Roundup: Sole Abortion Clinic In Miss. Sues Over New Law; Kansas Awards Medicaid Managed Care Contracts
A selection of health policy stories from Mississippi, Kansas, California, Missouri, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Reuters: Mississippi's Sole Abortion Clinic Sues Over New Law
The lone abortion facility in Mississippi asked a federal court on Wednesday to block a new state law that will require doctors who perform the controversial procedure to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The law, set to take effect on Sunday, threatens to make Mississippi the only U.S. state without an abortion clinic. Some anti-abortion state lawmakers say they hope that would mean an end to abortions there (Le Coz, 6/27).
The Associated Press: Lone Miss. Abortion Clinic Fights Limiting Law
Mississippi's only abortion clinic sued Wednesday to stop a law that it says will effectively ban abortion in the state and endanger women's health by limiting access to the procedure. Jackson Women's Health Organization said in the federal lawsuit that the measure would close the clinic, is unconstitutional and would ban abortion in Mississippi "by imposing medically unjustified requirements on physicians who perform abortions" (Wagster Pettus, 6/27).
Kansas Health Institute: KanCare Contracts Awarded
As part of the push by Gov. Sam Brownback to remake the state Medicaid program, Kansas officials today announced contract awards to three Medicaid managed care companies. Kansas Medicaid serves about 350,000 Kansans at an annual cost of about $2.8 billion. The program, if implemented as proposed, would be divided equally among the three companies, each of which will be expected to provide services statewide. Brownback has said the chief aims of his proposed reforms, called KanCare, are to curb growth in state Medicaid spending while improving health outcomes for the people who rely on the program's coverage (Shields, 6/27).
Los Angeles Times: CalPERS Considers Revamping Health Plans To Lower Its Medical Tab
California's biggest health care buyer isn't happy about its $7-billion annual medical bill climbing almost 10 percent next year, and the state's big insurers may be feeling the heat. The California Public Employees' Retirement System is preparing to rebid its health insurance business this fall for 1.3 million members, and two of its current plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California, are likely to face intense competition as the giant pension fund considers its options (Terhune, 6/28).
St. Louis Beacon: Advocates For Disabled Sue State To Thwart Medicaid Policy Change
June is turning out to be a bittersweet month for some disabled Missourians. The good news is that more of them will be allowed to remain in their homes rather than move into nursing homes, thanks to $100.9 million made available under the Affordable Care Act if the law is upheld by the Supreme Court. The bad news is that, beginning July 1, Missouri is headed for a Medicaid spend-down showdown unrelated to the ACA. That's the day when some chronically ill and disabled dialysis patients may end up having to move into nursing homes anyway as Missouri corrects what it says was an error in state Medicaid policy (Joiner, 6/27).
Boston Globe: Aetna, Massachusetts Settle Insurance Dispute For More Than $1M
Aetna Life Insurance Co. has agreed to pay more than $1 million in civil penalties and restitution to settle charges that it failed to cover health insurance benefits mandated by Massachusetts law and deceptively marketed health care coverage to college students in the state. The deal was spelled out in a consent judgment filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, along with a complaint by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, outlining the scope of alleged consumer violations by the national insurance giant (Weisman, 6/28).
North Carolina Health News: NCHN Exclusive: Don Berwick Interview
Former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Dr. Don Berwick was in Charlotte this week to speak to a conference of public health experts. NCHN editor Rose Hoban sat down with him to get his thoughts on changes in the health care system in the U.S. and in North Carolina (6/27).