A selection of health policy stories from Colorado, Virginia, California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida and Kansas.
The Associated Press: State Laws Varied On Gun, Abortion Laws
The U.S. Supreme Court says women in America can terminate a pregnancy and that every citizen has an individual right to own a firearm, but those rulings have done little to settle political arguments over abortion and guns. The result is an uneven medley of state laws, which means that just how you can exercise those constitutional rights depends on where you live, and the differences often turn on whether a state is run by Democrats or Republicans (Barrow, 6/8).
Stateline: Majorities Drive Sweeping, Divergent Changes Across States
Gun curbs? Colorado got it done. Driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for immigrants in the country illegally? Done. A new school-spending plan, an elections overhaul, Medicaid expansion? Done, done and done. Democrats, with a majority in both houses of the Colorado legislature after years of shared control, seized all they could in a whirlwind legislative session that Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll described as "historically productive." … Of course not all decisions have been darkly shaded in red or blue. In Colorado, lawmakers came together to tax and regulate marijuana, which voters last year approved for recreational use. … And in Virginia, legislators reached across the aisle to find billions in new revenue for long-needed transportation projects. Under a compromise with Democrats, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who championed the package, promised to expand Medicaid under certain conditions. However, he has since refused expansion (Malewitz, 6/10).
Los Angeles Times: Negotiations Could Yield Health Care Deal In Capitol
County officials and Gov. Jerry Brown's administration are inching toward a compromise on health care funding. The potential deal is the result of intense negotiations, including face-to-face meetings, phone calls and late-night text messages (Megerian and York, 6/7).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: In Iowa, Payments For Medicaid-Funded Abortions May First Need OK From Anti-Abortion Governor
Iowa's Medicaid program covers a small number of abortions each year due to rape, incest, fetal deformity or to protect a mother's life. Currently handled by the state Department of Human Services, the Medicaid reimbursements cost the state less than $20,000 last fiscal year. The change in who approves the payment is a result of Iowa's unusual political landscape (6/7).
Philadelphia Inquirer: Cooper Health To Team With Houston Cancer Center
In a move with potential to shake up the health care market in Philadelphia and beyond, Cooper University Health Care in Camden is expected to announce on Monday a partnership with the MD Anderson Cancer Center of Houston, one of the nation's top-ranked treatment and research facilities. Cooper officials said they had signed a letter of intent to form the partnership with MD Anderson, which will manage a new $100 million cancer treatment center at Cooper's hospital campus in Camden (Mondics, 6/10).
Health News Florida: Who Forgot To Fix Compounding Law?
The 2013 Legislature could have fixed a tiny gap in Florida law that blocks health officials from regulating hundreds of out-of-state compounding pharmacies that ship high-risk drugs into this state. But that didn’t happen. No bill was ever filed (Gentry, 6/7).
Kansas Health Institute: State Officials Submit First Quarterly KanCare Report To Feds
Kansas officials this week made public their first quarterly report to federal authorities on the progress of KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback's initiative to move virtually all the state's Medicaid enrollees into privately run managed care plans. The initiative was launched Jan. 1 with federal approval as part of a so-called Section 1115 Medicaid waiver intended to demonstrate that the Kansas plan can curb program costs while improving outcomes for the state's more than 380,000 Medicaid beneficiaries (Shields, 6/7).
California Healthline: DHCS Transparency Bill Moves Forward
The Senate Committee on Health this week approved a bill that would set new standards of accountability and transparency at the Department of Health Care Services. AB 209 by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) received unanimous committee approval Wednesday and now heads for a Senate floor vote, the step before it can be sent to the governor's desk. The bill wants to hold the department accountable for problems that arise with patients moving to Medi-Cal managed care plans with stronger, measurable benchmarks, Pan said (Hart, 6/7).