KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: July 13, 2012

Today's headlines reflect continuing coverage of how the nation's governors are handling the high court's decision allowing states to opt out of the health law's Medicaid expansion.

Kaiser Health News: Maine’s Efforts To Pare Medicaid May Put It On Collision Course With Administration
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "In what is shaping up as the first state-federal showdown on Medicaid following the Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health law, Maine is moving ahead with plans to cut about 38,000 people from its rolls to balance its state budget" (Galewitz,7/12). Read the story.

Kaiser Health News: Ten Things You Didn't Know Were In The Affordable Care Act
Kaiser Health News staff writers David Schultz and Christian Torres write: "So you think the Supreme Court upheld a law that requires most people to buy health insurance? That's only part of it. The measure's hundreds of pages touch on a variety of issues and initiatives that have, for the most part, remained under the public's radar" (Schultz and Torres, 7/12). Check out the list.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Mayo Clinic 'Affiliations' Spread The Brand
Now on the blog, Minnesota Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stawicki, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "There's a lot of jockeying for position in the health care market as medical centers prepare to implement the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act. The debate over the health care law has created a lot of uncertainty in the market. Many health care providers are responding by linking with each other to manage the risk" (Stawicki, 7/12). Check out what else is on the blog.

The New York Times: Lines Are Drawn Over Opting Out Of Medicaid Plan
In the weeks since the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of a plan to vastly expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care law, several Republican governors have vowed to do just that, attacking the expansion as a budget-busting federal power grab (Goodnough, 7/12).

The Washington Post: Medicaid Expansion A Tough Sell To Governors Of Both Parties
While the resistance of Republican governors has dominated the debate over the health-care law following last month's Supreme Court decision to uphold it, a number of Democratic governors are also quietly voicing concerns about a key provision to expand coverage (Aizenman and Tumulty, 7/12).

USA Today: Health Law Ruling Reveals Governors' Split
A 50-state survey by USA TODAY shows only Republican governors are refusing to expand Medicaid and only Democrats are vowing to expand it following the court's ruling that states cannot be penalized for failing to enlarge the program. More than half the governors are undecided (Wolf, 7/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Republican AGs Push To Block Health Care Law's Birth Control Rule Despite Supreme Court Ruling
Seven states trying to block part of the federal health care law that requires contraception coverage will continue with their lawsuit despite last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld most of the law, according to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who is leading the case (7/12).

Los Angeles Times: Kentucky To Implement Key Part Of Obama's Healthcare Law
As right-leaning states such as Texas and Florida redouble their opposition to President Obama's healthcare law in the wake of last month's Supreme Court decision, Kentucky is joining the list of states that will establish its own insurance exchange in 2014, implementing a central pillar of the Affordable Care Act (Levey, 7/12).

The New York Times: Campaign Memo: Candidates Racing For Future, Gaze Fixed Firmly On The Past
Mr. Obama's campaign on Thursday hammered Mr. Romney over business deals from the turn of the century, just days after the president summoned supporters to the East Room for the latest salvo over tax cuts enacted by his predecessor a decade ago. Mr. Romney's Republican supporters in Congress countered by voting in the House to repeal Mr. Obama's two-year-old health care program and by trying to force a Senate vote on President George W. Bush's tax cuts (Baker, 7/12).

Politico: DCCC: We're Winning On Health Care
The day after the House voted to repeal the health care law again, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it's winning the health care debate and Democratic members are now on "offense" (Nocera, 7/12).

Los Angeles Times: Fresno, Orange County Rank Lowest On Hospital Prices, Study Show
The typical patient in the San Mateo area was charged nearly $48,000 for a Cesarean birth in 2010 while the average charge in Fresno was less than $13,000, according to a report published Thursday by the California Public Interest Research Group's Education Fund, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. The group found that surgery charges were highest in the Alameda and San Mateo areas and the lowest in the Fresno and Orange County regions. The Los Angeles and Ventura areas were close to the state median on surgery charges, according to the report (Terhune, 7/12).

NPR: State Legislatures Stay Busy On Abortion Laws
2011 was a banner year for state laws restricting abortion. And 2012 looks like runner-up. That's the central finding of the midyear report from the Guttmacher Institute, the reproductive policy research group that keeps track of such things (Rovner, 7/12).

The New York Times: Lawsuit Tries To Block New Arizona Abortion Law
A group of doctors and women's rights advocates challenged Arizona's new abortion limits in a federal lawsuit on Thursday, claiming that they violate the Constitution and pose a threat to women's health (Eckholm, 7/12). 

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