KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Voters Decide Ballot Issues On Health Law, Assisted Suicide And Marijuana

A variety of news organizations assessed ballot initiatives in Florida, Massachusetts, Montana and Missouri, among other states.

Kaiser Health News: Post-Election, Insurance Exchanges, Other Health Care Issues Loom Large In States (Video)
Working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, six public radio reporters -- Martha Bebinger (Mass.), Elizabeth Stawicki (Minn.), Sarah Varney (Calif.), Erika Beras (Penn.), Lynn Hatter (Fla.) and Elana Gordon (Missouri) -- talk about how ballot initiatives and state legislative elections could affect the future of the health law implementation and public health in their states (11/7). 

Kaiser Health News: Health Care Issues On The Ballot: The Final Tally
The rich variety of health issues at stake in Tuesday’s elections included the federal health law, abortion, medical marijuana and more.  Here’s a round-up of state health initiatives and the results. ... Missouri voted against raising the state tobacco tax to fund tobacco control programs and public education. This was the third attempt in 11 years to raise taxes on tobacco (Gold, 11/7).

CQ HealthBeat: Voters Decide Controversial Ballot Measures
Missouri voters continued their assault on the health overhaul by choosing to prevent the state from building its own state-based health exchange. Almost 62 percent of the electorate voted for Proposition E, which blocks state officials from creating one of the new health benefits marketplaces under the health law. ... Florida voters also rejected, by 45 percent to 55 percent, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban the use of public funding for abortions. The amendment required 60 percent to pass (Adams, 11/7).

The Atlantic: No To Death With Dignity, Yes To Marijuana, No To GMO Disclosure: The Public Health Results
Decisions made yesterday by voters will have profound implications for public health. ... Do terminally ill patients have a right to terminate their lives, and should physicians be complicit? NO. Massachusetts' move toward "Death with Dignity" was narrowly defeated ... Massachusetts voted to permit [marijuana] for medical purposes, but a similar measure failed in Arkansas, with slightly more than half voting against it. ... Michigan voters ended up rejecting an amendment that would have limited the collective bargaining power of home health care workers and applied standards of quality to home care (Abrams, 11/7).

Medscape: Massachusetts Voters Reject Physician-Assisted Suicide
"Before this barrage of misleading, frightening ads, the polls showed the public was overwhelmingly in support," said Marcia Angell, MD, a senior lecturer in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School and a leading proponent of the ballot measure. "The ads implied there was something scary." Of course, opponents such as the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) contended that there indeed was something scary about physicians prescribing a lethal dose of a narcotic at the request of a terminally ill patient with less than 6 months to live (Lowes, 11/7).

WBUR (Audio): After Ballot Defeat, What’s Next For Assisted Suicide Supporters? 
To find out what the supporters of the ballot initiative plan to do next, WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with the lead backer of the measure, Dr. Marcia Angell of Harvard Medical School. ... "We have had long experience now in Oregon and quite a bit of experience in Washington. We know that this law works. It works exactly as intended. And I think this is just a matter of state by state and maybe even country by country coming to accept this as just a good part of medical practice" (Pfeiffer, 11/7).

The Texas Tribune: Powers: Prop 1 Passage Huge Step For UT, Texas Health
The first University of Texas medical school class in Austin could be in place as early as 2015 or 2016, Provost Steve Leslie said Wednesday morning. Leslie, President Bill Powers and several college deans thanked Austin voters who approved Proposition 1 Tuesday night. The measure will raise property taxes to help fund a UT-Austin medical school. Those tax dollars will account for the last needed chunk of funding for the school (White, 11/7).

Reuters: Los Angeles Mandates Condoms For Porn Actors, Industry Threatens Suit
Los Angeles County voters passed a ballot initiative mandating that pornographic film actors wear condoms during sex scenes, prompting a trade group on Wednesday to threaten to sue and take production elsewhere. Measure B, which was sponsored by the group AIDS Healthcare Foundation, won approval on Tuesday by a margin of 55.85 percent to 44.15 percent, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office (Whitcomb, 11/7).


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