A selection of health policy stories from New York, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: States Increasingly Saying 'No Way' to Federal Laws Ranging From Guns To Drugs And Health Care
An Associated Press analysis found that about four-fifths of the states now have enacted local laws that directly reject or ignore federal laws on marijuana use, gun control, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses. The recent trend began in Democratic leaning California with a 1996 medical marijuana law and has proliferated lately in Republican strongholds like Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback this spring became the first to sign a measure threatening felony charges against federal agents who enforce certain firearms laws in his state (6/21).
The New York Times: Weiner Wants City To Test Single-Payer Health Care
Vowing to "make New York City the single-payer laboratory in the country" if he is elected mayor, Anthony D. Weiner on Thursday presented an ambitious plan to create a Medicare-like system for the coverage of municipal workers, retirees and uninsured immigrant residents left out of the Affordable Care Act (Bernstein, 6/20).
Los Angeles Times: Hoag Hospital's Abortion Ban Linked To New Catholic Partner
When Hoag Hospital announced this spring that it would no longer provide elective abortions, officials at the esteemed Orange County medical center said the decision was made because of low demand. But records and interviews show the decision was closely tied to the Newport Beach hospital's new partnership with a Catholic health care provider (Cowan and Gorman, 6/20).
Georgia Health News: Discount Plan May Draw Few HIV Patients (Video)
When Vincent McDaniel was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991, doctors gave him a year to live. But 22 years later, he was working as a volunteer bagging canned goods, cereals and other foods for himself and other clients in the food pantry at AIDS Athens, an HIV/AIDS outreach clinic. AIDS Athens, housed in a nondescript office building on the edge of the historic Georgia city, supports a few of the estimated 5,000 local residents who have no health insurance. When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a fine. But for those whose incomes are low enough, the requirement will be waived (Smith, 6/20).
Reuters: Docs May Cherry-Pick Cases After Death Rate Reports
Doctors may avoid treating the sickest heart patients with a common procedure after their hospitals are marked as having high death rates, says a new study that points to a possible unintended consequence of transparency. Researchers found the severity of cases treated at four Massachusetts hospitals was lower after they were labeled "outliers" for having high death rates after stenting between 2003 and 2010, compared to their counterparts with lower death rates (Seaman, 6/20).
St. Louis Beacon: On Top Of Layoffs And Service Cuts, Add 'Bay State Boondoggle' To Problems Afflicting Hospitals
Pemiscot Memorial Hospital, in Hayti, Mo., is on the equivalent of life support, unsure how long it will survive without an infusion of more federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars. In most rural communities as well as in large and small cities, the challenges facing hospitals are not as dire as the case of Pemiscot, but all are being forced to cope in a new health care environment as a result of sequestration, failure of Medicaid expansion and other cost factors (Joiner, 6/20).
Kansas City Star: Lawsuit Challenges New Kansas Abortion Law
Kansas abortion providers sued state medical and legal authorities Thursday, alleging that a new law set to take effect July 1 would violate their freedom of speech rights. Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc. and its medical director, physician Orrin Moore, contend in the federal lawsuit that disclosure requirements written into the new law compel abortion providers to approve of the government's view of abortion (Morris, 6/20).
HealthyCal: Clinics Unite To Better Serve Low-Income Patients
It is 9 a.m. on a Tuesday and the St. John's Well Child & Family Wellness Center in South Los Angeles is busy. More than 40 adults and children sit in the clinic’s large waiting area while the sounds of friendly conversations in Spanish and English, ringing cell phones and fussing youngsters fill the air. In the middle of this, Olivia Mendez stands and begins to speak, first in Spanish, then in English, her voice rising above the buzz while her partner Evelia Castaneda hands out literature (Fulton, 6/20).
California Healthline: Bill Would Exempt Some Skilled Nursing Facilities From Cut
The Senate Committee on Health yesterday approved a measure to reverse some of the Medi-Cal provider rate cuts passed by the Legislature two years ago. It's an urgency bill, which means it needs a two-thirds legislative vote to pass. AB 900 by Assembly member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) would reverse cuts to one specific type of health care facility -- hospital-based, distinct-part skilled nursing facilities (Gorn, 6/20).
California Healthline: New Budget Makes 'Major Change' To Lanterman Act, Autism Policy
A small, obscure provision in the California budget bill passed last week is the culmination of a number of changes and limitations in autism treatment recently made by the state. The provision deals with regional centers, the private not-for-profit companies that operate 21 regional centers under contract with the state, to provide or coordinate services for Medicaid beneficiaries with developmental disabilities, including autism (Gorn, 6/20).
Des Moines Register: Insurance Program For Chronically Ill To End
The government is shuttering a health insurance program for Iowans with expensive chronic diseases. People who are in HIP Iowa-Fed are being offered the chance to enter a similar federal program, but some of them could wind up having to spend thousands of extra dollars. The decision, which takes effect June 30, will affect 371 Iowans (Leys, 6/21).