KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Budget Cutting Causes Closure Of 50 Clinics Offering Family Planning Services

Cuts to Texas' budget have caused more than 50 clinics that provide family planning services to close, a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports.

The Texas Tribune: Report: Family Planning Cuts Caused 53 Clinics To Close
More than 50 clinics that provide family planning services have closed as a result of state budget cuts, according to a report published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. State lawmakers cut funding for family planning services by two-thirds in the last legislative session, dropping the two-year family planning budget from $111 million to $37.9 million for the 2012-13 biennium (Aaronson, 9/26).

Politico Pro: The Impact Of Cutting Family Planning Funding In Texas
What happens when states say goodbye to federal family-planning funding? A new analysis in The New England Journal of Medicine, focusing on Texas, finds it leads to decreased access to preventive services, clinics turning away women who can't pay and far fewer resources in impoverished areas. "We are witnessing the dismantling of a safety net that took decades to build and could not easily be recreated even if funding were restored soon," authors Kari White, Daniel Grossman, Kristine Hopkins and Joseph E. Potter write (Smith, 9/26).

In the meantime, Missouri has fined Aetna $1.5 million for failing to allow employers to opt-out of contraception coverage in their plans, and Virginia's Attorney General approves new regulations on abortion clinics --

St. Louis Beacon: State Department Of Insurance Fines Insurer For Offering Contraceptive Coverage
The Missouri Department of Insurance has announced that it has levied its largest fine in state history -- $1.5 million -- against an insurer who failed to comply with state law regarding coverage, or lack of, for autism treatment, contraception and elective abortions. Among other things, Aetna Life Insurance Co. "provided coverage for contraceptives without allowing employers to opt out of this coverage," the department says. A department spokesman noted that the provisions in question were in an 11-year-old state law, and not part of the new state law regarding abortion, contraceptive and sterilization coverage put in place following the General Assembly's action earlier this month to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto (Mannies, 9/26).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Cuccinelli Approves Abortion Clinic Regulations
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office Wednesday gave its stamp of approval to new abortion clinic regulations that will compel existing clinics to retrofit their facilities to meet standards for new hospital construction. Cuccinelli's certification of the regulations, approved by the state Board of Health Sept. 14, advances them to Gov. Bob McDonnell for further review. If McDonnell approves the regulations, they will be subject to a 60-day public comment period before returning to the Board of Health for final consideration, which is expected next year. The Board of Health voted 13-2 on Sept. 14 to adopt regulations that require existing abortion clinics in Virginia to be regulated like new hospitals (Nolan, 9/27).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.