KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: States’ Anti-Abortion Laws; Unproven Cancer Therapy; Paying For Retirees’ Health Benefits

The New York Times: Targeting Women
Since last year, 13 states, including Kansas, have enacted laws banning insurance coverage of abortion in the health insurance exchanges created by the federal health care reform law. Some states have gone even further, aggressively restricting abortion coverage even in private insurance plans sold outside the exchanges. ... These cases, some of which are being appealed, are testing whether the antiabortion movement will get its way. It shouldn’t (8/29). 

The New York Times: The Annals Of Extreme Surgery
Doing more for cancer patients has often served a cultural as opposed to a scientific purpose, reflecting more the desire to defeat the cancer enemy than to take care of sick patients. Hospitals should offer heated chemotherapy — and insurance companies should pay for it — only after controlled trials have proved its effectiveness (Dr. Barron H. Lerner, 8/29). 

Sacramento Bee: Health Plan Would Offer Same Benefits But Lower Premiums
Senate Bill 703 would provide more than 720,000 low-income Californians with quality health insurance coverage for as little as $20 a month – with no additional cost to state taxpayers. ... [The federal health law] allows states to create a state-run, federally financed basic health program for low-income individuals. It is targeted at low-income working adults with incomes just above Medicaid levels – $15,000 to $21,800 – as well as legal immigrants who are not eligible for Medicaid (John Ramey, 8/30).

Detroit Free Press: Negotiate A Sustainable Plan For Retiree Health Care Now
In an ideal world, Gov. Rick Snyder and state employee unions would preclude the necessity for any further judicial review of legislation mandating that state employees contribute 3% of their pay toward a retiree health care fund. A state Court of Appeals panel dealt the measure another blow last week, upholding a trial judge's ruling that the 2010 mandate is unconstitutional. Alas, it's probably too much to hope that this problem will be resolved via bargaining (8/29).

Providence Journal: Parity For Kids' Mental Health
The latest example of how our government continues to maintain discriminatory funding policies specifically directed against children with mental-health issues involves federal support for graduate medical education (GME). ... Getting children's psychiatric hospitals recognized as legitimate sites of medical education is one such obstacle on the road to real parity that has both symbolic and pragmatic importance (Dr. Gregory K. Fritz, 8/30).

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