KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Hightlights: GOP Tries Abortion Issue To Lure Hispanic Vote

A selection of health policy stories from Texas, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and West Virginia.

Texas Tribune/New York Times: G.O.P. Pursues Hispanic Votes With Abortion Stance
Following this summer’s divisive abortion debate in the State Legislature, Texas Republicans see an opening for the 2014 election as they work to reach out to Hispanic voters who could be spurred to the polls by the party's anti-abortion stance. But Democrats see the plan as a losing proposition for Republicans, arguing that the reputation of most Hispanics as socially conservative is inaccurate and that Hispanics tend to side with Democrats on the issues that matter most to them (Ura, 11/2).

The New York Times: Long-Term Care Agency To Repay Millions To Medicaid For Enrolling Ineligible Patients
The largest managed long-term care agency in New York has agreed in principle to repay $33.6 million to the state’s Medicaid program for improper billings linked to the use of social adult day care centers, the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, announced on Friday. As part of the settlement with the attorney general’s Medicaid fraud control unit, the state will allow the agency, VNSNY Choice, to resume enrolling patients in its long-term care plan (Bernstein, 11/1).

The New York Times: Both Sides Invoke Obama in Climax of Virginia Governor’s Race
At the same time, Mr. Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, sought to turn the race into a referendum on the disastrous rollout of the federal health care exchange, mockingly welcoming Mr. Obama to Virginia. "Come on in, Mr. President, we're happy to see you," Mr. Cuccinelli told supporters on Saturday. "You just bring everybody's focus to Obamacare." Outside of a high school here where Mr. Obama spoke, a sizable band of protesters waved signs reading "You Lie!" referring to the hundreds of thousands of people whose health insurance is being canceled under the overhaul law, despite Mr. Obama's pledge that people who liked their plans could keep them (Gabriel, 11/3).

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 147,000 Children Across Pa. Found To Lack Health Insurance
More than 147,000 children in Pennsylvania lack health insurance, according to a recent study, despite the commonwealth's goal of ensuring coverage for all kids. Between private insurance, Medicaid for kids from low-income families and the Children's Health Insurance Program -- which covers children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford private insurance -- children in the commonwealth ought to be universally covered. So why are some kids still uninsured? (Giammarise, 11/4).

Reuters: Texas Women Turned Away At Abortion Clinics After Court Ruling
Women seeking to terminate their pregnancies were turned away at clinics across Texas on Friday, providers said, after strict new regulations for physicians who perform abortions prompted a dozen facilities to stop offering them. Facilities that continue to perform abortions were flooded with calls from women trying to find alternatives, clinic officials said (Brooks and Garza, 11/1).

The Associated Press: Access To Calif. Assisted Care Records Difficult
Despite a California law requiring assisted-care facility licensing reports to be easily viewable to the public, access to important background information on the facilities can be difficult to find, a newspaper reported Sunday. Records detailing elder care home evaluations were locked behind a security checkpoint at a state Department of Social Services regional office in Oakland, and access to case files were denied over concerns about confidentiality, the Contra Costa Times reported (11/3).

The Associated Press: Study: W. Va. Inmate Health Care Costs Rise 38%
West Virginia's spending on prisoner health care shot up 38 percent between 2001 and 2008, but the state still ranks 36th out of 44 states included in a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Charleston Daily Mail reports West Virginia's health care costs rose from $15.7 million to $21.7 million during the period (11/1).

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