KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: New Abortion Restrictions In Louisiana

A selection of health policy stories from California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Louisiana Anti-Abortion Bill Awaits Bobby Jindal's Signature, Likely To Shutter Most Clinics
A bill that could result in the shuttering of up to four of Louisiana's five abortion clinics overwhelmingly received full passage from the Louisiana Legislature Wednesday (May 21), and Gov. Bobby Jindal has indicated he will sign it into law. The legislation is, in part, based on a similar measure passed in Texas last year and led to the closing of several abortion clinics in that state. In its last legislative hurdle, the House concurred an amendment on Wednesday (May 21) that was added to the bill on the Senate side (Lane, 5/22).

The New York Times: With New Bill, Abortion Limits Spread In South
The Louisiana State Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill that could force three of the state’s five abortion clinics to close, echoing rules passed in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas and raising the possibility of drastically reduced access to abortion across a broad stretch of the South (Alford and Eckholm 5/21).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Minnesota, Not Florida, Not Hawaii, Is Healthiest State For Seniors
America’s Health Rankings Senior Report rated Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for adults aged 65 and over — beating out Hawaii. And that retiree and snowbird haven, Florida? It came in 28th (Stawicki, 5/22).

The Des Moines Register:  Dordt College Exempted From Contraceptive Mandate
A Christian college in northwest Iowa does not have to pay for employees' contraceptives — at least for the time being — a federal judge ruled Wednesday. Dordt College in Sioux Center had sued in court to be exempted from a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, which requires most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to employees. The college, which is aligned with the Christian Reformed Church, is one of numerous organizations that have contended the law violates its religious convictions against contraceptives (Leys, 5/21).

The Detroit News: 1 In 3 Detroit Pregnancies Ends In Abortion 
Nearly one-third of all pregnancies in the city of Detroit end in abortion, a statistic public health officials blame on rising poverty and dwindling access to affordable contraception. Of an estimated 18,360 pregnancies among Detroit residents in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, 5,693 ended in abortion, or 31 percent (Bouffard, 5/22).

The Seattle Times: Everett Clinic Starts Listing Some ‘Retail’ Prices online
Health care may be the only major sector of our economy where consumers frequently don’t know how much a service costs until after they’ve bought it. The Everett Clinic is working to change that. The Snohomish County health-care system is posting its prices online for anyone to browse. It’s believed to be the first big provider in the region to make this information so readily available (Stiffler, 5/21).

The Baltimore Sun: Harford Enlists Two Drug Programs In Battle Against Heroin Abuse
Harford County law enforcement and public health officials have been trying to battle opiate abuse, labeled the county's top drug problem, and are trying two new programs focused on administering anti-opioid drugs in overdose situations and at the county jail. The latest initiative will license any resident to administer naloxone, a drug that can be used in an emergency to turn back the effects of opioids such as heroin and morphine (Zumer, 5/20).

Los Angeles Times: Counties Sue Narcotics Makers, Alleging ‘Campaign Of Deception’
Two California counties sued five of the world's largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation's prescription drug epidemic by waging a "campaign of deception" aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin (Glover and Girion, 5/21).

The (Vancouver, Wash.) Columbian: Vancouver Clinic To Reduce Medicaid Services
The Vancouver Clinic will no longer accept new Medicaid clients and, over the next three years, will reduce the amount of Medicaid services it provides to Clark County residents. The Vancouver Clinic currently provides primary and speciality care for more than 36,000 Medicaid clients — more than any other community Medicaid provider — as well as specialty care for those other providers. Medicaid services account for 25 percent of the clinic's total business. Over the next three years, the clinic will reduce that amount to 10 percent (Harshman, 5/21).

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