KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mo. College Files Its Own Lawsuit Over Contraception Mandate

A Missouri Christian college is joining the fight against the health law's mandate that insurance plans cover contraception by filing its own lawsuit.

The Associated Press/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Missouri College Sues Over Contraception Mandate
The College of the Ozarks in southwest Missouri is joining opponents of the new federal health care law with its own lawsuit over the law's birth control component. Officials of the Christian college near Branson said they would file suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield over the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act. The federal law requires contraception coverage in employer health insurance plans. The College of the Ozarks says the requirement violates its institutional religious beliefs (9/17).

In the meantime, Texas and Virginia officials also consider the contraception rule and new abortion regulations --

The Texas Tribune: Texas Renews Effort To Fight Contraception Rule
Birth control is now covered under all employers' health plans, but on Friday, Texas renewed its effort to revoke that rule. Texas, six other states, two individuals and three Catholic organizations filed an appeal to challenge the decision of a federal judge in Nebraska, who dismissed their lawsuit earlier this summer (Aaronson, 9/14).

Politico Pro: Va. Health Board OKs Regulations For Abortion Providers
On Friday, the Virginia Board of Health approved regulations for abortion providers that that could put many of them out of business. But it took a couple of tries. The regulations, approved in a 13-2 vote, specify that facilities that provide more than five abortions a month will have to comply with construction standards for hospitals. The board said the new rules would affect all 20 abortion providers in the state. But it's the second time the board has considered the change. In June, the board passed the regulations, but also included a provision that would grandfather in existing abortion providers, so they wouldn't be impacted by the rules (Smith, 9/14).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia Board Of Health Approves Stricter Abortion Clinic Rules
The state Board of Health voted 13-2 on Friday to adopt regulations that require existing abortion clinics in Virginia to be regulated like new hospitals. While anti-abortion advocates hailed the decision, abortion-rights supporters said that if the regulations stand, the costs of upgrades required under new construction standards could force some of Virginia's 20 clinics to close. Immediately after the roll call vote, shouts of "Shame, shame, shame on you!" erupted from abortion-rights supporters, who were subsequently escorted from the room by security (Nolan, 9/15).

The Washington Post: Existing Va. Abortion Clinics Lose Exemption From Strict Building Rules
Virginia’s Board of Health did an about-face on abortion regulations Friday, voting to impose strict, hospital-style building standards even on existing clinics and reversing its June decision. The reversal came two days after the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) sent a letter to board members advising them against grandfathering clinics — and warning that they could be personally liable for legal fees if they were sued after ignoring his legal advice (Vozzella, 9/14).

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