State News: Calif. Health Care Special Session Priorities; Nurse Practitioner Role Debated In Minn.

A selection of health policy stories from Michigan, California, Kansas and Minnesota.

Detroit Free Press: Abortion Bill Heads To Snyder's Desk After House Vote
An omnibus abortion bill, approved by the Senate on Wednesday, passed the House early this morning by a 72-35 vote, after a controversial requirement that an aborted fetus be buried, cremated or interred was removed earlier this week. Democrats offered a handful of amendments, some referred to as "what’s good for the goose is good for the gander," to require men to undergo physical exams before being prescribed Viagra or to get a vasectomy. But all the amendments were shot down. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bill into law. … A separate bill that would have allowed health care providers to opt out of procedures to which they had moral or religious objections did not come up for a vote, meaning it effectively dies for the year (Erb and Gray, 12/14).

California Healthline: Setting Priorities In Health Care Special Session And Beyond
California's march toward health care reform may be picking up speed after clearing several hurdles over the past year coupled with the election of a supermajority of Democrats in the state Legislature. … As a precursor to shifting into a higher gear, the Democrat-dominated Legislature will convene a special session next month on health care. We asked legislators and stakeholders to use post-election perspective to tell us what priorities should be in the special session. And looking ahead to the legislative year, we asked what health care issues they see on the horizon for 2013 (12/13).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: More Independence Sought For 5,000 Nurse Practitioners
For years, nurse practitioners in Minnesota have been able to see patients only in association with a licensed doctor. But a governor's task force says it's time to let those nurses work independently -- in part, because of a coming shortage of primary care physicians. The proposal, which has been opposed by physician groups, was endorsed Thursday in the final report of the state Task Force on Health Reform, headed by Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. The report is expected to set the stage for a debate in the Legislature, which must approve any changes (Lerner, 12/13).

California Healthline: Sonoma Center Facing State Sanctions
The California Department of Public Health took a major step this week toward decertifying and revoking the license of the intermediate care facility at Sonoma Developmental Center. The Sonoma facility, which serves 290 people with intellectual disabilities, is expected to appeal the state action. The original survey in July by the Department of Public Health found 57 deficiencies, and four instances of immediate jeopardy to residents. The facility had two three-month periods to correct those problems. According to CDPH officials, time is up (Gorn, 12/14).

Detroit Free Press: Tax Cuts, Fiscal Cliff Could Push Michigan Back Into Deficit Territory
The State of Michigan, widely credited with righting its financial ship since 2011 after years of crisis, is again facing potential deficits that could be aggravated by a raft of bills passed in the lame duck session that ended Thursday, officials warned. … The document also identifies about $2.1 billion in other revenue issues unrelated to the lame-duck session, including $1.4 billion in additional money needed to fix roads and a $145-million shortfall in the Health Insurance Claims Assessment tax, a 1 percent tax on certain health insurance claims that took effect this year, replacing an earlier health tax that was eliminated (Egan and Gray, 12/14).

Kansas Health Institute News: KHIE Board Members Get Cold Feet On Legal Changes
A recently approved plan to move the duties of the Kansas Health Information Exchange to the state health department is getting a second look from the KHIE board members because they're uncertain how the 2013 Legislature might deal with it. "There's nervousness about whether this Legislature would accept the changes and pass it on through," KHIE, Inc. board chair Dr. Joe Davison told KHI News Service after the board met Wednesday. "We want to make sure it passes. The way it stands now, (current law is) better than nothing." KHIE was the public-private entity created to oversee the digital exchange of Kansans' health records (Cauthon, 12/13).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major 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.