Healthcare News September 12, 2012

  • Court ends challenge to ‘fetal pain’ abortion law

    A federal appeals court has ended one of the first-ever challenges to a law that bans some abortions by citing fetal pain.

    The mixed decision from the Ninth Circuit also favored plaintiff Jennie Linn McCormack by dismissing a criminal case against her. McCormack faced up to five years in prison after ingesting medication to induce an abortion, which is illegal in Idaho, where she lives.

    In its ruling, the court said the Idaho law places an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion care by making them, rather than simply abortion providers, liable for rule-breaking. 

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: How many Americans are uninsured?

    The Census Bureau is set to release new figures Wednesday on the number of uninsured Americans. If the number rises, the report could provide Republicans with another avenue to attack the slow economic recovery (people are often uninsured because they’re unemployed) and perhaps to knock the Affordable Care Act, even though the vast majority of its coverage expansion hasn’t happened yet.

    But the Census figures could also highlight popular parts of the ACA — namely, letting young adults stay on their parents’ plans through age 26.

    Tomorrow’s figures will measure the number of uninsured people in 2011. In 2010, the number stood just shy of 50 million, or roughly 16 percent. 

    More numbers: Tuesday provided some new insight into healthcare costs, and the news was basically mixed. Health insurance premiums rose last year by 4 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Premiums grew faster than wages, but Kaiser analysts still said the relatively modest increase was “good news.” Healthwatch has the details.

    HHS says ACA helped: Health and Human Services was out in front of the Kaiser report Tuesday with its own analysis of healthcare premiums, which says the Affordable Care Act has reduced premiums by more than $2 billion. How? Mostly though the medical loss ratio (MLR), which requires insurers to spend 80 or 85 percent of their premiums on medical care or pay rebates to their customers. Insurers have paid out more than $1 billion in rebates, and others have lowered their premiums to comply with the new rules. Read the Healthwatch post.

  • Sen. Hatch calls for vote on condemning Obama’s changes to welfare requirements

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called on his colleagues to unanimously pass a resolution he and Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.) introduced meant to block the Obama administration’s controversial changes to welfare work requirements.

    The administration’s policy grants states waivers to test new approaches to boost employment among low-income families, according to the administration. But states would have to prove that the new methods work.

  • Lawmakers to meet NFL commissioner, discuss plans for HGH testing of players

    Commissioner Roger Goodell will discuss prospects for testing players for human growth hormones and other issues plaguing the league.

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