KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Federal Judge Lets Ariz. Abortion Rules Stand; Mich. Medicaid Expands

News organizations report on health care developments in Arizona, California, Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia.

The New York Times: Judge Won’t Block Rules On Abortion Drug In Arizona
A federal judge in Tucson has refused to block some of the strictest rules in the nation on the use of abortion drugs. The rules, which were approved by the Arizona Legislature in 2012 and will take effect on Tuesday, restrict the use of a medication to induce abortions during the early stages of pregnancy to the first seven weeks (Schwartz, 3/31).

The Associated Press: Judge Won't Block New Arizona Abortion Drug Rules
The most stringent restrictions in the nation on the use of abortion drugs were allowed to take effect Tuesday by a federal judge’s ruling in the latest in a series of court fights over Arizona abortion laws. U.S. District Judge David C. Bury on Monday refused to stop the new rules just hours before they were to take effect. Opponents of the rules said they would continue to challenge the restrictions in court (Galvan, 4/1).

Detroit Free Press: Michigan's Expanded Medicaid For 470,000 Recipients Kicks Off Today
The long-awaited Healthy Michigan plan, the state’s unique version of expanded Medicaid, opens today .... Healthy Michigan, accessible through, extends publicly funded health care coverage to 470,000 Michiganders. The portal,, was scheduled to launch at 12:01 a.m. (Erb, 4/1).

MLive: 6 Things To Know As Michigan's Expanded Medicaid Program Launches Today
Enrollment begins today for Michigan's expanded Medicaid program. State officials say they're ready to handle a "large number of people" applying for the health insurance program that's available to some 477,000 low-income Michiganders. The plan, called Healthy Michigan, is expected to cover 320,000 people in the first year (Anders, 4/1).

The Washington Post: Creigh Deeds Vows To Keep Working On Virginia's Mental Health System
Referring to newly passed reforms as "modest," state Sen. Creigh Deeds said Monday that he plans to keep the pressure on his colleagues to fix Virginia’s long-troubled mental health system. "My scars aren't going away," Deeds (D-Bath) told an audience at the National Press Club on Monday. "Believe me, I’m not done" (Shin, 3/31).

The Associated Press: Senator: 'Real Work Lies Ahead' On Mental Health
During this year’s legislative session, Deeds, who was the Virginia Democratic nominee during the 2009 gubernatorial campaign, helped push through several changes to the state’s current mental health system. Most notably, the General Assembly approved legislation that extends the time allotted for finding a bed for those under an emergency custody order to 12 hours. If no private beds can be found after eight hours, a state hospital will now be required to admit (Frommer, 3/31).

MinnPost: How Do Shuttling Snowbirds Handle Their Health Care?
After his wife died, Wade Dickey bought a house in Florida. A native Minnesotan, he spends each spring and summer in his home in New Brighton. And every fall, he heads south for the winter. ... Considering that many people at that life stage experience significant health problems, the snowbird lifestyle poses a pressing question: How do people who potentially face a number of health issues tend their care while living in two places? (Harvey, 3/31).

The California Health Report: Charitable Program Helps To Fill The Dental Care Gap
When the first storm of the season hit California’s Central Coast, the rain was no deterrent to the more than 300 people who showed up at Blanco Circle Dental Care in Salinas, seeking free treatment. They starting arriving the night before—some sleeping in cars, some sleeping in tents—waiting out the frigid February downpour in hopes of getting their teeth fixed. "There is no safety net for dental care in Monterey County," said Dr. Gary Klugman, DDS, owner of Blanco Circle and organizer of the event. After volunteering at a Dentistry from the Heart event in Santa Rosa last year, Klugman was so touched that he decided to bring the program to Salinas (Dayton, 4/1).

The California Health Report: Medi-Cal Doctors Have Yet To See Pay Boost Required By Obamacare
Everyday George Ma waits for the money the state owes him. The internist, who sees some of Los Angeles' most destitute residents and receives meager reimbursement, was supposed to get a pay boost beginning in January 2013 as part of the Affordable Care Act. But the state Department of Health Care Services and the managed-care plans it contracts with have been slow to turn over the tens of millions owed to California doctors, including Ma. The result is that the federally mandated pay boost is not having its intended effect of encouraging more primary-care doctors to accept low-income patients or accept them in larger numbers (Guzik, 3/31).

The San Francisco Chronicle: Supervisor Campos Seeks Overhaul Of S.F. Health Care Program
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos on Tuesday will introduce legislation to overhaul the city's universal health care program in an attempt to ensure that people who can't afford insurance on the state exchange can remain in the low-cost program and that employers cannot reclaim employees' unspent health care funds. The city's Healthy San Francisco program, created in 2007 as the first of its kind in the country, is not considered insurance because it doesn't cover participants when they travel outside city borders. That means it doesn't satisfy the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act, which mandated that individuals have health insurance as of Monday or face a tax penalty (Knight, 3/31).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.