What We're Reading - Virginia lawmakers push anti-women's health bills, Sebelius and Scott discuss Obamacare, and flaws found in Texas health program's providers list.
Good morning, everyone! It’s a busy day so make sure to check out what we’re reading….
The Virginia state legislature is at again. During the first days of the new legislative session, they’ve introduced a slew of bills designed to restrict a woman’s right to make her own medical choices. Did they forget the national outrage they faced when out-of-touch lawmakers tried to push for an extreme mandatory ultrasound bill last year? It appears so. “Virginia GOP’s war on moderates”—“LAST YEAR, REPUBLICANS in Richmond did their utmost to drive the state’s independent and swing voters into the Democratic column. Witness their mean-spirited, provocative and extremist stances to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds; make voting more difficult for minorities, youths and others who may lack photo IDs; oppose a highly qualified judicial nominee who is gay; loosen the state’s already lax gun laws; and mandate drug testing for welfare recipients. Some of those measures were enacted, some were defeated and others were watered down. All helped brand the GOP as the party of intemperance, alienating moderate voters, particularly in Northern Virginia, which accounted for a third of the state’s ballots. As Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has noted, that region’s overwhelmingly pro-Democratic tilt turned Virginia blue in 2012.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met with Florida Governor, and general Obamacare opponent, Rick Scott, to discuss the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The fact that Scott considered the meeting “productive” suggests he may agree to implement some of the law. “Rick Scott, Kathleen Sebelius have ‘productive’ Obamacare chat”—“A long-awaited sit-down Monday between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius didn’t provide any answers on whether one of Obamacare’s biggest critics will suddenly embrace the law. But the fact that the meeting happened at all — and that Scott is keeping up the newly pragmatic tone he’s had since the election — raises the intriguing possibility that one of the nation’s most high-profile Republican governors might actually agree to implement some of the law. That’s far from a certainty, of course. Scott — a serial tormentor of the Obama administration — is still emphasizing the massive costs he claims his state will have to pay if it sets up a health insurance exchange and expands Medicaid coverage under the law.”
The new Texas Women’s Health Program began last week, excluding Planned Parenthood as a health center. Women have been left to search for a new provider—and the state’s list of participants has been of little help. The Waco Tribune-Herald reviewed the list of participants. “Flaws found in new Texas women's health provider list”—“Low-income women needing family planning services may have to do a little more homework before making their next appointment. Last week marked the launch of the Texas Women’s Health Program. It is nearly identical to a previous Medicaid program that offered family planning services. But the key difference is the state’s version excludes Planned Parenthood and other providers with abortion affiliates. The change means women now either must pay a fee to receive services at Planned Parenthood or find a doctor participating in the new version of the program. The latter option might sound simple enough, especially since the state has a new website where women can search for participating physicians by ZIP code. But a review of the list by the Tribune-Herald found many of the doctors aren’t actually participating or won’t take new patients through the program.”