they live more than 100 miles away from the nearest clinic, in which case the waiting period is two hours (Wiseman, Tan and Hooks, 8/11). 

CQ Health Beat: Study: HMOs Thrive In Southern California County
Orange County California's health care market stands apart from many others around the country with its heavy use of the HMOs where doctors have flourished under that model's fixed per-member, per-month payments, according to a new Community Report released Thursday by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Because so many physician groups, including large, multispecialty medical groups and independent practice associations (IPAs), have bought into the HMO concept, the HMO model remains popular in the face of new models, such as PPOs and POS plans, because of cost advantages and a wide choice of providers, the report said (8/11). 

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Changes To State Insurance Plan To Bridge $800 Million Gap
Facing an $800 million-plus shortfall in the state employee insurance plan in the next two years, Georgia health officials have approved widespread changes to the program -- including premium increases for workers -- to help close the gap (Williams, 8/11). 

Health News Georgia: State Health Plan To Get Wellness, Kids Changes
State employees and schoolteachers will get a substantial discount on their health insurance premiums if they enroll in a new wellness plan, officials said Thursday. Members of the State Health Benefit Plan, which covers 700,000 people, including state retirees, school personnel and dependents, will face a standard 17 percent hike in health premiums starting in January. But if they opt for the wellness program, the increase will be 11 percent (Miller, 8/11). 

Health News Florida: Medical Board Hosts Revoke-A-Thon
The Florida Board of Medicine, moving like greased lightning, put 14 doctors out of business in just six hours last Friday. ... Among the doctors who lost their licenses Friday were three who had criminal convictions, but the others were ultimately ousted for failing to heed past orders to pay fines, perform community service, or show up for hearings (Gentry, 8/11). 

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