Culture Wars Over Transgender Rights, Abortion, Safe-Injection Sites To Dominate 2020 State Legislative Sessions
The state battles that experts expect to see in 2020 reflect a deepening cultural divide within the country over how to address public health issues. Republicans still control a majority of state capitals, but Democrats have made gains in recent years. The dynamic could set off some fireworks in the coming year. Meanwhile, hospitals are fighting state-level laws to rein in health care costs, foreshadowing issues that might come in any federal push to do the same.
The Washington Post:
Abortion. Transgender Rights. Voting Access. Polarizing Issues Could Dominate Statehouse Agendas In 2020.
Republican-controlled state legislatures are gearing up to try to tighten abortion laws across the country, while some states controlled by Democrats are looking to enshrine the right to choose into law. It’s one of a handful of deeply polarizing issues that could dominate state legislatures in 2020, a potential sign of the partisan gridlock that’s to come — and the efforts to rally supporters during a hyperpartisan presidential election year. With about 38 state legislatures set to reconvene in January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers are preparing to debate issues that affect life’s most intimate decisions. (Craig and Wax-Thibodeaux, 12/22)
Hospital Opposition To State Health Care Reforms Foreshadows Challenges For Congress
State lawmakers seeking to rein in health care costs are facing formidable pushback from hospitals, foreshadowing the obstacles a Democratic president and Congress would also face if they try to follow through on bold promises for health reform. As Democratic presidential candidates argue about the merits of “Medicare for All” versus a public option, states are pursuing the latter and getting hammered by hospitals and insurance companies that would stand to lose money under those changes. (Hellmann, 12/21)
Kaiser Health News:
Texas Law Highlights Dilemma Over Care For Patients With No Hope Of Survival
Critically ill Tinslee Lewis ― a Fort Worth baby embroiled in a dispute between her family and a hospital over whether to continue life-sustaining treatment ― is the most recent public face of the heartbreaking and intractable dilemmas often confronted quietly in intensive care units. But her circumstances are complicated by a rare law that Texas enacted two decades ago, which critics say gives hospitals the upper hand on whether to stop treatment. Just 15 to 20 years ago, disputes between doctors and families over the futility of further medical care flared once or twice each year, said Dr. Robert Truog, a pediatric intensive care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Huff, 12/23)
Meanwhile, in Virginia —
The Wall Street Journal:
In Virginia, Democrats Get Ready To Rule The Roost
Gun control. Civil rights. A minimum-wage increase. Virginia Democrats have a long list of goals for the legislative session that starts next month, and with their newfound power they are confident they can achieve many of them. “I’m excited for January to get here, because we’re going to do some good things for Virginia and really respond to what Virginians have asked for for many years,” Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said in an interview. (Kamp and Calvert, 12/22)