State Highlights: Calif. Bill To Expand Abortion Providers Passes

A selection of health policy news from Texas, California, North Carolina, Missouri, Oregon and Colorado.

Dallas Morning News: Some Texas Abortion Clinics Prepare To Shut Down After New State Law
At least four abortion clinics in rural Texas and possibly three more are preparing to close, hobbled by a state law that requires the clinics to meet tougher medical standards. Administrators say a major reason for shuttering the clinics is that their doctors are having trouble getting admitting privileges (9/04).

Bloomberg: Insurers Pay Hospitals Twice Rate Of Rivals In Some Areas
Kansas City, Missouri, and Indianapolis residents with private health plans face some of the widest disparities in U.S. hospital costs, often being charged twice as much as nearby facilities, a study found. The highest-priced hospitals in 13 cities studied are typically paid 60 percent more for inpatient services and almost double for outpatient care than the lowest-priced hospitals in the same communities, according to a study released today by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Hospitals with more market power have greater muscle in negotiations with insurers and can extract higher prices, the group found (Armour, 9/5).

California Healthline: Abortion Bill OK’d, Headed To Governor
The Assembly gave final approval last week to a bill designed to allow certain mid-level providers to perform aspiration abortions in the first trimester when supervised by a physician. Approval of the bill was linked by one Republican legislator to rejection of a different measure to expand mid-level practitioners' role in a more general clinical setting. An Assembly floor vote concurred amendments and approved AB 154 by Assembly member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) on Friday. The bill already passed Assembly and Senate votes, and now heads to the governor's desk (Gorn, 9/4).

The Associated Press/Raleigh News & Observer: Berger Says NC Medicaid Delays To Get Addressed
The North Carolina Senate's top leader said Wednesday he's committed to resolving difficulties with new state computer programs that process Medicaid claims and determine whether people qualify for government services. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, told the chamber's ranking Democrat on the Senate floor that fellow Republicans would work with the minority party to address delays related to the Medicaid system and another program, NC FAST (Robertson, 9/4).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Kaiser Health News: 'A Calling' To Care For The Poor At St. Louis' Grace Hill Community Centers
Community health centers such as Grace Hill are a linchpin of President Barack Obama's administration's efforts under the Affordable Care Act to eventually contain the nation's health care costs by providing cost-effective, primary care to the poor. But key government funding for Grace Hill and other smaller nonprofit community health centers in St. Louis is in jeopardy, while the number of people in need of free and discounted care continues to rise (Doyle, 9/5).

The Lund Report: Pfizer, Eli Lilly And Genetech Pour Money Into State Elections
Nineteen drug companies have spent a combined half a million dollars since 2011 trying to influence elections and legislation, led by Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Genentech. Pfizer, known for Viagra, Zoloft and Xanax, is the world's largest drug company by revenue, and Eli Lilly is the world's largest manufacturer of psychiatric medications, such as Prozac (Gray, 9/4).

Denver Business Journal/Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Court Hears Challenge To Foundation's Sale Of HealthOne Assets To HCA
It’s been almost two years since the Colorado Health Foundation sold its share in the HCA-HealthOne system, but opponents of the deal still are trying to get the transaction nullified. Former board members of the state’s largest foundation argued in the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday that Attorney General John Suthers erred in allowing the $1.45 billion sale to HCA Holdings Inc. to go through in October 2011, saying that the transaction fundamentally altered the oversight of a seven-hospital system that had been run jointly by the foundation and Nashville-based HCA (Sealover, 9/4).

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.