State Highlights: Texas Abortion Clinics Close As Court Fight Continues

A selection of health policy stories from Texas, New York, Kentucky, California and Virginia.

NPR: Clinics Close As Texas Abortion Fight Continues
The fight over abortion in Texas is being played out in federal court, where abortion rights activists are challenging a new state law. The measure bans abortions at 20 weeks, adds building requirements for clinics and places more rules on doctors who perform abortions. Some clinics have shut down, saying they can't comply with the law set to go into effect Oct. 29 (Lohr, 10/25).

The New York Times: Visiting Nurse Service Cuts 500 Workers
The move is new evidence of the turbulence in the home-care industry under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's sweeping redesign of Medicaid, which has transferred tens of thousands of people receiving long-term help from a fee-for-service system to managed care, in an effort to save money and reduce nursing home use (Bernstein, 10/24).

Louisville Courier-Journal: Gov. Steve Beshear Cites Improvements To Kentucky's Medicaid Managed-Care System
Nearly two years after Kentucky's Medicaid managed-care system sparked fallout with health care providers and patients, Gov. Steve Beshear says complaints have declined and claims are being processed more quickly -- despite critics who argue otherwise. Beshear, at a Capitol press conference Thursday, attributed the improvements to a corrective action plan he announced six months ago amid accusations that managed-care companies were delaying payments and denying drug coverage to boost their bottom line (Wynn, 10/24).

Lexington Herald-Leader: Beshear Says Medicaid Managed Care Program Saving Money, Improving Health
Six months after unveiling a plan to quickly resolve payment disputes between medical providers and Medicaid managed-care companies, Gov. Steve Beshear said the program is working. "In both health outcomes and financial savings, Medicaid managed care is succeeding in Kentucky," Beshear said Thursday at a Capitol news briefing (Brammer, 10/24).

California Healthline: Medi-Cal Transition 'Lessons Learned'
The Assembly Committee on Health oversight hearing yesterday on the many transitions of programs within the Department of Health Care Services was aimed at making sure shifts to Medi-Cal managed care plans are done with a maximum of consumer input and a minimum of disruption to Medi-Cal beneficiaries, according to committee chair Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). … The transitions into Medi-Cal managed care include about 380,000 seniors and persons with disabilities and about 860,000 children in the Healthy Families program, in addition to the upcoming duals demonstration program and the rural expansion into Medi-Cal managed care (Gorn, 10/24).

Politico: 'Serious' Ken Cuccinelli Keeps Calm At Debate
Cuccinelli tried to paint McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as a creature of Washington. He said he has fought the Environmental Protection Agency while McAuliffe supports President Barack Obama's "war on coal." He also used the botched rollout of Obamacare against McAuliffe, noting that his rival once supported a single-payer option and that expanding Medicaid in the state -- as he wants -- would bring even more headaches. "Send Washington a message and say no to Terry McAuliffe’s expanded Obamacare by voting for me on November 5th," Cuccinelli said (Hohmann, 10/24).

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